How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

All discussion about lathes including but not limited to: South Bend, Hardinge, Logan, Monarch, Clausing and other HSM lathes, including imports

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Downwindtracker2
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How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby Downwindtracker2 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 11:18 am

That's a title off of one of those grocery counter tabloids if I've even seen one. I've always wanted a metal lathe.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. A cabinetmaker was closing down his studio and had picked them up for metal work on one of his creations. They were a '91 DF1224g lathe and genuine '02 RF-45 mill drill. Both are decent Taiwanese. They were not perfect, they needed work, and still do. Grizzly has been good for some of the parts But at least I was able to use them in fairly short order. 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. But bearing would have gone over $2000 at least, plus the effort of rebuilding the headstock . 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, what with all those chips.
A man of foolish pursuits, '91 BusyBee DF1224g lathe,'01 Advance RF-45 mill/drill,'68 Delta Toolmaker surface grinder,Miller250 mig,'83 8" Baldor grinder, plus sawdustmakers

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SteveM
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Re: How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby SteveM » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:42 pm

Sometimes the best machine is the one you can get, at the price you can afford, in the condition you can fix or use, to do the work you need to do.

Steve

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BadDog
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Re: How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby BadDog » Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:53 pm

My story is much more convoluted. Started off buying a small lathe for a specific purpose, but over time that purpose faded and I began enjoying machine tools for their own sake, and what they could do for my subsequent endeavors. The result is a fairly substantial machine shop that still exceeds my skills in applying it, but I'm working on that...
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Mr Ron
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Re: How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby Mr Ron » Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:25 pm

I found an 11" Sheldon lathe almost 30 years ago when I lived in San Francisco. I bought it from a used machinery dealer and I paid $750 for it. I found out it had come off a liberty ship and was manufactured under government contract. Why was this important you may ask; it came with all the attachments that were supplied under a government contract; 3-jaw, 4-jaw, taper attachment, metric gears, micrometer stops, and miscellaneous centers, face plates and tool bits and mounted on a 5 drawer cabinet. It looked like it got very little use. The ways still had the hand scrapping marks. The spindle and chucks still pass a .002 TIR. I would estimate this lathe today could fetch 1500 to 2000. The 4-jaw Skinner looks like it was never used; not a mark or scratch on it; ditto for the face plate and metric gears.
Mr.Ron from South Mississippi

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Re: How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby Downwindtracker2 » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:37 pm

Ron, that was a sweet deal . However if I was you,I wouldn't bother buying any lottery tickets , I think you might have used up all your luck.
A man of foolish pursuits, '91 BusyBee DF1224g lathe,'01 Advance RF-45 mill/drill,'68 Delta Toolmaker surface grinder,Miller250 mig,'83 8" Baldor grinder, plus sawdustmakers

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WesHowe
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Re: How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby WesHowe » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:10 am

I don't have a machine shop. I do have some machines, in my shop, but I am in no way fully equipped. My back story on that starts something like 45 years ago, when the place I worked at had a special project going on and I spent some time on a milling machine making plates for mounting pillow blocks. I didn't do any actual setup work, I just turned the hand wheels. But I thought cutting slots was pretty neat, and imagined all sorts of other things that could be done. I knew nothing of lathes.

My life work life was mostly in communications, a lot in management, and I never did much more than tour a few factories packed with machinery. I left the world of business and for a dozen years I managed my own farming enterprises. I had tractors, welders, metal cutting band saws, drill presses, but no milling machine.

I finally retired to a house with a garage and needed something to engage in that fit the premises, which were too limited for any construction or farming machinery work. Anyway, been there, done that, have the worn T-shirts to prove it. Using a few books and some You-tube videos (like Adam and Keith and Tom) I bought a small 3-in-1 combo and set to work learning to do this.

I have more machines now, and a good bit more knowledge, but I am still a ways from my goal to have a machine shop and be a machinist. But I am always working at it...

- Wes

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Re: How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby Downwindtracker2 » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:01 pm

Wes, you bring up a very good point about retirement and learning a new skill. Yesterday while listening to CBC, classical, kinda like PBS, no commercials , she said studies prove that learning to play an instrument works better than those mental exercise puzzles at staving off old timers. That's my expression of what ails me.

I remember my uncle boasting when I was a teenager with that his lathe, welder and a metal bandsaw, he could make anything. As usual, he was wrong, you need a mill as well. My dad when rating his in-laws said the best was a 4, but that was using a 1-100 scale.
A man of foolish pursuits, '91 BusyBee DF1224g lathe,'01 Advance RF-45 mill/drill,'68 Delta Toolmaker surface grinder,Miller250 mig,'83 8" Baldor grinder, plus sawdustmakers

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Re: How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby Harold_V » Tue Sep 12, 2017 3:58 pm

WesHowe wrote:I don't have a machine shop. I do have some machines, in my shop, but I am in no way fully equipped.

Correct!
Precious few people (most likely none) can make a (valid) claim of being "fully equipped".

What does that mean? Fully equipped to do what?

Can one hobb gears? That's all very much a part of a "fully equipped" machined shop.

Can a centerless grinder (or for that matter, a universal cylindrical grinder or internal grinder) be found in one's shop? A jig borer? Jig grinder? Double disk grinder? A hone (not one of those three stone flex hones, but a machine fully equipped with proper mandrels)? A tool and cutter grinder? A horizontal boring mill? A VTL?

I have NEVER seen a "fully equipped" shop, and expect I never will----not even in industry (where one finds shops equipped to do the intended work, not everything).

I ran a very successful commercial shop for 16 years, subcontracting from the missile and aero-space industries, using nothing more than a decent manual lathe and turret type mill, along with support equipment. I also had access to some grinding equipment, which rounded out my needs to produce the work I hoped to do, working as a machinist/toolmaker. I was NOT a die maker.

Since that time I have more than tripled the number of machines in my shop-----but I am nowhere near having a fully equipped shop---and don't have room to do so. No one does!

Bottom line is that one obtains the machines needed to fulfill one's needs, and learns to do the "work-arounds" that take the place of machines one can only hope to own in the real world.

H
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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Re: How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby Mr Ron » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:03 pm

Harold_V wrote:
Precious few people (most likely none) can make a (valid) claim of being "fully equipped".

H

I don't know if you have ever been through the machine shops at the Bremerton Navy shipyard. I worked there for a while and although they had an impressive machine tool inventory, they definitely did not have every known tool. Some machine tools (lathes and mills) can serve multi tasks, but if a certain repetative operation is required, it then warrants a job dedicated machine.
Mr.Ron from South Mississippi

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Re: How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby Conrad_R_Hoffman » Sat Sep 16, 2017 12:01 pm

"Fully equipped" is just a dream and would take up way more space than my little side of the garage. I got my Logan lathe maybe 30+ years ago and once you have a lathe, you need a mill. Never had the money or space for a real one, so I've got a Grizzly mill/drill. Tuned up, if you understand its limitations, it can actually do pretty good work. Surplus deals got me a nice Kurt vise, a rotary table and various other things. At this point there isn't much I can't make, so long as it isn't too big. I have absolutely no idea how regular muggles even get through life without a lathe.
Conrad

1947 Logan 211 Lathe, Grizzly G1006 mill/drill, Clausing DP,
Boyar-Schultz 612H surface grinder, Sunnen hone, import
bandsaw, lots of measurement stuff, cutters, clutter & stuff.


"May the root sum of the squares of the Forces be with you."

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Bill Shields
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Re: How I Ended up with a Machine Shop

Postby Bill Shields » Tue Sep 19, 2017 4:05 pm

A fully equipped shop is like being a good engineer (as described by my father).

Being a good engineer is knowing what needs to be done and how to do it...which usually means finding the correct person (machine) to do it.

Thank God for the internet and making it EASIER to find people to do those things not economically feasible by our personal 'fully equipped' shops.


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