The short of it is that I'm brand new to machining, just starting on my "new" Atlas 3996 12"x36" that I got a few months ago. Problem: In turning, I consistently am getting a less than desirable finish on the part. You can feel the ridges in it. Sometimes it looks smeared, and sometimes it just looks like a million tiny threads rather than a nice, smooth finish that I'd like on a final pass. Faster speeds with light cuts provide better results, the sort of "fine thread" look, but still not up to par, and that's with the lathe at it's quickest speed taking a very slight cut and feeding very, very slowly by hand. Slower spindle speeds give the "melted" or "smeared" look to the cut, faster spindle speeds give the fine thread look. I am using HSS bits that I'm practicing sharpening. There may well be something to that in the issue. I have ground a small radius on the tip, and that seemed to help a little, but still issues. The tool is set so that it is just slightly below the center line of the work piece. There is no chatter or noise from the bit, and the chip color is good, no bluing or anything like that. I hope I've given enough information, though I know there are many variables. By the way, I give not thanks to the goofball who first put the machine together (under drive bench) back in the 70s...because he installed all the pulleys backwards. Yes, figuring out why the spindle speed never seemed remotely correct was tough!