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Too_Many_Tools
02-05-2010, 04:52 PM
Two questions that I was asked recently by a wannabe HSMer.

First question...what holds its value better...a smaller lathe or a larger lathe?

Second question..what holds its value better...an older American lathe or an newer Chinese lathe?

Thanks for your opinion.

TMT

camdigger
02-05-2010, 05:08 PM
Pass the popcorn....

TMT, this subject matter has resulted in some of the most hotly debated threads I've ever seen on this board. Usually split into two camps "love american iron because it holds it's value, saves jobs, is more accurate, etc ( largely because it has been depreciated down to HSM price range with all the associated wear issues)" and the "Chicom/Tiawanese equipment will do the job and will hold almost as much value as #$@% lovingly remembered T.U. american brand name machine (aka if I could afford American made, I'd have bought them and/or I don't want to rebuild something before I can use it)"

tyrone shewlaces
02-05-2010, 05:19 PM
My opinions:
It seems to me that once you get over 15" swing or so, lathes seem to go down in price per lb. quite a bit. Huge machines seem to be relatively dirt cheap whether it be a lathe, grinder, mill, whatever. I've seen several over the years that were less than scrap rate just because they were so big. There are exceptions of course.

I think there is a larger customer base for used HSM-sized machines, thus the higher resale values.

That said, many of the really small machines just aren't as rigid and useful as a "real" lathe so aren't worth having (as much). Lets face it - they begin to become more toy-ish in form and function in the really small scales. You can do things with them, but only very small things, so the customer base begins to drop off. They just aren't as versatile as something like a small SB or the like. There are exceptions here too of course.

Exceptions in either case may mean big $$.

You can pay too much for old American iron or new Asian equally. In either case you are likely to have to tweak, polish, clean up and otherwise work on the machine to make it work for you. If you pay too much, the "value" doesn't hold. Simple as that. The true value isn't what you pay for a machine nor what you get out of it when you sell it. It's often just the perception of value that the buyer has in his head at the point of sale, and that can change quickly - human whim. If you want to get a good value, be patient and don't buy new. Find a used Asian machine for 1/2 of one from a new supplier that has probably not been used much at all anyway. Or find a high-quality used machine from the days of yore for cheap money because the seller is motivated to get it out from where it sits. Either way, you need to know how to check it out so you can know the true condition so you are getting a good (potentially) machine.

The truth though?
If you want to invest your money, go with real estate or something. Much better investments out there than machinery. If you want a good experience hobbying in machining, then the return on your money isn't the thing. As long as it's within the budget, I don't see much sense in putting a price on the enjoyment one gets from his hobbies. For me, I never made a dime from a hobby. They always cost money. But the return was (almost) always worth the money spent.

philbur
02-05-2010, 05:36 PM
If you buy a nackered piece of old American iron it's still the same old piece of nackered American iron after 10 more years of use, so 0% depreciation. Trouble is it wasn't worth **** to start with. A new Chinese lathe will cost a significant amount of dosh when new. 10 years later its a piece of old nackered Chinese iron and isn't worth ****, so 100% depreciation. Trouble is it wasn't worth **** to start with either.

My advice is buy new American iron. 10 years later you could sell it to a museum for a huge amount of dosh, as it would be one of a kind.

Phil:)


Two questions that I was asked recently by a wannabe HSMer.

First question...what holds its value better...a smaller lathe or a larger lathe?

Second question..what holds its value better...an older American lathe or an newer Chinese lathe?

Thanks for your opinion.

TMT

Mcgyver
02-05-2010, 05:40 PM
Second question..what holds its value better...an older American lathe or an newer Chinese lathe?


things generally follow a depreciation curve that is steeper as its newer. Generally older will hold its value better regardless of where its made

camdigger
02-05-2010, 05:48 PM
FWIW, small easily portable older machines are some of the best, but the best bar none is the massive dinosaur noone wants to move. 16 + inch lathes, etc are sometimes sold in the $200 range because noone can be bothered to move a couple ton of cast iron configured in a nasty, topheavy package.

OTOH, moving one yourself is a daunting presopect fraught with angst and danger (what HSMer knows how to work around 1 ton + equipment safely? especially when lifting it, or it's up on rollers, or blocks?) Professional rigging can be big $. (that's part of the reason these big machines go cheap.

Scishopguy
02-05-2010, 05:53 PM
From what I have witnessed, lathes over 12" swing go a lot cheaper and anything under 12" swing, old US made or import, cost a good bit more and are more sought after by folks with minimal space in their shop. I have also observed that the older machines seem to be made a little better and hold up to wear a lot better. There are still a lot of Monarch series 61 lathes out there that were made in the 50's and were surplussed to the public after being used by govt. contractors. Most were still in excellent shape. I wonder if the Chinese machines will fare anywhere near as well?

JoeFin
02-05-2010, 07:06 PM
The value of "Larger" machine tools is relative to the COST of getting it on the truck

If the Rigger's estimate is $3000 to get it on the truck, not including destination charges, unloading it at point of destination, building special pads, and getting it into the shop - wouldn't you expect that to effect the price

I've seen some really great machine tools in the 15,000 - 20,000 lbs class go for rediculously cheap prices

As for Chi-Com lathes and mills - when the manufacture's rep replies to your request for replacement parts with "You must be kidding, that machine is almost 30 years old" They have just set the value of 30 year old Chi-com to ZERO

Waterlogged
02-05-2010, 07:10 PM
Look at the prices for the little Atlas 618's (6 x 18) lathes and the accessories. A very common lathe (rarity not a factor) and also one of the highest in terms of price per pound. I rest my case.

gnm109
02-05-2010, 07:29 PM
The value of "Larger" machine tools is relative to the COST of getting it on the truck

If the Rigger's estimate is $3000 to get it on the truck, not including destination charges, unloading it at point of destination, building special pads, and getting it into the shop - wouldn't you expect that to effect the price

I've seen some really great machine tools in the 15,000 - 20,000 lbs class go for rediculously cheap prices

As for Chi-Com lathes and mills - when the manufacture's rep replies to your request for replacement parts with "You must be kidding, that machine is almost 30 years old" They have just set the value of 30 year old Chi-com to ZERO


That's a good point. The ability to get parts from a supplier has a lot to do with value in any given era. It's true of cars, appliances and also machine tools.

In that regard, an older machine that is still being built and for which parts are still readily available should have more value than an older machine that is an orphan from a company that is defunct.

Black_Moons
02-05-2010, 07:51 PM
I don't see parts as being a major issue, I mean yea some parts are gonna suck to make yourself, but id think the majority of parts expected to fail are reasonabley easy to get or make.
O-rings, gears, levers, pins, chucks, bearings, all more or less easy to get or make/adapt, Sure, if you crack a gearbox casting your probley screwed unless you get it repaired, but then, a non pressurised oil filled casting isent the worlds hardest thing in the world to fix, iv seen it done. And usally a cracked casting would mean droped or crashed. Havent heard of anyone complaining there chinese gearbox suddenly exploded without reason.

As far as what holds its value best, id have to say the 12x36 lathes of 800~2000lbs
Mainly because

A: I own one, so im heavily biased :)
B: anything over 2000lbs becomes REALLY hard to human move anywhere, especialy if its gotta go down stairs or something into a basement shop, or even a big hill, good luck. So they usally sell for pennys on the dollar.
C: Anything under 800lbs (12x36 size) starts losing rigidity quick and usally good features like the QCGB, 1.5"~ spindle bore, seperate lead/feed screw go quick with it.

JoeFin
02-05-2010, 08:15 PM
B: anything over 2000lbs becomes REALLY hard to human move anywhere, especialy if its gotta go down stairs or something into a basement shop, or even a big hill, good luck. So they usally sell for pennys on the dollar.

Any thing over 5000 lbs I would say

Most people don't realize just how close they are to a good fork lift

I pay the kid at the corner hardware store $25 a pick to load/unload for me

quasi
02-05-2010, 10:54 PM
I have a Rivett 1020, made in 1968. According to legend, all Rivett spare parts were destroyed in the early 70's. I do not believe it's value is Zero.

Jim Shaper
02-05-2010, 11:04 PM
Something to consider here is new vs used and then age and CoO. A new (rebuilt) Monarch 10EE is 60K, you can buy them for 2K in rough shape. Did that hold it's value well?

A brand new taiwan lathe in that size (16x30ish) is going to cost you around 8-12K (for a good one), in 60 years it's gonna be worthless, but you're still only in it for 12K, not 60.

When it comes to which is better, the question shouldn't be a monetary issue, it's one of service life and effective usefulness. In 30 years, my Voest lathe hasn't lost any accuracy from when it was bench marked off the production line. Since I didn't spend the 30K it cost new in the 70's, but rather $4500 a couple years back, I'm very pleased that I was able to save a very substantial portion of the acquisition price for a machine that still performs to a high benchmark (and it's not a back room betty - she was USED). Buying one new from china would've cost me 14K. I saved 60% to get a better machine. What's it worth when I sell it? I don't really care - it makes me money now.

lakeside53
02-05-2010, 11:12 PM
Any thing over 5000 lbs I would say

Most people don't realize just how close they are to a good fork lift

I pay the kid at the corner hardware store $25 a pick to load/unload for me


I loaded (drop bed tailer:D ) and moved my 3000lb lathe twice.. with custom pallets (lathe bolted down), 2 pallet jacks and a come-along. My 2600lb BP? one pallet jack!

Today - loaded a 2700lb cold saw with a pallet jack and a chain hoist.

Amazing what you can do if you need to. A forklift won't help in my shops are there's no room to get it in and turn, but I'd sure like one.

Jim Shaper
02-05-2010, 11:23 PM
I can lift 5K with my bridge crane, so if it can roll under a 7' door (front garage door - still need to raise it to 8' down the road), I can pick it off the trailer.

My nakamura TMC3 was a little trickier, in that we needed to set it on the ground, move the forks, and tuck it in the door, then lift it again to set it on the skates, and finally man-handle it into position. But that's also a 10000lb machine that only had 3" of clearance top to bottom on my front door.

h12721
02-05-2010, 11:25 PM
A Myford Super 7 from the UK.
h12721

Mcgyver
02-06-2010, 12:47 AM
I think the parts issue is largely in the minds of the newbie, right up there with using carbide on the 7x12 cuz they haven't master the black art (yeah right) of grinding hss :D

What are these parts that people are worried about? Specifically; what parts do people think are going to wear out or break that they won't be able to get?

I've 23,000 lbs of machines most have which have required some form of fixing. We're machinists, we make parts if they need parts. Or, they're belts & bearings and such that were third party then and third party now.

The gear box in my '41 take 6203 bearings available for $7 down the street from FAG. A concern over parts never enter my mind for any one of my machines, if its not available commercially, you make it.

dneufell
02-06-2010, 01:25 AM
Hummmm.....(in Bill Clintons voice) It depends on what the definition of value is. :) What do you need the lathe for? I think the need is the most critical
infomation. If you need it for hobby work or to make a living with? What are you making with the lathe? Do you have a lot to spend or just on a budget? Is this a first lathe purchase?...Dean

lakeside53
02-06-2010, 01:31 AM
There's some bevel gear clusters on my lathe QC box that I wouldn't want to have to get made, and some complex headstock parts. Oh yes.. the oil pump and magnetic clutches, and... yep.. there are a lot of parts that can break, but luckily unless a ham-fisted operator is in charge, basic maintenance will prevent a lot of issues. On my 14x40 I did have to take out the main drive shaft and machine the pulley mount. The shaft would have been expensive to recreate, and although It would be very expensive to buy as a spare part, the option is available.

But yes, parts aren't often required. If a good pre-purchase inspection is made, there will be few surprises.

Jim Shaper
02-06-2010, 01:38 AM
On the milltronics cnc bed mill I'm considering buying, the entire machine could be rebuilt with a craftsman $99 tool set and a McMaster Carr catalog.

Even on the Voest (Austrian machine from a company that no longer makes machinery), the gears are pretty standard fare. If the transmission gives up the ghost, people have successfully adapted automotive gear boxes to them.

That said, there's a sheer pin in the lead screw and power feed rod to prevent carnage should a crash occur. That's something the chinese junk lacks (as it costs more to make now, and costs sales of new lathes later).

Richard-TX
02-06-2010, 01:56 AM
I think that tool depreciation is the least of the concerns when trying to choose between a new import and and old domestic lathe. (assumng the question is related to a lathe purchase)

You have to look at your requirements and sometimes that will make up your mind for you.

Here was my short list of requirements.

1 - power cross feed
2 - ability to cut metric and fractional inch threads
3 - geared head stock
4 - all accessories included - steady rest, 3 and 4 jaw chucks, tailstock, follow rest, etc.
5 - not worn out
6 - easy parts availability

I have seen older import lathes sell for well over what they are worth when parted out. I am sure the same can be said about domestic lathes.

Where I live people will sell off the accessories on ebay then try to sell the carcass for premium prices on CL. Based on what I see on CL, someone buys the stripped machine. Sure it sounds like a deal, then the realization hits you that it is going to cost another $800 - $1600 to get chucks, tailstock, etc. Now that screaming deal suddenly turns into a screaming screw job.

lakeside53
02-06-2010, 02:08 AM
Often it's the stuff you don't expect that bites you.

A friend of mine just bought a 1987 Whacheon 16x40 (Mori Seki licencee). Not a cheap lathe and looked to be in pretty good condition.

But.. here's a little problem that was missed by the pre-purchase inspection. The cross feed was a bit tight and the lathe was filthy, but... I was asked to look at it.

I could see a rusty/oily slurry on the cross feed ways - from the use of water based coolants that soaked the cross feed for years and sat for months. Nothing else could be seen as the lead screw is buried in the cross feed. Tear it all to pieces.. a disgusting mess of stinking rusty slurry - nowhere for it to drain away so it just collected (there is a drain plug hidden underneath, but...).

Clean off the junk - the lead screw and nut are ruined. Choice - make or buy... Luckily it's available, but there will no doubt be big sticker shock. I'll know Monday.

http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff150/lakeside53/misc%20linked%20uploads/whacheoncrossfeedMedium.jpg

http://i238.photobucket.com/albums/ff150/lakeside53/misc%20linked%20uploads/whatcheonleadscrew2Medium.jpg

Oh.. the way oiler had quit years ago - the rusty crap back flowed onto the felt pads and blocked them. 4 screws and 1 minute and that could have been fixed. Now there is a lot of scoring on the cross feed ways that needs to be dealt with.

It always amazes me the stupid stuff that can be prevented by simple attention to maintenance. I have similar stories on my Polamco 14x40, but that's another story.


Back to the orginal posters quesition... value. This is a 1987 machine. It has hardened ways, 28-2000rpm D1-6 spindle, and is built like a tank. It is sought-after and still sells for $8000-10,000 from dealers. It's supported and parts are available. If it was a similar sized no-name Taiwan machine from the same era without hardened ways and quality construction (there are very few Chinese machines from the '80's), all things being equal it would likely be in worse condition and sell by the lb (but only weigh half of the Whacheon).

As a data point, it's bigger brother - the 18x40 - is still imported and lists for $29,000, but sells for somewhat less.

Ries
02-06-2010, 02:36 AM
I would say that the higher quality tool, no matter where it is built, will hold its value better than a cheapo.
An atlas may have a relatively high per pound price, but its still only worth maybe a grand, two at the most.
A similar sized (but triple or so the weight) Schaublin or Weiler or similar ultra high quality euro lathe, on the other hand, might go for 3 or 5 times that much.
In good shape, a 20 year old Swiss machine could be worth ten or even twenty grand, for the right machine.

A chinese mill drill, that cost a grand new, is probably gonna be worth a couple hundred.
A Fehlman might sell for twenty grand, used, today. They are over $50K, new.
http://www.lathes.co.uk/fehlmann/

A great example of a tool that has not only held its value, but appreciated, is the Holtzappfel lathes- they used to sell for ten grand, now sell for closer to a hundred, on the rare occasions when they come up.

10EE's or Rivetts or HVLH's in good shape bring good prices- because they are known to be very high quality.
Same with Deckels, or Omnimills, or similar high end tool room milling machines.

The best swedish and spanish drill presses, like Arboga or Ibarma, consistently bring ten or twenty times what a taiwan machine will, double or triple what a Clausing or Powermatic will.

German or Italian cold saws, or high end swivel head bandsaws, consistently get the big bucks.

In each case, we are talking about the top of the line, the best toolroom manual machines ever made- and the tools that hold their values the best.

Slop
02-06-2010, 10:05 AM
Whichever one you don't buy will be the better choice. I know this for a fact.;)

larry_g
02-06-2010, 09:51 PM
Two questions that I was asked recently by a wannabe HSMer.

First question...what holds its value better...a smaller lathe or a larger lathe?

Second question..what holds its value better...an older American lathe or an newer Chinese lathe?

Thanks for your opinion.

TMT
First. What holds its value best is one that is acquired at the bottom of its depreciation curve. As Ries pointed out on the mill drill it may have cost a grand new but is only worth $200 used. Buy that $200 mill drill and use it to learn on and you can send it on down the road for $200 and no loss of value. If you buy a good used lathe be it either import or domestic you can probably get most if not all of your money out of it. If you have to add in shipping and rigging to your lathe valuation then the one that is bigger is less of value. If you can move it yourself then the size doesn't matter.

Second. A good used lathe at the bottom of its depreciation curve it doesn't matter where it comes from. I am only addressing what holds its value as that is what you asked for. If you are good and your crystal ball is clear then pick the machine that is at the bottom of its depreciation curve and is headed up on the steepest appreciation ramp.


Now if you had asked what is a better value in terms of USE then a whole different set of answers apply, including a lot of the answers by those who have posted before me on this thread.

lg
no neat sig line

airsmith282
02-06-2010, 11:26 PM
i really dont think size matters , or make either,

how much you can get for it is what its worth

a dimmond thats a real one is made from coal , to the world diamonds are woth alot of money , to me and others like me its worth 0 zero zip nata penny

gold same idea whats the rate 400 bucks and ounce right now, whats it good for looks nice and all , good for making a purchase as we call it for something we want but it gains and loses all the time in its value.

money its worth about the same noting ,its just worth waht we say it is but a buck is not a buck cause one day its 100 next its 1.05 the next its .76 so its wooththe paper its printed on ,, nothing, just what we sayit is form day to day..

so the answer is still the same its worh what ever someon else is willing to pay for it.

there is no other answer that makes sence.

if people used there heads they would all come to the same answer everything s worth nothing more then what someone is willing to pay for it,

i recenty paid 30 bucks for 4 bolts 4 lock wasers and 2 exhaust gaskets for my snowmobile. now to me it was worth the money i spent cause
A i did not have to make the parts my self and B i wanted my sled back on the snow with in 1 hour ..same day and i just plain dont like making parts like that.