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Atlas Lathe


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So one of the things my dad got me and brought in for the holidays is an old Atlas lathe. The motor works, everything on it seems to move. It is missing the tailstock or what ever it's called, I think that's it though. It also needs the belt for the drive shaft. I had a few questions about it. First, how do I figure the size of the belt I need? Can I just use a string and wrap it around the pulleys and that's the length belt I need? I'm not sure how belts are measured and labeled so I'm fairly clueless. Also, do you think it will be possible to find a tailstock? I've not been able to find what I believe to be a model on the lathe but have found very similar looking ones through google. I've found markings on a few pieces as well but they might be part numbers for the specific part it's on. At least it seems it might be that way to me.

If anyone has any advice as to how I should go about restoring this thing to working order I would more than appreciate it

Edit: I've found the exact model. It's an Atlas 618







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BTW that's a nice lathe. Once you figure out how to use it, should serve you well. It does appear to be missing the tailstock but I would bet you can find one, try searching on eBay. Might have your dad check with whoever he got it from, may be in a drawer or on a shelf there. I think it's the same as a Craftsman 101 lathe.

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Link belts are used for emergency applications or where belts are difficult to change. They will actually add vibration whereas a solid one will not.

When you get the tailstock the main concern will be matching it to the headstock. To get the most accuracy they need to be perfectly aligned vertically. Side to side is adjustable, but vertically they are not. Taller would be better as it can be lowered by grinding / scraping.  Now if you are not working down to tight tolerances it won't matter much, but as a machinist I can tell you that even .0001" can make a difference in fitting items up.

There should be a ton of info out there for ATLAS lathes, probably even a forum.  Those also use change gears for threading, feeds, but you may be able to get by with the combination you have.

As for a belt. They come in A,B, C,,, profiles and the size will be the circumference of the belt. The mounts are adjustable, so if you get close you should be able to make it work. Depending on the width of the belt needed, a 5/16"-3/8" rope wrapped around the pulleys and marked where the end meets should get you in the ballpark.

A lathe is one of those tools where once you have one you wonder why you didn't get one earlier.

A couple of safety items.

NEVER leave the chuck key in the chuck. Get into the habit of laying it in the pan now so you don't get injured if it gets turned on with it sticking out of the chuck.

NEVER wear loose clothing, loose long hair , gloves, long sleeves, or necklaces/ear bud cords when working around rotating equipment. If they get caught up it can cause great harm or possibly kill you.

ALWAYS wear eye protection. A hot chip on your lip or nostril-don't ask-is painful, but it won't be like getting a hot chip in a non replaceable eye.

ALWAYS be conscience of the rotating chuck jaws. At high speed they tend to fade from view , but they can bust a hand really easy.

See if a local community college has a machining night class you can take.


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