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View Full Version : Atlas 12" lathe: what is the milling attachment suited for?



jgourlay
05-31-2010, 09:38 PM
Gents:

Back in 2004 I purchased a mintish 1944 (manual gearing) Atlas 12" x 36" lathe. I use it mostly to piddle around in wood with: mallets, small bowls, pens. Very rarely I'll use it on the simplest of metal parts for woodworking jiggery. This is to say: I'm not a machinist.

But I do want to understand the machine better. It came with the milling attachment which I have tried to use on a couple of occasions. Problem is, I can't ever seem to hold in it what I want to work on. This has caused significant frustration on my part, in many cases causing me to use my woodworking tools/skills to chisel out the part in wax and then cast in bronze or zamac rather than machining it.

So, I've been thinking...what WAS that milling attachment meant to hold?

Ditto on the headstock indexing plate. That has me perxplexed. I could see how you would use an indexing plate mounting firmly to the TAILSTOCK (so you could hold a drill bit or cutter in the head). But what do you do with it in as built?

Carld
05-31-2010, 09:48 PM
Your supposed to put an endmill in a MT adapter and use a drawbar to hold it in the spindle. Then you put the part you want to mill in the vise of the milling attachment and when you have everything clamped down you take small cuts until it is machined the way you want it.

It is for very light milling only.

portlandRon
05-31-2010, 09:51 PM
By it's design it is hard to hold anything other then an object with two parallel flat sides or a round object if you have the jaws for that.
What you can do is take a flat plate of metal and mount on the back side a block that will fit in the jaws of the milling attachment. On the face off it drill a series of holes and tap them. It is then possible to use bolts and hold down to mount odd shapes that you want to mill.

tdkkart
05-31-2010, 10:11 PM
So, I've been thinking...what WAS that milling attachment meant to hold?


The door open...........

Mcgyver
05-31-2010, 11:39 PM
before the influx of cheap asian imports and schools dumping their western stuff into the market, a home shop guy might only have afforded one machine, the lathe. You can do almost anything with it, books written on the subject.

then as soon as you can afford a mill, use it for the door

danlb
05-31-2010, 11:58 PM
With all milling, the first skill to tackle is holding on to the work. A vise is commonly used, but just as often you hold things to the table with various clamps holding it directly to the table. The device mentioned in post #3 (a fixture plate) is meant to take the place of a table.

I'm not sure what an indexing plate is on your machine, but the name suggests that you could mount something to it ( a small chuck, purhaps? ) and rotate it a specific number of degrees, as in laying out a bolt circle, or scribing the marks on a dial.

Dan

The Artful Bodger
06-01-2010, 12:16 AM
My milling attachment had the same style of rather limited fixing with the two metal lugs and three set screws.

I carefully sawed the lugs off mine and mounted a drilled plate in their place, much more useful!:)

oldtiffie
06-01-2010, 12:21 AM
Gents:

Back in 2004 I purchased a mintish 1944 (manual gearing) Atlas 12" x 36" lathe. I use it mostly to piddle around in wood with: mallets, small bowls, pens. Very rarely I'll use it on the simplest of metal parts for woodworking jiggery. This is to say: I'm not a machinist.

But I do want to understand the machine better. It came with the milling attachment which I have tried to use on a couple of occasions. Problem is, I can't ever seem to hold in it what I want to work on. This has caused significant frustration on my part, in many cases causing me to use my woodworking tools/skills to chisel out the part in wax and then cast in bronze or zamac rather than machining it.

So, I've been thinking...what WAS that milling attachment meant to hold?

Ditto on the headstock indexing plate. That has me perxplexed. I could see how you would use an indexing plate mounting firmly to the TAILSTOCK (so you could hold a drill bit or cutter in the head). But what do you do with it in as built?

It will help if you can post some pics.

J Tiers
06-01-2010, 12:24 AM
nearly any milling attachment for a small lathe is best suited to getting a high price on Ebay....... That and possibly snapping the compound off, for the Palmgren types......

gregl
06-01-2010, 12:26 AM
For those who don't know, the "index plate" the OP refers to is the large gear on the back-gear set the rim of which is drilled with 60 holes. There is a pin in the front of the headstock casting that can be pushed back into those holes. I have used this a few times. If you have a tool-post mounted drilling spindle, the usefulness of the indexing holes increases.

As for the milling attachment: I have one and have used it only a few times. I would say it is a compromise for those who can't obtain any sort of mill, however crude. The device does work but as someone else has said, requires light cuts and small workpieces. I found it quite frustrating to use. Mine came with the lathe; I would not buy one. On the other hand, our British brethren do some amazing things with a 7- or 9-inch bench lathe and a similar attachment.

wooleybooger
06-01-2010, 12:40 AM
my atlas 6" came with a milling attachment, vise jaws and endmill holders and drawbar. i havent found much use for it. when machining a flat for a pulley setscrew ive found it faster to use a file and vise. i can never seem to get the right spindle speed. the bull gear on mine has 60 pin-holes which never seem to index correctly for what i need to do. my biggest disappointment with mine is i cant keep it aligned from start to finish.

J Tiers
06-01-2010, 09:34 AM
As for the milling attachment: I have one and have used it only a few times. I would say it is a compromise for those who can't obtain any sort of mill, however crude. The device does work but as someone else has said, requires light cuts and small workpieces. I found it quite frustrating to use. Mine came with the lathe; I would not buy one. On the other hand, our British brethren do some amazing things with a 7- or 9-inch bench lathe and a similar attachment.

In most cases, the British "milling attachment" is actually a designed-in mill table on the carriage..... to which the compound may clamp..... it was intended to be used that way, and is made to work well by design. The lathe was MADE to work that way.

A US milling attachment tends to be put in PLACE OF the compound, OR be actually ADDED ON TOP of it.....Typically it adds long lever arms from the support to the work, with all the extra looseness and bouncy flexibility inherent to that construction.

It is a "kludged-on afterthought", not designed-in to the machine, and as-such can be expected to work only with very severe compromises.

it's a case of 'Yeah, you can DO that.... ".....But it only works so-so.

Bill Pace
06-01-2010, 10:31 AM
is best suited to getting a high price on Ebay

Hah! aint it the truth!!

I had a South Bend version (very similar to the Atlas) and I also found it to be very limited (would you believe - totally?) After it sat on the shelf for several years, I got to looking at the prices on ebay - whoa!. I took some nice pics and listed it on ebay with $50 min ... dang thing sold for over $200:eek: I couldnt believe it!

EVguru
06-01-2010, 11:52 AM
http://www.lathes.co.uk/atlas/img89.gif

davidh
06-01-2010, 11:58 AM
i too have the attachment. ive used it to hold a razor blade used in stripping insulation from copper cords and wiring.

way too much hanging over the cross slide mount for me. . .

SNAP ! ! !


OH CRAP ! ! ! :mad: :mad:

Rex
06-01-2010, 12:41 PM
nearly any milling attachment for a small lathe is best suited to getting a high price on Ebay.......

ditto. Sold the last one I had for $300 and put that toward a minimill

Dr Stan
06-01-2010, 02:04 PM
The US Navy had them on destroyers, subs, and other small ships where there was limited room for machine tools. When you're in the middle of "the pond" it was better than nothing. Not much better mind you, but they do have their (as others have said) very limited uses.

My mill is not up and running yet and just the other day I needed to cut a 3/16" keyseat in a 5/8" shaft. So I used my drop in style tool holder as a "milling attachment" and held the end mill in the chuck. Very Southern Engineering, but it worked.

ulav8r
06-01-2010, 04:57 PM
Dr Stan, please back off on the denigrating/derogatory comments.

Black_Moons
06-01-2010, 09:30 PM
Yea theres three main types of milling attachments

one that attachs to the bed of the lathe and can machine things (addon spindle that holds tools with its own motor) that are clamped onto the carriage/cross feed for X/Y, These are basicly the '3 in 1' lathe/mill/drill dealies that everyone hates.


Another one thats basicly just a Z 'axis' bolted onto the cross feed that also has a tiny vise on it, you hold endmills/etc in your lathe chuck (Well, Kinda, usally you rig up something a little better then the lathe chuck to hold tools, like a MT+drawbar)
Kinda lame, but lots of milling has been done on these in a pinch, and very easy to cobble togethor from parts at home (You technicaly don't even need a Z axis, shims will do, or just a slot that can be locked at diffrent heights)


And finaly one that attachs a spindle to the toolpost and is actualy rather cool as you basicly get 'live tooling' and can do stuff like keyways on shafts, cross drilling, and with the indexing head on the spindle of the lathe. the work is held in the standard lathe chuck, the indexing 'head' keeps the work from rotating (or just the mass/friction of the motor etc)

Or you could use it while the work is spining and maybe do some weird operation. I have no first hand experiance, but I bet it does absolute WONDERS on plastics, because a giant problem with soft plastics is the swaff from standing lathe turning gets wraped around the work and has to be cut off (or cut through) after every pass, because plastic just does not 'chip break' easily, where as a live tooling rig would cut the plastic into little chips.

IMO, the one that attachs a spindle to your toolpost is the only one actualy worth having/using, since it can actualy do useful operations on work allready held (and dialed in or turned on the lathe) that could be diffacult in a mill, Plus it typicaly won't interfear with other work.

The Artful Bodger
06-01-2010, 10:09 PM
Deleted by me.....

vpt
06-01-2010, 10:24 PM
Since this picture I cut the upper aluminum block into a V block That I use to clamp everything.


http://img405.imageshack.us/img405/3391/newscrew037.jpg


Always make small cuts and make sure everything is tightened down good.

Rex
06-01-2010, 10:44 PM
In the intrest of completeness, there is another type of milling attachment.
Grizzly G0619 and Emco Maximat used a complete milling column whole base bolted to the back of the bed. The Carriage and crosslide took care of X/y, usually by substituting a t-slotted milling table for the cross slide.
In the case of the grizzly, the milling column is the same as used on the Seig minimill.
But that is a long way from what the OP was about.

vpt
06-01-2010, 10:58 PM
In the intrest of completeness, there is another type of milling attachment.
Grizzly G0619 and Emco Maximat used a complete milling column whole base bolted to the back of the bed. The Carriage and crosslide took care of X/y, usually by substituting a t-slotted milling table for the cross slide.
In the case of the grizzly, the milling column is the same as used on the Seig minimill.
But that is a long way from what the OP was about.


I picked up a unimat to use its head and column on the atlas. With that I can use the atlas as a indexing head and other stuff.

http://img23.imageshack.us/img23/8338/gear003.jpg

Dr Stan
06-01-2010, 11:25 PM
Dr Stan, please back off on the denigrating/derogatory comments.

Explain yourself. If you think "Southern Engineering" is a denigrating/derogatory comment you have way too thin of skin to be on the net.

wooleybooger
06-01-2010, 11:32 PM
hows that unimat working out vpt? i have a uni and was thinking of turning mine into a mini-mill.i havent thought out the possibilities yet but your setup gives me another option.

Mcgyver
06-01-2010, 11:42 PM
Explain yourself. If you think "Southern Engineering" is a denigrating/derogatory comment you have way too thin of skin to be on the net.

I think he has a good point, nothing to do with thick or thin skin, I can see why referring to something as "southern engineering but it work" as unnecessarily and offensive....like any other bigotry its just lumping millions of people together and hurling an insult at them. Why do it?


.

vpt
06-02-2010, 12:06 AM
hows that unimat working out vpt? i have a uni and was thinking of turning mine into a mini-mill.i havent thought out the possibilities yet but your setup gives me another option.



I love the stuff that I can do now with the whole setup however you have to take extremely light cuts with the unimat. I put the whole thing together to do a specific cut on a tool post out of a mystery metal. The cut took forever but it worked out great. Works much better for aluminum and other soft metals.

With the unimat on the atlas I have three movable axises and at least three other adjustable axises. I can get the tool at any angle I need for any cut.

The unimat would work much better with a stronger motor. I also still need to make a collet chuck for the unimat to hold endmills.

J Tiers
06-02-2010, 01:30 AM
http://www.lathes.co.uk/atlas/img89.gif

THAT has got to be the most optimistic picture I have ever seen.........

Cutter sticking out a mile and a half.......(solid shank though), lever arm of a mile or so on the holder.......

I honestly don't think you CAN do that cut........... it is STAGED.

Looking at the cutter, it is rotating OVER towards us, but the dovetail is already cut....... what's up with THAT?

Might be a finish pass, but with what looks like at least 3/8" of depth of cut, I just don't believe any Atlas (or Southbend, Logan) will do that cut and give a finish you'd want in any time that you'd want to spend.... the pass might dust off a few thou, but even that I would expect to chatter and roar........

Sportandmiah
06-02-2010, 01:43 AM
I think he has a good point, nothing to do with thick or thin skin, I can see why referring to something as "southern engineering but it work" as unnecessarily and offensive....like any other bigotry its just lumping millions of people together and hurling an insult at them. Why do it?


.

I looked in the dictionary for the term "Southern Engineering" and couldn't find anything. A google search of the term displayed http://www.southernengineering.com/. I fail to see what is so offensive.

Bill Pace
06-02-2010, 11:12 AM
Was checking local CL this morn (theres rarely anything on it here...) and this had shown up.... So, if any of y'all have been reading this and decided you need one of these useful attachments -- here you are, only $285 --- and like new.

http://shreveport.craigslist.org/tls/1771023877.html

vpt
06-02-2010, 11:24 AM
THAT has got to be the most optimistic picture I have ever seen.........

Cutter sticking out a mile and a half.......(solid shank though), lever arm of a mile or so on the holder.......

I honestly don't think you CAN do that cut........... it is STAGED.

Looking at the cutter, it is rotating OVER towards us, but the dovetail is already cut....... what's up with THAT?

Might be a finish pass, but with what looks like at least 3/8" of depth of cut, I just don't believe any Atlas (or Southbend, Logan) will do that cut and give a finish you'd want in any time that you'd want to spend.... the pass might dust off a few thou, but even that I would expect to chatter and roar........



I built my QCTP with my milling attachment and 10" atlas lathe. Cutting the dovetails takes some time. I got much better results upmilling rather then downmilling.

http://img175.imageshack.us/img175/7198/ebay010.jpg

http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/9827/ebay015b.jpg

oldtiffie
06-02-2010, 11:30 AM
Originally Posted by Dr Stan
Explain yourself. If you think "Southern Engineering" is a denigrating/derogatory comment you have way too thin of skin to be on the net.


I think he has a good point, nothing to do with thick or thin skin, I can see why referring to something as "southern engineering but it work" as unnecessarily and offensive....like any other bigotry its just lumping millions of people together and hurling an insult at them. Why do it?


Does that mean that if Dr Stan had said "Chinese" or "Asian" etc. instead of "Southern" it would have been OK?

oldtiffie
06-02-2010, 12:07 PM
Here is the heading of the OP's OP:

Atlas 12" lathe: what is the milling attachment suited for?

Here is the OP's text:

Gents:

Back in 2004 I purchased a mintish 1944 (manual gearing) Atlas 12" x 36" lathe. I use it mostly to piddle around in wood with: mallets, small bowls, pens. Very rarely I'll use it on the simplest of metal parts for woodworking jiggery. This is to say: I'm not a machinist.

But I do want to understand the machine better. It came with the milling attachment which I have tried to use on a couple of occasions. Problem is, I can't ever seem to hold in it what I want to work on. This has caused significant frustration on my part, in many cases causing me to use my woodworking tools/skills to chisel out the part in wax and then cast in bronze or zamac rather than machining it.

So, I've been thinking...what WAS that milling attachment meant to hold?

Ditto on the headstock indexing plate. That has me perxplexed. I could see how you would use an indexing plate mounting firmly to the TAILSTOCK (so you could hold a drill bit or cutter in the head). But what do you do with it in as built?

I have not seen a post from the OP here since although I may have missed it.

I asked for a pic earlier on but as there was no reply there was no pic either.

Mcgyver
06-02-2010, 01:10 PM
Does that mean that if Dr Stan had said "Chinese" or "Asian" etc. instead of "Southern" it would have been OK?

There'd be lots of logical and economic arguments and anecdotes (supportive of causality not just correlation) to support a blanket statement about the quality of Chinese import tools and Chinese hardly comprise much of a subset of this board so being reasonably sensitive to them is hardly the same as being so toward a good chunk of the USA. It was an ignorant remark saying essentially it was surprising that it worked given it was engineered the way a Southern would. That we've move to now having to explain why it was offensive (I'm not a southern even, I just 'get' why it was not appropriate) as truly a move to the idiotic. Sorry i haven't time to write 1500 words of BS and 15 links on the matter, you get it or not but i'm finished on the subject....off scouting a tool gloat

ulav8r
06-02-2010, 02:15 PM
I was not "offended" but know many would be and I have low tolerance for a newbie that likes to tell others what is not "correct" for this board to use such language.

Rex
06-02-2010, 04:52 PM
Good job

I like the double handles. Many times I've had to hunt for the wrench to reposition my toolpost on the compound. I wonder how hard it would be to add a handle to an Alorist or Phase II ?


I built my QCTP with my milling attachment and 10" atlas lathe. Cutting the dovetails takes some time. I got much better results upmilling rather then downmilling.

http://img189.imageshack.us/img189/9827/ebay015b.jpg

J Tiers
06-03-2010, 12:10 AM
I built my QCTP with my milling attachment and 10" atlas lathe. Cutting the dovetails takes some time. I got much better results upmilling rather then downmilling.


If you mean climb milling, you must live right....... I don't know how to do that safely on a milling attachment...

But I am sure your setup was not like the one shown in the Atlas picture (which has no visible chips, BTW).

It is possible to use the attachment, but it will sure make you wish for a mill fast....... I have a Palmgren, and it sure did..... but there is more built-in overhang on teh palmgren style

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/0803/jstanley/Palmgren.jpg

jgourlay
06-07-2010, 12:04 PM
Ok, so summing up what I believe you've told me so far.

1. The "staged" picture is exactly what I have.
2. I'm not 'oopid, work holding is a real problem.
3. The highest use is ebay, towards a real mill, followed by doorstop, followed by what I'm trying to do with it.
4. Soft metals only
5. Or, if I can find/afford one, a live tool for the saddle instead.
6. A halfmeasure: make a mounting plate.

Thanks all! I have some ideas that, if I can find time to implement them, I'll post up here for your comment.