Bar Z Summer Bash 2023 – Recap

Last weekend I was finally able to attend the Summer Bash at Bar Z Industrial. This is an annual event that has been going on since 1999. The main event was on Saturday, but I was fortunate enough to get signed up for a class on gear design and cutting that was taught by Andrew from Evolvent Design. There were only twelve of us in the class, and it lasted over seven hours. Andrew was a great teacher and we were able to calculate and cut a gear using just a mill and a lathe. There are some amazing gear calculators available on the Evolvent website.

There was a swap meet going during the entire show. I was able to find a few items that I “needed”. In addition, there were a few vendors present, and I was able to pick up a few things from the publishers of the Black Book series.

Day 1 purchases
Day 1 purchases

I picked up a drill gauge, thread guide, and electrical reference from Engineer’s Black Book. From the swap meet, I found a bull nose live center, a Starrett 222 sheet metal micrometer, and a set of US Navy Morse taper reamers (Union Butterfield). I almost feel bad about the price I paid for those reamers.

Spring Sets
Spring Sets

This is a pair of stainless steel expansion spring sets that I picked up from Tom Lipton from OxTools. Nice metal cases and a good supply of quality springs.

Cast Iron Surface Plate
Cast Iron Surface Plate

This was a last day purchase. A 22″ x 16″ cast iron surface plate. It needs to be scraped in, but it is pretty flat as is. It was under a table, and had been missed by lots of people, so I was able to get a pretty good deal on it.

Free Stuff
Free Stuff

Everyone who showed up received a small goodie bag with an 8″ ruler, some Anchorlube, a Noga deburring tool, a 1/4″ drill bit from Drill Hog (not shown), a koozie, a small die/drill lookup card, and some stickers from various Youtubers.


There were lots of nice prizes donated by the sponsors. They were broken up into four groups. One was primarily for people who couldn’t attend in person. There were quite a few nice prizes, but most were things that could easily be shipped.

The “main” raffle had probably 40 prizes. The top prize was a Lincoln 215 mpi with a ZTFab cart built around a Craftsman base cabinet. It was a really nice setup.

There was another raffle where the prize was a Precision Matthews 727V benchtop mill complete with DRO and dividing head. We used this mill for the gear cutting class, and it was a very nice little unit.

The forth raffle was by Hot Shot ovens. The winner was able to choose between two different ovens. I was the lucky winner.

The other unit was a deeper oven, but as space constrained as my shop is, I figured this one would be better. This is a Hotshot 360, but with a stainless steel exterior instead of the typical powder coating. I am pretty stoked to have won this.

Closing Thoughts

This was a very enjoyable event. I was able to meet and have several good conversations with several people including Keith Rucker from Vintage Machinery, James from Clough42, Tom Lipton from Oxtools, Randy Richards from Randy Richards in the Shop, Chuck from Outsidescrewball, and of course the host Stan from Bar Z Industrial as well as quite a few others.

Stan did a lot of work getting everything organized. There were tents, plenty of seating, lots of good food, and plenty to drink. It is already on my list of things to attend next year.

2 thoughts on “Bar Z Summer Bash 2023 – Recap”

  1. Lee, in your blog you mentioned that you used the Precision Matthews 727V milling machine. If you were in the market for a bench mill, would you buy this model? I got rid of my large Bridgeport because of room constraints in my garage and was thinking of getting a bench mill.
    I’m a hobbyist and occasionally have the need for a milling machine.
    Thank you

    1. Tom,
      First of all, it is small. The fit and finish was great, and it had a smooth ramp up in speed, and all the controls were smooth. We were cutting gear teeth in aluminum and it worked fine.

      The unit we had there had an issue with the built in VFD where we had to completely power it off before we could do a restart, but from what I have heard of PM, they’d fix an issue like that no problem.

      If I was looking for a small mill, this would probably be one of my first choices.


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