Would you buy a Machine from the Flood in Texas ?
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  1. #1
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    Default Would you buy a Machine from the Flood in Texas ?

    Guys we are taking a beating down here. So far I've had 18 inches of rain , 40 Miles NW of Houston, and it looks like we are in for at least two or three more days of this. I moved out of the lowlands of Houston and am sitting high, for us, up on a hill so unless we take a tornado strike I'm ok. I do worry about people like John Oder who are right in the heart of the flooding.

    After this is over there are going to be thousands of machines, of all types, either scraped or fixed up and sold to unsuspecting people. Just the same as the low lifes do with flood damaged cars...

    I know enough to take care of myself but I can imagine that this will happen. Has it happened before, like after Rita?

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    I wouldn't knowingly buy a flooded machine (unless I could be sure how high the water got on the machine and the nature of the machine) but I did once buy a Sodick sinker EDM that I discovered later was under water about halfway up the electronics box ! The way I knew this was I heard about it after the auction, then noticed the water line on the walls about 4 feet up, plus there was dirt in the electronics left behind by the receded water.

    Amazingly the machine worked fine however......even CNC electronics can be under water as long as the power is completely off and everything dries out completely before you turn it back on.(presuming no minerals or refuse left behind that might short out something....would actually have been better if the Sodick electronics had been sprayed with fresh water from garden hose after the flood)

    Worse actually is an automatic powder type fire extinguisher getting into the electronics, where everything eventually corrodes from the powder if not cleaned like crazy afterwards.

    I did spend hours vacuuming up the dirt in that Sodick cabinet...luckly no fish bones in there.

    I do wonder what would have happened if the water got high enough to submerge the board with the battery for parameter backup...presume that would not have been good.

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    As long as they aren't subject to salt water I expect they can be dried, lubed, and run. Fancy electronics excepted.


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    There's a shop here that took 4' of water. They lost all of the transformers, but damage was pretty minimal. Coolant pump motors and lathe spindle motors required attention.

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    I would not buy anything electronic. But anything mechanical could likely be cleaned up, lubricated, and recommissioned.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk

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    Unless the machines are powered on at the time of flooding, electronics should be pretty safe. Things like encoders and motor bearings are a worry.

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    There was some severe flooding here a few years back. ( severe for Milwaukee ) One defense oriented shop "lost" everything. By "lost", I mean insurance labelled it all a loss. Everything was hauled out and replaced with new. EVERYTHING. In an odd turn of events, I actually benefited from that as a friend was the scrapper that did the hauling and invited me to his warehouse to see if there was anything I wanted. I IMMEDIATELY segregated what I wanted and sprayed it excessively with WD40 and lubes until I could get to it. There was a lot, and most of it is still serving me well to this day. Not CNC machines, though. Now that I think of it, our Taft Peirce No.1 may have come from there... I know our comparator did. I hope Herr Oder is well.

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    Is your shop on high enough ground it won't be flooded? It would be a shame to have damage to the "beast", you put a lot of time and money in it.

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    As far as buying one, it would have to be cheap to make it worth it. But if it could be had with in a short period of time damage would be minimal.

    During the eruption of Mt St. Helens here in 1980 a local company had a dredge sink in the Cowlitz river.
    They raised it, flushed everything with fresh water, changed lubes in everything, dried out the electrics motors with heat lamps and had it dredging again by the next week.
    All it takes is time and money.

    Just hope everyone is safe. Iron can be replaced, Life. No way back.

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    I wonder how many cars, trucks, overall work vehicles might end up under water in that whole rain soaked area by the time it's over? Are we talking over 2-3 million vehicles? Or a lot less than that? From TV images it would look like a lot.

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    Amen to that. Iron can be replaced. I hope the people from PFETOIO (People For The Ethical Treatment of Inanimate Objects) don't get hold of this, I don't want to be in the cross hairs of the Politically Correct Police!

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    Quote Originally Posted by powerglider View Post
    I wonder how many cars, trucks, overall work vehicles might end up under water in that whole rain soaked area by the time it's over? Are we talking over 2-3 million vehicles? Or a lot less than that? From TV images it would look like a lot.
    We are talking a huge number. From what I am seeing there are many people that didn't have a chance to leave areas they thought were safe. Water came up last night and trapped them.

    I was a Paramedic/Firefighter during 4 of these events and this is the worst I've ever seen. Back in 1998 I was working around the I10 and 610 area when the METRO Mass transit system decided that all their buses must get off the streets. It was a good idea as you could have held submarine races on I10 at the time.. They pulled 48 buses into a mall parking lot and expected the people on them to stay there, not so good of an idea.... Someone on the buss thought it would be a good time to complain of chest pain and have an ambulance called. Lucky I got out of their with my life! About 300 people decided a ride to the hospital in my ambulance was better than sitting on a bus.

    I could see where a short time event would be semi ok on a machine. In this event machines are probably going have an extended time under water. They are now talking about the storm going back out into the Gulf and then coming back over Houston on Friday, until them we still are going to have 24 inches more of rain. Many machines are going to be underwater for days and then sit in the mud for weeks, or more, until they can be removed.

    I can see a lot of used parts hitting eBay soon

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    Just spoke with a client of mine in Houston. His brand new Haas mill is under 4 feet of water at his shop.

    Luckily him and his wife are located at slightly higher ground but he shared some videos of helicopters pulling people out right around his place.

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    Might be a good business for a rebuilder who puts new controls on machines

    Oddly enough, we have done a lot of work upgrading various building products lines (LVL lines, Laminated shingle lines, a bit in the gypsum industry) and invariably, when business is slow, they would all reminisce about the Hurricane seasons and how that had a way of cleaning out inventory. This seems like it used to be a lot more common but I am fairly certain this is the first big storm in a while that has the potential of bringing a boost to the building products industry at the same time they are already pretty busy with the mini housing boom that has been going on.

    I think it is amazing that only 5 deaths have been reported thus far - despite what anyone says, that is an amazingly low number for this stage of the game with such a huge amount of flooding and damage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BugRobotics View Post
    Just spoke with a client of mine in Houston. His brand new Haas mill is under 4 feet of water at his shop.

    Luckily him and his wife are located at slightly higher ground but he shared some videos of helicopters pulling people out right around his place.
    As you do a lot of electronic repairs what are your thoughts on repairing his machine?

    Around here you really need to have flood insurance as rising water is not covered by regular building insurance. I've never financed a new machine, do most finance companies require you to insure the machine against all losses?

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    Quote Originally Posted by swatkins View Post
    As you do a lot of electronic repairs what are your thoughts on repairing his machine?
    I would be optimistic about the repairability of any damage due to water. As long as the machine stays unpowered (and was unpowered when flooded) until the machine is disassembled, flushed with DI water (preferably all the boards ran through an ultrasonic cleaner) and thoroughly cleaned of debris I don't think there would be any issues.

    Getting all of little areas that water and sand could be sitting (e.g. the cap screw counterbores of the linear rails) wouldn't be fun but with a week of disassembly and cleaning I'm sure it could be done.

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    This is a current radar showing the rainfall amounts since the storm began, They have run out of colors for the amount scale!

    https://radar.weather.gov/radar.php?...d=HGX&loop=yes

    If you draw a line from the town Bryan, shown on the map, to the center of Houston I'm located about halfway between the two. In the Purple now, changing to white in a few hours

    The number of machine tools in this area must be huge...

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    I think most optical encoders would be toast and motors would need the stators dried out and bearings flushed/relubed. I also think that any battery backed ram would likely be lost, hard drives would also not likely be recoverable.

    If you were going to embark on a dry out you should be prepared with parameter lists / backups and understand that a failure of just one element renders you stuck such that you better have good troubleshooting skills if you want a timely recovery.

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    For paperwork that got wet put it in a freezer and let it freeze dry for a long time and mold etc should not be a problem. I suppose the same might work for handtools etc until you can dry and oil them. Freezer might not be good idea if water will turn to ice and break stuff in that case just rent some refrigerator space.
    Old neighbor, an electrical engineer, told me of putting huge generators inside vacuum chambers with radiant heaters inside to dry out flooded generators. took months had some type of leads to check windings being shorted. maybe a megger?
    Bill D.

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    As others have said water and electronics is no big problem if power was not applied. The biggest issue is mud and debris getting into bearings and mechanics. There is no avoiding complete disassembly and thorough cleaning. That will be where the cost lies. Obviously the sooner the better. Any attempt to operate a flooded machine without that disassembly and cleaning will likely destroy the machine.


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