Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Large Tools


Turning threads, reducing diameters, squaring stock (yes you can), the queen of the shop is the lathe.  The one tool that can reproduce itself.  It is the workhorse of machines.

Assuming you have a place for your tools, where will you find them?

I have been fortunate to find some good used equipment on Craigslist.org here in the US.  My first lathe was a Logan model 200.  Judging by the serial number, it was produced sometime in 1945.  The old owner used it to build a manufacturing line for some really neat live bait fish hooks.  He passed away over 12 years ago at the age of 92.

I was cruising through CL on my lunch hour, and found this listing.  By the time I got there, 4 other people had contacted them and were prepared to buy the lathe.  These things do go fast.  It was under power and was in really nice shape.  I managed to buy a small 4x6 horizontal bandsaw, Sears 1950's vintage drill press and some other parts and pieces with it.


Logan still makes parts or has parts.  You can find them here:  http://www.loganact.com/

When you find something on CL, be prepared to jump on it quickly.  But make sure you can test or look at it before paying.  I learned a hard lesson on my next lathe.  1943 LeBlond 13 inch Round head.  It was clapped out, and it wasn't under power.  It has seen a hard life.  It still turns well, and makes decent parts, but the bed is worn with a pronounced dip that results in tapered parts.  Especially up near the head.

It's still a decent lathe, but you have to know it's limitations, and work around them.  This lathe was worth maybe half what I paid for it.  I got some original tooling with it, and have found the rest of the parts I wanted for it on Ebay.   Since I haven't been a machinist for my whole life, I'm bound to make mistakes.  But I think of it as tuition.  I'm learning a new skill set, and it's gonna cost something.  If I take a college course, it'll be about the same as what I'm spending for these tools, and I get to keep them!

It's important to think about what size parts you will be making or working on.  There isn't any use buying a massive lathe if you plan on marking tiny parts.

My third lathe was another one I didn't get to test.  HGR (https://hgrinc.com/) Hurry, Grab, Run!!  is a company that buys all kinds of equipment and sells to anyone.  It is a Clausing 13 inch lathe.  It had a lot of issues.  I got a decent price on it, but it still is in pieces as I work on it.  It'll be nice once it's running, but that is still a ways off.  If you want to just get a new lathe and go for it, those are available.  For me, I need to watch the outlay on equipment (budget!!)  And I'm willing to work on my tools to make them function correctly.  I learn how they work and how they've been used.

Another location I can recommend is Small Tools (https://www.smalltools.com/) This man is a class act.  They know their business well.

Craigslist is a good place to find used equipment.  Have the money in hand, and beware.

HGR sells used equipment that has not been inspected or cleaned. It is WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).

Small Tools Inc. is an equipment reseller that services their equipment before you buy.  Good folks to trade with.

This is pretty much an overview of what I've done.  As time progresses, we'll dig in a lot deeper.

Next up will be milling machines and then, the rest of the tooling needed to make up the shop.

Thanks for stopping by.

AR in South Texas

The LeBlond uses 4 C collets, so why not make a 4C collet block?  I don't think they sell these anywhere.

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