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Advice for a lathe for a makerspace

That depends on who you want to attract and what your own skills are. I can't answer that. I know lots of engineers who--on paper--would be your customers but, they would expect CNC machines. Not hobby level. A Haas TL-1 and TM-0P would probably be the size a maker space should have. Tons of online training resources, common control between them, portable skills to finding employment by anyone learning them.
[JO: What I'm taking for your post is that the equipment I have doesn't support people wanting to become professional machinists or fulfill orders by machining parts in the makerspace. I'll grant you that.

I personally would love having a TL-1 or a TM-0P. It is not unheard of. There is at least one makerspace that has a Haas- MakerspaceCT in Connecticut.

It is interesting, when I first started the space and applied for a grant back in 2001, I wanted to get a TM-1. Indeed, going with Haas was the advice I received on this forum. At the time, Haas was willing to quote me the machine with the educational discount. I didn't get the grant, and it was probably a good thing I didn't end up getting a Haas. The makerspace is very small, and the required clearances for a TL-1 or TM-0P would crowd out a lot of other equipment. In addition, I think that a TL-1 or TM-OP in retrospect would have been overkill for most users who want to learn about machining or make something using the machines; the learning curve would probably be too high for them, and the machines are very expensive to acquire. If something went wrong, I think they would be more expensive to fix then say a Grizzly or Bridgeport.

In addition, in my area, there are very good educational programs for people looking to transition to a career in machining which are free if you qualify. So I don't think that having a goal to provide a place for people to learn CNC machining to go into industry as a CNC operator makes sense for my makerspace.

So that just leaves entrepreneurial machinists who are trying to start a their own business and would like access to professional grade CNC machines to fulfill some orders while they build up the capital to start their own machine shop. Unfortunately, right now, the makerspace doesn't support those entrepreneur's. However, it does support other types of entrepreneurs. One current member is looking to start making custom guitars. A former member used to make little funny plant signs he would sell on Etsy. I don't know how much money either of those things makes exactly but I'm happy to support their efforts.

I can't imagine someone making parts on the Bridgeport and starting a business by doing that, but I can imagine someone making a prototype of something or a few one-offs as they work out the kinks of something and iterate on those designs quickly in the makerspace before sending it out for mass production through one of the services you mentioned.]
 
" I prefer to try to create a community resource that can be used by many people and try to create a 3rd space where people can find one another and connect."

For me, in 1982 or so, this was the adult ed machine shop class given at Minute Man Tech, in Lexington. 1) for the naysayers, this was an adult ed class where the first lesson was regarding safe practice in the shop. All users were continuously monitored by the instructor and a helper. There were few injuries. The most dangerous machine in the shop was the pedestal grinder. 2) the unanticipated benefit (by me, obviously not by you) involved the personal connections that developed between the students. Not sure if MM Tech still exists these days - but I still have the two 'completion certificates' from those days, and they are among my most cherished documents.
[JO: Minuteman Technical and Vocational School does indeed still exist and is going strong. Indeed, my son is a Sophomore student there. He loves it.]
 
[JO: What I'm taking for your post is that the equipment I have doesn't support people wanting to become professional machinists or fulfill orders by machining parts in the makerspace. I'll grant you that.
The window of what is "production" and what is "prototype" shifted a long time ago. Those two Haas machines are not suitable for production (the TL even less so). Those are what you'd need to make nearly anything the size of a breadbox: a 2" diameter shaft, 15" long, a machined housing of any kind, something with contoured shapes, maybe a mold surface on polyethylene to make fiberglass splash parts. Something the size and complexity of an AR lower would need machines that size. Basic knee mill and manual lathe stuff is high school level (or at least should be).

Example: an engineer we hired in 2011 did his senior project (BSME) at a maker space in California. He had some theories about supercharging using one cylinder of a two-cylinder engine as the pump. He designed the system, bought the motorcycle, tore down the engine, made all the modifications, made some custom (CNC) aluminum parts to plumb it all together, designed and built the ignition system and managed to get it all running on his own. His university failed him for not having such things for him to use but, that was also 14+ years ago (when he did the work). I imagine that maker space still has that equipment available.

"Makers" are buying Tormachs and Syils and used Haas and whatever they can manage. You have young 30-somethings on here who have Brother Speedios or Haas Mini Mills in their garage. Yes, as hobby machines. My VF-2 and TL-1 would qualify as hobby machines at this point since I'm not making any income with them.
 
The window of what is "production" and what is "prototype" shifted a long time ago. Those two Haas machines are not suitable for production (the TL even less so). Those are what you'd need to make nearly anything the size of a breadbox: a 2" diameter shaft, 15" long, a machined housing of any kind, something with contoured shapes, maybe a mold surface on polyethylene to make fiberglass splash parts. Something the size and complexity of an AR lower would need machines that size. Basic knee mill and manual lathe stuff is high school level (or at least should be).

Example: an engineer we hired in 2011 did his senior project (BSME) at a maker space in California. He had some theories about supercharging using one cylinder of a two-cylinder engine as the pump. He designed the system, bought the motorcycle, tore down the engine, made all the modifications, made some custom (CNC) aluminum parts to plumb it all together, designed and built the ignition system and managed to get it all running on his own. His university failed him for not having such things for him to use but, that was also 14+ years ago (when he did the work). I imagine that maker space still has that equipment available.

"Makers" are buying Tormachs and Syils and used Haas and whatever they can manage. You have young 30-somethings on here who have Brother Speedios or Haas Mini Mills in their garage. Yes, as hobby machines. My VF-2 and TL-1 would qualify as hobby machines at this point since I'm not making any income with them.
[JO: Interesting. Thanks for sharing.]
 
Thanks for all the suggestions.

Regarding the safety issue, I know that the idea of non-experts training people who have no experience on how to use machinery and then allowing them to use dangerous machinery makes a lot of people uncomfortable. While there are certainly some people who I wouldn't allow to use the machines in the makerspace, I have found by and large most people after they have received training are mature enough to use machinery safely. We have been operating for two years, and haven't had any accidents so far (knock on wood).

I should make clear that everyone using the space must be 18 plus, and must be trained and pass a safety test before the use the machines. I don't want on my conscience someone getting hurt due to ignorance or carelessness.

Regarding insurance, yes, I have insurance, and insurers do cover makerspaces, though it is probably the most expensive operating cost I have after rent.

A lot of folks have pointed towards the Precision Mathews PM-1440E-LB. Grizzly G0824 seems like another good option, as it is $500 cheaper and comes with a spider. That said the G0824 is 2.5 HP instead of 3 HP and neither has centralized lubrication.

Has anyone had any direct experience with either of these machines?

Regards,
John
Also important to have signed releases that they recognize the risks.

IMO makerspaces serve an important function in a time when traditional manual arts have been declining for decades. I wish you success.
 
I think the whole idea of a makerspace is fraught with hazards and extreme danger. I'm 80 years old this year and in my time I have seen and experienced incredibly stupid people trying to use machinery. Machinery does not take prisoners. I cannot imagine having open doors to the use of a machine shop. It is bad enough to put an inattentive person in front of a computer, but to do that with a lathe or a mill is beyond the pale. A computer will not kill or maim, the lathe or mill can.
 
Seems like makerspace goes from hand craft work to machine shops and from $200 to $750 a month to be a member. Great idea but letting un trained people run a lathe, mill or grinder seems dangerous to people and equipment. I think a skills training or skills test would be an asset. I can imagine and be able to create a simple skills test for those machines so to be allowed, or net allowed machine use with not taking a training course. Even running a bench grinder needs some instruction.
 
He already said he's not looking for a rebuild/restoration project, so that narrows it to new machines. For a maker space that makes a lot of sense.

His selection is not narrowed to new machines on the basis of being adverse to rebuild/restore. There are always options to purchase a used machine that doesn’t require work. Plenty of solid lathes on the used market.

Now if he’s limited by policy like some High School shop classes are to purchase new only, that’s a different story. But to imply the only way to get a machine that doesn’t require work is to buy new is silly.

With that said, I understand “Precision Mathews” has a unique vendor offering where they take new lathes that DO indeed need work, and bring them up to snuff. This offers the buyer a true ready-to-run LSO experience.
 
As a retired high school resource teacher, teach shop use and safety in logical chunks. Shop safety/measuring/handtools first. Then teach specific machines one at a time as the students need them.
Do not try to teach all the machines at once and require all students to pass safety tests on all the machines before they can do anything. That is too frustrating for the kids and us helpers.
Bill D
 
Have you considered any or all of these machines? He's going to have a telehandler on site if you act now. Get yourself a ten ton stake bed and haul the Fadal and the lathe home.

 
His problem with buying used is paperwork and PO's. He has to inspect the machine and decide if it is worth the cost. Then he has to get the okay. Then he can go back and see if it is still for sale. Many here complain about how high riggers charge. How do you explain that to the office manager. How about at a public meeting?
Every step he has to show it is a fair price with no under the table kickbacks. Buy new at list price and pay the preset shipping is cleaner to explain. Also he will need to prove the used machine meets current safety codes before it can be turned on.
BilL D
 
His problem with buying used is paperwork and PO's. He has to inspect the machine and decide if it is worth the cost. Then he has to get the okay. Then he can go back and see if it is still for sale. Many here complain about how high riggers charge. How do you explain that to the office manager. How about at a public meeting?
Every step he has to show it is a fair price with no under the table kickbacks. Buy new at list price and pay the preset shipping is cleaner to explain. Also he will need to prove the used machine meets current safety codes before it can be turned on.
BilL D
He would need all that oversight if he's getting grant money or even public annual budget. From his later descriptions it sounds like this is some hybrid of a personal business with some public sponsorship. Used equipment would have to be his money but, then he owns them. Maybe I misunderstood what he posted about the ownership structure. That Fadal, the Grizzly lathe and the other miscellaneous equipment could do far more for that space than blowing $15-17K for the same size lathe using grant money.
 
I run a makerspace for a large aerospace contractor. Even the MechEs with PhDs tend to shy away from the machinery and hardware fabrication, generally due to liability and lack of skill / experience. I have yet to meet an engineer who knew about the one-shot lube system on the Tree mill. If handles get cranked productively, I'm typically the one doing it.

There's a few that wander in genuinely curious and interested in the machinery, but it's generally more of a teaching session than a getting-stuff-done session.

it's way more productive to 3D print most things, and leave the accordion playing to the experts.

My advice: buy the lathe YOU want, and make sure any interested parties are instilled with the fear of instant, very painful death for disrespecting the machine.

Sometimes you can find a screamin deal on a Monarch 10EE or a Hardinge HLVH
 
I didn't read the whole thing, but if you do end up getting a lathe, I would install a single phase to 3 phase vfd on it if it is 3 phase. The reason for this is to down rate the motor by default. So if you have a 1 hp motor, and you drive it with 230 single phase, it is only a 2/3 hp motor. This will help stop extremely damaging I juries from happening. And this can't be switched off as it is the main power supply. I would not get anything bigger then a 2 hp lathe for a makerspace as anything bugger is starting to get dangerous.
 








 
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