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Buying and using metal working machinery

Discussion in 'GOOFS & BLUNDERS YOU SHOULD AVOID!' started by Doodle, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. Doodle

    Doodle United States Active Member Active Member

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    Don't make the mistake I did looking for that used old lathe , milling machine, or what ever. I waited and searched for years for the good deal I could afford with the idea I would learn my way into rebuilding the equipment into something useful. That's a good scheme if you want to learn how to rebuilt someone's worn out, rusted, missing pieces, used up, treasure they thought was worth more than scrap price. I've already done that with antique cars and it was fun doing it with my Dad. But I went years without the fun of making things with a good lathe or learning how to run a milling machine. With time running out for me on this planet I was fortunate to get discount coupons in the mail to the new outlet in town selling China made machines. For next to nothing I bought a little 6x11 or something sized lathe with 3 and 4 jaw chuck ready to plug in and use. I learned a lot making it into a better machine and launched myself into a 9x20 lathe. It was no prize until I learned how to stiffen the tool post, tighten up the adjustments and I have made some parts I am really proud of. I have added one of those mini mills to my shop and it is a joy to use it right out of the box.
     
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  2. richl

    richl United States Active User Active Member

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    Good for you

    Rich
     
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  3. Old junk

    Old junk United States Active Member Active Member

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    Nice!
     
  4. Ulma Doctor

    Ulma Doctor Infinitely Curious Active Member

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    the lil asian machines can be made into some very respectable machine tools with some time and tweaking.
    i'm happy that you have the joy of machining and are enjoying your time in the shop!
     
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  5. Silverbullet

    Silverbullet Active Member Active Member

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    Amen to that enjoy life while you can , you never know what's going to happen . Live each day like it may be your last. Ask me how I know.
     
  6. Ken from ontario

    Ken from ontario Canada Active Member Active Member

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    We just don't know how long we have on this earth but isn't it funny that now that we are getting older we realize there's no point in waiting for something better to come or save something so it still looks or feels "new".
    I find myself looking at life like enjoy what you have ,while you can, that's my motto, this way I won't have many regrets.
     
  7. Uglydog

    Uglydog United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    A machine is only a tool.
    Near as I can tell, it's the machinist that makes a part.
    Nothing wrong with your purchase. Stand tall and proud.

    Daryl
    MN
     
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  8. core-oil

    core-oil United Kingdom Active User Active Member

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    Sixty years ago, at evening class, I learned the basics of turning on an old belt driven lathe (6" Centre Height) I guess now my first turning examples were not wonderful, approx one year later, after the family had moved from a somewhat out of the way country town to a large industrial town, I saved up my pocket money and purchased an old beat up small lathewhich my dad & I built up using anything we could lay our hands on, The countershaft supporting "girder work" was constructed from old right angle bed frames, which we scrounged from the refuse collectors, Well we ended up with a usable small machine tool, Accuracy was obtained in many cases by the judicious application of various shims applied especially in the tailstock alignment.

    Fast forward to nowadays, I am older and certainly more grey, Wiser ? Doubt it ! I am still playing with my machines , Pretty good machines, Not too modern, I frequently think back to a simple little steam engine I turned out on my first lathe, It went surprisingly well , I also think on the folks who gave me encouragement, Freely given, An old wood patternmaker, a ships engineer , an old brass moulder and last but not least a very decent old Jewish tool dealer in Glasgow , who steered me through the various essential tools I would require , Frequently stopping me from spending my money in a reckless manner and saying "Buy this tool its cheaper and will be more useful" I still treasure the tools I purchased in his little shop, In fact one day I was in his shop, no doubt wasting his time , talking hot air, When in came an old English shipyard fitter I knew , He looked at the tooldealer and said "Isaac You keep that young man right , We are expecting a lot from him, & to me he said You Listen to everything Isac says, I have frequented this shop since he was helping his father, & he could just look over the counter"

    Well in these modern times, I think folks have lost the plot, I mix with folks who want to rip the metal off on super sonic machines as though there is not a tomorrow, Amongst my machine tools possibly the only really modern machine I own is my far eastern metal cutting bandsaw , A wonderfull tool, & my 3&1/2" centre lathe built in 1970, Well silly old me has decided to go back down memory lane by purchasing a small mid 1950 belt driven lathe , which I now have overhauled and I am building up , Guess I will have a go at another little steam engine shortly, The old boys in the western worlds industries made us great by frequently using machines which were less than perfect,

    Doodle you have got the right approach to craftsmanship, you have graduated up from something beat up to your nice new machine which I think you really love, and I feel your skill base has grown, The other guys who have subscibed to this post all have given very wise council , on this journey through life.
     
  9. randyjaco

    randyjaco Reserved Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I make most of my money these days restoring fine old American Iron with my Chinese machines. People pay good money for my work, but never ask what I want for my Asian machines. Good Asian machines turn out good work and are very cost-effective. But they can be a ***** to get parts for in a pinch.
    Randy
     
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  10. ezduzit

    ezduzit United States Active User Active Member

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    Better bang for the buck to locate a quality used machine in excellent condition with a comprehensive set of tooling.
     
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  11. chips&more

    chips&more United States Active User Active Member

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    My money and time will always go to good old USA cast iron.
     
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  12. dlane

    dlane Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    X2
     
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  13. tcarrington

    tcarrington United States Making miscellaneous parts for years now H-M Supporter-Premium

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    It is the machinist or craftsman who makes the part. I have seen some wonderful things made with the simplest and crudest of tools. Good going and keep at it.
     
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  14. projectnut

    projectnut United States Active Member Active Member

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    I am also in the "Buying old American Iron" camp. Not that I don't have an Asian machine or two, I just prefer "Old American Iron". Keep in mind there is a difference between "old" and "old and worn out". I like to stay away from machines that look like you could invest more time and money bringing it back to life than you would on the projects they're supposed to help create.

    I started with a 100+year old belt driven lathe I inherited from my wife's grandfather. Even at its advanced age it was in remarkable condition. Her grandfather made a living with it in a prototype shop for over 40 years. When he retired the machine was retired at the same time and given to him as a retirement present. He kept it in pristine condition and used it regularly until his passing. I've had it going on 20 years and it still puts out quality parts.

    Finding old American iron in good condition takes time, patience, and perseverance. There are many more old and worn out machines up for sale than there are old machines in good shape. I find the best places to look are high schools, technical schools, universities, and shops either downsizing or upgrading equipment. Many machines are retired not because they are worn out but rather because they can't produce at a rate needed to be profitable. A friend of mine runs a job shop mostly dong work for auto manufacturers. A few years ago he had to upgrade some machinery for fear of losing contracts.

    The old Brown & Sharp screw machines he was using to make brake bleeders were in good condition and still worked fine. The problem was that they couldn't produce fast enough to meet the demand. His old machines could take a piece of raw stock and turn it into a finished bleeder in 2.8 seconds. He needed to bring that time down to 1.8 seconds to meet the demand and still make a profit. He replaced 10 of his 12 machines with considerably quicker CNC machines (I don't know the brand) but he saved 2 as a backup "just in case". The machines he did replace aren't retired. They went to other shops where their speed was sufficient to create other products.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2017
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  15. Downwindtracker2

    Downwindtracker2 Canada Active User Active Member

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    A 1340 Standard Modern came up at sealed bid auction. Oh , how I wanted it. It had been run out of oil, so that was why it was there. My bid of $2500 was third highest. It went for $2800. The gears would have been fine, but I wouldn't bet on the bearings. Fast forward a few months and a lathe and mill showed up on Craig's list. I jumped on it at $1700. A fair bit less then he asked. They were a '92 DF1224g lathe and genuine '02 RF-45 mill drill. Both are Taiwanese. They not perfect, they do need work. Grizzly has been good for some of the parts But at least I'm able to use them. The mill has about paid for itself in two projects at the $1500 I valued it at. Would it have been nice to have $20,000 lathe , it was well equipped , for $5000. Sure. Bearing would have gone over $2000 at least. But both of these 1100# bench top machines only take up the floor space that the Standard Modern would. Old iron isn't common around here, so I would be still waiting. The hearse would have arrived first. I ended up with the perfect pair. Messy, though, all those chips.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2017
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  16. Reeltor

    Reeltor United States Active User Active Member

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    Anything that is for sale is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. With machines whether they are old vintage or more recent used ones, you need to know when to pass and wait for another one to come along. In many cases the decision rests on what you can buy the machine for. If the price is right, the risk of picking up a worn out one is worth it, at least it is to me. I've been very lucky picking up used machines, but I'm sure glad I didn't buy the first lathe that I found. A worn out turret lathe and I didn't really know what I was looking at.

    Mike
     
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  17. jhuston

    jhuston United States Active Member Active Member

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    I'm a power tool repairman by trade; I spend six days a week repairing tools and equipment made on the other side of the world as cheaply as possible. You couldn't pay me to put a foreign made machine in my shop ( with the exception of English or German products). I know a lot of folks who do great things with Chinese machines, and with some fine tuning/ upgrades many SE Asian machines do just fine, but I honestly don't see much difference between investing time doing fit and finish work the factory overseas should have done, and rebuilding an older, but still functional American machine that still has it where it counts.
    In all fairness, my machines aren't used for production, although they are money makers for me, and I enjoy rebuilding machines and prefer running a machine I know intimately from a complete restoration.
    Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

    -James Huston
     
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  18. brino

    brino Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    The world needs more Isaac's.
    -brino
     
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  19. Scruffy

    Scruffy Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Plus one brino. I have Been very fortunate to have met some great people to help me along. Pre 2012 I had never even seen a lathe operated.
    The only reason my machines are large is they were cheap and I had the space and means to move them.
    Thanks scruffy ron
     

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