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GDS12

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#1
I was just starting to look at surface grinders and was wondering what the consensus is on which is best when buying older, used machines. I have my eye on a couple Boyar Schultz 6x12's but I also see a couple Brown and Sharpes and Harig Super 612's etc... All are on local (or fairly local) Craigslist ads. Seem to be in the $500 to $1500 range. Are there any machines to stay away from used? Any advice and suggestions are welcome.
Thanks
Gary
 

Bob Korves

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#2
Any of those three brands were very good machines when new. However, many or most of the used surface grinders being sold (at least around here) have major issues. The biggest one is the spindle. It must be in very good to excellent condition or you will not get good results. Repairing or rebuilding a surface grinder spindle is not really a job for a hobby machinist. It needs to be done correctly, and we don't really have the skills and experience and special equipment to do that job right. Also, some spindle bearings for surface grinders are obsolete, which leaves you in a bind. They are also quite expensive to prohibitively expensive, and you will probably have to take it apart to find out which bearings it takes. Again, you would also need the skills and equipment to rebuild a precision spindle. Learn how to check a spindle before looking at surface grinders, or take someone who is an expert at it with you to look at candidates. Buying a properly rebuilt spindle or having one rebuilt professionally will cost a LOT of money.

The ways of the machines are also often well worn. After all, they live in a gritty environment. You must take the table off and inspect the ways and/or rollers or balls that the table traverses on. The saddle ways can also be worn out, and, less often the vertical ways for the up and down axis. Missing or damaged covers and shields that keep the grit out are reason for walking away directly, and so is grit or signs of lack of lubrication under the covers and in the ways. They don't have to be perfect, but they need to be good for good results, and good surface grinders are not what you usually find for sale. I know I am being heavy about this, but don't want to see you or anyone getting stuck with something that looks like a surface grinder, but is actually essentially scrap metal.

Get a decent one and you will really enjoy what you can do with it!
 
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Dabbler

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#3
+1 to everything Bob as just said. Nowadays people are unloading manual/hydralic grinders inf favour of CNC surface grinders. That is great for us, where often fine machines are being dumped. And the 'average hobbyist isn't interested. Makes for great deals for us!

Most grinders have ways that can be inspected from below: look for scored/scarred ways or dry ways. those are going to give you more trouble than wet shiny (or scraped) ways. If the grinder is really cheap, say under $700, and the spindle is quiet without having a periodic 'whine' then it will give you good service, even if it isn't a $2000 machine.

If you want a 20 micron machine, be prepared to pay a fair price, in the 2K$ range - great deals are out there, but that would be rare.
 

Cooter Brown

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#4
I have a Boyar Schultz 6x12 its a great machine.... If you go look at one lift the table off and check the ways for wear, turn the spindle by hand to check the spindle bearings and to see if the spindle is bent.... Also try not to buy one that you can't see powered up, the motors are unusual and will need to be rebuilt and that's not exactly cheap..... I paid $550 for mine a few years ago....
 

Grandpop

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#5
Agree that spindle should be relatively quiet and no obvious vibration when you touch it behind the wheel guard.

The Boyar Schultz certainly is a well made machine (I own one), and was copied by lots of importers, so lots of clones out there. Not much in way of parts available, but typically don't need many as can get/make most of them. Harig, Chevalier, Brown and Sharp, Doall and others are very similarly well made units. Best I ever ran were the Mitsui / Okamota ball way machines, hands down.

Most them will have worn ways and screws in middle of travel, anywhere from light to heavy wear. Best to get an idea of how much it has before you take it home, and compare that to what you want the machine to do.

Not sure what the market is like near you, but around here the Boyars go for same as you, others maybe 1000-2500, and Mitsui / Okamota maybe 3500-5000. Much as I wanted a Mitsui, I could not justify the cost.

I paid 500 for mine, spindle reasonably quiet, rubber dust guards split, .020 backlash, and extremely dirty, but 15 miles from home with free loading onto my trailer. I have another 500 into it for all new oil metering valves (old grinders valves are typically clogged), new rubber guards, new bellows for the cross screw, missing wheel guard, etc. Also added now oil marks to table, cleaned out the lube tank, and cleaned it all up (lot of work). I have done a fair amount of work with it, and seems reasonably accurate, can usually get within .0002, good enough for home use.

No matter what you buy, will most likely need 200-500 to get it into good running shape. All just depends on what you want it to do.
 

Bob Korves

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#6
Don't buy a machine that you cannot see running before purchase unless you really like rolling the dice. Also test the mag chuck and grind a smaller piece or two of hardened tool steel to see what kind of results it gives. Another reason to bring a knowledgeable grinder hand along with you if possible.

Edit: turn the spindle, carefully feeling for ANY roughness or play in the bearings, BEFORE you run the machine. None is acceptable.
 
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Bob Korves

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#7
Are there any machines to stay away from used?
The lower end Chinese machines are often put together with ordinary bearings, and use other cost cutting downgrades to meet a price point. It is often difficult to get a good finish with those machines even when they are new. Some of the better Asian machines are just fine if in good shape.
 

Dabbler

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#8
Stick to the 'name' brands, as these industrial machines are nearly bulletproof. As long as they don't have bad ways and decent spindle, these will serve you well.

Another one to stay away from is Ingar, a spanish machine. If it is really new, it can be good, but they don't seem to last long, so you are far more likely to get a worn out one. I know someone with a rare great one. I almost bought one, long distance, but I'm very happy with my Brown and Sharpe.
 

Ulma Doctor

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#9
all the brand names you listed are quality machines.

i was lucky to find a single owner one man shop who sold his Boyar-Schultz 618 to me for 1K
 

Dabbler

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#11
you're right. If you live near them, they have a lot of stock!
 

Cadillac STS

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#12
Something I noticed just recently about surface grinders and Craigslist. They don't show up much under tools. But search "Surface Grinder" for the whole Craigslist site and they do show up plenty. They are listed as heavy equipment or business for sale maybe other headings.
 
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