Atlas lathe parts are made from an alloy of zinc, aluminum, magnesium and copper (ZAMAK). This alloy is pressure injected into hardened-steel dies, according to the machine tools reference archive, Lathes.
ZAMAK was developed by the New Jersey Zinc Company and used from the beginning of Atlas lathe production in 1932. ZAMAK's smooth surface finish reduced the need for machining. The process is one of the shortest paths available between raw metal material and a finished product, and led to important savings in production time and cost. The mix of elements used to produce ZAMAK can be changed to suit a particular application, and it is widely believed that Atlas used a particularly durable blend, notes Lathes.
Atlas lathes were made by the Atlas Press Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The lathes were built in 6-, 9-, 10- and 12-inch versions, and were subjected to continuous improvements throughout the 20th century. A special screw-machine version of the Atlas lathe was produced in the United Kingdom during World War II and dedicated to production work. This version was not produced in the United States, according to Lathes. However, it could be made to work on an ordinary machine with a conversion kit.