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Old 10-10-2015, 13:01   #1
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Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

O.k. I don't think anyone will object the necessity of a proper bench vice and the long list of the regular suspects of tools to have on the boat. However, what do you say about bigger tools/machines such as :

. Lathe
. CNC
. Drill press


Most of these got stronger, cheaper and smaller throughout the years, however, the main question is to feed their power needs and whether it would be possible to keep their calibrations in order in a boat?

My answer? Just as necessary as proper dedicated storage, extra tanks or watermaker.

Anyone has seen any? Any experience? Any thoughts?
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Old 10-10-2015, 18:50   #2
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MehmetCan View Post
O.k. I don't think anyone will object the necessity of a proper bench vice and the long list of the regular suspects of tools to have on the boat. However, what do you say about bigger tools/machines such as :

. Lathe
. CNC
. Drill press


Most of these got stronger, cheaper and smaller throughout the years, however, the main question is to feed their power needs and whether it would be possible to keep their calibrations in order in a boat?

My answer? Just as necessary as proper dedicated storage, extra tanks or watermaker.

Anyone has seen any? Any experience? Any thoughts?
MehmetCan,

Are you thinking woodworking or metal machining? I have experience with both disciplines but my response will depend upon your answer(s)...

Also, when you say CNC [computer numerical control] I suspect you are talking woodworking and referring to a CNC router table? [But almost any machine can be CNC... quite common in woodworking and machine shops.]

I'll await your answer and be happy to provide more qualified feedback. [I have owned a machine shop in the past and currently have a commercial woodworking shop, but have had neither on a boat; I never had a boat large enough to support either- at least without sacrificing living space... My largest sailboat was 47ft; current is 43ft.]

It will be interesting to learn what you have in mind. Either way you could probably stay as busy as desired as you cruised [if that is what you have in mind...]

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 10-10-2015, 20:43   #3
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

Ha, a friend had a very large metal lathe in the engineroom on his 45 foot steel yacht. Apparently he had to shift some ballast around to remove the list..

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Old 10-10-2015, 21:07   #4
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

We are 58 feet with stand up engine room and tiny work bench. I have bench grinder, vice. I will add drill press and consider a Harbor Freight small mill/lathe for metal work. No CNC but not needed for general repairs and one-off parts. There are high quality tiny Bridgeport mills if you can find one. That is about all the space I can yield. I presently work in a custom machine shop with 30 foot mills & big lathes, etc. I have access to anything after hours including materials. I will miss that when I retire next year to cruise.
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Old 10-10-2015, 21:14   #5
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

Last thing I want are metal shavings rusting on my decks or in the bilge. Now in a ship with a proper machine shop, great.
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Old 10-10-2015, 21:55   #6
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

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Last thing I want are metal shavings rusting on my decks or in the bilge. Now in a ship with a proper machine shop, great.
I cut SS, bronze and plastic. I agree - no carbon steel if possible. Its amazing what you can repair/make with the right tools.
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Old 10-10-2015, 22:53   #7
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

My vessel is a stretched Roberts 36 and I have a small lathe and a mill on the boat. I find them very handy and use them all the time. Yes, occasionally the swarf on the floor can be a real trial but balanced against being able to do lots of little jobs whilst cruising it is not a heavy price to pay.

About half the jobs I do are for other people, machining commutators on autopilot and anchor winch motors, refacing end plates on impeller pumps, making new sheaves for blocks etc.

The biggest boat job I have done is marinizing a Kubotu engine; sleaves for the SS water cooled manifold, an adapter for the water pump and a second between the Twin Disk gearbox and Yanmar flange on the prop shaft.

I mainly use the mill for precision drilling and have made an adapter which allows me to put a large hand drill on top to drive large hole saws. Would not be without these tools now.
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:17   #8
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

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Originally Posted by wrwakefield View Post
MehmetCan,

Are you thinking woodworking or metal machining? I have experience with both disciplines but my response will depend upon your answer(s)...

Also, when you say CNC [computer numerical control] I suspect you are talking woodworking and referring to a CNC router table? [But almost any machine can be CNC... quite common in woodworking and machine shops.]

I'll await your answer and be happy to provide more qualified feedback. [I have owned a machine shop in the past and currently have a commercial woodworking shop, but have had neither on a boat; I never had a boat large enough to support either- at least without sacrificing living space... My largest sailboat was 47ft; current is 43ft.]

It will be interesting to learn what you have in mind. Either way you could probably stay as busy as desired as you cruised [if that is what you have in mind...]

Cheers!

Bill


With CNC, I mean CNC router, as you've guessed. For the lathe, mainly metal work (no big ones like a full on prop shaft but anything solid to keep the boat going).

I already know my way around electronics and computers quite well, for which there's no need for much room anyway, however, adding a lathe to the equation/arsenal would be great.

Again, my main concern is the calibration.
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Old 11-10-2015, 06:18   #9
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
I cut SS, bronze and plastic. I agree - no carbon steel if possible. Its amazing what you can repair/make with the right tools.
This brings another very important question -which I haven't thought of until seeing this-.

Aluminium hull + metal shavings. Now that's a horror story for me; however, metal boat with metal parts also makes a lathe quite useful.
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:01   #10
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

I have a 45 ft steel boat with lathe/mill combo in the engine room. the lathe has about a 20 inch capacity with a 6 inch swing diameter. I can't imagine life without a machine shop, I also have a welder and quite a few other tools that normally are not on a boat. I can fix many things that others can't dream of. My ability to weld basically bought my boat. I also build and can experiment with many interesting ideas. I have ideas about a 30cc diesel engine for a powered folding bicycle, but haven't tested them yet. Pictures of much of this stuff can be found on my website. I also have developed a folding bike with full size wheels that fits small carry on luggage. I would like to find somebody interested in going into business building and selling these. I am more interested in designing things and sailing around the world then starting a business and trying to get rich. My real reason for travelling is to find a wife and have kids, if I'm going to travel I might as well sail and make it a challenge.
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Old 11-10-2015, 07:58   #11
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

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Originally Posted by jheldatksuedu View Post
I have a 45 ft steel boat with lathe/mill combo in the engine room. the lathe has about a 20 inch capacity with a 6 inch swing diameter. I can't imagine life without a machine shop, I also have a welder and quite a few other tools that normally are not on a boat. I can fix many things that others can't dream of. My ability to weld basically bought my boat. I also build and can experiment with many interesting ideas. I have ideas about a 30cc diesel engine for a powered folding bicycle, but haven't tested them yet. Pictures of much of this stuff can be found on my website. I also have developed a folding bike with full size wheels that fits small carry on luggage. I would like to find somebody interested in going into business building and selling these. I am more interested in designing things and sailing around the world then starting a business and trying to get rich. My real reason for travelling is to find a wife and have kids, if I'm going to travel I might as well sail and make it a challenge.
I've lost my faith in the land lubbing wife candidates as well. I couldn't agree more!
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Old 11-10-2015, 08:13   #12
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jheldatksuedu View Post
I have a 45 ft steel boat with lathe/mill combo in the engine room. the lathe has about a 20 inch capacity with a 6 inch swing diameter. I can't imagine life without a machine shop, I also have a welder and quite a few other tools that normally are not on a boat. I can fix many things that others can't dream of. My ability to weld basically bought my boat. I also build and can experiment with many interesting ideas. I have ideas about a 30cc diesel engine for a powered folding bicycle, but haven't tested them yet. Pictures of much of this stuff can be found on my website. I also have developed a folding bike with full size wheels that fits small carry on luggage. I would like to find somebody interested in going into business building and selling these. I am more interested in designing things and sailing around the world then starting a business and trying to get rich. My real reason for travelling is to find a wife and have kids, if I'm going to travel I might as well sail and make it a challenge.
you are gonna need a bigger boat!
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Old 11-10-2015, 09:36   #13
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

The last 3 large sailboats I have run have all had good workbenches. Used the small lathe quite a bit, it easily doubled as a drill press. Grinder with a wire wheel also sees a lot of use.
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Old 11-10-2015, 09:49   #14
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

If you have room I think the vise, drill press might be handy. But unless you are really into just using a lathe, bench grinder etc.. I see no need. I mean how often does one need something machined to continue their voyage? pretty rare in my experience. By the time you get enough power , get a lathe on board, or a mill etc, the weight and so on...... you could airfreight a part in to Timbuktu...! .. and the reality is there is a lot of that stuff in the third world on shore. Easier to find someone to do some machining reasonable in Trinidad than most towns in the US anymore.
I have a bench grinder here at home, it's been years since it got used... just not that handy a device unless you are sharpening drill bits, and the metal debris is gonna create rust big time.
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Old 11-10-2015, 09:54   #15
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Re: Lathe & Drill Press on a Boat?

Has been done before. I met a guy who even made all his money by making parts for other boaties. You probably need the right size generator too - and to raise your water line antifouling.
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