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Question for you tool lovers

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If you had to start over, to replace your equipment and power/hand tools.
How much money would it take?
I need to come up with a budget.
Excluding the lathe and mill, I think at least $25,000 for hand and power tools and another $7,500 for lathe/milling accessories.
New lathe and mill, $18,000.
Welding and plasma, $6,500
What say you?
 

Comments

#2
Are you talking US dollars? For a hobby machinist? :oops:

If so, I have a lot of catching up to do. :)

Tom
 
#3
Yes, US dollars.
Remember, I have been buying tools for 45 years. I recently splurged and added another $20,000. Puff-Poof-Pufe-up in smoke!
To replace my base it's going to be expensive.
When my wife and I sit down and go over the budget for our re-born status, I'll need to have some ideas.
Hobby Machinists, is a broad term.
There are guys that are so far ahead of me and a few that are catching up.
That's the beauty of this web site, we can all learn something from each other, well except maybe the Master Machinists on board.
 
#4
I'd think you're pretty good on your budget. Lots depends on if you buy HF or Snap-On. Interapid dial test indicators are very nice (have 3 of them), but my Chinese no-names haven't given me any trouble for about 1/10th the price. Have fun! Glad to see you are going to rebuild your shop!

Bruce
 
#5
For a hobby machinist, it should not be so much about how many tools and machines you have, or even about the total capabilities or what you can make in your shop. In my mind, it is about how much you can learn, and how much enjoyment you get from making things. To me, projects are a means, not an end. Size and speed capabilities of the equipment are not all that important. I make stuff that match my resources and my imagination.

Beyond that, as an unabashed cheapskate, I go out of my way to get the best deals possible on everything I buy for the shop. I regularly hold out on purchasing a tool or machine I would like to be using until I find a good one at an incredible price. Just because I can, and because it pleases me. I buy machines and tooling that need work, because I enjoy cleaning them up and making them work as well as I can. My shop itself is quite humble, a three car garage that still fits a washer and dryer, water heater, freezer, yard and house maintenance stuff, a lot of just "stuff", and one car. And my shop space is what is left. The limits as a hobby machinist are not in the size of our shops or machines or wallets, or the amount of money spent on stuff, but rather in how much joy we get from having them as extensions of our hands and our brains and our imaginations.

The only correct answer to either a machinist buddy talking about machinery, or a lady of the night talking about tools, to the question "Who do you think you are going to please with that little thing?" is

ME!!!
:)
 
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#6
I'd say you are in the ballpark for a good start. It's all of the little odds and ends purchased over time that add up to real money. When I got into machining I spent around 25k for the machines, tooling and measuring instruments. I already had welding, plasma's and other cutting equipment.
 
#7
If buying new, just buy the absolute necessities, or ask around and someone might have an extra that they can send. You can be making chips and still waiting for that estate sale deal, "junk rusty tools in a Kennedy box with some old book for $150". Before you know it, you'll be back on track. Don't try to replace exactly everything since you can get by with the necessities for a while.
 
#8
If buying new, just buy the absolute necessities, or ask around and someone might have an extra that they can send. You can be making chips and still waiting for that estate sale deal, "junk rusty tools in a Kennedy box with some old book for $150". Before you know it, you'll be back on track. Don't try to replace exactly everything since you can get by with the necessities for a while.
The challenge is going to be the patience factor.
I'll round up some basic hand tools and try to take my time and watch for deals/craigslist/auctions etc.
 
#9
I'd think you're pretty good on your budget. Lots depends on if you buy HF or Snap-On. Interapid dial test indicators are very nice (have 3 of them), but my Chinese no-names haven't given me any trouble for about 1/10th the price. Have fun! Glad to see you are going to rebuild your shop!

Bruce
That's just it Bruce, I had old Craftsman tools. Somewhere in between HF and Snap-on.
 
#10
Best of luck and best wishes on your quest to rebuild, Jeff! Going at it with a plan, I like that! When I started out, I just bought what came along for the most part, just a few new purchases; I'd accumulate $ and when I had enough, I'd go visit my favorite machinery dealer and see what he had in stock, occasionally selling something and upgrading; if I had a budget amount stashed, I might have been more selective as to my choices, but, no complaints.
 
#11
The good thing is I won't need many of the tools I acquired over the years. I don't do wood work anymore, I have pretty much stopped working on cars so all the air tools won't be necessary. !!Ah, Compressor-- I forgot about it. DANG it.
Another thing, I won't be going back into the reloading gear I had. There must have been 15 dies and 2-3 presses with all the goodies.
Anyway, a streamlined focus will make the acquisition easier.
Bob is right, it's not about the quantity or having the best, but I have learned I will not buy worn out equipment unless I have the ability and energy to fix it. You learn as you go.
 
#12
Yeah, can't forget the air compressor! The more air the better ---- I like air tools much better than electric, so compact!
 
#13
I’m pretty fussy about my quality of work, even if it is hobby shop stuff. I want the best tools money can buy. That way, if my projects don’t look that great, I can’t blame my tools, only myself.
 
#14
Hi Jeff,

From an insurance valuation view point, I don't think that you are far off. Its very hard to account for all the little things that you may not use every day.
 
#15
I’m pretty fussy about my quality of work, even if it is hobby shop stuff. I want the best tools money can buy. That way, if my projects don’t look that great, I can’t blame my tools, only myself.
Yes, I also want the best tools that money can buy, but I like to buy them cheaply, always trolling E Bay! That said, I have too much stuff already, just ask my wife ---
 
#16
Remember the good ole days when you could find a deal on E-bay?
The only recent deal I have found was a set of 3, 4" KANT-TWIST clamps for $48 delivered.
IMHO they are few and far between.
I would imagine they are probably ruined in the fire though.
It will be interesting to see what is salvageable in the metals category.
 
#17
Yes, fleabay “was” a good source for my toolaholic addiction, not anymore. If you need something special, give me a shout, I might have it…Dave
 
#18
The good thing is I won't need many of the tools I acquired over the years.
I too, have spent my whole life acquiring tools. My Dad was a construction contractor, with a big bunch of wood working tools. He dabbled in the mechanical side as well, and I have many of his tools from both disciplines. I have no idea how much money I have spent myself on this lifestyle. What I DO know is that my interests have changed as time passed. If I faced your decisions, I agree with you that many of those tools would not be replaced, and would not be missed. Again I have to say your attitude is an inspiration to me! Best of luck in finding what you require, and recognizing what you don't.
 
#19
I’m going back to my question for a tool budget because it will be a reality.
Very difficult. If you and your spouse received a check for let’s just say $250,000.
That money is your budget for all household goods, furniture to refrigerators to washing machines, clothes, shoes, art supplies, paintings and everything in your garage or shop.
It seems like a lot of money doesn’t it.
I had at least $70,000 in tools over a lifetime, probably more.
But to say to your spouse, I’m going to need 1/5th of the budget to set up my shop?
That won’t work in my household. Well, it might if we had $80,000 left over after the new home was COMPLETELY furnished.
This is a tough one for me.
We will forward all proceeds to our financial guy. If we don’t buy a home for a year or two that money including the dwelling replacement check can grow at least 20%.
I can tell you this, I will be watching Craigslist and looking for deals along the way.
I enjoy buying needed tools but I don’t think it is going to be much fun. I think most of us would hold that money close to the chest, not wanting to spend unless absolutely necessary, of course we should do that anyway but I have a tool addiction.
Thanks for listening,
 
#20
My first paycheck I ever made went into tools. A 3/8" drive Oxwall metric socket set. I'm 4 years retired, so I've been at this for a while. The only new machines I've bought were a Delta Unisaw, Miller MIG and a Chinese TIG . The rest have been picked off CL or at auction and repaired to better than new, that's why I have machine tools... I shudder to think about replacing them, I really don't think it could be done. Those woodworking machine tools would eat up a $100,000 pretty fast. Then there are the machine tools, hand woodworking tools, and mechanic tools.
 
#21
Just my 2 cents as they say. The tool does not make a good machinist in my mind. I believe that the majority of quality that goes into metal working is the skill of the machinist. While a good quality tool may make you feel good, it all boils down to paying attention to what you are trying to do along with plenty of practice, practice, practice and some good common sense.
 
#22
I've always have heard that one , or "The tools don't make the craftsman." . And I consider it utter BS. A craftsman doesn't use garbage tools. I've been a tradesman since '71, the right tool for the job makes it much easier and you do a better job. But, yes, you will always be working against the limitations of machine tools.
 
#23
"The tools don't make the craftsman." . And I consider it utter BS.
Well, I disagree. I have seen too many "mechanics" with a wall of Snap-On tools, that did not know how to use them. They attempted to buy the respect of the shop and supervisor, instead of proving they had the knowledge required for the job. Soon enough, the truth came out, and they took their gigantic investment to another shop. I would bet they ended up selling it all, pennies on the dollar, to make ends meet in the end.
And on the flipside, I have seen more than a few mechanics show up with the bare minimum required. Given time, they showed their natural talent and ability to get the job done with ingenuity, innate skill and give-a- ****. I am in this group, and after 17 years here, I am RUNNING the shop!
 
#24
This is a little off topic; or maybe sideways from the topic. If your tools are destroyed in a fire, in general, is anything recoverable? I got to think items like end mills and drills would survive the heat and may be salvageable if you could find them in the rubble. I guess rust could be a major issue if not found quickly.
So sorry to hear you are in this position. I can't imagine how sad and frustrating this must have been. Best of luck!
Robert
 
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#25
On the flip side, have you seen the mess a carpenter can make with a dull chisel. Some brands of chisels will dull if you look at them wrong. Even the apprentice with a sharp chisel can do a good job. It's like the tool does the work for him.

Snap-on story. As an millwright apprentice I was buttoning up a grain elevator with a journeyman . I'm using a Maple Leaf brand wrench, an unpolished Gray, tough but cheap. He hands me his Snap-on to use . On the way home I stopped and picked up a fully polished 9/16" Gray, I couldn't afford Snap-on but if you are going to spend 8 hours with your tools, better a nice one.

If we had a fire, I would lose that special wrench.
 
#26
between woodworking, plumbing, electrical, ladders/scaffolds, metalworking and more, the cost is too huge to contemplate... North of the cost of my house.
 
#27
If you're going to start with basic hand tools, consider pawn shops. They're full of basic wrenches, sockets etc and often sell that stuff
for almost nothing just to get rid of them. With some patience you could put together a set of older, quality tools, (as long as you don't
mind mismatched sets :) ).
 
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