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  • craftsman lathes

    How good are old craftsman lathes I am looking a buying one but all I have is pictured of it and this fourm will not let me post pics.... please help

  • #2
    Not the most ridgid of lathes, but any lathe is better than none! Depending on the price and availability of iron in your area, don't count it out. Bob.

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    • #3
      The larger ones 12" swing and up are the more desirable ones. A lot of projects have been done on all of them though.
      Kansas City area

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      • #4
        Originally posted by tietz fab View Post
        and this fourm will not let me post pics.... please help
        This sticky will show you how to post pics with photobucket , but its the same for most photo hosting sites. Rob

        http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/29277-Posting-pictures-with-photobucket

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        • #5
          As with any lathe it must be used within it's limits. As posted many great projects have been built on those lathes along with the Atlas. You didn't say what size this lathe was?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tietz fab View Post
            How good are old craftsman lathes I am looking a buying one but all I have is pictured of it and this fourm will not let me post pics.... please help
            Have a look at Tony's site here: http://www.lathes.co.uk/craftsman/index.html and see if there is a similar lathe there. Images have to be loaded on a hosting site and there is a thread with instructions how to do that at the top of the General section.

            I have a Craftsman 12" "Commercial" lathe and it is a pretty nice lathe in the lightweight class. I'm happy with it so far but I'd like to get a taper attachment and a milling attachment. In spite of being very old it is in like new condition as the previous owner didn't use it much.

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            • #7
              just a couple of points. Craftsman were made by Atlas & Dunlop, I'd stick with the Atlas. Atlas made an early 12 were Craftsman only because Atlas refused to put there name on them. The later 12 in both labels are fine.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by tietz fab View Post
                How good are old craftsman lathes I am looking a buying one.......................................
                If you can find one in your price range South Bend, Logan and Sheldon are other brands that are quantum leaps ahead of the Atlas/Craftsman in quality.

                Atlas/Craftsman are flat bed lathes with a good many critical-to-use parts make of zinc alloy. Basically, they took the cheap way out in manufacturing.

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                • #9
                  My Atlas owes me nothing, it has been and continues to be a great lathe. Sure at times I would like to have a heavy 15" swing lathe but the atlas gets it done (if the part fits), just slower. The only thing I personally would want more in a lathe is more swing. Like I mentioned a 15-17" would be nice for me.
                  Andy

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                  • #10
                    Actually Dunlap was a Sears name for tools and machinery a bit beneath Craftsman standards, and with less warrantee. Craftsman and Dunlap names were both applied to a couple of small, very bargain designed lathes made by AA, which were pretty poor, suffering from a weak spindle and compound screws with an odd thread that would not allow micrometer dials. I had one of these and it was, as mentioned, better than no lathe at all, but less of a lathe than just about anything else. Take an AA as a gift, but otherwise stick to Atlas.

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                    • #11
                      Brutto,you are correct. Also a lot more of the Atlas had roller bearings than craftsman did.

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                      • #12
                        I had a 10" Atlas.
                        Be sure and get 10 or 12".
                        The smaller ones are real crappy.
                        Exception, Emco-Mayer made a late model craftsman
                        lathe, it might have been 8" or something, not seen
                        but one or two of them. Emco (not Enco) are good
                        lathes. Ok so, only the bigger models, and don't get
                        an old one with babbit bearings. They will likely be
                        shot, and re-pouring and fitting is not gunna happen.
                        Also, get a quick change box. Fiddling with change
                        gears is a buzz kill for me. Try get one with the
                        Atlas motor, made by Hoover. They are good and
                        don't have a lot of single phase humm.

                        --Doozer


                        --Doozer
                        DZER

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by flylo View Post
                          Brutto,you are correct. Also a lot more of the Atlas had roller bearings than craftsman did.
                          My impression is the opposite. I've seen a lot of Atlas machines with babbit but can't remember a Craftsman (6 or 12") that didn't have Timken roller bearings.

                          My 12" Craftsman performs very well considering the wear it has accumulated. I imagine they were nice to use when new and fresh.
                          When I finish the rebuild, a SB10L will become my main lathe but I plan on re-scraping the Craftsman and hanging onto it as long as I have room for it.

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                          • #14
                            The OP might be better with a 6" Craftsman if he's making small stuff on the Kitchen table. So much advice and so little info about the OP, his needs or the Craftsman he is looking at.
                            "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel"

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                            • #15
                              There are a lot of Atlas lathes out there because there were a lot of them made, not because they were a good lathe. If possible, hold out and try to find a South Bend, Logan, Clausing, Delta, Sheldon, or other similar commercial quality lathe. All of those will have V ways instead of flat ways for better precision and they will be MUCH more rigid, which is the biggest shortcoming of the Atlas. There also won't be anything on them made of pot metal except maybe the occasional step pulley. The Atlas lathes are inexpensive, plentiful and have lots of accessories available for them, but if you have the option, you would be better off with something else. Incidentally, I do have experience with Atlas lathes. I did a complete rebuild on one for my dad, so I literally know them inside and out. In fact, it's his lathe I'm using for the internal threading video on my YouTube channel.

                              Tom
                              Last edited by TGriffin; 10-01-2013, 12:33 PM.
                              Tom's Techniques

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