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Machine Shop and Tool Talk Shop Equipment, fabrication, repairs, how to fix it, which tool to use for the job. Machinist shop talk, straight to the point.

Machine Shop and Tool Talk

Getting a Used Machine Tool With all its Parts

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Old 04-15-2018, 12:00:45 PM
Pete Spaco Pete Spaco is offline
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Default Getting a Used Machine Tool With all its Parts

I just saw a post where a guy got a couple of lathes that are missing some parts.
When a guy moves on (you know what I mean), somebody has to clean out the shop and get rid of the stuff, right?
How often do the cleaner-uppers know what they are looking at? How often do they see the lathe and whatever is currently attached to it as one unit, but never go looking for other parts?
Often, I'll bet.
They don't connect that dirty cigar box full of gears with the lathe, do they?

My point:
Let's look at two scenarios:
1. The lathe is still sitting where it spent its last days in operating condition.
This is the "good" scenario.

2. The lathe has been removed from its shop and now is for sale at some online auction house or ???. This is often the "not good" situation.

In situation #1, you need to get there asap, with flashlight and dirty clothes, after being given permission to dig.
Before you go there, you do find out all you can about that lathe from the numerous internet resources or from friends.
Then you round up everything that goes with that lathe.
Finally, you decide whether or not it is complete enough for your needs. If not, move on.

For situation #2, "what you see is what you get". Unless all the expensive basic stuff is there, it might pay to keep looking for situation #1.

I suppose I could go on and on about the actual condition of the machine and its accessories, but I have seen many used lathes with worn out 3 jaw chucks. I spent 3 times more on a new "Set-True" chuck on my Atlas 10F lathe than I did for the whole machine, 30 years ago.

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Old 04-15-2018, 12:37:54 PM
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Tanner Remillard Tanner Remillard is offline
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Default Re: Getting a used machine tool with all its parts

I got a bit of a screwing when I bought a Sharp 17x60 gear head lathe last year. I had mostly agreed to buy it just from pictures, but I had to make an almost 500 mile one way trip to get it so I didn't want to make the trip just to look at it. After I got there I looked over the machine pretty heavily as a lathe this size isn't cheap. I ran it a little bit and noticed the oil level in the headbox and carriage gearbox was low on the sight glasses, but everything sounded and felt good on it so I ended up bringing it home.

Most lathes have just a gearbox that you fill with oil like a transmission, after I got it home I realised that this lathe did not work that way. It actually has a circulating oil system and the oil storage tank is located in the cast iron chip pan base and is pretty well hidden until you actually look for it. Oil is then pumped into the head gear box from the oil pump.

When I finally realised how it all worked I went to check the oil pump and noticed that the oil feed line from the reservoir to the oil pump WAS BROKE and HAD been broke quite some time. Again, not realising that's how this lathe worked and not noticing the broken oil pump line before hand because it's all hidden, I was pretty pissed at myself for not seeing it before I bought it. I felt a rock in my stomach all of a sudden because I said to myself " You're telling me this thing had had no oil feeding to the gearbox for who knows how long?!?!"
I pulled the gearbox cover off expecting the worst, but to my dire luck there was enough oil in the bottom of the box that it had just barely enough to hit the bottom gear. Now that this didn't turn into a panic situation I repaired the oil lines and got that problem solved.

Next was the carriage feed gearbox. It also had low oil. I noticed the bushings that guide the carriage feed rod were a little worn and figured I would pull the gearbox off and repair those. Took it apart and there was literally no oil in it at all, and even had some rust on the gears and shafts from moisture getting inside. Pissed again, I had to end up completely rebuilding the whole carriage gearbox with new shafts, bushings, seals a had to buy and modify a new gear because the old one was so worn out.

Moral of the story, really really REALLY look stuff over before you buy it. I should have just walked away when I noticed the low oil levels when I was looking at it, but.....

Last edited by Tanner Remillard; 04-15-2018 at 02:34:48 PM.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:03:48 AM
Peter Holmander Peter Holmander is offline
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Default Re: Getting a used machine tool with all its parts

It would be nice if folks selling an item would be honest and upfront about anything missing or broken, but this is the real world that we are dealing with here and some people just don't have a conscience. I sold a gentleman a little vertical Maytag engine a few years back. It is common for those engines to have broken cooling fins on them. I told the man that this one was perfect. But after he drove 300 miles to my place and we dug it out of my shed, one fin in the back where you could hardly see it had a small break in it. I was embarrassed and mortified about that. I told the man that if he did not want the engine that I would totally understand. I told him that I was very sorry and that I would lower the price and work with him on the price if he was still interested. In the end, I lowered the price and he took the engine and I hope that he was happy with the final result. That sale still bothers me to this day as I really in my heart thought that the engine was in perfect shape when I stored it.
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Old 04-17-2018, 01:29:32 AM
Beanscoot Beanscoot is offline
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Default Re: Getting a used machine tool with all its parts

I have prepared surplus machines for sale at a large company and have never found all the associated bits to be present. Plus, people will start taking various accessories that might be used on other machines.

I would typically put all the parts, manuals etc. in a made up plywood box and attach the lid with numerous screws, but it still was common to find the lid disturbed before the machine was shipped out by someone wanting to see what he could pilfer.

So yes, buyer beware.
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Old 04-17-2018, 09:37:22 AM
ronm ronm is offline
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Default Re: Getting a Used Machine Tool With all its Parts

People who set up auctions are not particularly concerned with details, like having all the pieces of something together...I have seen guys at an auction hold up a piece from a different box & yell at the auctioneer "Hey, this goes with that!" Usually they will let you throw it in, but if you have to buy a whole box of junk to get one good piece, that's OK with them...
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Old 04-17-2018, 12:56:52 PM
s100 s100 is offline
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Default Re: Getting a Used Machine Tool With all its Parts


It can be worse than that. Many times when I went to auctions I found that the auctioneers deliberately separated the tooling and accessories from the machines, presumably to make more money. I do know that accessories and tooling are often the lion's share of the value when a machine is sold. Although this too makes no sense. Let's say a naked lathe will sell for something like $1500. And let's say that a good assortment of tooling for that lathe might also bring $1500. But put 'em together, will you get $3000? Unlikely. Maybe $2000, although the machine will sell much more quickly.

So the auctioneers take advantage of this and separate the machines from the tooling and accessories. Now this would not be all bad, since if you really wanted the tooling you could bid on that lot as well.But I have seen (and heard of) auctions where tooling was separated from the machines but not segregated by machine. So one lot might contain a Dorian tool post and a chuck for a Leblond lathe (a different lot) but also maybe a motorized work head for a Brown and Sharpe grinder (yet one more lot) and a dviding head for a Cincinnati mill. Now if you want to buy the lathe, the grinder and the mill that lot of tooling might make sense, of the buyer of the tooling lot could contact the buyers of the other machines to see if theya re interested in the tooling he does not want or need, but that's iffy at best. Just one more reason I stay AWAY from all auctions. But I have seen craigslist sellers do similar things.
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Old 04-26-2018, 08:22:08 AM
DieselAddicted DieselAddicted is offline
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Default Re: Getting a used machine tool with all its parts

Originally Posted by Tanner Remillard View Post
I got a bit of a screwing when I bought a Sharp 17x60 gear head lathe last year.

Moral of the story, really really REALLY look stuff over before you buy it. I should have just walked away when I noticed the low oil levels when I was looking at it, but.....

I try to give sound advise on this subject but pretty much have backed away and stand back and think to myself good luck buddy as I kinda tired of people who want to argue about the subject and give bad advise. Truth of the matter is there is a huge pile of broken, worn out and incomplete machine tools of all types sitting around in want to be machinist's barns and shops and the best use for the bulk of them would be for melt stock. My experience is that VERY few broken or incomplete machine tools ever get placed back into service, they just occupy space.

To the original subject yes it is always better to buy everything at once and not try to source all the bits and pieces needed. What is seeming lost to the new people is a lathe or mill without tooling is nothing but eye candy (or eye sore after a while) that is in the way in the shop, something you have to walk around and collects dust and whatever else is laid on it. Tooling should be important to the buyer while bare machines, even in good shape should be comparatively cheap but the exact opposite is the real world because the bulk of the people shopping for such just dont know better.
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Old 04-26-2018, 04:20:30 PM
Fig Fig is offline
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Default Re: Getting a Used Machine Tool With all its Parts

Usually if an auctioneer does know what he's looking at he sells the machine and then he sells the chuck, the steady rest, the follow rest, I even saw one auctioneer try to say the tailstock wasn't included... Lol. It just ridiculous anymore.

I bid on 3 chucks at an online auction but there were only 2 in the picture the 3rd one was on the lathe and when I went to pick it up they told me I couldn't have the one on the lathe. It was a 6 jaw and was the one I wanted so they adjusted the amount by one third of the sale price of 3 chucks which wasn't really fair since a 6 jaw is usually much more then any other chuck. I.also.bought a band saw and several blades were in the picture but they said I had to pay $15 each for the blades. I told them they could keep them. They even went so far to tell me I couldn't have the nice aluminum diamond plate base the saw was sitting on. When they tried to lift the saw off it was bolted down and I told them that's final that base goes to saw just like that chuck went with the lathe. They protested but I got it in the end. The base turned out to be a 10 wheel 8000 pound capacity roll around that costs 2800 dollars new. I think I ended up ahead in the end.
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Old 04-26-2018, 09:13:18 PM
s100 s100 is offline
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Default Re: Getting a Used Machine Tool With all its Parts

I think two issues need to be separated because they are unique and can't be lumped together. That is, machines that are sold with necessary parts missing (e.g. lathe talistock, horizontal mill outboard arbor support, drill press quill etc) and machines that are complete but sold with no tooling present (e.g. chucks, vises, tail stock centers, tool holders, arbors collets etc).

Machines that are incomplete are at best a real gamble. Can you find the parts you need? How long will it take to find them? How much will they cost? This aspect is a double edged sword. I once was looking for some part for something or another and found it. The seller was quite full of himself and his price reflected that. He told me, "Boy, are you LUCKY! I have what you NEED! Might be the only one around!" I replied, "No, it''s you who is lucky. How many years has that part been sitting on your shelf, gathering dust, until finally someone shows up who wants it? And understand i say WANTS it. I don't need anything. But I might be the only person on the face of the earth who actually wants that part." It comes down to who blinks first. In this instance I really didn't care if I bought the part or not. Nobody was going to die either way. So Iet him keep his treasure. But if the part is something you do need and it goes to a machine that you also need, then you are stuck and at the mercy of the jackals.

Tooling, though, is far more common and much more readily available hence more competitively priced. A buyer has more leverage since if you don't buy that boring bar you can always buy the next one.

As to buying tooled or naked I have seen advantages both ways. Usually it is MUCH more advantageous to the buyer if a machine is well tooled. But a wide array of tooling can add quite a premium to the price of a machine. But how much of that stuff are you going to use? I've bought machines with tooling that has gathered dust on my shelves for 20 years. If you have a defined and narrowly focused use in mind for a machine, given a choice it may be wiser to buy a naked machine, pounding on the seller by saying that the tooling will be very expensive, then buy just the items you need to complete your tasks. And if your needs change, just buy what you need for that job.

Fig, it sounds like you got a real runaround from a shyster auctioneer (am I being redundant here?) You must be a far mellower or more accommodating person than I am. If I found myself in your situation, I would have offered the auctioneer three options. One, complete the transaction as represented and mutually agreed to at time of sale; two, refund the purchase price in full or three, talk to the cops. No other options on the table. In fgact a full refund is disadvantageous to you. You came to the auction with certain expectations based on advertisements and statements by the auctioneers, and the auctioneer did not live up to those claims. You wasted time and money to attend the auction. The auctioneer ought to pay you a premium to at least in part make you whole but good luck getting it.

I have always hated auctions and your experience is just one reason why. Unreasonable restrictions (must be moved TODAY; must be moved by licensed and bonded riggers, etc) and extortionate costs charged by the affiliated riggers are just a few more. If someone wants to waste their time and patience at an auction hoping to buy something on the cheap for resale, I will gladly pay that person a fair profit just so I can avoid the auctions. I don't care if they are givin' stuff away I will never attend another auction.
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Old 04-29-2018, 01:25:45 AM
AngrySailor AngrySailor is offline
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Default Re: Getting a Used Machine Tool With all its Parts

Another place to check... Many lathes (in the saddle gear box) use a plunger pump actuated by an eccentric on the feed drive shaft. Iíve seen the oil in good condition but at some time there was water or condensation in the gear box which was enough to lightly seize the plunger down against its return spring. These gear boxes depending on typical rpm/feed rates, are relatively slow. However there are slippy bits not getting slippy juice if this happens. Easy fix
If you catch it early.
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