Thoughts on machine rarity...
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  1. #1
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    Default Thoughts on machine rarity...

    Had an interesting fellow in the warehouse yesterday who's business was doing well making high end rifle stands and handgun sights, who was from China originally but had been in the USA since elementary school, so spoke perfect english. The firearms parts are mostly made in China but he's wanting to gradually make all the parts in their own shop (near Atlanta, GA).

    He's particularly interested in getting a Deckel CNC mill, apparently because that was considered the ultimate toolroom setup back in China. At this time the only Deckel I have is the 1989 FP2A w/D11 control, for which I want more than can be justified if one just wants a CNC Deckel and doesn't really care which size Deckel and which control.

    So, I try and point him towards some CNC Maho's, which are very reasonable in that regard....but nope, gotta be a Deckel cuz that's the one he knows about.

    But the point of this long wind, is how frustrating it is when you have something that is just super rare, and it's what the guy needs, but the guy couldn't care less about the "rarity" aspects of it. And further, he misinterprets the "rarity" aspect to that of "collector" status...as if the premium in price is due to market value based on scarcity. When it's mostly based on desirable features in the machine that are simply difficult to come by in that particular package.

    Anyhoo, I'm going to try in the future not to use the word "rare" in my eBay ads to describe any machine, as the term is overused by enough moron sellers that even when it's true, the uninitiated simply don't believe it and/or couldn't care less... and those that know it's true don't need to be told.

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    Rare is a keyword that I've always found interesting, and as you stated, usually over-used, in eBay ads. But I digress... I am curious what added capabilities the D11 has over the D4. If it is just an updated control with the same features, quite frankly, I think I'd rather have a D4. The latter comes with schematics and can be fixed. And it isn't as though the cabinet of a D11 is any smaller than that of the earlier generation Dialog machines. Seems to me that a D11 "rarity" may well be a DISadvantage over the earlier machines. (?)

    As for size... The FP2 would probably be perfect for this guy if he is just doing rifle and handgun sights. The thing I would wonder more about, however, is volume. That industry sounds like it is probably deals with large quantities of parts running through the machine. We seem to have come to a consensus that CNC Deckels are great for prototype and R/D work, but are not as well suited for production when compared to the current technology. So it seems like a bad fit for the guy.

    What are you asking for that machine anyhow? That is the guy that came out of Riverside (or someplace in SoCal) right? Needless to say, its only worth what someone will pay for it and, sadly, that seems to be going down right now. <sigh> Someday the economy may recover. The interesting thing is that in the end, the machine may be worth more than before if more jobs are pulled back to the US. It is nice to hear that this guy is, at least, considering doing just that.

    Alan

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    From a strictly business perspective "rare" and "machine tools" is generally not a sound financial decision- rare means more expensive, more difficult to maintain, harder to find accessories, spares and support.

    The way I perceive this is that you (Milacron) personally place a lot of value on "rare", (does that imply cool, exclusive, cachet, neato? ) however the buyer in this case, does not.

    As a seller, you seem to be missing that his values are different than yours and that what he values is his perception of the Deckel brand, features, reputation, etc.

    Since he is the guy with the money and you are not meeting his needs/providing him with the values he seeks, a transaction is not likely forthcoming unless you can help him connect the Maho attributes with his perception of Deckel.

    For my money a Dialog Deckel with Universal table and NCT table IS the ultimate toolroom mill!

    He's probably feeling a bit like a middle aged guy who finally has the wherewithall to buy the muscle car he lusted after (but couldnt afford) as a teenager- even though there are modern sports cars available with better performance and lower price, he has to have a Shelby Cobra, I mean Deckel FP4NC...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milacron View Post
    Anyhoo, I'm going to try in the future not to use the word "rare" in my eBay ads to describe any machine, as the term is overused by enough moron sellers that even when it's true, the uninitiated simply don't believe it and/or couldn't care less... and those that know it's true don't need to be told.
    The above is absolutely true. Now that I'm thinking of it,
    rare is often used to compensate other kinds of shortcomings
    and rare is always synonymous for high(over)priced
    So it's indeed better not to use it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colt45 View Post
    As a seller, you seem to be missing that his values are different than yours and that what he values is his perception of the Deckel brand, features, reputation, etc.
    One of the points of my post was to illustrate that I am not missing that. I guess the main "frustration" is that the buyer does have a certain perception regarding Deckels but even though the one I have is too expensive for him to justify, staring him right in the face is a *perfect* Maho for his needs at excellent value, but since he has no preconceived perception of Maho, he passes it by.

    And unlike many "Deckel style machine" afficiandos, the greater availabity of Deckel accessories is zero factor in purchase decision in this case.
    Of some humor..he made a comment about hiring operators familar with the control and I admited right off the bat that finding someone familar with a Dialog 11 control would be as likely as a meteorite hitting us on the head in the next hour, but then pointed out the user friendliness to no avail. Which would be another reason the Maho would be better, as at least with the Phillips 432 there is a slim chance of hiring someone familar with the control... similar to lightning striking twice in the same place as opposed to the meteorite strike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrench View Post
    What are you asking for that machine anyhow? That is the guy that came out of Riverside (or someplace in SoCal) right?
    Can't remember the town now, but it came from the toolroom of Taylor Made of all crazy places. Was my understanding they were using it for make patterns for golf club molds...which makes sense considering the mahogany dust stuck on the fabric way bellows and such.

    As to price, I don't want to be responsible for causing you to go into full cardiac arrest so we'll just keep that secret for now

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    "Rare" in the auction headline is a turnoff for the reasons you mention. I do like to see a description of the item as "rare to find in this configuration/condition/size/year/etc" with an explanation of why it is desirable and why it is rare to find. Or maybe scarce is a useful word. Rare to find does not mean that it's an orphan, some things are just seldom turned out to the used market because they are so useful to the owners, hard to replace, have buyers already waiting when they are replaced, few original purchasers ordered every option, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    "Rare" in the auction headline is a turnoff for the reasons you mention. I do like to see a description of the item as "rare to find in this configuration/condition/size/year/etc" with an explanation of why it is desirable and why it is rare to find. Or maybe scarce is a useful word. Rare to find does not mean that it's an orphan, some things are just seldom turned out to the used market because they are so useful to the owners, hard to replace, have buyers already waiting when they are replaced, few original purchasers ordered every option, etc.
    OK, here's an example

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=200333247022

    What should I have left off in that copy ? I'm thinking what I wrote about the "scarcity" aspects probably didn't hurt, but probably didn't help either...so might as well not waste my time on that sort of copy in the future and just lay out the machine specs and be done with it.

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    Related note I have had several barefoot morons call about a mill or some such. Last one "I want a bridgeport, wouldnt have nuthin else" Well I have a Wells index in excellent shape, DRO, R8, heavier and higher HP. "No, gota be a bridgeport, nuthin else is any good"

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    I'd say your listing is perfect, as yours usually are. If anything it's conservative by Ebay standards, I see no hyperbole, a just the facts ma'am description.

    How many watchers and views did you get?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mebfab View Post
    Related note I have had several barefoot morons call about a mill or some such. Last one "I want a bridgeport, wouldnt have nuthin else" Well I have a Wells index in excellent shape, DRO, R8, heavier and higher HP. "No, gota be a bridgeport, nuthin else is any good"
    LOL...that drives me crazy too... local guy that came in shop this week looking for mill is the same way...I've got a DoAll mill that is Bridgeport style but actually way nicer than a Bridgeport (no. 40 taper spinde among other things), quick change spindle, all scrapings still on ways, dirt cheap...but nope, gotta be a Bridgeport. And zero interest in the mills that have way more capabilities, like a small Fexac (Spanish) with integral power feeds all 3 axis, horizontal and vertical, etc.. all for less $ than a Bridgeport of similar age and condition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mud View Post
    I'd say your listing is perfect, as yours usually are. If anything it's conservative by Ebay standards, I see no hyperbole, a just the facts ma'am description.

    How many watchers and views did you get?
    Well now I did put "VERY rare machine" in the subheading..... which I presume elicited the response in the eBay webosphere..."yeah, yeah...rare, smare...who cares ? "

    Views, 233. Watch list... I think 26.

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    So, here is one cheapskate's perspective on the auction... First, anytime I see machinery with a high starting price my initial thought is "huh! I hate eBay now... Where are the real auctions versus just another advertisement... The seller really doesn't want to sell his machine." Second, I think that most of the copy is fine except that it lacks a lot of information about the machine. For instance, there isn't anything there with pertains to the size of the table, footprint of the machine, tool type (my bad... that is there), etc. Sure, I know some of that stuff but my guess is that many who may even be interested in the machine do not. But for something in that price range I would expect more photos, etc. Finally, I think I would have left the dollar amount of the transformer off. Maybe just "transformer available, if needed." That is ambiguous as to whether or not it is extra money. I just don't like seeing $200 on a high dollar machine. Whether fair or not, it leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth if I'm in the market for the thing.

    Alan

    P.S. Nice digs, Don... I was checking out your car (other auction). Do you live next to a lake? Cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wrench View Post
    Second, I think that most of the copy is fine except that it lacks a lot of information about the machine. For instance, there isn't anything there with pertains to the size of the table, footprint of the machine, tool type, etc.
    Re size of table and footprint...that falls into the "it's enough" and "who cares" department to me....both dimensions are roughly obvious just from the photos. Tool type is mentioned in detail so dunno what you mean there. True about needing more photos but I figured most likely there would be no interest at that price, just testing the waters on that one really. But the price is not high for what it is. Way more machine, and way newer machine than 1988 Deckel FP1's that sell for $20,000 for example. And I know you think no way, no how should any Deckel FP1 sell for $20,000 but that is reality...although a 3 axis power feed FP1 hasn't come along lately, so we haven't tested the "new reality" of late I'll admit.

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    Yeah, I corrected the tool type thing. I realized after posting that you do, in fact, have that in there. I disagree on the size thing though. I think that is important. That said, I am not your target audience. I cannot pay that much for a machine even if it is nice (and it is). A true industrial place may well not care about the footprint. I still think they would are about the size of the table and axis throws though.

    As for the Deckel FP1 price. You deal in those and are closer to their value than I. But you are right; I do find it amazing that a later model FP1 would bring 20,000 in today's economic environment (I mean actually sell not be listed for that...). But if you have seen consistent sales at that price then that is, indeed, the true value.

    Alan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Milacron View Post
    Can't remember the town now, but it came from the toolroom of Taylor Made of all crazy places.
    Escondido, CA.... which is not necessarily where Taylormade is, but that's where the Taylormade employee who owned it lived. I'll always wonder if the only reason he owned it was the Fixgra Checksum problem or if that happened later in storage.

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    Don,

    When I check that ebay posting there are three pics, two the same. Why not have one with the vertical head rotated away to show the horizontal spindle? You'll accuse me of nitpicking, but if the light was shining towards the table rather than the column.....

    - Mike -

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    Quote Originally Posted by HelEx View Post

    When I check that ebay posting there are three pics, two the same. Why not have one with the vertical head rotated away to show the horizontal spindle?
    1. That's just the way it is on eBay when you install your copy via HTML and host your own pictures...they always show the "gallery" picture again at the bottom for some reason.

    2. Note this thread is not about critiqing all aspects of a particular Maho ad but rather any comments that relate to "rarity" . I'm well aware of the need for more pictures but in this case I suspect if I had 20 pictures it wouldn't make a whit of difference in the outcome, as the price is the overwhelming factor. If you want to see lots of pretty pictures click on my Corvette ad

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    The price doesn't look too unreasonable to me for a machine of relatively recent vintage, but that would have to be AU$ and in Australia. Rarity is certainly a problem if spares are unobtainable, and we aren't usually in the business of buying antiques in this particular part of the Practical Machinist forum, so rarity has no value on that score - and it's no antique. I wouldn't dispute with you, a renowned salesman, and it would be perilous to divert this thread in the face of the moderator. Nevertheless, you exampled an automobile advert with plenty of photos, where a potential buyer would know what it was and would mostly be interested in the condition. The Maho on the the hand is just as liable to damage (dings on the table etc.) and you give only a couple of general views. Looks to me that you need to work harder to sell the Maho than the auto, and yet with the photos you made what looks like a half-hearted, almost amateurish effort. Another interesting difference is that the auto is likely to increase in value because of rarity, but the Maho may look less attractive as time goes by because of the very thing that you have illustrated over several years - the difficulty of maintaining the electronics. Most amateur machinists, who might be willing to accept a machine that "needs work" to get it working or keeping it that way, and might be attracted to rarity in a similar way they like old steam engines etc. would find the Maho too big for them, and too expensive.

    - Mike -

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    Here's a kind of double edged statement that was in the ebay listing:

    "Unusual offering...you can count the number of 1990's vintage manual Maho mills in this country on one hand."

    For utility buyers (non collectors non hobbyists) the most common thought might well be "They only sold 5 in the US, eh? It was probably rare for some reason, like being unreliable, horribly costly, or something like that."

    In other words, sometimes "rare" means "nobody wanted it" and is a sign of being less rather than more desireable.

    What you probably want to convey is more like "Unusally high capability machine in great shape for a good value price" or something like that.


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