View Full Version : Gathering stuff...

03-09-2005, 07:46 PM
Who else has this problem? I got into this home shop deal in Oct. last year and I just keep gathering STUFF! Seems like everything I run up on I think "Hey, that may be useful someday" and I snag it. Trouble is I don't have the resources to get shiney nice stuff and everything I end up with needs work and $$. I am slowly getting some things together and tooled up but I still have my mill to get running and a bigger lathe that needs some care.
Maybe someday I'll make some parts...

Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga

03-09-2005, 07:53 PM
I have a 30 x 40 building and still not enough room, get used to it.

03-09-2005, 07:54 PM
It's like life, half the fun is getting there. Got the same problem, my stove has one front burner and 78 back burners for my projects. I keep saying I'll get to them when I retire. Looks like I'll need to live 70 or 80 years beyond retirement to finish them all!

Your Old Dog
03-09-2005, 08:05 PM
My shop works pretty much the same way. I have, however, made one important observation. If I can decide on what projects I fully expect to excute, I find that the parts for those projects just seem to naturally gravitate to me over time at prices I'm willing to pay, many even for free. I now nolonger mind planning long range as it nearly always gives me not only ample time to modify design before I'm committed but it usually works out cheaper http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif


03-09-2005, 08:17 PM
I have the same situation,too many projects,not enough time and money.

I have begun to think of it as a mechanical version of Survivor Island,sometimes I have to vote somebody off http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif I got several old machines now that are headed to the scrapyard.Hate to do it,but I need the room and there are other more pressing projects I need to finish.
What I am doing is lining up my priorities,I can't do everything at once.

03-09-2005, 08:47 PM
Yea, there has to be some method to the madness. I spent a lot of time and effort on my shaper and now I have, well, a shaper. That time would have been better spent on the mill which will be a lot more useful. Now I'm off on this heat treating thing which may not prove that useful either and then there's the hardness tester that needs weights and cones... I'm not saying it wasn't fun and rewarding doing it but it is a little crazy!

03-09-2005, 09:00 PM
Sticking with a project until your finished is one of the hardest things to master,at least in the homeshop.
It's easy for me at work as I have deadlines and the customer has the money.At home it is a different story.I have a Delta bandsaw I have been working on as I get time for three months,the saw is finished ready to run,but I can't try it out as it is three phase and I got started on the saw BEFORE I finished the new phase converter for that part of the shop.So as it stands I have a fine saw and no way to run it until I finish the RPC that I should have finished before I started the saw------sheesh..what a vecious circle http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 03-09-2005).]

Jim Luck
03-09-2005, 09:10 PM
wierdscience - could I have a list of those machines your getting rid of?. I'm surreee I could use em.---------

03-09-2005, 09:37 PM
Yea, I need a phazer for the mill and "new" lathe...

Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga

03-09-2005, 09:51 PM
The only stuff I buy at retail is "gotta have it NOW for a job at hand" and the customer pays part of that bill. 90% of my eBay purchases are "don't need it now, gotta have it later". So it makes sense financially to pay ten cents on the dollar for things that need cleaning, painting, surface grinding, general tuneup. Mostly one or two hour jobs at most.

It is so tempting to look at that old, dirty, greasy, neglected (fill in the name) and justify the purchase. But if that machine is going to take 40 hours to disassemble, clean, repair & reassemble then the "low price" really isn't quite what it seems. And 40 hours barely covers a little shaper, so it's easy to get buried in the bigger machines.

To paraphrase WeirdSci "stick to one project until it's finished". (Probably easier to develop the widsom to understand women <LOL> )

03-09-2005, 09:54 PM
I think that “Gathering stuff” is half the fun.
A plan on what someday is going to be, might help with some stuff.

You get your shaper all done? Shaper vice done?
Did I miss the pictures??

Have Fun
Be Safe http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

03-09-2005, 11:05 PM
The difference between "gathering stuff" and junk collecting is that the "stuff" is rare and valuable.(I think)
Always build/allocate twice as much space as you think you'll need, that way it will take another two weeks to fill up.

Charlie Rose
03-10-2005, 02:18 AM
I worked as a toolmaker and before that as a machinist for 38 years and it seemed like all the really good/ talented ones were all pack rats. Must be written in the rules some where .

Forrest Addy
03-10-2005, 03:51 AM
Stuff and junk defined.

All my posession is stuff worth treasuring for future need. Anything belonging to you guys that I don't covet is junk.

That goes for my quarter century old Cadillac and my 35 year old truck whose bodies looks like cheap suits that were slept in for a week.

03-10-2005, 10:35 AM
I agree that shop dimensions don't ever increase no matter how much stuff I pack into it. However, I have the opposite problem as some of you. I got my phase converter built, but now need to pick up some equipment that uses it. Right now, it just sits in a corner gathering dust. No, I'm not going to get rid of it. My wife jokingly brings up the possibility of that, and I really don't find her very funny then :-)

I've posted these pics a few weeks back, but what the heck? It was my first decent project and I want to show it off.




03-10-2005, 11:32 AM
Web, Dolly Parton has that problem, ten pounds of tators in a five pound bag. Your box is really full..

Do you have a drawing? The RPC I have here is about the size of a carton of cigarettes. One Appliance relay, one bank of inductors, one pair of capacitors. I wonder if they worke the same? The appliance relay is the only non-used item I have seen.

They say all refrigarators just about have 3 phase compressors these days and use the relay to start/run. Anyone know about that?

My 10hp motor runs without the RPC anything in the shop I wanna run. You push the temp pushbutton, the 110 motor rolls it up to speed, push the 220 button and the 3ph motor latches in. The hydraulic press runs quieter and smoother than it does on a inverter. I have a isolated terminal strip in a small 220 single phase panel, flip the breakers for each item and 3ph is delivered to the local panel/starter. WIth the breaker off, you gotta remember the Generated phase is "hot" thou if it is running. Since it is on top of the starter no danger. NECA allows breaking of two phases to start/stop motors.


03-10-2005, 12:00 PM

I don't deny that the way I built the phase converter may not be the most efficient. I just build it according to the plans from Matt Isserstedt that I got online at


There was another, possibly simpler design that I was toying with at


I think the second design would be a bit more compact and I would someday like to try it. Before I did this project, however, I had zero experience using industrial electrical components; I learned a lot on this project and many of the components were scavenged from a local surplus outfit for cheap. However, in all fairness, I wired in 3 outlets and 1 inlet receptacles, where receptacles are not absolutely required and take up a fair bit of space. Believe it or not, it was a lot more sparse without the receptacles. You can't get around the size of motor capacitors. Some don't use them and don't feel they're needed, but I wanted to use them -- they significantly changed the amount of current draw on the input.

Keep in mind that EVERYTHING electrical is contained inside the box; no external breakers (other than on the house), hence the time-delay fuses inside (also take up a lot of room). I'm happy with it though, and it is on wheels, so I can port it around easily. I currently rent, so couldn't have a permanent installation.

03-10-2005, 02:53 PM

All the commercial rotary phase converters use three BIG capacitors, but not all of them have "the extra" components like yours. A friend built a RPC using a 10hp 3ph motor & a 1hp single phase starter motor, no capacitors, nothing else. Says it runs his Bport & lathe without problem.

03-10-2005, 03:45 PM

As you probably know, a 3-phase motor will run on single phase, but you can't start it on single phase. I've heard people prefer to start the 3-phase idler with the single phase motor, then disconnect the single phase -- requiring some kind of clutch interface. It sounds like this is what you're friend has done. All the electrical stuff I have is used to avoid this issue and only need to run a single motor. Since I've only built the one I showed,I don't know the relative effectiveness of other ones. I do know that the line voltages of my setup are far from perfect on the "generated phase" and will change, depending on the load of the motor I run with it. Someday I would like to implement a DSP controlled phase converter for better balance between the line voltages, much like the "Phase Perfect" company seems to have done, but that's quite a long ways off. But, (tying this back in to the original post) by that time my shop will be even more crowded (hopefully)