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Another guy's day with a new lathe

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  • Another guy's day with a new lathe

    This is the text from an actual letter that was included with some old Atlas documents that I bought a while back. Looks like the recipient is Alistair's doppelganger on this side of the pond.



    Kalamzoo, Michigan

    March 2, 1941
    Mr. X. X. XXXX
    214 ##th Street
    Seattle, Washington

    Dear Mr. XXXX

    The Atlas No. H42 lathe you returned to us has arrivead and we have just completed our inspection of' it. Full credit has been issued to the Ernst Hardware Company to cancel the charges on the replacement lathe we shipped to you.

    It is our hope that the new lathe is satisfactory to you in every respect. This letter is being written with that thought in mind. I'm sure that by following the brief suggestions outlined below, you will encounter no difficulty in any phase of precise, craftsmanlike lathe work.

    When your lathe arrived here, it was covered with dirt and filth from legs to countershaft. It took a repair man nearly two hours to clean the lathe up for testing purposes. As you know, cleanliness is one of the essential factors in turning out accurate work. Even very tiny chips or dirt particles can destroy the precision which was built into the lathe. Frankly, those of' us who saw the lathe were surprised that it would turn out any kind of' work at all.

    We discovered that both lathe bedways had deep scratches and nicks in them. This, too, can cause serious trouble. When that bed was made, the most painstaking and modern manufacturing methods were used to insure its accuracy and smoothness. It was ground on huge specially-designed machines so precisely that all surfaces were accurate within .OOO5â€‌. It was subjected to several thorough inspections before shipment. Natur- ally, it cannot be expected to produce accurate work when the bedways are "Chewed up" as yours were.

    Every gib adjustment on the lathe was found to be exceedingly loose. The tool post slide could be shifted, by hand, at least 1/32 side ways. Needless to say, snug sliding fits are essential for good lathe work. Chatter and inaccuracy always result from loose fits. Give are provided on our lathes to compensate .for the natural wear that always occurs between two contacting parts. They should be taken up frequently. The same is true on any precision machine tool, regardless of price.

    Your headstock spindle bearings were both badly scored and burned, indicating improper breaking-in. Babbitt bearings are very similar to those used in automobile engines, and must be given the same careful treatment. You will find complete instructions for performing this vital operation in the manual which was furnished with your lathe. Be sure that the spindle is not rotated at speeds higher than 500 RPM until the lathe has been run at least 10 hours.

    Both lathe centers and the headstock reducing sleeve, were badly scored and burred. Naturally, they wobbled excessively. It would be impossible to do accurate between-centers work with them.

    The carriage binding, which was the cause of your original complaint, was due merely to a large chip of metal which had become embedded underneath the tailstock. This prevented the tailstock from seating properly on the bedways when clamped down. That is why the bedways were spread apart when the tailstock was tightened, and why the tailstock had a tendency to slip.

    All pulleys on your lathe were deeply worn, indicating that the lathe had seen plenty of good hard service. In the short while that you had it, you apparently used it more than most lathe owners do in a lifetime. It is only natural to expect that continual wear will eventually result in the appearance of small inaccuracies.

    I'm sure that by giving your lathe the care and treatment that any fine machine tool deserves, it will turn out many, many years of trouble-free service. Just keep it clean and well lubricated, and break the bearings in carefully at first. You will be more than satisfied with it.

    Please feel free to write whenever we can be of assistance in any way.

    Yours very truly,
    Henry D. Stern
    Technical Service
    Mike Henry near Chicago

  • #2

    That person would be an immigrant from Australia. Obviously offspring from some of Alistairs forefathers, the ones that were deported to Australia in a big black boat.



    • #3
      The lathe owner appears to be the sort that could destroy a 400lb. anvil. (without any tools)