Atlas 12x36 Lathe

April 20th, 2015

I've had the lathe for a couple of years now but have only done a few small projects with it. The first major (for me) undertaking was to cut the barrel on my Remington 700 in 204 Ruger. You can read about that project here. And the resulting new found favorite rifle here.

Now I have decided to build a new rifle and have spent hours playing with the lathe using test pieces to learn the procedures I will need to know to accomplish this task.

Turning, threading, facing, tapering and all the other "gotcha's".

The lathe did not come with a face plate or dog so I found one on ebay and bought it. Ironically, was able to find the exact plate for this lathe right down to the correct part number. If I end up buying a barrel blank, which are usually about 1.25 inches in diameter, I will need to be able to turn between centers to contour the barrel to my liking.

Reaming the chamber looks like an intimidating procedure but we'll find out soon enough.

Threading the barrel seems pretty straight forward and easy enough to practice so I started playing with that function on the lathe. In the following picture, the left end started at the same diameter as the right end. I just kept starting over until I got it to behave the way I wanted. Then I threaded the right end with the pitch I may end up using depending on the receiver I go with. Turns out that the lathe was not completely level or leveled accurately enough resulting in a difference in diameter on the large threaded section on the right end.

I got the lathe leveled (again) and continued to practice.

I ordered a chamber reamer for the intended rifle, 17 Fireball, and that should show up probably in June. So having never bored a large hole with the lathe, I decided to make a small barrel shaped unit out of some aluminum rod that I have. I used a piece probably 1 inch in diameter and 10 inches long. I left a shank for the chamber then tapered it, cut a shoulder on the chamber end. Turned it down probably 60 thousandths and then threaded it with the pitch I intend to use.

Drilled a hole in it probably 2 inches deep and found a reamer a little larger than the drill bit in a box of misc. Used the reamer to enlarge the hole. The hole turned out smoother than some chambers I've see. All good clean fun and educational.

So far the lathe has been a lot like buying a truck back in the 60's. OK, we got your truck in, now do you want a spare tire and a bumper? How about a mirror on the passenger side? Hubcaps?

Dial indicators, tool bits, thread gauges etc.

I guess it's better than renting beer at a bar!


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Last Modified: Friday, March 17, 2017 11:08 AM