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Are Atlas lathes any good? What are they worth...

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  • Are Atlas lathes any good? What are they worth...

    Subjective question I know.
    This lathe is for sale right around the corner from me, all I know is its got a 48" bed, no mention of the spindle height.
    He is asking $1800.
    Whatcha all think about these Atlas lathes?
    Here are the pics, thing looks brand new but it may have had a paint job, have not gone to see it as I really cant afford it.... At least not without a major brawl with my wife...


  • #2
    Atlas lathes are looked down upon by many, but my 10 X 30 served me well for years.
    The asking price is very steep. What is included in the way of tooling and accessories?

    I sold mine about a year ago...........pretty well tooled, for $900.00.



    • #3
      That looks like a super nice atlas with a few attachments. It is a 10" swing (TH42). Quick change gear box is a very nice bit and is worth $500+ by itself if one were to add it on. Steady rest in the pic, all original hand knobs which is a great sign! Much bigger motor which is a plus. Looks to be a milling attachment in the pile under the lathe as well as a tool post grinder possibly. I am sure lots of goodies in the drawers and whatnot. While it is a high price for an atlas there is allot of nice pluses there that would cost up to the asking price if bought separately. With as clean as the lathe looks I am going to assume it has little wear and is nice and tight. If lathes are rare around your area it could be a good buy with all the attachments and bench. But I would try real real hard to get that price down to around $1300ish.

      I payed $600 for mine and had to buy the qcgb, milling attachment, and other odds and ends. It did come with a bench, stead rest, carriage stops, and a coupe chucks and stuff though. But like I said area makes a big difference in price normally.

      For hobby work an atlas is a great machine! Easier to move around, easier lighter parts to work with, and it doesn't take up an acre of space. Mine has done everything I have ever asked of it just a little slower than a big lathe. lol


      • #4
        Yes they are good machines.
        No they won't cut to NASA spec's.


        • #5
          OK, usable, but lightweight and flexible, with many parts made of what people call "pot metal". None of those pot metal parts are available new, and they are rather breakable in some cases.

          Pricing depends on location. That's an Alaska type price, although might be about 20% low for Alaska.

          Going price is about $400 to $1000 around here, with the higher price including every attachment imaginable. At the price you mention, you ought to nearly have to scrape off the cosmoline and unbolt it from the factory pallet.

          You can get lots of better machines for less. A Logan 11" is a far better machine that takes 5C collets, and goes for $1100 around here. A nice SB heavy 10 is in the price range of that Atlas.

          That machine looks OK, but looks like it has sawdust all over it.. wood is a pain to clean off, and can do damage in some cases. It's probably an $850 machine

          Unless machines are rare in your area, that guy is dreaming.
          Last edited by J Tiers; 02-23-2014, 10:54 AM.
          CNC machines only go through the motions


          • #6
            Some say they aren't as good as a South Bend or Logan but in using my Dad's Atlas 10" lathe I've found it to work very well within it's limits. They have their weaknesses and their strengths, like everything else. If I were looking fro a lathe and didn't have one I wouldn't hesitate to get an Atlas. There are plenty of parts available if they are needed so that's a plus.


            • #7
              Agreeing with the others, and as a former Atlas owner, about $1200 max. Much more than that puts you in line
              for much better lathes.


              • #8
                OK, thanks for all the good input!
                There is no shortage of machine tools around here, its a bit of a manufacturing hub in these parts..
                I was just curious as it sure is a nice looking machine in the pics, however there is no way to justify the purchase unless it was one hell of a deal...


                • #9
                  I had a 10F which was older and had changegears instead of a QC box. Sold it for £200 or so and wasn't sorry to see it go. It was ok as a first lathe but very lacking in capacity, rigidity and general sturdiness.
                  Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

                  Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
                  Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
                  Monarch 10EE 1942


                  • #10
                    The motor pulley is not correct. It should be a two step pulley that matches size difference on the big pulley on the countershaft.

                    I agree with the others...$1800.00 is a bit steep for an atlas. But...wonder what's in the drawers? What's that red and green thing? Toolpost grinder?


                    • #11
                      As stated, that is a high price for an Atlas lathe. But what is hiding in those drawers? Lathes are worthless without tooling. At that price you may just be buying the tooling and getting the lathe for free.

                      That is a lesson I learned the hard way when I bought my first lathe. I passed on a few machines that were fully tooled because [at the time] it seemed like they were asking way to much. Found a machine in great condition for a "good" price and have since paid more for tooling than I did for the machine.


                      • #12
                        It looks like it comes with or at least has under the bench a taper attachment. That will kick up the price.


                        • #13
                          Sure, attachments rais price.

                          Start at $400 for a bare machine with a motor.

                          Add the usual couple of chucks, a faceplate, some sort of toolpost, and some centers, dogs etc, probably a steady $600 - $650

                          Now add more stuff

                          Add QC $700-750

                          Add Taper attachment to preceding $800- $900
                          CNC machines only go through the motions


                          • #14
                            That bench is worth a chunk o' dough, too. I paid $1200 for a similar Craftsman machine and it is far superior to my Grizzly lathe. Didn't have the taper attachment - those go for $200 - $300 on ebay. The milling attachment gets an even higher price.


                            • #15
                              My uneducated opinion: Nice looking clean machine, seems to have lots of tooling, bench is plus, steady rest added plus, what else is in the bench drawers? Price is rather high. What wear is evident on the machine? As to the machine itself, even a worn, weak machine can put out good work with a careful machinist at the controls. I have no experience with Atlas machines and so can give no actual hands-on testimony on one. As stated, the above is my opinion only based on the pics.

                              Mentally confused and prone to wandering!