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inherited a Craftsman/Atlas 10" lathe

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  • inherited a Craftsman/Atlas 10" lathe

    Hello all:

    As the title to my post says, I am now the proud owner of a Craftsman/Atlas metal lathe. I'm pretty excited to learn how to use it; looking back on the past dozen things I've had done by machine shops probably 10 of them could be done on this lathe if I had the skill. It belonged to my wife's grandfather, and came with a HUGE variety of "parts". Tool holders, bits of various sizes, chucks, backing plates, steady-rests, drill chucks, centers, and a whole lot of other things I've yet to identify. I've done some introductory reading as it came with the original Owner's Manual, and I've ordered a copy of the Southbend "How to Run a Lathe" book. The other evening I hooked it up to power, and cleaned and oiled it. It seems to run just fine. There's a chart inside the headstock gear cover showing various gear combinations to achieve different screw and feed rates and...this is odd... I don't seem to have a lot of the gears required. For instance, a 60-tooth gear is specified for a number of ratios, but I only have 56-tooth gears. Maybe my screw feed compound gear sets are from a slightly different lathe? I'm assuming that the gear that drives the compound gear sets rotates at the same rate as the headstock... it appears to be a 32-tooth gear on the end of the headstock shaft driving a 24-tooth driving a 32-tooth. So can I believe the screwfeed ratios on the plate on each compound gear set, or do I need to perform some calculations to determine "equivalent ratios"?

    Next I mounted up the 3-jaw chuck (Kobiyashi/Victor) and popped in a piece of 3/4" steel stock. It had a highly polished shiny silver finish, but other than that I had no idea what it was made of. I set the belts for the slowest rotational speed (166 rpm which should give me about 33 fpm), mounted up a 3/8" right-handed cutting tool, and fired her up. The first thing I noticed was that the chuck seemed to be off-center... I could see a wobble. I put the dial guage on it and the variation was 0.006-0.008". Quite a lot, from my reading... I was expecting 0.003" or less. What are my options to true it up? I've read about putting a shim (slice of a beer can) between the offending jaw(s) and the work. The chuck is mounted on a backing plate, which is female threaded to connect to male threads on the headstock shaft.

    Well, I figured I'd true it up by turning. I set up the feed rate at 5-thou and a cut of about 30-thou, but the cut was less than successful... the non-concentric workpiece almost seemed to move the tool as it skated up and over the work rather than cutting. Increasing the depth of cut actually bound up the workpiece and made the belt slip. Retreat. The tool did not have any HSS marking on it, rather it said "cobalt" on the size. I am guessing this is a soft tool and I am trying to cut a very hard metal. I also had a bunch of 3/8" tool mounts with the triangular carbide tips, so I tried one of those. It made some fine particle shavings but I still had what I'd call chatter (not really sure). I inherited a fairly extensive inventory of metal stock, but none of it is labelled. There's aluminum, steel, brass, all kinds of stuff in various sizes (lengths and diameters). I am hoping I can use it by going with rotation speeds at the low end of the scale for each metal.

    I also inhered a very nice grinder so I tried my hand at grinding my own tool from the uncut end of one of the 1/4" tools... it was pretty easy and seems sharp although I'm sure my freehand angles were all over the place! I tried it on the steel I had mounted and it deformed the tool very quickly... looks like I had ground the cutting edge vertically on the section applied to the work.

    I finally resorted to trying a piece of aluminum. I needed a win to keep me going. Again, it was off-center, but by slowing down the feed rate to 0.0024" and using a depth of cut of 0.020" I was able to generate some long shavings like ones I saw in various videos using my home-ground tool. Success! However, I didn't seem to be able to get anywhere near the depth of cut in the videos... of course the lathes in the videos were much larger than mine so maybe that's all my 1/2hp motor is going to give me.

    I'm hoping that the Southbend book may help me out with things like how to accurately center punch and drill as I'd like to try turning between centers... the piece of aluminum I was working on was far too long to mount in a chuck with the far end unsupported.

  • #2
    Welcome! I think you'll enjoy the forum & you know Atlas is still in business near me in Kalamazoo under the Clausing name & are very helpful.
    "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


    • #4
      Congrats!

      You are at the start of a very rewarding learning cycle. It's hard to establish reasonable expectations. One of the things to learn is how deep you can cut with any particular tool. You should be able to cut .025 fairly well. You MUST get the top edge of the tool at the exact center height of the spindle. Too low and it does not cut well. Too high and it digs in and catches.

      Do you have a quick change gear selector knob on the lower left side? If so, the spare gears are used to select the range of threads that the gear selector can use.

      Re the chuck: It might be off center in many places. You have to determine which part is out of true. A little bit of swarf in the threads or on the edge of the spindle's mounting plate can move the chuck off center. The outside of the chuck should have virtually no runnout.

      Good luck, and welcome.

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

      Comment


      • #5
        Welcome to the forum. Your lathe is a common type. Many of us on the forum have one or have used one. Within its work envelope, it will get the job done.

        I have these comments:

        1. You may be missing some change gears. It is not uncommon for them to get lost over time. For these lathes they are common on ebay.
        2. We need a picture of how you're setting the tool into the holder. Since you're referring to right-hand tool, I suspect you're using a traditional Armstrong style holder.
        3. I would not expect the chuck to be out by .008" If it is, then a number of things could be wrong:
        a. The spindle nose has a chip on it and this is cocking the chuck,
        b. The chuck has slipped on its backplate (implying the backplate was improperly made),
        c. the chuck or jaws have been damaged,
        d. the chuck's insides need to be cleaned,
        e. the work piece was not properly chucked, or
        f. the spindle bearings are worn out.

        The first thing to do is to remove the chuck and make sure the threads are totally free of chips. Then make sure the spindle nose is totally free of chips. Get some oil on those threads. When you spin the chuck on, it should seat firmly against the ring on the spindle.

        You can never go wrong by cleaning your chuck. Use a sharpie and number each jaw and the slot it goes in. Then, back the jaws out and examine them for damage. Clean and oil them while they're out. Look in the slots in the face of the chuck to examine the scroll. If there are chips in there you can't get out, you'll have to tear the chuck down. Not that that's a bad thing. It's just a thing.

        Once the workpiece is running true, we can focus on making some shavings.

        Comment


        • #6
          Originally posted by danlb View Post
          Do you have a quick change gear selector knob on the lower left side? If so, the spare gears are used to select the range of threads that the gear selector can use.
          Nope, no such luck re: quick change. I have to remove and replace the gear sets to change up screw/feed rates using a good ol' 7/16" wrench.

          Originally posted by danlb View Post
          Re the chuck: It might be off center in many places. You have to determine which part is out of true. A little bit of swarf in the threads or on the edge of the spindle's mounting plate can move the chuck off center. The outside of the chuck should have virtually no runnout.
          I removed the chuck jaws and blew everything out with compressed air and re-assembled, but still have the issue. I'll put the dial guage on the outside of the chuck to see if maybe my backing plate is off center next.

          Thanks much.

          Comment


          • #7
            Regarding the chuck, I'd want to know if the body of the chuck is also off center in which case it would indicate the spindle is wonky or the back plate adapter of the chuck was made badly when fitting it for your lathe. You can remove the chuck and verify the spindle is healthy quite easily, and checking the chuck body is only a matter of putting a dial indicator on the circumference and spinning the chuck by hand. If this proves only the jaws are out then you can place a known true object in the chuck (a bearing outter ring, f'rinstance) and turn the jaws true. It would be prudent to pull the chuck apart and clean the scroll works first.

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by dspear99ca View Post
              There's a chart inside the headstock gear cover showing various gear combinations to achieve different screw and feed rates and...this is odd... I don't seem to have a lot of the gears required. For instance, a 60-tooth gear is specified for a number of ratios, but I only have 56-tooth gears. Maybe my screw feed compound gear sets are from a slightly different lathe? .
              Welcome aboard. I think you'll love it.
              It sounds like you have a chart that was needed for manual change gears but have a quick change lathe. There will be a model number on the tag at the end of the bed.


              Originally posted by dspear99ca View Post
              The tool did not have any HSS marking on it, rather it said "cobalt" on the size.
              Good steel. If you took a good edge off that, you are probably trying to cut hard stuff.


              Originally posted by dspear99ca View Post
              I'm hoping that the Southbend book may help me out with things like how to accurately center punch and drill as I'd like to try turning between centers... the piece of aluminum I was working on was far too long to mount in a chuck with the far end unsupported.
              I think you answered your own question. If the piece of aluminum was more than maybe 4 inches long, you should have center drilled it in the lathe and used a live or dead center to support that end before attempting the cut.

              You need to describe the wobble you are referring to. Is the workpiece doing it all? Does the chuck body run true? The chuck face?

              Lots of help here. You know what they say, misery loves company.

              Comment


              • #9
                The complete complement of change gears for your lathe is probably 20, 24, 2x32, 36, 40, 44, 46, 48, 52, 54, 56, 2x64.

                Comment


                • #10
                  Read the sticky on posting pictures & if possible post one of the lathe. I have a 6x18", a 1934 the 1st 10" Atlas model, a Pick-O Matic 10" & a fresh rebuilt TH54 10". I have bigger & better machines but a soft spot for Atlas products as do a bunch of folks. Enjoy!
                  "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


                  • #11
                    Originally posted by flylo View Post
                    Read the sticky on posting pictures & if possible post one of the lathe. I have a 6x18", a 1934 the 1st 10" Atlas model, a Pick-O Matic 10" & a fresh rebuilt TH54 10". I have bigger & better machines but a soft spot for Atlas products as do a bunch of folks. Enjoy!
                    Yes, I am thinking some photos and maybe video... I post regularly on some other forums so I'm pretty good at pictures. Right now my lathe is set up in a god-awful spot but it's the only free wall space I had to set up the lathe bench and wallboard that holds the attachments. But... it's warm and dry in the basement.

                    One more question and that's cutting fluid. Is this special stuff or can I use some light machine oil? Where I live is pretty small so I highly doubt I'm going to find any locally. I'm not terribly worried about the tools, I will just run slow to avoid overheating. What kind of oil would I use to lubricate dead centers?

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Welcome to the forum and atlas fun! I as well own a 10" atlas and enjoy it near daily. You can do allot on an atlas!
                      Andy

                      Comment


                      • #13
                        I have a Atlas as well as two Logan's. The Atlas is a great light duty lathe.
                        It's easy to find change gears on eBay.
                        You can use any oil on a dead center. Motor oil will work ok.
                        Go on line and find a copy of the manual for the lathe. That will be helpful.
                        I think Clausing sells one also.
                        Bill
                        I cut it off twice and it's still too short!

                        Comment


                        • #14
                          Grinding tools - don't get hung up on angles, just going for between 5 to 10 degrees on each angle will do but don't let it go blue from the heat as you do it. Then slightly round off the point produced, as viewed from above.
                          Tool height - the southbend book tells you, correctly, to set the tool a little above centre height. Not often appreciated this is to impart an outward force to take up play in the cross slide nut.
                          Chatter - keep the tool overhang as small as possible and lock the slides that are not in motion to see if that helps. Reduce depth of cut to 10 thou - you're not on piecework so what's the hurry until you get a better feel for what works.
                          Feed - stop using autofeed at this stage. Use the topslide (compound) and get a feel for the cutting first. As you are playing it doesn't matter if it isn't set dead parallel. Next learn the feel of feeding using the saddle handle. You can save autofeed for finishing cuts.
                          Changewheels - there are programs on the web which you input the gears you have and it tells you what to use for a particular ratio or feed or thread when you come to that. You are not tied to the old charts.

                          Comment


                          • #15
                            Set up an indicator to read off of the inside diameter of the spindle, out near the end. That should tell you if the spindle is bent (let's hope not!)

                            As others have said, the original Zamac change gears show up on ebay quite frequently. Here also is a link to a thread I started last year about buying steel or cast iron change gears to fit.

                            http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/thr...n-Metal-Lathes

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