Settin' up shop... Need advice!

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by GearHeadGrrrl, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    Regrading used tools vs new, it's not fair to compare import-quality tools with ones made here 40+ years ago. Take Delta Rockwell. A new import from Taiwan is a mere toy compared to the machines made in Pittsburgh back in the day. I know, I have used, bought and rebuilt many. I have built up probably 5 Delta Rockwell 17" drill presses that are an actual quality tool I would pay more for used than a new import tool.

    My current shop drill press is a Powermatic 1200 machine, probably 60's vintage. I paid $250 at a school auction and put maybe $50 in bearings, paint general clean up. It has variable speed and will plow a hole in almost anything you can clamp to it's 24" table. Probably weighs in excess of 600lbs of real American iron. These were many thousands new.

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    I bought many of these Rockwells for $150 and would clean them up and paint them new belts, bearings etc. and sell them as a hobby. These are industrial quality tools not some Home Depot Rigid cheapo unit.

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    People bid them to the same dollars as they think the Home Depot units are, but they aren't even close to the same level of quality. The castings are far superior, the steel used to make the gears, shafts, chucks is superior. The motors are much more ruggedly built.

    This one I even hot rodded to 3HP:lol3:eek1

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    Just look at the quality of the castings

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    here's my big woodworking jointer I rebuilt, just an absolute pleasure to use and it's from 1906, nothing modern could ever compete, the quality is superlative

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    start going to school and industrial auctions and you will find the kind of deals I'm talking about, this was the one I bought the majority of my drill presses

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    All I'm saying is that you can't simply look at an old tool and say "Well, I can go get one at Lowes for the same money these old timers are crazy" it's apples and oranges. There are tools that by being modern are superior. I have multiple impact drivers from Dewalt and Makita and they are vastly superior to some old drill no question.

    However the foundations of a working shop should be based on quality tools. Nothing is more frustrating (or dangerous) than working with a tool that is simply not up to the task. The tools I showed and have restored were meant to be in a production environment and made to last by working hard hours. You won't find cheapo Home Depot drill presses in a machine shop, to the owner time is money and they can't afford tools that don't perform or take too long.

    But that's just my opinion:D
    #21
  2. GearHeadGrrrl

    GearHeadGrrrl Been here awhile

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    If you're comparing quality U.S. or German made tools to Chinese junk, as long as the quality tool is rebuildable it wins every time. But it's not always that simple- for example Lincoln is still building some of their welders here, and yet I see the same welder that looks like it's been through a war with the back cover missing and no manuals getting bid up to almost new price. I've also been to auctions and seen junk Chinese cordless drills bid up to the price of new junk chinese ones. I could provide countless more examples, but suffice to say, used is not always cheaper than new.
    #22
  3. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    I won't argue on any of those points. I have a fairly modern Lincoln TIG welder and it's great, love it. I would not go backwards in time for something like a welder as I think the technology has developed and produced a superior product.

    For something like a vise, band saw, drill press, C clamps the product development peaked decades ago and the only thing they added were laser pointers (useless) and shipped the machine making overseas. Everything got worse in terms of quality from the steel to the fit, everything. You'd be way better off buying an older machine like that and fixing anything that is wrong vs what you can buy today. Plus if you bought well, you'll never lose money. I can't think of one time I sold an older large tool that I lost money. Usually I'd double or triple my investment. But that's not always feasible to go spending your shop time working on tools when you want to work on your bike.

    I would not spend my money on a stick welder either. I bought a 220v MIG and went to TIG almost immediately for the kind of work I do. I would also only look at 220v welders. 110v machines are usually very light duty cycle (and maybe that's okay?). plus they are almost all flux core and you really want to look hard at using shielding gas. 220v machines are all shielding gas.

    I've done very well going to estate sales, industrial auctions, school auctions etc and buying there. There are lots of way to score deals, but you need to be patient and not overspend. Auctionzip.com and irsauctions.com are both sites I have used and had very good luck/deals on. You will need to wait and find auctions close to you. IRS is nice because it's like ebay. You bid you win and you go pick up. Auctionzip are typically, live auctions for a shop closing down and you might stand around for hours and watch the price go past what you want and now you wasted an entire saturday.:lol3 I kinda like it though looking and touching all those old tools that have made thousands of products over the years, they tell a story and I like to be part of it.
    #23
  4. Warin

    Warin Retired

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    Yep. First world countries are that way, every one wants that phd/management job with the money to match. Few people realize the simple joy of some jobs that adds much to the money paid. Some of these kind of jobs are now paying very well due to the lack of supply e.g. plumbers.

    You'd be better off in a third world country for getting jobs done.

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    If you want a movable bench - make it the same height as your main work bench, that way you can slide things from one to the other rather than lift. Best if everything is about the same height for that reason.

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    New stuff vs Old... I think you need a good deal of knowledge about the old stuff (costs of servicing it to get it working well, where to get parts and the amount of time). If you don't have that then new is probably better - even if it is now 'throw away' manufacture.

    Good luck with making the parts;
    take your time, particularly in the planning stage. Think it through, saves a lot of time. Oh making cardboard model and fit that first before going to metal... Sounds like you have most of that covered with other peoples input.
    consider the first one a prototype - use it to improve the second one.
    #24
  5. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    I have one workbench on casters for woodworking,etc. It has a 2" thick maple top(homemade) and a steel industrial bench system underneath. The casters are swivels on one end & all 4 lockable. My other bench is all steel with vise on one end & saw chain sharpener on the other corner.no casters. You can extend the use of a steel bench to say woodworking by laying a "fastenable" plywood top on steel or use a woodworking bench for bikes , etc., by covering the "nice top" with masonite or plywood. I know that wasn't totally the OP question but my 2 cents.
    My table saw,sander,20" planer & bandsaw are all on wheels via casters or the "frame with wheels thing".
    #25
  6. freightdog

    freightdog Adventurer

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    Regarding welders, I agree to skip a stick welder and if you have 220v available, it's hard to beat a 220v mig. I have a hobart handler 187, which I have been very happy with. If you can't find one used, it's been replaced with the handler 190 which I believe is spool gun ready for aluminum mig welding, and can be bought at tractor supply with a 10% off coupon. The 210s and up are more capable of thick stuff but if you're not going to do that much, you can get away with multiple passes and preheating with the 180-190A and have several hundred dollars left in your pocket. I also own a handler 140 for occasions when 110v is all I've got, it has been an excellent unit as well, and is more affordable. Either of them can convert between flux core and gas shield mig depending on location and situation in about 5 minutes, for the extra few bucks, skip the flux core only models. A nice site for more opinions and solutions on welding if you so desire is hobartwelders.com/weldtalk . Good luck with your shop! I recently moved and lost an awesome shop setup, trying to make use of much less space available to me now and this thread has had some nice ideas.
    #26
  7. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

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    used tools that were used continuously in a commercial shop might well be worn out, but 40 YO tools bought by a hobbyist probably are not and as was said are often high quality. Parts are still available for old Craftsman power tools and are a bargain....I bent the spindle on a Craftsman drill press from the '60's (my fault) and a new one complete with bearings was $40 for example.
    #27
  8. Bump Stop

    Bump Stop 2 Wheeled Drifter

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    this, and lots of lights with light colored walls. a lot easier to work when you can see. don't waste bench top space with a bandsaw. I have a large Ellis and a Milwaukee portoband, and I rarely use either of them. if you want to cut thin metal used a .045'' cut off wheel on a 4.5'' grinder much faster and your not dictated by throat size. if you need to make lots of cuts you could get a portoband with a base, I don't know if dewalt makes a base for theirs but I like using that one better than my milwaukee.

    If you're going buy a vise get a good one the cheep ones break easily. you can not weld them back together. (actully you can but it is a total pain in the ass)

    make the bench as heavy as you need it to support a LOT of weight. use 2 or 3 layers of 3/4 plywood with braces on 16'' centers with a 1/4'' steel plate on top. this will be nearly indestructable.

    remember to put a shield behind your grinder to stop the wall from catching fire.
    #28
  9. LexLeroy

    LexLeroy Chief Mansplainer

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    Even though I've got a decent 20" drill press I find myself using my small bench top vertical mill more often when hole size and placement needs to be accurate in metal. If I had it to do over again I'd have spent less on the drill press and spent the money on a bench top mill like a Rong Fu RF-45 knock-off or an older Bridgeport.

    If you're going to do projects like sidecar mounts that actually fit snugly without deforming frame tubes you'll quickly come to the conclusion that a mill (and a lathe) are indispensable. It all depends on how much of a shop geek you want to be.

    Right now I'm helping a friend get some bicycle tooling orders out the door and I'm using his Bridgeport, and all I can think about is how I can get one into my 1 stall garage and still have room for the wife's Miata.

    And the welder? I need to do thin stuff as well as 1/4" mild steel, plus aluminum and stainless, so I settled on a ThermalArc 185 TIG. Possibly overkill but this tool buying and using stuff can get to be a disease.
    #29
  10. GearHeadGrrrl

    GearHeadGrrrl Been here awhile

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    Currently putting more lights in the shop, the house's PO left a bunch of 48 inch florescents that I need to check out. Shop needs paint, so that'll be white. For a welder, I looked at the Hobart 220V MIGs the other day and they look like a good deal. Not much progress on the bench though, looked around the big boxes and Farm stores for the metal corner kits for a workbench but they don't seem to carry them anymore. No biggie, got a couple sheets of 3/4 inch plywood and 2 by 6s and screws from previous projects. Probably won't make much progress for a while, currently shopping for xmas presents for a couple aspiring gearheads (comments welcome on that thread) and will be heading to my tin shack with wheels by the Everglades after xmas. Thanks for all the great advice, and keep it comin'!
    #30
  11. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Look online for a pair of industrial bench legs .Grainger,Northern Tool,many others have them-mainthing is don't skimp on bench much like vise comments. Then do the top as well as materials allow. I like 2"maple vs. plywood(I have wood & lots of it) but do as you can. Read my casters comment & choose. If you will weld on the bench then it must have a metal top.
    #31
  12. Megadeus

    Megadeus Motorcycles are therapy

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    A chop saw (for metal) has been a heavily used item in my shop.

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    Like others have said, you get what you pay for. Just buy good blades.
    #32