Buying a second hand drawing board
We are the Bieffe and Neolt distributor for the UK and receive many calls from people who have bought second hand Bieffe equipment. In the early nineties many drawing boards were dumped as CAD was introduced into design and drawing offices. Many companies simply asked if any of their staff would like to take their drawing board home. The result was that the drawing board, loved by their owners, went home to the garage or shed. It is a huge piece of kit and the wives must have loved the new addition to the domestic arrangements. Sometimes they were used but often not. The plastics hardened and metal components rusted or corroded. Quite often the drawing boards moved house and they went, unassembled, into the removal truck where they shook rattled and rolled and some of the white plastic wheel bearings shattered, scales gots lost and boards were damaged.
In the nineties many of those famous names who manufactured drawing office furniture closed down and with the closure went all the spares. The good news if you have a Neolt equipment there is a strong likelyhood we can supply spares. Neolt equipment was also bought, I think, and badged by Ozalid so if you have either of those names you may, repeat may, be in luck.
Then Ebay happened and it was time for many of those drawing boards to re-emerge. If you are buying an old drawing board check the following:
- Find out what make it is and check on the net for the availability of spares. Remember many suppliers would put a drafting machine from one manufacturer onto a board from another and then onto a stand from a third! Because the stand is labelled Bieffe it does not mean the drafting machine came from the same source. In fact Bieffe never made drafting machines - up to about 1990 they sold Zucor who were close friends and then sold various machines which were made by others but badged Bieffe.
- Check that the bearings run smoothly and there are no clicks or jumps. You will probably not be able to replace the bearings and you will be wasting your money. I am told that skateboard shops sell bearings which may fit some machines but this is hearsay.
- Scales - are there any, are they broken and do they fit. We can supply scales for many makes of machines but not all and they cost about £64 per pair.
- Boards. If damaged and cut about you could use a backing sheet which is a sheet of special pliable material about 3mm thick which is stuck to the board with double sided tape. Costs about £50.00 depending on size.
- Stands. If the gas lift doesn't function, if fitted, you probably will not be able to replace it. Make sure springs are there. Someone even called me the other day for a replacement counterweight off one of our Junior stands - the answer was No Way.
- Parallel Motions. If your PM is damaged you will probably need to buy a new one. The only exception is Blundell Harling who might have spares available. I wish I had a £1 for every call I had from people asking for a replacement blade.
I have tried to be fair and honest with this article. I am happy to accept corrections as my knowledge is not complete. My comments are made in a genuine attempt to shed some light in a very specialised area. I get many calls from people who have bought equipment which they cannot believe is useless for the sake of one small component. I have been in and out of the Drawing Office Furniture trade for about 40 years so I know a bit. I will add more points as they occur.
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