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Bigmich

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Howdy everyone. I’m a younger adult, dealing with pretty sever depression and anhedonia whose is desperately trying to find something to occupy my free time everyday so I stop worrying about how bleak my future is looking—unmarried (zero chance of every dating again cause I’ve gotten fat and ugly and have nothing to offer, live at home (because America has become a very backwards country that rewards the hyper-rich first and foremost), and deeply in debt (HAVE to have a college degree. Turns out even the good ones, business for example, aren’t worth it anymore. Too many grey hairs still clinging to the workforce.)

I only mention all these depressing things because I’m literally at my wits end. No, therapy and medication have never helped. What allies me are structural-problems facing the nation/world/society that aren’t easily remedied. Even my friends that have started families are slowly sounding more and more suicidal as the weeks of impossible costs continue to roll by. The one hope I had, since I’m beginning to realize that even $1500 budget will never be enough, was taking up machining as a hobby—keep that terrified brain busy doing something with my hands.

Tried to buy a Unimat 3 on ebay, ha, good luck. The nut-so pricing of everything has hit those too. A formerly $400 machine, one that most machinist would warn is a toy to be avoided, are now going for north of $900. Got out bidded on one with the milling attachment—now we’re talking $1200+. I don’t want to buy the cheapo Chinese ones, I don’t have anything positive to say about the Chinese but I won’t rant about that for fear of sounding ‘racist.’ God forbid the young people with NOTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TOO complain about how globalization has destroyed any remnant of industry and decent paying jobs in America. Oh, will mention that now that Walmart made several thousand Chinese into millionaires, and the fact that China is cracking down on its population, now those rich Chinese are buying American homes—furnishing their spoiled Chinese children with Lambos to drive to school—and buying up all the housing in OUR towns... thats a whole other story.

Point is it’d be great if anyone here was a sympathetic old timer. I took a machining class ten years ago so I know more than most newbies. How is someone with no future and very limited funds suppose to start in this hobby when the only decent beginner machine is being inflated in price?! I can’t take on one of those $200 old mega lathes because those literally weigh a ton and my living situation only allows for a small desktop lightweight machine like a Unimat.

Sigh, thanks for listening. I’ll be around as much longer as I can hold out. I’m pretty open to the idea of dying this year if things continue the way they’re going. Too bad I’m not even half-way through life. Isn’t the law of nature the old and decrepit die first? The theory being once dead some of us poor youngin’s get to carry on the tradition? What happened to that.

I’ve known three people that killed themselves in the past 4 years who were all younger than me. One of them dreamed of being a firearm machinist. Guess why he never had a chance to even take a class or turn a piece of brass?
 

minh-thanh

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Hello Bigmich !

You've come to the right place !
Homemade engine will keep your mind busy ...Start a project ( it can be simple or something that you think you can do ) and then you will always be busy with the next project ...
Welcome to the forum from Vietnam !
 

Bigmich

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Hello Bigmich !

You've come to the right place !
Homemade engine will keep your mind busy ...Start a project ( it can be simple or something that you think you can do ) and then you will always be busy with the next project ...
Welcome to the forum from Vietnam !

Thanks. Would love to start a project. Can’t find a Unimat 3 that isn’t super inflated prices (thanks ebay and the wave of retiring boomers with all the money.)

My budget is less than $2000, which I had hoped would include the basic intro tooling. Nope, not enough. Society wants more more more.

I hate being alive. I hate waking up. I hate getting my hopes up only to have a boomer swoop in and outbid me.

Odds are I end up buying the handgun in a couple months and dipping out. Tried of ALWAYS losing.

You know anyone with a unimat 3 they’d be willing to sell to a desperate person?
 

minh-thanh

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Hi

Because you said you don't like Chinese lathes, you can buy used lathes ..
But for me, the Chinese lathe is not the problem
I don't like the way they do ...but I'm very clear-only for machines, tools: if it's ok I'll buy and use it.
 
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Bigmich

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Hi

Because you said you don't like Chinese lathes, you can buy used lathes ..
But for me, the Chinese lathe is not the problem

Don’t care. Not sending my $2000 to some Chinese person who already has enough American money. Problem with this world is a bunch of spineless losers sold it all to the lowest bidder about 40 years ago (China.) Most of societies current problems wouldn‘t exist if China hadn’t scammed and conned their way to the top.

I’m looking for someone, on out of the thousands, of AMERICAN machinist in this country that likely have amassed more tools and machine than they have a use for. You’d think a desperate young man begging them for help might have a chance at finding one of those gems—I see them pop up in estate sales after the old men die. Why not help out a real person, whoses really hurting, and have the joy of knowing you’ve help passed some knowledge on to the next generation about your beloved hobby?

Not interest in Chinese machines. We need less China, not more.
 

Drillrod

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"Don’t care....Would love to start a project. Can’t find a Unimat 3 that isn’t super inflated prices (thanks ebay and the wave of retiring boomers with all the money.)"
I hate being alive. I hate waking up. I hate getting my hopes up only to have a boomer swoop in and outbid me.
Odds are I end up buying the handgun in a couple months and dipping out. Tried of ALWAYS losing."


Hello Bigmich,
Sounds like you have a lot of time on hands. Look up Andy Sprague, the fellow who did the Steam Scene cartoons for Live Steam Magazine. He's been deceased for a while, so you'd have check out the back issues of the magazine. Andy and I were friends. He lived within a few blocks of me on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, NY.

Andy was an avid builder of table-top, model steam engines that he fabricated from scrounged-up bits of copper and brass, K&S tubing and sheet from the hobby store, and all without anything more than a hand drill, snips, soldering gun, assorted files and hand saws. His models graced several covers of Live Steam.

I mention this in the hopes of inspiring you to do something NOW instead of moping around and waiting for your dream machine to materialize. As luck would have it, these things tend to fall into one's lap when least expected. You'll also see if you even like making stuff.
"Idle hands are the devil's workshop," said Chaucer.
 

pileskis

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I hate to say it, but if your even joking about a hand gun, I think you need to talk to someone about that first. There are plenty of support people here for model building and machine selection, but I don’t know about the type of help you really need.
if talking here helps, then by all means, go ahead. But don’t let this get in the way of getting the professional help you may truly need.
There are free hot lines to call that can help.

Sid
 

GreenTwin

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Howdy everyone. I’m a younger adult, dealing with pretty sever depression and anhedonia whose is desperately trying to find something to occupy my free time everyday so I stop worrying about how bleak my future is looking—unmarried (zero chance of every dating again cause I’ve gotten fat and ugly and have nothing to offer, live at home (because America has become a very backwards country that rewards the hyper-rich first and foremost), and deeply in debt (HAVE to have a college degree. Turns out even the good ones, business for example, aren’t worth it anymore. Too many grey hairs still clinging to the workforce.)

I only mention all these depressing things because I’m literally at my wits end. No, therapy and medication have never helped. What allies me are structural-problems facing the nation/world/society that aren’t easily remedied. Even my friends that have started families are slowly sounding more and more suicidal as the weeks of impossible costs continue to roll by. The one hope I had, since I’m beginning to realize that even $1500 budget will never be enough, was taking up machining as a hobby—keep that terrified brain busy doing something with my hands.

I’ve known three people that killed themselves in the past 4 years who were all younger than me. One of them dreamed of being a firearm machinist. Guess why he never had a chance to even take a class or turn a piece of brass?
Generally speaking, most if not all of the people I know have been through times of trouble.
I have been there myself, and I can attest to the fact that dpression is no fun at all.
I did not even know what depression was until I got it.
I got on an anti-depressant for about a year, and that changed my outlook from "very bleak" to "things are not as bad as I thought".
It is all about brain chemistry, and how that can get out of whack.

I have a cousin who was a fighter pilot during the Nam war, and he was shot down early in the war, and survived torture in a concentration camp for about 12 years. He survived, came back, restarted his life, and has lived a good life. Be a survivor is the lesson I learned from him.

I often imagine what people went through say in Europe both during and after WWII, and I marvel at the survival skills those folks must have had.
My motto is "If they can live through that, then what do I have to complain about?".

You could always start doing 3D modeling first, and get some design under your belt, and then perhaps find a lathe later.
There is really no urgent rush, just get started with something that engages the mind, and I can assure you that designing engines using a 3D modeling program will engage your mind.

I really enjoy this hobby, but I have to note that when I am 3D modeling an engine, I can focus on one single problem, and stop worrying about all the problems of the world.
The world has always had problems; it is all a matter of how you put yourself into a rational perspective of it all.

This hobby desperately needs young folks to learn the trade.
Many are willing the share their knowledge.

So my advise is this:
1. Many of us have many of the same problems that you do, or perhaps much worse problems, and yet we get along pretty well, and so learn to cope with both the good times and the tough times. Life is a mix of things, and you have to take the good with the bad.
2. Accept that life is not perfect, and that is OK ! You can still have a good life even with all the imperfections.
3. Do something small every day to move towards your goals, such as learning 3D modeling, or making something, no matter how simple.
It takes baby steps to accomplish things, even such as climbing Everest. The key is to start stepping, and keep stepping every day.
4. Focus on something, like this hobby. No focus = no happiness.
5. Don't look at life through the warped lens that many would have you use. Success and happiness is as much a state of mind as anything.
Don't watch the mainstream media, since they will remind you every day of how bad you have it, and how miserable you are.
If you don't watch the mainstream media, you may forget that you are suppose to be unhappy (been there, done that).

I have been on the path you are on, and experienced what you are experiencing, and so I can speak from experience.
If times are tough, then become a tough person, circle the wagons, and make the best of the situation.
The old expression is "If life serves you lemons, make lemonade".
Life is a gift, it is worth living, and it should not be wasted

Get busy, make some stuff, and post it here and/or elsewhere.
Join the fun; get in the club, and get better.

Just a few thoughts.
Been there, done the stuff you are describing.

Pat J

Edit:
One more side note.
People today often want instant gratification for everything they do.
I learned machining late in life, and it was extremely difficult for me to learn it.
I have a shelf full of ruined parts.
The thing with machining or with life is that when it gets frustrating, then one tends to want to quit.
But the real gratification comes with sticking with it (as I did) for several years, and finally getting pretty good at it.
Nothing that is easily gained or learned will give you long term gratification.
It is the struggle that really makes you appreciate things.
Another saying is "No pain, no gain".
Learning machining for me was tough, with lots of pain, but now I really appreciate good machining.
 
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GreenTwin

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And another suggestion:
Join a running club.
Many people hate running, and hate exercise in general, but exercise balances out the brain chemicals, and allows one to feel good again.

I joined a running club, and I could hardly run 100 steps, but I kept running/walking.
The first time I made 3 miles, that was a huge achievement.
I thought "Well, if I made 3 miles, how about 5?".
So I made my first 5 mile run, with great difficulty.

I never dreamed I could do 10 miles, but I kept at it, and then achieved that.
All along the way, the running club folks keep cheering me on.
The early finishers would circle back and run beside me, cheering me on as I was gasping for air and sweating like Niagra Falls.

I began to wonder what I was capable of running, and so I set my sights on 13 miles.
With a lot of practice, I got to where I could run 13 miles without too much trouble.

Next was a marathon.
Physically, I am not built for marathons, and so I knew this would be a one-time deal for me.
I was told "you can always quit if you get tired, and try again some other time".
My response was "hell no, I will get to the finish line if I have to crawl over broken glass".
So I finished a marathon (with great difficulty) over 7.5 hours. Not pretty, but the thing is I did it, and I did not give up.

Being in a running club gives you a place to be (during regularly scheduled runs), people to be with who are experiencing many of the same things you are experiencing, and the comradery and support that one needs to make it in life.

I recall feeling like I was dying, sucking in air like a hover shop vac, but then looking over my shoulder, and there are 20 other people just like me, all struggling to make it to that finish line. A running club gives you plenty of co-sufferers.

I recall talking to a Brit who was is in the local running club.
He said "We don't have things like this in GB".
There is nothing like running down a forest road on a cool calm morning at 7:00 A.M. with 2,000 runners strong.
Its an unbelievably lifting feeling.
I highly recommend it, regardless of what sort of shape you are in physically.

Being in a running club was a life-changing thing for me, very much for the better.
Everybody is out their giving it their all; people from 5 years old to 95.

.
 

GreenTwin

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Green Twin

God Bless You. Wonderful advise! Your post helped me also!!

MikeG
I am glad to share a few words.
I have had some folks step forward and support me during some of the troubled times of my life, when nobody else seemed to understand or care.
I vowed that I would pay it back somehow, and do my best to try and help others who may be struggling.

The Brits have the greatest sense of humor, and I saw one conversation online recently, where someone was complaining about their lot in life.
The Brit guy summed it all up so very well, when he responded:
"Life is not all beer and skittles you know".

Edit:
A few more thoughts, and then I will stop blabbing up this thread.
I discovered not too many years ago that there are two types of "friends".
There are the "fair weather friends" who are always happy to be around and be a part of your life...........as long as your life is going good.
If your life turns into sort of a Chernobyl affair, which happens to many folks at some point in their life, then your fair weather friends will be like butterflies, and in a second, they will all flit away on the breeze, never to be heard from again.

Your "real" friends are the ones who step forward, with nothing to gain, and support you when the chips are down, and when the world seems to have turned against you. It has been an eye-opening experience for me to learn who my real friends are.
I like all friends, without conditions, but the real friends are the people I cherish, and I consider them golden people, whom I greatly appreciate.

.
 
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You must be a well-balanced person Bigmich with a chip on both shoulders, I can understand your frustrations but just suck them up and get on with life. Model Engineering has served me well over the years and the camaraderie in the hobby is outstanding, I suggest you join your local club and join in the fun.

Incidentally, my wife is Chinese she is hard-working, gentle and very considerate of others. The Chinese may well have become millionaires or even billionaires good luck to them, they work hard and take commercial chances. The American government were not slow in borrowing money from them and the retail industry has certainly prospered on the high-profit margins.
This is not a forum for political correctness let us keep to cutting metal, and enjoy doing it.
 

ofaf

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Hope you are getting some help. Since you are interested in hobby machining, you should learn CAD. There are several free CAD apps on-line. My favorite is Freecad. Learning it will take time and lots of attention, trial and error. If you get good at it, you might even be able to do work for others.

This is just one suggestion. You can find many free courses in almost any subject on-line. Find something that interests you and immerse yourself in it. Get in touch with people of like interests. Your days will fly by!

After you learn CAD, you can turn your attention to CAM. Learn GRBL and do your machine work virtually until you become comfortable with it. Then, perhaps you will have enough $$ to but a small combo machine. Be aware that the machine(s) don't take up as much space as all the tools, attachments, lubes etc. you will accumulate.

I took my first machine shop class over 60 years ago but did nothing with it until 2006 when I built and equipped my home hobby shop.

Don't know how you are at math, but you will need it when you do machine work. Not necessarily calculus level, but certainly algebra and trigonometry. If you need to learn these, you can find many very good courses free on-line.

BTW, you seem to blame many of your problems on a "backwards country, "the hyper-rich", "grey hairs", "structural problems facing the nation...",
"Chinese", "globalization", etc. Everyone has to deal with these. You cannot expect these to change for the good in the near future so you will have to take control of your own future. You have a college degree and the desire to do something so go at it!

Do you have a job? Getting one will help in many ways. Almost every business is hiring. This will also help you financially support your hobby machine shop.
 

awake

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Don't know if this will help, but one other thing to consider: machining is a wonderful hobby, but it is not the cheapest hobby. Is it the only hobby that may fill the need? The key "payoff" of this hobby for me is the gratification of creating something with my own hands. That payoff is not exclusive to machining.

I started out, 35 years ago, scratching this itch with the help of a borrowed cheap jigsaw and a couple of borrowed pipe clamps. I was broke, but needed a desk, so I worked up a design for a convertible desk / file cabinet and built it. The results were far from perfect, but the thrill of making something of my own design was addictive. I moved on to making my own wood turning lathe out of a couple of discarded wheel bearings (free) and a motor and some wood scavenged out of the dumpster (also free). It was crude and underpowered, but I I turned a lot of pieces on it ... including the parts to make an improved version of the wood lathe, which I still have and use today. Win-win-win - the thrill of making something (a lathe), enhanced by the thrill of figuring out how to make it, capped off by the immediate gratification that comes from turning a piece of scrap wood into something beautiful.

Obviously, YMMV, and there are significant differences in working with wood vs. working with metal, but at least for me, wood was the affordable gateway that exercised the same parts of my brain that I continue to exercise now that I can afford to work in metal. (And I still enjoy woodworking as well!)
 

SmithDoor

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Howdy everyone. I’m a younger adult, dealing with pretty sever depression and anhedonia whose is desperately trying to find something to occupy my free time everyday so I stop worrying about how bleak my future is looking—unmarried (zero chance of every dating again cause I’ve gotten fat and ugly and have nothing to offer, live at home (because America has become a very backwards country that rewards the hyper-rich first and foremost), and deeply in debt (HAVE to have a college degree. Turns out even the good ones, business for example, aren’t worth it anymore. Too many grey hairs still clinging to the workforce.)

I only mention all these depressing things because I’m literally at my wits end. No, therapy and medication have never helped. What allies me are structural-problems facing the nation/world/society that aren’t easily remedied. Even my friends that have started families are slowly sounding more and more suicidal as the weeks of impossible costs continue to roll by. The one hope I had, since I’m beginning to realize that even $1500 budget will never be enough, was taking up machining as a hobby—keep that terrified brain busy doing something with my hands.

Tried to buy a Unimat 3 on ebay, ha, good luck. The nut-so pricing of everything has hit those too. A formerly $400 machine, one that most machinist would warn is a toy to be avoided, are now going for north of $900. Got out bidded on one with the milling attachment—now we’re talking $1200+. I don’t want to buy the cheapo Chinese ones, I don’t have anything positive to say about the Chinese but I won’t rant about that for fear of sounding ‘racist.’ God forbid the young people with NOTHING TO LOOK FORWARD TOO complain about how globalization has destroyed any remnant of industry and decent paying jobs in America. Oh, will mention that now that Walmart made several thousand Chinese into millionaires, and the fact that China is cracking down on its population, now those rich Chinese are buying American homes—furnishing their spoiled Chinese children with Lambos to drive to school—and buying up all the housing in OUR towns... thats a whole other story.

Point is it’d be great if anyone here was a sympathetic old timer. I took a machining class ten years ago so I know more than most newbies. How is someone with no future and very limited funds suppose to start in this hobby when the only decent beginner machine is being inflated in price?! I can’t take on one of those $200 old mega lathes because those literally weigh a ton and my living situation only allows for a small desktop lightweight machine like a Unimat.

Sigh, thanks for listening. I’ll be around as much longer as I can hold out. I’m pretty open to the idea of dying this year if things continue the way they’re going. Too bad I’m not even half-way through life. Isn’t the law of nature the old and decrepit die first? The theory being once dead some of us poor youngin’s get to carry on the tradition? What happened to that.

I’ve known three people that killed themselves in the past 4 years who were all younger than me. One of them dreamed of being a firearm machinist. Guess why he never had a chance to even take a class or turn a piece of brass?
Welcome to the group

Dave
 

Gordon

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I don't know where you are in Michigan but here is a Taig lathe in Hebron Ohio for $700..

 

ofaf

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Don't know if this will help, but one other thing to consider: machining is a wonderful hobby, but it is not the cheapest hobby. Is it the only hobby that may fill the need? The key "payoff" of this hobby for me is the gratification of creating something with my own hands. That payoff is not exclusive to machining.

I started out, 35 years ago, scratching this itch with the help of a borrowed cheap jigsaw and a couple of borrowed pipe clamps. I was broke, but needed a desk, so I worked up a design for a convertible desk / file cabinet and built it. The results were far from perfect, but the thrill of making something of my own design was addictive. I moved on to making my own wood turning lathe out of a couple of discarded wheel bearings (free) and a motor and some wood scavenged out of the dumpster (also free). It was crude and underpowered, but I I turned a lot of pieces on it ... including the parts to make an improved version of the wood lathe, which I still have and use today. Win-win-win - the thrill of making something (a lathe), enhanced by the thrill of figuring out how to make it, capped off by the immediate gratification that comes from turning a piece of scrap wood into something beautiful.

Obviously, YMMV, and there are significant differences in working with wood vs. working with metal, but at least for me, wood was the affordable gateway that exercised the same parts of my brain that I continue to exercise now that I can afford to work in metal. (And I still enjoy woodworking as well!)
 

ofaf

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Just a comment about wood working vs machine shop. I've had both, but the dust and environmental concerns about paints, varnishes etc. in the wood shop were more than I wanted to deal with. I had a good dust collection system but there was still a lot of fugitive dust (and solvents). For these reasons, I sold off the wood shop. The machine shop has its own problems but nothing close to what I had to deal with in the wood shop.
 

awake

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Yes, a fair comment. Before I had a dust collector, I was in a rented duplex with no shop space ... but there was an outdoor storage closet and a concrete patio. I built a woodworking bench with wheels that could be lowered and locked into position (recycled wood and wheels = free except for the cost of glue and screws) and stored it in the outdoor storage closet (it *just* fit). When I did my woodworking, I would pull it out onto the patio and make sawdust - but in the open air, it was never a problem, and cleanup consisted of sweeping it into the grass. I rigged up a way to hold a tarp overhead to make it more endurable for sunny days. My home-made wooden lathe could be disassembled and reassembled quickly, so that I could store it under the eaves. I made some really nice projects through the years with my cobbled together setup.

The point of this not that I did anything particular, but rather that 1) if you have the creative itch, there are ways to scratch it without money, without a traditional shop space, and 2) figuring out how to do things with limited resources can be its own creative outlet.
 
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