Scott's Atlas / Craftsman 101.07403 12x36" Lathe, modifications and projects. Stone Mountain, GA Unique Visitors:

The cross feed on my lathe was always stiff with a lot of play.
I replaced the feed nut and that removed the play but it was still hard to move.

Others have modified the cross feed with ball bearings. That is a bit of a drastic change but should help.
This change is rather simple and helps. Rather than ball bearings, I used silicon-bronze washers; brass would work too.

I should have taken pictures of the process but was too busy.

The steps are as follows:

  1. You will need two 3/8" ID, 3/4" to 1" OD bronze or brass washers (1/16" thick or less.)
  2. Remove the cross feed screw and hub (large nut where feed screw enters cross slide.
  3. Mount the hub in a 3-jaw chuck loosely with tapered end inside the chuck. Note: the jaws should not touch the threads, just the nut part. I used some scrap to keep it out about 1/4".
  4. Use a dead center in the tailstock place it in the center hole then tighten the chuck.
  5. Make sure it turns smoothly and is centered.
  6. Using a cutoff tool, take off about 1/16" from the end **. This will make room for the washers.
  7. Optional: Reverse the hub and do the same for the opposite end if needed. See later steps for a way to modify the dial instead.
  8. Reassemble with a washer between the gear and the hub and another between the hub and the dial. Be sure to oil them first.
  9. Adjust for no play.

** Turn the compound in line with the feed and tighten the cross Gibbs to lock the cross slide. you can use the compound to feed the parting tool.

You should find it moves easier. You can see one of the washers in the picture.

   Here's the finished mod. You might need to remove another 0.062 from the other end of the hub. I had enough length in the threads.

 Ok, decided to also modify the dial to hide the washer. The gap (washer) makes reading the dial a bit more difficult to get accurate.

So, I made an arbor for the washer (shown left.) Missing is a small collar that held the washer that the bolt tightened up against. It was made from some 12L14 hex bar I had lying around. The only 1/4-20 washer I had for the bolt was an annoyingly big fender washer.

Shown is the washer turned down to about 0.75". I de-burred the edges with a file while on the lathe.

Tip: I mark the tool with a punch so if I re-use it I can put that side on jaw #1.


 I removed the dial and locked the cross Gibbs (just tighten one of the two center screws.) The compound was used for advancing the boring bar.

The dial was wrapped in Gator Tape to protect it (similar to duct tape.) Just one layer. Aluminum HVAC tape on the jaws works too.

Shown left is the 3rd pass making an 0.85" relief in the back of the dial using a boring bar..

Depth and diameter were just by eye. Do a pass, and then place washer in to see if it fits. Probably was about 0.050" deep and just big enough so the curved corner from the cutter did not interfere with the washer.


 Here is the final result, there is a very small gap visible between the dial and the hub. If you compare the first picture, you can see the threads now extend past the outer lock nut.

It is amazing how well the mod works.