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Machine accessories - can you afford them?

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  • Machine accessories - can you afford them?

    Just wondering how many of you guys are like me - buy a machine & then can't afford to buy any accessories to make the machine useable?

    My example - I bought a large round column mill/drill about three years ago & struggled with only a vise.

    I have just bought a chinese clamp kit & boring head. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! I can actually do something now. (I know - I can only afford Chinese)

    Now I want a dividing head, a proper stand / cabinet, some dovetail cutters, a facemill, an xyz etc.

    Then there is my old lathe..........

  • #2
    No, but who says that has to stop me? and there are a few bits that really belong here: and that is not quite 2 years "in"


    • #3
      I all boil`s down to this . You spent $1200.00 for mill its going to cost you $2400.00 to be able to use it. I learned long time ago to double what you spend on a machine to be able to use it. Has a horizontal mill once that needed a arbor that cost $58.00 and was just know way I was ever going to have the money for it so I just did with out . Later sold it and bought a little Rockwell that came with a vise a small angle plate a boring head and collets along with two cowboy boot boxes full to the top with end mill. now I could cut metal. yes I remember when.
      Every Mans Work Is A Portrait of Him Self


      • #4
        We have all been there. In time, you will learn where to poke around and scrounge to find useful tooling. One of the best investments you can make is building your library, suscribe to the magazines and purchase some of the books a Village Press offers. The compendiums of past issues and the Shop Masters series of books have lots of information and articles for making your own tooling and fixtures.

        Everything you buy, someone else has made. That is part of what your tools are for.
        Jim H.


        • #5
          It just takes time. I don't think very many of us can afford to get a machine and all the tooling required at one time. First the machine then add tooling as you need it or find it, always watching for a good buy. Watch for Estate Sales, Garage Sales and on e-bay.

          I have been at it for 40+ years and just got a good deal on used dividing head about a year ago. Before that used a second hand, home made one that used gears for dividing, that came with a used mill I bought over 25 years ago.


          • #6
            Another tactic is to search for used professional grade tools/tooling rather than giving up and just buying Chinese.

            I have purchased used items such as a Criterion boring head, a Phase II (Japanese) rotary table, a Dake arbor press, a Pratt & Whitney 4 jaw chuck, mics, etc at prices equal to or less than new Chinese. This way I have items that will last and not disappoint me. I also bought two essentially new Baldor grinders for pennies on the dollar.
            Last edited by Dr Stan; 02-09-2012, 08:07 PM.


            • #7
              Time will heal your needs. As noted, read all you can to learn of possible alternative ways of machining. eBay and Craiglist are helpful, but usually require a lot of time and luck in scoring some of the items you need. Reading forums such as this one will sometimes tip you off to less costly but like quality alternatives to what you have on your list of needed accessories. Only buying items as each project requires it is a good path to full capability in the long run.


              • #8
                Lane has it correct about the cost of tooling doubling the price of the machine.

                It gets to be a money pit, but still an enjoyable one,,, and much better and more practical than Pi##ing the money away on trivial things.

                As stated by others above, watch for stuff for sale and like Jim says, buy the literature and discover ways to build your'e own, which is a great satisfaction, more so than just purchasing some items.

                I have to suspect that probably 95% of guys here have at one time also had to scratch to find some extra $$ to purchase tooling they needed.

                Most of us Have been there.


                • #9
                  I have been a subscriber to HSM & Practical Machinist a few years now, there are some great projects, but getting to the point where I have enough gear to make something is tough.
                  Being in New Zealand has some challenges, but we have an auction site here called Trademe, (like E-Bay) I watch this for used gear, but a number of times I have seen a tool, but don't have the money because I have just bought another old gun
                  I collect old British rifles, like the old singel shot sporting rifles, so it can be hard to find a balance.


                  • #10
                    I have the same two hobbies. If you think it is expensive now wait untill you start combining the two.
                    Currently trying to scratch up the money to try the components to build a
                    M48 Mauser into a 338 Federal with express sights and walnut or curly maple stock.


                    • #11
                      guns & machines


                      My first project now that I have clamps & boring equipment is a....

                      Barrel vise


                      • #12
                        Yup you got it right I bought a 3" HBM 17,000# for $2,000.00 $100.00 delivery, first job needed a boring head $2,300.00, can't remember the name but it came with every thing I needed except the shank to mount it with another $250.00, then needed hold downs 3/4" type more money, but the first job paid for the whole thing with some left over. So I got lucky, a pre ww2 HBM that was unbelievably accurate after getting it set up and leveled borrowed a 36" precision square to check the column 35"s travel within .001 both directions, the machine also came with the tail stock and a lot of boring bars, boy are they great for boring bucket holes, excavator arms, sure wish I still had it but no place to put a 17,000# machine.


                        • #13
                          I can understand that perhaps it's not as easy to find bargains on the machines and/or accessories in AUS and NZ, but I have it easy here.

                          Ive found incredible bargains on Craigslist and Ebay. That's where the bulk of what I've added to the basic machines has come from. I have everythign from a stainless steel Kennedy roll-around 4-drawer cabinet for $30 to a $40 Phase II radius/angle dresser to stuff like collets and endmills nearly free.

                          The key is to keep a little "mad money" hidden in the shop at the ready for when such deals present themselves.


                          • #14
                            It seems to be a lifelong quest.

                            I started real late in this, but gaining quickly in acquring a nice toy chest.

                            From what I've seen, it really deosn't matter what tooling or accessories you own, there will always be more.

                            It just never ends.....

                            Start with the most vital and important 'main stays' of the jobs. The most useful items for the money involved.
                            Then start accessorizing around the edges, working your way out to the cool, fun, obscure, unique, tools that make peope like me jealous.


                            • #15
                              Machine accessories

                              Probably most of us know exactly what you mean. Started many years ago with an Atlas 6X18, then a 9X36 South Bend, Atlas shaper, mill-drill, drill press, welding equipment. Had to really scrape to get a few tool bits for the lathe, started watching for flea markets, yard sales, junk yards, etc. Bought a lot of stuff from Enco, Harbor Freight, MSC. These boys are right on the money about making your own stuff, somebody made the first one so you can too. I had to shim the column base on the mill-drill to tram it but now it will get the job done. With these machines I have made indexable face mills, a tool & cutter grinder, gears, tool holders, boring bars, scissor type knurling tool, taper attachment for the South Bend, power feed for the mill table and bunches of other stuff. With careful watching, you can get some really good deals on Ebay, and other machinery dealers. Don't give up.