Machine Shopping

It has been a crazy few months here in the ETS garage, there has been monumental changes in both the layout of my workshop and the capabilities that lie within it.

I had big plans but little room, something had to give, I completely went through my entire garage and sold everything that I didn’t need or needed but could re-buy when I needed it.

We live in an age where it’s easy to get things, just about everything is available at the touch of a button from all around the world.

So if I needed it I made a home for it, if I didn’t need it I put it on eBay or took it to the recycling center. It pays to be ruthless and that immediate feeling of loss is soothed by the blissfull feeling of freedom, no longer bound by the need to use something just because you have it.

I’ll be the first to tell you that putting things on wheels is a handy addition to any tight space, these bike stands I built have been brilliant and make storing, moving, planning and building a motorcycle a dream.

With everything out of the garage on a perfect winters day it was a good chance top appreciate all that I have worked for (oh and given)

Speaking of work I put the BMW R9TE on the backburner for a week or two to concentrate on my garage overhaul, its looking badass though!

I am that excited to rip back into it when I am setup and ready to go.

I wrote a wish list earlier in the year and worked on finding a supplier for all my tooling, one trip to Machinery House in Melbourne and I had my supplier sorted, but what was I going to get?

I needed 4 main large items, the first was a lathe.

I went with the AL410 Lathe because of it’s large 52mm spindle bore, that means I can do all sorts of things that most 38mm bore lathes cant. I do a lot of polishing, shaving, and turning of tube in the range of 38mm – 44.5mm (two main roll cage sizes) so the capacity of the larger bore makes turning longer sections easy.

Not to mention the digital read out on the X and Y axis, it makes turning fast and simple with less stop starts for roughing out.

The second large item was a mill, I went with the HM46 Mill Drill, more of a heavy duty drill with table feed than a mill but I didnt have much room in the intended position in the garage. Plus in future I want to get a full size turret mill so this is a great in between that is still capable of doing everything I need in the space I have. MachineryHouse had a package special on and supplied me with a complete clamp kit and digital angle meter as well.

The last of the large items were the guillotine and Panbrake package. The Panbrake is a Metalmaster PB-422A and spans 1300mm wide with a bending capacity of 2mm steel, perfect for what I need and a huge leap forward in my sheetmetal folding capabilities. The Guillotine is a Metalmaster SG-416A and is operated by the foot pedal. It has a capacity of 1250mm x 2mm and saves having to cut sheetmetal with an angle grinder.

With the forklift hired for the weekend I slowly unpacked everything and squeezed it under cover. I begun to have a fair amount of concern about how everything was going to fit in my garage.

I loaded up all the packaging and headed to the recycling center.

I spent the last day of the weekend completely cleaning out the garage again in an effort to try and make room, I was literally worn out and still a little worried that this big investment was to the detriment of the garage.

I vowed to work through it and the only way I could see it all working was to revert to my passion of putting things on wheels. I drew up 3 bases for the Lathe, Guillotine and Panbrake, then emailed through my cutting list for pre cut 50x50x3mm Galvanized RHS tube and 12 300KG capacity castor wheels. Monday night I picked up the steel and wheels on my way home from work, in just an hour I had the bases complete.

The next night my good friend Daniel did me a massive favor by lifting my machines onto the bases for me, this was the turning point for me.

I was able to roll around and position everything where I needed it, securely bolted to the frame and steadied with floor anchors it was a solid setup. The lathe is 750kg and allows me to have all tools in a position where I can use them and still be able to move them if need be.

The back wall is now machinery central, with the Brobo saw, Gillotine, Panbrake and Lathe all lined up and ready to service the next project.

After spending 16 hours in the garage last Saturday my back breaking week was starting to really show some positive signs.

My Lathe is what dreams are made of, being 3 phase it still wasn’t wired up (we did that last night, thanks Goldy!) so I hadn’t ran it yet.

I redid the garage lighting and sourced some more of my favorite spun alloy Ikea lights, they don’t make them anymore but I managed to find a few second hand on eBay.

Elsewhere in the garage things are looking good too, my hoist has two positions in the garage, I originally installed one set of anchors where the stacked cars sit, when I made those car racks I installed another set of anchors to allow me to work on the car next to the stacked cars. This essentially gave me 4 parking spaces in 2. So with the hoist removed from the second bay I made a stand that bolts securely into the concrete anchors and sits 1 meter high with an alloy adapter plate essentially allowing me to attach three items to it. Talk about a dynamic garage setup.

I have a nice big new vice that I also ordered, a bar bender that allows me to bend 100mm flat plate as well as my original tube bender.

Walking into my machine room (formerly known as my mess room before I actually made it clean again) I mounted a nice big vice to my new bench that houses my material.

My hand tools hanging up.

My slow speed linisher (for Alloy and Stainless) my exsisting belt drive drill and the new addition…..

My new L100 59×4″ linisher, great for ripping off steel.

In the middle I have a bench grinder, the left side for sharpening drills and the right side for sharpening TIG tungsten’s.

To the right of that is my HM46 Mill drill, I miss out on 60mm of Z travel due to the roof height and you can be sure I will cut a hole in the roof if I need that extra room, that’s how tight things are! Hence why a large turret mill was out of the question in this garage.

I scoured the Machinery House website all year writing up my wish list to try and cover everything I needed.

To get all the bits and pieces that will make my life and my upcoming projects neater, easier and more professional.

Because its the little things like a well constructed vice that make huge differences to the process.

I made up this rack next to the Mill to house the things I will need during operation.

It all adds up and I cant wait to just slow down a little and just enjoy the process of learning these machines.

Speaking of learning I had been searching for a new welder setup for some time now, understanding that technology moves quickly in this world I wanted to upgrade my welder as its been 10 years since doing so.

Luck, good timing or a little of both led me to get a call from a friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, his passion for TIG welding took him from fabricator all the way to developing his own machines.

Trav agreed to travel down on the weekend and run me through the last 10 years of Tig development and his very own brand of Welder, meet the SWS 200 Alumtig jam packed with 10 years of advancements that blew me away.

I will get deeper into this with a heap more detail in a coming post but after a quick startup lesson by Trav I was blown away at the advancements in not only TIG welders but the performance of the AC/DC 200 amp Alumtig. The way in which I am able to weld with this machine has changed a lot of things and I am more excited than ever to have a huge leap forward in what I am capable of producing out of my very own garage.

Add to that the introduction of a SWS Plasma Cutter, new TIG consumables and lenses, a foot pedal and a micro sized TIG torch the sky is the limit.

It’s all come at the right time, winters are generally my most productive season, I have been lucky to have some clear weekends (thanks Celia)

So whats on? Well the BMW R9TE will be under the knife this week and alongside it will be its Austrian counterpart that will form a 300 Two stroke street tracker for my good friend Max of Akin Moto but don’t fear fans of the 4 wheeled variety I have some things in the works that you would be extremely interested in.

I just need to find another 8.5 hours a day!

Thanks for reading!