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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
10/20/18 8:24 p.m.

I now own everything in this picture:

So, what did I buy? I found this online, which is maybe what I now own?

I paid $200 for all of it, so I’m pretty sure I got a good deal, but I’d love to hear what everybody who knows what they’re doing thinks. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
10/20/18 8:47 p.m.

From the pictures you posted it appears you've already found http://www.lathes.co.uk/craftsman/index.html and http://www.lathes.co.uk/atlas/index.html , there's a lot of information there.  My understanding is those Craftsman / Atlas lathes used Zamak for the gears and some other parts so they're not super heavy duty, but they can work well enough as long as you're careful with them.  There may be some additional information at the http://vintagemachinery.org website.  Looks like you got a decent amount of accessories and tooling with it as well, that stuff can rack up the cost if you have to buy it separately.

rdcyclist Reader
10/20/18 8:57 p.m.

And the plaques on the wall are certainly worth something...

AngryCorvair GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/20/18 9:16 p.m.

Nice score!  Thats a capable little machine.

Trans_Maro PowerDork
10/20/18 9:54 p.m.

Go buy the book titled "How to run a lathe" by Southbend.

The lathe in the book will be a little different than yours but the book will give you all the basic skills you need to get started.

Now that you've done the cheapest part, buying the lathe, you can get started on spending the serious money by purchasing tooling.

First order of business is upgrading that awful lantern toolpost to a quick change unit. Grizzly has them for a reasonable price. You can thank me later. Don't bother with a turret post, they're nearly as awful.

It looks like it's belt drive so it -might- not have enough power to run carbide tooling properly, my southbend didn't. No big deal, just learn yourself how to grind the various HSS toolbit patterns properly.

If you can run carbide tooling, buy some decent holders and inserts for them. You don't need super high quality inserts as it would seem that the offshore suppliers can't make tool steel worth a damn but it's nearly impossible to make poor quality carbide inserts. Buy the cheapest ones while you're learning, you'll probably chip lots of them.

Have fun!

JamesMcD SuperDork
10/20/18 10:22 p.m.

You did very well. The milling attachment (3rd from right on the bottom shelf) is worth more by itself than what you paid for everything. The micrometer carriage stop and couple of 4-jaw chucks are pretty darned sweet additions too!


I second the recommendation above to find the Southbend "How to Run a Lathe" book. Also, some 40s-50s edition of the Machinery's Handbook would be nice to have.


The best old school manual machining Youtube channels are Mrpete222 (tubal cain) and Keith Fenner, IMO.

914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/21/18 8:04 a.m.

Not the cheap Chinese junk you see for more $$$$.  With the gear drive you can cut threads.  The only problem I ever had was on the back  of the chuck under that small lid; the chuck is belt driven and there's a pin that engages the chuck to the drive and it pops out once in a while.  Hold the chuck, push on the pin and rotate the drive belt, usually pops out when doing your pretty final cut.



Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
10/21/18 8:13 a.m.

You have a 12" Atlas-Clausing lathe.  They were the private label manufacturer.  I have the 6" version.  Handiest tool I ever bought.  You can still get parts for it from Sears (maybe, until the bankruptcy is complete) and Atlas-Clausing, which are cheaper anyway. I'd a given two bills for that in a minute.  You did good.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
10/21/18 8:30 a.m.

Here’s everything laid out:

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
10/21/18 8:32 a.m.

Oops, forgot this box too. 

Datsun310Guy UltimaDork
10/21/18 8:50 a.m.

Smoking deal - it looks like you have everything you need to make your first screwdriver.  (the handle is the first thing we made on the lathe in high school - Metals I)

That box of tool bits and 4 jaw chuck is well worth the money alone.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
10/21/18 8:54 a.m.

That milling turret is worth the money too. 

Brotus7 HalfDork
10/21/18 9:32 a.m.

You got an awesome deal.  The steady rest alone is about $200. I've got the same lathe.

You can't take huge cuts with it, so it takes more time to make stuff and you'll avoid doing huge hog outs. Also makes for a killer tubing notcher.


Brotus7 HalfDork
10/21/18 11:38 a.m.

More useful feedback now that I'm at a real computer.  First: welcome to the rabbit hole of home machining.  Agree with the recommendation above, SB's "How to run a lathe" is a good reference. 

I upgraded mine to an offshore quick change tool post - no regrets there.  You'll also want to watch plenty of videos on how to grind a tool (probably the most tedious part of the whole lathe experience) because sometimes you just need a high speed steel (HSS) cutter.

Much like learning to weld, start with some sample projects.  Pick up a piece of steel or aluminum, and just try to cut a good surface finish.  Learn how to indicate a piece of run in the chuck using a dial indicator (useful if you need to change setups at all when machining the same piece).  Play around with tool geometry, incidence angle of the cutter to the project, depth of cut, feed rate and look at the results.  Watch out for chatter (the biggest problem I've had), so you'll want to use your live center and steady rest if working away from the chuck.

Lastly, but most importantly: safety.  Even though it's a small lathe, it can do some damage.  Hoodie strings, loose clothing, and long hair,can easily get caught in the machine and damage ensues.  Never just stick your finger into a hole you just bored out - there may be burrs, or small sharp chips in there that slice thru latex gloves and skin.  And brush yourself and your shoes off before walking from the garage to the house.  Nobody likes metal splinters in their feet.

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
10/21/18 11:47 a.m.
Cactus Reader
10/21/18 2:56 p.m.

I've never run a lathe with less than 25hp.

Quick change tooling will change your world. Indexable carbide inserts are the bee's knees, but they're not worth buying unless you can get volume pricing from a production machine shop. Hell, they're barely worth the discounted prices if you buy the big inserts we do (sheesh carbide is expensive...) You probably don't have the hp to make them worth it anyway.

The chuck in the tailstock and the steadyrest are great.

Never leave the chuck wrench in the chuck, under penalty of dismemberment.

daeman Dork
10/21/18 4:08 p.m.

Don't ever, ever forget to take the Chuck key out!

You'll probably only ever forget once, scary as berkeley when it goes flying, painful as berkeley if you happen to be in the firing line. I only forgot once, and I'm glad I wasn't in the firing line, pretty sure I soiled myself....

I actually suggested to my high school metalwork teacher that the Chuck keys be placed in a holder with a switch incorperated into it so that the lathes couldn't be started without the key being returned to it's holder. He loved the idea, but said that not every lathe you opperate would have it, so best practice is to always double check prior to start up.

Edit. Apparently I missed cactus's post about the Chuck key

mikeatrpi HalfDork
10/21/18 6:26 p.m.

MIT has a series of videos tailored to being an introduction to a machine shop.  They're pretty good, and free.

Brotus7 HalfDork
10/21/18 7:49 p.m.

Maybe a good first project is a spring loaded chuck key?  Could make good use of the milling attachment in addition to the lathe-ey bits.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
10/21/18 8:24 p.m.

I pulled a friend out of a lathe who had a chuck key go through his hand.  He left it in. Slow speed.   


Awesome lathe. Be safe. 

AnthonyGS GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/21/18 9:12 p.m.

In the US Navy machine tool operator class we used the how to run a lathe book.    

AnthonyGS GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/21/18 9:14 p.m.
Fueled by Caffeine said:

I pulled a friend out of a lathe who had a chuck key go through his hand.  He left it in. Slow speed.   


Awesome lathe. Be safe. 

In the Navy class we had one of those biology class skeletons with a chuck key in his skull as a reminder.  Yes slow is fast when it comes to lathe operation.  

_ Reader
10/21/18 11:03 p.m.

I know it’s been touched on already, but SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY!!!!!!

please, sir, go to YouTube. Search “lathe accident”, watch those graphic videos. You need fear before respect. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Digital Experience Director
10/22/18 2:57 a.m.

Don’t worry about the safety angle... I grew up running my dad’s smithy, and learned most of what I know from a machinist that fired any employee who threw any key on the spot. I was taught a very very healthy respect for stuff like this. So I know the basics, but now I have my own machine and I can learn how to build more intricate parts. 

akylekoz Dork
10/22/18 5:39 a.m.

We installed a spring on the end of the chuck key so it can not get left in the chuck.  

I'm super jealous, as I've been casually shopping for a few years.  My biggest problem is justifying one for home when there is one at work that I can use. 

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