View Full Version : gingery machines?

05-17-2008, 06:01 PM
anyone make these and use them and whats your impression of them interested in knowing more

Bill Pace
05-17-2008, 06:54 PM
I started out with the charcoal foundry, oh maybe 20-25 yrs ago and eventually built bout every thing Dave and Vince came up with, Havent followed them in some time --


Even way back when I did them, they were dated pretty badly, I can only imagine now! I often wondered why the son, Vince didnt do an updated series on at least the foundry (which is what I did later)

The tools ... lathe, miller, shaper, etc are really not much when finished, but for some fun-- just think of it as model building-- they were great projects. I still rate building the shaper as one of my favorite projects, --- though it just sits on the shelf.

This guy is in the process of doing a modified shaper (Heh, ALL the builds now are modified -- heavily!!) and I try to drop in and check his progress.


Mark Hockett
05-17-2008, 06:54 PM
I have completed the charcoal foundry and 90% of the lathe. The foundry works very well on charcoal but I started doing larger quantities so I converted the furnace over to propane fired in order to work longer without having to clean out the furnace. The lathe worked and is a capable hobby lathe. I never finished the change gears and someone in our club wanted to buy the lathe when I was moving from CA so I sold it. I think the most important thing about the Gingery projects is the knowledge you gain. I learned much of what I know about foundry from those projects. It was a lot of fun building the foundry and the lathe and if I had more time I would probably build the shaper just for a decoration. I have since built four foundry furnaces for other people and I helped a friend build the lathe. He is still working on it but is getting up there in years and can't work on it as much as he used too. He just needs to finish machining the tail stock.

05-17-2008, 06:55 PM
Have you tried the Yahoo group?

Oops, late, never mind, nothing to add.

Bill Pace
05-17-2008, 07:10 PM
Remembered I had a pix somewhere of the 2 Atkinson engines and went and dug them up --- (the little one is something else, a little hit-n-miss) Got the one on the left to run pretty well (the "cycle"), but the other, the "differential", I could never get going----

Mark, I also went to propane, and made up a batch of that Petrobond type sand that the recipe for was floating around some years back -- what a difference those 2 changes made!!


05-17-2008, 08:34 PM
Given that used manual machines are selling at historic lows, some at scrap metal prices, I don't see why anyone would go to the trouble to build a inferior lathe, mill, shaper, bandsaw etc.
I can see a sheetmetal brake or a furnace if you can't find one and can make it cheap and easy.

Sure it might be a fun learning experience building Gingery machines, but in the end you have little of value to show for it.

When you could have spent all that time learning to make something of more value like accessories for a lathe, missing parts or refurbishing a machine which can be very expensive.

Spend your freetime making something of value, not just making something.

Forrest Addy
05-17-2008, 09:21 PM
We need to make some distinctions. No Gingery design I've seen comes close to the performance of a middling grade commercial built machine tool. They can't. Too many corners were cut as a result of simplifying the design to an irreducible essense for ease of construction. They are designed for home manufacture using low cost purchased components and home built castings and machined parts whichm, depending on the meterials and the capability of the builder, may cary widely in quality.

I would suggest a home craftsman get into building Gingery designs only if they are severly limited for funds, have plently of time, or who may relish the challenge. I'm not disparaging Gingery designs. Most are very well done and their performance as machine tools or what ever while limited offer plenty of bang for the buck. They are not suited for production but they bring satiusfaction to the builder by their very existance.

If your goal is to make machined parts for projects then the Gingery line may not be for you. You'd do better to accumulate a small slection of machine tools which are usable the day they come in the shop. If your goal is to make machine tools as a series of projects then the Gingery line may be an excellent choice.

Mark Hockett
05-17-2008, 09:46 PM
Mark, I also went to propane, and made up a batch of that Petrobond type sand that the recipe for was floating around some years back -- what a difference those 2 changes made!!

I also use Petrobond sand and you are right about the changes. Since changing to Petrobond my scrap rate went down a bunch. I have a tough time getting the moisture content just right with green sand and many times I would loose a casting because of it. I think part of the problem is the sand would sit from a long time and then when I went to use it I would have to re-temper it. It would also get moldy if not sealed. All of those problems are a non issue with oil based sand.
I first bought 120 lbs of Petrobond from a local supplier, then when I was on a trip to So Cal to get some tractor parts the guy I was getting the parts from had a huge pile of Petrobond from a foundry his partner had closed up. I bought 200 lbs for $25. I had enough sand at this point but one weekend I was at an auction and there was a molding bench that came out of the local high school. I won the item with a bid of $20, nobody knew what it was and there was a steel cover over the top so it just looked like a crappy bench. Inside was another 200 lbs of Petrobond plus some cans of Petrobond oil. I ended up giving a bunch of sand to one of my friends who I built a furnace for.

I would suggest a home craftsman get into building Gingery designs only if they are severly limited for funds,

I don't know that its any cheaper to build the Gingery lathe. I've bought used Lathes for less than it cost me to build the Gingery lathe. I just bought a used Lathe Master 8"x 14" for $400, I think I had more than that into the foundry and lathe supplies for the Gingery stuff. If a person is a good scrounger you could probably build one cheap, but it might take a while to find all the stuff.

Bill Pace
05-17-2008, 10:57 PM
Forrest, as usual, you sum it up very well!

I think a person has to consider that Dave came up with the foundry and lathe during the 1970's (the lathe book was copyrighted in 1980) and there wasnt a HF store in every town, or ENCO "hot deals" catalogs every month, etc, with the multiple choices of quite good inexpensive lathes and all the related machining tools. If he wanted a small lathe, he was VERY limited in what was availiable, so he, --quite ingenously-- devised a way to get one.

I think you would be hard pressed to find anyone to say the lathe, --or mill, or shaper --could realistically be expected to perform in any way to justify the construction of them in the present day. I think that Dave was a very talented man and I found his manner of presenting his methods and ideas in the books was soooo easy for me, the VERY raw beginner, to follow along and end up with the finished piece. Yet even as noobie as I was I saw quickly that the end product would be of limited use as a workshop tool, but that certainly didnt take away the thrill of actually completing the items. And obviously, with almost 4000 members in the yahoo group, theres still a lot of folks still enjoy his projects, --- and then theres all the STRONG activity in the casting hobbies, which almost certainly came about from his simple charcoal foundry.

Like the little hit-n-miss engine shown above which has no function other than to say "I made that", going into Gingerys projects can be a very fun experience, and with his easy to follow method of presenting them, should be great for noobies even today.

Mark, you oughta be ashamed of yourself, practically stealing all that sand!! and a bench!! Mine wasnt quite so good, I bought around 300lbs of "too many clinkers to pay somebody to sift it out" green sand from a foundry, and used it as green sand for a long time, eventually useing it to make up the Petrobond type batch I've got now .... I dont want to go back to no green sand!!:eek: Its a handy talent/ability to have, -- earlier this week I cast the upper and lower wheels for a 2x48 belt sander I making.

05-18-2008, 01:40 AM
Bill, I don't think you get to talk about it if you don't promise pictures to. Jay

05-18-2008, 04:13 AM
Most of his machines require a lot of casting. hand scrapping and use a lot
of aluminium. His books are interesting reading and do have some good ideas
for anyone wanting to construct their own machines.

05-19-2008, 07:47 PM
I built the lathe about 15 years ago and started, but did not complete, the shaper (a good buy on a 7" South Bend shaper turned up in the meantime).
It was useful as a learning experience, especially since I had more time than I did money. By the time you finish one of those projects, you will know a lot more about casting and molding, pattern making and basic machine work than when you started. As a lathe however, the finished machine leaves a lot to be desired and in general I think the time and work involved in building it would be more productively spent nowdays looking for a good deal on a used industrial machine.


05-19-2008, 11:48 PM
I built the lathe in 1983 and I learned a lot. If I was at the same point in my learning, I'd do it again.

Here's a photo of it:


If you want a good fun educational project build one of the machines. But if what you want is a machine to get something else done, by one. The machines all work as advertised but you will spend a lot of time on the project and if what you really want to do is to make other parts, this will only delay your progress. And the cost of materials, if bought new, would approach or equal the cost of a usable used machine. Also, as others have said, these machines have limitations due to the compromises that had to be made in their design.

05-24-2008, 02:23 AM
I built the lathe in 1983 and I learned a lot. If I was at the same point in my learning, I'd do it again.

I built the foundry and made some castings in 1984. I bought the lathe book, read it thoroughly, but before I got started building it I interviewed with a machine shop looking for an "operator." Two days later I walked up to a Warner & Swasey #3 turret lathe, finished up the run that it was doing, set up a complex job using all four cross slide turret positions and three of six tailstock positions, *and* made the production quota for the shift.

The interview and the successful start were largely due to what I had learned in the Gingery books. Not how to bodge something together with only a hacksaw and hand drill, but how and why the tools worked, how to set up and align them, etc.

I enjoyed that job thoroughly, but in retrospect the shop foreman probably thought I was a loose cannon. I eventually wondered why I was always assigned to machines he could see from his office - I think it was the time I got tired of waiting for Maintenance to do something about the grunchy tailstock turret indexing on the Swasey, so next time the foreman walked by, I had it all disassembled and spread out on the workbench... heck, it was trivial compared to building a lathe from scratch!

A few years later I built a workshop and it's mostly full of machine tools now. It all started with that "The Charcoal Foundry" book...

"Here, read this book. It won't hurt you."