We make headway on the machine rebuilding and discover buying a complete "set of anything" might not turn out to be true as we tease a bit more about the actual product we will be making for you with these very machines and tools. Then we layout a really heavy commitment to our readers and viewers about YouTube and this Blog.


  • Machine and tool rebuilding the process and the progress.
  • We share some motor bearing talk.
  • Unintended issues arise.
  • Producing a product progress.
  • Our YouTube commitment.


Machine & Tool Rebuilds are Coming Along

We are rebuilding machines we have had sitting around or in many cases, they have been operating for years and the time for attention towards their performance became needed.

We have been rebuilding machines and precision tools and instruments for many years. We are excited as we are going to be able to share our first machines to be filmed via while being rebuilt.

Active Atom Little Machine and Tool History

We have been buying and acquiring precision machines and machine tools for decades. Some went right into making parts after a quick reliability inspection as they were needed for production at the time.

Some machines just got placed on a shelf, either because they were not needed at the time or they did not pass the tolerance and repeatability inspection process at Active Atom. This later status would ultimately result in the machine or tool needing a refurbish or total rebuild depending on the urgency at Active Atom.

Active Atom Stopped doing outside Work in 2017

We stopped making machined parts and accepting most watch service/restoration work for others recently to begin this documentary series titled, Shop Adventures - a journey of two childhood best friends living and working in a rural desert town.

Lately we decided to just rework, repaint and rebuild many of our trusted machines. Truth be told, it was time because we are to begin making a product (of own product) that requires very precision machines, hand tools and instruments. We are going to be counting on these machines and tools to do nearly all of the work in the making of our product and besides, these machines and tools are one day headed to our future museum. So lets be sure they are trusted and worthy of becoming working museum pieces.

A pair of these machines are the of the Levin Instrument lathe size. We mentioned early on that these are two different dated Levin machines, one is from the 1940’s the other is from the 1980’s. With these two machines having a 40 years spread between them, it will be interesting to see which one was built best and even which one has the worst bearings in them, sense we are replacing all of the bearings regardless.

Machine Rebuilding Progress Thus Far

We have completed the stripping, sanding, error filling, deep cleaning, masking, priming, and painting. OH YES, PAINT WORK COMPLETE FOR NOW

S-T Industries Dial Indicator Repair

SCHERR-TUMICO is the actual name of the dial indicator. The company is located in St. James Minnesota.

We have to repair a vintage dial indicator from a company still in business but because we are watchmakers, the repair of a mechanical precision dial indicator is considered easier (not to be passive, you have to know what you are doing and apply the same taught practices, mainly because they have simpler complications then a watch movement and they also are larger in the circumference compared to a wrist watch.


The paint is custom blended and made for us, a spray lacquer to the exact factory Levin & Son color code. The primer and the lacquer are baked on, providing the toughest and longest lasted coating possible for both machines.

Some of this prepping of the machine and tool components have been shown into our videos and here is a link to see that portion of this machine rebuilding process being performed in our workshop in the California Mojave Desert at Active Atom Precision Machining.

Levin Lathes Shop Adventures 02 -

How the Levin Lathe Rebuilds have Gone and will Go

We are rebuilding these two Levin & Son lathes and these are full rebuilds, from the individual components each being studied, polished to inspect components and reworked as needed completely resurfaced after any way scrapping, forging or casting error corrections are made, etc.

These machines will then receive new headstock spindle components such as bearings and seals regardless of there current condition. New belts will also be installed as we live in a very dry arid desert.

The Levin & Son Lathes require a dedicated permanent table each. These two instrument class lathes are not portable like many of our micro machine tools we have are. The main lathe bases generally come standard with two separate pieces and are mounted through the table top.

These Levin lathes have Optional Chip Trays

Since our two machines each have the optional forged metal chip trays, the trays are mounted to the table directly, then the two lathe beds are mounted to the chip trays and are mounted at about the same time as the electric motor base. The motors are also secured to the table top to assure that the belt drive and pulley’s are in alignment to one another and that proper distances are maintained for optimum performance during machining operation. We need to drill the maple table tops in each table to ensure that everything is securely mounted for a complete installed lathe setup.

One table as previously mentioned, is an actual high top vintage Levin & Son steel frame table with two draws and with a maple table top. The second table is a low top or standard table and is an after market steel frame table base with a maple top as well.  This table has no underneath drawers.


Electric Motor Bearings Replacement

A Bergeon and Flume motor each get a new set of SKF bearings. We discover that just because you own the full kit of bearing installation tools which includes the press posts, bearing dies and even the special SKF hammer, this does not mean you have all of the sizes covered.

We found that t he company does not make the smaller diameter internal race bearing installation bearing dies so we are forced to build a 7mm and an 8mm model. We built them good, ok we actually built them a bit better and unique to their size. Not a press post that you snap in the different size bearing dies as needed but as stand alone tools, machined on our larger lathe in Delrin that are finely finished with tapered tops so they can be utilized like the factory ones where they can be used with a hydraulic press or hitting the top with a hammer.

Types of Machines we Make Precision Parts with

We apply our skills to not just make machined products but we also utilize vintage and newer machines, manual and CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) machines. We even design, engineer and then program, utilizing SolidWORKS and SolidCAM that we will also be sharing.

Our Machine and tool work reflects how we rebuild and maintain these fine often rare vintage machines and tools from precision machinery manufacturers around the globe.

The manufacturers we have machinery and tools from are:

  • USA
  • Germany
  • France
  • Japan
  • England
  • Switzerland

And likely a few more I have failed to recall at this time.

We are Making a Product, here are the Updates

The Concept of our completed product, we are dying to share it, soon enough grass hopper.

The materials we will machine the product from are currently being selected. The material types at this stage are important as this provides the CAD software with the needed details for calculating the weight based on the design. This also allows function animation testing of how the products parts are going to work and wear together, and how they will last via the stress testing through this software.

Utilizing Technology to Create Great Products

This whole how it works, how is it going to look and feel, even how much it is going to weigh are all answered, all accomplished before we cut a single metal chip.  This is a fine display of how a precision machine shop and a machinist, hobbyist or professional must stay up to date utilizing the latest tools of there trade.

(coming future product)

A Quiet Time

In regards to the making of this product updates go, we will have some quiet time while the design and testing are being completed.

This is why we are entertaining you our readers and YouTube viewers, with the machine and tool rebuilding updates as these things are of the same equally important items to be completed in our continued journey. Once the design and engineering are all completed, we should have enough of our vintage machines ready to make the prototype parts so we can physically test the product out and abuse it to some degree.

We are going to make 5 or 6 copies of this product and serialize them with a code that identifies that these products are test 01 through test 05 or 06 and send them out to professional reviewers that will test the living hell out these products before a reader or viewer ever has to deal with any issues that can and often do arise, regardless of the best of our engineering and makers efforts.

[Important No Secrets Here]

What we are making is not being left out or hidden from our readers or viewers, we will share the product type and name shortly. The reasons we are not sharing the actual product is for two reasons.

  • Reason One
    We might be making a product for consumers and they are going to be similar to one another but until we are sure, it will not be shared or named.

  • Reason Two
    We might be making a tool for machine shops or for watchmakers. It is going to again, come down to if we want to target a group or instead make a general product for all viewers to want and to enjoy.

NO SECRETS at Active Atom

See, we are an open book around here and we are doing our best to include our readers and viewers in each step of the process of making a product from start to finish.

Once we have the actual product application, it will get named at the same time and all of this should take place in the coming weeks. We cannot wait (but must) to share our products beginnings via all of these great social media networking locations and see what you think of our thought out products and hope you even share your own thoughts with us as well.

Personally, we think this is going to be a fun opportunity to interact with our readers and viewers.

How Important are You our Viewers?

Here is a solemn YouTube filming commitment from the two of us

While we share our skills, techniques and knowledge with our viewers and you our readers, we are not teachers. This means that while these two desert dwellers might be knowledgeable in the text book examples of how we perform and accomplish this or that, our methods might not meet the textbook methods and our methods might not be achievable by the viewer or reader.

Reader and Viewer Discretion are Always Advised

As a viewer or reader of the Active Atom, LLC videos via our YouTube Channel or any other place happened upon by you or the use of or viewing of data provided by Active Atom, LLC. on our other publicly released skill sets and knowledge based data products, you the reader or viewer should consult a professional in the skill(s) we are sharing, or you see us achieving.

You should PLEASE AT NO TIME attempt these skills of applied knowledge we are sharing, we are highly trained and even still we make mistakes so please just sit back and enjoy what we have created for your entertainment.

One extremely important thing we are out to share with our viewers and readers is that we like anyone else make mistakes, some small, some large, and if we feel they are important in the efforts to leave a truthful and lasting impression in the ways we make our products then we will gladly share the fact that we make mistakes and yes we break things too.

We Make Products Here, 70 to 80 Hours a Week & Times Two People

The number of actual hours we work is why we might not always share every last detail with you our readers and viewers on every topic as filming videos means that there is a lot of B roll, that film mostly never gets aired for you to watch. This is done in the name of keeping our videos short, convenient, on topic, content rich, and enjoyable by a wider viewing audience.

Your time to us is not something we wish to waste.

Interactions with Patrick and Lance

We reply to all on topic questions and we answer the questions to the best of our ability, based on the details you provide to us in the comments.

If you want to know more on anything we are doing, filming, or you have a thought, an idea (ideas are a really good thing), you might just need more information about a topic to understand what you just read or viewed. Great! That is what we want to hear, that is why we are here doing this.

Simply add a comment in the comment section below our BLOG posts or videos and write in detail please so we can provide to you and maybe others who will follow along after you with the same questions, the most detailed answers from our abilities.  That is what we intend to post in our replies.