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  • #16
    I always get a kick out these companies that sell easy to machine parts for insane markups.....to people who are more than capable of machining the parts themselves. Ya, sometime you have a pile of very profitable work stacked up and you need it NOW but not always.

    Great job Doc. Every time you post about your omniturn I start googling to try and find one. . One would fit great in my shop and the parts I run.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Dan Dubeau View Post
      I always get a kick out these companies that sell easy to machine parts for insane markups.....to people who are more than capable of machining the parts themselves.
      Been thinking that myself Dan as I look to replace the jaws on my Kurt vise....even aluminum soft jaws are a bit steep.

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      • #18
        I do not know if you use one Doc but a coaxial indicator is an excellent tool for setting drill holders in a gang tool lathe, (or any lathe) beats the hell out of using mirrors (-:

        Today

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Dan Dubeau View Post
          I always get a kick out these companies that sell easy to machine parts for insane markups.....to people who are more than capable of machining the parts themselves. Ya, sometime you have a pile of very profitable work stacked up and you need it NOW but not always.
          Companies don't really make gang tooling for hobbyists, they make gang tooling for businesses. For many companies, it makes economic sense to buy this tooling rather than make them in-house. (Businesses have labor costs, hobbyist don't.)

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          • #20
            Tomato has it spot-on.

            In some cases, like a milling machine that takes a 40-taper, the manufacturer doesn't necessarily need to make in-house tooling, as there's a dozen high-quality specialty shops out there that make it by the trainload.

            But gang tooling isn't, to my knowledge, quite as universal. So it makes sense for Omni to make their own line.

            Yeah, some of it, like these blocks, is fairly simple and can be done in a few hours. But realistically, few professional shops are going to bother- and some of the stuff, like the dovetail blocks, live-tool risers and the like, being more fiddly and complex, are even less financially viable to make in-house.

            If I had more immediate work for this machine, and had thousands in work backed up for it, you betcha I'd be on the horn and ordering off-the-shelf tooling for it, just so I could get going. But in my case, it was a pure financial decision- I don't have a lot of spare time, but I have even less spare money.

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

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            • #21
              Doc, when you say you wished you had a tapping head what exactly does that mean? Does it mean a tapping head for a drill press? Or for a CNC mill or manual mill? What size would you buy?
              Location: The Black Forest in Germany

              How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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              • #22
                Originally posted by tomato coupe View Post
                Companies don't really make gang tooling for hobbyists, they make gang tooling for businesses. For many companies, it makes economic sense to buy this tooling rather than make them in-house. (Businesses have labor costs, hobbyist don't.)
                I'm well aware of that fact. For most people and business' with a stack of work waiting to process it doesn't make sense to piss around making tooling to run the job. But a gang tool block isn't a complex casting or otherwise difficult part to machine. Nor does it require exotic materials or post process coatings to perform. It's quite simply a block with holes in it that has 3 critical dimensions. Hole dia, center line to bed height, and hole perpendicularity. All things that are easy to attain by even the most green apprentice.

                For a company that doesn't employ machinists, and only "operators", yes, it would make 100% sense to just order every piece of tooling for a catalogue to run every job. Or even a strictly 100% production shop that doesn't have any support machinery, and all other machines are tied and tooled up for specific jobs.

                At my job we have down time, or some overlap between projects where there isn't a lot of work coming in, but we don't want to lay people off. We use that time to clean up the shop, improve some organization, and make some specialized tooling that will help us improve workflow when times do get busy again. I've made a lot of lathe tooling, mill fixturing, and other stuff, that would have cost hard dollars from the budget that was essentially made for free in the in between jobs time. Do you send a good employee home without pay every chance you get when things get slow or you run out of work for the day? Or do you find some make work projects they are capable of, or capable of figuring out with a little guidance that both further their skills, and better your business and process. It's not always black and white, there is a lot of grey area. Sometimes it makes sense to buy, sometimes it makes sense to build.

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                • #23
                  Shop-made tooling is still around, and being made. Just not duplicates of stuff that can be bought for a fraction of the cost it would be if you pay an employee to make it.

                  Why is the cost of parts for old machines so high from places like Bourns & Koch? Because they DO pay someone to make it..... in a small batch or just one-off per order.

                  Observe and learn.
                  4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

                  Everything not impossible is compulsory

                  "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Black Forest View Post
                    Doc, when you say you wished you had a tapping head what exactly does that mean? Does it mean a tapping head for a drill press? Or for a CNC mill or manual mill? What size would you buy?
                    -Manual tapping head, probably something like a Tapmatic, and likely something with an R8 shank so I can use it in the manual mills.

                    I have a CNC mill I'm only just starting to learn, and it has rigid tapping capability- all I'd need there is an appropriately sized ER collet holder.

                    I've never bought a head, yet, as they're pretty spendy, and I very rarely tap more than two holes at a time.

                    It's not always black and white, there is a lot of grey area. Sometimes it makes sense to buy, sometimes it makes sense to build.
                    -Yep. Spot on. Most shops that are buying one of these machines new, are also going to add $X to the invoice for tooling, so the machine can be put more or less right to work as soon as it arrives. If they have a $75,000 contract of parts waiting for it, the "savings" of a few hundred, tops, in paying an employee to make the tooling, simply isn't worth it.

                    I'm in the same boat. I'm running this setup on a frayed shoestring, and to ME, yeah, that savings of a "few hundred" is worth it, simply because I don't have that few hundred right now. BUT... if I had a $20K contract and a close time limit, you bet your bippy I'd throw he cash at th factory, bolt on store-bought tooling, and go to work.

                    Why is the cost of parts for old machines so high from places like Bourns & Koch? Because they DO pay someone to make it..... in a small batch or just one-off per order.
                    -That's why the prices on a lot of Hardinge collets are so high. They don't actually keep all that many in stock (that is, for the rare and obscure sizes) and in a lot of cases, when one is ordered, it's made, from scratch, right then and there.

                    It's a lot easier to keep the programs for a thousand collets, than it is to store them all, for however many years until somebody finally orders one.

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

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Doc Nickel View Post


                      -Yep. Spot on. Most shops that are buying one of these machines new, are also going to add $X to the invoice for tooling, so the machine can be put more or less right to work as soon as it arrives. If they have a $75,000 contract of parts waiting for it, the "savings" of a few hundred, tops, in paying an employee to make the tooling, simply isn't worth it.

                      ..............

                      Doc.
                      Plus, they may charge a "tooling participation" fee.... You don't actually pay (as a customer) for the tooling, but you "contribute" toward tooling that the vendor would not buy unless you had ordered......

                      We paid that many times.
                      4357 2773 5150 9120 9135 8645 1007 1190 2133 9120 5942

                      Keep eye on ball.
                      Hashim Khan

                      Everything not impossible is compulsory

                      "There's no pleasing these serpents"......Lewis Carroll

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                      • #26
                        I would think that the design of a gang tooling lathe severly restricts the size of the components that it can turn. Great for thousands of small parts, but not exactly versatile.

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                        • #27
                          When you all are bashing the manufacturers for outrageous prices I think maybe you never ran a business! You are comparing you sourcing the raw material and your time to build the part against their price. They have lots of overhead besides just paying the hourly wage to the worker and the cost of the material. That overhead is much more than the wage and material. In order to sell a product and stay in business, the price of the product will be at least 7 times and should be 10 times the direct costs to produce it. No way around that.
                          Location: The Black Forest in Germany

                          How to become a millionaire: Start out with 10 million and take up machining as a hobby!

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                          • #28
                            Thanks Doc. The video shows it all.

                            Originally posted by old mart View Post
                            I would think that the design of a gang tooling lathe severly restricts the size of the components that it can turn. Great for thousands of small parts, but not exactly versatile.
                            Actually it opens up the sizes that can be worked on. For big items with serious OD the outside tooling can be mounted at the far ends of the cross slide table. And ID tools at a point where they line up close to the middle axis and in between stuff for the faces can be mounted in between. Far more so than on our usual manual lathes. Have you ever turned something that was so large that you had to rig up a tool post operation that reached around the edge of the work? I know I've had to do that a few times down over the years.

                            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by old mart View Post
                              I would think that the design of a gang tooling lathe severly restricts the size of the components that it can turn. Great for thousands of small parts, but not exactly versatile.
                              -Certainly. But consider how many small parts that can be made. Theoretically, this machine has a max swing of 4"- that is, it can take a 4" chuck before the chuck starts rubbing on the accordion way cover.

                              Realistically it can easily turn up to 2". It's also length-limited due to there being no tailstock, but really, in my case, the vast majority of parts I need to make are 1" or under and less than 3" long.

                              This style of machine is widely known as a GT-27. GT, of course, for "gang tool", and 27 for the capacity. They're generally 5C machines, which have a max capacity of about 1-1/6", or about 27mm.

                              There's thousands of products that can be made on one of these. And as far as a manufacturer is concerned, if you need to turn bigger, you use (or buy) a bigger machine.

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

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                              • #30
                                Originally posted by old mart View Post
                                I would think that the design of a gang tooling lathe severly restricts the size of the components that it can turn. Great for thousands of small parts, but not exactly versatile.
                                Ya think?

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