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Posted by / 18-Jul-2017 17:20

Atlas sphere dating site

In this form (apart from power cross feed 10-F introduced a year later) the lathe had reached almost its final evolutionary form and was to continue largely unchanged until 1957 - and the introduction of the heavily revised "12-inch" model.

Interestingly, the English versions, Sphere, Halifax and Acorntools, did not just sport different badges but had either the "maker's" name cast into the easily-changed bed foot together with the claim "British Made" (Sphere) or with so few major mechanical differences (Halifax and Acorntools) that they must either have been specially constructed by Atlas, or copied and manufactured under licence in England or, more likely, built up there from a combination of made-in-England parts and original spares.

Also produced, though in the UK only during and just after WW2, was a capstan version (screw-machine) a lathe dedicated to production work.

In the USA no such version was offered, though it was possible to fit the ordinary machine with a conversion kit - a bed-mounted 6-station capstan unit and a cut-ff (forming) slide.

If you don't recognise your particular Atlas model, explore all the hyper-links above for, besides different sizes of lathe, the company also produced a range of "Utility" and what were called "Unit Plan" models - some without screwcutting and with unguarded belt drives - that can be difficult to categorise.The plain-bearing headstock lathes, when properly set up, often give a better surface finish than the roller bearing models but, when worn, are very much more difficult and expensive to overhaul.The bearings (on both 10 and 12-inch versions) had Timken numbers "engraved" on them that appear to have been (applied consistently over the years) as follows: Big Cone = 16150Big Cup = 16284BSmall Cone = 14125ASmall Cup = 14276BThe "B" suffix indicated a flange - essential to stop the bearings working out through the hole in which it fits For a machine-tool application these bearings might, as fitted by the factory, have been special high-quality units designated by the number "3" to indicate a close-tolerance fit - and also marked with either a dot or the letter "X" to indicate the high spot - so allowing the pair of bearings to be set with the marks in line to ensure the spindle ran as accurately as possible.ZAMAK (a registered trade mark) is an alloy of based near the Franklin and Sterling Hill mines of northern New Jersey where the zinc ore was extracted) and employed from the very beginning of Atlas lathe production in 1932.The use of ZAMAK would have required a number of expensive dies - and Atlas must have reckoned on selling substantial numbers of machines to recoup their investment.

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Unless post-production testing is carried out on a regular basis this problem will not be picked up until, many years later, examination of identical components (used in the same environment) will show some to be as-new - but others hopelessly weakened.