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what are the two most important machines to start your shop?

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  • #16
    i should add that the next machine i bought after the milldrill was a cheap import lathe

    next upgrade was my milldrill. bought a knee mill. this was a mistake. i should have replaced my pos lathe becausing i was using it 10x more then i was using the mill

    i did upgrade the lathe and and have been really happy with it.

    then i upgraded my millrite knee mill to a cnc bridgeport
    thinking now i should have kept the millrite tho lol

    frig i hate this ”hobby“
    Last edited by legendboy; 02-21-2012, 12:10 AM.


    • #17
      With 1) a well equipped lathe and 2) a good disc+belt sander you can do an awful lot of metal shaping. Using just those I managed to make all manner of things, from flashlights to replacement parts for my appliances.

      A mill would be my alternate #2 machine. A bandsaw (even the $79 harbor freight portable) is the definite #4. Welding equipment is #5, for you sometimes have to glue things back together.

      The welder holds an interesting place in the shop. There are times when you can carve away several cubic inches on the mill or you can just weld on a tall thin feature.

      There is always a perfect tool for each job. By the same token there are always ways to do any job with the wrong tool. I spent 40 years using the wrong tools because that's all I had. It's amazing what you can do with the right ones.

      At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

      Location: SF East Bay.


      • #18
        The most important part of having a home shop is an understanding spouse.


        • #19
          A lathe and a vise. After that, in no particular order: welder, anvil, mill, grinders, press, band saw or power hacksaw. Add additional as needed.


          • #20
            Apart from "Funds " which has been mentioned in an earlier post , you also need somewhere to put all of your toys ,preferably away from carpeted areas of you home ,unless you want to be beaten up by SWMBO's broom.
            I held off purchasing any large items of equiment until I had a weather proof building to house my "junk".
            Women dont always see that that expensive power chewing noisy machine can earn money for some of us .It took some time for my wife to accept that I could do work which I previously had to farm out to others ,often at quite some cost.
            Now the only grumbles are for how much freight costs me ,


            • #21
              la lathe and a mill with tooling...


              • #22
                It would be easier for me to tell you what I could get rid of and not miss a lot.

                A drill sharpener is in the top three of what I think is most important.

                My shop has a life of its own. Removing any of the machine tools is like removing an organ from a living body. Some you can live without but maybe not so good as before.

                I think it depends on what you want to build as to what is the most important.

                I do a mix of fabricating and machining in my farm shop.
                Location: The Black Forest in Germany

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


                • #23
                  On second thought I would say electrically insulated gloves and boots!!!!
                  Location: The Black Forest in Germany

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


                  • #24
                    1) Ability
                    2) Imagination


                    • #25
                      Most important and used tool in my shop is the bandsaw.


                      • #26
                        As others have said, it depends on what you want to do. If you want to do "classic" model engineering and build small steam engines, etc., I'd recommend a lathe, vertical milling machine, and 4x6 H/V bandsaw. If you've got a vertical milling machine, I see no need for a drill press. For models, you won't need a welder, either. Any small assemblies requiring strength can be silver soldered (more correctly, silver brazed) with a propane torch.

                        If you're going to build a metal-frame utility trailer, a rack for your truck, and that kind of thing, then you'll need a welder.

                        You will also need tooling: drills, end mills, collets, drill chucks, micrometers, parallels, lathe chucks, centers, faceplates, clamp sets, rulers, center drills, protractors, squares, levels, toolbits, boring bars, boring heads, vises, rotary tables, dividing heads, taps, dies, tapping drill size charts, files, reamers, other hand tools, a copy of Machinery's Handbook, dial indicators, and undoubtedly other stuff. This hobby is a tool freak's paradise.

                        Have patience. You don't need to (probably can't) buy everything at once. It took me about ten years to get to the point where I felt reasonably confident I could start a project without needing to get an additional tool or cutter of some kind.
                        Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
                        Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
                        Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
                        There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
                        Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
                        Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


                        • #27
                          The three most used machines in a home shop are a lathe, drill press and cutoff band saw. The hand tools will be acquired as needed. The next things you will be looking for is a good bench grinder. A mill is handy to have but you will find a lathe and drill press used more than the mill for most home work.

                          When you need a tool put it on a list and then put the date each time you need it and don't have it. Over 6 months or a year, does the list show you really need it or just think you need it? If you have a lot of money just buy it whether you need it or not.
                          It's only ink and paper


                          • #28
                            plasma cutter
                            tubing bender

                            in that order


                            • #29
                              + 25,000,000 for the the Bandsaw (or a powered hacksaw).

                              It's probably number 1. You can use a lathe as a mill and a mill as a lathe. Cutting a 1" slice off a 4" diameter mild steel bar by hand with a hacksaw is no joke.

                              You will put off projects because you can't face that first operation.


                              Originally posted by Toolguy
                              Lathe, Mill, small Bandsaw.


                              • #30
                                For a basic DIY machine shop, besides the obvious stuff like hand instruments, calipers, mics, rules, vise, etc., I'd suggest a bandsaw, belt and tool grinders, lathe and a milling machine. I'd also get some heating/cutting/welding equipment (I most often use my oxy-acetylene setup and TIG). Try to buy quality stuff whenever possible and avoid " I'll buy a small garbage lathe now and then upgrade later" mentality. It will cost you an arm and a leg, considering the cost of tooling. Let alone a total frustration. And be prepared to spend a lot on tooling for the machines (much more than the cost of the machines).

                                Good luck and welcome to the psychiatric ward of HSM!
                                WI/IL border, USA