My Shaper - Atlas 7B


[July 31, 2019]

Nameplate for my Atlas 7B shaper, serial number 010232.

Here is the shaper on the day I bought it (July 31, 2019)  - unloaded it from my trailer with my shop crane and hoisted onto my workbench for cleaning and some minor repairs. I paid $650 for it - that included the original motor, vise, wrench and crank, and two new tool holders. The seller noted that the power cord was cracking and needed to be replaced.

Here are the accessories (in addition to the original vise) that I got with the shaper (rule is for scale):

 Wrench and crank handle
 Tool holders

Note that the crank handle has been braised; either it broke at some point and was repaired, or it was purposely shortened (one of the lower crank points is very low on the machine). Additional note: After looking at more information on the Atlas 7B, the crank handle appears to be the original size (not shortened), so my handle is probably just a repaired break.

After spending a day cleaning up the shaper and partially dis-assembling it, here are nine things I need/want to fix:
  1. [done] Replace power cord
  2. [done] Re-paint switch plate for On/Off switch
  3. [done] Replace missing set screw on motor pulley
  4. [done] Fix motor drive belt guard - the pulley rubbed against the inside of the guard and wore a small hole in it.
  5. [done] Fix motor belt drive bracket (bent out of shape - probably part of the reason the pulley was rubbing)
  6. Replace both belts (maybe - not sure this is really necessary yet)
  7. [done] Replace vise jaws [done Nov. 22, 2019]
  8. [done] Vise support pillar is frozen in place - need to loosen it up
  9. [done] General clean up
  10. * The large motor pulley on the countershaft (part S7-124) is reversed. I suspect this was done to align the large pulley with the small pulley on the motor shaft. 
  11. * The slot for the T-nut (part S7-30) on the "Disc and gear" (part S7-68A) had burrs on it, preventing the T-nut from sliding easily.
  12. * The toggle switch (part 41-44A) does not appear to be original, and does not fit well; I may replace it.
  13. * Thought there was a bushing missing (part S7-80) but it is in place; not sure if the screw and washer are original.
* [Aug. 2, 2019]
More cleaning and fine tuning; found a few more things that need attention.

[Jan. 2020]

Started taking some parts off for inspection, and also to measure in order to make 3D CAD drawings. This is likely going to lead to additional repairs, which I will list here and detail below.

  • [2019] Vise jaw replacement
  • [2019] Tool slide cleanup and inspection
  • [Jan. 2020] Disc & Gear (S7-68A) and T-nut cleanup


Power cord, switch plate, and switch:

The two picture below show the electrical connections box on the motor. The power cord (cut off) is coming out of the left side of the box; and extra pair of wires under the power cord were probably for a light (no longer on the machine). The wires were terminated with metal terminals and fasted together with a small brass screw and nut. Initially I kept these, as I did not want to risk shortening the wires. However, when I decided to re-wire (and replace) the switch, I removed the terminals and just used wire nuts.

 Wires before removing electrical tape
 Unwrapped wires

Here is the switch plate, before and after:

I removed all of the old paint with acetone, and repainted with black acrylic. The plate was so worn that I essentially had to hand paint the whole thing. I used a cratex bit in a Dremel tool to buff up the border and lettering a bit.

 Switch plate - most of the paint worn off
 Removed all paint with acetone
 Repainted and sprayed with clear urethane.

The original switch had been replaced with a switch that did not fit properly. In addition, the insulation on the wires was cracked and broken, and the switch would sometimes shot out on the machine. Initially I tried replacing it with a standard screw terminal toggle switch, but the space available is just too small and the the terminal short out against the machine. In addition, the wire insulation was crumbling, so I pulled out the old wire and replaced it. I found a wire lead toggle switch which was small enough to fit, and it also fit the switch plate perfectly.

 Switch before replacing.
 Wired replacement switch.
 New switch and repainted switch plate.

Missing set screw, worn motor drive belt guard and bracket, belts

Replacing the missing set screw was easy enough. In the picture below, you can see where the pulley was rubbing against the guard - long enough to wear a small hole.

 Belt guard where pulley was rubbing.
 Closeup - note area worn through.

I wanted to do a repair that would make minimal changes to the original part, so I decided to just patch the hole with JB Weld epoxy. I think the patch worked out well; the gray color of the epoxy makes the patch almost invisible from the outside.

 JB Weld patch - inside view
  JB Weld patch - outside view

The metal bracket (S7-189 bracket in the manual) which holds one corner of the guard to the oil pan was badly bent out of shape. Initially I tried flattening out the bracket and then re-bending it, but was unsuccessful. I also decided that even if I could properly bend the original (?) bracket, it was in very poor condition anyway. In order to determine the proper bends (there are two 90 degree bends at odd angles), I made a mock-up cut from lead sheet. The mock-up was pliable enough that I could bend it into shape by hand, but stiff enough to hold the shape so I could use it as a model to make a matching steel bracket. The "original" bracket was also improperly fasted to the outside of the guard with an overly long screw; I used a proper length screw to fasten the new bracket to the inside.

 "Mock up" of bracket from lead sheet.
 Finished steel bracket
 New bracket in place (hex bolt not yet tightened)

As for the belts, I have decided that the existing belts are good enough for now, but I will replace them once I have identified the proper sizes.

Vise jaws and vise support pillar

The vise jaws will be replaced once I have acquired the proper material for this.

The vise support pillar was locked in place by the pillar lock sleeves (BD3-44, BD3-45 in the manual), even with the lock screw completely removed. However, with the application of penetrating oil and the careful use of a crescent wrench, I was able to work the post down far enough so that I could tap out the lock sleeves with a wooden dowel.

To the left is the pillar locking assembly after removal. I suspect that someone had over-tightened the lock sleeves at some point, causing them to mushroom slightly which resulted in them being jammed in place. The lock sleeves are cast material which has been machined on one corner to fit the post. The lock sleeves are only nominally cylindrical - I measured variations in diameter of up to 0.005".

Although they should slide easily into the hole in the knee, I couldn't get one of them to go back in at all.

The repair for this was easy: I mounted each lock sleeve in the lathe and turned them down by a few thou, and then polished them with abrasive cloth.

Once that was done, both lock sleeves slid easily into place. When the lock bolt is loosened, the post moves easily. Locking the post in place only requires about a 1/4 turn of the bolt. I am considering replacing the hex bolt with a knurled knob screwto allow for hand tightening in order to prevent over-tightening.

Replacing Vise Jaw Face Plates

When I purchased my shaper, I was told the vise was original to the machine. As it looks identical to the "S7-91X Vise Assembly" shown in the manual, I believe this to be the case. In the vise parts list the jaw face plates are referred to as "jaw lining". Although the vise is original, I have no way of knowing if the face plates were replaced or not at some time; however, for the purposes of replacement I am going to assume they are original and use them as models for making new ones.

Here is a drawing of the vise jaw face plates showing relevant measurements:

A few comments on the drawing and face plates:
  • The drawing is what I would consider the "minimal size" for the plates; I intend to make my replacements slightly oversize.
  • The catalog drawing shows the plates as being even with the vise jaws on all sides; on my vise this was not the case, with the plates being slightly oversize on the ends.
  • I made my replacement plates from steel plate I had on hand - not hardened. I do not believe the "originals" were hardened either; I tested the originals with a set of hardness testing files and found them to be less than HRC40 in hardness.

Here is the vise with the original face plates. As can be seen, they have been chewed up a bit (along with the movable vise jaw), presumably by a cutting tool mishap. It can't be seen from the photo, but with the jaws closed the ends of the face plates are not aligned with each other. A close inspection of the ends of the plates shows what I believe are manufacturing tool marks where they finished to length.

To make replacement face plates I cut two rough blanks from a piece of steel plate. I then milled all sides flat and square to final dimensions (which I intentionally made slightly oversize).

Before drilling the mounting holes, I milled a chamfer on one long edge of each plate. This chamfer goes on the bottom inside corner of each plate and allows it to seat firmly against the inside corner of the vise jaw.

The ultimate location of the chamfer has to be kept in mind when drilling and counter-boring the mounting holes. In addition, since the plates are also oversize in length, the final plate orientation must be kept in mind when locating the holes along the length.

As a final step, I surface ground both sides of both plates, both to remove some pitting from rust, as well as to make the sides flat and parallel.

The pitting turned out to be a bit deeper than I expected, and I ended up taking about 0.010" of of one side to get it cleaned up. Not a big deal since the plates were also oversize in thickness (and I had made the counter-bore an extra 0.010" deep in anticipation of the grinding).

In retrospect, I should have cleaned up the faces with a fly cutter before drilling and counter-boring. This would likely have been adequate even without surface grinding, but since I do have a surface grinder it's nice to be able to out it to use.

The two pictures below show the completed plates before and after installation. Note that the ends of the plates are not flush with each other - this is not due to any measurement error on my part, it is because the mounting holes in the opposing vise jaws are not perfectly aligned. This is not an issue for using the shaper, just and observation. Before putting the new face plates to work, I will use the shaper itself to plane the tops of the plates even and parallel to the shaper ram. In the event of any future cutting tool mishaps, I should have sufficient overhang to be able to plane off any scrapes or dings to get a clean new top edge.

 Finished plates
 Finished plates installed

A final word on the plate mounting screws. The original screws are #10-24 x 3/8" fillister head screws. The original screws were a bit dinged up; in addition, as they have a slotted head getting at them with a screwdriver is not very convenient.

Consequently, I replaced the original screws with button head socket cap screws. Since the button heads are too large in diameter to fit the counter-bore, I turned them down in the lathe to 0.300" diameter. In the photo to the left, you can see the four original screws, with the modified button head screw top right. Also visible in the upper left corner of the picture are the two original face plates.

Before the final leveling of the jaw face plates, I used an indicator to make sure the bed of the vise was parallel to the ram travel. I cobbled together an indicator holder (shown in picture) from some parts I had on hand, although I needed to make an adapter bushing to fit my indicator stem. This indicator holder for the shaper will be a useful addition.

Measurement showed that one side of the vise was 0.001" higher than the other - a fairly significant deviation for 4" of travel.This was easily corrected by inserting a brass shim under one side of the vise, which brought the vise to well under 0.001" of deviation from side to side (note that this is side to side with reference to the vise jaws, in the picture with the vise oriented as shown this is front to back).

With the vise leveled, it was now a simple matter to use the shaper to level the tops of the jaw face plates. I used a shear cutting tool, and cut in small increments using cutting fluid.I ended up removing about 0.010" of material, and got a very good finish. This should now provide a good reference surface for future work, and there is still ample material available if I need to repeat the process. I could have evened up the ends of the plates in a similar manner, but I saw no real need to do this; if it should ever be necessary it will be a simple enough matter to do the job.

 Leveling in progress
 Completed leveling - flat, parallel, and smooth!

Somewhat related to this, I happened to run across the Palmgren vise shown in the photo to the left. It looks somewhat similar to the original vise on my machine. I mention it here because the vise is often missing from these shapers, so anyone looking for a replacement might want to consider this one. A new one is pretty pricey (although a similar Wilton vise is currently (Jan. 2020)for sale for about $150; in addition used ones are also frequently available.

Tool Slide Cleaning

[December 2019]

The dial on the tool slide was badly tarnished and difficult to read, so I decided to remove it so I could clean it properly. While I was at it, I took the time to measure and make drawings of some of the parts, since I may replace the dial with a larger version sometime in the future.

For a downloadable PDF of the drawings, looking under References/Manuals and Drawings below.

In order to dis-assemble the slide, I had to use a small puller to remove the handle from the screw, as it was on very tightly and it appeared that the woodruff key had been damaged. The threads were also in poor shape, and the top threaded section appeared to have a very small bend in it.

I cleaned up the 3/8" x 24 threads on the screw with a die, and the matching threads on the two nuts, and replaced the woodruff key with a new one. I did not attempt to straighten the screw because I did not want to risk further damage. There is a very large amount of backlash in the screw assembly, so making some replacement parts might be a future project.

I mounted the dial on an expanding mandrel and chucked it up in my lathe, then polished out the tarnish with ultra-fine scotch brite. I tried to make the dial markings more legible by using cold blue on the dial, and then polishing again, but this gave only a slight improvement as the dial engraving is not very deep.

However, the cleaning did improve the legibility somewhat, so it was worth the effort.

Disc & Gear and T-nut

[Jan. 2020]

I removed these parts (Disc & Gear S7-68A in the manual, and S7-30 nut) from my shaper for inspection (as well as to measure for 3D CAD). I was a bit surprised to find that the nut was hardened, and also that it had burrs on the sliding parts. I was not particularly surprised about the burrs, because I found the part very difficult to slide when making adjustments. Since the part was hardened, I used a diamond grit file to smooth out the burrs.

The burrs on the nut had chewed up the T-slot a bit, so I used a fine, thin file to clean out the T-slot. I observed that the "wings" of the T fit rather loosely in the slot, but the top part of the nut (in the picture at left), fits firmly in the wide slot.

After cleaning up both pieces I got a much better sliding fit. The large central slot actually shows considerable wear; the central width of the slot is about 0.616", while the slot width at the ends (where the R and L are in the photo) is about 0.625".

By the way, the "disc & gear" component is all one cast piece (probably zamak or a similar alloy).

One final note here: There are several sintered bushings associated with this piece. So far,all of the sintered bushings on the shaper that I have examined appear badly worn, so I will be looking for replacements.


Moving it to the shop

[Aug. 9, 2019]

My "new" shaper did not come with a stand, so I built a support table for it.

For the move, I removed both belt guards, the vise, and the clapper assembly.

For the move, I used my shop crane to lift it onto my heavy equipment moving cart. Note that the lifting straps for the crane are under the corners of the main casting (NOT under the oil pan, NOT under the ram assembly).

My shaper did not come with a stand, so I built a sturdy table for it out of 2x4s, with an added shelf and drawer.

To make it a bit easier to set it up in my shop, I drilled the mounting holes and did a test fit in my garage.№te that I intentionally designed the table so that the motor would overhang in the back. I also made the table width narrow enough that the crank handle for the lift has clearance; in addition the shaper is mounted farther to the right (as you face the shaper) for the same reason.

Here is the hole pattern for my shaper; I'm guessing this is the same for all Atlas 7 model shapers, but I cannot guarantee this.

Moving the shaper into the shop and lifting it (again, with the shop crane) into place was fairly straightforward. I had already drilled the mounting holes into the support table while everything was still in my garage, so I could do a test fit. Once everything was moved to the shop it was a simple matter to get it into position and bolt it down.

At this point I still need to:

                    • clean up the vise (and eventually install new jaws)
                    • clean up and re-install the clapper assembly


The drawings below are in photo format, as this was the best way to provide the original document. These drawings are scans sent to me by Clausing. Unfortunately, the originals were not in very good condition, so I cleaned them up digitally. In order to make sure not information is lost, I am providing both the original and the cleaned versions. You can click on any photo for a larger view, or to download.

 S7-22D Feed Gear Case - original
 S7-22D Feed Gear Case - cleaned
 S723D Ratchet Case - original

 S723D Ratchet Case - cleaned

  • Online Forums
    • Note 1: Many of the former Yahoo groups seem to have moved to
    • Note 2: I believe there is a Facebook group, but I cannot in good conscience link anyone to Facebook.
    • : "This group is dedicated to the users of Atlas metalworking machinery including lathes, shapers, horizontal mills, drill presses, saws and accessories  produced by Atlas for Atlas and Sears under the Craftsman or Master Craftsman badges and by AA Engineering for Sears under the Dunlap and Craftsman names."
    • : "For owners and users of all makes and models of metalworking shapers and planers. Originally the Metal Shapers Yahoo group started by Scott Logan."
  • Photos :
  • Videos
    • Photo album for my shaper
    • hillsgun : Running The Atlas 7B Shaper; a nice video of the shaper in action, with some narration. Also shows originally available accessories.
    • ltousig : Overview of the Atlas 7B with some operating instruction.
    • Patrick Mcload : Video of an operating Atlas 7B. Some interesting close-ups, but no narration.

Spare Parts

Used parts for this shaper are sometimes available on ebay; this also includes a 3D printed replacement ratchet cover.

Surprisingly, some new spare parts for this shaper are still available. Contact information for availability and prices:

Tom McNett
Technical Service
Clausing Service Center
Phone: 800-535-6553

To place an order call 1-800-535-6553 and ask for the parts department.

I spoke with Clausing about availability of replacement bushings and was given the following prices(Jan. 2020), not including shipping:

Atlas ManualClausing
NumberPart NumberEach
S7-51Oilite AA-650~$1.50*

* Standard Oilite bushing available elsewhere