Machines and Power Tools


I have a number of machines and power tools in my shop and countless hand tools. I have a list of the machines and major power tools with descriptions, but no photos just yet. They are listed in the order in which I obtained them. Items listed in blue will be placed in my basement shop. All others are stuck in the garage.

1. Miller Thunderbolt AC-DC "buzzbox" stick welder.
I purchased this for some projects that I had back in about 1988, and it has been a good welder, never had a lick of trouble with it. No, I will not sell it. I think I paid about $300 for it when it was new.

2. Milwaukee Sawzall.
For many years this was the only tool I had (except for a good old fashioned hack saw) for cutting steel for my various projects. I purchased it about the same time as the Miller stick welder and it has seen much use over the years. I just recently purchased a new shoe for it as well as a new blade clamp (just in case I lose one) and a new seal for around the reciprocating rod. I probably should have purchased a set of brushes for it too.

3. Taskmaster Drill Press.
This is one of those Taiwanese drill presses that are so common.  I purchased it about 1990 for something like $200 if I remember correctly. It has twelve speeds and a 5/8" chuck, but the spindle travel is only 3".  It's been a good drill press, but I have been considering replacing it with something better. For the time being I will just hold tight as I can use the money for a different drill press towards something more desirable like a horizontal mill.

4.  Hobart Handler 120 wire feed welder.
This welder has been invaluable, and it has completed many projects. I purchased it new back in 1995 for a total cost in the neighborhood of $600 if I remember right. That price included the welder, ten year C25 tank lease, first full tank of C25, and C25 regulator as well as a couple of ten pound rolls of wire. I chose the 120 volt model because I could use it anywhere, and that portability factor has come in handy more than once. The only problem with it is that liners for the gun and lead are no longer available because the original manufacturer of lead and gun is no longer in business. My old friend Loren at Toll Welding tells me that there is an aftermarket gun that will work with this welder. I just need to get up to the Plymouth location to see him and get the ball rolling.

5. Central Machinery 8" bench grinder on stand.
I picked this up used (looked new though) for $25 in 2009. It replaced my old 1/2 HP motor with an arbor and stone that had been given to me years ago. It was relegated to wire brush use only. The 8" bench grinder isn't a bad unit, but I did have to get some good wheels for it, as the originals were crooked as can be. They would not run straight and caused quite a bit of vibration and I did not trust their integrity at all. They were soon replaced.

6. Central Machinery Flexible Shaft Tool.
I picked this up on an auction for $2 in 2009 but it was missing the handpiece. A quick search on eBay got me a new handpiece with chuck for under $10.  This is one of the best purchases I've ever made as it is much more powerful than a Dremel tool, and more versatile as well.

7. Logan  210 Lathe
This is a bench lathe with a 10" swing and 24" between centers. Its manufacture date was July 3rd, 1941 and it was originally purchased by the Char-Lynn Corporation (my grandfather worked there as a machinist in the 1950's). I obtained it in 2009 for $600 with two chucks and the lathe was mounted to a heavy steel storage cabinet that was originally issued by the US Army. This lathe does not have a quick change gear box, but did come with one complete set of change gears and the better portion of a second set. Since purchasing the lathe I have purchased a number of accessories for it: steady rest, follow rest, 10" faceplate, complete set of 3AT collets and drawbar, Phase II AXA quick change toolpost, and most recently, a brand new 6" three jaw chuck from Shars. I also have a cross slide for it that gets used with a taper attachment, but it looks like I will have to make the rest of the taper attachment itself. My future plans include outfitting it with a three phase motor and a variable frequency drive.

8. Keller Model 5 Hy-Duty power hacksaw
Cutting bar stock for my lathe projects with a hand powered hacksaw was getting old real fast, so I started looking for a saw of some sort, stumbling on this one late in 2010. I was able to get it at just the right price - FREE - all I had to do was pick it up before a certain date. Did I mention that it was 400 miles away??   That was okay, going to get it was a good excuse for a road trip. When I picked it up it was horribly dirty and I was beginning to think that I had gotten a raw deal even with the free pricetag. When I got home I went to the local car wash and pressure washed the daylights out of it to get most of the heavy grime off of it. To get it out of my pickup, I had to disassemble it (the doggone things weighs about 500 pounds!) and unload it piecemeal. That was okay, as it was easy to finish degreasing all of the parts before assembling it again so that it would be usable for a big project that I had coming up. The main bar is worn and should be replaced, and it has a few other wear issues, all of which can be repaired easy enough. While I have it apart for those repairs it will recieve a coat of light gray paint.

9. Clausing 8520 Mill
I purchased this mill for $1000 in 2013 from a fellow in Brainerd, Minnesota. It came with a set of MT2 collets, a Jacobs 5/8" chuck, a 3/4" end mill holder, a few odd end mills, and an original Clausing 4" vise. Since obtaining it I have added a 6" Shars rotary table, 5" Glacern vise, and a set of ABSolute DROs on the X, Y, and Z (knee). It does some nice work, but has a chatter in the head, but only when making certain light cuts. Under no load or under heavy load it is quiet as can be. I suspect that there may be a bearing going bad in the headstock, but everything seems to be smooth as can be. I suppose I will just have to tear it apart to find out. Future plans for this machine also include a three phase motor and variable frequency drive.

10. California Air Tools 3/4 HP ultra quiet air compressor, model 1675A
This was my Christmas gift from my wife in 2013. It will work great in the basement shop as it is small and extremely quiet. I have a 6HP Cast Air unit out in the garage, but it rattles all the windows within a city block when it lights off. The new compressor will only serve the basement shop but will never even be heard in the rest of the house. Yes, it is that quiet. I was impressed with it to say the least! My wife purchased it on sale for something like $169

11. Harbor Freight 20 ton hydraulic press
I purchased this in 2014 in anticipation of a number of different projects where a press would be required. I bought it new for $154 and, despite the low price, I am rather impressed with this little beauty. Beats the heck out of using a bench vise to try and press bearings!

12. Late 50's Craftsman 10" table saw.
I don't do a lot of wood work, but I was getting tired of trying to get straight and square cuts using a circular saw. Driving to my dad's to use his saw all the time had its own problems. Stumbled on this saw locally (2 miles from my house) on Craig's LIst and brought it home in November of 2015. It has two table extensions and a nice cabinet base. It needed some TLC but works quite well now that the kinks have been worked out of it.

13. Harbor Freight Combination 4 x 36 belt sander and 6" disc sander.
Purchased in late November of 2015 while on sale for under $60.  It isn't big, but then again I don't need a big sander. It should work great for the sanding and deburring I need to do.

14. 18' x 24" granite surface plate and stand.
Purchased new in March of 2016 from Enco (now MSC), it is not really a machine, but is a piece of equipment that can be very handy in the shop. Accompanied by a height gauge, it can be used for layout work. It can also be used as a reference surface when hand scraping parts or other reference surfaces such as cast iron straight edges or prisms.

15. Delta vertical woodcutting bandsaw.
I have been finding myself doing more wood working, and the occasional need to be able to resaw, requiring a bandsaw. I am also quite certain that I can rig up a system by which I can slow this saw down enough for cutting metal as well. A friend of mine offered this saw to me for $325 in June of 2016. It is in nearly new condition, requiring only a little cleaning up to make it a great little saw with a footprint that is not too large for my shop space. During the cleanup process I found that one of the guide bearings was 'catchy' so I replaced it with a new one.

Future plans??
Not sure at this time other than to get my shop set up in the basement as time allows. If space permits, I would like to obtain a small horizontal mill like an Atlas or a Clausing, maybe even a Benchmaster. I also like shapers, but I don't think I would get enough use out of one to justify purchasing it, not to mention the room it would take up in the shop.

I do have plans in place for a small dust collection system. It will be a point-of-use system, not an entire-shop unit, and rather portable. I purchased an Oneida Dust Deputy and used it with my large Craftsman shop vacuum, but it is awfully noisy. The Dust Deputy works great and very little dust gets past it. I obtained and have been experimenting with a blower that had been a draft inducer for a high efficiency water heater. It's inlet and outlet are the same size as those on the Dust Deputy, so I plan to use it to draw air through the Dust Deputy and exhaust through a large air filter that I also use on my Dodge Cummins pickup, known as a BHAF (Big Honking Air Filter) among diesel fans. In place of that filter I may try building a filter box that uses a whole house air filter. Not sure yet which way I will go, but I want the entire system to be easily portable.