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My first lathe ... 618

GaWajn

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#1
I recently purchased this Atlas 618 lathe. It is in working condition ... but has a few issues. I will be needing your help with getting the machine to run as it should. I will be posting my questions in this thread, as they arise from my inspection/testing.

I have read just about everything I could find on this site regarding the 618 ... but being a complete novice ... a lot of the information is a bit over my head.

For today ... I will just post the pictures identifying the lathe. The questions will come later. Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

IMG_1471.jpg

IMG_1476.jpg
 

GaWajn

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#3
Here are a few more pics ...

IMG_1472.jpg

IMG_1473.jpg

The gears on the spindle look very dry ...

IMG_1474.jpg

The whole assembly for tensioning looks to be loose ... probably bad bushings etc ...

IMG_1475.jpg

I don't care for the maretts wiring job ... looks like a 3/4 HP single phase wired for 115 Volts. I will be looking into improving the wiring job and maybe convert to 220 Volts.

IMG_1477.jpg

I think that is a live center on the tailstock ... I don't know much about these things ...

IMG_1478.jpg

Now that's a funky looking tool setup on the tool post ... that ain't gonna work for me. If I can get the lathe working correctly ... I will be getting a starter kit from the Little Machine Shop.

IMG_1479.jpg

IMG_1480.jpg

The cross slide screw has major up and down play. I will include a short video showing this. I can't believe that is correct!

IMG_1481.jpg

Looks like the belt will need replacing ...
 

dlane

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#4
Welcom to the site, I think ied first get the correct oils for it ,Way oil , spindle oil, a manual for it should be in the downloads
That is a odd looking tooling setup
 

DaveInMi

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#5
Welcom to the site, I think ied first get the correct oils for it ,Way oil , spindle oil, a manual for it should be in the downloads
That is a odd looking tooling setup
I have used that tool holder in the tool post for a boring bar. I thought that was its purpose. I didn't use it for tool bits.
 

dlane

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#6
Shouldn't the motor be under the drive ? , dose it run backwards,
Do these lathes not have way wipers
It should be a good learning lathe
 

francist

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#7
The cross slide screw has major up and down play. I will include a short video showing this. I can't believe that is correct!
Yup, that's largely due to the fact that you're missing a couple of parts there -- namely the guard and the flat-head screw that attaches the guard. The guard itself is not so much a loss, but the accompanying screw attaches through the hole in the guard and the cross slide to anchor the bronze lead screw nut. Without it, the lead screw will indeed flop around quite a bit.

You may want to have a real close look at various parts drawings to identify all your components. I think (although it's a bit tough from the photo) that you're also missing the two adjustment screws to the rocker shaft. This could account for what you describe as "looseness" there as well, although it could be other things too. At any rate, looking at the exploded parts drawings and comparing them one by one with the assemblies on your lathe is a great way to find things as well as help you identify what might be amiss.

Certainly no shortage of power with a 3/4 horse motor but for some reason it's been reduced in speed quite a bit with the aftermarket pulleys there. Maybe the previous owner didn't know how to engage back gear? And yes, do get some oil happening!

Have fun, they're nice little machines!

-frank
 

GaWajn

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#8
Good hints on where to get started. Thanks for the input guys. I have a paper ''LATHE OPERATION'' repro manual on the way from ebay.
 

GaWajn

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#9
These parts came with the machine.

IMG_1482.jpg

IMG_1483.jpg

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IMG_1485.jpg

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You can see the old worn half nut at the top of this photo.

IMG_1487.jpg

I wonder if these jaws are for the three jaw chuck?
 

GaWajn

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#10
Also ... the previous owner installed a new half nut which he said cost him close to $100 CND. When I engage the half nut ... it makes an intermittent noise like it might be binding at points. I will try to post a video of this.

I have $400 CND into the machine at this point, so I have some $$ wiggle room to make things right.
 

wa5cab

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#13
As Frank said, the reason that the cross feed screw moves around is that the attachment screw for the nut is missing. He's probably correct about the countershaft assembly as well.

Current practice is to call the center shown in your tailstock a live center. Two generations ago, a live center was one in the head stock and the one in the tails stock was either a dead center or a rotating dead center. So when you see "live center" or "dead center" in print, you need to consider vintage and context before deciding what the author meant.

Regardless of the sloppy wiring, a 3/4 HP motor is 2X over-kill on a 6" machine. Atlas recommended 1/4 to 3/8 HP. An oversize motor only does two things. If something does go wrong, you're going to break more of the machine than you would have with the proper size motor. And it costs more to operate.

On the way that the motor is mounted, there are four possible ways, and I've seen photos showing all four. There are two ways in which to assemble the counter shaft assembly. The way that yours is is uncommon. The standard way has the large driven pulley (which BTW should be a two step, not a single step, on both the countershaft spindle and on the motor) on the left end of the countershaft spindle. In various Atlas publications I've seen the motor mounted either under the countershaft or to the left of the countershaft, in both cases with the large pulley on the left side. However, that really doesn't matter. But putting the motor where yours is is the worst of the four choices. Although most chips will be thrown toward the operator, the second most likely is toward your motor. The same goes for coolant if you use any. The motor is safer up under the countershaft. Which is where most of the Atlas photos show it. I imagine that whoever put the oversize motor on it discovered that the motor is too large to fit under the countershaft. So instead of using the proper size motor,he turned everything around. As far as which direction the lathe runs, AC motors will run in either direction, depending upon how they are wired. If it runs backwards the first time you turn it on, you just change the wiring.

The back gears look like they have not been greased in decades. Probably the rest of the machine is the same way.

The six chuck jaws look like the standard set for a small 3-jaw self-centering chuck. Unlike on a 4-jaw, you cannot turn the jaws around on most 3-jaw.chucks. So they all come originally with two sets of jaws. Usually, when you buy a small 3-jaw chuck, they only come with whichever set is in the chuck. Because the PO has lost the other set. So you got lucky there.
 

GaWajn

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#14
I understand that the motor is not in the ideal position and should be remedied. I am going to have to study that.

I am gathering very useful information from your posts. I thank you all for your input.

At this point ... I am trying to assess what needs to be done/bought and tally the cost. I have a limited budget so I have to be careful. Maybe I will have to spread the costs over a bit of time and not try to get everything fixed in the same week.
 

wa5cab

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#15
OK. Just so I'm sure that you understand, I don't think that you can move the existing oversize motor. To get it back under the countershaft assembly, I think that you are going to have to put the proper size motor on it. The DC treadmill motor that some people have put onto the various 6" Atlas/Craftsman machines tend to be smaller that the same HP single phase AC motors and might fit. But you don't have one of those, either.
 

GaWajn

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#16
I started taking the machine apart to assess what is possibly needed to make the lathe run correctly.

IMG_1514.jpg

First up is the carriage jamming situation ...

IMG_1507.jpg

The ''CARRIAGE TRAVERSE SHAFT + PINION'' (M6-68) looks chewed up. The rest of the gears look great and turn very smoothly with no hint of binding or coarseness of any kind.

IMG_1509.jpg

IMG_1510.jpg

Looks like I am going to have to find a replacement for this part.
 

GaWajn

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#17
Secondly ... the sloppiness in the compound rest screw. I was assuming that the brass nut (M6-19A) was missing. It was there but the 10-24 x 1/2 inch ''FLAT HEAD MACHINE SCREW'' that holds the guard and Brass nut in place was missing.

IMG_1480.jpg

I am inclined to replace the brass nut because the top part where the screw should attach is chewed up pretty badly. I will try to source the screw and guard from somewhere.
 
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GaWajn

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#18
I also found a third problem involving the tail stock.

IMG_1505.jpg

The hand wheel is cracked ... I will be looking to replace it sometime down the road ...

IMG_1504.jpg

... and the clamping system looks like it was made by a blacksmith ...

IMG_1502.jpg

IMG_1503.jpg

I am gonna have to do something about that!
 

RandyM

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#19
Now, how do ya suppose the hand wheel gets broke?
 

GaWajn

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#20
Running total ... just for giggles ... in Canadian dollars ...

Cost of Machine ................................. 400.00
Fuel to go get it .....................................50.00
Manual ''LATHE OPERATION'' ...........41.35 (REPRINT, ebay shipping included)
Brass nut (M6-19A) ..............................25.06 (USED, ebay shipping included)
Guard with screw (M6-37) ...................44.49 (USED, ebay shipping included)

Total so far .......................................... 560.90 ..................... and counting :)
 

GaWajn

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#21
I checked the spindle and found the outside (towards change gears) oil seal was not seated correctly. A few taps with a brass flat punch took care of the problem. Other than that ... everything seems good and tight with no slop whatsoever.

IMG_1512.jpg

IMG_1513.jpg
 

David S

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#22
I bought my 618 from a retired machinist that purchased it new in 1949 to make a steam locomotive. I paid $150 in 1975 which is about $670 in today's dollars. So so far you are doing pretty good.
Now it came with the manual a number of replacement wear items like the clam shell half nuts, brass cross slide nut and a few other things. And lots and lots of custom ground lathe tools.
I lived forever with the rocker tool post and hated every year I had it, to the extent that I sometimes wouldn't switch to a more appropriate lathe tool if I could possibly avoid it.
A few years ago I broke down and got a QCTP from Little machine shop. Awe heaven at last. The only thing I regretted is not ordering way more tool holders with the initial purchase. Had to place a separate order.

Keeps us updated on your progress. I love my Atlas 618.
David
 

GaWajn

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#23
I had located the pinion and shaft, part number M6-68, which I need to replace, and is available from Sears parts direct in the USA. I tried calling the toll free number but it won't accept calls from Canada. I then tried calling Sears Canada ... got to talk to someone ... and then their supervisor ... who told me that although the parts are still being made and /or are still available from Sears in the US ... they can't order them from the states. I asked if there was anyone in the entire corporation in Canada that could pick up a phone and get the part for me ... and the answer was NO ... if it doesn't come up on their computer screen ... they can't do anything about it.

I was totally flabbergasted! Not a happy camper!

So just on the off chance that I could still get some parts from Clausing/Atlas directly ... I called the toll-free number. An actual person answered ... and promptly transferred me to someone who could help me with Atlas replacement parts.

This was a wonderful experience! Actually speaking with someone (a nice lady) who knew what I was talking about. I took a look at the exploded parts chart and ordered some other replacement parts, because my original part, M6-68 which was $57 at Sears direct in the states ... was $23 from Clausing!!! She kept rattling off ... ''those set screws are $1 a piece'' ... so I just kept adding to the order ... :) A very pleasant experience! Totally happy camper!!
 

wa5cab

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#24
Heh heh. I was going to suggest calling Clausing, although I wasn't quite certain as to whether or not they will ship to Canada. Glad to learn that they will. And although it says something for Sears that they still support equipment that they have not sold for the past 36 years, they do get most of their stock from Clausing.

FWIW, the steel cups that are on both sides of both spindle bearings are dust covers, not actually seals.
 

GaWajn

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#25
I got two packages in the mail today ... the first one from ebay ...

IMG_1521.jpg

The second one from Clausing ...

IMG_1522.jpg

I just need to find some time to clean everything and reassemble for some testing ...
 

GaWajn

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#27
I got the new parts installed ... adjusted what I can ... and it looks like it is running ok. Here is a link to a youtube video of the lathe in operation.


There is no sign of the binding noise that it was making prior to swapping the needed parts. Looks like i am good to go.

IMG_1544.jpg

I will be getting the starter kit from the LMS website. I am thinking of getting a few HSS inserts to get me started because I have no grinding wheels or wet stones ... in fact ... I have no tools to sharpen anything. So for the time being ... I will start with inserts.

As for the motor situation ... I will look at that at a later date.
 
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Round in circles

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#28
the teeth on m
I started taking the machine apart to assess what is possibly needed to make the lathe run correctly.

View attachment 241535

First up is the carriage jamming situation ...

View attachment 241536

The ''CARRIAGE TRAVERSE SHAFT + PINION'' (M6-68) looks chewed up. The rest of the gears look great and turn very smoothly with no hint of binding or coarseness of any kind.

View attachment 241537

View attachment 241538

Looks like I am going to have to find a replacement for this part.
My carriage drives are similar to yours of the last two photos , nowadays I use a simple two plate offset carriage stop to hold/ stop the tool where it's needed . Now I've become better & more confident at using the old lathe I tend to use the gear box to drive the carriage so the damaged tooth is not at that awkward point under hand wheel control for that vital portion of travel .

Sometimes it's meant me having to run it through a sequence without power on so I can get the cutting tool in the right position onn the cross slide to allow me to do it without crashing the cutter into the chuck nor removing parts that I don't want removing .
I've found that I can run it on auto cut to almost 1 mm from the chuck but do prefer a good 3 mm free un-powered travel to be finished of freehand
 
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kopeck

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#29
Sounds like my Craftsman with the feed engaged...loud. :)

I've got roughly the same amount invested in mine as you have. I just ordered the starter kit from LMS, it's suppose to be here tomorrow. I can't wait, my machine is ready to go but the lantern tool post isn't the right one for the machine and I don't have any tool holders. I stuck a RH turning tool in the holder to try it but you have to tip it way down to get it on center which seems to mess with the cutting quite a bit. To get all those original parts I was just as well to go with the LMS kit.

It also looks like your machine is geared for cutting threads, you might want to check that before you try and make some cuts.

K