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Thread: Remember the wacky "The Multimachine" tool?

  1. #1
    tattoomike68 Guest

    Thumbs up Remember the wacky "The Multimachine" tool?

    A few years back many people here trash talked about it like a hunk of junk.

    I thought it was an excellent idea and was much like the crafty ideas that I see farmers and ranchers build from junk laying around the farm shop.

    It may have its limitations and shortcomings but a good scrounger could slap one together easy.



    It seems now they have gotten the recognition it deserves.

    This month it is in popular mechanics magazine. (page 99)

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/home...p/4217861.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multimachine

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/multimachine/

    Its not a Southbend or a Bridgeport but its way better than nothing.

  2. #2
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    Cute, but impossible to justify except on "fun to make it" or "impresses my girlfriend" reasons, considering one can buy a proper 1950's vintage horizontal mill at most industrial auctions for 100 bucks or less that would make that contraption seem like a play toy in comparison.

  3. #3
    tattoomike68 Guest

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    Some poor folks in a in developing country might not have access to industrial auctions. Thats the justification.

  4. #4
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    While I wouldn't build one quite like this I've been looking for a horizontal mill here in the Seattle area and would pay more than 100 bux for it, but they just don't seem to exist. A home-built like this is to a machine shop what a swamp buggy is to transportation. Not for everyone, but some folks love'em. I'd love to have been in the shop when it was conceived. "Hey Skinner - see that ol' block over there? Hold m'beer, I'm gonna build a mill." My dad was clever like that. I'd just see an old block and finish my beer.

  5. #5
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    Oh, my head -- a engine block for a knee and a car jack to lift it? it looks like Jesse James was drunk in the shop one night and welded some random bits together.

    I can completely understand not having the funds to buy a mill, but there are a ton of very capable amateur-built mills that don't resort to using engine blocks:

    http://users.wildblue.net/gmduke/index.htm
    http://www.saunalahti.fi/~jikuuk/Images/Project/cnc/
    http://www.gimbal.com.au/content.asp...trial-assembly



    Last edited by lazlo; 06-21-2007 at 11:57 AM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dp
    While I wouldn't build one quite like this I've been looking for a horizontal mill here in the Seattle area and would pay more than 100 bux for it, but they just don't seem to exist. .
    \

    True I do tend to forget there are some areas of the country that have few industrial auctions. East of Mississippi and in particular most of East Coast we are inundated with auctions...esp of late...more than I've ever seen.

    It's almost a shame one can't justify such machine projects these days as they would be fun projects if one knew one was saving lots of money as part of the satisfaction. Machines made with pipe were realitively common back in the 50's...I had a stroke sander made that way. I once owned a floor model vertical bandsaw mostly made of plywood...a Gillam (sp?) kit.

    Oh, my head -- a engine block for a knee and a car jack to lift it? it looks like Jesse James was drunk in the shop one night and welded some random bits together.

    I can completely understand not having the funds to buy a mill, but there are a ton of very capable amateur-built mills that don't resort to using engine blocks
    I suspect the interest in the cruder vesion is a similar phenomonen I experienced many years ago when I was building antique reproduction furniture and at the same time building simple crate style furniture for some clients. At shows and such, the crate style actually got more compliments about "craftmanship" and such than the way more complex Chippendale pieces ! My theory on why this is so, is that the crate type was simple and obvious enough that the folks could sort of imagine them selves building it and could therefore "relate" to it. Whereas the Chippendale stuff was just so far beyond their comprehension from a construction standpoint they couldn't "relate" to the fact that someone actually made it...like it must have just popped out of a factory somehow.

    Also the crate style furniture was more "original" (back then anyway) and they had seen the antique reproductions hundreds of times before somewhere else. So it's also the "originality" of this engine block thing that is appealing as well. But if we are talking mills, and not "artwork", function per dollar is way more important than originality any day of the week.
    Last edited by Milacron of PM; 06-21-2007 at 11:51 AM.

  7. #7
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    Ummm.- Read somewhere about WW2 POWs in a Far East camp using an old engine block to make a lens grinder for spectacles. If memory serves it was pedal driven & used old bottles for the raw material. Have my doubts about the quality of the glass but as one who would be fumbling about without several pairs of specs, I guess any glasses would be better than none.
    Mark
    What you say & what people hear is not always the same thing.
    www.remark.me.uk

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by D. Thomas
    Also the crate style furniture was more "original" (back then anyway) and they had seen the antique reproductions hundreds of times before somewhere else. So it's also the "originality" of this engine block thing that is appealing as well. But if we are talking mills, and not "artwork", function per dollar is way more important than originality any day of the week.
    I'd toss this into the same category as a house with walls somebody built from mud and empty beer cans. Part of the fascination is wondering how they drank that many beers and still came away with plumb walls. Morbidity has always appealed to our craven inner self:
    http://www.newscientist.com/blog/shortsharpscience/

  9. #9
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    Ah, for an auction- just one measly auction a month, that would be good. But no such luck here in Washington- maybe one decent machine tool auction within 800 miles every couple of months, and prices are unbelievable.

    Still, I am not quite so desperate as to start cannabilizing cars.

    DP- have you checked stock over at the graveyard of rusty iron, George Washington Machinery, in Quincy?
    they have probably 5 or 6 horizontals for sale, not for less than a hundred bucks, of course, but they are quite likely the only horizontal mills for sale in the whole state- well, Hallidie in Auburn does have one, for $4500.

    http://www.georgewamachinery.com/

    http://www.hallidie.com/

    Regional variation is amazing- where I live, everybody from the lumber yard to the shipyard has help wanted signs out- and generally at 2 times or more our minimum wage, which is the highest in the nation.
    And housing prices here are still going up, from their already ridiculous heights.

    Supposedly, our state gained 10,000 manufacturing jobs last year- although I dont know how they define "manufacturing".

    Add that to a pretty small existing base of machine shops, and you have the ideal recipe for almost no used machine tools, and very high prices on the ones that you do find.

  10. #10
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    My father started this project about ten years ago from the assumption that over half of the people in the world live on so little money and have so few available resources that when anything mechanical breaks or wears out, it can have awful effects on their lives. If a water pump goes down a village can go without drinking water, a broken tractor can wipe out a farm family. Being able to rig together a primitive lathe from an old engine block, a couple of wheel bearnings and some pipe to fix something that is important can make a difference. He knows that it is not going to replace a "real" lathe in a modern shop but it might help a third world blacksmith maintain local infrastructure. America is a wonderful country and we often forget how rich we are.

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