used mill

Hello, I'll admit I'm new to metalworking, but in looking around at all the newsgroups, forums, etc., I see a lot of people recommending buying
used American machinery as opposed to new imports. My question is- how exactly do I do that? I know its stupid but if somebody could just point me towards a source for these tools I would be very grateful. Thank you all, gcc
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Gunner's back yard!
Where are you?
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You can always check out industrial liquidations and visit auctions. Used mills regularly appear on sales of Winternitz, for example, check out winternitz.com (my area, chicagoland). I am not endorsing or recommending them as I have not always been thrilled by my results at their auctions, but they at least have a website that actually works.
You can also try your luck on ebay by patiently waiting for local ebay sales and inspecting merchandise prior to bidding.
Note that a big minus of "old iron", for those of us with limited space, is its size. For instance, this 2 HP vacuum pump weighs 500 lbs and is about 2x4 feet in footprint.
http://igor.chudov.com/tmp/Kinney-KS-47-Vacuum-Pump/
Just eb patient, open minded and inquisitive and you will find a good deal. Lose about 10 auctions for every one that you win, that helps get a good price.
i
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gcc wrote:

Where are you?
<mumble mumble> people always want help but don't want to give away their location <mumble mumble.
Some parts of the world are much easier to buy old iron in. And the consensus that old iron is better, is only true if you know what you are looking at and can judge the difference between a dirty but otherwise solid piece of old iron, and clapped out pieces of shit being foisted off on guys or gals that don't know any better.
Given the rise (somewhat, and arguable) in quality of the import machinery, and that the heyday of what is currently our target specimens of old iron was 30 to 60 years ago (maybe some wear, eh!), you really need to educate yourself, or at least hook up with someone that can give you some pointers on a firsthand basis.
That said, I'd bet that a pile of the guys here started out with clapped out or beaten to death machinery, and learned much about machine tools and dealing in same as they rebuilt themselves a working machine.
Northeast USA seems about the best place to be, with limited pockets of very good pickings on the west coast. If you are a resoursful imaginative scrounger that does not get easilly discouraged, used is going to work out fine. If you require the confidence that goes with being able to call someone and order parts, the choices in old iron are reduced rather a lot, and new starts to become a better option.
Machine tool dealers are everwhere. Start in the phone book under "Machine tool dealers".
Watch the local papers, or place a wanted ad. Craigslist, same. Is there a model engineering group or metalworking club near you? Do you know about Home Shop Machinist magazine? Many dealers of used and new equipment advertise there. Check at the local newsstand or take a chance, and subscribe.
Want more information? Put up some of your own. Where the heck are you and what are you interested in specifically, are the two biggies. No point in finding you a lathe if you want to do ornamental sheetmetal.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Trevor Jones wrote:

DoH!!!!
Mill!
Read the frikken header Jones !!
Sorry, got on a bit of a roll! :-)
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Trevor Jones wrote:

I live in South Carolina, migrating between Florence, Columbia, and Greenville, with space for a mill in either Greenville or Florence. I am primarily interested in making small pieces for home automation and robotics, especially gears, but I'm sure you can understand that I'd like to get the most machine I can on my limited budget. As for the white pages etc, I've been looking for about 4 months now and have yet to find anything at all in my area- in fact, on several occasions when I was asking around Florence I actually had to explain what a mill was! I'll be the first to admit that I'm not knowledgeable about these tools, certainly not knowledgeable enough to be able to disassemble and reassemble a knee mill or anything (although I could probably handle the first part <grin>). I hope this helps to narrow the field a little, and thank you for your prompt replies, GCC
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OK, you need to look at your needs, how much space do you have ? full size American machines need a lot of floor space. You need to look at money, you want to spend $400 on a mill, you are probably going to spend $600 on tooling. You buy a mill, you are going to want a lathe, with the size and cost requirements for that. My personal experience was to buy a HF 7X lathe and Minimill first because I was putting everything in a 10 x 10 shed and I wanted to have some room for the saw, grinder, drill press, welder, etc, Tec... After a few years I expanded the shop to 10 x 16. Then I bought a larger mill, a Nichols horz mill, still rather small, but at 1000 lbs, more than enough for what I needed. You can find machines everywhere, but you need to look hard in the Southeast. I live in Florida, a vast wasteland if you are looking for iron, but they can be found. gary
PS I know of a Baker bench mill for sale for around $400 in Sanford FL.

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gcc wrote:

You say you want a mill. What type of mill, horizontal, vertical, pug mill? To cut gears you would probably need a horizontal mill with overarm support, and a rotary indexer. The horizontal mills are a dime a dozen. I just gave one away a couple of months ago. You should be able to get one for under 500 dollars with some tooling. There was that big one that someone was offering for 500 dollars with a bridgeport vertical head on it. If you had the room that would be a steal. The facemill cutter and bp head alone were worth that. Equivilant to a bp but with a very rigid table and power feed in all three axis. It is usually to not get involved in gear cutting but buy stock gearing unless you are making repair parts that are not stock. Boston gear, Martin gear and some others have a pretty good inventory of gearing.
John
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gcc wrote:

Go over to www.practicalmachinist.com and have a look at the Machinery for sale forum there.
IIRC there is a Harbour Freight mill there, a lot nearer to you than to me, for a $1000 asking price. It is an A1-S type mill, which is a far cry above the benchtop mill-drill units. It apparently does not have many hours use and the guy speaks well of it in the ad.
Whether it suits you needs, you have to decide, but I would buy it if I were closer, even being a HF machine.
North and South Carolina are not the most industrialised areas, but there seems a steady trikle of machines advertised in that area.
Get on the mailing lists for a catalog from Enco (useenco.com, IIRC), harbour freight, KBC tools, McMaster Carr (if they will send you a catalog). Get subscribed to Home Shop Machinist, too. Lots of tool suppliers advertising there with some quite decent bargains to be had (as well as some cheap junk, but...)
Cheers Trevor Jones
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that Abene mill that just went on e-bay for $900 would have been quite the thing for you

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wrote:

Damned straight. It would have set him up for life.
Gunner

"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them; the simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences." - Proverbs 22:3
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You can generally buy a machine directly from an individual a lot cheaper than you can from a dealer. The trick is finding what you want. One of the best ways is to talk to a local machine shop owner or two. They often know when someone has a machine for sale. I got my Bridgeport from a shop that had just acquired a CNC and needed to make room. I paid a lot less than I would have to a dealer and I'm sure I have the shop owner more than a dealer would have given him. And he borrowed a fork lift from a business neighbor and set on my truck for me. And I heard about it from a friend who was, himself, a machine shop owner (and who had once been an employee of the guy who sold me the mill).
Jerry
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On Sat, 11 Nov 2006 05:31:16 GMT, "Jerry Foster"

Indeed. Networking networking networking
I got a welder or two today because I passed the word around that I wanted cast offs.
Got an Airco 250 Heliweld Squarewave with chiller, a Airco 200 Mig (3 phase damit) a Lincoln AC225 and a big old Lincoln 300 crank front. Neither the owner nor I know if any of them actually work. Cost me an hours labor ($65) knocked off the 7 hour bill. And the 500 lbs of various welding rod was free.
If even one of these works..Im way ahead on points <G>. And most are simple enough to repair.
Hell..Im already way ahead just on rod alone. A friend of a friend recommended me for machine repair to yet a third guy in mid summer. Now Im the "guy to call" when they have machine or electrical problems. He turned me on to his buddy who had the welders.
Gunner Rule #35 "That which does not kill you, has made a huge tactical error"
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THe American versus import argument is an old one that i dont want to get into
I'm an Metalworking Hobbyist int he same situation as you whose been laying low and quietly looking for the right machine and situation, I'll share some things i've learned and figured out through talking to machine tool dealers looking at auctions and listening on here and so on.
Regardless of where its made honest full industrial tools will outlast any hobbiest grade equipment. I dont think there is a single soul in this newsgroup who would argue that point
But the usual downsides to industrial tools are SIZE, and POWER. as long as you can address those two issues then you are always FAR ahead bying an industrial tool in decent shape than a shiny new hobbyist one.
Up Here in canada (Cannot speak for the US but i'm sure some oof the US business owners will be able to confirm or deny this in a second) Large expenditures that have a limited useful life (Vehicles and machine tools and so on) are considered capital expenses and are written off across a nuber of years, Sometimes decades before they are beat up and clapped out Especially if the place required the fuctionality of given tool but didnt put the stresses that a day yo day job shop would. (An engineering shop for example would have machines thay are used for making prototypes but never used in large scale production the way a job shop would. Or a place that needed to hold TIGHT tolerances whose machines have "clapped out" to their standards and are "only" accurate to some ridiculously tight precision. There are places that will discard machines better than some other can be bought new because that amount of wear is unacceptable to their application. to them its junk to you its gold
The Value to an industrial shop of a written off tool is trivial especially since writing it off has helped to get the replacement in. For example If the machine is not accurate enough to make aircraft parts in a shop making aircraft parts its Junk and is a cost for them to remove and a drain on floorspace
Machine tool dealers tend to scoop up machines from that type of situation and from liquidations or from trade ins against new tool sales.
IF you have room for a BIG tool they are usually MUCH cheaper than a Small tool Especially if you consider it pound for pound. because the space limits their resale value
Case in point is the Number 4 Cinicinnati Milling machine shown and listed for sale in this group from about two weeks ago. it looks liek a BEAUTIFUL machine but no one with a small shop can handle a machine with a TEN FOOT TABLE despite it being on sale for merely $500 if memory serves
Hobbyist sized machines command a LARGE premium for their lack of size and ease of manageability. I would LOVE an old Clausing Mill (8520 or similar) IN GOOD SHAPE and for many of the hobbyists here thats enough of a machine for them. I'm waiting till i build my Garage and get a Good concrete pad in then pick up a full sized used knee mill if i can. (Not necessarily Bridgeport since Bridgeports just like South Bend lathes command a name premium that isnt necessarily due to the quality of the machine) Its also noteworthy that Three Phase machines are MORE affordable than single phase ones and can be accomodated in home shops for VERY little extra cost via a phase converter or frequency drive. and the bigger a machine is the harder it is to move and sell so the less it costs if you have the means to deal with it.
Thats one of the best things that a home shop could wind up with. But if the size of industrial machinery it may not be an option.
Small "Old Iron" Machines like the aforementioned Clausing or a Hardinge milling machine are Rare and command a premium due to their manageable size, Some people have no choice in machines but to go with those because that is all that will fit. That small size and associated premium price can also mean that some very worn out machines can be sold when they really should have gone to the big foundry in the sky
Old worn out machines are of no use to anyone but are out there ... Buyer beware. New machines (Wherever they come from) have parts available for them. Usually Fabricating your own repair parts for old machines is a daunting task to say the least but in theory a lathe is the only tool capable of copying itself. Buying a machine tool sight unseen CAN be dangerous for getting you with a dud but can also get you a good machine. But whenever possible Inspection and local movement are advantageous
Machine tool dealers, Auctioneers Classifieds and EBAY are all legitimate sources that you can investigate locally. but usually machine tool shipping is a dodgy, difficult and expensive affair that is best avoided whenever possible.
Hope this all helps and its not long overkill.
Brent Ottawa Canada
gcc wrote:

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Man you guys really get the deals- unfortunately, there seems to be an ocean in between us. I have to ask, I'm looking at spending <$400 for this, am I just asking too much for too little? Should I wait and revise my budget upwards when possible, or should it be possible to get good/decent used equipment for that price, and I'm just not seeing it yet? Thanks again, GCC
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gcc wrote:

To score a useable machine in that price range borders on the miraculous. Worth gloating over, in any case. It's not that there are not any around, but it's along the lines of answering an ad that wants to sell "an old chevrolet" and finding a mint 'Vette on blocks in a barn . It has happened, it will happen again, it might happen to you, just don't expect it to happen to you.
Get a machine that you can actually do any work on, with tooling, for that price, and people start throwing rocks at you. :-)
If you buy a bare machine, count on spending pretty much the cost of the machine or more, on tools and tooling to make it do what you need it to.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Yeah, I was beginning to get the impression I wasn't going to grab one for that, unless I was willing to do quite a bit of repair. I am pretty mechanically inclined, and have no question that I could <b><i>eventually</i></b> fix an older machine, but I'm thinking that in the time it would take me to do so and with the cost in parts it might actually be cheaper to get a more expensive one in better shape. As far as tooling goes, yeah, I was budgeting about 600 for that- indexing rotary table, involute cutters (what's the deal with hobs? I don't mean to sound stupid but I don't really understand what I'm supposed to do with a hob if I get one), a vise, I already have a pretty nice set of endmills etc, that I picked up for a couple of bucks on ebay...<shrugs> now I just need the mill. There's one on ebay, the HF minimill, that's apparently got a "bad drive gear" and may wind up going for the ~300 range, inc shipping- worth it? I've also just got a response from my craigslist ad, says he has an import 3-in-1 in need of some repair- I'm questioning the whole 3-in-1 thing, but at $200, the price may be right. Am i being stupid? Thank you guys for all your advice, it really is amazing... GCC
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gcc wrote:

A hob will cut all tooth counts for the size it is, a set of gear tooth cutters is each good for a range of numbers. Hobs are generally used on gear cutting setups where the blank is geared to the cutting spindle, so that the spacing is proper. The individual cutters do one tooth at a time. Hobbs can be used one tooth at a time as well, but with slightly poorer results.
For $200 the 3-in-1 may be worth a look. Calculate ito the equation that parts will NOT be available. Can you make them? (they may be available, but if you work that into your calculations, you will do better for yourself).
You might consider that for $200 you buy it, clean it up, and sell it for a little more, if it is in a reasonable conition to do so with. Think "upgrade".
LittleMachineshop.com sells belt drive conversions and replacement parts for minimills.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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if you are willing and able, look for a machine with electrical problems - I don't know why this should be the case, but most folks who work with machine tools somehow shy away from any electrical problem - so a nice machine that won't run will be hugely cheaper (and cheaper to get running) that a running but less nice machine.

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