Atlas TH42 resto


Being a gearhead and always working on cars, trucks, motorcycles, offroad stuff, aircraft, boats, etc meant I was always getting custom brackets and spacers made for various projects. I'd always wanted my own lathe to make some of it myself and I ended up buying an old Atlas TH42 about 10 years ago.

Nothing special, but it did the jobs I wanted it too. Wear was pretty light, especially considering I bought it from a guy who kept it in a chicken coup (the big buildings, not a shack int eh backyard). Measuring the ways revealed 0.002 wear ont he bed ways in the usual spot closer to the headstock. Certainly acceptable for a lathe with a build date of 1952.

Modifications started shortly after with a Baldor 3/4 HP motor to replace the 1950's era 1/3 hp ac motor that stalled constantly while turning. I used a Danfoss 150 to control it, which gave dynamic braking, jog, variable speed, etc. Then it was a good long period of just using the lathe to get to learn it. Things were replaced as needed and upgraded as able. It was mostly addressing wear items and tooling for increased machining abilities.

This past year, with the lathe up and running nicely and my skills improving, I decided it was time to "freshen up" the old atlas. It was that minty green that we usually associate with Atlas lathes, except it had been brush painted a couple times with a couple different shades of that mint green.

As delivered:


A bit later on in a more "functional" arrangement:


As i said, it did the jobs I asked of it. But I wanted something that made it nicer to spend time in the shop. Clean and shiny also usually inspires me to keep something that way and dirty and beat up usually means I end up leaving it that way.

Not great for something like a Lathe that uses a total loss oiling system and has multiple exposed precision surfaces. So I tore it apart, painted what needed to be painted, polished what didn't need paint and am now in the middle of putting it back together.




The color is a Rust-oleum metallic Turquoise. I think I must have bought the last 10 cans in Nova Scotia. Every store I found a can or two at was either out of stock, had discontinued it or told me most paint suppliers are so far behind filling orders they are concentrating on their big sellers and specialty paints are either being discontinued or are so far back ordered they may never show up. That's why I went on walkabout and checked a couple dozen hardware stores, scooping up whatever I found. I knew that if it was discontinued, I wanted enough on the shelf to finish and a couple cans left over for touch-ups later down the road.

Soon to be back together and throwing chips.....
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Nice, did you get the change gears with it? Is that the original dauber?
Yes and yes. The lathe was pretty much neglected, but neglected in the sense it had been pushed aside and forgotten. That black stuff you see on horizontal surfaces in the first pic is actually multiple years of chicken "dirt".....

It was essentially complete, at least as Atlas made it back in '52...
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