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Thread: Atlas mini-mill; sell, keep or part out?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    3,066

    Default Atlas mini-mill; sell, keep or part out?

    I have an Atlas benchtop horizontal mill that I got last year, and have used very little since. It's a great little machine, and clearly well made, but it's just too small and underpowered for most of my day-to-day work. (Which is largely aluminum, but I need to make one .050" pass, not three .015" passes, for example.)

    I have some new machines on the way (16" shaper, considerably larger horizontal, etc.) and I need the room, so I've put this unit up for sale.

    However, I very much suspect that I won't be able to sell it for anywhere close to what I paid. I'm asking $700, which is already less, but I'm trying to price it to move- plus there's on on eBay right now, with more tooling and in better condition, for $500 current bid.

    So I suspect I'll be stuck with it. But I don't need it anymore (it was kind of an impulse buy in the first place) and I need the room, so I've considered parting it out onto eBay.

    I know that kind of thing has been argued here once or twice, with one side saying it's a waste of a good machine, and the other side saying that machines' loss, like an organ donor, can save any number of other machines that might simply need one or two parts.

    On the other hand, I can also see managing to sell off one or two key items (say, the spindle and table, for example) and being stuck with the rest, now completely unusable and still taking up space.

    Opinions?

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
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    Toledo, Ohio
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    Default

    I had one a year or so ago that had been butchered up by the PO and parted it out. I did make my money on it, but they do not do as well as lathe parts. I suspect there are not the numbers of these out there that there are lathes, and parts demand is not as great.

    The overarm and support, arbor and QC gear box will probably bring a few dollars, the table, if in good shape will move. The rest will probably sell OK, but not for big bucks, and you will end up with the base casting.

    Conservative guess is that you will still end up with $500-$700 in the end. You might do better, but it is the usual eBay crapshoot.
    Jim H.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2005
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    Oroville, WA
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    Default

    That's the size and class machine I'd be interested in but which never turn up in Seattle, and shipping those heavy lumps can get pretty spendy. Naturally I hate to see them parted out when they're whole and healthy. If it had a big crack running through it that would be a parting out reason.

    Edit: One problem I can see is you're in Kenai. Now if you could sweet talk one of the redstack drivers to bootleg it to Seattle in steerage...
    Last edited by dp; 05-10-2008 at 12:58 PM.

  4. #4
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    Independent principality of Sinquefieldia (formerly Missouri)
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    Parting out a good machine, to put parts on a bunch of worn-out hulks is stupid.

    If you paid over $700, sorry, you probably got took unless you are in Alaska (you may be).

    if you are, sell it up there, it's worth lots, to the right person.

    If not, you are only going to recover part of the cost, probably. They are nice machines, and the size causes them to go for the $700 range..... they "fit the home shop".

    If you can't take over a 0.015 pass, you are not using it the right way. Make an overarm support, and go to town. You should be able to take at least 0.050 depending on feed.

    With small mills often a larger cut is BETTER, so long as you slow the feed. Otherwise they beat themselves to death with cutters like the one in the picture.

    More depth lets you get two teeth in the cut and it stops banging and starts to purr.....
    Last edited by J Tiers; 05-10-2008 at 04:46 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Oroville, WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Tiers
    Parting out a good machine, to put parts on a bunch of worn-out hulks is stupid.

    If you paid over $700, sorry, you probably got took unless you are in Alaska (you may be).
    http://anchorage.craigslist.org/tls/675083714.html

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Eastern Nebraska
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    Default Creative Transport

    Ok,

    I just need to find a nice elderly couple driving thier 40 foot diesel retirement home back from a vacation up your way...for a couple hundred in "gas" money they could drop it by my place here in the center of the US.

    Hello all, sorry this was not a very good introduction for a first post. I'll get to that when I can think of somthing interesting to say about myself.

    regards

    3t

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Tiers
    If you paid over $700, sorry, you probably got took unless you are in Alaska (you may be).
    -I am. Tools are spendy up here, in part because of demand (lots of home-shop types up here, but mostly welders and carpenters thanks to the oil field) and in part because of shipping costs. Rusty crap that'd get scrapped on the East Coast will often still sell up here, as long as it's salvageable.

    You just have to find the right buyer.

    If you can't take over a 0.015 pass, you are not using it the right way. Make an overarm support, and go to town. You should be able to take at least 0.050 depending on feed.
    -The issue with this particular machine is more in the X table feed and leadscrew, which is either badly worn, loose, or missing a thrust washer or something.

    I'd intended to take it down and inspect & rebuild it, but that's just one of a very long list of projects I haven't had time for.

    I also only have a couple of cutters that fit, and this one's the sharpest. So I haven't had the chance to try any other tooth counts or spiral-flute teeth or the like.

    And now, I picked up that much bigger Nichols mill I asked about last week, which also needs some significant service, but it's a much larger, more rigid machine that'll suit my semi-production shop quite a bit better.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  8. #8
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    Dec 2003
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    Regina and Assiniboia, Saskatchewan
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    Doc.. I'm wondering.. you say you have a semi production shop.
    Surely there must be a dedicated operation you could use that lil' machine for.
    Slitting saw? Two cutters ganged to cut slots? There has to be something you can do with it???
    My production shop is still really in its infancy. I find more and more that I add machines that are usually dedicated to one job. It really speeds things up and cuts way down on the frustration level.
    I'd eyeball that thing everytime I walked by it.. for a minute or so, til I figured something out.
    Russ
    I have tools I don't even know I own...

  9. #9
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    Mar 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by torker
    Surely there must be a dedicated operation you could use that lil' machine for.
    -There are. There's a couple of things I have in mind, that would be easy and quick for a good horizontal to do, although one or two of them might need a specially-ground cutter. (I'm also plotting a tool-and-cutter grinder...)

    But it's just too small, both in power and physical envelope. It'd be perfect for a hobbyist or light-production work (I know a knifemaker that has his set up to make a single cut- grooving brass bolster blanks) but even when I first got it, I was wishing for something just a little bigger.

    I don't have the room for a bunch of single-purpose machines, and again, remember I'm trading up to a bigger horizontal.

    Mill's been sold, by the way.

    Doc.
    Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    100

    Default

    Doc,
    Don't feel too bad about the $700 - I;ve seen a few of these go for more than that. I got mine through a friend who knew someone who just wanted to get rid of it - $200 with a vise and a drill press thrown in (hey, everybody deserves the occassional tool gloat). These are fairly light and can be transported easily in the back of a mini van.

    If you do decide to part it out - I can use the right hand side crank handle for the table - mine's broken

    Tom B

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