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New Crossfeed Nut for Atlas Lathe

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  • New Crossfeed Nut for Atlas Lathe

    With the help & advice from several regulars here, I've fitted a Phase II wedge-type QC toolpost to Dad's old Atlas TH54 lathe; also purchased a MT2 live center and a new keyless chuck with a JT6/MT2 adapter shank, so the old machine at least looks like it's ready for some light jobs. However, the brass crossfeed nut is worn to the point that there's .019" play in the crossfeed.

    A search for Atlas lathe parts on e-bay turned up two guys who make new nuts - one of them makes the nut with a slot that's tightened with a SHCS to adjust for backlash due to wear. Both these guys make the nut in the 1/2x10LH size used on Dad's lathe, and both are made from 360 brass. The question(s) I have are mostly due to the pricing - the one with the adjustable slot is priced at less than half the other one ($25 vs. $54, both w/shipping). Have any of you here dealt with these guys, and if so, how well do their parts fit & work, and have you had any problems with either their parts or dealing with the guys themselves? To avoid posting anyone's e-bay identity, I'll just say that one is from Missouri & the other one's from Nebraska.
    Last edited by flatlander; 03-20-2007, 05:02 PM.

  • #2
    The price difference may be due to Atlas mania, and $25.00 should be a good price. The adjustable nut may be a better choice as your lead screw is sure to have some wear, and you can compensate for that, where the solid nut will still have some backlash.
    Jim H.


    • #3
      Have you tried to adjust yours to gain some more use? There's two ways to take up some play. One requires removal of the nut and placing a shim on the mounting post. The second is to loosen the mounting screw and turn the nut while re-tightening the mounting screw. You can turn the nut by using a screwdriver against the inside of the cross slide. It doesn't take much in either case.


      • #4
        Thanks for the suggestions - with no more use than this lathe is probably going to get, turning or shimming the original nut might work for a long time. The crossfeed screw doesn't look like it's got much wear, but since I don't have a new one for reference, my opinion doesn't mean much.

        The higher-priced of the two vendors also offers the crossfeed screw & nut together for $99+shipping. He also has 4-jaw chucks with the correct backplate for the same $99 - from the description, I can't tell whether they're re-conditioned originals, or imports that he's machined backplates for.


        • #5
          From your description, we can't tell either. Best not post an Ebay link though, I might snipe it out from under you.


          • #6
            The four jaw chucks are new imports, but they are only 4" diameter, too small for general use on a 10" lathe. Atlas supplied 5" three jaw & 6" four jaw chucks for the 10" lathe.
            Jim H.


            • #7
              I would rather buy a NEW nut from Atlas as long as they will supply them.

              Just my 2 cents worth.



              • #8
                Dennis, if your lathe has seen much use you're going to have some 'play' in the crossfeed no matter what you do. The screw seldom wears uniformly, and if you tighten an adjustable nut for minimum backlash on one end, you'll find it way too tight in other places. I had a 12 x 24 Atlas for many years, and ended up making my own nuts. I had to special order a tap for $120 to do that though. I'd be suspicious of the nut + screw for a hundred bucks. One or the other is probably not up to spec.



                • #9
                  1/2 x 10 LH acme tap from ENCO is about $50.00 but they don't list the rod in the new 07 cat.

                  MSC has the LH acme rod but I don't recall the price..

                  I would look in to buying both and make my own parts before I spent $99.00 on someones self made parts.



                  • #10
                    I looked into a couple of the nuts available on ebay and found that they were using 2G taps to make them. One guy claimed to single point them, though I had my doubts. I think that is a bit looser tolerance than 2C which is what the Nook ACME rod available from MSC is. With that looser class of fit, you might not get much improvement over what you have now. 0.019" is not much play in my opinion. Mine has 0.070" and really doesn't cause any problems. That said, I have purchase 3' of Nook rod from MSC (~$30) and will make a tap from part of it to make a new screw and nut, when I get around to it.


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by flatlander
                      However, the brass crossfeed nut is worn to the point that there's .019" play in the crossfeed.
                      In what sense? The crossfeed slide can move freely back and forth by .019", or the crank can turn through 19 gradation marks before the slide starts moving?

                      It it's the crank, that's trivial. I'd use it as-is. Good lathe technique will compensate for that sort of play. You'll have to use good lathe technique anyway even if you get the play down to a tenth of that.


                      • #12
                        Have you adjusted the play out of the handwheel? The handwheel is retained by a double nut. Loosen the outer and tighten the inner to remove slop here before you fix anything else. Snug up the inner nut until drag is felt and back off a tad. Tighten the locknut back up.

                        Backlash in the cross slide can be annoying, but is of little consequence in most operations.
                        Jim H.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by scott96088
                          1/2 x 10 LH acme tap from ENCO is about $50.00
                          The Regal (USA-Made) tandem taps sold by MSC, Enco et al are 2G taps -- the looser fit that Greg is talking about. This may not give you much better backlash than you already have.

                          The only precision acme taps I've seen that aren't special-order are the 2C Acme spiral taps from Widell (sold by MSC), and those start at $120.

                          I'd single-point the nut, if you want to minimize backlash.
                          "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."


                          • #14
                            Dunno about Atlas, but on the Logans and others, a loose attachment screw can make for a lot of play.

                            0.019" ? I wouldn't even spend money on that...... YMMV

                            Keep eye on ball.
                            Hashim Khan


                            • #15
                              I used the guy that does crossfeed nuts who lives in Michigan. In my case, he offered that if I sent the screw, he would fit the nut to it exact. Cost $65 and included return shipping. Got it back and it was perfect. Even tho I had a bit over 20 thou prior, having none is nicer. I still back off and approach the mark correctly (a good habit) but like the crisp feel better. I can PM you the name if you want. BTW, mine was a 12x36 Craftsman Delux...