For years I have wanted to go to a school auction - kept hearing about the deals on gently used equipment. Saturday a week ago my local school district was having an auction to liquidate the machining lab to be replaced by a computer lab - I decided to go. Ten years ago I would thought that getting rid of manufacturing skills was poor policy
- but after watching so many tool & die shops go under a few years ago, I understand why the school district is doing as they are.
Even though we are nearly in Depression level of economy here in Metro Detroit, machine tools were still reasonably priced (a couple hundred less and I would have been upgrading from my Clausing 5914 w/o DRO to a 13x40 Sharp w/ DRO). Manual lathes and mills were Sharp brand, w/ DROs, several of each, selling for $600 to $900.
Having attended about 40+ machinery auctions in the past 8 yrs, this was the first time that I attended an auction on a Saturday. What I found most interesting was the age of the participants. WHile there were a few dealers and a few (younger) shop owners / managers there buying equipment, the majority of attendees appeared to be retirement age and up. As a fifty year old, I felt like I was a youngster.