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  • #31
    Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
    The manual turret lathes I see as killed by the expense of actually employing a person to act as the control unit.
    -Disagree. Turrets were wounded by the early timer-and-relay automatics, and killed entirely when the first NC machines came out. Back then (mid-late 50s) operator wages weren't as huge an issue, and more than a few factories kept turrets running for years after better machines were available, despite presumptive labor costs, because those new machines were fabulously expensive.

    You could argue that today, they stay dead for lack of cheap operators.

    Add to that the lack of ultimate precision, and the fact that the customers for such parts have all moved to china, since those volume production lower precision parts are typically in consumer stuff.
    -By the time people started moving production- of anything- to China, the manual turret lathe had been dead and obsolete for over thirty years.

    Doc.



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

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    • #32
      Whatever..... they are dead enough now, although I bought a mill from a turret lathe shop only a matter of 15 years ago or so. He was closing due to retirement/health, not lack of customers or work so much. All manual TLs, mostly Logan, with one or two others.

      I think we are agreeing... if you have the option of not paying a person to stand there and work it, you take it. As with N/C, and even cam automatic.

      BTW, I have quite a bit of that tooling operational, and if I could get runs of 50 out of the onesey-twosey folks, I'd be working it.
      CNC machines only go through the motions.

      Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
      Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
      Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
      I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
      Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post

        -Hell, you can get the Tormach with a turret. It's supposed to be pretty nice, for what it is.

        Doc.
        I dont understand a CNC lathe without a slant bed and turret. Whats the point. My tiny Emco has both. JR

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by J Tiers View Post
          I bought a mill from a turret lathe shop only a matter of 15 years ago or so. He was closing due to retirement/health, not lack of customers or work so much.
          -Not surprised. There are indeed still a ton of turrets out there being used. The thing is, a fair chunk of the reason they're still being used is they were paid off decades ago, the part made is of low enough accuracy requirements the machine fits the job, and in one case I know of, that particular set of tools was installed years ago. The only cost outlay to make a part with it today, is raw material, the electricity needed to run it, and the hourly wage of the guy operating it.

          It's like that shop in New York, that makes those tourist binocular things. That company has been in business, making the exact same product, for over a hundred years. They still have some lineshaft machines, even. It works and it's profitable, because the machines (and probably the building) were paid off decades ago. If they had to re-tool with modern CNC equipment, it'd cost millions, and their monthly overheads would skyrocket.

          I think we are agreeing... if you have the option of not paying a person to stand there and work it, you take it.
          -Yep, it all depends on your business and your wherewithal. I have a typical chronically-broke-person's aversion to incurring debt, so I'm not going to go out and get a $50,000 bank loan for machines. And between that and living in backwater, Alaska- the very definition of a machine tool desert- that means I gotta buy the old obsolete stuff and try to make it work.

          Like I said before- this turret is cool, and it's kind of a blast to run, but if I could afford a proper CNC turning center, I'd switch in a heartbeat.

          I dont understand a CNC lathe without a slant bed and turret. Whats the point. My tiny Emco has both.
          Since few proper turning centers I'm aware of don't have a turret, I'm going to assume you mean the usual home-shop conversion of an engine lathe.

          And assuming that's the case, the 'reason' is simple- nobody really makes an affordable, compact turret that can be adapted to something like a Chinese 12x20, or a Southbend, or a Logan, etc.

          And, most of the guys doing a home-shop conversion, are shooting for "mass production". Some are, of course, but most just want to make fairly complex individual parts more easily.

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

          Comment


          • #35
            Some years ago, Mr.Pete on Youtube did a video interview and tour of a company that does nothing but 2nd op jobs for larger manufacturers. In fact I think the company was named second op. What I found fascinating was that this old family business was still using a room full of the Brown and Sharpe automatic screw machines. The business relied on the fact that the building and machines were paid off back in the 1960's, still running OK. So like Doc said, their only cost was the electric bill and wages.

            I fully understand switching to CNC (or starting up new) is so expensive that you would have to be able to guarantee enough work to run the machines 24x7 until they were paid of (six figures monthly). There are several manufacturers in my area who do just that -- the CNC machines themselves are considered sacrificial and disposable. Any time they run without fault after the payoff day is gravy for the company. Basically you are betting that you will have enough work for the machine to reach payoff, and that the machine will last that long before wear and tear does it in.
            25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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            • #36
              Bingo. Speaking personally, the vast majority of my product is niche-market, within a niche market. Most will only ever sell 20 to maybe 50 items, total. (I do have a few that do better than that.)

              I had plans for years to pick up a Tormach (mill or lathe, I have work for both) and hoped to pay for it out of pocket so I didn't have a monthly debt. I knew it was still going to take a while to "pay myself back", but at least I wouldn't have the worry of a lean month (of which I have many) forcing a skipped payment and a default on the loan.

              Outside events put the kibosh on that, but even before, I was worried about blowing $25K on a machine in order to make part runs that might make $1,000 in profit if and when they all sell.

              In my case, a cheap turret (not counting tooling, I have only a little over $2,300 into it) while certainly not a perfect solution, was at least better than doing the same parts manually, on an engine lathe.

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

              Comment


              • #37
                DOC.. as have I , have run a turret lathe in production. They still have their place, and can earn their keep in the right situation.
                In my case ..it meant my cheapest machine made me the most money.
                A few disadvantages to going to CNC..
                big cash outlay, lots of learning. .. but this is the biggest factor... YOU NOW are FORCED TO COMPETE....with all the other ones out there. And I can almost guarantee. . Your entry model will not make a huge dent in work available, and won't have the world beating a path to your door.
                if you want to live with the risk, then go for it...
                Last edited by 754; 03-03-2021, 06:06 PM.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by nickel-city-fab View Post
                  OK. So like Doc said, their only cost was the electric bill and wages.

                  I fully understand switching to CNC (or starting up new) is so expensive that you would have to be able to guarantee enough work to run the machines 24x7 until they were paid of (six figures monthly). .
                  Yeah screw the money. I am only here for the fun/

                  I have no electric costs.

                  I dont want 24/7.

                  A few 6-8 hours (parts) are good. JR

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by JRouche View Post

                    I dont understand a CNC lathe without a slant bed and turret. Whats the point. My tiny Emco has both. JR
                    It's sometimes known as a gang tooled lathe. Super fast tool changes. Less expensive and faster than a machine with a turret. Usually don't have a tailstock. I have two, one has a slant bed, I prefer the other with a flat bed, easier to set up. You can have pre-set tool bars making job changes in a few minutes.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post

                      -Not surprised. There are indeed still a ton of turrets out there being used. The thing is, a fair chunk of the reason they're still being used is they were paid off decades ago, the part made is of low enough accuracy requirements the machine fits the job, and in one case I know of, that particular set of tools was installed years ago. The only cost outlay to make a part with it today, is raw material, the electricity needed to run it, and the hourly wage of the guy operating it.


                      Doc.
                      You would think then, that there would be "some" market for them, as opposed to "If you pay me, I'll take it away". The almost scrap price is not a big stopper compared to the alternative.

                      Maybe the issue is really getting the tooling, which has gone to scrap in railroad car loads over the years. Or just that they are heavy and hard/expensive to ship.

                      Sounds like the same thing as "hobby users", "it's OK if I can get it for free, but I'm not gonna PAY for it".
                      Last edited by J Tiers; 03-04-2021, 12:14 PM.
                      CNC machines only go through the motions.

                      Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                      Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                      Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                      I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                      Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        They take up a lot of room. And it can be hard to find work for them.l after mine sat idle a few years , you have to re evaluate its worth.
                        when it came time to close down , I had to get rid of mine., still got most of my 2D collets.
                        One thing about turret lathes , they can run far cheaper th a a CNC. . And from what I have heard, a single spindle CNC gets pricey if part need turning around.... because now an operator has to feed it.... does not fit their running hands off preferred operations.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          Originally posted by J Tiers View Post

                          You would think then, that there would be "some" market for them, as opposed to "If you pay me, I'll take it away". .................................................. ........

                          There's a tremendous market for "turret" lathes like the one shown in post #9 of this thread. That type is known as a second operation lathe, still qualifies as a turret lathe though. But, that machine compared to the Jet is like a Ferrari compared to a bottom of the line Ford.

                          When I sold off the main part of my business a few years back the buyer offered $9K for my good condition Hardinge like in post #9. We compromised at $6K since he's a friend and a long time customer. Funny thing is, after some usage customer came to find the Hardinge operator needs a bit of skill in maintaining tooling so he bought a turn key CNC lathe package including an automatic part loader. It now runs automatically without the need for an operator costing $30+/hour overhead. That $30 went a long way to justifying the CNC system.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            That's another thing ..on turret lathes there are operators , and setters.
                            the setter is skilled labor, the operator is ..just that.. and paid a lot less. ... you don't have to know much to run one.. once it's setup..
                            I enjoyed setting up, I made notes.. I could switch to a new part and get setup very quickly...

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by DR View Post

                              There's a tremendous market for "turret" lathes like the one shown in post #9 of this thread. That type is known as a second operation lathe, still qualifies as a turret lathe though. But, that machine compared to the Jet is like a Ferrari compared to a bottom of the line Ford.

                              When I sold off the main part of my business a few years back the buyer offered $9K for my good condition Hardinge like in post #9. We compromised at $6K since he's a friend and a long time customer. Funny thing is, after some usage customer came to find the Hardinge operator needs a bit of skill in maintaining tooling so he bought a turn key CNC lathe package including an automatic part loader. It now runs automatically without the need for an operator costing $30+/hour overhead. That $30 went a long way to justifying the CNC system.
                              Of course, if you just want to get from point A to point B, both the Ford and Ferrari do that.

                              And as for your sale, I think that basically confirms what I said, (and got dinged for). Looks like that was about right after all.........

                              Of course the CNC needs even more skill to get running and fixed..... but fewer such people are needed.

                              All employers seem to want to eliminate their employees, but think that magically there will still be customers for their products, or those of their customers. Funny thing, that.... I have usually found that if you cut the well pipe, you can pump as hard as you like, but no water comes out.

                              CNC machines only go through the motions.

                              Ideas expressed may be mine, or from anyone else in the universe.
                              Not responsible for clerical errors. Or those made by lay people either.
                              Number formats and units may be chosen at random depending on what day it is.
                              I reserve the right to use a number system with any integer base without prior notice.
                              Generalizations are understood to be "often" true, but not true in every case.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by DR View Post

                                It's sometimes known as a gang tooled lathe. Super fast tool changes. Less expensive and faster than a machine with a turret. Usually don't have a tailstock. I have two, one has a slant bed, I prefer the other with a flat bed, easier to set up. You can have pre-set tool bars making job changes in a few minutes.
                                There you go.. Thats all I needed, is a lil education. Thank you Sir.

                                Cause I thought Doc said I cobbled up some home made , home shop machinist slant bed, eight station turret lathe.

                                And a 345vac 3ph transformer along with a 15hp phase converter (baldor, they make the best converters) just to run a small 3" lathe??

                                I didnt do that. Only took 3 years to make it happen.

                                Emco-120. Its a made lathe. I didnt cobble that chit together. JR

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