PDA

View Full Version : What in your shop is a great value?



Tungsten dipper
11-20-2018, 09:10 AM
Amazing.
We are never satisfied. We currently have a thread about how expensive a wooden tool box is, then we have many threads how cheap things are. I guess this passes time. We need a thread on great values.

So what in your shop is well worth the money and that you would buy again. Quality vs. Price.

vpt
11-20-2018, 09:14 AM
My $4 welding table was the best purchase I ever made!

Mcgyver
11-20-2018, 09:23 AM
So what in your shop is well worth the money and that you would buy again

Everything?

There's nothing offhand I recall regretting buying. Most everything I have is top brands in their catagory carefully bought used. Getting the best for small dollars is the best line of defense against buyers remorse :)

Dan Dubeau
11-20-2018, 09:35 AM
It might just be the newness and novelty of it, but the plasma cutter I just bought would get replaced tomorrow if it were to suddenly grow legs. My portaband was also a great purchase I would repeat in a second.

I don't know that I have any tool purchase regrets. I'm pretty cheap (value conscious....), and very rarely buy new unless I have to. Everything has been bought at a price I've been comfortable with and consider a deal. I've never regretted spending good money on a good tool.

I've bought cheaper quality tools on my first go round to have them and the capability they add, but as time goes on I seek out quality replacements used at auctions and classifieds as the deals and needs present themselves.

wdtom44
11-20-2018, 09:48 AM
$100 12" Vernon shaper. Well actually $150 as I bought $50 worth of oil "covers" for the ram ways. And a couple of days of cleaning and adjusting.

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 09:52 AM
It's hard to say for me. The things I enjoy the most (milling machine, metal bandsaws, and welding equipment) are what I value the most in my shop and would instantly want to buy again.

If I just think about "shop value" vs. "amount of money" spent, I'd say the HF shop crane (2 ton) has paid for itself over-and-over. Well, now that I think about "value", my Mr. Heater 80K BTU shop heater turns my garage into a winter paradise so I would say a shop heater (in the winter time) is one of the great values I have in my shop.

Toolguy
11-20-2018, 09:54 AM
I have made over 900 separate purchases for the shop on eBay, more at auctions and garage sales (over 20 years). There is no way I would have been able to equip the shop with so many quality tools of all descriptions otherwise.

There are a few old school things that are still relevant in this CNC day and age, especially for HSMers. One of them is a good tapping head. Used on the drill press or mill, these are the easy way to tap a hole perfectly, and without breaking a tap if used correctly. I have 5 or 6 different ones, some used more than others. They are all a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of a bygone generation and a pleasure to use.

Bob La Londe
11-20-2018, 10:05 AM
All my tools have value. Name brands and no names. In recent years though my horizontal bandsaw has added value to just about everything else. Now I have two. I thought about getting rid of the smaller one, but then one day I found myself using both at the same time. Owning a horizontal bandsaw allows me to buy stock in the most economical sizes and break it down as needed. I recently picked up a metal cutting circular saw, and while its good for really big stock like plate and sheet it doesn't touch the bandsaw for daily utility.

There are lots of tools I'd like. AC/DC pulse TIG, plasma, 5x10 CNC router, etc, but I think a large metal cutting vertical bandsaw wit lots of throat clearance would be a huge addition to my shop.

loose nut
11-20-2018, 10:53 AM
Not counting the obvious things like the lathe and mill, I would have a tough time deciding between the Darex M-1 drill sharpener (expensive but fantastic) and my cheap Chinese band saw. Hacksawing isn't much fun and this little saw gets used a lot.

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 11:08 AM
but I think a large metal cutting vertical bandsaw wit lots of throat clearance would be a huge addition to my shop.

YES! It's amazing how quick and useful having a vertical bandsaw is when you've got a chunk of metal in your hands and you want to trim down, or quickly cut a shape, etc. I even use it to rip aluminum sheet with a temporary fence.

http://www.bbssystem.com/pictures/bin_rails1.jpg

J Tiers
11-20-2018, 11:16 AM
it would be more useful to discuss the things that you bought but find were not a useful purchase.....

In that category I would nominate the Drill Doctor.... worked fine until it did not, can't be fixed.

QSIMDO
11-20-2018, 11:29 AM
YES! It's amazing how quick and useful having a vertical bandsaw is when you've got a chunk of metal in your hands and you want to trim down, or quickly cut a shape, etc. I even use it to rip aluminum sheet with a temporary fence.


I'll second that but I really chuckle like a fool when using the horizontal band saw on larger raw stock.

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 11:35 AM
I'll second that but I really chuckle like a fool when using the horizontal band saw on larger raw stock.

You mean using a vertical band saw on larger raw stock? The horizontal band saw is perfect for large raw stock:

http://www.bbssystem.com/pictures/saws1.jpg

Doozer
11-20-2018, 01:15 PM
I have many many many very precision machine tools,
but I agree, the band saw is usually where it starts.
I have a Ridgid-Emerson horizontal band saw that I have
cut so much stock on, and quickly and very square to boot!
I also have a DoAll 1216 saw that I love. Has a blade welder
and I can friction saw with it. Band saws rock in the shop.

-D

awemawson
11-20-2018, 01:41 PM
I think that my CNC Plasma Table. I re-built it rather than built it, and it has proved so very useful for a variety of things:

https://madmodder.net/index.php/topic,11797.0.html

Only this morning I was stuck for a thin enough spanner to hold the spindle of an ER32 collet chuck on my CNC Lathe - five minutes later I had one :)

https://madmodder.net/index.php/topic,12592.msg153000.html#msg153000

Dan_the_Chemist
11-20-2018, 02:05 PM
The Horrible Fright horizontal band saw is a real time saver and arm saver, and with 20% off and a discount I got it for $200.
My shop vac is an unsung hero, and was very cheap compared to the work it's done.
Dollar store plastic shoe boxes have made my shop much more orderly, and are cheap for their value.

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 02:15 PM
The Horrible Fright horizontal band saw is a real time saver and arm saver, and with 20% off and a discount I got it for $200.
My shop vac is an unsung hero, and was very cheap compared to the work it's done.
Dollar store plastic shoe boxes have made my shop much more orderly, and are cheap for their value.

YES! The HF Horiz band saw was one of my 1st machine tools. I bought mine back in 2004 and I think it was $169.99. I can almost still remember the coupon for it. I would still be using it today as it was a very capable machine, but the features of the bigger machines lured me in.

danlb
11-20-2018, 02:47 PM
Most of what I have was a good purchase at the time. I spent $399 on a 7x12 lathe brand new and it's paid for itself by doing work for friends who could not spend the minimums that the local machine shops demanded. I spent $100 more for a 30 year old 6 foot tall knee mill. While I use it often, I still use the little micro mill.

The surprise tool was the Harbor Freight portable bandsaw. On sale for $50, it was my first band saw, and it cuts metal as fast as any other band saw. It fits in the trunk of my car for when I have to help a friend. It's light enough that I hand carry it to my buddy's house when he has a job that needs it. I still occasionally see them on sale for $80 or so.

Dan

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 03:00 PM
Most of what I have was a good purchase at the time. I spent $399 on a 7x12 lathe brand new and it's paid for itself by doing work for friends who could not spend the minimums that the local machine shops demanded. I spent $100 more for a 30 year old 6 foot tall knee mill. While I use it often, I still use the little micro mill.

The surprise tool was the Harbor Freight portable bandsaw. On sale for $50, it was my first band saw, and it cuts metal as fast as any other band saw. It fits in the trunk of my car for when I have to help a friend. It's light enough that I hand carry it to my buddy's house when he has a job that needs it. I still occasionally see them on sale for $80 or so.

Dan

I bought a couple of those HF portable bandsaws. IIRC they were $50 back in 2004-2005. Before I bought my big vertical bandsaw, I modified one of those HF portable bandsaws and attached a "table" to it so I could use it like a small vertical bandsaw. I'll see if I can go grab a picture of it.

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 03:14 PM
As Dan mentioned, the HF portable saw is another "goodie". Before I bought a vertical band saw, I modified one of the HF portables:

http://www.bbssystem.com/pictures/hf_saw1.jpg

http://www.bbssystem.com/pictures/hf_saw2.jpg

Doozer
11-20-2018, 03:42 PM
Stop stop stop with the cheapskate ideology!
It is not a contest how cheap you can buy a tool.
Do you buy expired food at the flea market just to say you got a deal?
Do you try to find a family doctor that graduated at the bottom of his class?
Do you get your girl flowers from the graveyard?
Just buy something good that works well.
No one cares what you paid.
Maybe you can get your broken bone set at a veterinarian, save a buck.


--Doozer

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 03:45 PM
Stop stop stop with the cheapskate ideology!
It is not a contest how cheap you can buy a tool.
Do you buy expired food at the flea market just to say you got a deal?
Do you try to find a family doctor that graduated at the bottom of his class?
Do you get your girl flowers from the graveyard?
Just buy something good that works well.
No one cares what you paid.
Maybe you can get your broken bone set at a veterinarian, save a buck.


--Doozer

I think we all agree with you, but the point is to tell others about the tools that we fell are worth so much more than they costed new? No? The HF horz bandsaw is a perfect example. Nobody should complain about that one?

mihit
11-20-2018, 03:50 PM
"Buy once, cry once" I don't buy crap and everything I've got will still be servicable for my great grandkids. To answer: Everything.

Jim Stewart
11-20-2018, 03:52 PM
Best tool investment I ever made was my Handy pneumatic motorcycle lift.

http://cyrilhuzeblog.com/wp-content/uploads/handylifts.jpg

Paul Alciatore
11-20-2018, 03:53 PM
A great value in my shop?

Me! I work for free.

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 04:07 PM
"Buy once, cry once" I don't buy crap and everything I've got will still be servicable for my great grandkids. To answer: Everything.

I definitely agree when it comes to those tools you want to use all the time. But, there are also so many tools we might only need to use a few times or even never but are nice to have. I have "tons" of those types of tools -- mostly all from HF. Things like (but definitely not limited to) ball-joint separators, "large assortment" of c-clip pliers, Powder coating gun (used several times and was great), powder coating oven, lots of hand tools, lots of different air tools, etc, etc, etc.

rjs44032
11-20-2018, 04:13 PM
Stop stop stop with the cheapskate ideology!
It is not a contest how cheap you can buy a tool.
Do you buy expired food at the flea market just to say you got a deal?
Do you try to find a family doctor that graduated at the bottom of his class?
Do you get your girl flowers from the graveyard?
Just buy something good that works well.
No one cares what you paid.
Maybe you can get your broken bone set at a veterinarian, save a buck.


--Doozer

I have to disagree somewhat here. Part of what makes the hobby joyful is winning the game. And boy when you've bought something nice for less than scrap price, you're winning big. It's not about bragging or finding the cheapest import for me. It's finding something that fills the need and winning on price. So here's my short list of things that I won on:

First BP and second one just transport cost.
HW AutoCollimator for song. The amplifier/power supply for it was also (purchased from different sellers. Took a big chance it would even fit the AC)
Apex comparator. Love this thing as It has a handle to take it to the work. My J&L PC14 was also low cost from HGR but all glass was broken.
Olympus MJ Metallurgical Microsope for shipping cost. I don't think the guy new what he was selling.
Heald tool grinder Free
Sanford SG 6 x 18
Artisan Lathe could not have stolen it for less
Paid going price for my Sheldon EXL but that was worth every penny.
36 x 48 X 8 Surface Plate

As others have said most tooling I buy is second hand so I try to get good value for the money.

Best Regards,
Bob

MrFluffy
11-20-2018, 05:15 PM
My favourite tool is my big do-all vertical bandsaw. As someone else has said, most jobs start on the saw when you have one.
It cost me more in shipping than I paid for it too, its just a big honest well made old tool that I was in the right place at the right time to secure.

I know my 100% worst buy, a pair of scanning laser probes for my Romer arm. Because they turned up and were missing the "cables", which turned out to be the actual processing hardware that did the processing. Perceptron were really helpful but told me that they were unused free samples given out by reps as novelty paperweight's and useless without the matrox pc and specialist interfaces. $650 hard lesson. I still have them on my shelf here as a reminder in case I ever begin to overtrust people and take them solely on their word again without doing my own research first.

And having posted the above, I thought "I wonder..." because I've been watching out for one to appear for literally years now to use the probes and on ebay there was a Perceptron matrox V4i controller (computer). Which is now on its way here. Fingers crossed the probes are not going to be such a bad buy in the end.

BobinOK
11-20-2018, 05:59 PM
Would have to be the Wellsaw 58B I bought for $50.00.

mygrizzly1022
11-20-2018, 06:01 PM
Hi All
I am a hobby guy with a well rounded complement of tools that well suits my interest and ability. Some of my not so inclined neighbours seem to think I have every tool there is. All in the basement of my home.
However, my favorite, that I use every day and fabricated myself, with goodies from the local Habitat for Humanity Store, is my sink.
Not having to use the guest room bath room to clean up makes for marital harmony all ready tested by the shops location in the house.

Happy wife, happy shop.

Bert

Tungsten dipper
11-20-2018, 06:02 PM
I'd have to say my 3' X 4' Cert-Flat- Welding Table. It's one of those thing you use it everyday, to clamp and weld the weirdest angles and shapes, Then I wonder how I did without it. Also all my new LED ceiling lights, they're brighter to aid with my old eyesight. Lastly, my garage overhead furnace. It is wonderful to have a cozy warm machine shop. Should I mention Electricity? My power was out for 3 hours today.

PStechPaul
11-20-2018, 07:04 PM
I think the best items I bought were MT2 end mill holders and collets, and IIRC I paid well under $100 for each set. Previous to that, I did milling on my HF round column mill using the Jacobs drill chuck.

And perhaps the best value was two semesters of machine shop classes, which I got tuition free because I'm an old phart, and fees were just a couple hundred dollars.

I can't say I regret any of my machine and tooling purchases, although there are many items I have never used and probably never will. Some of the items have been damaged due to moisture in my shop.

livesteam
11-20-2018, 07:52 PM
If there's one thing that's in my hand most often it's dial calipers. Yeah, I have the digitals too, but for quick
measurements you can't beat a visual display for where a part falls in the realm of fits or not. No mistaking a
misplaced digit or mentally converting to the nearest common fraction. Not laziness, just more practical.
One thing about digitals tho, they make great DRO's with the jaws removed and mounted for the lathe & mill
Z axis'.
RichD

rzbill
11-20-2018, 08:08 PM
Technically, its not in the shop anymore. Finished it 7 years ago and it has been a great value.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/expercraft/rzbill/20771165034f023e17f3f50.jpg

BCRider
11-20-2018, 08:08 PM
This is both a tough and an easy question to answer. The equipment in my shop is more or less a "chain" of abilities given to me by the machines and tools I have If any one or two of them was removed making things would be slowed down at best or made undoable at worse. Everything I have from the cheezy little H/V bandsaw to the vise, files, hammers and other hand tools to the lathe and mill are all links in the chain of tooling that allows me to make things in metal. Take away any of them and ease and speed and accuracy will suffer greatly or stop altogether.

So for me the answer is D) All of the above...... :D

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 08:16 PM
Technically, its not in the shop anymore. Finished it 7 years ago and it has been a great value.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/expercraft/rzbill/20771165034f023e17f3f50.jpg

What the hell is that? Looks like a tail dragger with a non steerable nose wheel. What the hell :)

vpt
11-20-2018, 08:41 PM
Use the brakes.

rzbill
11-20-2018, 08:45 PM
What the hell is that? Looks like a tail dragger with a non steerable nose wheel. What the hell :)

Castering nose wheel. Steer with the brakes. The saw horse under the tail was just a safety blanket. Without the wings, it was possible to push the tail down pretty easily. This was a few days before moving the fuselage to the hangar. The wings were already there waiting for reassembly.

wierdscience
11-20-2018, 08:56 PM
Best value?Mitutoyo 8" digital calipers by a mile.

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 08:57 PM
Castering nose wheel. Steer with the brakes. The saw horse under the tail was just a safety blanket. Without the wings, it was possible to push the tail down pretty easily. This was a few days before moving the fuselage to the hangar. The wings were already there waiting for reassembly.

Does the nose wheel shutter and shimmy around when you're off the ground? You have a nice low profile fuselage so why did you opt for an extra draggy nose wheel? Do you not like zig-zagging on the ground to see? You get used to that after awhile..

adatesman
11-20-2018, 09:03 PM
6 Mitutoyo Absolute digital caliper with recent calibration sticker for $15 at a junk shop. They actually had two of them, but I only had a $20. Guy knew what they were and what they were worth, but knew his clientele would never pay that much. Even at $15 they sat months.

TRX
11-20-2018, 09:17 PM
The Horrible Fright horizontal band saw is a real time saver and arm saver

There's nothing my Harbor Freight 4x6 (a.k.a. "The Blade-Eating Monster") can do that I can't do with a hacksaw and coping saw, but it has saved me so much time and effort that I have to count it as the best value for the money.

rzbill
11-20-2018, 09:21 PM
Does the nose wheel shutter and shimmy around when you're off the ground? You have a nice low profile fuselage so why did you opt for an extra draggy nose wheel? Do you not like zig-zagging on the ground to see? You get used to that after awhile..

No it does not, the vertical pivot axis is adjustable for friction via compression of a large belleville washer. There is a specification for how tight that is to be set. It actually needs to be tight enough to prevent shimmy on the ground.

In regards to why I chose a tricycle gear rather than a tail dragger, it is rooted in the 'mission' of this craft. I am instrument rated and will fly in bad weather. Solo IFR flying can be exhausting mentally and sometimes physically. Landing a tail dragger in poor weather such as strong and gusty crosswinds can be a challenge. I did not want to face that at the end of a gruelling IFR flight. So far, the decision has been correct. The bird lands great and I fly in winds and weather that ground most of my peers.

Currently I use the craft to commute to and from work about 220 miles on Monday and Friday. That was not in the original plan but life happens and you deal with it. This added mission has honed my skills of weather flying since the alternative to flight is a 4 hr drive on the interstate. I have to do it sometimes because there IS weather I will not fly in. Predominantly ice.

If I was flying VFR only, I would likely go with a tailwheel.....and a bigger motor....and ...and.. ;)

3 Phase Lightbulb
11-20-2018, 09:24 PM
There's nothing my Harbor Freight 4x6 (a.k.a. "The Blade-Eating Monster") can do that I can't do with a hacksaw and coping saw, but it has saved me so much time and effort that I have to count it as the best value for the money.

You'll find it impossible to cut your own arms off with a hacksaw/coping saw but you could setup the HF 4x6 to do that very easily :)

MrWhoopee
11-20-2018, 09:25 PM
Kent 9x42 Vertical Mill & South Bend Heavy 10L Lathe - $500 (Truck rental & fuel)
Kalamazoo 8CW Horizontal Bandsaw - $150 (Truck rental & fuel)

My HF 4x6 ($220) gets much more use.

Doozer
11-20-2018, 09:37 PM
Well I read "What in your shop is a great value",
as meaning what tool makes your shop more
productive or capable or fun for that matter.
So I thought band saw like many of you, and I
also thought of my Mititoyo digital calipers,
(I have a few sets now). I was kind of putting
money out of the equation.
Most everyone (not all) have a lathe and a mill.
So I was thinking another machine that adds
value would be a welder (assuming you know
how to use it). An oxy-acetylene torch is
actually a great place to start. Then a real
welder. I was thinking Mig or Tig. Stick is more
for fabrication, although I love to stick weld.
But adding the most value to the home shop
has to be my Tig welder. It will do steel and
aluminum, 200amp. I paid full retail price,
a little less than $2000 including an argon bottle.
But I almost think it paid for itself when I built
my first motorcycle frame. No Mig welder even
comes close to the control and precision of a
Tig machine. So a good welder is another vote
for a machine that adds value to the home shop.

-D

thaiguzzi
11-20-2018, 11:17 PM
Everything?

There's nothing offhand I recall regretting buying. Most everything I have is top brands in their catagory carefully bought used. Getting the best for small dollars is the best line of defense against buyers remorse :)

+1.
Wot he said.
I paid 175$ for my Stent T&CG as an unfinished project on UK Ebay. It has well over 250 hours in finishing it and making all the tooling, i see them now going for 1500$ which is mad.
Oh, and i got my Boxford VSL, fully tooled, around 20 years ago in a part exchange (swapsies) for some motorcycle parts when i still ran a shop. Maybe it owed me 500$, at most, at the time. These days, one like mine can fetch 3000$

metalmagpie
11-21-2018, 12:30 AM
Like others, my shop is populated with carefully purchased used machines so I believe all have good dollar value. To mention a machine I have found exceptionally useful many times, I truly value my 600 lb. rolling lift table. It really excels at things like putting a 150 pound motor into the back of someone else's truck. The older I get, the more I value the thing.

A machine I found essentially worthless and a great waste of time is a Shopsmith. At the very top of the list of items to avoid entirely.

metalmagpie

RichR
11-21-2018, 12:31 AM
I'd have to say my little power hacksaw ranks pretty high on the list. Watching it cut is very satisfying. Easier and faster than a manual hacksaw and
safer than the angle grinder with a cutting wheel.

Tundra Twin Track
11-21-2018, 12:47 AM
Besides the Lathe and Mill the support machines that makes my jobs easier is my 1950 Vertical Doall Bandsaw.I have two horizontal bandsaws a 3-1/2"x5" which gets used most of the time and 10"x18" mounted on a stand alone mobile base that extends out to 22' for supporting material.My Preasure Style blast cabinet for cleaning up rusty material before machining or welding.My two Arbor Presses also makes my jobs a pleasure with having machined sockets for pressing bearing, bushing and seals.The Greenerd 3E gets used the most only 2-1/2 ton rating with 24" Shipwheel ,that I would not want any other style in this size of press.The Dake 6 at 25 Ton rating takes on the bigger jobs.

darryl
11-21-2018, 03:24 AM
The heat. Without it I wouldn't spend any time in the shop, so I wouldn't get to use any of the machines. I'm glad my shop is the basement of the house- I keep the whole area warm enough, and perhaps I've kept pretty much all of the bare metal from rusting. As far as a certain machine- I don't think I have any that stand out more than the drum sander. That machine gets turned on every day, several to dozens of times, does a great job of deburring and refining a surface finish, sharpening tools, etc. Other than that, another very significant machine I have is the drill press that centers itself on the lathe. Easy to drill cross holes on line and index as well. Capable of multi-angular operation and can function as a powered tailstock.

I sure would like a gantry mill with a combination rotary and linear table.

epicfail48
11-21-2018, 04:33 AM
Great value? Id say most of the things in my shop, like a lot of people here already have. Some standouts though;

-My 2x72 belt grinder. Built it for a few hundred, vs buying one for a few thousand. Already paid for itself a few times over
-My mini-lathe. Picked it up for $100 at a tent sale, and honestly even if i paid full price id still call it a great value. Thing gets a lot of crap, but it works and works well for what it is
-My 6x18 surface grinder. Picked it up for $750, not cheap admittedly, but still a quarter of the price of a new, smaller unit in my area, and boy is it fun to use.
-Harbor Freight portaband. Best $100 i can remember spending

Tungsten dipper
11-21-2018, 06:08 AM
I forgot 2 things my new DRO's one for the lathe and one for the mill. They are AMAZING! Just the 1/2 function is well worth the money.

MushCreek
11-21-2018, 06:30 AM
I need pretty much everything in my shop, so most have fairly equal value. I guess the biggest surprise would be my engine hoist, aka cherry picker. I bought it about 35 years ago, and moved an entire machine shop with it- twice. Every time I drag home a piece of equipment, it's what I use to load it, unload it, and position it. Last thing it moved was a Bridgeport mill. Digital calipers are indispensable, too. I'm a toolmaker by trade, and use them all day, every day.