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  • Enlighten me please.

    I have noticed that many people desire "Vintage Machines" rather then modern equipment, why is this?

    Technology has improved considerably during the last 80-100 years and machines have become far more advanced, versatile and easier to use.

    Is it cost
    Brand loyalty
    A perceived belief that old is "always better" then new
    An ageing population
    A lack of modern equipment availability

    Discuss

    As a general rule all arguments that "they do not make them like they used to" are off the table, every single product has been improved over the last 80 years.

    Forks
    Spoons
    Plates
    Tools
    Packaging
    Automobiles
    Kitchen appliances
    Cell phones
    Electronic calculators
    Computers
    Fabrics
    Television
    Radio broadcasting
    Healthcare
    And on an on
    Last edited by Bented; 01-29-2022, 01:30 PM.

  • #2
    Maybe because they can actually be worked on.

    Comment


    • #3
      For me, it is cost. I bought a 10 inch Logan lathe for $800. A comparable new one from say Grizzly would be thousands, and I'm not sure it would be any better.

      The Griz 10x22 (G0602) is $2320. My Logan is worn but it does what I need.

      Comment


      • #4
        I paid £500 for a 10EE, complete with Sjogren speed chuck and 39 2j collets. Can't compare with that in any way shape or form I would say.
        Peter - novice home machinist, modern motorcycle enthusiast.

        Denford Viceroy 280 Synchro (11 x 24)
        Herbert 0V adapted to R8 by 'Sir John'.
        Monarch 10EE 1942

        Comment


        • #5
          I suspect that the reasons are pretty varied. Lots of people like "vintage" cars, just for what they are, or because they like the style or they hold some sentimental value or whatever. I don't think that most vintage cars are in most any way better that modern ones, and in most ways they are more troublesome. But people like them.

          I did not go looking for vintage machines but it is mostly what I ended up with. More modern machines would just be too expensive. If it were the early 1960's when my mill (a South Bend) was brand new I would not have been able to afford to buy it then, either. But by the mid-1980's it sold at auction for a low price that I could afford to pay. No commercial operator in their right mind would have bought it at that point, it was old and had been abused by high school students for its whole life.

          There are some guys that buy old machines to restore them to "like new" condition, like people do with cars, that's just another facet of the hobby. I wanted machines to use, so I got stuff that I could afford to make stuff in my garage. I have neither the machines nor the experience and skill to compete with a real machinist with modern tools. But that was never my intention.

          If I had the resources to go buy quality modern machines, I likely would.

          Edit to add:
          As for the "don't make them like they used to" rationale, there is some application in this case in that one is often comparing what was once a high quality industrial grade machine to a modern machine that was never designed to similar standards. If you are choosing between an old South Bend, Sheldon, Hardinge, etc machine in reasonable shape to a modern machine being designed to a Harbor Freight grade standards, then the old machine is in fact likely much better.
          Last edited by alanganes; 01-29-2022, 01:55 PM.

          Comment


          • #6
            1) cost
            2) servicability/repairability

            I strongly dispute the notion that "newer is always better". On the grounds that just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. Witness how non-repairable most things are nowadays; one is expected to discard things and keep on buying more, more, more, as if on a treadmill of consumerism. Unfortunately, management's dreams do not align with reality. Particularly with regards to inflation and wages.
            25 miles north of Buffalo NY, USA

            Comment


            • #7
              New machines are meant to be cheap.
              Old machines were made to work well.

              That sums it up.

              -D
              DZER

              Comment


              • #8
                The only machine in my shop I bought used is a JET wood lathe. The rest of my shop (I was a general contractor) and now my machine shop are all filled with new equipment, to take advantage of new technology.

                I prefer new technology, and when I was in business, I learned to prefer equipment bought overseas, simply because new, modern equipment can be had while avoiding the "Made In America" entitlement surcharge.

                Speaking as a former general contractor, talking about buildings, when someone says "they don't make them like they used to", the right answer is "thank god." In a modern building, you might actually have time to make it out alive if it catches fire.

                At our house, in the dead of winter, we build roaring fires in the fireplace. I like to buy bundles of cedar shakes, and split them up for kindling. Red cedar has an oil in it that is quite flammable, and it's easy to light red cedar, even if it's wet. It's the tree to look for if you're lost in the woods in deep snow, and need to build a fire to survive.

                Sometimes, after I light our fire, I watch the flames burst out of the cedar shakes, and climb rapidly up to engulf the whole pile, and I think "they used to build roofs out of those..."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Bented View Post
                  As a general rule all arguments that "they do not make them like they used to" are off the table, every single product has been improved over the last 80 years.

                  Forks
                  Spoons
                  Plates
                  Tools
                  Packaging
                  Automobiles
                  Kitchen appliances
                  Cell phones
                  Electronic calculators
                  Computers
                  Fabrics
                  Television
                  Radio broadcasting
                  Healthcare
                  And on an on
                  Bented -

                  You raise a valid question - but I think there are as many answers to it as there are people who care to furnish an answer.

                  I'm a 72 year old guy with, among other education, a mechanical engineering degree dated 1970. I got that degree using a slide rule in the days before even 4 function calculators, but was learning Fortran and using it as a programming tool in my freshman year. Spent my working life in aerospace industry, some of it as a programmer as well as a manufacturing engineer and manager. Also as a system integration engineer and ran such operations. I'm not at all scared of advanced technology and try to keep my mind in the mode of trying to learn new advances in different areas.

                  Learned to use a map and compass when I was 12 or so - and spent a lot of time in the military (active and reserve components) honing that skill. But I totally understand and use GPS as well. At least when the batteries die I and not totally disabled.

                  I've had a fortunate life and if I wanted to I could be programming a CNC machine out in the shop. But I have two metal lathes - a January 1945 South Bend Heavy 10 and a 1966 Cincinnati 13 inch. My mill is a Cinel 202-12 from 1968. Similarly, my wood working shop is mostly old American iron. Sometimes I think that I enjoy refurbishing and rebuilding (there IS a difference) old machines as much as using them. I also enjoy working on old cars - still have the 1960 that my girlfriend at the time and I found 54 years ago last month. Simple to work on and I don't need to break out the oscilloscope to trouble shoot it. And I'm lucky that girlfriend is still hanging around - we've been married almost 52 years - and glad she's put up with me for so long. I also have a 1930 Model A pickup in there with the rear end out of it - my grandson is to help get it back together this winter. He can learn a bit about bearings, gears and hopefully have a picture of how things work mechanically - as well as why you adjust parts so they work and do not self destruct. His ambition at the moment is to become a pilot. I'm biased, but I have always felt the best pilots that I worked with always had the ability to understand what they were dealing with in good detail.

                  You state that every single product has been improved over the last 80 years - I would say that most are different but I'm not sure everything has been 'improved', again some of that is in the eyes of the user. As our local appliance repair guy keeps telling my wife - keep that dryer. I can fix it, the new ones are disposable. I love technology - but it is not necessarily the do all and end all for every application.

                  I have no problem if you write me off as an 'old goat' who doesn't know what he's talking about. But I do think it would be a pretty boring world if every one of us all were carbon copies when it came to how we viewed the world and what we liked. There is enough variety out there that is interesting as we sample the differences. Not a right/wrong to this, but just differences.

                  Dale

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My 2 lathes are 100yrs and 120yrs old. I don't, and won't ever try to use them for any precision work. They're not up to the task... and neither am I.

                    The little one was free and the big one was £145.

                    For me it's all about buying, or aquiring for free, something that's worth no more than it's weight in scrap, and getting it to a usable state with as little expenditure as possible. That's where all the fun is.

                    If I bought new, ready to use lathes, they'd just sit there looking nice. I wouldn't smile to myself each time I look at them. I'd feel no sense of achievement.

                    But, If I needed to produce precision work, or even use a lathe commercially, like lots of you guys, then I couldn't justify spending a year or more trying to make a silk purse from a sow's ear, and ending up with a cotton hand-bag.
                    Last edited by Jonesy; 01-29-2022, 02:32 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Doozer View Post
                      New machines are meant to be cheap.
                      Old machines were made to work well.

                      That sums it up.

                      -D
                      That's the root of it for me too. And while this isn't the case with every single tool, it is the case with many of the heavier industrial tools. Especially things like lathes and milling machines, surface grinders etc. They are built much lighter these days. That's not always a bad thing, but they are definitely much less rigid than the older heavier machines. The newer machines are generally made to work with higher speeds and lighter depths of cut with higher feeds. This works, but generally means they can't take heavy cuts or cut something like a large radius with a form tool. They also tend to wear out much faster. The older machines were built in an era where cost was a minimal factor and producing a tool of the very best quality was a major factor.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Two reasons.

                        1st. Parts. Any part you want for a Bridgeport mill is still available. Buy a Chinese knock off and usually parts are unobtainum.
                        2. The older used stuff people buy are industrial grade machines. They were designed for production work 8+ hours a day. The new "affordable" machines are hobby grade. You think they are comparable to industrial grade machines but they are not. If you want a new machine comparable to older industrial machines then look at the higher end new machines that are double the price of the cheap ones

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by eKretz View Post

                          That's the root of it for me too. And while this isn't the case with every single tool, it is the case with many of the heavier industrial tools. Especially things like lathes and milling machines, surface grinders etc. They are built much lighter these days. That's not always a bad thing, but they are definitely much less rigid than the older heavier machines. The newer machines are generally made to work with higher speeds and lighter depths of cut with higher feeds. This works, but generally means they can't take heavy cuts or cut something like a large radius with a form tool. They also tend to wear out much faster. The older machines were built in an era where cost was a minimal factor and producing a tool of the very best quality was a major factor.
                          For modern commercial CNC machines, lighter weight machines means you can go faster. Inertia is a b***** when it comes to changing directions and going around corners. There are limits though, because everything is a compromise in machine design. But modern machines run at speeds and feeds those old commercial machines can't begin to dream of. Time IS money.

                          That said, the overwhelming majority of HSM ain't got the money nor the knowledge to take advantage of modern machines. So, it's not really about "older is better". It's a matter of money spent vs money made vs what I either know to do or am willing to learn.

                          So clapped out Bridgeport's and worn out old South Bends are what they can afford/learn to run and fix. And everyone here understands, (at least in the middle of the night nightmares), that those Cheap, Cheerful, Chinese machines will be what every HSM will be using someday because how much longer before all that Fine Old American Iron is worn beyond repair. But until then some will convince themselves that a worn out Clausing is better than a new anything that they can't afford.

                          As for me, well those Cheap, Cheerful Chinese benchtop manual machines are good enough for the things I want to do. And living in the middle of a frozen tool desert were the most economical way to go if I wanted to keep making chips after retirement.
                          If you think you understand what is going on, you haven't been paying attention.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I buy mostly older machines, because they are built well, work well, and I can refurbish them if I so desire. New chinese machines are made by making the parts quick and dirty, then slamming them together with nearly no checking of operation.

                            I've seen some scraping videos where the crosslide was contacting the ways in 3 widely spaced points....or similar nonsense.

                            Originally posted by nickel-city-fab View Post
                            1) cost
                            2) servicability/repairability

                            I strongly dispute the notion that "newer is always better". On the grounds that just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should. Witness how non-repairable most things are nowadays; one is expected to discard things and keep on buying more, more, more, as if on a treadmill of consumerism. Unfortunately, management's dreams do not align with reality. Particularly with regards to inflation and wages.
                            You are supposed to get with the program..... See sig line for the modern mantra.

                            Originally posted by Jammer Six View Post
                            ......................
                            Speaking as a former general contractor, talking about buildings, when someone says "they don't make them like they used to", the right answer is "thank god." In a modern building, you might actually have time to make it out alive if it catches fire.

                            ..........................
                            You may want to do some checking around.

                            1) Most new houses are built using the "engineered", "assembled", joists with a strip of wood at the bottom, and a strip of wood at the top, with chipboard between. A fire quickly causes those to collapse. Fire dept says you have about 3 minutes max to get out before the floor above the fire can cave in, tossing you into the roasting pit.

                            I've seen older houses that have had fires in the basement. often the old-time solid joists are just a bit charred, not compromised. Even the ones that had to be replaced after a more extensive fire have usually not caved in. Odds are that the "engineered" floor joists would have fallen in early on.

                            I've seen pics of the old McCormick place fire in Chicago, that happened during a paint trade show. Steel beams had sagged into crazy curves. But many of the (solid) wood beams were still standing.

                            2) A lot of materials in newer houses are plastic. From moldings, carpets, and window frames, to the furniture and it's padding. The FD calls plastic "solidified gasoline". They hate it because of the way it burns. And even the stuff that passes burning tests, will burn if other things are already burning.

                            My house is about 90 now. Solid old time construction, without the "thinned and lightened everything" that the new houses I have been in had.
                            Last edited by J Tiers; 01-29-2022, 03:59 PM.
                            CNC machines only go through the motions

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              "Better" or "improved" is a matter of perspective, desires, needs, budget, etc. Individuals have different goals, and their tolerances to various compromises vary widely.

                              There would be little challenge to make a reasonable case on both sides of the 'argument' for almost everything on your list. Things change - quite often for the better, sometimes not.
                              Location: North Central Texas

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