I recently ran into some financial trouble and had to sell a couple of my machines to make a few house payments. One of them to go was my beautiful Heavy 10 South Bend lathe. It took me about a week to start having lathe withdrawals so I posted a WTB ad on the local classifieds and got several calls.

I ended up getting a little Atlas 618 6″ by 18″ metal lathe for a hundred bucks.

The lathe is in great original condition and came with a 3 jaw chuck, lantern style tool post holder, and a very nice tool post grinder that is probably worth several times what I paid for the lathe.

(crappy cell phone pic)

It didn’t come with a stand so I took one of my Delta stands out of the rathole and used that. I added some drawers and mounted the lathe to it this weekend.

The center section with the drawers slides out of the stand so I can still access the nuts and bolts used to mount the lathe and motor.

The light is a 2 dollar light I got from the local thrift shop. It will work for now until I can find a nice vintage one.

The drawer pulls I made out of 1/2″ bolts. I cut them down so they were about a 1/2 long, faced the back side with the lathe and drilled and tapped them for a No. 10 screw.

The wood is all reclaimed wood from some shelves that I took down in my shop a few years ago.

I still need to add a switch and I have a quick change tool post ordered for it.

Looking for a steady rest and follow rest for it it anyone has one they want to get rid of. They come up on Ebay but they are pricey.The Atlas is pretty much the same machine as the Craftsman 101 and takes the same accessories.

I was worried about the lathe feeling like a little toy compared to my South Bend but overall I am very happy with the lathe. It should work fine for what I need it for.

 

Thanks for looking,

Shane

Update:

I have been using this little lathe quite a bit since I got it and so far I am pretty impressed with it.

I needed to make a spindle sleeve for a DP that I am restoring so I needed to pick up a steady rest for the lathe. I found a NOS steady rest and follow rest on Ebay for a great price. They were Craftsman blue so I painted them gray.

 

I also found a nice drum switch and mounted that on the left side of the stand.

Pic also shows rare earth magnets used to hold the wrenches in place.

I made a micrometer carriage stop out of an old micrometer and some aluminum that I had kicking around the shop.

Pic also shows the Atlas badge on the head stock.

A few more misc. pics:

Gears for threading and carriage feed. I need to pick up a few more gears for threading but the damn things are pricey.

Threading chart

4 inch 3 jaw Union Mfg Co. chuck

No. 0 Jacobs chuck with MT1 shaft

A2Z quick change tool post

Atlas motor badge

The compound rest guard was busted on the lathe so rather than replacing it I cut it shorter and used it to hold down a piece of neoprene. The neoprene still keeps swarf from getting into the threads and when I want to use the tool post grinder or follow rest, which both mount on the compound, I can just flip the neoprene up out of the way instead of removing the guard, which is what you normally would have to do.

One last shot

 

So far I haven’t done anything to the lathe, other than clean and lubricate it. I am still trying to decide if I should do a full restoration on it. It’s in pretty nice shape so I will probably just leave it as-is … At least until I get bored one weekend and tear it apart :)

 

Thanks for looking,

Shane

 

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4 Comments on Atlas 618 Metal Lathe

  1. Dan Coleman says:

    Be sure to keep the inside of the Union chuck cleaned out. A replacement pinion is nowhere to found. If it starts feeling the least bit odd, clean it. I’ve been trying to find a replacement for about two years for my 6″. Luckily I bought a 5″ Buck for $100 about eight ears ago. The closest replacement for the pinion I have found is a drill chuck key, but even after machining to fit, it would have to stick out…not safe on a lathe. If someone would produce a run of those they would make a lot of guys happy and sell like hot cakes.

    PS: I still miss not seeing your work on the “other” site.

    Dan

  2. L B Masters says:

    Beautiful setup,
    I have the same lathe, but mechanically it is not in good shape.
    I have a like new set of 9 change gears, but what I need are the original gears it came with. Loved some of your modifications.
    Drop me a line at dripdoc@hotmail.com and we can exchange ideas and pics.

  3. Tom says:

    Just about have my own Atlas 618 restoration finished. Stripped it down to the last set screw, de-rusted, and repainted every cast surface. I’m considering fabricating an enclosed base with a chip tray on top, but not sure the time investment will be worthwhile as I ultimately plan to trade up to a larger machine at the first opportunity (translation: when my wife lets me spend the money). Can’t wait to start making chips with mine. Nice job!

  4. Shane says:

    I can understand that. I really miss my South Bend and hope to find another. The Atlas is a nice little lathe but very limited on what they can do.

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