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Too_Many_Tools
05-17-2010, 09:42 PM
We all know of the questionable quality of some of the Chinese equipment one can buy today.

Looking back decades earlier, did we have the same questionable quality from other imports..say from the Japanese?

And for those members of Europe, do you have any stories of the junk you used to have to put up with from the United States? ;<)

TMT

SGW
05-17-2010, 09:51 PM
I suspect there was junk in earlier days too. It's just all been thrown away by now, so all we have left (mostly) is the quality stuff.

Just like all the old-time houses that are so much better-built than modern ones; all the bad ones have fallen down.

Ken_Shea
05-17-2010, 10:20 PM
Oh yeah, at the first the Japanese import items were junk, as was Taiwan products, much of course has changes since the 60's, it will also change with China as will the price as they gets up to speed and the market changes.

oldtiffie
05-17-2010, 10:35 PM
A lot of "Taiwanese" stuff is out-sourced to China but sold under a "Taiwan" label.

China will increase its prices - for a whole lot of reasons - but not until it has burned off the opposition.

That is "loss-leading" and "predatory pricing" which is well established by and in the USA - so China uses the American model - as it obviously works and there will always be more than enough people buying for the cheapest they can get spending all that they have or can borrow.

Its not only in the USA either - its world-wide.

People will (only?) pay lip-service to "buy American made" and "keep American jobs etc." but its a different story when they are faced with the price differential and have to "pony up".

J Tiers
05-17-2010, 10:42 PM
heh......

Not all "JUNK" was imported........

of course the "109" lathes...........

But also Atlas, Logan................ if you were using a big Monarch or the like, the Atlas or Logan might be considered "cheap hobby junk".....

And, in truth, they were made to a low price point... and "quality" features were sacrificed in many cases..... The Atlas far more so than the Logan, but........



People will (only?) pay lip-service to "buy American made" and "keep American jobs etc." but its a different story when they are faced with the price differential and have to "pony up".

Not everyone..... I'll pay more for US made...... but it needs to be made well, and have an advantage.... I've given up and MADE stuff when I could not find a US product at all, or one of decent quality....... to avoid buying chinese.

In some cases, there is no choice...... unless you feel like rolling your own pentium chip.......

Ken_Shea
05-17-2010, 10:42 PM
China also does not change because change is not presently required, they are doing quite well selling the quality (should say or lack of) that they have now.
Most of their products are what I would describe as only adequate, brass fittings not with standing :D

Ken_Shea
05-17-2010, 10:44 PM
heh......
Not all "JUNK" was imported........


Boy, aint that the truth!

CCWKen
05-18-2010, 12:14 AM
You'd get junk here too if the factories were paying $5 a day for wages. Folks in the US want to drive Cadillacs but only pay 25 cents a gallon for gas. A poor friend of mine had to take a $165K/yr job and sell his $465K house. For those of you not familiar with house values down here, that's about a $4.5M+ house in California. (4400 sq. ft. with pool on five landscaped acres.) He's the same person that griped because I charged him a $15 fee to strip old nickel off a bucket of parts before plating prep. I should have just built it into the estimate total. :rolleyes:

Richard Wilson
05-18-2010, 04:16 AM
Most of you guys are not going to like this:- A hundred years or so ago, in the UK, American imported tools had the reputation of being fast, able to 'go the pace' but would be worn out and junk in 4 years. If you wanted something really solid and built to last, you bought British. How things have changed.
Richard

.RC.
05-18-2010, 06:57 AM
China stuff is becoming good quality now, compared to ten years ago...

The problem is the importers mostly import cheap crap still..

loose nut
05-18-2010, 10:10 AM
If you read old Model Engineer mags. from the 1930's there where always letters complaining about the horrible quality of the small lathes that where available to the amateurs of the day. These where built in Britain and most went out of business inWW2

Rex
05-18-2010, 11:50 AM
I equate those pot-metal gears and small parts on the 109s and Atlas lathes, with the plastic gears in the minilathe and miniill of today.
I think the AA lathes sold for around $15.00 in the 1930s.
Zinc (and Bakelite) was the polymer of the pre-war era.

barts
05-18-2010, 12:02 PM
But also Atlas, Logan................ if you were using a big Monarch or the like, the Atlas or Logan might be considered "cheap hobby junk".....

And, in truth, they were made to a low price point... and "quality" features were sacrificed in many cases..... The Atlas far more so than the Logan, but........



To me, the real difference between the older machines was in materials and complexity; the workmanship on my old 10" Atlas was fine, it was just a very light duty machine compared to almost anything else.

With the increase in labor costs, you now see those things reversed - reasonably good materials but shoddy workmanship in low end gear. Of course, the prices today are far lower than they were 50 years ago in terms of hours of labor needed to purchase something.

- Bart

Richard Wilson
05-18-2010, 12:31 PM
If you read old Model Engineer mags. from the 1930's there where always letters complaining about the horrible quality of the small lathes that where available to the amateurs of the day. These where built in Britain and most went out of business inWW2
This is very true, but in my earlier submission, I was talking about industrial sized machines.

Richard

Ries
05-18-2010, 12:46 PM
I have owned plenty of incredibly junky american made machinery.
It was cheap, and I didnt have any money.

I had an Atlas lathe, and I hated it. POS. I had to rebuild and replace a bunch of stuff, and a lot of it was never designed to do real work. I was never so happy as when I sold that thing.

Remember AMT woodworking tools?
bent sheet metal, pot metal, and 1/4hp washing machine motors.
6" table saws that bogged down on 3/4" plywood. 4" jointers that could, just barely, take a 32nd off of a soft wood.

Craftsman power tools from the 70's?
plastic switches, plastic housings, self tapping screws in the plastic.
Complete and total crap.
I had a Craftsman belt/disc sander that was unbelievable in its junkiness. It was constantly cutting itself into pieces, breaking, melting and burning up. It was the bionic man by the time I junked it.
Sears used to go with the low bidder, and often got drill presses made by toaster factories, table saws made by blender companies, and radial arm saws made by lawn mower builders.

In the early 80's, I remember writing on the wall of my shop, in 6" tall letters, "I will never buy another Craftsman hand power tool".
Didnt, either.

America has a long, 200 year old history of poisonous patent medicines, cardboard suitcases, cardboard shoe soles, pot metal tools, stamped socket wrenches (ever tried to use those? stamped sheet metal sockets, not even welded at the seam. Reef too hard, and they return to their original flat sheet metal state) and much much more total crap.

We remember, and cherish, the good quality american made stuff- because it lasted longer than all the cheap crap that surrounded it at the time...

Scishopguy
05-18-2010, 12:50 PM
If you want to see an example of USA made junk, just look at the drill presses that Craftsman marketed in the late 70's. The head of the machine was stamped sheet metal and had cast aluminum tables. They were so light weight that they rattled badly when in use. I compared my $169 12 speed table model HF drill press (bought in 1980) to my friend's Sears Craftsman and there was no comparrison. His cost him about $300 new. I still have my drill press and use it often. The only cheap thing on it was the locking screws, which were just bolts with cast plastic tee handles, on the belt tensioner, downfeed stop, and three handle down feed handwheel. Those are just cosmetic but work as well as any so I can't complain too much.;)

gwilson
05-18-2010, 01:09 PM
My first lathe was a Sears 12". When I got my first REAL lathe,a Taiwan Jet,in 1975,12" X 24",it was a revelation!!! First mill was an Atlas. It didn't work any better than the Atlas Craftsman lathe.

I wouldn't put Logan in the junk category,though,they aren't as flimsy as the Atlas,and can do actual work.

loose nut
05-18-2010, 02:59 PM
This is very true, but in my earlier submission, I was talking about industrial sized machines.

Richard
I was merely pointing out that crap is not contained by boarders.
You can find junk anywhere if you look, big or small.

rklopp
05-18-2010, 04:15 PM
I remember Roger Paul of early days Strictly IC fame talking about how unimpressed he was with South Bend lathes immediately post-WWII. He told of a friend who bought one from the local big hardware dealer. The friend found the tailstock was low relative to the spindle by an unacceptable amount. The local South Bend rep came out, separated the tailstock from its base, and then used a center punch to raise the metal on the horizontal interface, put it all back together, and called it a day.

In my book, Atlas lathes were close to junk status in the days before the Asian invasion. Die-cast parts? C'mon! Sorry to the purists.

knudsen
05-18-2010, 04:18 PM
Remember AMT woodworking tools?
bent sheet metal, pot metal, and 1/4hp washing machine motors.
6" table saws that bogged down on 3/4" plywood. 4" jointers that could, just barely, take a 32nd off of a soft wood.

I always have to read through these threads to see how far it goes before AMT comes up. I bought an AMT table saw and lathe when I was 13 or 14. I blame the hormones :D Provided my own motor I salvaged off water pumps, so they had plenty of power. Can't believe I still have all 11 fingers!:D

Punkinhead
05-18-2010, 05:46 PM
Craftsman power tools from the 70's?Craftsman still sold junk at least into the 90's. I bought a tablesaw that was downright dangerous to use because the fence couldn't be made to clamp down parallel to the blade - a recipe for kickback. The cast iron table and extension wings weren't even remotely flat. My father gave me a Craftsman circular saw at some point in the late 90's and the base wasn't parallel to the blade so if you tried to run it along a guide the saw would kick back violently. Don't know if Craftsman still makes such junky and unsafe power tools - I haven't bought anything from them in over a decade and these two saws left a bad enough taste in my mouth that I don't plan to.

Alistair Hosie
05-18-2010, 06:00 PM
Tiffe said
so China uses the American model - as it obviously works
Wow aren't they supposed to hate the American ways and thats why their comunists? It seems they can't make up their capitalist minds:DAlistair

lazlo
05-18-2010, 06:38 PM
China stuff is becoming good quality now, compared to ten years ago...

Sorry, but that's bullsh!t. People have said that for the last 15 years, but if anything, Chinese quality is getting worse, not better. Look at the quality of hand tools, Mill/Drills, or Bridgeport clones, or the 12x36 lathes now compared to the 80's.


Wow aren't they supposed to hate the American ways and thats why their comunists? It seems they can't make up their capitalist minds

China doesn't have capitalism. The communist government is waging economic war -- peasant labor, subsidized power and gas, subsidized raw materials. You still get shot in the head for posting political blogs, or the parents of the children killed in Szechuan because the schools were built with concrete filled with debris, or because you were the scapegoat for the lead paint debacle, or the counterfeit prescription medicine debacle.

According to most accounts, including The Economist, most of the Chinese factories and "businesses" have the Communist government as a silent partner.

lazlo
05-18-2010, 06:42 PM
I'll pay more for US made...... but it needs to be made well, and have an advantage....

I'll take that a step further -- I don't care where a tool is made, if it's well-made. My shop is a veritable United Nations of machinery -- Canadian, German, English, Swiss, Japan, American... I even have a Wilton 7x12 bandsaw that's made in Taiwan. But almost no Chinese tooling. That's not to say that I haven't owned any -- like many here, I started off with a round-column Mill/Drill and a 9x20 (shudder!).

The couple of times last year that I bought Chinese hand tools (SPI, from MSC, for example), I was disappointed and sent it back.

gaston
05-18-2010, 06:42 PM
THe China stuff is cheaper cause they don't engineer anything.my first serious machine is a 1986 Comet bridgeport clone. more knee travel, more x,& y travel, but as it was a "basket case" missing parts, I replaced the missing with used bridgeport stuff and I think the china stuff was better built and finished. case in point, the rt x bearing plate is Chinese and partly encloses the dial and is nicely finished and plated, the left part is a used bridgport and doesn't extend over the edge of the dial and is just raw cast metal. so far all the bridgeport parts I have tried fit as a direct replacement.

thedieter
05-18-2010, 06:56 PM
What seems to be missing in this discussion of quality is inflation.

Back in the '50s one could buy a new pick-up truck for around $1500 but today a new truck may cost about $35,000. That means a new truck today costs 23 times as much. Not the same truck or price so how can one compare? If one paid 23 times as much as say a $1200 lathe it would be about 28,000 which would fetch a pretty nice CNC lathe these days.

I am sure that there were more man-hours in the '50s truck than the new ones but that didn't make them better.

Best regards, Jack

lazlo
05-18-2010, 07:13 PM
What seems to be missing in this discussion of quality is inflation.

If one paid 23 times as much as say a $1200 lathe it would be about 28,000 which would fetch a pretty nice CNC lathe these days.

That's a very good point. I don't think the price of a Mill/Drill (for example) has changed much over the last 15 years.

J Tiers
05-18-2010, 10:46 PM
To me, the real difference between the older machines was in materials and complexity; the workmanship on my old 10" Atlas was fine, it was just a very light duty machine compared to almost anything else.


oddly, workmanship would have been one of the big issues pointing to the Atlas being "junk"....

Unfinished castings, with flash, visible porosity, rough surfaces, etc, etc...... The people calling it junk would be used to much better finished and of course heavier-duty industrial equipment, Monarch, LeBlond, Sidney, P&W, etc, etc....

General finish is about what a 'war finish" on most machine tools would be.

As for Logan, it's heavier duty... I have one..... but it still uses the halfnuts for feed (I don't, but it would), having no feed rod nor feather key feed drive. I know those were available, I just don't have that model. Also no clutch rod, and the whole lathe weighs less than the carriage assembly for some not much larger machines...... despite being 1.5 to 2x the weight of Atlas. All the finish issue would still be there, also.

it isn't as if they are unusable, even a 109 or 9 x 20 is "usable".....

gwilson
05-18-2010, 10:55 PM
Richard: you mention American lathes were designed to be worn out in 4 years,while English lathes were longer lasting. That is EXACTLY why America beat the English in the industrial revolution: The Americans kept improving things, making newer machines,while the English held on to their heavier stuff,losing out in the advancement of technology.

Planned obsolescence wasn't a bad thing in changing times.

As for quality workmanship in Atlas lathes: True,die cast parts can be made quite smooth,and look nice plated. Delta was good at that,too.

lazlo
05-18-2010, 10:56 PM
Unfinished castings, with flash, visible porosity, rough surfaces, etc, etc......

Odd, my little Atlas shaper has pretty decent finish. Sure, it's got Zamac handles and it's not finished like a Schaublin or a Hardinge -- it's a hobby-class machine.


As for Logan, it's heavier duty... I have one..... but it still uses the halfnuts for feed (I don't, but it would), having no feed rod nor feather key feed drive.

Just like the South Bend. Again, a hobby-class machine. The LeBlonde Regal is an industrial-class machine, and it has a separate feed rod.

gwilson
05-18-2010, 11:18 PM
My first 1975 10" X 24" Jet (Taiwan) had a separate feed rod. It was light years better than the Atlas,or Logan,too,but especially the Atlas.

I must confess,I think Atlas machines were beautifully and artistically designed. The little shaper is beautiful,especially,as well as the old model lathes,and milling machine. Just too light to do any real work. I couldn't take off more than 1/32" with my 12" Sears. Mill was the same way. I never used an Atlas shaper,though.

J Tiers
05-19-2010, 12:07 AM
Just like the South Bend. Again, a hobby-class machine. The LeBlonde Regal is an industrial-class machine, and it has a separate feed rod.

Both S-B AND Logan had models with a feather-key turning feed...... As did some rather larger industrial machines, although most have had separate feed rods.

The S-B had "A", "B" and "C" models...... one had half nut turning feed only, one had crossfeed but half nut feed for turning, and one had a feather key driven worm turning feed.

For Logan, some 10" models had plain change, with crossfeed but halfnut turning feed, some had QC but crossfeed only, and some had the full "automatic apron", with full feeds via feather key.

larger models I think all had feather key full feeds and "automatic apron" (unless they were turret lathes).

NOT all Logans are hobby..... If you look in the B&S catalogs back when they had turret tooling, they mention Logan right in there with Acme and so forth as units their turret tooling fits.

lazlo
05-19-2010, 12:13 AM
Both S-B AND Logan had models with a feather-key turning feed......

..and the Clausings. Basically all the machines in this class. I was talking about a separate feed rod


NOT all Logans are hobby.....

I don't think any of the Logans have a feed rod, do they? I was never sure whether the 12" and 14" Logans were industrial or hobby. Never seen one in person...

Richard Wilson
05-19-2010, 04:38 AM
[QUOTE=gwilson]Richard: you mention American lathes were designed to be worn out in 4 years,while English lathes were longer lasting. That is EXACTLY why America beat the English in the industrial revolution: The Americans kept improving things, making newer machines,while the English held on to their heavier stuff,losing out in the advancement of technology.

Planned obsolescence wasn't a bad thing in changing times.

Absolutely agree. we struggled on after WW2 with a mixture of modern but tired lend lease stuff and a load of completely s---d Britsh stuff some of dating pre WW1, much of it flat belt drive. Germany lost most of its machine tools to either bombing or reparations and was forced to tool up with new stuff, which gave them a huge advantage over us.
I was still using a Ward 2A capstan in 1968 with 'War Finish' stenciled on it. It was a dog!
Richard

J Tiers
05-19-2010, 08:24 AM
..and the Clausings. Basically all the machines in this class. I was talking about a separate feed rod



I don't think any of the Logans have a feed rod, do they?

Oh, I wouldn't use THAT as a dividing line between "industrial" and "hobby".

if you want to divide, you might use the "half nut feed only" type as the dividing line.... but some "industrial" machines don't have any leadscrew..... (for small size products).

Trying to make that distinction crystal clear is a losing proposition....

You can be sure a 10EE is an industrial machine, and a 109 is a hobby machine.... You can be pretty sure that all the Atlas are intended as "hobby" machines, except that so many were used in, and sold into, the light industrial market.

Logan, Southbend, both crossed over...... Both have clearly industrial machines, and both have hobby machines, in the old lines. What hobbyist want or needs a turret lathe? How many hobby users need or want an 18" swing x 8 foot C-C lathe?

A S-B 12" x 18" lathe has a carriage likely weighing more than your entire Atlas. And it MAY have a feather key feed, with no feed rod.... don't recall
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/SB1.jpg


And, much if not all of their lines of "hobby" machines were perfectly suitable for industry. I'd probably make a distinction at the very minimal S-B cheapest 'workshop" machines....

Rustybolt
05-19-2010, 08:46 AM
I don't think any of the Logans have a feed rod, do they? I was never sure whether the 12" and 14" Logans were industrial or hobby. Never seen one in person...
__________________
No they didn't. They were pretty light duty. We had a very nice logan 14 inch turret lathe which was bought new. likely because it was cheaper than any of the heavy duty machines. At that time they had the vari-speed drive pretty well worked out so that the whole machine didn't vibrate very bad. it was easy to set up and held tolerances reasonably well. it lasted a long time because we didn't abuse it, but it can't be considered a serious production machine because it couldn't take a heavy cut without bogging down. Unlike a LaBlonde or Monarch of the same size.

Tony Ennis
05-19-2010, 10:46 AM
Planned obsolescence wasn't a bad thing in changing times.

As long as the buyer is aware of it.

Tony Ennis
05-19-2010, 10:50 AM
You can be pretty sure that all the Atlas are intended as "hobby" machines, except that so many were used in, and sold into, the light industrial market.

If people bought them they must have served some purpose. In any event, without the Atlas/Craftsman and the modern equivalent, the Chicom 9x20, people like me would never have lathes. I wouldn't drop $2,500 on small Grizzly without ever having tried machining.

I never would have bought a lathe I couldn't move by myself.

gwilson
05-19-2010, 11:21 AM
South Bend bench lathes were marketed for decades as home shop lathes.Pick up any vintage Popular Mechanics magazine, On the back page is always a whole page illustration of the small bench model South Bend lathe cutting a VERY long,continuous chip.

About German industry: The Nazi workshops were sometimes full of Pratt and Whitney lathes. Machine tools were hard to destroy by bombing,direct hits excluded!!
The factories were often back in operation within short time periods of time.

oil mac
05-19-2010, 03:29 PM
The workshop, where i served the second half of my apprenticeship, had some real "grunchers"of machines one dating from about 1890, But still doing a good job, Also two little Atlas ex lease lend bench mounted lathes These machines were not rated as very good machines for industrial use, but saying that the old bloke who turned out lots of small aluminium ,brass &bronze components on these machines, could make them talk,in spite of the die cast gears, At one stage he burst a couple of gears, yours truly got the task of casting two new replacements in Aluminium, So these old lathes where the firm was concerned could be "self healing" Teeth on my gears cast finish, worked a treat!
What was acceptable in a small firm in the late 1950-through to the sixties would not be acceptable in todays greedy &hfrequent unfairly competition world from the far east.
When the firm eventually went "tits up" about 1970, I was offered anything i wanted at a knock down basement price, The Atlas lathes were not on my radar, But i still to this day, regret not taking the firm up on the little 6"centre height lathe manufactured by Soag in Belgium.
Over the years, Snobbery has cut in a great deal, in many spheres, Especially where "experts" -- self appointed or opinionated, Who in the last twenty five years, have crawled out of the woodwork, like the cockroaches they are, Found in large numbers on the television scene, These guys frequently have the peasantrys brains eddled with their tommyrot ideas.
Will give an example, behind me as i wright this post, I have an old American Ansonia mantle clock, built 1800 & something, This old instrument, would be built down to a price mass produced, It has a most handsome clock, with a nice black japanned cast iron case Keeps good time , Which is the idea of the excercise
Some years ago a guy, turned up at an Antiques road show, where an expert totally rubbished the clock the man had brought along -- "Cheap & poor quality , Not worth collecting, Blaa Blaa Blaa, No doubt the poor soul went away totally dissolusioned, turfed his instrument in the dustbin,
Our expert, obviously had no concept of the fine cast iron case , a nice example of the ironfounder art, plus like my clock capable of keeping excellent time,, If you like something and it works, Stuff the experts!

gwilson
05-19-2010, 04:56 PM
Oil,if you will please make your point about lathes clear,maybe I can understand it. Yes,an Atlas will work aluminum and brass. Their mill will,too. Steel,though,was a different proposition. I couldn't take off more than 1/32" at a pass on my 1974 Sears Atlas. Took all day to make a small milling arbor. I had to change pot metal half nuts frequently. I sold my Sears/Atlas lathe,and Atlas mill,and got small but decent machines,so I had real experience on Atlas products. My first real mill was a Burke #4. First decent lathe was a Taiwan 10" X 20" Jet lathe.

My background is 39 years of being a Master Toolmaker. I agree about the TV "gurus" you mention.

By the way,write is not spelled wright,and "i" is always capitalized. Antiques are judged often on their rarity. Rare or not,my money wouldn't be paid for some of them. Anyway,stuff the ignorant.

wierdscience
05-19-2010, 11:05 PM
Remember AMT woodworking tools?
bent sheet metal, pot metal, and 1/4hp washing machine motors.
6" table saws that bogged down on 3/4" plywood. 4" jointers that could, just barely, take a 32nd off of a soft wood.

.

Oh God yes,what crap! My uncle bless him warned me off buying an ATM bandsaw when I was 13 and just cutting my teeth in woodworking.

Instead I bought a kit from Gilliom mfg.It was a box of the hard parts,shafts,bearings,trunnions guides and a set of plans.You supplied the plywood,woodscrews,glue and motor.

http://gilliom-gil-bilt-tool-hunter.blogspot.com/2009/01/conversation-with-gilliom-manufacturing.html

I paid I think $79.95 for it and $30.00 in plywood and screws along with an old grain auger motor.Took me three days to finish.The thing actually worked and worked good.I used it until I was 20 and sold it to a friend that I think still has it.It was quiet compared to my 20" Rockwell I have now.

Bill736
05-19-2010, 11:10 PM
For decades, the Sears table saws had very poor rip fences , and I always wondered why they didn't spend a little more and provide a smooth working fence. Some of their other stationary power tools, such as bandsaws, were also of marginal quality. I suppose, by the mid 1970s, most of their machines were being built outside the US , but the shift didn't hurt the quality , since often it wasn't there in the US made versions. Some of the "professional" machines from Sears in the 1960s were much better, like the woodworking shaper, the metal cutting horizonal bandsaw, and the radial arm saw.

J Tiers
05-19-2010, 11:32 PM
South Bend bench lathes were marketed for decades as home shop lathes.Pick up any vintage Popular Mechanics magazine, On the back page is always a whole page illustration of the small bench model South Bend lathe cutting a VERY long,continuous chip.




NOPE.... Not "Southbend lathes", but "SOME" Southbend lathes.......

I cannot see an 18" x 8 foot machine being sold into or marketed for the home workshop............ Nor the one I posted a picture of just above, either. Southbend made such a variety of machines that it is impossible to categorize them as "all" one or the other....

In fact the whole distinction is hard to make clearly.

Size is not a consideration...... that S-B in the picture is a 12" x 18", almost the same size as a "9 x 20"..... but VERY heavy-duty.... the compound is probably as heavy as a "9 x 20".

Features are not a consideration in an absolute sense, there are industrial lathes with no leadscrew, let alone a feed rod, etc.

You have to look at the whole picture..... A 109 has many of the features of a "real" lathe, but puts it together in a cheap package that is clearly hobby-oriented, or lower....

An Atlas is made for hobby market, but is well enough featured to be used in light industry.

Logan and Southbend as brands are a mix, with frankly industrial machines and more-or-less hobby machines both produced.

My original remarks were not intended to call Atlas "junk", but to remind people that when they came out, they would have often been regarded by working machinists as "hobby junk".

An Atlas properly set up and tooled will happily take a 1/8" depth of cut in CRS..... probably not in tool steel or 4140PH......... So will a Logan, or the smaller "hobby" Southbend.

if you are not afraid of back gears, you can take some large cuts....... but it may go as slow as a different approach, depending.

As for arbors..... Making a 1.25" mill arbor out of 4140PH DID take me two evenings on the Logan...... mostly because if I went faster, I burned up the HSS tool in less than one pass..... I was getting bright blue chips off the work, about 0.06 DOC or so. When I went to carbide, the geometry was bad, and I could not take the heavier cuts.

gmatov
05-20-2010, 01:32 AM
I think people are getting their ideas from machines with underpowered motors. There ARE machines with "potmetal gears", and they might not take more than a 1/10th HP motor, like the Chinese little machines.

SB 9A's typically have a 1/2 horse motor driving the input pulley, with the step pulley flat belt drive. I still use the flat cotton belt on mine. It will stall, and it is 1/2 HP. Did I replace the drive belt, no biggie with a 9A and pull the spindle to put an uncut and unglued serpentine belt on it, probably double the DOC. It ain't ALL that light a little machine.

No idea what it weighs but I can't lift it. Couple hundred pounds in a short package?

It is not the best package you can buy, but it is possibly the least expensive you can buy for what it is. Also, it IS "old iron", and that means a lot to those who post here.

As Reis says, we have been sold LOTS of stuff by AMERICANS that are junk. Look at your late night TV advertisements. I bought a pair of the nicest looking Wellingtons in San Remo, Italy, about 1964. Cheap, our DOLLAR was magnificent. First rain, and the soles disintegrated. Pressed paper. 2 bucks more could have put good leather on the soles, but they would not have been screwing anybody. Maybe that was the point.

I have bought Florsheims that had to pay to resole after one wetting. Anybody can screw you. They don't have to be gypsters.

Same time, about 1964, Chinese tailors came to the boat and measured pipple to sell them silk shirts and suits. Near 50 years later, I still have the silk shirts. Suit, I bought the silk material for, and had a local make the suit for me. Still wearable, but out of date.

THAT was in the years of PURE Communism in China, but these people, in Italy, were exiles, or whatever you want to call them. They made a living, and both of us were happy, but I probably overpaid, else they would not have been so happy. Blew 6 bucks, could mebbe have got it for 5.50.

Cheers,

George

oil mac
05-20-2010, 06:40 AM
GWilson I am sorry about spelling, As the post was compiled with the cat yowling in my ear to get some food, my food was rapidly getting cold, and trying to finish the posting A.S.A.P The errors crept into my script!
My thoughts on the quality or otherwise of these cheap and cheerful Atlas lathes, I may not have explained well enough, Strictly speaking one only gets the quality they pay for, and the old firm i worked for eventually paid the price of working with cheap and cheerful machinery, throughout the plant< Little did they forsee that leaner times were rapidly arriving.
The old fellow who used these two Atlas lathes on a daily basis should have been the recipient of a medal for his efforts, Even for a machine to play with at home ,Iwould have said No Thanks, Yet the work our man turned out, ( O.K. it was very small components in non ferrous materials) Was of a high quality, any larger or important components in bronze, steel or cast iron, was machined on the big old Loudon Brothers cone drive lathe, dating from eighteen o bonk, or some similar year before 1900, Or else the little Soag