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  • Just for fun, what's the next step up from...

    ...an Atlas/Craftsman 12" lathe?

    I have no intention of replacing mine. But if I got more serious, what would be the next lathe?

  • #2
    1) A Grizzly 16x40: http://www.practicalmachinist.com/vb...=grizzly+lathe

    2) A Hardinge HLV-H

    3) Monarch 10EE

    4) Mori Seiki or one of the Korean clones: Hwacheon et al

    5) Nardini: Wait for a "green" model rather than a "gray"

    6) Exotica: Schaublin, Rivett, et al

    Choose your favorite, there are many others, but any one of those from that list could be a considerable step up. On the used lathes you'll have to make sure they're either in good shape or be prepared to restore them. I assume with the Atlas Craftsman you are used to old iron though.

    Best,

    BW
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    • #3
      After my 12" Atlas I got a 15" Leblond Regal. Still have it to this day.

      But to truly step up, might as well go for a Monarch EE or Hardinge HLV. Oh yeaa.

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      • #4
        brockey1

        minimum should be a 14 x 40 with a decent size spindle hole and a camlock spindle nose. I you are going Chinese do good research before you buy. Peter
        The difficult done right away. the impossible takes a little time.

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        • #5
          I don't men to offend anyone but the Atlas Crasftman latje line was pretty basic, targeted to the entry level. Threy were a good entry level machine for the time. place, and price and good work can be done on them but more care is needed and there is the limited stock removal inherent in their design/HP.

          So the next step up is practically anything that isn't an Atlas Craftsman. Better means beefier and has a roller bearing spindle with an unthreaded spindle nose. I would not include HF's weenier offerings as a better alternative.

          The next whole step up would be a nearly new 13 or 14" geared head lathe with a roller bearing spindle, cam lock spindle nose, 2 or 3 HP motor, V/flat ways, etc whose minimum weight is 800 lb.

          There are mountains of acceptable machines new and used between and the selection would greatly depend on the work you have for it plus what your crystal ball says about the future workload in your shop. A Monarch EE might be overkill but it's a hell of a machine and they are plentiful enough that you might stumble on one.
          Last edited by Forrest Addy; 02-07-2008, 12:35 PM.

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          • #6
            When selecting a lathe, the first order of business should be to define what work is to be done on it.

            An Atlas/Craftsman lathe, particularly the final iteration Atlas 12" lathe, is more than capable for most HSM applications.

            Bigger is only bigger, not necessarily better. Moving up to a 14" or 16" machine can be a mistake if most of the work anticipated is model engineering, watchmaking or other projects that will involve small work close to the headstock and high spindle speeds.

            While the Monarch 10EE is a beautiful machine, it appears to be a hobby unto itself with many owners, and the dated electronics are problematical and prone to failure. Without the benefit of the electronic features, it is only an accurate lathe with a very short bed.
            Jim H.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JCHannum
              While the Monarch 10EE is a beautiful machine, it appears to be a hobby unto itself with many owners, and the dated electronics are problematical and prone to failure. Without the benefit of the electronic features, it is only an accurate lathe with a very short bed.
              Somebody help me out on the 10EE's. I know there are several owners here.

              Let's put aside restoring the original electronics that came with the lathe. I understand why that's hard--the electronics world has moved on from that type of design.

              But if you get past wanting an original machine as a restoration showpiece, why is it a problem to just put a quality VFD and suitable motor on the machine? You could even add a DRO with CSS capability if you wanted to get fancy.

              Doesn't that get you past "an accurate lathe with a very short bed?"

              Second, I think size is a big issue, but maybe that's just a personal shortcoming (LOL). Most people start with a small lathe. The choice of where to go next can be a function of:

              1) A better small lathe: Hardinge, Monarch, Schaublin, Rivett, et al are this category.

              2) A bigger, but high quality lathe: Hence my suggestions for the Grizzly, Mori Seiki, or Nardini.

              Given that one already has a serviceable small lathe, my temptation is to try to get a greater range of operations from choice #2 and keep the small lathe at the same time.

              If you want bigger, but not necessarily a high end lathe, then there are certainly tons of other 14-16" machines. In addition, as some have mentioned, the spindle hole seems one of the most limiting factors on the size front. But, when I made my list, I made the assumption that given a perfectly serviceable and reasonably sized for the home shop lathe, the desired step up would be large, not small. Hence I didn't go down the path of almost any 14" or 16" machine.

              Sometimes one even sees really big lathes that are extremely nice, but I just can't see how one would fit in a home shop. Watched this good looking Mori Seiki go on eBay last night:

              310018371460 (Type the item # into eBay search)

              Price was not cheap, but for that lathe it seemed a real deal. But what the heck would you do with such a thing at home?

              Cheers,

              BW
              ---------------------------------------------------

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              • #8
                The 10EE incorporates the back gear mechanism into the drive motor. If you replace with a common 3ph and VFD, you would need something like 30hp (WAG) to break even and have the same power on the low end while still spinning all the way to the OEM top end.

                And nothing gets past "very short bed" in my opinion. Well, nothing except the very rare and expensive 30" bed.

                And I happen to be looking at lathes the size of the Mori (including L&S 1408, etc.) for a home shop. Capable on the small stuff, but bale to run a 40"+ x 2" DOM (or ChroMo) rock crawler suspension link through the spindle to thread for rod ends. Lots of auto (particularly hard core 4x4/crawler stuff) needs the bigger lathe...
                Russ
                Master Floor Sweeper

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by BadDog
                  The 10EE incorporates the back gear mechanism into the drive motor. If you replace with a common 3ph and VFD, you would need something like 30hp (WAG) to break even and have the same power on the low end while still spinning all the way to the OEM top end.
                  There are people who are adapting the back gear mechanism somehow to a VFD controlled motor - Apparently, Monarch planned for this eventuality: linky And Monarch themselves have a solution to the problem, but it isn't cheap
                  7.5HP base mounted (1961 and newer)
                  7.4HP Cabinet mounted


                  HTRN
                  EGO partum , proinde EGO sum

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                  • #10
                    It's been a long time since I was researching lathes in that range, but I recall that given the price these things sell for, and adding time/cost for the retrofit (paying Monarch, or spending weeks cobbling something up to form an adapter/seal plate with bearing and transfer shaft) put it WELL beyond what I thought it would be worth. However, at about that time, I saw a (supposedly) "good" bed and headstock, minus electronics and drive (including back gear, so one would need to be found to retro), for around $500 down in Texas. If a fella could find one like that, and it really WAS good (spindle/bed), preferably including the back gear and motor, all for around $500 local, then it might be worth the touble...
                    Russ
                    Master Floor Sweeper

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                    • #11
                      Having both an Atlas 12x36 and a Monarch 10EE I think I'm qualified to offer an opinion.

                      Certainly the 10EE is a "step up" from the Atlas in a lot of ways - a *lot* more power to the spindle, more repeatable action, more speed at the top end and a lower bottom end, etc. But really all that adds up to is that you get your work done faster and with less uncertainty. On the Atlas I have to take lighter cuts while roughing and sort of sneak up on finish cuts, on the 10EE I've cut .400" from the diameter of 2" A-2 and then dialed in a finish cut at maybe 1/5 the time it would take on the Atlas. The 10EE has a wider range of threads and feed than the Atlas, has some nice features for threading (particularly blind inside bores), etc. But then you'd expect that.

                      As for the 10EE drive - I spent some time to get the original tube drive working (C16Js and 3C23s) because a DC drive is the next best thing to a servo spindle drive. Loads of torque at low speeds and capable of 100:1 speed changes without belts or gears. The original dive has a 6:1 backgear hung off the motor so its gear noise doesn't transmit to the spindle, so the bottom end of the range is really low (but only reached when I approach the 12.5" maximum throw).

                      But for the 10EEs with an unrepairable drive I've suggested to folks that they replace the DC motor with a similar horsepower 3 phase AC motor with a sensorless vector drive. The sensorless vector drive will give a torque curve similar to the DC drive but without the same 100:1 range. Monarch replaces the existing drive with a 7.5HP drive with backgear or a 10HP drive w/o backgear, others have been perfectly happy with 5HP with the sensorless vector drive (and this in a production environment). I do know one fellow who rebuilds with a 10HP servo drive w/o a backgear.

                      Parts for a 10EE can be pricey. Monarch's main business is large business and government, and their prices show it. At the same time they often have used parts at reasonable prices (and their "used" often overlaps my "new") and there's a pretty active group supporting the 10EEs.

                      I've never regretted the 20" c-to-c on the 10EE, but it is one reason I keep the Atlas around. I'm thinking that if/when I get enough shop space I'll be looking for something in a 16x50 and maybe retire the Atlas to my son. It's served me very well over the years (heck, the 10EE wears some parts made on it) and I don't regret buying it.

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                      • #12
                        With the 10EE with a bad drive, but a good motor, there is also the option for a modern AC to DC drive... Sabina controls have been used for this purpose..

                        Lathes.co.uk also mentions using Baldor "Smart Motors"..


                        HTRN
                        EGO partum , proinde EGO sum

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by rkepler
                          Having both an Atlas 12x36 and a Monarch 10EE I think I'm qualified to offer an opinion.

                          Certainly the 10EE is a "step up" from the Atlas in a lot of ways - a *lot* more power to the spindle, more repeatable action, more speed at the top end and a lower bottom end, etc. But really all that adds up to is that you get your work done faster and with less uncertainty. On the Atlas I have to take lighter cuts while roughing and sort of sneak up on finish cuts, on the 10EE I've cut .400" from the diameter of 2" A-2 and then dialed in a finish cut at maybe 1/5 the time it would take on the Atlas. The 10EE has a wider range of threads and feed than the Atlas, has some nice features for threading (particularly blind inside bores), etc. But then you'd expect that.

                          As for the 10EE drive - I spent some time to get the original tube drive working (C16Js and 3C23s) because a DC drive is the next best thing to a servo spindle drive. Loads of torque at low speeds and capable of 100:1 speed changes without belts or gears. The original dive has a 6:1 backgear hung off the motor so its gear noise doesn't transmit to the spindle, so the bottom end of the range is really low (but only reached when I approach the 12.5" maximum throw).

                          But for the 10EEs with an unrepairable drive I've suggested to folks that they replace the DC motor with a similar horsepower 3 phase AC motor with a sensorless vector drive. The sensorless vector drive will give a torque curve similar to the DC drive but without the same 100:1 range. Monarch replaces the existing drive with a 7.5HP drive with backgear or a 10HP drive w/o backgear, others have been perfectly happy with 5HP with the sensorless vector drive (and this in a production environment). I do know one fellow who rebuilds with a 10HP servo drive w/o a backgear.

                          Parts for a 10EE can be pricey. Monarch's main business is large business and government, and their prices show it. At the same time they often have used parts at reasonable prices (and their "used" often overlaps my "new") and there's a pretty active group supporting the 10EEs.

                          I've never regretted the 20" c-to-c on the 10EE, but it is one reason I keep the Atlas around. I'm thinking that if/when I get enough shop space I'll be looking for something in a 16x50 and maybe retire the Atlas to my son. It's served me very well over the years (heck, the 10EE wears some parts made on it) and I don't regret buying it.
                          Oh good, the vector drive was going to be my next thought for the Monarch. They do indeed have an amazing range of torque. Modern VMC's cover a big range with vector drives and 2 speeds.

                          In any event, we digress, but I don't see why the Monarch has to be so daunting in that respect if you really want that work envelope.

                          Cheers,

                          BW
                          ---------------------------------------------------

                          http://www.cnccookbook.com/index.htm
                          Try G-Wizard Machinist's Calculator for free:
                          http://www.cnccookbook.com/CCGWizard.html

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                          • #14
                            Next step?

                            Hang on, let me put on my asbestos undies.... OK here goes.

                            IMHO, the next step depends on which way you're facing and where you want to go... Anything mentioned so far are all manual machines. You looking for another machine for more accuracy? more capacity/power? bigger spindle bore? if so, fine, the previous replies deal with that, but if the question is because you're just bored with the old Atlas, How long will it be before you are bored with manual processes in general? How about a CNC lathe? Home grown CNC conversion? a 4 or 5 axis machine center?
                            Design to 0.0001", measure to 1/32", cut with an axe, grind to fit

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                            • #15
                              what about my lathe the smart and brown 10 24 vsl its a beauty.Alistair
                              Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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