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Itemized Cost of A Garage Lathe Shop

Between Austin and SA yea. Working in SA right now.



To augment what Ox said, equipment is definitely expensive now: if you buy new or refurbished.

I truly believe more people earlier on were capable of repairing, maintaining, and making due with equipment in used condition. They just seem to have a higher fortitude than my peers...

I think it’s partially growing overhead costs for the manufacturers themselves, partially an economy built on convenience, and a big part a lack of people who have The confidence to or the knowledge buy something and be able to repair it (hint: no one wants dirty hands anymore). A lathe the same size and configuration as mine from Kingston I think is like $12k new... There’s no way in hell I could get that in my place on my salary, even this endeavor is a stretch.

I think it’s more of the same as it used to be Ox, just a cultural shift.


30 years ago I bought a 10 yr old VMC for ??? $25G it seems like? (maybe 28G?)
That was a 2.5 axis control, really slow toy changer, open bed config that never needed the coolant "changed" IYKWIM.
No RIGID tap.
400IPM rapids.
etc etc,...
Those were 1993 dollars.

You can easilly pick up a 10 yr old machine that has all those other features today for 25G of today's $, and have 2wiced the machine!
My math says that if you git 2wiced the machine for half the money (last 30 yrs inflation?) then that is like only paying 25% for the same.

You can search e-bay for screamin' deals when you are slow.

I doubt that you could find a clapped out Bridgeport with DRO that you had to give $5K for in 2020 currency, let alone 1990 currency.

A decent engine lathe still fetched real money in 1990, but by 2000 folks were starting to use CNC for tooling as well, and the price of engine lathes has come down too.


No - trust me - it's a WHOLE lot cheaper to git into the trade now than before.
... and with that - the competition is more and more...


You guys can go the hot dog cart route, but if I had to doo it over, I would find the highest entry level business to git into, other than farming - as that wasn't too profitable in 1985. Or maybe just stick it out in farming?

If there is a demand for the work and a high cost of entry, then the rewards should be higher, even if it is not until you sell at retirement.



* Also note that _ that 1983 VMC was WAY more reliable than anything built since too!


added:

I have seen used toys at the dealers that had come out of Harley Davidson, and one interesting thing that HD does is they put a plaque on every machine with the purchase price on it. Ass_u_ming - so that the opperator understands what they have a-hold of and understand the ramifications of damaging it?
The $ of a 1970's manual machine tool would blow you away! :eek:



EDIT 2:

I just did an inflation calc from 1993, and that $28K from 1993 would buy you a >$50K machine now.
Can you git a new stripper Haas 30" machine for that?
The Haas site won't let me doo anything w/o accepting their cookies, and while I doo occassionally like a cookie or two, I don't need them to send me any.


-------------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
 
I agree Ox. Haas was actually advertising a year or two ago that a new VF1 in 1990 was 50k and now they are $48k or something (right now they are $45k for covid sale). So more machine for less money not even figuring inflation. And used manual machines are about free. People can ask whatever they want on Spacebook and CL but the truth is if you go to an auction you can buy any machine you fancy for less than what you'll pay to have it set on your truck. Not my problem if my millennial peers can't make it run properly.
 
Sigh.....OPs first post is so long it looks like some sort of therapy for himself (herself?) Something about a lathe and breakfast? Some of us have ADD. Those who do don't call it that. Having ADD makes some of us MULTI TASKING experts.
 
Ah so. I'm at the junction of 183 and 281. Used to do some quarry work. Dried up and I haven't pursued that for a while. Maybe need get out and look around.

Alphonso,

The quarries have 2-3 engineers each, but they won’t want to make a design, decide on clearances or tolerances, or any of that.

You will get a broken shaft, housing or do-dad and they will expect the new one to get there in 2 days, and look like and work like the OEM piece of equipment. They may or may not be able to show you or tell you what the part goes in for context.

Just be warned that, from what I’ve seen recently, the quarries are high risk-high reward. A lot of the major ones (Martin Marietta, Vulcan, etc. ) have moved towards way larger machines too. If the parts don’t work, they’ll expect you to make one that does, pro-bono

As to the machine auction thing, good tip y’all, there’s a lot of stuff going up for sale in Houston and Odessa right now. I need to load the trailer up and see if I can steal a mill.

A Haas work cell in its own building is what my 8 year plan is, I’ve got some other business ideas pushing me that way too on the engineering side.
 
30 years ago I bought a 10 yr old VMC for ??? $25G it seems like? (maybe 28G?)
That was a 2.5 axis control, really slow toy changer, open bed config that never needed the coolant "changed" IYKWIM.
No RIGID tap.
400IPM rapids.
etc etc,...
Those were 1993 dollars.

You can easilly pick up a 10 yr old machine that has all those other features today for 25G of today's $, and have 2wiced the machine!
My math says that if you git 2wiced the machine for half the money (last 30 yrs inflation?) then that is like only paying 25% for the same.

You can search e-bay for screamin' deals when you are slow.

I doubt that you could find a clapped out Bridgeport with DRO that you had to give $5K for in 2020 currency, let alone 1990 currency.

A decent engine lathe still fetched real money in 1990, but by 2000 folks were starting to use CNC for tooling as well, and the price of engine lathes has come down too.


No - trust me - it's a WHOLE lot cheaper to git into the trade now than before.
... and with that - the competition is more and more...


You guys can go the hot dog cart route, but if I had to doo it over, I would find the highest entry level business to git into, other than farming - as that wasn't too profitable in 1985. Or maybe just stick it out in farming?

If there is a demand for the work and a high cost of entry, then the rewards should be higher, even if it is not until you sell at retirement.



* Also note that _ that 1983 VMC was WAY more reliable than anything built since too!


added:

I have seen used toys at the dealers that had come out of Harley Davidson, and one interesting thing that HD does is they put a plaque on every machine with the purchase price on it. Ass_u_ming - so that the opperator understands what they have a-hold of and understand the ramifications of damaging it?
The $ of a 1970's manual machine tool would blow you away! :eek:



EDIT 2:

I just did an inflation calc from 1993, and that $28K from 1993 would buy you a >$50K machine now.
Can you git a new stripper Haas 30" machine for that?
The Haas site won't let me doo anything w/o accepting their cookies, and while I doo occassionally like a cookie or two, I don't need them to send me any.


-------------------

Think Snow Eh!
Ox
30 years ago a 2x4 cost me less than $1. Now it's $5.

Gas has stayed mostly the same. Groceries have went up. Manual machine tools close to the same if not down. CNC went down considerably. Tooling has went up.

Yet labor has barely moved for those of us making more than minimum.



And honestly, the farmers that stuck it out and were able to manage the finances through shit crop prices are now doing quite well, because they built something. Unless they are dairy...those guys are fucked.
 
but then, are the farmers doing better, or are their just less of them, with more efficient equipment, more leveraged by the bank because without that efficiency they can't manage the land they are farming that they had to take on to continue to make the payments on previous leveraged equipment and land??

i mean, around here, all the farmers drive something a hell of a lot nicer than i do, and have nice looking equipment...but i'm not seeing their balance books. being in debt is easy, as long as you make the payments.
 
Does anyone know of offering cash up front to the big name machine makers makes a difference won price? Haas does their own financing, but I wonder if I could knock down the price at all with an outright purchase.
 
The quarries have 2-3 engineers each, but they won’t want to make a design, decide on clearances or tolerances, or any of that.

You will get a broken shaft, housing or do-dad and they will expect the new one to get there in 2 days, and look like and work like the OEM piece of equipment. They may or may not be able to show you or tell you what the part goes in for context.

Just be warned that, from what I’ve seen recently, the quarries are high risk-high reward. A lot of the major ones (Martin Marietta, Vulcan, etc. ) have moved towards way larger machines too. If the parts don’t work, they’ll expect you to make one that does, pro-bono

.

Engineer? What's that? All I ever dealt with were maintainence guys that were broke down and needed it fixed or replaced right now. Don't know how many hundreds of conveyor rollers we welded up and turned. Worse than oil patch in the early 80's(before the big crash), because, unlike the oil patch, they were concerned about price.
 
All these guys have a standard strategy.....phone for a new part ...buy if available immediately.......if not,broken bit goes to local machinist ......meanwhile ,phone around for a used part ...if no used part ,then harass machinist for replacement like yesterday.......meanwhile ,someone offers good used/old stock part for immed delivery....buy that ,ignore requests from machinist for repair collection and payment........Part of the course called "How to be stitched up by scumbags in the construction industry "101.
 
All these guys have a standard strategy.....phone for a new part ...buy if available immediately.......if not,broken bit goes to local machinist ......meanwhile ,phone around for a used part ...if no used part ,then harass machinist for replacement like yesterday.......meanwhile ,someone offers good used/old stock part for immed delivery....buy that ,ignore requests from machinist for repair collection and payment........Part of the course called "How to be stitched up by scumbags in the construction industry "101.

Good to know - machinist strategy, get part, sit on it, ignore first 3 calls, then tell owner that repair more difficult, time-consuming, expensive than estimated, price to repair doubles, please deposit 50% of new estimate into account ASAP so work can commence. Balance in cash on pickup.

As owner can't get a replacement, they're fucked this time. And if that's their business strategy, them never coming back is a bonus.

PDW
 
My current business (drawings/programs/machine set up/fixture design) is 50% CIA net 30. Keeps people honest. Is that not something you can realistically look for as a small job shop? Guess it depends on your track record with that particular customer.

And Alphonso, those rollers/followers you talked about are so cheap from China now, I can’t even get material for the Shaft for what they get the whole assembly for, much less do any machining. I’ve never seen the shaft end fail, so maybe the guys near SA are running a different quality conveyor? Or overloading the conveyor more likely. Most of what I am probably going to look for are special pins, fasteners, small shafts for supporting equipment etc. something goes down and they can’t run the primary, they are losing like $5k an hour, easy.
 
The guys used to change out conveyor rollers without stopping the belt,two long handle shovels ,lift the belt ,quick out with the old roller and in with the new ......and most amazing someone gets mangled only very occasionally.
 
It has been at least twenty years since we've done any quarry stuff. Between Burnet and Marble Falls. Almost all drive and adjuster rollers. Misc. shafts for other machines. Replaced all the shafts on a shaker once. Driveshafts for yard trucks. Graphite mine west of Burnet: re-thread "rope thread" on drill rods.
 
The guys used to change out conveyor rollers without stopping the belt,two long handle shovels ,lift the belt ,quick out with the old roller and in with the new ......and most amazing someone gets mangled only very occasionally.

That’s nuts haha

I helped change a coupling sleeve out for the gearbox that drove the conveyor coming off the primary crusher. They did all the safety lockout stuff and it was a pain, but I figured they did that with everything. I didn’t know how the couplings worked, So imagine my surprise when they powered it on and this exposed, beach ball size piece of steel starts spinning at like 3600 RPM.

It took about 2 or more tons of rock from dead stop to about 60mph in less than 2 seconds. I can’t imagine lifting that belt while spinning with... a shovel
 
It was just a tapered sleeve on a euro drive. It was a year ago or more and I’ve forgotten the details. Big electric motor, this coupling, then a reducer.
 
I have a tiny part of a cone crusher as my backyard fire pit... It weighs 5000 pounds. One of the drive pulleys from the same crusher is my driveway marker. It's about 5ft tall and has atleast a dozen 1"+ wide V-belt grooves.
 








 
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