My Antique Atlas Metalworking Machinery

Photos and information on my 1932 Atlas 9" Metal Lathe and 1938 Atlas 7" Metal Shaper

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The first Atlas Metal Lathe was introduced in 1932 as the 9-Series. The 9-Series Lathes had a swing of 9" and were available with between-center capacities of 18", 24", 30" and 36". This lathe was constructed of cast iron but was lightly constructed and designed for the home shop. It was the first lathe to be introduced with an integral compound V-belt drive. It was readily accepted by the home shop owner because no longer did the owner have to locate a place in the shop for mounting a countershaft, but the lathe could be bolted to the workbench, plugged in and used immediately. In the place of costly back-gears, the lathe used a unique double-reduction V-belt system on a Hyatt roller-bearing countershaft that was bolted to the back of the headstock. Almost all belt systems when heavily loaded, tend to slip, and as a result, this arrangement could not have been much of a success for large, heavy cuts. However, the lathe was constructed and sold in this original configuration until 1938 when a new and improved 10" model was introduced which contained back-gears. The lathe was sold under the Atlas badge as well as by Sears-Roebuck and Co. under the Craftsman badge.

My 1932 Atlas Lathe was literally a basket case when I bought it in early 2003. It was taken apart and actually in a hardwood box. As far as I could tell, all the pieces were there with the exception of the original change-gear guard, on/off switch and motor. Someone had replaced the original motor with a reversing motor manufactured circa 1945 with a mechanical (not electronic) reversing switch. Since the chucks screw onto the headstock shaft without locking in place and will unscrew if the Lathe motor is reversed, I have since rewired the motor for only one direction of rotation and replaced the reversing switch with a simple on/off switch. I have also constructed a new change-gear guard, similar too the original. When I brought the Lathe home I began an initial cleanup process, without taking apart anything else on the Lathe. The ways are in surprisingly good shape with no visible wear or pitting rust spots. All the gibbs are in tact and adjust easily. Evidently, when the old gentleman I bought it from originally took the Lathe apart, he did a good job of oiling everything down before storing it in his barn. Both the 3-jaw chuck and the 4-jaw chuck have quite a lot of wear and don't center correctly, but the original faceplate is also with the Lathe and I have done some turning using that since I have cleaned things up. Maybe I can have the chucks reconditioned, maybe not. There was also several accessories included in the "box". An original steady rest was broken and rewelded, but never cleaned up so it could be used. All the original parts are there, however. There was also a milling attachment which I haven't had time to work with yet. It appears to work freely, but I haven't checked it for trueness yet. A live center for the tailstock worked fine. I had to purchase a dead center for the hearstock, but that was a minor cost. All the change gears were included and all are in exceptional shape except one of the 96-tooth gears which has several teeth worn down and/or broken. There was an additional 96-tooth gear included. The bolts/shafts that hold the change gears in place were not there and I haven't gotten replacements, so I haven't been able to used the power feed yet. I will probably just make new adjustment bolts/shafts. Other than that, exerything is in fine shape and works great. Even though it is a lightweight machine, I think it will serve me well for years to come.

Click on any of the photos below to see a larger photo...

Here are some photos of the Lathe as purchased:
And some photos following the initial cleanup:

  The Atlas 7" Shaper was introduced in 1938 as the Model A7. It was sold under the Atlas badge and by Sears-Roebuck and Co. under the Craftsman badge, as well as others for sale in foreign countries. The A7 versions of the Atlas Shaper did not have a supporting leg under the table box which allowed for table flex caused by taking heavy cuts, but this was soon corrected with the release of the Model B7. The Model B7 Shapers had an adjustable 3/4" diameter rod which traveled with the table as it moved, so bracing the front of the table and eliminating most of the flex caused by heavy cuts. The self-contained V-belt motor-drive system was mounted on the rear of the maching and used a .5 HP, 1725 RPM motor, providing four speeds of 45, 78, 122 and 186 strokes per minute.

My Atlas Shaper is complete in every detail. Even down to the original motor with its thread-wound power cord. It has an original Atlas shaper vice as well as an original Atlas Shaper Stand. I have not done any initial cleanup on the Shaper yet, but you can see that it is in excellent shape. I purchased the Shaper from the same gentleman that I purchased my Atlas Lathe from.

Click on any of the photos below to see a larger photo...

Here are some photos of the Shaper as purchased:


Updated September 23rd, 2003
Copyright (C) 2003, by Greg Andrews.