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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Craftsman (made by Atlas) 6" metal lathe has been in need of a new feed (lead) screw for several years as it has a badly worn section for about 2 inches where most of the turning / power carriage feed use has been done over the years since my dad bought the lathe new back in about 1962. Have replaced the half nuts a few times over the years but after measuring the diameter of the worn area reached the conclusion that unless the feed screw is replaced the nuts are always going to have a problem being driven over that section anymore. I had priced the lead screw a few times over the years and had always passed on ordering a new one because of the price when the exchange rate on the Canadian dollar was factored in but after hand feeding the carriage the last few times I used the lathe I decided to bit the bullet and get a price on a new screw and if I could afford it order a new one if it was even still available.

Been getting parts for the lathe from Clausing Service Centre since the early 1990's as they offer a lot of the parts for the old Atlas lathes so I emailed a request for a quote for the lead screw, a pair of half nuts and the guide plate for the half nuts this morning. Got back in after cutting grass for about 3 hours this afternoon and checked my email and there was a quote from Clausing sitting in my inbox about 45 minutes after I emailed them this morning before I headed out to the shop - they always seem to have great customer service. Opened the quote (as I was firmly seated in my chair) prepared for the bad news as I had purchased the half nut pair back in 2017 and back then they were 50.08 U.S. and the last time I priced the lead screw it was just shy of $300.00 U.S. if memory serves me correctly. Much to my surprise the items were still available (and in stock) and the half nuts were now only $27.86 U.S.and the new lead screw was $155.86 U.S. so I got on the phone ASAP and ordered them (before they changed the price or I changed my mind). Casually mentioned to the gentleman that the nuts appeared to be about half the price they were 3 years ago and he said that they had recently realigned and changed a lot of the pricing and that the majority of the repair parts prices had dropped significantly. I asked if they still carried much in accessories and he said while they no longer offered any cataloging of the accessories some of the items were still available and if I was interested I could just email them to see if the items were still available and get a price on them. Attached is an old brochure that shows accessories for both the 6" and 12" lathe that were offered by them back in 1990 in case someone wonders what accessories might still be available.

Thought I would do a post on it as some other Craftsman / Atlas Metal Lathe owners may be in need of parts but may be hesitating because of the pricing they got a few years ago. Might be a good time to get an updated price quote as the parts may have gone down as I found out today.
 

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Tractorholic
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That's great ! I could use a new crosslide screw ( think that's the right name ) on the Clausing 5914 lots of backlash , supposedly NLA from them but ebay seller has been making ones to sell but I'm too cheap to buy the repair parts now .
 
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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Forgot to mention that Clausing moved the parts depot back to Kalamazoo, Michigan so the contact information on the brochure is wrong. Here is a link to their website that shows the newest contact information -

https://clausing-industrial.com/partsService.asp
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited by Moderator)
Just an update - finally got around to installing the new lead screw on the metal lathe today. Took a little while to get the drive end bearing off of the old lead screw as I did not want to force it and damage it. Ended up removing the key and the pin out of the thrust washer at the drive end of the old screw and then cleaned up the area with a flat file to remove any burrs. Still had to use the press to force the bearing off the short end of the screw as it was still snug. It appeared that the bearing was slightly undersize in the area where the gear train holder clamps around it for support. I had compared the new one and the original last summer when I got the new screw and I had noticed that the thrust washer that is pinned to the shaft at the drive end was about .025" thicker than the old one. Checked with Clausing and they said that it should still work ok but when I checked to see how the gear and spacer on the lead screw would sit in relation to a compound gear set up that engaged with it there did not appear to be any clearance where the two gears overlapped face to face. Stuck the new lead screw in the 4 jaw lathe chuck and zero'd it in with the dial gauge so the screw was running within .001" and took .025" off the gear side face of the thrust washer to match the old thrust washer. I also took .025" off the end of the lead screw where the bolt threads in so that the washer would still tighten up on the spacer rather than bottoming on the end of the shaft. Just thought I would mention this as it appears that the 6" Atlas / Craftsman lathes had a few different thrust washer thicknesses as production changed. My dad purchased the one I now use new back from Simpson Sears around 1962 here in Canada. The thrust washer thickness on the new screw measured .278" and the original one measured .252" so it should now be very close to the way it was originally. Maybe should have taken about .0125" off both faces but I figured for the little bit of material I was removing taking it all off the gear side should not be a major factor as usually the thrust load is on the bearing side of the washer under normal machining where the carriage is travelling towards the head stock. I now had clearance between the 64 tooth gear on the lead screw and the 64 tooth gear that overlaps it with the compound gear set up that I usually use for general turning to advance the carriage. I also made sure I had the carriage at the tail stock end and the half nuts engaged before I tightened the tails stock end lead screw bearing up so that it was centered in relation to the half nuts. I remember many years ago I had the lead screw off to clean it and then put it back on the lathe without making sure the bearing was centered - couldn't figure out why the lathe was very loud whenever I engaged the half nuts for a few cuts until I determined that the lead screw was binding against the half nuts.

Other than that the lead screw replacement went well and the half nuts are now a nice snug fit all the way along the lead screw with very little end play when the nuts are engaged.
 

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Mark J.
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Hopefully that make it run like new.
 
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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Came across this video while I was looking for something else yesterday and found it extremely interesting. Covers replacing the change gears for feeding and thread cutting with a stepper or servo motor set up and uses electronics to match the lead screw timing to the spindle and allows threading and feeding set ups to be selected electronically.


The gentleman who does this video (and others in the series) is a great speaker and goes into a lot of detail about how it works - not saying to rush out and buy one but nice to know it is an option for someone who cuts a lot of different thread pitches. Looks like the setup also displays the spindle RPM's and could be adapted to mills or feeding the cross slide on a lathe or milling machine with a bit of thought. Amazing how far electronics has come in todays world when it can be used to replace gear train setups.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Started making a carriage stop for the metal lathe about 12 years ago but never got around to finishing it and came across the nut that I had made the other day so I decided that it might be a good idea to finish the stop. The stop will be useful when boring a hole as well as to control the amount the carriage moves towards the head stock when using the milling attachment. The dial nut started off as a 7/16-20 UNF hex nut with a piece of round stock welded to it. It got turned to clean up the welding, drilled for a 7/16 hole and I also did a knurl on the one side. Then the other half got turned down and I used the tool bit and a pie chart I printed off in excel to index the lathe chuck to mark the .001" graduations on it. That was as far as I got on it years ago so today I machined and threaded a piece of 1/2" round stock to 7/16-20. Using the 20 threads per inch thread pitch means that if the nut rotates 20 time then a threaded bolt inside it would extend 1" or if the nut is rotated once then the bolt would extend .050" which I believe is the way an original carriage stop worked as well. I also got brave and used my number punch set to stamp the dial at the 0, 10, 20, 30 and 40 increments - didn't do a perfect job but looks respectable compared with my last stamping job I did. Still have to make a mount that the nut and stud will fit in that can be clamped to the lathe bed.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Got a few pieces of steel cut, drilled and threaded to start forming the bracket that will clamp to the lathe bed and support the nut and stud. Since I am working from a picture of what the original stop looked like and trying to create a reasonable facsimile of it I do not have any drawing with measurements. Normally the bracket would be machined out of a large piece of solid steel which I do not have so I decided to wing it and weld small pieces of steel scraps I have accumulated together to form the support. Tried clamping the two flat pieces to the lathe bed edge using two 1/4" x 1" UNC cap screws but the two pieces lifted away from the bed as the nuts started to tighten which I figured they would. Cut a piece of 1/2" x 3/8" flat steel to form a "L" shaped top piece - also ended up cutting the original piece so it was just past the bolt holes at the outer edge. V'd the edges of the two pieces of steel to form a weld trough, clamped them together and then welded them. Drilled the 1/4" bolt holes through the added piece and then faced the bottom edge so that the inside of the L was about .010" less than the thickness of the bed. Bolted the pieces together and did a test fit on the lathe bed to see if it would now clamp and remain in contact with the bed on the top and bottom which they did.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Cut two pieces of 3/8" flat steel and beveled the edges - these will form the U section that supports the stud and sandwiches the nut. Located where I wanted them to go approximately and then used a short piece of angle iron to clamp the first piece to the bracket. Welded it and left things clamped while things cooled. Then I used a piece of heater hose and a few wraps of masking tape to protect the dial and the knurl on the nut and clamped the second piece in position with it sandwiching the nut so the space between them would be a nice snug fit. Welded the second piece and again let things cool before I removed the clamp vise grips. Then I gently nudged the nut out of the now formed U and removed the masking tape and heater hose and did a test fit again of the nut. The nut is not super tight but it does have to be pushed in and out of the U so I will have to just touch the face of it with a file to remove a little bit of material so that it turns freely when I am done. Filled in the top weld troughs, rough sanded the welds and then gave them a go with a flat file. I also decided to cut / grind a couple of weld notches in the bottom sides to make things a little stronger and then I filled them in with weld. Decided to re-clamp the nut in between so that things wouldn't distort too much with the heat and cooling from the welding.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Marked the hole location and then drilled a 1/8" pilot hole through the U for the stud to pass through after clamping the piece in the drill press vise. Things looked good so I enlarged the hole to 7/16" in a few steps as I increased the drill bit sizes. Did some filing in the holes to smooth any rough edges and debris and after a bit of work I was able to thread the screw into the nut with the nut inside the U - still snug but will come with a bit more finessing. I marked the hole location so that I can create a raised boss on the rear leg of the U to be flat with the dial markings.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Marked and drilled a 1/8" hole in the end of the rear U leg that will hold a 1/8" roll pin to keep the stud from rotating as the dial is turned - it is my hope that I can mill a 1/8" wide groove into the side of the stud thread area as this appears to be how the original stop was made - they may have used a set screw but I am hoping a roll pin will work the same. I also used a 7/16" flat washer to scribe around so I can round the outer edges of the U legs - this should make access to the dial easier without catching my skin on a sharp edge. Should still keep the dial from being accidentally brushed up against and turned. Was originally planning on just building the boss area up with weld but since there isn't much material above the hole I was afraid I might burn through the thinnest part above the stud hole. Cut a small piece of scrap steel that will form the boss and clamped it in position - will weld the two sides and the back to make it part of the rear leg top.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Built up the one edge of the bottom plate to extend it flush with the upper part as I did not get the two U pieces quite centered when I welded them in place - oops! I welded the metal to form the boss in place and rough sanded the top to flatten it to the correct height. Used a round and flat file to smooth up the weld around the boss and also flatten the top surface to where it was just a smidge below the dial markings. Drew a line on the boss where I wanted a mark to align the dial markings with and then chucked the piece in the lathe and used the lathe tool bit to scrape a line into the boss moving the carriage to obtain a straight mark. Dressed the mark with a small three corner file nd then checked to see how things looked. I was happy so I masked the faces that clamp onto the lathe bed and gave everything else a quick splash of grey paint to come close to matching the lathe colour.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Neat project.
Thanks - it is keeping me amused and will be useful when it is finished - won't be quite as fancy as the original but much more affordable to me. Attached is a picture of what the original one looked like in the brochure I have.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Removed the masking tape and cleaned the paint out of the holes with some sandpaper and a file so things fit smoothly again. Decided that I needed a groove about 1-3/8" long for a pin to hold the stud from rotating as the nut was being turned. Marked the end of the stud for the groove location after setting the nut just past 0 with the mark at the end of the thread. Got the cutter set and milling attachment I purchased many years ago for the lathe out. They are small compared with a regular size lathe or milling machine but it is still amazing what can be accomplished with them. Decided to use a 1/8" woodruff key cutter to cut the slot in the stud. Mounted the stud in the vise with the threaded end sticking out the back - used a 7/16" bolt at the front end so the stud would be clamped squarely and securely in the milling attachment vise. Set the outer face of the cutter flat against the headstock side of the stud threads to begin the centering process of the cutter so the slot is cut centered in relation to the stud.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Did some ciphering to calculate how much the carriage needed to move to center the cutter above the stud. The stud is 7/16" wide which is .4375". The cutter is 1/8" wide which is .125". To center the stud the carriage needs to move half the thickness of the stud (.2188") plus half the thickness of the cutter (.0625") to place the cutter in the center of the stud for a total of .2813" approximately. Set the dial gauge on the bed at a right angle to the mill body and zero'd the dial with the stud tight against the cutter face. Then after dropping the top of the stud below the bottom of the cutter moved the carriage .2813" (or as close as I could estimate) and locked the carriage to the lathe bed. With the stud now centered I brought the stud up until it just rubbed on the bottom of the cutter turning the spindle by hand, locked the mill slide there and zero'd the dial. Since the cutter will tend to pull the workpiece towards it as it cuts the cutter is started at where the slot will begin in the stud and then the carriage is backed out so the cutter cuts from this point to the end of the stud - this minimizes any play in the screw and nut in the cross slide. Set the carriage to the innermost position and then zero'd the dial on it so that after each pass I could move the carriage back in the same amount each time. Did a test by hand to make sure the stud was level with the cutter so the groove would be the same depth at the inside as the end - had to adjust the vise on the mill attachment just a hair to get things correct. Once things looked good I applied lots of cutting oil on each pass and took light cuts (.010") to mill the groove in the screw thread to a depth of approximately .125". Took a little while but everything went well and I soon had a nice looking groove cut into the threads.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ran the die over the threads by hand and then polished the unthreaded portion of the stud in the lathe with some emery cloth - then gave the stud a wash with some brakeleen and compressed air. I had originally planned to use a roll pin but the groove would have need to be wider or the spring pin end resized so I opted for a short piece of 1/8" round steel. Filed, rounded and polished the end with a file and then some emery cloth in the lathe and it slid in the grove nice and free. Turned it into the pin hole using a pair of small vise grips and did a test fit. Things looked good so I cut the excess part of the pin off with the hacksaw. Thought about leaving it that way but thought the pin could possibly vibrate out so I masked the screw to protect the threads against weld splatter and did a quick pass at the end of the hole opening with the mig welder. Sanded and filed the weld down flat, removed the masking tape and did another test fit of the pieces- things worked fairly smoothly so I took things apart, masked off the surfaces where I didn't want paint and gave the upper part a repaint and left it to freeze dry overnight. Hopefully tomorrow I can put everything together and have a working carriage stop. If I had one today centering the stud would have went a little quicker since I could have used it to move the carriage the correct distance rather than having to set up the dial gauge.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The paint dried overnight so I put things back together one last time and tried it out on the lathe. Set it so that the screw was extended up against the side of the carriage and then rotated the nut 20 times to move the stud 1" away from the carriage. Checked things with the Vernier and it should give me a reasonably accurate way to set the depth of a tool when boring a hole - it can also be used in place of the dial gauge to center a shaft as I mentioned. Looks like it has a working range of about 1" which is probably a bit more than the original one would have travelled. Thought about making a couple of square headed bolts as the hex headed bolts were not the easiest to tighten and loosen with a wrench. Opted instead for two allen head bolts that I can use the T handle on that I use for the tool post bit screws - a simple 1/4 turn of each screw tightens or loosens the stop enough to mount it or remove it. Added a couple of screws to the tool board and gave the stop a permanent home until I have need of it.
 

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A Little Off Plumb
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Found a few pictures of how I made the dial so I thought I would post them as it may help someone else. I used a 7/16-20 thread nut - built it up with the mig welder and welded a piece of round stock onto the side of it. Mounted the nut on a stud and locked it with a nut. Drilled a hole into the round stock and enlarged it to 7/16". Turned the piece around and relocked it on the stud and turned the outside to create the stepped piece in the first picture. Used the two knurling wheels i have mounted individually to add a knurl - did one knurl with the one wheel and then used the second wheel with the reverse pattern to create the cross hatch pattern. I don't have a dividing head so I made what i will call a poor mans degreeing wheel with M/S Excel and created a 50 segment pie chart which I printed off and mounted on a piece of light cardboard. Cut a hole in the center of the pie chart and cardboard the same size as the spindle and sandwiched it behind the lathe chuck and the spindle boss. Used the stem of the dial gauge as a pointer and marked the graduations onto the dial portion with the lathe bed - moved the carriage by hand to create the mark with the tool bit - advance the chuck one segment and repeat - used a piece of masking tape on the lathe bed so that the graduations were reasonably even (since I didn't have a carriage stop. Didn't like the way they extended so far along the dial so I ended up turning them off and then redoing them stopping the carriage at the first position for all 50 marks and then extending every 5th mark further - again using the masking tape to gauge how far the carriage was moved by hand. Cleaned the graduations up with some sandpaper and then polished the area with a piece of emery cloth and some oil on the lathe to produce the dial that is shown.
 

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