Thread: Repairing Atlas 10" lathe
I suppose I only work like thousands of other mechanical engineers in a production environment.
When you are responsible for multi squillion squids worth of machinery, and it goes down, with replacement spares going to take say 3 weeks to get there, you have to come up with quickie solutions to get it running again. Some can be temp fixes to last that 3 weeks, or in the case of my tailstock, permanent. It is all just part of the job, with a few years experience thrown in.
I am sure that you have talents that I would greatly admire, being able to program CNC for just one example.
That maybe but I'm cheating and using cnc to get the accuracy that you acheive by hand.
Many thanks for suggesting the homeworkshop site, what a jem and strongly recommended
So I have now got a new bed for the lathe:dance::dance: :dance:
Techincaly its not an Atlas but the Uk version badged Halifax. I've looked at John Stevensons site and it appears that the beds should be the same and its only the carriage that is different.
So I will need some advice on the best way to get it milled or reground if you have the time please.
Ok so I'm spoiled for choice now as I have just bought a complete Halifax 524 with lots of accessories.Its was just down the road and a bargin at £120. It came with a 6" 4 jaw chuck, Milling attachment, tool post grinder, fixed and traveling steadies and the best bit is the replacement tee slot table for the cross feed.
The carridge is definatly better than the Atlas as the dove tails are bigger but there are so many broken bits that I will have to rob them from the atlas. The levers and wheels on the atlas are much more substancial and I'm not sure about the plastic pullies either.
So now I'm not sure wether I should rebuild this to original spec as its "British" (well almost) or wether to combine the best bits form both and create the B*****D chilld of Mr Atlas and Miss Halifax to create a good working lathe??????
You now have the makings of a machine that will give you a lifetime of use. Forget about getting it back to original, there is very little intrinsic value in doing so, just concentrate on getting the best lathe you can out of the two.
All you really need to worry about at this stage are the centre heights of the head and tailstock. Choose which is the better of the two matched pairs, say one has a plain head and one has a roller, go for the roller, if they are both roller heads, go for the one which is the smoothest. If they have been left for any length of time in a pre loaded state, they will be very 'ratchety'. A new pair of bearings will require a remortgage of your house, unless you are lucky as I was, and got a friend to regrind the special outside races for me.
Clean off the new old bed with scotchbright and oil, that should clean things up rather well. Measure it up around the high wear areas, normally from the chuck mount to about 6" towards the tailstock, a thou or two should be OK, anything over that and you really need to get the top refaced. Only then see how the matched pair fit to the bed. you might have to do a little realigning of the head and tailstock, a fairly easy job, Once you have that done, concentrate on the saddle, leadscrew and gear areas.
Once you have the bits on the machine you want, and they are running together well, then start to rob the leftover pieces for better looking or replacement parts.
Once that stage is reached, you can start to get it fine tuned and modded to make it an exceptional lathe.
It looks like you have got all the attachments you will ever need, especially the rocking horse travelling steady, and the toolpost grinder, if it is any good. If I was you, I would empty the wooden box all the bits came in, and put it on a sheet of plastic (a bin bag), line it out with newspaper, put all the siezed and rusty bits into it (not electric motors), then dribble over the whole lot with some cheap engine oil, put newspapers over the top of that and pour some oil onto that as well. After a week in there, the parts should be ready to clean off and work on.
Glad to see you back. I wanted to make one good lathe lathe out of them but didnt know if it was ethically viable.......after all it should work to its best eh.
I'm glad all this stuff is slowly sinking in as i have only cleaned it with oil an scotchbrite. The problem is that when I put the straight edge across the ways there are no ridges or wear grooves but when I put it longatudinally there is a small dip in the bed, is this a sagging belly or just thefact that there is no other bits causing moments or stesses in it?
They are both taper bearing head stocks and seem very smooth. the Halifax one has the removable half bearing straps on the spindle like a crankshaft. Is this better or structurally weaker? also on the halifax the plastic pullies have worn and move lateraly on the shaft. are they inter changable or are they best left as is?
Since there is so much that needs concidering perhaps it is best if i start with the leveling the bed? I plan to mount it on the Atlas legs and I have an engineering level to check it but should I be testing the bed or the Carridge?
Rather than just sticking the normal legs straight on, I would suggest you try to introduce a little more strengthening to the main bed.
This has the effect of reducing sagging in the middle.
If you have access to welding equipment, I would get some 2.5" or 3" heavy duty square section tube and make up an oblong frame, as long as the ends of the lathe support feet and the same width as the feet and bolt the lathe to that first, then bolt the legs underneath. I would also put in a couple of cross braces into the frame to stop the twisting effect.
This will have a great effect on making the lathe more rigid.
I would go for the later designed head, it will allow easier stripping down and belt changes, but put the metal pullies on to begin with.
The head will need the taper bearings preloaded as you get towards running it. You can read up on it, or I can tell you how to do that a little later.
I had a Babbit plain bearing head on mine to begin with and the surface finish results were much better than the bearing head, but it just couldn't compete with the high speed the bearing head offered. You can run a Babbit (white metal) bearing straight off, as soon as it has had a lube, whereas with all taper bearing lathes, you should allow the lathe to run for a few minutes for the spindle to warm up and thus spindle to 'grow' before taking you first cuts. That is the reason for the preload, the bearing is tight while the machine is cold, but after the spindle has warmed up and extended, the bearings are in a perfect no end load position.
Another couple of days off now
Had to have a few days off myself to finish some Uni work. :sad:
Got a bit of time now before the next batch........
Anyway back to the lathe. I'm looking at using 2 lengths of 4x2 box on their side next to each other. I know normally it would be best to use them the other way up but the more I look at it the more I'm sure that once its all bolted together the legs are more than capable of taking all the loads, The problem seems to be the fact that as the bed is used as part off the structure and it is impossible to set the base up level to attach the bed. As simply over tightening the hold down bolts could flex it.
So the plan is to use the 4x2 to keep the top of the legs level and the correct distance apart so I can then level them and bolt it all down solid. the only thing is I'm not to sure wether I should weld it as this would cause more potential twisting problems no?
Sorry I haven't answered before now, a major job broke out on the house, and it took me a fortnight to get the lads into shape and do it as I wanted.
I actually had my stand welded up by a mate who does it for a living, and by the time he had tack welded it to his 6ft x 6ft welding table, and got the full runs in, then ground things flat with an angle grinder, I only had to use about 0.010" shimming under one foot of the lathe and everything was spot on. I am a certified welder, but I am so far out of practice (over 25 years), I could never have achieved what he did. I keep thinking about buying another little welder, just to do those odd jobs about the shop.
If you bevel all the edges, and tack up and straighten as you get to way points, I shouldn't think you would have too much trouble getting it straight, or straight enough where a few thin shims will correct things as it is assembled.
It is this making everything rigid that pays off in the long run, without this intermediate frame, everything you want to achieve will be a stab in the dark.
Another project has come on line, but I should still be able to help if needed.
No worries John, I've been busy myself. Nothing to serious with the house I hope.
I will definitely make it as strong as possible. Am I doing it the right way by making the frame more rigid, bolt it down level and then add the bed, or should I be looking at starting with the bed and work down?
I can weld but never had to worry about heat distortion, maybe I'll just tack it and get someone else to finish it........Probably a bit OTT to get it stress relieved :heehee:
Reply when you can, Im in no rush and gratful for any advice, perhaps I should wait and just ask when I get to the Head - Tail stock alignment
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