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Atlas 618 headstock bearing adjusting

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Tim9

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#1
I can't remember the process to adjust the headstock bearings on my 618 AtIas lathe.
I had replaced the Timken headstock bearings a couple of years ago. Anyway I just recently decided to give the lathe a proper leveled bench so I built a welded mounting plate out of 2 pieces of 1x3” 1/8” wall rectangular tubing and set those side by side inside some 1x1” angle iron. I beefed up the wood bench it was on:.. leveled the wood bench.... set the steel mounting base on the wood bench and mounted and leveled the lathe.
I then shimed the carriage and adjusted the gibbs to removed the slop. Then checking the headstock play with a .0005 dial indicator. I found my headstock mounting bolts had worked lose so I tightened them and used locktite on the threads.
My problem now is I still am getting 3 thousandths of play in my headstock spindle. I know there’s an adjustment for the bearings but for the life of me I can not find an article on the adjustment nor do I remember how it’s done.
 
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Tim9

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#2
Well..I think I figured it out. Looks like the rear locking nut on the end of the spindle has a set screw with as best I can remember it has a lead ball which the screw pushes against to lock on the threads. Anyway...I ran it for a few minutes and then preloaded this lock nut. It looks like my old lathe will have to live with 2 thousandths play in the spindle. It is what it is.
 

Nogoingback

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#3
If you do a Google search for this: _Removing+backgears+and+spindle+on+618.pdf
you can download the first result which is a pdf that describes how to work on the 618 headstock. Included is a
procedure for adjusting the spindle bearings.
 

francist

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#4
Here's a snip from one of the tech bulletins. This was actually a Craftsman bulletin but same deal. I'm pretty positive these full documents are available to members in the Downloads section too if you want to poke around for them.

-frank

Capture 618 bearing adjust.JPG
 

Tim9

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#5
Thanks Nogoingback and Francist. I'll check out those and recheck my bearing tomorrow. For what its worth.. Since setting up my lathe on a firm base and levelinging plus shimming the carriage...The little 618 has never been so smooth. Its behaved better than ever.
 

wa5cab

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#6
The Atlas Technical Bulletin on the 612, 618 and 101.21400 is in our Downloads in the Maintenance and Tech Bulletins Category. And currently at the top of the files list because I just uploaded an update (changed SAE 10 on page 5 to SAE 20).

FWIW, the back gear portion would also be applicable to the 101.07301 although the section view will only be half right. Unfortunately, Atlas didn't do the headstock Technical Bulletins until after the sleeve bearing lathe had ceased production. If you mentally add the ball thrust bearing, the order of components on the spindle is probably correct. But I don't have one to confirm that with.
 

Tim9

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#8
Need to be specific when you say "play"- which direction? Also how are you measuring it?
Mark S.
Mark- I was checking play by trying to lift the chuck in an up and down motion. I adjusted the bearing after letting it warm up and it's much better now. Still have about a thousandths of play. But it is an Atlas 618.

The little 618 has never been "this good to me." Anyway... It was a mess until I decided to finally get it right. The headstock bolts had worked loose. The headstock bearings which I replaced about 4 years ago just need to be re-adjusted. The v-belt between the countershaft and headstock was split and vibrating. And the step pulley on the motor was cracked and vibrating the entire bench like a mix-master. I replaced the v-belt with a link belt. And...Yesterday I replaced that step-pulley and I must admit... It's now like a totally different lathe. Far from perfect. And aggravating to deal with those dials. But with patience... Its OK. And no more rattling and vibrating. The finish after turning a piece is OK.

Now...I'm off to Lowes for it's time to build a solid wooden bench for my newly aquired South Bend model C 9" lathe. It was built in 1939. 3-1/2' bed. Once I get I bench for it...It will be my next major undertaking. In due time... My makeshift "shop" will at least be somewhat functional. Far from ideal. But a vast improvement from the past. I've got the Atlas 618. A Rung Fu RF-45 clone. And then the South Bend. It'll then be time to make some chips.
 

Tim9

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#9
Oh...And i was using a Best Test 0.0005 dial indicator mounted to the bed touching the underside of the chuck. I had 3 thousandths of play before adjusting the bearings and now have about 0.001
Not perfect. But it is what it is.
 

markba633csi

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#10
I hear you, I'm reaching the limits with my Atlas 6", looking to replace it sometime.
Mark S.
 

Tim9

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#12
I hear you, I'm reaching the limits with my Atlas 6", looking to replace it sometime.
Mark S.
I would never be one to rip Atlas lathes. I'm willing to bet that over 1/3 of the Hobby Machinist guys got the bug from an Atlas or Craftsman lathe. I picked mine up for nothing. However...It was used and abused and had very little tooling. I'm sure I've spent my fair share on new chucks and repairs to this little lathe. Yea...It has its limits but its also small and lightweight which is nice when one does not have a proper workshop or garage.
 

David S

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#13
I agree. Way back when if it wasn't for Atlas I wouldn't have got a lathe. I love my 618, got it from the original owner who was a machinist that got it to make a scale model steam locomotive. Well looked after and lots of interesting lathe tools that he had ground.

David
 
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