Recommendations for Decent Hobby Shop Manual Mill and Lathe
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  1. #1
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    Default Recommendations for Decent Hobby Shop Manual Mill and Lathe

    Hi all! This is my first post here. for years (actually decades now) I've wanted a nice shop setup. Between saving and a little luck, I now have the means to get some decent equipment. I have been working with a Grizzly mill for about 10years. Its ok but I'd love something nicer. I'd also like to get a decent lathe.
    I would love to get a nice used Bridgeport. Can you get one for say, $5k-$7k? If so, any recommendations of where to get one? I live in lower Michigan. I see a lot of people with older machines on Facebook Marketplace but would like to know know that where I'm getting it is reputable. Any suggestions?!
    I have also been looking at lathes. Say for the same price range. Something like a 12" x 36" lathe. I know South Bends are the cat's meow of them. I see Grizzly does sell them. Is that a good place to get one? Also, with that thought in mind, would anyone consider the larger Grizzly machines any good?

    I appreciate any feedback.

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    In lower Michigan you should be able to find good condition Bridgeports well under 5k, probably under 3k.

    For a lathe, good middle-aged American iron or some not so old Japanese iron. Cinci, Monarch, LeBlond, L&S, American for the former and Mori Seiki and the like for the latter. A good lathe, IME, is harder to come by than a good mill and prices reflect that.

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    Pm me and I'll give you a name and phone of a source locally. You will have a choice of as is or rebuilt.

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    I'm gathering that since you've been dreaming for decades you might be getting on the older side like me, but it's never to late to learn. By that I mean CNC machining. Once you've tried it you'll never go back.

    I'm saying this because machines seem to be selling for dirt lately. Just this week in my area, three Matsuuras sold at auction. One for 2k. Two red Mats for under 1.6k with one even included a Tsudakoma rotary table all wired in. That was 1.1k. Even a 90's palletized YCM Supermax went for just over 4k. And a Super Precision Hardinge CHNC1 Lathe for 1.3k. My point being, why buy manual for as much or more? They are more complicated and you could run into problems now and then, but learning how to fix them is half the fun, especially if you're hobby shopping and have no deadlines or customers to worry about. They're interesting machines, and I find it a joy (mixed with occasional frustrations) trying to figure them out both mechanically and electrically.

    Take it from another old guy who started learning in his 40's. CNC is fun and amazing. Even after almost 20 years of it, it still amazes me at nearly every turn. I love my 60's vintage NMTB 40 manual German (Hurth) mill I still keep around, but these days it's more of a show piece then anything.

    Think about it. That's all. Manual machining is nice, and handier in many small instances, but CNC is the sh*t.

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    I'd take a look at HGR Surplus. Nothing is under power but you have the 30 day no-questions-asked return policy, just have to truck it back in same condition.

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    About 16 years ago, I bought several used machines from Vander Ziel Machinery, just east of Grand Rapids, MI. They were great to deal with, nothing like some of the Detroit area dealers I used to visit. Looking at their current website, I see that they have expanded and are in a new and much larger building, another indication that they are good people to deal with and are prospering. They have both new and used machines.

    Home - Vander Ziel Machinery Sales

    Lots of used Bridgeport style mills Mills-Vertical-Bridgeport Type - Vander Ziel Machinery Sales

    Grizzly bought the South Bend name some years ago and has it put on Asian-built machines, so maybe that is not what you really meant by the "cat's meow."

    Larry

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    Took a look at a few of the horizontal mills on VanderZiel’s website. No prices listed. Why don’t businesses post prices? If they don’t I won’t waste my time.

    L7

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    +1 The Hobby-Machinist

    Practical Machinist is geared to professionals in the trade. You have, so far, been treated gently and respectfully. It won't last.

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    How about craigslist
    screenshot_20200312-050847_chrome.jpg
    If the lathe was a bit bigger I'd be interested

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    I would look at Lost Creek Machine in Illinois.
    Lost Creek Machine New and Used Machine Tools

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    Quote Originally Posted by lucky7 View Post
    Took a look at a few of the horizontal mills on VanderZielís website. No prices listed. Why donít businesses post prices? If they donít I wonít waste my time.

    L7
    Vander Ziel does list the prices of their new machinery online. It is common practice for dealers to make you ask for a price on their used stuff. Someone started a thread here on that very question recently, so you can read it and see what others have to say.

    Horizontal mills are not very popular, so they are probably cheap in comparison to Bridgeports.

    Larry

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    Oh I'm definitely thinking about CNC too! I was actually going to post a similar thread under the CNC forum. I did a tiny bit of CNC in college and loved it. I did buy a cheap conversion kit for my Grizzly but I need to machine up the mounts for the stepper motors and also replace the slip nuts with ball screws. I was going to use the Mach3/Mach 4 software to run it.
    So with that in I appreciate the feedback on CNC's. All I remamber is HAAS so I'm not familiar with the other ones you note. Do most come with their own controller and you just download the G-code, I'm assuming? Also, what is a cheap CAM software package? MasterCAM might be out of my price range too!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amateur_Machiner View Post
    Oh I'm definitely thinking about CNC too! I was actually going to post a similar thread under the CNC forum. I did a tiny bit of CNC in college and loved it. I did buy a cheap conversion kit for my Grizzly but I need to machine up the mounts for the stepper motors and also replace the slip nuts with ball screws. I was going to use the Mach3/Mach 4 software to run it.
    So with that in I appreciate the feedback on CNC's. All I remamber is HAAS so I'm not familiar with the other ones you note. Do most come with their own controller and you just download the G-code, I'm assuming? Also, what is a cheap CAM software package? MasterCAM might be out of my price range too!
    No matter how much time, money and effort you put into that Grizzly conversion, it will always be a toy. All those machines I spoke of earlier would find the Grizzly little more then drier fuzz in their pocket. I don't mean to be cruel about it, but there is no comparison. Yes of course the control is part of the machine. They were built from the ground up to be a CNC machine. The designers and engineers building the Grizzly wasted zero time considering how it could be a CNC machine. It's not that tools purpose.

    I can tell by your comments you have a lot to learn about CNC. That's a good thing. A CNC road yet traveled is an interesting road indeed.

    Not long ago there was another CNC newb OP-er who was hell bent on learning everything he could possibly learn about CNC machining and programming before he went out and bought anything. A good number of people told him, and rightfully so, (to no avail) that all the studying in the world is still going to find you at some version of ground zero the day the machine is in front of you and you have to load tools and make a part. My point here is, get yourself a machine, plop it in your garage, take some of your time and bury your head in books, then bit by bit, take what you learn and try it out for real. With your manual experience you'll be steps ahead. Try to find yourself a local CNC machinist mentor to help you get a machine that's not beat up and still working. You don't want to spend all your beginning time getting and keeping the thing running, though on older machines there will be issues now and then. But most are pretty well built. Make sure the machine you get has all the electrical, parts, maintenance and programming manuals and parameter backups. Unless you know absolutely sure you can get them, perhaps at significant cost, I wouldn't consider anything that had no manuals with it. Also don't spend all your money on the machine. If it doesn't come with anything, you'll need plenty to tool it up. I suppose it's beginning to sound like the manual machine is definitely the simpler, easier way to go. Maybe so, but 1/10th the fun. That fun will cost you significant time and effort. I say it's well worth it.

    There is plenty of low cost software out there. For the most part you will need CAD and CAM. Typically they are in the same package.

    Good luck with whatever machine and machine type you decide on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Amateur_Machiner View Post
    Oh I'm definitely thinking about CNC too! I was actually going to post a similar thread under the CNC forum. I did a tiny bit of CNC in college and loved it. I did buy a cheap conversion kit for my Grizzly but I need to machine up the mounts for the stepper motors and also replace the slip nuts with ball screws. I was going to use the Mach3/Mach 4 software to run it.
    So with that in I appreciate the feedback on CNC's. All I remamber is HAAS so I'm not familiar with the other ones you note. Do most come with their own controller and you just download the G-code, I'm assuming? Also, what is a cheap CAM software package? MasterCAM might be out of my price range too!
    Doo tell....

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  23. #16
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    School auctions are a good place to look. Most are online now

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    In that area I’d think you could have a dream BP for 5-7g. Bought a very nice one a few months ago from Detroit on the low end of that range.

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    My home shop Bridgeport Ser.1 with 2J variable speed head was below $1K and included a DRO and 2-axis power feeds, vise, etc. It just needed a good cleaning, some non-essential repairs/replacements, and general tune up. I also replaced the DRO with a more modern one. In the Midwest, $7K will buy you a Bridgeport with a machinist included.

    It's not the sturdiest mill, of course, yet a good and versatile workhorse with widely available inexpensive tooling and spare parts. You definitely want a DRO. Power feeds are very desirable and convenient. You can find a good BP for about $2K or so.

  27. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amateur_Machiner View Post
    Also, with that thought in mind, would anyone consider the larger Grizzly machines any good?
    I would not. But everybody has a definition for the word good.

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    Thanks Larry. Did n't know Grizzly bought South Bend!


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