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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Once in a while an Atlas Lathe is listed for sale locally. I have been contemplating purchasing one for non-commercial small work, turning bedding pillars, etc. Does anyone have any experience with these lathes? Has anyone ever used the Atlas milling attachment? What are the pluses and minuses?
 

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Atlas Lathe

My first lathe was an Atlas. It worked for the projects that I was working on at the time. Tolerances were not critical at the time. I sold it to a friend 25 or so years ago. When I decided to get another lathe about five years ago I looked up my friend, looked at the lathe - and very quickly determined it would not be satisfactory for firearms work. My old lathe was on a ship during WWII.

I would try to find a good used later production lathe. I had to have some parts made during the time I owned the old Atlas.

KG
 

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A friend of mine had an Atlas in his garage a long time ago. We thought it was great. I looked around a little and found some people claiming to have parts for them. I would think $300-$400 if it is good enough shape to do what you want and then if it "blows a gasket" you can get most of your money back from someone wanting it for parts.
These things are sort of like an old car if you get it cheap you might spend as much or more on parts than if you bought something better to start with.
Atlas lathes were not a top notch machine when they were new. I have a couple of old Southbend's in the shop that I aquired from people that didn't know how to run them and declared them worthless. If you can find a Southbend or a Clausing in decent shape you might be better of in the long run. Another brand that was first class is "American" or a "Regal", maybe a LeBlond, but these usually fetch more money.
Edit: most of the premium brands that I mentioned require three phase power. I don't know if that is an issue for you, but it is something to be aware of and consider when looking at machine tools in general.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the replies. Power is an issue and I would like to stay with single phase power. I am not going to be doing any production work, just the occasional job for myself.
 

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Once in a while an Atlas Lathe is listed for sale locally. I have been contemplating purchasing one for non-commercial small work, turning bedding pillars, etc. Does anyone have any experience with these lathes? Has anyone ever used the Atlas milling attachment? What are the pluses and minuses?
I just started taking machining classes so I am not an expert, but have you thought about purchasing a vertical mill, like a bridgeport? Most are made in the USA (for all my Norinco/Polytec buddies GI1 ) and good used ones can be had relatively cheaply. I have a small 6 inch lathe that I make some parts on, but I am going to save up for a nice vertical mill.
 

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Atlas is good but a south bend lathe is better. I had a 6'' atlas lathe that did everything and even thread cutting too. I always wanted an 8'' or 10'' south bend lathe.
 

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I have a couple of lathes, the smallest is an old benchtop Atlas/Craftsman with alot of wear. I can still turn short pieces to a .001 but most of the stuff I use it for isn't critical in any way.
It probobly gets used the most, spacers, threaded bungs, parting, polishing small parts, case trimming, wire brushing parts etc. Atlas quality is good, but the older ones have seen alot of use. Nearly daily, it's amazing how much it gets used.
 

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I have a Atlas 10"x36" w/babbit bearings, later lathes came with Timken bearings and quick change gear boxes which were better. Parts can be had on Ebay and new parts from Clausing Service Center in Kalamzoo Mi. 800-535-6553.
Unless you get lucky you will spend way more for tooling then you will on a lathe.
 

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I saw a little Atlas lathe at a pawn shop last week, $349. Reliable Pawn on Summer Ave in Memphis if anybody wants one or maybe for parts. It looked complete. I'd guess 10".
 

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My OP rod guide was loose on my TRW barrel so I put it in my Atlas lathe. The spindle is not big enough in dia for chamber end so I wrapped a piece of cardboard around barrel and tightened 3 jaw close to guide boss on barrel inserted live center in chamber end, seemed to run pretty true. Awhile back I had purchased an Atlas Knurler and cutoff tool off Ebay for $20. Inserted knurler in tool holder straight on to the boss and applied a little pressure until I could see some well defined marks. Drove the guide on with hammer and brass punch, didn't use locktite. I don't think it will work loose for a long time if it ever does. I've made a set of firing pins for a double barrel and Hubert jr 22. I really need a new chuck which would cure a lot of the run out I have. Most of them require you to turn the back plate to fit the new chuck and I'm confident I could screw that up real quick. Altlas babbet brg lathes use shims in the brg caps so that you can tighten up the spindle. This lathe has been in our family for over 50 yrs and like me its old and worn but handy to have around sometimes. At least thats what my wife says.
 
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