• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.
  • PLEASE: Read the FORUM RULES BEFORE registering!

4

Atlas MF Horizontal Mill.......what should I do?

3
Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!
10

Olddaddy

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2015
Messages
109
Likes
46
#1
image.jpeg So, I don't know the first thing about horizontal mills, but there is an Atlas MF for sale near me. I'd like to have a small mill, but would a horizontal one be useful in my small hobby shop? My brain understands regular mills, how can I translate that to horizontal? It's a language I am not familiar with........
 

Glenn Brooks

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
651
Likes
664
#3
+ 1 for the thread. Good discussion going on.

Atlas mills are small and lightweight. This one looks very cared for in the photo you posted. These aren't the 4000# bemouths that industry used to build naval vessels and steam locomotives, by any means. However, oh so perfect for small, one off part runs. They were designed for hobby work, so generally don't have extensive wear and tear of the big iron. Also tooling is generally cheaper than bigger mills, because it is smaller. although collets and arbors, as well as horizontal shell mill cutters are definitely becoming scarer, and hence going up in price. So both plus and minuses.

Look on line for an old digitized version of Rudy Kompkoff's horizontal milling machining video. He used an Atlas to do all sorts of amazing things. If you would enjoy practising yesteryear machining, buy it and go for it! the Atlas would be a perfect addition to your shop as it takes up very little floor space, yet will do some surprising processes.

One thing to do, definitely ask about accompanying tooling and make sure the price is reasonable. And Let us know what you decide!

Glenn
 

34_40

Dazed and Confused
Active Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2013
Messages
648
Likes
139
#4
Or, purchase it and re-sell it.
The prices have been crazy for the last couple years. If you can get it "right", then you could make a small profit.

But, they are a lot of fun to use, (once you figure out how to hold things down) and +1 on Rudy's documents, he showed a lot of different ways to use the Atlas.
There is/was a small group of us here in different stages of rebuilds / operations of mills, and lookup Thunderdog on here, he has some nice videos of his rebuild and now use of a Atlas Mill.

A friend of mine on a limited income would do almost anything if he could land one for $400....
 

retrojoe

Iron
Registered Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
15
Likes
41
#5
I recently bought an MFC in not close to this condition and paid $900 (with some tooling). I found the CL ad for the one you've posted and it looks like the arbor is newly made but, made well. That stand looks way too short for comfort, though.

I hemmed and hawed over getting a mini horizontal and it came down to a couple of considerations/epiphanies:

1) I didn't have practical room for a large mill. I need to build a new garage/workshop and wasn't interested in cramming a big mill into the space I have and then moving it twice. Plus, I can get the Atlas in my tiny basement so even if I get a full size mill I can keep this anywhere I want. It's almost portable.
1a) Two people can pick these up and carry it anywhere. The catalog said the shipping weight is 270-something lbs but without the motor it's closer to 200. Take the access cover off the rear (rectangular plate with 4 screws) and the column casting provides a convenient handle for one person. Have the other person grab the knee (helps to have a pair of grippy gloves on that side). Remove the motor to make it easier overall.

2) A horizontal can do 90% of what a vertical can do (and vice-versa). The vertical part is just flipped 90 degrees and it comes with a handy horizontal attachment.

3) You won't lose money on this. Buy it, use it and then sell it if you want to upgrade. You'll probably turn a profit.
 
Last edited:

DaveInMi

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Feb 25, 2016
Messages
104
Likes
94
#7
I have an inexpensive set of morse taper collets and use them for end mills. Shift your thinking 90 degrees and it works well. It is a hobby lathe and I don't expect heavy cuts. Most mills of this size do not have power feed but the Atlas does. I would rather have it than the low end mill drills I see advertised. I paid $300.
 

Herk

Iron
Registered Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Messages
11
Likes
5
#8
An Atlas MF series horizontal mill with an angle plate can be a poor man's Rusnok.
 

ThunderDog

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
86
Likes
136
#9
I bounced back and forth when I decided to buy mine. Your photo looks like it has been well cared for, but that's looking at a picture on a computer screen. Mine was in rather poor shape. It was not the worst I've seen on the web, but definitely had been hacked a few times. I concur that prices for an Atlas mill or any parts for the mill have been all over the place. My mill still does not have the overarm support and only recently did I finally cough up the cash and won an auction on fleabay for the 1" arbor with spacers. The arbor alone was more than I would normally pay, but I had been scouting Craigslist and eBay for over a year and half before one even showed up on the radar.

Bottom line is that it's all in how much fun you want to have with your machines. I've had moments where I thought of moving on from it, but I keep coming back to the little guy. If you get it dialed in it can take some decent cuts but you have to remember that it is NOT a Cincy, Bridgeport, etc. It's a small machine, small footprint, and better than trying to mill on a lathe. Something else I would like to share, you DON'T NEED a vise to utilize this little machine. I kept thinking I "needed" one, but after buying an overseas vise it was moved to my converted horizontal-to-vertical Jefferson mill.

I've got a few videos on the rebuild. I swear a complete tear down of this machine felt like it was made with ten-thousand parts!!
Best of luck with your decision!!


 

francist

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2013
Messages
673
Likes
755
#10
still does not have the overarm support and only recently did I finally cough up the cash and won an auction on fleabay for the 1" arbor with spacers. The arbor alone was more than I would normally pay, but I had been scouting Craigslist and eBay for over a y
Do you notice an appreciable difference with the 1" arbor vs the 7/8" arbor? I only have the 7/8" arbor (although I have two of those) for mine and even though I've not run the machine too much yet your comment piqued my interest. Better selection of milling cutters too, perhaps, for the 1"? Thanks for any insights.

-frank
 

Glenn Brooks

H-M Supporter - Premium Member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Nov 14, 2014
Messages
651
Likes
664
#11
1" cutters are kind of hard to find at present. They are available on eBay, but some are very expensive. Haven't seen one 7/8" cutter in the last week or two, although haven't been looking for that size.

Glenn
 

wa5cab

Downloads Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2011
Messages
3,760
Likes
721
#12
You can also find two or three commercial designs of vertical heads that fit the Atlas. However, none to my knowledge have a quill. So they are not great for drilling holes.
 

ThunderDog

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
86
Likes
136
#13
francist, It's still sitting on the shelf because I need to make or find the overarm support piece. I'm calling it the overarm support, probably not the right name but too lazy to look it up. :p:D
I need this thing(not my mill, just an image from the internet):
1.jpg
 

ThunderDog

Active Member
Active Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2014
Messages
86
Likes
136
#14
wa5cab, mine actually came with one of those vertical heads but it was driven by a second motor. Unlike the design that makes the belt turn 90° to be driven by the spindle this made it too fast and by the time I put an end mill holder in the vertical head you REALLY lost alot of day light. And the real kicker to mine was that some of the brackets were welded to the machine, a real shame. The loss of daylight was what prompted me to keep my Jefferson mill and add a 4" extension to it.

Part 2 of that is coming out this Saturday for those interested.

Olddaddy, did you buy it? Kind of excited to find out.:D
 

retrojoe

Iron
Registered Member
Joined
Sep 10, 2017
Messages
15
Likes
41
#15
francist, It's still sitting on the shelf because I need to make or find the overarm support piece. I'm calling it the overarm support, probably not the right name but too lazy to look it up. :p:D
I need this thing(not my mill, just an image from the internet):
View attachment 242933
That's the arbor support. The overarm support would be the bar that came on the C models.
 

wa5cab

Downloads Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2011
Messages
3,760
Likes
721
#16
Right. It is used on the base through B-models, part number M1-8. If you haven't already, go to DOWNLOADS, drill down to the Atlas mill manuals, and download MMB-5. Note that parts on the illustrated parts list pages that are circled were only used on the M*C models. However, M1-60 with the bushings and clamps in it is actually backwards compatible. You just can't use the front support bar without also changing several other parts on the table in-feed. .

TD, what is the serial number on your mill?
 

wa5cab

Downloads Moderator
Staff member
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Dec 25, 2011
Messages
3,760
Likes
721
#17
On the vertical head subject, if you use a vertical head with a 2MT (or 3MT or R8) spindle, you minimize the loss of head room if you use 2MT collets instead of milling cutter holders.
 

francist

Active User
H-M Supporter-Premium Member
Joined
Sep 5, 2013
Messages
673
Likes
755
#18
Thanks guys. The cross section of a 1" vs 7/8" would definitely say it would be more rigid. I was just wondering if that held true in actual use with a noticeably more rigid setup. I'll not sweat searching for a larger arbor at this point, but may just keep half an eye open in case one pops up somewhere.

-frank
 
6
5 7