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What Percentage of People Buy Machines and Never Use Them

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  • #16
    I'm ashamed/proud to say that I spend far more time rebuilding machine tools than I do using them to make things, other than parts for the machine tools that I'm rebuilding. It does mean that I've got a 1952 hardinge HLV and a 196? Beaver VBRP milling machine that are as good as (slightly better for the Beaver) they were when they left the factory and I've got a 24"x36" and a 36"x48" granite surface table that are only slightly better than grade 00 (I'm still working on the larger one).

    The long bed Myford ML7B hasn't been used for a turning job singe the HLV was finished.

    The Taylor & Hobson engraver has only had a test runin the 10 years I've owned it, I did expect to use it far more, but it needs a bit of TLC to get rid of some clearance in the linkages.

    Last week, a BCA Mk111 Jig borer followed me home, leaving a lot of £20 notes behind it. To be fair, after wiring it up, it produced an offset key for the Beaver mill on its first day (Some twat hadn't measured the width of the key in the original pinion before cutting the keyway in the replacement and sending it off to be nitrided). For the last week it's been coming apart and being very carefully cleaned to see what needs doing to it. Good thing is that it's cleaning up nively and what I thought was rust is mostly grime. It'll need the ways rescraping but probably by less than a thou.

    Attached Files
    Location- Rugby, Warwickshire. UK

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    • #17
      If you walked into my shop you'd probably accuse me of never using the machines. The fact is they get used on a daily basis. However they get cleaned every time they're used, and the floor gets swept or vacuumed regularly. I'm not a neat freak, but we do have 2 dogs. They love to come in the shop, and if it's not clean they tend to drag things through the house. For my own health and welfare I make sure little or nothing gets past the door. DW doesn't take kindly to greasy paw prints on the carpet, or a trail of swarf leading from the shop to wherever the dogs are taking a nap.

      The truth be known some days I spend as much time cleaning as I do machining. When things get busy and there isn't time to clean up the mess the dogs are prohibited from entering the shop, and I leave my shoes and any dirty shirt inside before heading into the living area.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by projectnut View Post
        I'm not a neat freak, but we do have 2 dogs. They love to come in the shop, and if it's not clean they tend to drag things through the house.
        I'm surprised - my dogs have all hated the shop. Take a few steps in, sniff around the one thime, then sort say "you know, I like it better outside".

        Though when I use the hand plane in the wood shop, they get pretty curious.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by projectnut View Post
          If you walked into my shop you'd probably accuse me of never using the machines. The fact is they get used on a daily basis. However they get cleaned every time they're used, and the floor gets swept or vacuumed regularly. I'm not a neat freak, but we do have 2 dogs. They love to come in the shop, and if it's not clean they tend to drag things through the house. For my own health and welfare I make sure little or nothing gets past the door. DW doesn't take kindly to greasy paw prints on the carpet, or a trail of swarf leading from the shop to wherever the dogs are taking a nap.

          The truth be known some days I spend as much time cleaning as I do machining. When things get busy and there isn't time to clean up the mess the dogs are prohibited from entering the shop, and I leave my shoes and any dirty shirt inside before heading into the living area.
          I keep all the main pathways vacuumed, and take my shoes off at the back steps. My wife got a shard of stainless in her foot one time, and I don't want to take that kind of flak again. But when I drop something, and am on my hands and knees looking, that is when I notice that all the nooks and crannies I can't see standing up are covered in swarf. I vacuum it up, it comes back. And yea, I guess these people are in failing health in the years leading up to their death.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by nickel-city-fab View Post
            Dunno, most of my stuff was used when I got it, and I continue to use it. A clean shop makes me paranoid.
            The only things I buy "new" are taps and underwear.
            Nothing worse than a dull tap.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by junkaddict View Post

              Nothing worse than a dull tap.
              I actually save them for the HSS to grind into special tools
              25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

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              • #22
                Originally posted by macona View Post
                I think Sears said 75% of routers sold were never used. Often given as gifts at xmas and then just sit.
                hadn't thought of it that, but it make sense. I've done it. When young I renovated several houses, some down to the studs, and flipped them (doing all the work myself while working full time...a endeavor only for the young lol). I bought makita drills and a worm drive skil saw....never touched the cheap dept store stuff well meaning relatives gave at Christmas. Probably where my insistence on using quality tools came from....life then if you could call it that was a sprint and a marathon at the same time. Up early, work all day than head to house and work to 11, then basically the same on weekends. Didn't need any added frustrations.

                Machine tools though usually aren't wrapped up under the tree from Uncle Bill. I bet 95% get used. I do have a few myself that haven't yet been used due very protracted rebuilds/reconditioning/modifications. But they will ....eventually. I've been much like Mark (nice BCA btw, I've got one those - its one of the extensively modified not yet running items) in spending a lot of time building the shop. Time to shift away from that, but like an ocean tanker, there is a lot of momentum.

                If you walked into my shop you'd probably accuse me of never using the machines.
                That imo that depends on the machines. Bigger ones taking big cuts throw chips and coolant all over. They are also physically much larger things to clean. Many of us have crammed big machines in small places and it becomes very challenging to get around them for a thorough cleaning. The garage is functionally clean - the little mess/chips/old oil etc present shouldn't effect good operations, whereas the basement with little machines is aesthetically clean - no mess, nice to look at etc
                Last edited by Mcgyver; 06-08-2021, 06:30 AM.
                in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                • #23
                  I have not had many opportunities to buy things from people who bought items of serious interest to Home Shop Machinists., and never used them
                  Usually, those who have bought stuff and never used it have bought cheaper new consumer items such as oil less compressors, wrench sets, maybe bench vices and bolt together bench kits and then lost interest .
                  Just once in a while I have lucked out, My 9 inch Southbend lathe came from a former employer who bought it, set it up, used it a little, and decided he liked his Myford better.
                  However, I keep reading the adverts with hope;
                  Regards David Powell

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Mark Rand View Post
                    Last week, a BCA Mk111 Jig borer followed me home, leaving a lot of £20 notes behind it.
                    Congrats, nice machine.

                    At the top of the machine, there's the Z axis feed handle where its supposed to be...but there is also what looks like a feed hand handle just below it in a horizontal position. Its just an spare sitting on the top of the machine or is there some other function to it?
                    in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                    • #25
                      Oddly I have a Taylor Hobson panto I used once since I got it some 20 years ago, bought it to make a die, made the die, that’s it, should have got someone else to do it, also a small horizontal mill, brought a shed load of dividing heads home from work, they were being thrown out, I’ve never used them, so actively cleaning and tarting to put them on eBay, who the hell needs a herd of them, slotting machine 2 uses, the list goes on, we’ve got some kind of rust bourne virus that lives in humans and transmission is by rusty machines, once under the fingernails it goes dormant for decades, then sensing its hosts demise needs to jump ship to a younger host via ebay
                      tis a cunning plan, so cunning in fact if it had a hand wheel it would be a lathe
                      mark

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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by Mcgyver View Post

                        hadn't thought of it that, but it make sense. I've done it. When young I renovated several houses, some down to the studs, and flipped them (doing all the work myself while working full time...a endeavor only for the young lol). I bought makita drills and a worm drive skil saw....never touched the cheap dept store stuff well meaning relatives gave at Christmas. Probably where my insistence on using quality tools came from....life then if you could call it that was a sprint and a marathon at the same time. Up early, work all day than head to house and work to 11, then basically the same on weekends. Didn't need any added frustrations.

                        Machine tools though usually aren't wrapped up under the tree from Uncle Bill. I bet 95% get used. I do have a few myself that haven't yet been used due very protracted rebuilds/reconditioning/modifications. But they will ....eventually. I've been much like Mark (nice BCA btw, I've got one those - its one of the extensively modified not yet running items) in spending a lot of time building the shop. Time to shift away from that, but like an ocean tanker, there is a lot of momentum.


                        That imo that depends on the machines. Bigger ones taking big cuts throw chips and coolant all over. They are also physically much larger things to clean. Many of us have crammed big machines in small places and it becomes very challenging to get around them for a thorough cleaning. The garage is functionally clean - the little mess/chips/old oil etc present shouldn't effect good operations, whereas the basement with little machines is aesthetically clean - no mess, nice to look at etc

                        I don't have huge production machines. Most are in what I'd call in the "job shop" category. The larger machines are a Bridgeport Series I mill, a Sheldon 13" lathe, a Seneca Falls 10" lathe, a Sanford MG surface grinder, a Startrite H175 horizontal/vertical bandsaw, a Racine 66W2 power hacksaw, a US Machine Tools #1 horizontal mill, an AMMCO 7" shaper, a Jet JDP 125 VS3 drill press, and a Rockwell 6'x 48" belt grinder with 12: disk. There are several smaller machines like grinders, die filers, drill presses, hydraulic presses, arbor presses, and all the support things like a 14' work bench, shelves for all the books, several tool cabinets & shelves, stock racks, a 72" drafting table & return desk, etc., etc. In total there are over 2 dozen machines in about 1,500 sq. ft. Things are a bit tight, but not crammed in so tight you can't move.

                        It's a real PITA to clean well enough to keep the dogs from tracking crud into the living area, but it's easier than the alternative. I'm sure there is some swarf hidden in places I can't reach. Here's one of my assistants. She loves to spend time in the shop. The other is her half sister. She's almost identical, but a complete different personality. She would rather play outside, swim, and roll in the mud than spend time in the shop.



                        Click image for larger version  Name:	DSCF8052B.jpg Views:	0 Size:	441.8 KB ID:	1945977

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                        • #27
                          I've bought small machines mostly to do work that I do weekly around the house. When I was younger, money was always a problem so that limited me to only what I absolutely required. It wasn't much. Inherited a Craftsman drill press from my dad and that has had second highest use, only behind the bench vise, hack saw, and the bench grinder. Welder was used until I got newer mowing equipment and slowed my 1966 Mustang rat rod project to a crawl. All fired up with enthusiasm, I bought a PM 10/22 lathe which has seen minimal use, mostly due to the impossibly small space I have to work with it. I just moved and it sits on the floor of the new "shop" room awaiting its bench to be moved .Enough about my stuff, I'm guilty of not putting it all to constant use, but can't sell it either. .

                          I think the there is a component in all of us that says: "Better to have the tool you don't need, than to need the tool you don't have".
                          I can feel it creeping over me every time I walk into a shop, hardware, or anywhere decent tools are sold.
                          S E Michigan

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Mcgyver View Post

                            Congrats, nice machine.

                            At the top of the machine, there's the Z axis feed handle where its supposed to be...but there is also what looks like a feed hand handle just below it in a horizontal position. Its just an spare sitting on the top of the machine or is there some other function to it?
                            It's a fine feed handle. There's a 30T worm wheel on the feedscrew and matching worm on the fine feed handle, so 3 1/3 thou per turn. The worm hinges into or out of engagement and is held in mesh with a thumb screw.

                            Oddly, the X and Y feedscrews have two part backlash adjustable nuts (which seem to be unworn on this machine) and conventional gibs. The Z feed has a non adjustable nut and a taper gib.

                            According to the Bank of England's inflation calculator, it's about £17,000 in today's money.
                            Last edited by Mark Rand; 06-08-2021, 05:53 PM.
                            Location- Rugby, Warwickshire. UK

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                            • #29
                              You would not believe the machines I have bought and never used or only used a few times. I had plans at one time...
                              Location: Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

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                              • #30
                                Its just as well that I like working on machinery just as well as making things on it, the feedscrew lever on the Smart & Brown model A at the museum failed today just when I wanted a very slow traverse. It is interlocked with the leadscrew nut to prevent both being used simultaneously. The apron, leadscrew and feedscrew will probably have to come off, although I may try just removing the cover, but may not be able to get it back on.

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