I know I've been kind of quiet lately, but that doesn't by any means mean I'm just sitting around drinking spiced rum out of a coconut shell on a beach somewhere.
Or even eating coconut-sprinkled donuts at the Shell station near the beach, although that one's a bit closer to the truth.
I have, as usual, many irons in the fire- often to the point of having more iron than fire, truth be known. One of those irons, which is a big, complex chunk of iron with lots of parts and bits and doodads and my metaphor breaks down about here, but anyway, one of those projects is the heretofore-unthinkable concept of...
... bear with me here... getting rid of some machines.
Yes, you heard me, and no, there is no large man standing behind me holding a gun to my head and forcing me to type this.
For that matter, neither is there a buxom young lady standing behind me offering me a large plate of hot, fresh apple pie to type this.
More's the pity.
Where was I? Oh, right, the machines.
As regular readers might know- and you irregular readers might know even better- I am something of a packrat, and thus currently have a very cramped shop. Between the machines I'm using on a regular basis, the machines I'm "in the middle of" rebuilding, the machines that have been rebuilt but that I only use on an infrequent basis, the personal and customer projects, the raw material, and the just plain junk, my shop is pretty tightly packed.
As such, it has become time to cull the herd a bit, so to speak. I have several machines I bought "just because they were cool", or because they were cheap, or, in one case, because I had the open space in the shop and I thought it'd be neat to have one over there in the corner.
I still love my machines, but personal and more importantly customer demands have gotten to the point I can no longer as easily justify wasting ever-more-precious shop space on machines that either don't (yet) work or that I don't need.
I am in the process of updating and modernizing, and will be adding more CNC machines in the near future. But in order to do so, I must first make room for them- if somebody gave me so much as a bench grinder, the only place I'd have for it right now is somewhere out in the driveway.
So the first thing to go, is an old project I haven't really talked about much.
The story is, back in very early 2010, I came across a deal on an old surface grinder, an early Covel Type 15. (Photo stolen at random from the internet, as I can't find my original photos at the moment.)
The price was dirt-cheap, and not even good dirt at that, and the machine was then-currently functional. It needed a little work- natch'erly- but the price was right and at the time (and for that matter, still) surface grinders virtually never came up for sale around here.
I didn't post about it at the time, I think mainly because I was still in the middle of the Rockford drill build, and was even still doing some of the tail end of the Nichols mill build. I think the idea was that I'd save the photos and start posting about it after the other two were done. Something like that. It's been a while.
Anyway, the build was supposed to be easy- kind of like the recent Exacto build. Disassemble, clean, paint, reassemble, go play. Very little real work needed, just minor repairs.
So I disassembled it...
Stripped, sanded and pressure washed it...
Cleaned up most of the major pieces...
Painted it... (that's primer)
And started cleaning up some of the rest of the pieces.
At some point I needed to order some parts (the knee screw was badly worn) and had to set everything aside 'til I could afford them, order them and get them in. As I recall, the rest of that summer wound up very busy (as usual) and apart from some relatively minor work and a few painted bit, sat around until early fall.
The real kicker there was that fall, as luck would have it, I scored a much better and considerably newer surface grinder at the local Borough auction. That one I detailed here at the time, wherein the "build" amounted to "wash off the dust, bolt together, plug in, grind". That same machine is still in use, and still tight an accurate.
The problem was, the instant I bought it, the Covel became instantly obsolete. I no longer needed it, and didn't want to in effect waste any more time on it.
I also couldn't sell it as a pile of disassembled junk, and even as cheap as I got it, didn't want to just scrap the whole mess. So I figured one of these days, I'd finish it up, and foist it off on some poor unsuspecting schmu- I mean, some lucky individual.
Well, given my habits and workload, of course that time never really came. I have way too many other things to do these days, to the point where even my cool, fun stuff, like my musclecars and personal custom paintball guns, sit gathering dust most of the time.
However, as luck would again have it, I have a buyer. The same gentleman who purchased my freshly-rebuilt JET mill-drill last year, was also in the market for a surface grinder- as I noted above, they rarely come up for sale up here, and when they do, they can be surprisingly expensive.
We made an agreement that if I had it up and running by spring- that is, our spring, not you sunbelt types' spring - he'd buy it from me.
Naturally, I had planned to start on it a bit earlier in the winter, but hey, there's that "irons in the fire" thing again. However, the build should be fairly straightforward- much of the cleaning and painting is done, so all that it really needs is a few repairs, a couple more parts painted, and some wiring.
So I unearthed it from under a literal pile of junk on the shop, took stock of the parts, and got started. The first thing that needed to be done was to thoroughly clean out where the spindle goes. I'd cleaned, stripped, sanded and pressure-washed the column way back when, then repainted it, but between the stripping and washing, and before the painting, I'd decided to remove the spindle and replace the bearings.
The old grease was in bad shape, and I regretted not having washed it out beforehand. So, since it was now still coated in old grease, and seven years of shop-dust besides, I rolled it outside, scrubbed the bore thoroughly with a brush and some Purple Power, and pressure washed the whole mess.
Later this week, if I can spare the time, I'll dig up the new $300(!) spindle bearings and carrier parts, clean them all up and get the spindle reinstalled. Once that's back in place, the rest of it will be- with one or two exceptions- a simple matter of clean, paint, bolt back on.
And, if all goes well, will head out the door come May-ish sometime, and will be the first of what I'm hoping will be a Net Machine Loss this year.