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Atlas 12" lathe: what is the milling attachment suited for?

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  • Atlas 12" lathe: what is the milling attachment suited for?

    Gents:

    Back in 2004 I purchased a mintish 1944 (manual gearing) Atlas 12" x 36" lathe. I use it mostly to piddle around in wood with: mallets, small bowls, pens. Very rarely I'll use it on the simplest of metal parts for woodworking jiggery. This is to say: I'm not a machinist.

    But I do want to understand the machine better. It came with the milling attachment which I have tried to use on a couple of occasions. Problem is, I can't ever seem to hold in it what I want to work on. This has caused significant frustration on my part, in many cases causing me to use my woodworking tools/skills to chisel out the part in wax and then cast in bronze or zamac rather than machining it.

    So, I've been thinking...what WAS that milling attachment meant to hold?

    Ditto on the headstock indexing plate. That has me perxplexed. I could see how you would use an indexing plate mounting firmly to the TAILSTOCK (so you could hold a drill bit or cutter in the head). But what do you do with it in as built?

  • #2
    Your supposed to put an endmill in a MT adapter and use a drawbar to hold it in the spindle. Then you put the part you want to mill in the vise of the milling attachment and when you have everything clamped down you take small cuts until it is machined the way you want it.

    It is for very light milling only.
    It's only ink and paper

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    • #3
      By it's design it is hard to hold anything other then an object with two parallel flat sides or a round object if you have the jaws for that.
      What you can do is take a flat plate of metal and mount on the back side a block that will fit in the jaws of the milling attachment. On the face off it drill a series of holes and tap them. It is then possible to use bolts and hold down to mount odd shapes that you want to mill.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jgourlay
        So, I've been thinking...what WAS that milling attachment meant to hold?

        The door open...........

        Comment


        • #5
          before the influx of cheap asian imports and schools dumping their western stuff into the market, a home shop guy might only have afforded one machine, the lathe. You can do almost anything with it, books written on the subject.

          then as soon as you can afford a mill, use it for the door
          .

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          • #6
            With all milling, the first skill to tackle is holding on to the work. A vise is commonly used, but just as often you hold things to the table with various clamps holding it directly to the table. The device mentioned in post #3 (a fixture plate) is meant to take the place of a table.

            I'm not sure what an indexing plate is on your machine, but the name suggests that you could mount something to it ( a small chuck, purhaps? ) and rotate it a specific number of degrees, as in laying out a bolt circle, or scribing the marks on a dial.

            Dan
            At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and extra parts.

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            • #7
              My milling attachment had the same style of rather limited fixing with the two metal lugs and three set screws.

              I carefully sawed the lugs off mine and mounted a drilled plate in their place, much more useful!

              Comment


              • #8
                Pics plizz

                Originally posted by jgourlay
                Gents:

                Back in 2004 I purchased a mintish 1944 (manual gearing) Atlas 12" x 36" lathe. I use it mostly to piddle around in wood with: mallets, small bowls, pens. Very rarely I'll use it on the simplest of metal parts for woodworking jiggery. This is to say: I'm not a machinist.

                But I do want to understand the machine better. It came with the milling attachment which I have tried to use on a couple of occasions. Problem is, I can't ever seem to hold in it what I want to work on. This has caused significant frustration on my part, in many cases causing me to use my woodworking tools/skills to chisel out the part in wax and then cast in bronze or zamac rather than machining it.

                So, I've been thinking...what WAS that milling attachment meant to hold?

                Ditto on the headstock indexing plate. That has me perxplexed. I could see how you would use an indexing plate mounting firmly to the TAILSTOCK (so you could hold a drill bit or cutter in the head). But what do you do with it in as built?
                It will help if you can post some pics.

                Comment


                • #9
                  nearly any milling attachment for a small lathe is best suited to getting a high price on Ebay....... That and possibly snapping the compound off, for the Palmgren types......
                  1601

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    For those who don't know, the "index plate" the OP refers to is the large gear on the back-gear set the rim of which is drilled with 60 holes. There is a pin in the front of the headstock casting that can be pushed back into those holes. I have used this a few times. If you have a tool-post mounted drilling spindle, the usefulness of the indexing holes increases.

                    As for the milling attachment: I have one and have used it only a few times. I would say it is a compromise for those who can't obtain any sort of mill, however crude. The device does work but as someone else has said, requires light cuts and small workpieces. I found it quite frustrating to use. Mine came with the lathe; I would not buy one. On the other hand, our British brethren do some amazing things with a 7- or 9-inch bench lathe and a similar attachment.

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                    • #11
                      my atlas 6" came with a milling attachment, vise jaws and endmill holders and drawbar. i havent found much use for it. when machining a flat for a pulley setscrew ive found it faster to use a file and vise. i can never seem to get the right spindle speed. the bull gear on mine has 60 pin-holes which never seem to index correctly for what i need to do. my biggest disappointment with mine is i cant keep it aligned from start to finish.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by gregl
                        As for the milling attachment: I have one and have used it only a few times. I would say it is a compromise for those who can't obtain any sort of mill, however crude. The device does work but as someone else has said, requires light cuts and small workpieces. I found it quite frustrating to use. Mine came with the lathe; I would not buy one. On the other hand, our British brethren do some amazing things with a 7- or 9-inch bench lathe and a similar attachment.
                        In most cases, the British "milling attachment" is actually a designed-in mill table on the carriage..... to which the compound may clamp..... it was intended to be used that way, and is made to work well by design. The lathe was MADE to work that way.

                        A US milling attachment tends to be put in PLACE OF the compound, OR be actually ADDED ON TOP of it.....Typically it adds long lever arms from the support to the work, with all the extra looseness and bouncy flexibility inherent to that construction.

                        It is a "kludged-on afterthought", not designed-in to the machine, and as-such can be expected to work only with very severe compromises.

                        it's a case of 'Yeah, you can DO that.... ".....But it only works so-so.
                        1601

                        Keep eye on ball.
                        Hashim Khan

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          is best suited to getting a high price on Ebay
                          Hah! aint it the truth!!

                          I had a South Bend version (very similar to the Atlas) and I also found it to be very limited (would you believe - totally?) After it sat on the shelf for several years, I got to looking at the prices on ebay - whoa!. I took some nice pics and listed it on ebay with $50 min ... dang thing sold for over $200 I couldnt believe it!
                          If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Paul Compton
                            www.morini-mania.co.uk
                            http://www.youtube.com/user/EVguru

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              i too have the attachment. ive used it to hold a razor blade used in stripping insulation from copper cords and wiring.

                              way too much hanging over the cross slide mount for me. . .

                              SNAP ! ! !


                              OH CRAP ! ! !

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