EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GET YOUR RIDE RIGHT
What you want
and what you get in life aren’t necessarily the same things. What you actually need is far easier to define. Most times anyway.
So it is with those big workshop purchases. Constraints of space, if not budget, might rule out certain things. The usefulness of that 100-litre compressor will soon be called into question if all you ever do in between using it is climb over it to get to stuff in your workspace.
Me and MG were having this debate in the workshop the other day. We’ve both wasted money on equipment we never use. You can live with that it if it was a small purchase – in both price and physical size – but big items will forever haunt you like big painted metal elephants in the room.
On the other hand, there are certain things that soon become indispensable. I’ve had a hydraulic bench for only a few months but now wouldn’t be without it. Yes, it’s big. Yes it was expensive, even used. But if your work area is big enough to take a bike it’s big enough to accommodate a bench, as even when the bench isn’t in use, a bike can sit on top of it. There are even slimline ones available to nick back a little workshop width.
My lathe was harder to justify. When offered a beautiful old Myford ML7 with loads of tooling at a keen price I found it hard to resist.
I couldn’t really afford it, was unsure why I even needed it, had to make space for it and was several decades away from when I’d last used a lathe in school metalwork classes. So guilt-ridden was I with my purchase, I smuggled it into the workshop under cover of darkness. But my first tentative attempts on it soon yielded passable results. My mates learned that I had a lathe and before I knew it I was our unofficial machinest. Now, like the bench, the lathe is indispensable. It’s earned its place and its space, having saved a small fortune on machining jobs. It’s made me more of an engineer too.
Yes, he knows the belt guard should be fitted. It’s an old pic