I have had my feelers out there for a used lathe and vertical mill for a while now. Both of these tools are very valuable to anyone working with metal. A lathe especially for frame builders. Over the last couple years I have been using the lathe and mill over at C and S automotive here in Santa Barbara. They are great guys and let me come and go as I please. It's been really nice having that as an option but it isn't convenient. Every time I wanted to do something on either machine, I had to pick up my stuff, go over to their shop, use the machines, find out I was missing a part, drive home, order part or pick up part, go back to the shop, use machines, go back to the drawing board..... etc. Get what I mean? Its a lot easier to be able to turn around and just use it in your own shop. So I let my friends, family, old co workers, machinist friends know that I was in the market for both machines, if they were to hear of anything and they were priced well, I would be very interested. (Its pays to have friends that want to help!)
Here's the hard part. Most machines that are being sold are beat to hell and people want way to much money for them. I don't have a lot of money and I needed machines in good shape. Both are hard to come by. If something happens to come up on ebay or clist, chances are, if its priced well and in good shape its gone in 24hrs. I don't have time to troll either of those sites and usually I can't move fast enough even if I do find something. Luckily, I have great friends! In the last two weeks I have had several machines come up on my radar. Some great. Some OK, but all worth consideration. All of them, I had to move quick on.
To make a long story a little shorter I had the opportunity to bid on some machines that were part of a foreclosure that my friend bought. The guy that used to live in the house, had a machine shop in his garage. Luckily, not to many people got involved and I was able to pick up both a lathe and a vertical mill for very little money. I was ecstatic. Now came the fun part. I had to move the machines in less than 24 hrs.
These machines were going to drastically change the flow of my work space. They are also heavy, so heavy that wherever they get set down is were they are going to sit, so planning is essential. After a few hours of drawing out floor plans I realized that my current set up was not going to be able to accommodate my new tools. I also had to clear a path to the spots were the machines were going to sit. So what did I have to do? I had to pull everything out of my shop. I mean everything.
That next 24hrs was a whirlwind. Machines moved in and I went back to re building my shop. Work benches, welding table, cabinets, tubing rack, electrical for all the machines (this was extremely difficult but very rewarding), all my mechanic tools, etc. It was a lot of work. This all started last Thursday and I have been up at 6am and worked until 1am the last 5 days. But finally, I'm back up to speed and building frames again. I have informed my customers of the current on goings. This put a small delay in frame orders, but I plan on working weekends to get back up to speed. Here are a few pictures.
This is the vertical mill getting loaded off the auction site.
Here is a picture of the left side of my shop.
And the right side, also the new machining bay and metal turning area.
Here is the new welding and brazing area, I also have the tubing rack down low, which is also my new shop desk, which allows me to be in touch with customers at all times.
New work bench. This is actually an old drafting table from 1969 with a solid core door cut to size as my bench top. This new bench is rad! I'm almost most excited about this new piece, since its were I spend 90% of my time. It has drawers and is super heavy duty. Notice how the vice was also in all the pictures? Ya, I also spend a lot of time there.
Alright Aaron. Enough of your rambling. Congratulations, you got new toys. What does this mean for us, the customers? Good question! It means a lot of things. Faster turn around times on frames and more custom parts. Since NAHBS I have had a lot of requests for custom things that would take me forever to get done if I had to do them at someone else's shop. It will also allow me to fine tune things that people normally don't notice. Manipulating tubing, making small parts and making tooling!
So why no pics of new bikes? Well, I kinda had a feeling about two weeks ago that this move was going to take place, so I started moving some stuff that isn't visible to everyone. I had backdrops and a make shift photo studio in my shop. Those were the first to get moved. With the new machines, there is no more room in the garage for said photo studio. That being said, I have a new home for all of that stuff and I should be up and running later this week. I will also be shooting pictures of them asap and have them up on the blog.
Tyler's and Jeremy's frames are off to paint this week and JohnM and StevenH are on the chopping block for next week. Time to catch up and keep moving. If you are thinking of a frame and want delivery of the bike sometime in late July/early August, now is the time to get in line. I'm already getting a lot of questions about CX frames. Lets keep this party rolling!
I'm gonna miss MCA. Beastie Boys were one of the first artists I ever started listening too.