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Atlas/Craftsman Serial Numbers and Bearing Dates

Discussion in 'ATLAS, CRAFTSMAN & AA' started by wa5cab, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. VSAncona

    VSAncona Active User Active Member

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    Atlas 918 Utility lathe with Babbitt bearings -- serial number X453S
     
  2. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Chuck,

    OK. That is the earliest 10" serial number in the database. In fact, it is ~2500 lower than the only 10A serial number. But as it has a "D" prefix to the serial number, it must be a 10D.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
  3. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Vince,

    Thanks. That's the first identified Utility and serial number reported. It isn't known whether or not the 9" and 10" shared serial numbers or not. From the few examples reported, it could be either way.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  4. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Balance of thread on Topcraft's 10D moved to a new non-sticky thread named "Topcraft's New 10D"
     
  5. cdhknives

    cdhknives Active User Active Member

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    Really? My Dad's Babbit bearing, vertical countershaft, 10" has an H prefix. I didn't think the prefix defined the lathe series...???
     
  6. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I assume your Dad's machine must be a 10F. When Atlas came out with the 10F, they changed the Model Number format from four digits and a letter (except on the back geared ones) to one or two letters and two digits. So 1036 for original early back geared 10x18, 1054 for the original early back geared 10x36, etc., and according to the catalogs, also 1036...1054 for the 10D, 1054A, 1054B, 1054C and 1054E for those stripped-down models. The serial numbers of 40% of the ten known 10D's in the database have a "D" prefix and about two spaces between it and the numbers. We have one known to me machine (without back gears or carriage or countershaft) with an "A" prefix which must be a 1048A. Of the reported 10D's that have a "D" prefix, all are also reported to have an "S" suffix, which we have never figured out.

    The model number syntax for the 10F's was changed to (d)dnn as in V36 (babbit bearings, vertical countershaft, 36" bed), TH54 (Timken bearings, horizontal countershaft, 54" bed), etc. The syntax for the serial numbers also apparently changed, with the prefix (where reported) being either "V" or "H". And again, those 10F's with a reported prefix also have a reported "S" suffix (still unknown).

    My current assumption is that some10" machines with no reported prefix or suffix probably have them but the owner didn't key them in for whatever reason. I also think that around 1940 or 41, the prefixes and suffixes for the serial numbers were discontinued.
     
  7. utterstan

    utterstan Canada Active Member Active Member

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    my plate reads 618 011486 how old would that be
     
  8. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Stan,

    Unfortunately, Atlas did not engrave a date on the spindle bearings used in the 618's. And unlike the 6" MK2, no one has ever reported finding a casting date cast into any of the 6" cast parts. So the only way to date one would be to find one with the original invoice (none have been reported) or be or know the original owner and know when the thing was bought that way (one known example from 1941). We have two or three examples where the current owner has reported or recorded the dates on manuals found with the lathe. But with no proof as to whether the manuals were original to the lathe.

    Clausing has no production records for the Atlas lathes (nor the Clausing ones, for that matter). They were either lost or destroyed during one of Clausing's many moves.

    The best estimate from almost no data is late 1948. That assumes constant production rates which is unlikely, especially during WW-II. So say 1945 to 1948.
     
  9. utterstan

    utterstan Canada Active Member Active Member

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    thanks I guess I should put it together then lol.so I guess that would be at least 1yr older than me.
     
  10. Snell Metalfab - Joe

    Snell Metalfab - Joe United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have a Craftsman 12" x 36" lathe, the model number is 101.28990 and the serial number is 102963. My question is, does anyone have any idea the year this was manufactured? A call to Clausing was of minimal help, they suggested it was 1971-1972. I am restoring it and after degreasing it, when I looked inside the bed, cast into the back side is "03-22-1966". Logic tells me that would be when it was made, however, many 1966 version Atlas/Craftsman lathes look much older than mine (with regard to the gear cover, on/off switch, etc). I was just curious if anyone had a clue of it's age. Thanks in advance!!
     
  11. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Based upon a report in the database that serial # 102826 was bought on 01/16/1974. I would place yours as made in early 1974. The date in the bed is the casting date. The Atlas MOLO says that bed castings were seasoned for at least a year before being finish machined. How much longer they might have been seasoned before machining or how long after that they might have been used, we don't know. Clausing lost or destroyed all of the Atlas production records.

    The earlier machines with the different shaped gear and belt covers were made from 1936 until late 1957. Your machine is the final version. The version made from late 1957 until late 1967 are almost the same as yours except that they had the earlier pull-out knob to engage cross-feed, the earlier right lead screw bearing, no slip-clutch on the lead screw, and a few other minor differences. They also had serial numbers beginning with "00", not "10".

    If you should ever have ocassion to pull the spindle, please report any dates found engraved on the spindle bearings.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2016
  12. Snell Metalfab - Joe

    Snell Metalfab - Joe United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    That is a wonderful piece of research, I really appreciate it. I currently have the head stock completely disassembled but I don't recall seeing any engraving on the bearings, but I'll check. The owner explained that this machine was purchased by him 26 years ago at an estate auction but before he got it unloaded, he found a deal on a South Bend, which is what he REALLY wanted. The machine sat in the corner of his shop for 20-21 years until he moved it to an OUTSIDE carport. It sat there until July of 2015 when I purchased it...... It was rusted beyond belief, but in great shape otherwise, if that makes any sense. What isn't rusted is in 'like new' condition. I have been methodically restoring it and I'm on "the home stretch". I have a friend who has a powder coat shop so I have been having him coat everything 'Machinery Gray'. Between Royal Purple degreaser and Evaporust, we are slowly making progress. I have it put back together with the exception of the head stock and the gear change box. We have taken a zillion pictures along this journey and I'll share them when I can. Thanks again and I'll be sure to check the bearings for dates.
     
  13. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Thanks. Compared to the 10 inch and early 12 inch, we have relatively few late 12 inch machines listed in the database. However, none of the listings show bearing dates. This could be a coincidence or because either Atlas or Timken quit date marking the bearings. If your machine does have dates on the bearings, they will be on the one surface of the cups and of the cones that don't touch anything. So on the cups, the dates would be visible if the dust covers are removed. If you have the spindle out of your headstock, that should have extracted the right dust cover as the right cone is a light press fit on the spindle and usually brings the cover out with it. Let us know.
     
  14. Snell Metalfab - Joe

    Snell Metalfab - Joe United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Just stopped by my shop and checked, no dates on the bearings.
     
  15. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    OK. Thanks. I was afraid of that. The latest date that we have in the database is 1951/08/14. So either Timken or Atlas must have quit doing it in the early 50's. Possibly because Timken's precision had improved to the point where it was no longer a premium charge to get bearings to whatever Class Atlas required.
     
  16. Snell Metalfab - Joe

    Snell Metalfab - Joe United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Wow, lesson learned the hard way...... the headstock bearings ARE NOT both the same!! I'm sure most intelligent people would have checked that out prior to ordering them.... however..... after cleaning them up (they were NASTY), they LOOKED the same so I assumed (and yes, I know the true definition of assumed!) they'd be the same. And just to show how messed up I am, I bought the right side race and the left side bearing!! Oh well, just another bump in the road to restoring this baby!
     
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  17. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Just as an FYI, the two major parts of a tapered roller bearing are called the Cup and the Cone.

    The spindle diameter is a little smaller on the left end.
     
  18. Snell Metalfab - Joe

    Snell Metalfab - Joe United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I'm sure this is a silly question but should you "pack" the bearings with grease or are they strictly lubricated by the oilers from above?
     
  19. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Well, only slightly. Short answer is No. Longer answer is H+*l No. :) Seriously, if you pack the bearings with grease, and if some of the grease immediately slings off (which it will), it could plug or block the oil pathway. And Murphey's Law says that it will, not may. Install the felt plugs that Atlas added as standard from the mid-sixties and try to remember to "top up" once a day or before every use period.
     
  20. Snell Metalfab - Joe

    Snell Metalfab - Joe United States H-M Supporter - Premium Content H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Very good, then, thank you! Got my bearing order all straightened out this weekend so all should be good in a few days.
     
  21. TH484BBB

    TH484BBB United States Iron Registered Member

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    Hi Robert,
    New member here. I inherited my Father's Atlas Lathe a while back and am in the process of setting it up for use on small jobs here at the house. It is Model - TH 48 Serial # 059780. So it would be a Timken and horizontal. Would you know what year it was made? It has a quick change gear box. I believe my father installed it shortly after he bought it. I believe he bought it used in 1953. It has the three jaw, four jaw, face plate and dog plate. It also had the milling attachment for the cross feed but I gave that to an old and dear friend 15 years ago. It has some wear on the ways on the operator side near the head stock. I don't plan to machine shafts anyway. I am leaving the original paint and just cleaning it. The cross nut had to be replaced and the 5 inch three jaw chuck was replaced with a 6". I now have a 4" Buck chuck I plan to mount on it. I will either make or buy a carriage stop and set it up for collet use.

    Thank you,

    Bill Maguire
     
  22. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Bill,

    I have a nicely done shop built 3-position carriage stop that I originally bought to use with my turret tail stock. Turned out that it fits a 3/8" way (I have a 3996, which has 1/2" ways) plus only two of the three positions were usable because only one of the three stop screws was above the top of the carriage when nominally deselected. I don't know what lathe it was actually made to work on. Would work fine as a single position stop on a 3/8" bed Atlas. $15 plus postage.

    Back to your machine and date of manufacture, if you ever have another reason to pull the spindle, both spindle bearings should have dates hand engraved on them. If you ever do pull them, please report the model number, serial number and both dates here. The two dates usually do not match. The current widest spread between the two dates is about 11 months (which could probably taken as proof that Atlas did not practice a strict First In - First Out on their inventory. The typical spread is about two to four months.

    Calculating between the nearest two bearing dates on machines with serial numbers bracketing yours, your machine would theoretically date to 1945/06/04 (YYYY/MM/DD). The base assumptions here are two-fold - first that the bearing dates are the manufacturing dates (they obviously aren't as they must be earlier) and a constant production rate (which may not be too far off given that the two bearing dates used are in 1942 and 1946, most of which was during WW-II). Anyway, taking all of the variables into account, it would probably be safe to say that your machine was made in 1945.

    The QCGB didn't come out until the last half of 1947 so your father adding it later agrees with known facts.
     
  23. TH484BBB

    TH484BBB United States Iron Registered Member

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    Robert,

    Wow, that was quick. Thank you. I was wondering would I be able to see the dates by taking off the bearing shields? Wait no they would be facing the center, never mind.
    As for the QC he could have bought it with it on it in 1953. I'll ask my oldest brother, he may know.
    I had no idea this site had so many topics to look into!
    The carriage stop sounds like it would fit in with my plans just right. I made a dial indicator mount for it long ago but a positive stop would be great.

    Have fun,

    Bill
     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2016
  24. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Bill. You're welcome. And besides the fact that the dates are usually on the large side of the cones, you cannot pull the front shield or the next two without pulling the spindle. And I doubt that you could pull the rear one without destroying it.

    On the carriage stop, let me make sure that I can still find it first. And then if you do want it, I'll send you payment options.
     
  25. TH484BBB

    TH484BBB United States Iron Registered Member

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    Robert,
    I'll take the carriage stop. You say it will work on a 3/8" rail, I can make it work.
    Thanks again,

    Bill
     
  26. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    On bearing dates, it appears that either Atlas or Timken (whomever actually put them on the bearings) stopped doing that after the mid 50's. Everyone with a Commercial (either Atlas or Craftsman) who has needed to pull their spindle has reported no dates on the bearings. The latest reported bearing date is 1951/08/14. If you find a date, report it of course. But don't expect any.
     
  27. TH484BBB

    TH484BBB United States Iron Registered Member

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    Robert,
    I sent you payment on my wife's Paypal account. The picture shows a nicer stop than what I had in my mind's eye.
    Thank you,
    Bill
     
  28. wa5cab

    wa5cab Downloads Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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  29. TH484BBB

    TH484BBB United States Iron Registered Member

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    Robert,

    I would be interest in the collet attachment. I believe I could make the needed link for it to work.
    What's the price?
    I don't seem to be able to answer your "Conversation" you send, is that that because I am a new member?

    Thank you,

    Bill
     
  30. TH484BBB

    TH484BBB United States Iron Registered Member

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    Robert,

    I just got confirmation from my oldest brother that Dad did by the lathe with the QC already on it and it was probably 1953.

    Bill
     

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