Out of Order!
This is a bit out of order, but it needs to be said: Be Patient. Take it easy!
When I look for tools, I save my searches in EBAY. I look for sales in Amazon or MSC. My rule of thumb is to know what a new tool costs and never pay over 20% of that new price. Less is better. If I find a suspect "good deal", and I don't know what it would cost new, I dig out the phone and look it up.
Some things need to be purchased new, but I can't justify paying the retail price. I have to buy it cheaper. It's a quest, or a quirk, not sure which.
The Getting Place:
Whenever someone asks, "Where did you get that?", the answer is always, "At the gittin' place!". And that can be anywhere. The best place I ever found for deals was the Knippa Tool Trader. Sadly, it's gone. And I missed the auction, too. Dang it!
I have several pawn shops I paw through. I've gotten to know a few workers and they know what I'm looking for. They are used to, "what's your bottom dollar?" "Can you go any lower?" I've also just waited them out, if they can't move on the price. The longest I've waited was 8 months for a set of Starrett precision levels. 6 months for a brand new metric Mitituyo micrometer (9.99!!!!!!) Not all pawn shops will have what you are looking for. As you frequent them, you'll learn what they get in. (And messy, dark pawn shops seem to have more stuff at better prices) You may need to have hand cleaner and paper towels in the vehicle! That's a win!
Ebay's buy it now/make an offer is a beauty. I'm not shy in asking for a deal, and the number of them I've gotten surprises me. I got the itch for some antique center finders, and waited 18 months to find them in a lot. A Brown and Sharpe and a Starrett. Patience is required.
|2 Starretts and NO Brown and Sharpe!
I need that tool to finish this job:
This is where your research comes in handy. I have several sellers spotted that sell inexpensive tools. Carbidenow, colletking, Discountmachine to name a few. As you look around, you'll develop your own list.
CAUTION: There are sellers on EBAY that will order their part from AMAZON and charge you a couple bucks more than AMAZON would. I didn't know that, but I've gotten hit with that a couple times. So, check both sites when you need the tool. Saving money allows me to buy MOAR!!
There are lots of forums for machinists. Some are better than others, and some are downright rough rides. There are guys that will bust you for not knowing the difference between Whitworth and SAE. Or mistyping a known spec. 1/4 x 21.... If I need to ask someone a question, I'll usually ask it in the vintage/old machinery part of the forum. Those guys are a bit more patient with me than the younger guys. Lots to learn and then to practice. (search: home shop machinist, practical machinist, hobby machinist, etc.)
Youtube has been my goto for learning. Left side of this blog is my study hall. I use older machines, so the NYC CNC channel is for entertainment and education on running a shop, not instruction in running a 75 year old tool. Man they do some cool stuff!
I finished up the rough machining of the hex block for the 4 C collets this week. As I neared the finished bore size, I took it really slow: .005 passes till the collet was a good fit. It's easy to go too fast and ruin a part, so take it slowly. Moving slowly and accurately is the key. I think that's what makes a craftsman. You only move as fast as you accurately can. As you become more familiar with your tools, material, and as skill increases, you can move quicker. Mr. Pete will say it's a 30 minute job, and it'll take me 4 hours. But that's okay. Slow and steady will build the skill.
I can see the reason insert tooling has taken over HSS tool bits. HSS is good, but you can move more material in the same time with inserts. Speeds are faster, feeds as well. But if you haven't built the eye-hand coordination to stop or start where you need to, better to study and learn on HSS than crash with insert tooling.
|Front of tool, cutting edge on the right.
Hopefully, this is a bit of info to make you think. Give you some ideas on sourcing and the time it takes to make good decisions. I really want to help out, so let me know if it's of any benefit to you. Thanks in advance....