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Anyone familiar with both a 10" and 12" Atlas?

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  • Anyone familiar with both a 10" and 12" Atlas?

    I recently bought a 10" Atlas and a 12" Atlas/Craftsman from a guy who needed space in his garage and these came from his father-in-law so they had sat in his garage for two years in his way. Needless to say the price was a bargain.

    One of these will replace my 6" Atlas in my small basement workshop (with limited power so nothing over 1/2 HP). I have a larger workshop in my yard with it's own 200 amp supply and I have a 13x48 LeBlond there for my bigger lathe but it is nice to be able to stay in the house for simple turning jobs especially in winter when I would have to warm up the workshop.

    The 12" is in better looking condition (neither has much wear) and has a longer bed and larger chucks but it doesn't look as rigid as the 10" Atlas - perhaps because of the way the compound sticks up with the extra inch added to it (the 12" is a glorified 10"). Also the steady rest for the 12" looks puny compared to the one for the 10".

    Neither has the gearbox - both are change gear so I would go out and use my LeBlond for SAE threading. (The 10" and 12" Atlases can do metric though with the 44/52 change gear combinations). The 12" has the horizontal drive (fully covered)while the 10" has the vertical drive (some exposed belts). Both are Timken rollers.

    Any opinions as to whether one machine is in any way preferable to the other?
    "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

  • #2
    Any pics, that would be interesting, a good deal you got by the sounds of it?

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    • #3
      Pics as requested. The 10" is up and running (It needed repair). The 12" isn't running (short on space) but has no apparent issues other than needing the proper two step motor pulley.

      The 12":



      The 10":

      "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

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      • #4
        Another pic of the 12" - nice belt and gear covers.
        "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

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        • #5
          Atlas never made a 12" lathe in that series. The 12" Craftsman was a Sears only deal. I suspect Atlas had some reservations about rigidity with the jacked up castings. That said, I know of more than few folks who are happy with their 12" Craftsman machines.

          The better condition and added bed length of the 12" machine are definite plusses, and, considering the availability of a larger machine for heavy work, would consider that to be the better choice for your purposes.

          Another approach, since parts interchange, would be the possibility of switching beds if the 10" is more to your liking.
          Jim H.

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          • #6
            Thanks for the nice pics. Those lathes appear to be in decent shape.

            Yup, the 12" would be the best choice in my opinion.

            You have some interesting old tools in the background there behind the 12".

            Great find.

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            • #7
              I would differ and vote for the 10 inch. I have both and my 10 inch is quite a bit more rigid than the 12. I keep both because the 12 has the quick change gear box and I put a large DC motor and controller on it, but I do find the 12 inch Craftsman lathe requires a lighter touch.

              I think the major difference in my case is that the 10 inch is on it's own cast iron legs to which the countershaft and motor mount to directly. On the 12 inch, the countershaft and motor are mounted to the lathe bed and the headstock and the whole is bolted to a bench. With heavy loading in that configuration, I have actually observed the headstock nodding a bit rearward (toward the motor) which requires the bed to twist. I've never had the trouble with the 10 inch. Of course, everything is relative when you are talking rigidity, and one just has to work within the limitations of the equipment.

              With a comparatively light lathe for it's stated capacity, the rigidity of either very definitely is affected by it's bench.

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              • #8
                Your comments Gary do not surprise me and relate to the reason I raise the query in the first place and you are the very type of person I was hoping to get information from - someone who has used both machines.

                You see, the 12" compound sits 2.8" above the cross-slide but the 10" compound sits only 1.6" above the compound and this has to have an influence on rigidity of the tool mount at with the compound 75% taller.

                Although the 12" has the longer bed this in itself will not help rigidity and one issue that you always hear about where these Atlas made lathes are concerned is the issue of flexibily of a lightly constructed lathe.

                I am beginning to suspect that what you found may not be related to the motor mount or the stand. I will have to get the 12" fired up and try it for myself.
                "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

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                • #9
                  Never OWNED both, but from dealing with the machines of others, I agree about the 10"....

                  I think the 10" is a more "honest" machine in that it is right-sized and proportioned, made to be a 10" decent machine.

                  The 12" have always appeared to be, and acted like, a "stretched' machine, a bit too big for its britches.... not as rigid. Just compare the headstock and the steadies.....

                  Someone apparently suggested the availability of a larger machine as a reason to have the 12".... Not sure how that works...

                  I would suggest the opposite.... thinking the availability of the LeBlond is a great reason to have a smaller machine inside.... why have only big machines? Especially when one will be almost the size of the other, but built 6x less sturdy?

                  Or figure to move both of them onwards, and get a 10" Logan or a Sheldon. Both have been on CL here recently.

                  I know a guy who bought a Rivett 608 (not me) in great shape across the river..... he does not look like a "stayer" to me, and may be selling it..... That would be a really nice basement machine... smaller, but the carriage alone probably weighs more than the headstock plus carriage of either Atlas.
                  1601

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by J Tiers
                    Someone apparently suggested the availability of a larger machine as a reason to have the 12".... Not sure how that works...
                    That somebody would be me. Here's how that works;

                    Since both machines are basically the same, most parameters in choosing a lathe are equal. The choice between the two comes down to three points, rigidity, capacity (swing and bed length) and condition. The 10" wins on rigidity, the 12" on capacity and condition. Since a truly rigid machine is available when serious machining is needed, rigidity becomes less of a requirement and two out of three wins.

                    The 12" machine is marginally less rigid than the 10", which would be displayed mostly in operations such as parting and knurling, not in the light machining operations apparently being considered, particularly with the 1/2 HP limitation.
                    Jim H.

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                    • #11
                      I have a 10 inch Atlas, a couple of 12 inch Craftsman’s and an old Monarch for the normal jobs. The 10 inch genuine Atlas is a much better lathe than the 12 inch Craftsman’s. The fit and finish is better and the power cross feed drive is steel, not the zinc part found on the sears product. The 12 inch version was a marketing gimmick for Sears and Atlas never put their name on the 12 inch version. Although both are lightweights, I believe that the impression that these lathes were made of rubber came from the folks that have the 12s.
                      Have fun with it, Mike

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                      • #12
                        I'd go with the better condition because you have the LeBlong for the HD work. I found a great motor for My 618. It's a Con-sew 3/4HP variable speed with a dial, reversible 0-3450 RPM/ I get them shipped for $97. They come with a 3" pulley, long cord switch ready to go. These are made for commercial HD sewing machine & weigh 30#s ea. Just thought I'd throw that out because I love that sariable speed dial!
                        "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                        world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                        country, in easy stages."
                        ~ James Madison

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                        • #13
                          Flylo, how much are those motors??

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                          • #14
                            PM sent but re-read my post it's in there $97/Delivered.
                            "Let me recommend the best medicine in the
                            world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant
                            country, in easy stages."
                            ~ James Madison

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Atlas branded 12 inch lathe

                              Originally posted by JCHannum
                              Atlas never made a 12" lathe in that series. The 12" Craftsman was a Sears only deal. I suspect Atlas had some reservations about rigidity with the jacked up castings. That said, I know of more than few folks who are happy with their 12" Craftsman machines.

                              The better condition and added bed length of the 12" machine are definite plusses, and, considering the availability of a larger machine for heavy work, would consider that to be the better choice for your purposes.

                              Another approach, since parts interchange, would be the possibility of switching beds if the 10" is more to your liking.
                              I have an Atlas Press Company, 2019 N.Pitcher, Kalamazoo MI brochure picked up in the late 1970's describing their 12 inch (300 mm) lathe. So it looks like they did sell the 12 inch lathe bearing their own brand.
                              David

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