Atlas 6″ Lathe

February 5, 2009

6" Craftsman/Atlas Lathe

6" Craftsman/Atlas Lathe

Just before Thanksgiving I pre-inherited my fathers second Atlas 6″ lathe. Actually its Craftsman branded, but these were made by Atlas I believe. My father somehow ended up with two of these (?!). The story gets a little muddled – one came from a clockmaker and the other from the Want Advertiser.  The paperwork which came with this one says its from 1972.  Bottom line is my dad had two  – one set up in his shop and the other one in pieces under a mission oak desk he has in his laundry room to fold sheets on.

I got the parts lathe. It’s 99% complete. It came with a 3 Jaw chuck (with 2 sets of jaws) and 4 Jaw chuck, a plate and two dogs, one dead center, a keyless drill chuck and a box with miscellaneous bits of cutter stock, center-drills, end-mills, a straight holder, and a small vise.

After a few stumbles I got it up and running. And it’s noisy! It isn’t the bearings – they are nice and tight – the noise is from one of the gears on the quill (??) is loose and rattles around noisily – there is a pin which is supposed to hold it to the rest of the gear train which seems to be jammed open (??). I’m not sure what this gear is for, but its not doing any harm and I’m not sure I know what the lever that engages this rattly gear is even for. More research necessary. But for the time being – everything works! 

The first gotcha was that the keyless drill chuck is shot.  The damn thing is either bent or the jaws engage at some funny random angle. Whatever the case may be, its not centered and seems to absolutely defy centering. . I was thinking about taking it all apart and bla bla bla. A quick comparision on the web and I realized that buying a 1/2 chuck and a 1MT to 6MT shaft from Grizzly with shipping cost 3$ less than buying the same thing from Rockler. I am getting better at not re-inventing the wheel.


My name is: Chuck

The minute I got the lathe set and working I started drawing a blank. The same sort of blank that I draw in the video store. The second my eyes land on the “new Releases” shelves – POOF – my mind clears. 

So now what? Over the years I had needed a lathe for various projects. Making film rollers for a medium format panoramic camera I never built . Turning nozzels for model rocket engines I never made: model plane engine parts – steam engines.  None of those hobbies are currently active.  The gears are turning.


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