By 1974, after 37 years of production, the Mk. 1 6" Craftsman (made by Atlas) was withdrawn from sale and an almost entirely new model introduced to replace it. Two versions were available: one Imperial (English) and the other metric, the latter able to cut only metric threads - of which 23 were available from 0.1 mm to 3.0 mm. The leadscrew, cross feed and top slide screws were also of metric pitch and the feed dials, tailstock barrel, threading chart were all in metric calibrations - in other words, a complete metric machine rather than just a simple screwcutting conversion. The version with English calibrations offered threads between 8 and 96 t.p.i (or optionally, at extra cost, from 5 t.p.i) using, in addition to ordinary changewheels, a novel and ingenious system of "Gearsettes" - combinations of changewheels (sold in 6 different sets) marked with a circular metal disc that indicated the thread and feed range - together with an indication of which other gearwheels would mesh with them to provide the correct set up. As a comparison the Myford ML7 will only cut down to 8 t.p.i with the changewheel cover closed - if coarser threads are required the cover has to be left off and gears larger than 75t used on the exposed bracket.
A major change involved removing the countershaft assembly and fitting the headstock drive pulley in an overhung position on the left-hand end of the 17/32" bore, 1" x 10 t.p.i, headstock spindle; unfortunately this modern method of engineering a headstock drive (it used a narrow Gates-type belt) had the effect of reducing the number of spindle speeds from 16 to 8 but with a still-respectable range of 55 to 2300 rpm with the maker's recommended 1/3 hp 1725 rpm 60 cycle motor. The Emco Compact 8, Myford 254 and various modern Chinese lathes also use a similar drive system - but were not the first small lathe makers to employ this cost-saving set up, the EXE Company of Exeter, England, used exactly the same idea on their machines in the 1930s, as did several makers of cheaper, less highly stressed wood-turning lathes.
3/4" in diameter, the tailstock spindle had a travel of just 1.25 inches and was bored to take a No. 1 Morse taper - these were less-than adequate figures but (together with the very short cross slide), the only real failures in otherwise well-specified machine. In 1974 the lathe was painted grey but at some unknown point, before production ceased in 1980, this was changed to blue.
Whilst early Atlas-badged models appear to have been fitted with Japanese-manufactured NTN ball bearings on the headstock spindle (later models used Timken tapered-roller bearings) the early Craftsman spares list shows plain bronze bearings in use. However, later editions have ball races listed - presumably of the same make and type as the Atlas version. Should any reader have a plain-bearing example of this lathe, the writer would be interested to hear from you.
Approximately 34" long, 17" deep and 11 inches high the Mk. 2 Craftsman 6-inch weighted around 92 lbs without its (extra-cost) electric motor.
If you have one of these machines (especially one with plain bearings) the writer would be very interested to hear from you. Model numbers and specification suffixes (using the unnecessarily complicated Sears system) were based on the prefix 101.21**, for example 101.21200, and would have varied according to the specific model and type of motor fitted, etc. Additional pictures and information about these lathes can be seen in the Atlas section of the Archive..