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Another unfortunate milestone reached?

Manual machine tools disappearing?

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Bob Worsley07/11/2019 18:38:33
6 forum posts

Received a flyer in my Machinery Market magazine today, a glossy advertising the shutting down and selling off of Electro Motion's largest sales building.

For sale are over 600 machines, from the photos mostly manual or early auto types.

Does this mean that manual machines are now scrap? If it hasn't got a colour screen and 15 software updates a month then no one wants it?

I remember visiting Nettlehams at Gainsborough about 20 years ago. They were in the same position, no one bought what they sold, place turned into a supermarket I think.

I have personally experienced the same with electronic test equipment. Analogue scopes, spectrum analysers, signal generators plus just about every other type of non-colour LCD screen equipment is scrap. I know, I scrapped about 70 Tektronix and HP analogue scopes few years back, worthless.

Is this good, or bad? That you now have trouble finding a machine that will do a serious job without needing software is an advance, or not? Is the thing to do to salt away old mills and lathes, a Parkson for £400 doesn't sound expensive, or big old Colchester lathes, radial arm drills, even trivial stuff like a drill grinder.

Feels to me that this isn't good. The lack of any software in a machine is good. Starting out don't you need simple, reliable and cheap tools?

Ian Skeldon 207/11/2019 19:15:50
399 forum posts
29 photos

If I remember correctly, I looked at Electro Motion when looking to buy my mill, I almost instantly left their site and went else where. I may be in a minority but whenever I am wanting to find and buy something I avoid companies that do not indicate a price, they have the time to type up a description as to how little it has been used etc but then want you to fill in an online form to request the price, why?

I guess it is sad that any machine supplier is shutting shop but luckily there are plenty still around selling good old fashioned machinery.

Tony Pratt 107/11/2019 20:58:51
929 forum posts
3 photos

Plenty of demand & supply for manual machines at the moment, long may it continue. Have worked on various CNC machines for 20 plus years but use manual machines in my workshop, both types are good.

Tony

larry phelan 108/11/2019 10:07:00
527 forum posts
11 photos

I am quite happy with manual machines. I don't want C-N-C in fact I don't even have a "Smart Phone", just the old Common-or-garden type, but it works .

Regarding ad,s for machines, I would never be bothered with any seller who did not state a price, just invite you to tender. That,s little better than a Dutch Auction, so I say, No deal.

Manual machines are fine for our level of work, output is not important and there is less to go wrong, so I say

Keep it simple !

SillyOldDuffer08/11/2019 12:03:15
4843 forum posts
1018 photos

Posted by Bob Worsley on 07/11/2019 18:38:33:.

...

Does this mean that manual machines are now scrap? If it hasn't got a colour screen and 15 software updates a month then no one wants it?

...

I have personally experienced the same with electronic test equipment. Analogue scopes, spectrum analysers, signal generators plus just about every other type of non-colour LCD screen equipment is scrap. I know, I scrapped about 70 Tektronix and HP analogue scopes few years back, worthless.

Is this good, or bad? That you now have trouble finding a machine that will do a serious job without needing software is an advance, or not? ...

Feels to me that this isn't good. The lack of any software in a machine is good. Starting out don't you need simple, reliable and cheap tools?

I sympathise, and despite being interested in CNC am unlikely to upgrade my workshop. I am a Yesterday's Man and like it.

Oscilloscopes are a different story. Years ago I lusted after Tektronix and HP oscilloscopes and never got one because they were unbelievably expensive new, and costly and unreliable second-hand. Many of them required extra plug-in modules, also expensive and hard to find. The nature of their circuitry made oscilloscopes exceptionally hard to diagnose and fix, or at least I thought so! And they're big heavy monsters with tiny screens. Today I have a new Digital Oscilloscope costing about £300 that outperforms all of them with many useful extras. In glorious technicolour. Old oscilloscopes have gone the way of Ayer's Cherry Pectoral.

New technology may not appeal to us but the grand-children love it. And they're the ones who decide what catches on, not us.

sad

Dave

mgnbuk08/11/2019 12:32:12
532 forum posts
23 photos

It is quite normal for industrial machine tool dealers not to state a price in adverts. The size of the machines that Electromtion seemed to specialise in would not be of interest to model engineers

My current employer has enquired of Electromotion on a couple of occasions, but the quoted prices were high enough to ensure that the enquiry progressed no further.

Manual machine tools in industry ? Probably not first choice these days. At work we have 9 lathes & 6 milling machines, with 1 lathe (Harrison 330) and 1 milling machine (XYZ KRV2000) being the only manuals - both see very little use. I would guess that I use them most for maintenance & simple tooling jobs, though they are used occasionally for simple, short run parts. Most jobs go on the CNCs - even one offs -because it is easier. Modern CNC controls are much easier to set up and program "at the control" than earlier versions. Everything is programmed at the machine in this company - the parts are usually quite straightforward & don't require the use of CAM to generate complex paths. Worst we get are drawings that don't have the required information, but usually a few minutes on CAD can get intersect co-ordinates etc.

The industrial world has moved on.

Nigel B

martin ranson 209/11/2019 21:32:22
avatar
135 forum posts
2 photos

To Bob Worsley please, I am always fascinated by the question of the old world versus the new ... I am definitely back in the stone age for my small models ... and happy to stay there ... how model engineering is perceived by a newcomer to the hobby I am not sure ... at the moment M E magazine seems to be firmly locked onto a lot of huge heavy models and quite a lot of full-size equipment as well ... obviously the editor can only publish articles that he receives ... however, from the viewpoint of a total beginner I wonder how we all appear ... my opinion is that he or she will think that a huge well equipped workshop is essential before doing anything .. lathe, miller, shaper, planer, oxyacetylene, bending rolls, large stock of metal etc, etc ... the bigger the list, the more the cost, ... there is also the size of workshop necessary to house it all ... somehow I think a lot of people could be dissuaded from starting to try making anything because they do not possess the experience, the skill, the space, the contacts etc.

I would love to know how other modellers view my opinions ... surely a total beginner needs a simple, low cost model to start with ... something to complete with a limited amount of hardware.

martin

XD 35110/11/2019 04:24:13
avatar
1362 forum posts
118 photos

I watch a youtube channel called Mr Carlson's lab , he restores and uses a lot of vintage test gear that is designed for repairing vintage radios and i often wonder what a service person back in those days would make of a modern oscilloscope or what a modern service person would make of a Vedolyzer or the like !

One thing i do know is the old stuff still looks better !

Hi Martin ,

There are designs for things like wobbler engines that require nothing more than a couple of drill bits a drill (electric or hand ) a hacksaw a small file ,some superglue and a small vise .

I think for a newcomer the biggest thing to overcome is the hesitance to ask questions on this and other forums and once the ice is broken i generally find that 99% of the forum members literally bend over backwards to help that new member .

Currently Neil and Jason are respectively running their excellent Lathe work and Milling for beginners series in MEW which i feel will help a newcomer immensely , The Editors of ME & MEW are really at the mercy of the contributors as to what they get in the way of projects and can only publish what they get .

One thing i would suggest to a newcomer is if they are going to subscribe to either or hopefully both Magazines is to go digital as it give access to the back issues and they can gain an immense amount of knowledge from those back issues along with many projects to build .

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