This weekend I had the pleasure of driving out to visit "Steamboat Ed" Haas. Ed is a heck of an amazing guy who (among other things) has his own steam powered launch and has worked on Battlebots. He nicely had a bunch of people out to his newly completed 2-story shop, and we had a great time.
After removing 15 cubic yards of crap from my garage, I'm feeling like trying to get some projects going. Several years back I bought a 6" Atlas Lathe which sadly hasn't made a single chip. It's actually pretty well equipped, I simply haven't bothered to set it up. That will hopefully change shortly.
Yahoo! Groups has a atlas_craftsman
group which is dedicated to owners of Atlas equipment. There is lots of great information and equipment still available for these little lathes, so I should be able to get it up and running shortly.
I'm intrigued by the idea of building a small metalworking shop. In browsing the web to find what other people use, I found a couple of nice links. Some apartment dwellers even manage to get into the act. Chinese import tools are available, and while not particularly the greatest tools, for small work they can be quite good. There is a nice review of a 7x10
miniature lathe for only $299. The lathe isn't perfect, but seems to be quite capable. The same company has a small mill that sells for $399. If I get things straightened out, perhaps a treat will be forthcoming for me around my birthday.