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Cheap stuff

Buying cheap things

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Steviegtr26/04/2022 04:24:43
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2432 forum posts
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So it does not cost a lot to populate your workshop

Steve.

Edited By Steviegtr on 26/04/2022 04:27:27

not done it yet26/04/2022 08:11:23
6809 forum posts
20 photos

Buy cheap, buy twice? Not going to watch that one.

Michael Gilligan26/04/2022 09:05:34
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20182 forum posts
1053 photos

dont know

Perhaps ‘Cheap’ is a candidate for my list of ambiguous words.

MichaelG.

Nicholas Wheeler 126/04/2022 09:12:58
930 forum posts
87 photos
Posted by not done it yet on 26/04/2022 08:11:23:

Buy cheap, buy twice? Not going to watch that one.

How about buy cheap, get the job done, move on? Would you watch that?

Hopper26/04/2022 09:14:16
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6393 forum posts
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Hear hear. My workshop is almost entirely populated by good quality gear that I bought cheap cheap secondhand at garage sales, including my Myford lathe. I started off with just my old apprentice days toolbox and now have a fully equipped workshop full of welders, torches, 20 ton press, lathe, grinders, vices, two drill presses, and boxes and boxes of hand tools, drills, reamers, micrometers etc etc. Even the workbenches are reworked kitchen benchtops. Storage shelves and cupboards also sourced for next to nowt.

For an investment of a bit of pocket change here and a bit there. It just took two years of getting up at 6am on Saturday mornings to be first in at the best looking garage sales and get the good deals. I am now better set up than some of the "professional" workshops I was paid to work in years ago. And I get to work with very nice British/Aussie/US made equipment. Always a pleasure.

I have only recently started buying brand new insert tooling and other specialised bits and pieces as I have reached the end of what is available secondhand locally in the non-industrial rural area that I live in.

Edited By Hopper on 26/04/2022 09:17:10

Pero26/04/2022 09:42:27
161 forum posts

Interesting topic. I have an excessively large number of tools ranging from the very cheap ( early days of no money ) to the very expensive ( still no money - spent it all on tools ).

These days I look at a tool in terms of whether or not it will do the job rather than initially looking at the cost. At my age it doesn't have to last for a hundred years - 10 would be good, 20 outstanding and 30 a miracle ( that's me rather than the tools ).

For example, I have never worn out a power tool no matter how cheap or expensive. I just don't use them that much and do not overwork them when I do. A tradesman's approach could well differ, although locally at least some are using cheaper electric tools, basically as a disposable item. Admittedly the more expensive tools may feel more comfortable in use but the job they do is just the same although occasionally a little slower..

I have in my time killed a few cheap hand tools through gross miss-use - pliers and screwdrivers come to mind but I am still using some Chinese jeweller's files bought for little money decades ago and used mostly on 316 stainless steel. Not everything cheap is bad.

Currently industrial machine tooling ex China can be had at very good value for money. Improved manufacturing and the need to provide high precision for use in today's CNC tools means that accurate tooling for the owner of larger manual machines is readily available at low cost. This does not however necessarily translate to tooling for hobby size machines where older manufacturing processes may still be employed.

The questions to ask - will it do the job to the standard I require and will it last the distance. If the cheaper tool will do the job go for it. There will be good use for the money left over.

My two bobs worth.

Pero

Circlip26/04/2022 09:42:38
1510 forum posts

Don't understand why so many can't recognise Yorkshire frugality? Keep up the good work Steve.wink

Regards Ian.

Derek Lane26/04/2022 09:56:32
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761 forum posts
171 photos

I always look at it as, if I use it the very odd time then cheaper products will do on the other side if it gets a lot of use then more is spent on it(Better quality).

I am not worried if I buy second hand as some of those can be of good quality yet cheap

Neil Lickfold26/04/2022 10:00:14
862 forum posts
195 photos

A cheap lathe repaired or a cheap mill repaired is better than No lathe and No mill.

Some don't have any of the good iron machines around. One thing that I have learnt is that if the oil or lube is black or very dark in colour, that's because material particles are in that oil and it's wearing out.

I am testing the idea of using the linear rail grease from DMG as a slideway lube on my new to me cheap mill that is not really cheap after the upgrade rework etc. But is still cheaper and is in my shop as opposed to Not having a machine of that capacity.

Being lucky to get measuring tools at the right price is a good way to make the hobby budget go a long way. I was fortunate to be given a Tesa 0-30 mm micrometer that did not go. Turned out that a cable was damaged. So I cut it shorter by 1mm and pushed the cable into it's connector properly.

Cheap cutters and cheap drills that are not really up to do the job end up costing a lot more. Garage sales often have a few little gems if you are early on the scene.

Really good tool holders, especially Boring bars can really make the difference , especially in the insert life and sometimes in surface finish. My roughing inserts are finishing inserts that have some wear, but are not worn out.

Neil

Ady126/04/2022 10:06:33
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5090 forum posts
736 photos

I sometimes get cheap stuff which gives you a lot for your money, and then focus on improving its limitations or use it to create a more useful project

My Lidl bench drill is still sittlng gathering dust for 69 quid but for that money I got a whole bunch of bits

Nearly used one of the triple belt pulleys last year but found an alternative

Pulleys are 20 quid a pop on ebay and that Lidl drill has two triples and a quadruple pulley before you even look at the rest of it

SillyOldDuffer26/04/2022 10:11:17
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8690 forum posts
1967 photos

Not everyone is as well served by local second-hand goodies as Hopper and Steve! Steve couldn't have made his video in my part of the world because my part of England is an engineering desert. Most local light engineering closed down nearly 50 years ago and the high-end survivors don't use centre drills or HSS! In consequence boot sales and auctions rarely have tools worth buying. Only battered rusty tools at inflated prices.

Steve's bargains come from nearby businesses that have either hit the rocks or are modernising or outsourcing. He's enjoying an opportunity which isn't reliable or sustainable in the long run.

As a schoolboy my first hobby was amateur radio and we all lusted after equipment costing new as much as a posh car or a house. Used to joke that "World War 2 was my playground" because huge amounts of surplus radio and other ex-military gear was dumped after the war. London's Lyle Street specialised in shops selling it and the two decades after 1950 were a golden age of electronic experimentation. By the seventies the apparently inexhaustable well of government surplus was running dry: air and sea fleets scrapped, regiments disbanded and all the depots were emptied. And equipment made in 1945 was well past its best-before date by 1980. The Cold War helped a bit, but surplus was never the same again. Today, radios that could be had for shillings and cannabalised, cost thousands and are highly collectable.

I think old tools will disappear in the same way as WW2 radios. Enjoy it while it lasts!

Dave

JasonB26/04/2022 10:22:40
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The other problem with cheap from boot fairs etc is that you are stuffed if you want the item at a particular time. OK if you can put the job on hold for 6 or 12months until you find the item you want cheap. Those that want to get on have to buy what's available at the time and decide on the quality they are happy to pay for.

As I see it those two sets of knurls are not that cheap as Steve now has 3 sets of wheels and only the expensive ones fit so that's £2 sitting in a draw not being usedsmile p

Hopper26/04/2022 11:02:28
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6393 forum posts
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Posted by SillyOldDuffer on 26/04/2022 10:11:17:

Not everyone is as well served by local second-hand goodies as Hopper and Steve! Steve couldn't have made his video in my part of the world because my part of England is an engineering desert. Most local light engineering closed down nearly 50 years ago and the high-end survivors don't use centre drills or HSS! In consequence boot sales and auctions rarely have tools worth buying. Only battered rusty tools at inflated prices....

 

Dave you may have no idea what an engineering desert is. I can't even buy a piece of bright mild steel where I live, 1,000 miles north of the state capital of Brisbane, which is the state's main industrial centre. Other than a few mining industry workshops  that are only about 500 miles south of me, all there is around here is sugar cane farms and Barrier Reef and rainforest tourism. There are a few small workshops servicing cane harvesters and trucks, or reef boats, and one sugar mill.

I can't tell you how many dozens and dozens of garage sales I used to go to go to that if they had tools at all, were the usual array of carpenters and home renovators' tools, before I would hit "pay dirt" and find some engineering related tools. Very, very rare. And finding a Myford lathe was a once in a lifetime deal. It was only there because it was the most clapped out lathe I have ever seen, after 60 years or so of abuse in the local electric motor rebuilding shop.

So it can be done. As i said, all it took was getting up at 6am every Saturday morning and hitting as many garage sales as possible in the hope of striking pay dirt, for two years or more. But it was time well spent and was always a great social occasion getting around chatting to all sorts of people in the process. . My workshop would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to set up with all new equipment.

But then a few years ago, the already small supply of engineering tools seemed to dry up. Garage sales seemed to get smaller and fewer as more people used eBay, Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace to sell individual things for more money. I went for 12 months without hitting a single good garage sale with tools I needed, so gave it up in the end. So maybe you are right that the glory days of cheap used tool buying are drawing to a close. Or maybe it was in part because I already had most common tools so I was getting fussier in what I bought.

Jason, I used to buy up all sorts of tools that I did not need but looked like they could be handy one day, so when I needed them, they were there. Trouble is they sit unused so long I forget that I have them, or forget where I put them!

Edited By Hopper on 26/04/2022 11:04:46

Edited By Hopper on 26/04/2022 11:16:34

Bountyboy26/04/2022 11:30:45
51 forum posts
8 photos

Couldn't agree more with Hopper & Steve, there are bargains to be had at car boots sales. Luckily I live near B'ham so there are plenty of car boots to visit with engineering tools for sale.

Steve showed an Albrecht keyless chuck he bought for peanuts, excellent buy, wish I was so lucky.

Nicholas Wheeler 126/04/2022 11:50:35
930 forum posts
87 photos
Posted by Bountyboy on 26/04/2022 11:30:45:

Couldn't agree more with Hopper & Steve, there are bargains to be had at car boots sales. Luckily I live near B'ham so there are plenty of car boots to visit with engineering tools for sale.

There are. Sometimes. But how often do you go to a bootfair with the intention of buying a good quality 50mm boring head and actually manage to do so? Usually you walk past a load of stuff that looks like it was just pulled out of a skip, pay £5 for a slime burger and go home with a couple of £0.50 Matchbox cars that remind you of the ones you ruined as a kid. On the rare occasions I see engineering stuff it's either the contents of another skip, or priced for the collectors who only buy pre-war Starret in original boxes.

Scouring the secondhand market for two years is a huge cost in time, and a fair amount of money. When I bought my first mini-lathe, I looked at several Myfords locally that were 2 to 3 times the price. They were worthless to me, as I had work to do that wasn't restoring a used-up piece of machinery.

Hopper26/04/2022 12:08:39
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6393 forum posts
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Posted by Nicholas Wheeler 1 on 26/04/2022 11:50:35:
Posted by Bountyboy on 26/04/2022 11:30:45:

Couldn't agree more with Hopper & Steve, there are bargains to be had at car boots sales. Luckily I live near B'ham so there are plenty of car boots to visit with engineering tools for sale.

There are. Sometimes. But how often do you go to a bootfair with the intention of buying a good quality 50mm boring head and actually manage to do so? Usually you walk past a load of stuff that looks like it was just pulled out of a skip, pay £5 for a slime burger and go home with a couple of £0.50 Matchbox cars that remind you of the ones you ruined as a kid. On the rare occasions I see engineering stuff it's either the contents of another skip, or priced for the collectors who only buy pre-war Starret in original boxes.

Scouring the secondhand market for two years is a huge cost in time, and a fair amount of money. When I bought my first mini-lathe, I looked at several Myfords locally that were 2 to 3 times the price. They were worthless to me, as I had work to do that wasn't restoring a used-up piece of machinery.

That's the thing. I had more time than money so scouring garage sales was a pleasure. And restoring clapped out old machine tools turned out to be a pleasant hobby that has taken over my workshop! Once the restoration was completed, there is no end of accessories to make for it. Horses for courses.

Samsaranda26/04/2022 15:18:49
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1430 forum posts
5 photos

A few years ago I was picking up new, unused end mills and slot drills, some were top quality carbide, from eBay, they were advertised as items from individual sellers who were not selling professionally. My Best Buy was a top quality 16 mm carbide end mill, totally unused, I think I paid no more than a fiver for it. I wondered how so many new milling cutters were available on line and came to the conclusion that people working in engineering must have been putting them in their pockets and taking them home and then advertising on eBay. I managed to build up quite a store of end mills and slot drills but nowadays the supply has dried up and very few are advertised and usually the price is the same as retail. Dave W

not done it yet26/04/2022 15:30:53
6809 forum posts
20 photos
Posted by Nicholas Wheeler 1 on 26/04/2022 09:12:58:
Posted by not done it yet on 26/04/2022 08:11:23:

Buy cheap, buy twice? Not going to watch that one.

How about buy cheap, get the job done, move on? Would you watch that?

Probably not. I’m a bit choosy when it comes to videos. I do recall his ‘cheap’ knurling tool. That was enough on the topic.

As for gillie and his list of ambiguous words - I have avoided reading that thread, too.

Mick B126/04/2022 16:43:51
2192 forum posts
122 photos

I think it's clear that what you can realistically get cheap depends on your needs/wants, the industrial activity and history of the place you live, and the balance between the savings you can expect and the time you're able and willing to spend bargain-hunting.

For myself, the best cheap thing I have is a big Record 110 vice with quick release that came to me for £2 when they closed the toolroom at ITT Creed in 1981, where I was working as a tool designer.

Then I have a 0.0005" x 0.300" Baty dial gauge set up for me in the later 80s by their chief inspector. It works very smoothly.

I bought a cheap B&Q bench drill in about 1995 which I still have. I think it cost about 25 quid. I set it to its middle speed and don't think I've ever changed it for whatever size drill I was using. It rumbles and clatters and I regularly threaten it with replacement when that irritates me, but it actually still delivers decent work for anything I've put to it.

I buy cheap bench grinders and don't mind replacing them every 15 years or so. 'Buy cheap, buy twice' ain't necessarily a bad way to be going on.

smiley

Jon Lawes26/04/2022 17:34:44
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926 forum posts

My Pillar Drill was lend/lease from the USA. Can't get cheaper than that, unless of course they ask for back-rent.

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