View Full Version : Made in the USA

08-18-2001, 11:24 AM
Once again, I'd like to thank all of you for your advice and input. You gave me a lot to think about.
As far as the type of work I plan on doing, I mostly need specialty parts for some special projects as well as looking to make a little $$$ on special products. But mostly I want to learn for my own enjoyment. Thus, I probably won't be taking on large, heavy project requiring extreme accuracy.
Price will most likely be the limiting factor for me. Looking I see some of the tooling is almost as expensive as some of the smaller machines. If it were not for my own interest in machining, I could easily farm out these parts to one of the local small machine shops in the area.
It will probably be a few months before I purchase, so keep the info coming.

02-27-2006, 08:06 PM
Still shopping for lathe and mill.
Wondering if there are any new american made machines out there that don't require a second mortgage to buy.
I'm wanting to stay under $10,000 for the two and hope to have some left over for tooling and accessories if possible.
Nothing against the foriegn made machines, I just like to have the "Made in the USA" label if posible.

02-27-2006, 08:20 PM
Sorry but the answer is no, you will have to go used at the price you are hoping for.

P.S. I can make you a "Made in U.S.A" label if you would like, alittle two part epoxy on the old label, with the new one over it. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

[This message has been edited by mochinist (edited 02-27-2006).]

02-27-2006, 08:47 PM
I should add that the above is not totally correct. You can buy American made mills and lathes, but they are pretty much toys and not really suited for any type of work that has any size to it.

02-27-2006, 09:01 PM
Have to agree with mochinist on this one. There are a few(2?) "lap size" lathes and mill manufactures in the USA.

Anything "bigger" (9in lathe) is starting about 12,500 USD, if I recall correctly; have no idea what a mill will cost new, but you are already over budget.

Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."

02-27-2006, 09:13 PM
Yep, no way no how on NEW machines. Also, you'd be over budget on two machines that were 7 or more years old. 10 grand just ain't gonna go far enough. And adding tooling for two machines will probably double your investment--Depending on what you intend to do.

All I gotta say is don't try to spread 10K over two US machines with tooling unless you're handy at fixing them too. http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//wink.gif

02-27-2006, 09:17 PM
I didn't think so, but figured no harm asking.
Been looking at 'Grizzly' mills and lathes, specifically the G3616 mill and either the G9036 or G4016 lathe. Any opinions about the performance of these machines ???

02-28-2006, 01:29 AM
The 3616 looks to be a decent machine and probably the best value Grizzly offers in a mill. The 9036 is nice, but the 0554 is a lot more machine for not much more cash IMHO.

02-28-2006, 01:26 PM
The biggest question is: what are you gonna be using the machines for? if you're planning on 'hobbying' on them, they will work (but my personal opinion is buy used American anyways). If you're planning on 'working' on them, I wouldn't take ANYTHING gristly if ya gave it to me for free. Just my opinions......

02-28-2006, 01:32 PM
The South Bend 10" lathe was around $20K, new, the last I checked. I don't even want to think about the Hardinge.

"Good used American" may be an option, if you are in a location that has a decent selection of used machinery within range and if you want to spend the time sorting out the "good" from the "boat anchors."

Take a look at the Jet JVM-836 mill. It's about 2/3 the size of a Bridgeport, and IMO is a pretty nice machine, for about $4K.

Spin Doctor
02-28-2006, 03:35 PM
I've been looking at new wood lathes and ran across one made in Wisconsin*. Looks like a very nice lathe. Nicer even than the Oneway's**. But at around 5K it better be nice. And if this is for a wood lathe with basically simpler consruction and lack of cross slide, saddle and lead screw you can imagine what a tool room or engine lathe would cost. But also a start up would not have the legacy problems of pension's etc.

* http://www.turnrobust.com/Robust/Robust_Owners.htm

** http://www.oneway.on.ca/

[This message has been edited by Spin Doctor (edited 03-02-2006).]

02-28-2006, 03:37 PM
You can get a very nice Birmingham belt drive mill for aroiund $4800-5500. I have 2 friends that bought these new about a year ago. I had 2 that ran in my dads moldshop 40-55 hours a week for more than 7 years with no problems. Great machines for the cost.

[This message has been edited by Mcruff (edited 02-28-2006).]

02-28-2006, 03:50 PM
I was in the same boat a year ago and bought a used Bridgeport series 1 on Ebay. Did OK but still have it apart as I decided to clean it till you could eat off it, repaint, and replace any worn parts. I am the type to always want to know just what I have :-) Still don't have a mill yet, but no regrets as I will have a nice one soon when I get it back together :-) Still one could argue I lucked out since Ebay is a crapshoot.

I bought a Kent 1340A lathe from these folks. In fact, that is my lathe in the picture. Contact me off line if you want more information:

Having seen the G9036 in person at the Grizzly showroom, I saved a bunch of money on the same lathe in gray paint. I like mine, but haven't had as much time to use it as I would like.

I like American iron, but it is getting increasingly hard to find used American equipment that is not worn out in some way. I went and looked at a big Leblond before I ordered my lathe. Drove 200 miles round trip towing a trailer just in case. It had dished tailstock ways and a shim under the tailstock to get it on center for the particular part the owner used it for. that would have been a headache forever, shimming the 150# tailstock to the proper height depending on the length of the part. Parts? Sure...I called Leblond for the "replacable ways" that are a feature of the LeBlond Regals(ground flat strips). $1200 each! One "surprise" with that lathe could mean I had a piece of junk I could never afford to fix. If you can buy used with enough margin in the budget to deal with unforseens or some help scraping etc, you may be OK, but it doesn't always work out for many of us. Forrest had some sage wisdom (as he always does) on the used vs. new import issue a while back.

good luck with your search.

Your Old Dog
02-28-2006, 04:38 PM
havent read the entire thread so hope I'm not repeating.

$10,000 ought to buy you a great Made in USA setup on the used market now that all that kind of work is being shipped overseas. I'd be shocked if you 10k and a little patience wouldn't net you a great shop lathe and mill.

"Used", not to be confused with "abused" just means the bugs have been shaken out and it's tweaked from the way I see it.


02-28-2006, 04:55 PM
I think the problem in finding great US equipment used is twofold:

1. A used, american made, manual operation lathe etc, is probably pretty old. The percentage that were only driven on Sundays and "just broken in" is pretty small. Commercial use typically doesn't mean just having the bugs shaken out and tweaked.

2. Few American companies are making any of this sort of manual (non-CNC) equipment, so the "pool" of what will be "old american equipment" is going to continue to diminish. If you were to find a 50 year old American-made lathe who could have made it? 20 years? 10?

If you aren't in any hurry and are willing to spend a year or so and some gas looking around and driving a bit to look at stuff, you might be OK. Certain areas of the country seem to have their share of used machinery and other areas have only a small amount of worn-out junk, and only then, occasionally. I spent a while looking before I had any budget to buy and did not "give in" to buying an import easily. Two shops where I work (a University) had some newer imports and I got to touch them and fiddle around and figure out they were not all total pieces of junk.

02-28-2006, 07:33 PM
Amen Paul.

02-28-2006, 07:57 PM
I thought i bought a "made in the USA " mill off ebay the name on the mill was Hartford. Boy was i in shock when it had a big made in china on the side. all in all it is a good milling machine and it came with some nice toys like a DRO , power feed and a nice vice. the only thing i am looking for know is the owners manual and a parts manual. if you shop a round you can find some good mills and lathes out there. Also don't forget to budget for all the things that don't come with a mill or lathe.

02-28-2006, 08:02 PM
A community college with a machine shop may be a place to find a lead on a good used machine, our teacher was able to find all kinds of older machines in great shape, he also was getting rid of old belt drive south bend lathes for more modern gear head lathes.

A few phone calls just might pan out.

03-01-2006, 08:00 AM
i looked for for a mill found a 8520 used that for 8 years then i wanted a b-p. looked at a lot of them. they were all priced way too high and beat. round over arms went for $3600 and the guy that bought it thought he had a gold bar.
i bought a new enco with variable speed.powerfeed and dro. and box ways. it is a good machine as good or better as any b-p i have ever run. new it was about $5400

03-01-2006, 09:45 AM
Monarch hasnt made a new 10EE in 3 or 4 years- the last one cost over $50,000.
Hardinge has announced they will make no more HLV's- the last batch went for somewhere north of $40,000 each.
Clausing's bottom lathe is around 20,000, and it is imported from europe.
Standard Modern makes a new lathe in Canada- they cost somewhere between $15,000 and $20,000.
South Bend lists the Heavy 10 on their website for $15,000, fully tooled, but I have heard that
A- they are now imported from Australia
B-the price has gone up, they just havent updated the website.

A brand new Bridgeport is $12,500.
Wells Index still makes a new made in USA manual mill, but I am pretty sure it costs more than a Bridgeport.

So Realistically, if you really were going to buy a new, made in america manual lathe and mill, you are talking 35 grand or so.

I am not a big fan of Grizzly, me. Was just cursing the only Grizz tool in the shop again yesterday, as we do everytime we have to use it.
If I was going to buy a new, as opposed to used american, mill, I would want a Sharp, Kent, or Jet made in Taiwan machine.
The higher end Jets are all licenced Mehaanite castings- not sure who else does that, but I know the Grizzlys arent, I dont think any foundry in China is.

With any asian machine- buy the very best one they have. Look closely at how much it weighs.
A $2500 Enco, Grizz, or Jet 12x36 weighs 1100lbs.
An old Clausing, Colchester, Monarch, or Leblond in similar size will weigh 3000 to 4500lbs.

A decent european import, like a Tos, or a brazilian machine like a Nardini, will also weigh upwards of 3000lbs.

A Jet ZX series in the same size range is 5500 lbs.

Weight is good. Mass is your friend. Heavy is what you want.

03-01-2006, 10:04 AM
There is a guy named Ted Pflugner here in South Bend that used to work for SB Lathe. He buys used equipment and rebuilds it, specializing in SB lathes, of course. He is not especially cheap, but the prices are fair, and he will keep an eye out for what you want. 574-291-2349.

03-01-2006, 10:38 AM
The other thing to watchout for is that a company may "overseas" a product and be a little slow to update the catalog, and sales info. If you pick-up the machine in person at retail you'll know right away; but if you have it shipped you won't know until it arrives.

As to imports, quality is all over the place, and depending on the "era" that the machine was manufactured. A new Jet may be acceptable, but a 20yr old Jet may have been "poor" since day one.

For a while some manufactures have been importing the castings for their machines, but using enough other components to still legally qualify as Made in USA.

I try to avoid buying things made in PRC, but it is getting more difficult everyday. I forget exactly where, but a "reilable" source, did some testin and found that an "expensive" European import tooling steel matched the Mainland China steel tooling. A deeper investigation by then "them" found the Europeans, where buying the "rough finish blanks" from China, "polishing" them up, and sending then to USA and Canada under their "good" name. To the credit of the importer they "dropped" that European line from their catalog.

I guess what I am saying is do your research, not just look at the company name and counrty of origin as a indication of quality.

Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there no sweeter words than "I told you so."

03-01-2006, 08:10 PM
Keep looking here-


You might find a decent used American lathe for $5-6k.Used mills,I don't know.I would rather have a new virgin Taiwan b-port than a wornout American B-port.

Look at the mills in KBC,they have several basic step pulley B-port clones that are in the $5-6k range which are made in Taiwan.I have seen several they are nice units.

03-01-2006, 09:35 PM
If I were looking for a new lathe I'd check out a couple at grizzly. The G9731 is a lighter duty 13x40 at $6395 and weighs in at 1600 lbs. The G9732 is a 14x40 heavier duty machine which weighs 2600 lbs. and has a price tag of $8795. Both lathes are made in Taiwan from meehanite castings. I believe these Taiwan lathes are going to be of better quality than the cheaper Chinese lathes. Both these lathes come with loads of goodies like chucks, rests, etc.

I don't think there's going to be a free ride with regard to cost, if you want some quality you're going to have to pay for it.

Now I'm dreaming of the 15x50 model with a 2 in.+ spindle hole. If I ever did get another lathe it would definitly have a generous sized hole through the spindle, the 1.5 inchers really aren't big enough. When's that lottery going off???

By the way I have no affiliation with Griz, just posting some food for thought.


03-02-2006, 02:18 AM
I would keep an eye out for high school, college or university machines. I have bought at a high school auction, a Dainish built miller, a Vilh Pedersen PU2 Universal miller with the Universal Dividing head, tail stock, and gears, 6 arbors,and close to 300 cutters for $525.00 Canadian.

It took a good week to clean the sulfer cutting oil out of her that they used for coolant.
But what was left was a pristine show room Universal Miller, no wear on any of the ways, or coloum, no marks in the table. The machine was made in the mid sixtys, but after all that time in the class room, sitting, she was just like new.

Other people at the auction were looking for a Bridgeport type mill, the Pedersen is a horizontal with a vertical head, much more robust, especially with the 4HP motor it came with.

I was told by an industrial salesman that our local college was trying to sell an old shaper!!!! I went to check her out,......the instructor said it was out side under a blue tarp. I went in search of the blue tarp, removed the said tarp, "WOW"...... there stood the pretiest 1971 Elliot 18" Major Universal Tool room shaper, with her 14" vise. I moved the ram, it was stiff from sitting, but no gouging on the dove tail slides, there was some light surface rust that cleaned up with some WD40 and 3M pads, it also had no wear on any of the ways, there was no evidence of any crashes.

While in the college's yard I spotted a Kysor Johnson 10 x 18" band saw. I went back inside asked how much for both,... they said $450.00 for the pair. I think I tore my pants trying to get my wallet out to pay for them before someone changed their mind.

Once I had the reciept in hand I asked the instructor if they had any weird wrenches , that had the initials BSW or BSF, sure enough he led me to the orphan wrenches.

As I was leaving I asked "why" they were getting rid of the machines, he said that "no one there knew how to run the shaper"!!!!and they just bought a new Chinese vertical band saw. He then remembered there was about a half dozen new blades for the Kysor Johnson saw, it was actually 9 new blades he gave me.

You have to keep your eyes and ears going like radar, let people you know, that your in the market for machine shop equipment,chase those leads.

PS: I couldn't talk them out of the 4 ton hand press, so I left my name and number, just in-case they change their minds.


03-02-2006, 08:08 AM
yes there are good buys out there on used machinery. but another thing you have to decide ishow long you want to wait till you find one. 2-3 years or longer.
i can tell you that no matter how long you wait. as soon as you buy a new machine you will see lots of bargans. works that way for me.