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Thread: What do you do with a lathe now

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    gunsmithing1's Avatar
    gunsmithing1 is offline Aluminum
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    Wink What do you do with a lathe now

    What do you do with a lathe. I have had a lot of folks ask me what do you do
    with a lathe and how do you make money with a lathe in the last few years. I
    think most do not know what this does and how must a lathe is use for ever thing
    that ever one uses ever day life.

    My back ground started with RC back in the late 60's. Turn the hobby in to
    manufacturing hangar doors for over 30 years. I sold the MFG in late 2003 now I
    am a gunsmith

    Please share your story and a Marry Christmas

  2. #2
    Blob is offline Hot Rolled
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    I use my lathe as a hobby, and as such I don't make any money with it, at least not from stuff I might sell. On the other hand, I've made hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of parts for my various vehicles, including many hard if not impossible to find Weber and Dellorto carburetor parts. Even when these parts are available, they cost too much. I've also made gifts for friends over the years - last Christmas I made a twin cylinder steam engine model for one guy, and a small Stirling engine for another. Probably the best thing my machine tools do is keep me out of the house and out of my wife's hair. They're a great marriage saver! :-)

    Merry Christmas to all, and a happy New Year also.

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    paulsomlo's Avatar
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    People ask me that all the time. Thruth is, many of the things I make are for the lathe itself, which of course baffles people.

    But if somebody spends 50 million dollars on a Renoir, nobody says "what are you gonna do with it?". In fact, it just sits on the wall and does nothing; you look at it. Art is a very subjective thing. And even if I don't make anything, I can just go in the shop and look at my lathe, which always gives me great pleasure, as I'm sure it does many of you.

    Paul
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    Greg White is offline Titanium
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    I consider my 1943 16X8 S.bend lathe to be art,the body lines are beautiful,I find my self stareing at it with a smile,wonder how many hands help keep the handles smooth.
    over 40 years ago in high school shop,i ran lathes newer than this beauty.
    I am lucky,hope you all have a Merry Christmas and get to enjoy your family.
    Gw

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    R1200 is offline Aluminum
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    I doubt that a 1940s lathe can be used to make money however it has saved me money and it provides me with a creative outlet. It's an old tool that still has value. Money making is not the reason that I keep it.

    I can create things in metal which gives me self sufficiency in my shop for whatever project that I take on.

    Why would you want to put a monetary value on that?

    Take care.

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    mcruff is offline Stainless
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    Quote Originally Posted by R1200 View Post
    I doubt that a 1940s lathe can be used to make money however it has saved me money and it provides me with a creative outlet. It's an old tool that still has value. Money making is not the reason that I keep it.

    I can create things in metal which gives me self sufficiency in my shop for whatever project that I take on.

    Why would you want to put a monetary value on that?

    Take care.
    My 1943 9" machine has made me a small fortune over the last 5 years. Mainly in old Jeep parts both making and repairing. I have made lawn mower parts, bushings and all kinds of other things, gun parts among them. If I can make it on my machine and make money its fair game. I also have a full size mill and a homebuilt press braketo help make brackets so that helps also. My machines serve both purposes, hobby fun and money to help with my expensive hobby.
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  7. #7
    iwananew10K is offline Titanium
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    i use mine for mainly fixing stuff or making hard to find parts. kind of like Blob it started because NOS parts for the bikes i rebuild were waaayyy too much. stupid simple parts like a 16MM clevis pin(basically) was over 75 bucks IF you could find one.and that was for a crappy zinc plated piece. so i got a lathe and started making them out of stainless and 7075 alum. until the market dried up(very small niche) i sold enough to buy a used mill and a better lathe. so there`s really no profit in it, just a self supporting tool addiction.
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    bradjacob's Avatar
    bradjacob is online now Stainless
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    For me, alot of the purpose is the resurrection of the machine itself. I truly enjoy restoring them. But also, it's the hobby factor, its very thereputic, and hopefully to make some cash to help fund the hobby itself.

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    Rod Williams is offline Hot Rolled
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    For me it has been just for hobby and tool stuff. I got my first SB9A so i could do some barrel work for benchrest guns. Now i have my SB13 and an excello mill and still just for small projects and stuff. I will be out in California in march to pick up an old lotus and i'm sure there will be some things i have to create to restore the old girl.

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    upsrogue is offline Plastic
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    I make a little money fitting and chambering rifle barrels, installing muzzle brakes and turned a driveshaft yoke and so on.

    But the real pleasure I have ever received from my heavy 10 is when I bought it, it was filthy dirty and so it needed to be taken apart and cleaned and painted. So I went to my tool box that has the old tools that were handed down to me when my dad passed away and I used only those tools. Things went slow because this watery stuff kept getting into my eyes, but I had the time and it felt real good.

    My dad always wanted a South Bend lathe but could never get the money together to buy one, so this is my way of kinda making his dream come true and mine too. So I am making memories but just donít see money for the effort.

    About 2 months ago I was able to buy a Millrite milling machine and thank God it was filthy dirty too, or I might not have even bought it.

    Merry Christmas and a happy watery stuff in your eyes (old memories) New Year. To all.

  11. #11
    gunsmithing1's Avatar
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    Talking

    I have made money with lathes dating back to 1917.
    A year ago would have said all most the some thing but today I am seeing how just a 7x12 can make live from. The good news for all is the China prices are going up. The big manufacturers and retailers can not compete with small manufacturers and retailers (mom and pop's). The INTERNET is one the best thing for mom and pop's business. Low cost ads this will take time to develop. I will post more how to later.

    Quote Originally Posted by R1200 View Post
    I doubt that a 1940s lathe can be used to make money however it has saved me money and it provides me with a creative outlet. It's an old tool that still has value. Money making is not the reason that I keep it.

    I can create things in metal which gives me self sufficiency in my shop for whatever project that I take on.

    Why would you want to put a monetary value on that?

    Take care.

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    OldMachinist's Avatar
    OldMachinist is online now Cast Iron
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    I use my lathe and other machine tools nearly everyday to make or repair parts for myself or others. I rarely charge anyone for the work I do but do exchange work for whatever they have to barter with(food, tools, equipment and auto body work).

    Hope your stockings are filled with HSS bits and have a safe/happy holiday.
    Don
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    johara1 is offline Aluminum
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    I have an old Logan to make parts for my hobby, shooting one thousand yds. building what i can;t get or nobody makes. Now it's making parts for my new old South Bend 10 K Plus my other stuff. If i wanted to make money i would have kept working, i guess you could say it's therapy......jim

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    phantom71's Avatar
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    I got into it as a hobby, mainly to make parts for myself but it has payed for itself many times mostly in the form of bartering. I resurfaced the seal rings for a mud pump on a friends drill rig last year and he gave me a large pair of oxygen and acetylene bottles, now I no longer have to pay $125 a year to airgas for bottle rental .
    Cheers,
    Mitch

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    shaggy is offline Cast Iron
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    Mostly I seem to use my 1935 South Bend (9" Workshop) to make bits and pieces for my 1951 mill and 1942 drill press. Then I use the mill and the drill press to make parts for the lathe... and so on.

    Apparently I don't have much interest in making money, so it's lucky we all (i.e. me and my machines) get along so well. 8>)

    Shaggy
    Last edited by shaggy; 12-18-2011 at 02:09 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by paulsomlo View Post
    People ask me that all the time. Thruth is, many of the things I make are for the lathe itself, which of course baffles people.

    But if somebody spends 50 million dollars on a Renoir, nobody says "what are you gonna do with it?". In fact, it just sits on the wall and does nothing; you look at it. Art is a very subjective thing. And even if I don't make anything, I can just go in the shop and look at my lathe, which always gives me great pleasure, as I'm sure it does many of you.

    Paul

    I really appreciate this statement. Wow.
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  17. #17
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    Since the collapse of the housing industry my lowly obsolete 1953 9a has kept me from being homeless.
    Tools don't make money by themselves, it's the inspiration and skill of the craftsman using that tool to make something that other people desire.
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  18. #18
    shaggy is offline Cast Iron
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    Quote Originally Posted by cooncatbob View Post
    Since the collapse of the housing industry my lowly obsolete 1953 9a has kept me from being homeless.
    Tools don't make money by themselves, it's the inspiration and skill of the craftsman using that tool to make something that other people desire.
    Agreed. But I'm still trying to figure out 'what other people desire' (besides me working for too cheap!)

    Shag

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    autofrite is offline Hot Rolled
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    i uswe my lathe 9A for repairs on odds and ends for friends,to build pieces for my english wheel and bead roller,both i have never used,but wanted them for up and coming projects.
    also for making tools for my press and to make and or modify mechanics tools.i turned down a punch for my air hammer to punch out rivets that hold ball joints in.worked quite well when i was done.i would have thought the punch would have been harder.....

    season's greetings to all,and thanks for all the wonderful reading ....

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    Dave emailed me that he was going to post this question and I must say I enjoy reading the responses. Just currious... How many of the responders that have no desire to yuck up their hobby, by trying to make a buck on it, are retired? The replies that Dave received, both here and on SB9, have a common theme and it's totally making me rethink my recent retirement and side income plans, to having no plans at all. Just enjoy the machines and the good years I have left.

    Chris

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