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Pick your brains again - this time an Atlas lathe

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  • Pick your brains again - this time an Atlas lathe

    You guys are gonna get tired of hearing from me ... but i've fallen in love with the older lathes and i'm hoping to get my hands on one from around here. Seems like the lathes that go up for sale near my home-town are more modern than the ones i'm seeing down here and i've worked out a deal with my brother-in-law where he'll pay half and then i leave the lathe in his shop. Which is actually awsome because i dont have room for a "real" lathe at home anyway.




    Anyhow, I've found this lathe listed but hardly any information. I've emailed the seller to determine size and model and a few other tid-bits but i was hoping you guys could give me some info. Mostly i'm interested in thread cutting ability and quality, i.e. how much is this lathe worth? (assuming that it is in decent, useable shape - not mint condition but not thrashed either)

    It is a craftsman/atlas lathe and from the picture i believe it may be a 10". I see a lever poking out near one of the shields - was this on all of them or only on the ones with "pick-a-matic" capability? (edit: i'm not talking about the big lever that is presumably to change speeds or at least take tension off the belt) Clearly it does not have a quick-change gearbox but based on Tony's "Lathes" page that doesn't sound too horrible either. At least its better than what i have now. Plus it looks like, if i were lucky, i could find a gearbox on ebay or etc that i could fit to this lathe.

    Well here is the picture:




    Sorry i can't provide more details ... but what do you guys have to say about this lathe?

  • #2
    I have seen the q/c boxes go for as much as $750 on Ebay and more at Blue Ridge Mach.
    If you want to cut threads they better have the change gears, they are not cheap either, I wouldn't let my set go for less than ,Oh , $100.00 plus shipping.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by IOWOLF
      I have seen the q/c boxes go for as much as $750 on Ebay and more at Blue Ridge Mach.
      If you want to cut threads they better have the change gears, they are not cheap either, I wouldn't let my set go for less than ,Oh , $100.00 plus shipping.

      WOW! I never thought they'd be that hard to find. Well, we'll have to see about this one. I asked him if he had all the change gears for it ... see what he says...

      Comment


      • #4
        CCWKEN is the authority on Atlas.IMHO

        Comment


        • #5
          i think it is a 12" looks like the first lathe i had and used for many years. if it has the change gears and looks as good in person as it does in the pic. then 500- 600 would be about right.

          dont be too quick with the qc gear box with the change gears you can set up and do metric threads.

          Comment


          • #6
            Step Away From That "lathe"!!!

            That appears to be one of the very early models, probably a 12 inch craftsman.
            Also looks like it has the 5/8" leadscrew. Those early ones are not given to much upgrading, the later 10-F like mine is the most popular. NOW let's talk about Atlas lathes. Don't do it. After 4 years of "rebuilding" my 10-F, which I also was in love with it's looks, I wish I had just either been more patient and found a better designed lathe or purchased a chicom equivalent.
            But now what started as a $160.oo initial investment is topped the $1000.00
            mark.
            Next time I'll learn on something less expensive, the best thing about the experience is that I learned how to shop on EBAY.
            Robert
            Last edited by wirewrkr; 02-13-2008, 06:14 PM.
            grumpy old fart
            www.wirewerkes.com

            Comment


            • #7
              wirewrkr is spot on. It's an early 12" crafstman, 5/8 leadscrew and no power cross feed. It at least it's a Timken bearing machine. The lack of power cross feed dates it to, I think, pre '39.

              It's a cool machine and if you were just looking for a fun refurbish project I'd say go for it. If you want this style Atlas/Craftsman to use as a tool I'd recommend the later (early 40's-'58) 10-F (Atlas 10") or Craftsman 12". The change gear/QCGB issue is a personal preference thing.

              In '59 or '60 they redesigned the machines. There was no longer an Atlas 10" and a Craftsman 12" there we all the same machines (12" swing) using both names. These machines look more modern.
              Brett Jones...

              Comment


              • #8
                That is a 12" Craftsman lathe. Atlas did not make a 12" lathe in the early series lathes. I suspect Sears imposed on Atlas to make a larger machine for them which they accomplished by raising the castings. It appears to be a Timken Roller bearing model.

                It is a change gear machine, and the lever by the headstock is a tumbler reverse that some of these lathes had. This is an improvement over the dog clutch reverse of the Atlas, but change gears are still change gears. The rest of the machine is basically identical to other Atlas lathes.

                It is not a bad lathe as Atlas/Craftsman lathes go, but I feel the 10" is more rigid in this series. The later 12" Atlas was a very different machine, and much better.

                Price is negotiable depending on tooling and condition of course, but the $500 range is a good starting place assuming it is not totally trashed. If you do get the lathe, I would recommend you leave the the lathe as it is and invest in tooling rather than a QC gear box. At some point you will want to upgrade, and tooling is transferrable.
                Jim H.

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                • #9
                  but the $500 range is a good starting place assuming it is not totally trashed.
                  For a 12" with no tooling (not even a lantern toolpost in the pic) $500 is far too high. There are Atlas/Craftsman 12" lathes all over ebay. Many are pretty old.

                  Not all Craftsman 12" lathes can accept a QCGB. I have a model with babbitt bearings from '39 or earlier (5/8 leadscrew, no powered x-feed) and it won't accept the QCGB AFAIK.

                  Heres a link to my 12" restoration effort.


                  TH54, about $400, nicely tooled.

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                  • #10
                    Dang ... well i likely won't be buying this particular machine. Its neat looking and its exciting because 1) its in my price range and 2) its in my driving range but it really isn't the type of machine i'm looking for. I really need to find something with power cross feed and a quick-change gear box. I already have that little import job, i just want a bigger machine with power feed and the gear box.


                    Thanks though guys! Its always nice to have an objective/knowledgeable group of people to consult before i jump in. I get easily excited when thinking about buying machine tools

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Something you may find challenging is finding an old lathe that's a step up from a Craftsman 12", and has a QCGB and powered x-feed. Then there's the price - tooling and a few features will push even a small lathe right up to $1000.

                      They're out there, but the prices (and weight) really start going up.

                      I started a thread about 'next step up from a Craftsman 12"' topic within the last 2 or 3 weeks.

                      A lot of times on eBay you can find bargains when sellers won't ship. Recently a guy was selling a nice early-ish Atlas, with great tooling, for $100. That was with less than a day left. Sadly, he lived on Long Island, NY - almost 1,000 miles from KY.

                      So if you find the right lathe, even if it's pretty far, you might make a weekend of picking it up, and have an adventure.

                      -=-=-=-
                      Here one in Ohio

                      Maybe a 16" South Bend?
                      Last edited by tony ennis; 02-13-2008, 10:41 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Fasttrack
                        WOW! I never thought they'd be that hard to find. Well, we'll have to see about this one. I asked him if he had all the change gears for it ... see what he says...
                        It's not that they're hard to find, it's that demand is very high because everybody on the planet has exactly the same idea - "if only this old clunker had the QC gearbox ..."

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by tony ennis
                          Something you may find challenging is finding an old lathe that's a step up from a Craftsman 12", and has a QCGB and powered x-feed. Then there's the price - tooling and a few features will push even a small lathe right up to $1000.

                          They're out there, but the prices (and weight) really start going up.

                          I started a thread about 'next step up from a Craftsman 12"' topic within the last 2 or 3 weeks.

                          A lot of times on eBay you can find bargains when sellers won't ship. Recently a guy was selling a nice early-ish Atlas, with great tooling, for $100. That was with less than a day left. Sadly, he lived on Long Island, NY - almost 1,000 miles from KY.

                          So if you find the right lathe, even if it's pretty far, you might make a weekend of picking it up, and have an adventure.

                          Thanks Tony! You've provided me a bunch of possibilities. That Southbend looks interesting - it looks like a turret lathe...? Thats a realm i don't know much about ...

                          And i see your point rantbot, thanks!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by IOWOLF
                            CCWKEN is the authority on Atlas.IMHO
                            LOL... You're way too kind. Looks like everything has been said already. I'll just add that the lathe is a 1939-41 model. Except for some missing covers and the power cross feed, it looks identical to the Deluxe model I have. Not a bad machine but it does get to be a PITA if you're doing a lot of different threads. I save a little time buy setting up an extra banjo or two with the gears I need for cutting threads and a couple for my preferred feeds. I just swap-out the whole banjo and lead screw gear.

                            Mine is pretty well decked-out with accessories and the original chuck takes up space in a drawer. I can't complain about it because it's done everything I've asked it to do including some darn heavy cuts, light milling and grinding. I've got way too much time in the restoration and money in additions so this lathe will either be buried with me or find it's way to my estate. But one thing for sure, it ain't gonna be sold for no $500!

                            My eyesight must be failing cause I sure don't see Atlas 12" lathes like this "All over Ebay". At least not in one piece.

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                            • #15
                              I think mine is a late '40's deluxe model, it has power cross feed, and change gears. I recently used the change gears for the first time and was expecting far worse, although it was really a dirty job. Don't let the changing of gears scare you away, unless (as noted) you have to locate additional gears. With that, the QC has some advantages, but so far (6 years) it wouldn't have really helped me much. But, maybe I would cut more threads if I had the QC, who knows.

                              Mine is not nearly as pretty as CCWKen's. I just cleaned it and use it. But for all the flimsy, weak bed, comments, I've been really happy with my "toy". It's done everything I've asked, and a few things the original designers would probably laugh at.

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