What should I pay for an Atlas Mill?
I was just offered a small atlas horizontal mill for $125. It's complete with tooling, but has been partially disassembled (I think just the motor has been removed) for years.
Seems like the few times I've seen these guys for sale they've been in the $600 range, so I'm assuming $125 is a deal. Just wanted to see if anybody has an opinion.
Anything I should watch out for to make sure it isn't a boat anchor? Any buying/inspection tips?
One sold here for $1200.00 in one day.
Better buy it before its gone.
Originally Posted by hal9000
No, see answer #1. Just a couple parts from an Atlas will bring that kind of money. You can't loose unless you get struck by lightening on the way there.
Originally Posted by hal9000
If he's struck by "lightening" I think he would lose... weight, that is.
But in any event, the Atlas is a good deal.
"Production" or lever-style, or hand-cranks?
Try to get all the tooling available, including small vices, etc.
the parts alone are worth $125.00
NO thats to much!!!! I will save you and buy it
Bill in SE Idaho
$125 is a steal. There were at least 3 different models built along with variations within those models. The MF, MFB, and MFC. The least desireable type would be the ones that were set up as small light production mills that used levers to run the table to preset stops. These could be ordered as a single lever on just one axis all the way up to a 3 axis lever operated machine. Depending on the exact model, You can have up to 16 speeds built into the mill along with the designed in shaft drive for the X axis power feed.
You should find a model number along with the machines serial number on the lower left hand side of the machine. Probably the most desireable one would be the MFC model and especialy so if it was ordered with and still has the vertical arbour support bar. Jeff Beck at Tools4cheap sells replacement tooling arbours and the various spacers needed in three different sizes for these mills. Certain parts can be tough to find sometimes. The two pulley guards for example took me over a year to find. Of course now that I don't need them, There's a few that have shown up lately on Ebay for about 1/2 of what I paid. I've yet to find the original parts that are needed to convert my MFB over to a MFC and use that vertical support bar. But they can be shop built.
Someone did or is still building exact replacement CNC machined spindles for these mills. I bought mine thru a guy in Winniepeg since the internal MT 2 taper on mine was well chewed up. But I don't know who originaly built the CNC one. Most of these small Atlas mills are now over 60 years old. So you should expect to replace some parts. Yahoo Groups is a PITA, But there's a couple that have a huge amount of information in their files about these mills, So it's well worth joining just for that. Also you will need a copy of the original manual. Atlas Clausing still sell them along with I think Tallgrass tools?
Most of the gears are made from die cast Zamak, It was a combination of Zink and Aluminum. Those gears are a bit fragile and make certain to not use anything caustic if your cleaning them. If the machine is operational? It can machine it's own replacement gears if needed. Atlas Clausing still have some N.O.S. parts left. There's not much and what there is can be ex$pen$ive.
Overall I think these are an excellent designed and built mill and I wouldn't hesitate to buy one no matter what shape it's in at that price. Very poor condition ones with missing parts can easily sell for $500 today. Any of them that are in good shape usually sell for at least twice that.
Thanks uncle Pete (and everyone else for that matter). The mill is owned by a co-worker so I don't think there's any chance it will go away before I grab it. I almost bought it about 3 years ago but didn't have a spare $400 at the time... I'm glad I waited though. I'm going to take a look at it this weekend and will snap some photos. I'll assume its a light production model until I see it. Still and all that's better than what I have now ....
I think the unit has been apart for quite some time. That might have saved it from some of the wear and tear that other units have seen... Why it's apart is what has me worried. But now that I've got a little more background I won't mind finding out if it isn't fully functional and I can buy with a clear concience (even in the face of some bad mouthing from my GF I'm sure).
On a related note; I'm not that familiar with milling in general (though I will be working to change that soon enough), can somebody give me a quick breakdown of the disadvantages/advantages of the horizontal setup vs. a vertical mill? I know the vertical adapters are out there. Is it worth trying to find one?
Last edited by hal9000; 05-23-2012 at 02:23 PM.
I've never used a horizontal mill, heck I never seen one in operation. I love my Bridgeport. I don't think a horizontal would be as versatile as a vertical bridgeport type mill. Plus parts are much easier to find for vertical mills, Most of the parts are interchangeable between a Bridgeport and the foreign clones.
As far as the lathe goes...grab it. There are plenty of them out there if you need parts. Try to grab everything you can, even if it might look like a lathe part take it home wiith you. That's the best advice I can give you. Even a POS harbor freight mini lathe is like $600. You can't go wrong.
Last edited by xalky; 05-23-2012 at 03:23 PM.
^^^^ Hmmm. Think I can find a Bridgeport for $150?