View Full Version : Salvaging Components---Where Do YOU Get Them?

07-28-2006, 03:24 PM
When building somethng like a CNC machine, robot or automatic beer
dispenser, many of us reuse components from many different sources that
we find surplus....in dumpsters, junkyards, scraping older machines,
thift stores, etc.

So where have YOU found your reuseable mechanical and electronic
components and what were they from?

And most importantly of all, what have you built?


07-28-2006, 08:37 PM
Lets see there have been many.

When I was 13 I built a wood lathe out of rescued 4x6 timbers,the shaft,bushings and motor from a washing machine for the spinny shafty things.It worked good and I made quiet a few table legs and pedestals on it.The biggest expense was having the local machineshop ream the bushings to fit the shaft $10,that is where I caught the bug and have been busy becoming and being a machinist ever since.I still got the bushings here somewhere,the rest I took apart for other projetcs years ago.

I later graduated to scrapyards and auto salvages,things like engine blocks and conrods can be made into milling machines.

I have built or partially built three bandsawmills of various capacities,two used mostly salvaged parts and pieces,one used mostly new off the self stuff.

I find auctions to be a place for materials and parts.I look at everything in the dead row or oddball specialized machines for parts/ideas,mainly because that stuff sells cheap so do pallets of new/surplus parts.I bought a new electrical control cabinet,2hp motor with VS pulleys and 60:1 gearbox for $30.00.Sold the motor starters in the box for $70.00 and kept the rest for various projects yet to be attempted.

It's also good to be near several govmint/Nasa installations,they are always throwing away good stuff,even got a few surplus dealers near me.

Then there is all the crap at work,3/4 of a city block to plunder:D

07-28-2006, 09:05 PM
Semi related to the printer thread, when your HP inkjet gives up the ghost, dont throw it away just yet. Take it apart! there is some steppers although too small for most uses, and theres highly polished metal shafts that can find a home in some project of yours.

07-28-2006, 10:26 PM
those shafts out of printer and fax machines make great additions for indicators.

I got a few set up for a long reach into parts .

I have a few that I am thinking of making my own zero set for the mill .

I think it is called a zero set anyway ???

Do not forget there is plenty of gears to play with .

Mark Hockett
07-29-2006, 01:05 AM
Like wierdscience said, auctions are a great place to look. Auctions can be a gold mine of surplus stuff. Many of the buyers at auctions are there for the big stuff like machines and tooling that can be resold. A pallet full of misc stuff can be more of a pain in the a$$ for them than its worth. I have scored many pallets full of great stuff for between $5 and $50. The last pallet I bought had a full set of R8 collets, Greenlee knockout punch set, 3 new sets of Bridgeport spindle bearings along with a huge box of other bearings, some nice lathe tools and other stuff buried at the bottom. All this for the cost of $26.50. I also go to storage locker auctions. At a storage locker auction they open the door, you get a few minutes to look in through the door, then they auction it off. Usually there are boxes full of stuff that you can't look in, which makes it kind of fun because you never know what you will get. The one thing that sucks about storage locker auctions is they usually have an old mattress in them that is a pain to move and get rid of.

Mark Hockett

07-29-2006, 02:33 AM
Then there are the Good Will type stores, I picked up a box of 5C collets,7 I think,for $5.00, motors, tread mills, all kinds of odds and ends, also bought a 1/2 hp reversable motor $10.00 there, used it to make a 4x36 belt sander. :D

07-29-2006, 03:57 AM
the old big dot matrix printers from the poor people's store are a good source of big stepper motors, bushings and linear rods, and cost like 5 CDN dollars each!

07-29-2006, 06:15 AM
Swap meets ,Going to one today,I hope there are some good goodies.

there are always an assortment of dril bits and sometimes endmills,and the like.

07-29-2006, 12:07 PM
Just went dumpster diving at the local farm store. Scored a mobile welding cart(3 pneumatic tires and a bunch of bearings.) Some computer parts. some steel tubing. and leather welding sleeves that look new.

07-29-2006, 01:33 PM
Dumpster and trash diving. "Salvage" to me means finding something useful that someone else abandoned or threw away. With very few exceptions, if I pay for something, it has to work at least to some small degree.

Eventually it comes back to the old saw, "One man's trash...etc."


07-29-2006, 04:29 PM
If you are into model making and need a source of high quality cast iron (in small sizes) I can recommend an old upright piano frame, really excellent stuff.
My shop vacuum cleaner of 25 years usage came from the dustbin of a local shop, I saw the wheels sticking out & thought ‘they might come in useful’ took it home, cleaned out the accumulated carpet fluff and have been using it ever since.
Other ‘reclamations’ include - stainless m/bike parts from old catering equipment ex. scrap man, patio heater from old propane cylinder, garden compost bins from old freight pallets, shop air compressor from a couple of old fridge units with a receiver from a truck air tank (you do have to remember to squirt an occasional drop of oil as they are normally a closed circuit with refridgerant & lubricant), wheels for 2 welder trollies from kiddy push chairs.
I could go on !!

07-29-2006, 05:44 PM
the guy wanted $250 for it.



07-29-2006, 09:21 PM
So did you buy it?


07-29-2006, 11:58 PM
So did you buy it?


You did buy it right?I'm assuming here that you didn't loose your mind and not buy it?:D

07-30-2006, 09:41 AM
Dumpster and trash diving. "Salvage" to me means finding something useful that someone else abandoned or threw away. With very few exceptions, if I pay for something, it has to work at least to some small degree.

Eventually it comes back to the old saw, "One man's trash...etc."


Well. If you see a pair of feet sticking out, it'll be me.Honk as you drive by.

07-30-2006, 05:49 PM
Hit a garage sale today. They were closing down. 2 exercise things were there. They were going to throw them away. I took them and salvaged all sorts of different steel parts out of them. Some tube, some angle, some flats, bar and rods and an adjustable shock absorber of some sort. Free.


07-30-2006, 05:55 PM
Nope, Got his # though.I have a Barker mill,and don't use it.
In a week I may (insert ethenic slur here)him down a bit. ;)

So I assume you think its worth it?

07-30-2006, 06:06 PM
Na is not worth it,, give me his number and i'll let you save your money

Brian H.
07-30-2006, 07:55 PM
Speaking of salvage, here's my Benchmaster mill, which I got for the price of dinners for a few friends:


It has a few problems, though - It runs far too fast to be of much use, and it only came with one 7/8" arbor and one dull cutter. (If anyone knows where I can "salvage" some 1" MT2 arbors for this thing, let me know.) Otherwise, it's a very nice machine, and even came with the original power feed, barely visible at the bottom of the photo.

07-31-2006, 06:10 AM
So ,I should offer him $100 for it?

Nah,I don't like to Insult people I may be buying from in the future,someday. I geuss I am mellowing with age. ;)

07-31-2006, 06:01 PM
As well as printers, don't overlook "dead" photocopiers. The big old ugly ones have lots of shiny shafts, some big steppers, some all sorts of fun gears, chains and other goodies.

07-31-2006, 06:06 PM
As well as printers, don't overlook "dead" photocopiers.


Yep. 23 years working for Xerox. Many of the parts we changed weren't classified as repairable. I don't throw much away. At the least I would strip out the bearings. I have boxes of bearings.

07-31-2006, 06:56 PM
Maybe obvious, but dont forget the car graveyards. Though mostly I raid old bikes (rare for some reason bike owners want the "good" spare parts <grin>), ride on mowers are a good source.

These are junkers, the place lets you take the part off and then sells it to you at varying prices - good parts at second hand prices, but the stuff I mostly get at only a little above scrap steel prices.

07-31-2006, 07:16 PM
Around these parts there are very few bargains to be had.Everybody seems to think there crap is worth it's weight in gold.We have a local online auction,like flea-bay,and you'd be amazed at the prices they ask.Needless to say I buy very little.I sometimes go to a scrapyard for gunmetal pieces.These are the "risers" from casting,which they will sell me for NZ$9.50 a kilo.Thats about $7US a pound!Unfortunately,the last lot i got had casting sand right through the middle,so was basically a waste of money.
I picked up a couple of approx.41/2" round weights with a hook on top.like used for old manual roller doors.Thouhgt they were cast iron.WRONG!they were the ends of railway wagon axles,hard as all hell!At least if i'm in need of some HD steel,i know ive got some:D.
I've used old steel bed frames to make a welding trolley,and a mobile base for my 7x4 bandsaw.I got some nice alloy tubing and flat alloy plate out of an old x-ray machine that had been stripped.All my friends and family keep their eyes open for potential junk for me.This means i sometimes have to accept crap thats of no use,but thats a small price to pay for the cost(zero:D)
Steel merchants have a "scrap" bin which is not really scrap.They still charge the normal price for whatever you dig out.Also $30 minimum charge.
You guys on the larger side of the pond don't know how lucky you are.