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Looking for advice on first time purchase

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parkham

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#1
I want to build generators at some point in the future. I'm hoping to learn the lathe, the mill, and some welding. As with most all new people (I'm guessing), I want something that I can use to build:

reasonably sized gears / sprockets / bevel

I would like to learn how to make all the pieces that go into making all the simple machines. Should be...simple .. right? I have about $1000.00 to spend. Any advice is appreciated.
 

David S

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#2
Welcome to the Forum Parkham.

I think it would be helpful if you could give us more information. As in what type of generators are you considering and size.

Right now it sounds like $1000 is a tad light for what you are planning.

David
 

parkham

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I think, for now, just some advice on something I can use to learn on. Long term, I anticipate either building something bigger in order to make rotors / hubs / discs for wind turbine stuff.

For now, I need something to learn on, and use to make things, like gears, sprockets, and screws. I see stuff in Harbor Freight, I see Grizzly products. I see used stuff on craigslist. I mean, I think I have an idea, but some advice from people who've already been there would go a long way, in my book.

Thanks.
 

ttabbal

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If you have a lot of used machines available locally, you might be able to get a small machine and some tooling for 1000. It depends on the local market. In my area, I could only do a 7" mini lathe in that range. And count on tooling costs being higher than the machine. You can drive that down some by learning how to grind HSS bits. Also important to note is that the tools you use on a small machine may be too small on a larger machine. So you may end up having to buy a lot of tools again when you go to a bigger machine.

If you want to make wind turbines, you will need a good sized machine. Keep in mind that the measurements do not tell you how big of a part you can work on, and tooling eats a lot of space on smaller machines.

There are a lot of threads here discussing things to look at on used machines and helping people evaluate machines. Reading those is probably the best place to start so you can ask more specific questions. Right now it's tough to offer much as the question is so broad and things like cost vary wildly based on the local market.
 

parkham

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Alright, thanks. I'll get to reading.
 

eeler1

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Check the local community colleges for machine shop classes. $1000 there would be a good investment. Stick with it for a couple terms and you can use their machines for your project.
 

ThunderDog

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If you have a lot of used machines available locally, you might be able to get a small machine and some tooling for 1000. It depends on the local market. In my area, I could only do a 7" mini lathe in that range. And count on tooling costs being higher than the machine. You can drive that down some by learning how to grind HSS bits. Also important to note is that the tools you use on a small machine may be too small on a larger machine. So you may end up having to buy a lot of tools again when you go to a bigger machine.

If you want to make wind turbines, you will need a good sized machine. Keep in mind that the measurements do not tell you how big of a part you can work on, and tooling eats a lot of space on smaller machines.

There are a lot of threads here discussing things to look at on used machines and helping people evaluate machines. Reading those is probably the best place to start so you can ask more specific questions. Right now it's tough to offer much as the question is so broad and things like cost vary wildly based on the local market.
This is sound advice. I started with a small lathe and learned a TON!!! When I purchased a larger machine I was afflicted with the exact point made here, you almost have to re-tool completely. Yes, some things could be reused. But, I still had to essentially buy twice.
 

KMoffett

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#8
Google: indianapolis makerspace

Ken
 

DiscoDan

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As kmoffett said, check out maker spaces. Here in the Baltimore area I took milling, lathe, and welding classes. Taking a general metal cutting class next week and the a class on cutting high speed steel bits. After taking a class I get access to the machines by the hour rental.
 

projectnut

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Check the local community colleges for machine shop classes. $1000 there would be a good investment. Stick with it for a couple terms and you can use their machines for your project.
I heartily agree. Our local technical college has evening classes (usually second semester) for hobbyists and those wanting to learn the basics on how to operate machine tools. I took a couple classes there when I was looking for a surface grinder for my shop. Several of the vendors I contacted suggested I enroll in an evening class to try out their machines. The classes were somewhat open in that if you were new to the profession or a hobbyist there was an instructor to teach the basics and guide you through. More experienced members had to show the instructor proficiency in the operation and safety procedures for the machines they wanted to use. Once they proved they were capable of safely operating the machines they were free to do as they pleased.

The shop had over a dozen different brands and models of surface grinders. Through the course of the semester I was able to use each of them. Naturally I fell in love with the most expensive one of the lot. After coming to my senses and realizing I would never get payback on a $20,000.00 machine I opted for a used Sanford machine. I've had the Sanford for around 5 years and it's been more than adequate for my needs.

The cost for attending an evening class in 2014 was about $300.00 which included any materials you might need to complete a project. There was also a "Senior Citizens Discount" which I was told was a small fraction of the standard fee. At the time I wasn't old enough so I never pursued the actual senior citizen cost.
 
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eeler1

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Hadn't heard of makerspace. Interesting concept.
 

andy.alford.75

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#12
Look ok Facebook marketplace a few lathes in your price range there.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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#13
As someone who read up on windturbines and have purchased machines to learn on I can provide this insight. Choose the range of kw you plan on working with in the turbine arena. As a beginner I could see 5kw as a good top end. This could be at about 10-12" diameter depending on length of rotor. For longer rotors smaller diameter is feasable. 5" diameter rotors maybe about 12" long. 10" diameter rotor maybe 3" thick. The larger the diameter the more costly the machine. I would say look into a lathe with 6" swing minimum and at least 24" of travel. This will get you the ability to machine in the 6" diameter range for the length you may need for intro kw range. You will also need a mill for some parts that cannot be turned on the lathe. Nothing huge but at least 7"x9"x18" mill table. This should get you into a good place for producing something you can sell to offset the intro cost. Learning is a great option and if your planning on this being a long term goal I would start with some classes then approach buying but if your confident in your own teaching method and are dedicated on the forums you find buying the machines can help minimize time. 1000$ is not too much in terms of two machines for what you want. Maybe up the budget to 5k$ for a really good starting point on machines or be patient and observant on the local sales and auctions for a cheaper starting point. Tooling is costly though almost as much as some machines, remember tooling is specific to operations so one tool will not be enough for everything you want to do. Think of a recipe, a stew is basic but requires many ingredients, it is as machining. A finished part requires a few ingredients. Hope this helps some.
 
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