Atlas Lathe

I was offered an Atlas lathe the other day for $50. The owner said that there were two damaged gears. He is supposed to give me more
information next week. Comments?
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Michael A. Terrell wrote:

If nothing else you can part it out for a profit . -- Snag Learning keeps you young !
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Definitely take it. Use i if you need it, sell or part out if you don't.
i
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Ignoramus23559 wrote:

A few years ago I found 1/2 of an Atlas at the dump (missing carriage & tailstock). With that much missing, I decided to part it out. When I was well into the parting out, the other half turned up at the dump. When I was done, my eBay sales totaled $1700! And it was a change-gear lathe.
Bob
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    Which size? The little one (6x18") uses zamac (pot metal) gears, and if they are run with the mesh too tight, they start to crumble. My example was a Craftsman rebrand of an Atlas 6x18". The early ones were bronze bushing bearings, the later ones had Timken roller bearings. Even with that, they aren't rigid enough for serious work. And the beds are box not inverted V, so things aren't kept as straight. The 12" is better, but still not the same as my 12x24" Clausing with a bore big enough to handle 5C collets and lever drawbars for them.
    But at $50.00, that is not a bad price. The question is -- *which* gears. If it is the back gears, it is part of the heart of the lathe, and you will either have to hope that Clausing (who merged with Atlas at some point) still has those parts. If it the thread cutting gears, especially on one without a quick-change gearbox (and *all* 6x18 lathes had no quick-change gearbox), you can likely find replacement gears -- or make them with the right tools. They are plain spur gears with a double key, and you could make them of something other than Zamac so they will outlast the rest. :-)
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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"DoN. Nichols" wrote:

He said they were 'aluminum', and from his description, they are for driving the feed.
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    [ ... ]

    Those are the Zamac (pot metal) gears, then. They sort of *look* like cast aluminum, but they aren't. (And just as well, aluminum gears meshing with aluminum will gall badly over time.) If you *have* to have aluminum gears, have them mesh with steel or some other metal.
    These are the threading gears (whether this is the 6" or the 10" or 12" Atlas), and having some missing will mean that there are some threads you can't cut (until you find or make replacement gears). There is no separate "feed" on these lathes. You have to use the half-nuts to drive the carriage, and if you want a fine feed, you have to build up the proper gear train, then change the gears to cut threads, then change back to cut fine finishes again. Lathes with a separate feed take the drive off either a separate rod or off a keyway milled in the leadscrew, and use that to drive a gear or so in the apron of the carriage. Best if you have both power feed (a significantly slower feed than the half-nuts give so you don't have to change things as often), and the cross feed (if present) is even slower. (Some Atlas 12" lathes have quick-change gearboxes, but I *think* that they still don't have separate feeds.
    Keep some handy-wipes with an oil cutting filler because if you keep the gears properly lubricated, you will have black hands after changing them -- which sort of discourages changing them as often as you should.
    FWIW, the back gears are Zamac too -- at least on the 6x18" which I still have.
    Still -- as I said before, at $50.00, it is not a bad price. And it can get you experience in using a lathe, so you know what to look at/for when it is time to get a bigger/better one.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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"DoN. Nichols" wrote:

I see some gears for sale on Ebay, and some here: <http://www.blueridgemachinery.com/catalog/request_a_catalog/download_pdf_catalog.html He said that his dad was a machinist, and that he's been moving machine tools for 30 years. He didn't use the word Rigging, so that makes me think he just drove the truck from site to site. :)

How hard would it be to modify it to use a stepper or servo drive?

The last lathe I used was a worn out navy surplus lathe in high school. Both of which are long gone. I doubt that the new high school even has a metal shop, but they spent millions on the football field.
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A lathe is still useful with only a handwheel to turn the leadscrew. The 6" Sears/AA is like that, the Prazi doesn't even have halfnuts to release the carriage. http://www.ismg4tools.com/sd300.html
jsw
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

A lot of what I need a lathe for won't require the gears. I have been looking at some Arduino CNC projects and thought that a conversion might be interesting if the repair and conversion costs are close.
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Michael A. Terrell wrote:

...
...
Not hard & VERY desirable: http://www.metalworking.com/dropbox/ServoPowerFeed.pdf
Still need to use gears for threading, but I very seldom do that.
Bob
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Michael A. Terrell wrote:

<http://www.blueridgemachinery.com/catalog/request_a_catalog/download_pdf_catalog.html
http://www.autoartisans.com/ELS /
http://medw.co.uk/wiki/index.php?page=ELS+Price+List
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Why?
The power longitudinal and cross feeds, if it has them, should still be good enough to rough-turn stock close enough. If it's worn you may have to manually finish diameters to measured size in short sections anyway.
jsw
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Jim Wilkins wrote:

I was just curious. I like to build things and it was just an idea for a project, someday. :)
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    The 6" Atlas won't have power feeds -- either axis (unless you count using the leadscrew and half nuts). I'm not sure whether any of the 12" or 10" Atlas machines ever had it or not.
    Some South Bend lathes had it, some did not. My 12x24" Clausing has both.

    Sounds good. If you get it as a project, you should be fine. (You may have to have the bed re-ground, depending on how worn it happens to be.)
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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"DoN. Nichols" wrote:

That is yet to be determined. :)
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What you really want is an ELS (electronic lead screw, (See http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/E-LeadScrew / for one version, and some of it's variants.
But as for buying it, I think it is a steal at $50 I thought I was lucky when I got mine for $100. Including boxes of misc parts that turned out to have a watchmakers lathe in it too)
jk
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jk wrote:

Thank you. :)
I found that group this morning. It's what I had in mind, but I was thinking of using a Arduino Mega 2560 as the controller. I have 35 new Grayhill 88JB2-252 20 button matrixed keypads, several 16*2 LCDs and maybe a motor that will drive a leadscrew. There is supposed to be source code available to convert G code to run on that board. I have also downloaded Linux CNC and I am wading through the documentation. I am thinking about building a mini CNC milling machine with the pile of stepper motors I salvaged from some large printers. I have a hobby sized mill, and a working lathe would let me make the parts I need,
http://home.earthlink.net/~mike.terrell/Grayhill_88BJ2-252e.jpg is a picture of the keypads. New markings can be made as a label to cover the entire module. A pair would give me 40 switches, which is five more than the ELS project used.
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    [ ... ]

    I love that "POR" (Price On Request) marking on lots of them. :-)

    :-)
    Well ... you don't *need* rigging when moving a 6" or even a 12" Atlas lathe. :-)
    [ ... ]

    Not at all difficult for use while *turning*.
    However, for threading, it gets a lot trickier. You need a way to send the speed and angular position of the spindle to control the feed. Yes, it can be done, but you are good way towards a CNC machine by then, so you might as well go the whole way. :-)

    So -- you should be able to deal with this one as well. Certainly not be seriously disappointed, anyway. :-)

    Sigh!
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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"DoN. Nichols" wrote:

??http://www.blueridgemachinery.com/catalog/request_a_catalog/download_pdf_catalog.html ?
No kidding. I walk out of a store when I see things with no prices.

He claimed that he had moved machinery for 30 years.

Add an encoder on the spindle to read the actual speed and use that to set the timing, then the processor generates the drive in sync for whatever ratio you need. Not as ridgid as gears, but will let you do small jobs OK.

Since most parts will be small, I should be able to get by with almost any old lathe. the only other lathe that was availible in the area was over 16 feet long, and wouldn't fit in my shop even though all it would have cost was hauling it across town.

Indeed. I took Metal Shop, Wood Shop and Drafting in Jr high school, then two years of Electronics and another year of wood shop in high school. The Electronics classes were held in the metal shop and taught by the same teacher so we had access to all the tools, if our classwork was done and for an hour after school every day. It's the same shop that I used for a classroom to teach a night adult education course on small appliance repair, while I was still in high school.
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