Need opinion on Shizuoka VHR-A vertical manual turret milling machine
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  1. #1
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    Default Need opinion on Shizuoka VHR-A vertical manual turret milling machine

    Hello All,

    I'm looking to buy a 1972 Shizuoka VHR-A vertical manual mill NST #40 spindle, 4hp. It will be for my own personal hobby shop. It's completely manual, has powerfeeds, but no CNC capabilities. (I'm not looking for CNC)

    I've seen the mill in person, and it is in good shape, ways are smooth and tight, etc.

    It will come with tool holders, a box of end-mills (used), Cincinnati indexing head, Brown and Sharpe rotary table, and Swiss Precision Instruments vise. No DRO. Price is $6K.

    1. What are your opinions of Shizuoka mills? Are they good quality?

    2. Is the price fair? IE, would you pay that much if in the market?

    3. I've done some searching around and they seem to be a rare machine. is it easy and affordable to get parts for it when needed?

    Your opinions are appreciated, I've never used a Shizuoka before.

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    Shizuoka have a very good reputation for making quality machines. I'd think $3k at most would be a reasonable price. I would check parts availibility before I bought an uncommon machine. That's the advantage of having BP's there'll always be a source of parts availible.

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    I have a shizouka. Great mills but 6 grand is nuts

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    if it is in great condition , i would buy it . 6k would be way on the high side for a series 1 bpt.
    but that's more of a series #2 machine. unless it is damaged , i'd say get it.

    the tooling accompaniment alone would be worth an easy thousand.

    if you buy it and hate it, i'll trade you for my 1-D Toolmaster (you pay shipping of course)

    that's a sweet machine..... they really don't make 'em like that anymore.

    if that were in Atlanta , i'd be figuring how i was to get it home.

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    You think the price is fair?

    Quote Originally Posted by tnmgcarbide View Post
    if it is in great condition , i would buy it . 6k would be way on the high side for a series 1 bpt.
    but that's more of a series #2 machine. unless it is damaged , i'd say get it.

    the tooling accompaniment alone would be worth an easy thousand.

    if you buy it and hate it, i'll trade you for my 1-D Toolmaster (you pay shipping of course)

    that's a sweet machine..... they really don't make 'em like that anymore.

    if that were in Atlanta , i'd be figuring how i was to get it home.

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    no.

    $4k and negotiate on the tools . inspect it first . if it's beat to shit , it ain't worth $2.

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    Does it have ball screws? I have an old Bandit controlled Shizouka mill, an amazingly well built machine.
    The last few years though I've found the shifter from high to low speeds (Back gear) takes more effort than can be input using the shifter knob. I have to take the cover off and shift with a lever as I turn the spindle for meshing the gears, something is hanging the shifter up and I can't see anything that would do that. So be aware of that and have them demonstrate shifting. Mine had a veri-drive system, which was old and tired, and I changed it over to a corrugated belt and VFD, another thing to look at. If the vari-drive is good it will run relatively quietly, if it's worn out there will be all kind of little "Background" noises as it runs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by partsproduction View Post
    Does it have ball screws? I have an old Bandit controlled Shizouka mill, an amazingly well built machine.
    The last few years though I've found the shifter from high to low speeds (Back gear) takes more effort than can be input using the shifter knob. I have to take the cover off and shift with a lever as I turn the spindle for meshing the gears, something is hanging the shifter up and I can't see anything that would do that. So be aware of that and have them demonstrate shifting. Mine had a veri-drive system, which was old and tired, and I changed it over to a corrugated belt and VFD, another thing to look at. If the vari-drive is good it will run relatively quietly, if it's worn out there will be all kind of little "Background" noises as it runs.
    It does have ball screws. This has a vari-drive system as well. The shop is shutting down so the machines are not under power. I have to just take their word on it running and running well. But I have bought machines from them previously and was happy with the machine condition matching how the seller described it. Still, it is a risk until I get it home and under power to test it.

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    You should be able to shift the back gears from hi to low while turning (Or putting torque by hand) the spindle as you turn the knob. I'm not sure yours has this BG shifter.

    Once one has a machine like this in place the decision to change from Vari-drive to cog belt/VFD is easier, because taking the machine back out is a daunting challenge, more anyway than driving to the store for chewing gum. Replacing the Vari-Drive is also daunting. I was able to find the cog wheels and belt that fit the center distances, which have some variability as the motor can shift forward and back. The cog belt drive is noisy, but lasts seemingly forever.

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    The Shizuoka machines I have owned and inspected look like lower end Japanese to me. Not in the same league as Mori/Okuma/Kuraki/Kitamura, etc.

    I think $6k will buy you a hell of a lot more manual machine than that. Atleast get a mill with a quality DRO on it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    The Shizuoka machines I have owned and inspected look like lower end Japanese to me. Not in the same league as Mori/Okuma/Kuraki/Kitamura, etc.

    I think $6k will buy you a hell of a lot more manual machine than that. Atleast get a mill with a quality DRO on it.
    All the examples of higher end mills that you gave seem to be CNCs?

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    Well, yes. How many manual machines do you think were made after the 1960's? CNC's are generally built better than manual machines.

    I don't think it's a POS, it's for sure better quality than a Bridgeport, but the thing is it is too big to fit into the garage/hobby class of machines so it doesn't carry that higher value with it. If it had a good quality DRO on it it would be a magnitudes more useful machine. Without a digital it's not worth buying IMO.

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    With ball screws a rotary encoder would work well.

    Garwood, you made a good point. A 12' planer is considered a waste of floor space in many shops today, as if some CNC could do what any good planer can for under half a million $. I was going to mention radial drills, but they are peculiar in that their movements are not linear, so a DRO can't be used. But big heavy machines aren't as desirable as they used to be in part because America is devolving away from manufacturing and the market is glutted. Such machines don't fit in garage shops, nor are their capabilities needed for hobby work.

    But a Shizouka like mine is not nearly a convenient as a BP type mill for a hobby shop, the head doesn't swivel, the footprint is larger and the concrete should be thicker under it. A good BP clone is more than adequate for the discerning inventor/tinkerer or hobbyist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by partsproduction View Post
    But a Shizouka like mine is not nearly a convenient as a BP type mill for a hobby shop, the head doesn't swivel, the footprint is larger and the concrete should be thicker under it. A good BP clone is more than adequate for the discerning inventor/tinkerer or hobbyist.
    This Shizuoka head does swivel, the footprint is larger, but then the spindle is also a #40, much more rigid than the BP R8 spindle. I do agree that they are significantly heavier than a series 1 BP, but in my eyes that's a good thing, just means less vibration, more rigidity.

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    I guess I'd have to say that if only one could be purchased I'd prefer a heavy BP clone, they are just more convenient to use. But if two are needed then yes, and the 40 taper is far more rigid, but tooling costs more. I love my Shiouka with Bandit, a real dinosaur but it pays for it's foot print.

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    this is practical machinist, not hobby shop .

    the shizouka i've seen were more akin to a rambaudi or toolmaster . an r8 bpt is more agile,
    faster to setup, and just quicker to use overall than a 40 taper .
    a bridgeport won't swing a 1" endmill though.

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    this is practical machinist, not hobby shop .
    You must have missed the point, I was talking about prices of very capable but large heavy machine tools. Why is it that a small lathe will sell for more than it cost originally when a larger and far more capable lathe will go to scrap? That's why. The hobby market drives some of the pricing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by partsproduction View Post

    Garwood, you made a good point. A 12' planer is considered a waste of floor space in many shops today, as if some CNC could do what any good planer can for under half a million $. I was going to mention radial drills, but they are peculiar in that their movements are not linear, so a DRO can't be used. But big heavy machines aren't as desirable as they used to be in part because America is devolving away from manufacturing and the market is glutted. Such machines don't fit in garage shops, nor are their capabilities needed for hobby work.
    I manufacture products primarily on CNC mills and lathes, but I relocated away from the city to a rural farming and producing area 2 years ago. Since then I have added manual machines for heavy repair work. There isn't a ton, but enough to justify a low investment into some choice machinery. From the prices I have paid for top choice larger than hobby sized machines over the past year I would say there is very little market for larger than hobby sized manual machines these days. I'm not talking about planers. I paid $1300 for a kuraki KBT1003W HBM with a new Newall DRO (this is a tenths resolution 6' travels 42K lb HBM) and $3000 for a 1967 14x102 Pacemaker with a new Newall DRO, nice chucks and steadies.

    I know that the Pacemaker was a trade in on an entry level Prototrak lathe.

    My thought is that Shizuoka can probably be had for a small fraction of $6K if you really want it. Myself, I would not buy it. It is not a very useful machine 40 taper or otherwise. Spend $6k on a Taiwan BP clone with a DRO. I have a nice one with ballscrews and a Fagor DRO I would sell delivered to your door for that. I hardly ever use it and when I do it's as a fancy drill press.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    My thought is that Shizuoka can probably be had for a small fraction of $6K if you really want it. Myself, I would not buy it. It is not a very useful machine 40 taper or otherwise. Spend $6k on a Taiwan BP clone with a DRO. I have a nice one with ballscrews and a Fagor DRO I would sell delivered to your door for that. I hardly ever use it and when I do it's as a fancy drill press.
    I guess I don't understand why a larger #40 taper Shizuoka would be any less useful than a R8 BP clone? The Shizuoka is essentially a BP series 2 clone, from what I can tell. Wouldn't a Shizuoka of this size be just as useful and capable as a series 1 BP clone or otherwise?

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    I think the only real difference is the bridgeport can knod the head where the shizuouka can't. I would prefer a 40 taper knee mill over a bridgeport anyday. longer travels, powerfeeds on more axis(usually) and a lot stiffer. Also last time I checked 40 taper tooling was plentiful and cheap


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