Old Machinery #1: Old vs New Machinery

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Blog entry by MrRon posted 10-19-2014 07:56 PM 1132 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Old Machinery series Part 2: Old Machine Restoration »

One of the big differences between machinery made in the old American factories and the new factories of China, is weight. Weight is important to keep vibration down and stability and accuracy high. Reducing weight is one way of keeping costs down; less material cost, less shipping costs. Some manufacturers have tried to replace weight with engineered solutions, like stronger, but lighter materials; replacing metal with plastics. It’s much the same with the automotive industry. Light weight cars means higher speeds and better fuel economy. All this costs money and I wonder if the overall cost justifies the end result. Some people want the latest and greatest, but a lot of people are happy with their restored 60’s Impala or vintage Jaguar or Mercedes. Old machines like Oliver, Northfield and Tannewicz are still in service and will be long after the new machines have turned to rust. I for one would prefer an old machine as would a number of others here on this forum.
Naturally the capitalist system needs to keep producing and replacing the old in order to survive. In other parts of the world, products are still being made using skilled manual labor and working on old machines that have been around before the 2nd world war. People in these countries are lucky to have an old lathe still in use. Their skill balances out the need for a pricey new machine. There are “Roy Underhills” all over the world. Although I don’t like to work with tools that old, I am happy with machines from the early part of the 20th century.

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