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tietz fab
09-30-2013, 04:38 PM
How good are old craftsman lathes I am looking a buying one but all I have is pictured of it and this fourm will not let me post pics.... please help

Bob Fisher
09-30-2013, 05:36 PM
Not the most ridgid of lathes, but any lathe is better than none! Depending on the price and availability of iron in your area, don't count it out. Bob.

Toolguy
09-30-2013, 05:42 PM
The larger ones 12" swing and up are the more desirable ones. A lot of projects have been done on all of them though.

MrSleepy
09-30-2013, 05:45 PM
and this fourm will not let me post pics.... please help

This sticky will show you how to post pics with photobucket , but its the same for most photo hosting sites. Rob

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/29277-Posting-pictures-with-photobucket

(http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/29277-Posting-pictures-with-photobucket)

sasquatch
09-30-2013, 05:45 PM
As with any lathe it must be used within it's limits. As posted many great projects have been built on those lathes along with the Atlas. You didn't say what size this lathe was?

dp
09-30-2013, 05:47 PM
How good are old craftsman lathes I am looking a buying one but all I have is pictured of it and this fourm will not let me post pics.... please help

Have a look at Tony's site here: http://www.lathes.co.uk/craftsman/index.html and see if there is a similar lathe there. Images have to be loaded on a hosting site and there is a thread with instructions how to do that at the top of the General section.

I have a Craftsman 12" "Commercial" lathe and it is a pretty nice lathe in the lightweight class. I'm happy with it so far but I'd like to get a taper attachment and a milling attachment. In spite of being very old it is in like new condition as the previous owner didn't use it much.

flylo
09-30-2013, 06:18 PM
just a couple of points. Craftsman were made by Atlas & Dunlop, I'd stick with the Atlas. Atlas made an early 12 were Craftsman only because Atlas refused to put there name on them. The later 12 in both labels are fine.

DR
09-30-2013, 06:48 PM
How good are old craftsman lathes I am looking a buying one.......................................



If you can find one in your price range South Bend, Logan and Sheldon are other brands that are quantum leaps ahead of the Atlas/Craftsman in quality.

Atlas/Craftsman are flat bed lathes with a good many critical-to-use parts make of zinc alloy. Basically, they took the cheap way out in manufacturing.

vpt
09-30-2013, 06:58 PM
My Atlas owes me nothing, it has been and continues to be a great lathe. Sure at times I would like to have a heavy 15" swing lathe but the atlas gets it done (if the part fits), just slower. The only thing I personally would want more in a lathe is more swing. Like I mentioned a 15-17" would be nice for me.

bruto
09-30-2013, 08:43 PM
Actually Dunlap was a Sears name for tools and machinery a bit beneath Craftsman standards, and with less warrantee. Craftsman and Dunlap names were both applied to a couple of small, very bargain designed lathes made by AA, which were pretty poor, suffering from a weak spindle and compound screws with an odd thread that would not allow micrometer dials. I had one of these and it was, as mentioned, better than no lathe at all, but less of a lathe than just about anything else. Take an AA as a gift, but otherwise stick to Atlas.

flylo
09-30-2013, 09:37 PM
Brutto,you are correct. Also a lot more of the Atlas had roller bearings than craftsman did.

Doozer
09-30-2013, 09:39 PM
I had a 10" Atlas.
Be sure and get 10 or 12".
The smaller ones are real crappy.
Exception, Emco-Mayer made a late model craftsman
lathe, it might have been 8" or something, not seen
but one or two of them. Emco (not Enco) are good
lathes. Ok so, only the bigger models, and don't get
an old one with babbit bearings. They will likely be
shot, and re-pouring and fitting is not gunna happen.
Also, get a quick change box. Fiddling with change
gears is a buzz kill for me. Try get one with the
Atlas motor, made by Hoover. They are good and
don't have a lot of single phase humm.

--Doozer


--Doozer

gzig5
10-01-2013, 10:19 AM
Brutto,you are correct. Also a lot more of the Atlas had roller bearings than craftsman did.

My impression is the opposite. I've seen a lot of Atlas machines with babbit but can't remember a Craftsman (6 or 12") that didn't have Timken roller bearings.

My 12" Craftsman performs very well considering the wear it has accumulated. I imagine they were nice to use when new and fresh.
When I finish the rebuild, a SB10L will become my main lathe but I plan on re-scraping the Craftsman and hanging onto it as long as I have room for it.

jep24601
10-01-2013, 12:01 PM
The OP might be better with a 6" Craftsman if he's making small stuff on the Kitchen table. So much advice and so little info about the OP, his needs or the Craftsman he is looking at.

TGriffin
10-01-2013, 12:29 PM
There are a lot of Atlas lathes out there because there were a lot of them made, not because they were a good lathe. If possible, hold out and try to find a South Bend, Logan, Clausing, Delta, Sheldon, or other similar commercial quality lathe. All of those will have V ways instead of flat ways for better precision and they will be MUCH more rigid, which is the biggest shortcoming of the Atlas. There also won't be anything on them made of pot metal except maybe the occasional step pulley. The Atlas lathes are inexpensive, plentiful and have lots of accessories available for them, but if you have the option, you would be better off with something else. Incidentally, I do have experience with Atlas lathes. I did a complete rebuild on one for my dad, so I literally know them inside and out. In fact, it's his lathe I'm using for the internal threading video on my YouTube channel.

Tom

dp
10-01-2013, 12:36 PM
The OP might be better with a 6" Craftsman if he's making small stuff on the Kitchen table. So much advice and so little info about the OP, his needs or the Craftsman he is looking at.

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flylo
10-01-2013, 05:36 PM
I agree DP!

bob308
10-01-2013, 07:20 PM
I had and used a 12" craftsman lathe for 20 years then got a south-bend 14 1/2". I knew a gunsmith that a craftsman 12" with the long bed. he made a living with it till he retired.

gbritnell
10-02-2013, 06:58 AM
It all depends what you want to do with it. If you use it (6") within it's capabilities you can make almost anything and you don't need special tooling as with the mini lathes. I have posted enough of my work on this forum, all done on a 6" that it needs no other explanation. Yes, bigger, longer wider, stiffer helps but like I said, "what are you going to do with it?"
gbritnell

J Tiers
10-02-2013, 08:32 AM
Short version:

Most of the Craftsman lathes were made by Atlas. Usually known as "Atlas/Craftsman" machines generically. One type was made by "AA Products" and has a Sears part number starting with "109". You do not want that type, even though it was sold as a "Craftsman" machine.

Atlas are perfectly usable machines. They are quite lightweight, which is not an advantage, and they use many zinc alloy parts, which are weaker and can corrode to dust. But the machines do work.

You can get different sizes, a 6" , a 9"/10" or a 12" , referring to largest possible diameter of part that kinda fits in it. The best size is probably the 9"/10", since it is about the best proportioned unit for bed size vs swing. (I don't recall if Craftsman were ever 10" size.)

There are Atlas/Craftsman with plain "babbit" bearings, or with roller bearings. Roller bearings are probably better for most people.

Links with general info, background and model info.

http://www.lathes.co.uk/craftsman/index.html

http://www.lathes.co.uk/atlas/

flylo
10-02-2013, 09:09 AM
One thing I think wasn,t mentioned is parts are very available either used or new from Clausing.