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    Jon
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    1873 water-powered machine shop Knight Foundry

    Knight Foundry is a water-powered machine shop and foundry founded in 1873 in Sutter Creek, California. It looks like they're in the process of finalizing their recent historical preservation efforts. Here are some short videos from a recent open house event:











    More: Sutter Creek Knight Foundry Water-Powered Foundry and Machine Shop Historic Site

  2. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Jon For This Useful Post:

    Carlos B (03-19-2017), JD62 (03-19-2017), rlm98253 (03-19-2017), Seedtick (03-19-2017)

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    Carlos B's Avatar
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    Just love all that old iron and the old overhead drive systems. Its great that they have restored it all. Would love to see it some time.Love that foundry picture. The curved spoke wheel and what looks like a turbine bucket wheel must be examples of the work they produced. Amazing old tech.

    Carlos

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    C-Bag's Avatar
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    Very cool. We've got friends who live in Volcano just outside Sutter Creek. Gonna have to find this place next time.

    Carlos, have you seen the steam powered machine shop series on you tube? It's an authentic steam powered machine show how it was in 1923. Found out about in one of Jon's posts here and been subscribed ever since.

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    Carlos B's Avatar
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    No I haven't, my slow connection doesn't do well with videos, takes forever. But I am very familiar with steam driven equipment as an operating engineer I operated boilers and steam driven equipment for almost 30 years. A few of the power plants I operated were older turn of the century plants, almost all of the equipment (prime movers, bandsaw carriages, duplex pumps etc.) were still steam driven. Sadly they are all gone now,shut down and shipped to China for the scrap.

    Carlos

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    Wow, steam was truly a long lost technology until the net came along. 20yrs ago you couldn't hardly find anything about steam. I'm not sure how many episodes but it's Old Time Machine Shop by David Richards. Sorry about the slow connection, this amongst others is really fascinating. I like the guys delivery too. That's really interesting you were operating engineer. Like "shanks" I had no clue what an operating engineer is until you said that.

    When I was looking for a lathe and mill I needed relatively small units because of the kind of work I was doing but also because I work out of a two car garage. So the choice for something larger than a mini mill or lathe was pretty limited and when you could find like an American 10x24lathe or a bench mill it was as expensive as a full sized American made unit. So I ended up buying Chinese 9x20 lathe and a Taiwan mill/drill. Both worked but were in bad need of adjusting and fixing what others had attempted. Here recently I fell into an old Atlas 7b shaper and have gotten a huge dose of lost art/machine tech in going through it and watching vids on shapers on you tube. It is going to be a valued tool in the arsenal. For whatever reason I'm not attracted to CNC. I marvel at the old tools and equipment and know those were not made with CAD and CNC just good old know how and lots of learning and elbow grease.

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    Carlos B's Avatar
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    Wow now i'm jealous, 7b Atlas shaper. I have wanted a shaper ever since I new what a shaper was. I am always keeping my eyes open for one but they are rare and expensive. Recently saw a 7" South Bend on Toronto Kijiji, there were parts missing and the guy wanted almost 2 grand, just couldn't do it. If I can find the time to devote to it I might try a version of D. Gingery's shaper one day.

    Carlos

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    Yes, Sutter Creek is just the next county over from mine, here in Calaveras, and I've been to the mill and such but they didn't have the machine shop open at the time I was there. I will have to see about getting back up there will old Dad as soon as possible. Thanks for the "tour"...Aloha, Chuck

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    C-Bag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlos B View Post
    Wow now i'm jealous, 7b Atlas shaper. I have wanted a shaper ever since I new what a shaper was. I am always keeping my eyes open for one but they are rare and expensive. Recently saw a 7" South Bend on Toronto Kijiji, there were parts missing and the guy wanted almost 2 grand, just couldn't do it. If I can find the time to devote to it I might try a version of D. Gingery's shaper one day.

    Carlos
    It really was dumb luck. I'd seen a shaper on the local Craigslist for $500, but had no idea what it was. I did a search was still confused so I asked my brother who is a machinist. I was a mechanic and the machine tools I used were not the lathe and mill. He told me some of the things a shaper was good for and when I compared to the pictures on eBay I realized the local news I saw were always missing important parts like pulley covers, ratchet boxes, tool holders and vices. So it became an idle interest as they almost never turn up for sale here on the left coast.

    This was more of a rescue as it was partially buried in a barn sale and when I saw it had all its parts I asked one of the relatives of the estate sale how much and he looked at it and scoffed, $125. I knew I couldn't walk away. It was filthy and there were several bent and miss adjusted parts. It has been quite a lesson in how this particular shaper works. It was also interesting to see that shaper in the original vid with the belts switching back and forth to extend and retract the ram.

    I'm curious why you have always wanted a shaper? Most folks, like the relative who gave me the price seem to regard them as obsolete and worthless. I wonder if a lot of them were scrapped?

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    Yes the modern mill can do everything it can and much more making it obsolete to most users. I have come across a few large ones 24" stroke in scrap yards but what home shop has room for a ton of iron and the power to run it. For the small ones in the home shop it does a few small jobs, flat and curved sufaces, v-ways and key seats with inexpensive tooling, that you can grind yourself and set-ups are quick.Just the kind of thing a non-machinist in the home shop can learn relatively quick to produce small basic parts. Oh and I like the way it operates.

    Carlos

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    C-Bag's Avatar
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    "Yes the modern mill can do everything it can and much more making it obsolete to most users."

    After talking to my brother and watching the Rudy Kouhoupt vid on the shaper, I have to disagree. The verticle or horizontal mill can't cut internal key ways or internal gears or splines. So far the best finish I've been able to achieve is with this old shaper and it still needs some tweaking. Yes, it's limited in speed and area it can work, but for me it's great because of small footprint, runs on 110v and uses cheap tooling. But you also have to be good with grinding the bits.

    Not to long after I got mine another 7b on Craigslist in the desert east of Bakerfield. It was complete and restored for $1,000. It lasted about a week.

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