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OT, slightly. Turret lathes/screw machines are obsolete, but check this

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  • OT, slightly. Turret lathes/screw machines are obsolete, but check this

    They are north of me here in the County. Over 100 high production screw machines (and 30+ CNC Swiss)
    CNC machines only go through the motions

  • #2
    Not obsolete, but one of the problems is finding set up guys and operators.
    Nobody wants to work or learn.


    • #3
      Pretty neat but now I can't stopping thing about...

      Is ezduzit named after a can opener?
      21" Royersford Excelsior CamelBack Drillpress Restoration
      1943 Sidney 16x54 Lathe Restoration


      • #4
        "Obsolete" was somewhat sarcastic....... The machines, or at least ones similar but newer, are still supported to some extent, at leas those multi-spindle ones, but few would choose to go into business making a new type of mechanical screw machine, or even to start up a screw machine shop now with that type machine, even if they could easily get setup people.

        The choice would likely be CNC every time.
        CNC machines only go through the motions


        • #5
          Obsolete..? Yes, in some situations where short runs are all that's needed. It's a trade off in terms of setup. And setup is getting more difficult since fewer people are being trained to do setups on cam driven machines.

          Setup and making of cams for the non-CNC screw machines is actually a simple and logical process. Optimizing the setup for maximum time usage of the machine gets a bit more complicated, but not rocket science. Nowadays cams are sometimes cut on CNC mills which simplifies the cam making part of the job. Back in the day trade mags had ads for companies making cams, just send them the print and they'd produce the cams for your machine (at what I thought was a reasonable price).

          I got a cam swiss type machine in the purchase of a shop going out of business. For a short run we CNC milled a set of cams out of polycarbonate to "get our feet wet" in the screw machine business. I sold the machine in short order because competitive bidding on large quantities of parts were down to the pennies, not a market i wanted to be in.

          I know of a shop in the NW with 50+ B & S screw machines. At any time they may only be running a few of them. Some machines are permanently setup for repeat jobs and forklifted back into storage until the next run is needed.


          • #6
            Originally posted by The Metal Butcher View Post

            Is ezduzit named after a can opener?
            Hey, somebody named a can opener after my hammer.
            12" x 35" Logan 2557V lathe
            Index "Super 55" mill
            18" Vectrax vertical bandsaw
            7" x 10" Vectrax mitering bandsaw
            24" State disc sander


            • #7
              I am thinking you can get in the game cheaper with a few of them machines than going CNC. A company up here makes changeable bit screwdrivers.. since 87, still using their multi spindles, still a lot of the original employees..
              Last edited by 754; 04-12-2021, 05:14 PM.


              • #8

                Now there is a cutthroat niech business to get into.

                The old cam operated screw machines are still out there. I knew a guy with a small screw machine shop. He lasted about 4 years when I knew him before he tossed it in. Help was hard to get and profit thin. But these days CNC screw machines rule. They are a bit simpler to operate, and the learning curve is a bit less steep on the programming vs cam setup. Programers are easier to find these days compared to people who know about manual setups.
                If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.


                • #9
                  Started my working career at a screw machine shop. Brown and Sharp singles, Davenports, Gridleys, New Britons. I did secondary operations, then inspection. Got a job with RCA, got laid off when GE and Neutron Jack bought RCA and dismantled the company and pillaged the pension fund.

                  The shop is still there, but they transitioned into the CNC world also, years ago.


                  • #10
                    Thanks for posting that site. On the plastic injection portion of their website they are putting barrel bands on 30mm Bushmaster practice ammo! The horizontal rounds. Nice process to see. They also putting rubber-based plastic seals on the base for other rounds like sabots! Nice process and machine. That would be a NICE contract to have!


                    • #11
                      Obviously with that many machines in regular use ( I counted up about 120 mechanical machines), they must have a number of competent setup people.
                      CNC machines only go through the motions


                      • #12
                        i few years back i was considering buying a shop that mainly had this type of machines. i didnt, because i figured once the "old guy" was gone, i would not be able to find an employee to run them.


                        • #13
                          Went to a auction locally last year that had maybe 10-15 screw machines. The building was very new so the machines were moved there in the last 20yrs or so. They made hose ends for hydraulic lines, pneumatic etc and supplied most of the major car manufacturers. The plant was relocated to mexico naturally. The screw machines were all operational and they sold for $65 each ! I was amazed how cheap but considering the labor to remove them, their present value or even scrap value I guess the price was understandable. The plant was operational for many years, it was labor costs, regulations etc that prompted the closing/move. I suspect the new mexico plant will have cnc machines.