Finding a used baseball pitching machine requires some research and observation; depending on the seller, these batting machines can be worn down from many years of use. Pitch machines have a number of moving parts that should be inspected and tested before placing a payment down with the seller. A few key items should be considered before purchasing a machine which will help the consumer find a good deal.
Sometimes, it is possible to find a used baseball pitching machine at your local batting cages. However, you should keep in mind that common machines from these facilities are meant for high school or professional use; do not purchase these machines for a backyard practice with a Jugs instant backstop. The fast speeds from the batting cage machine may damage the backstop.
Depending on the model, a brand new pitching machine can be expensive. Consumers have found that purchasing a used baseball pitching machine saves them substantial money, if the device retains its structural integrity from the previous owner. One main item to evaluate when deciding on a used purchase is the visible outside housing. Does the outside surface look abused or cracked in any way? A visibly damaged exterior usually speaks volumes about the interior condition; if a seller did not take care of the outside surface, it is probable that no maintenance was performed on the interior components. A little wear and tear is normal for an outdoor sports device, but excessive damage is cause for alarm.
A potential buyer should ask to see the used baseball pitching machine in action. During its operation, you should observe the physical movements of the device. Does it shake excessively? Although balls are thrown at various speeds, the machine should not shake in an extreme manner. This shaking motion can indicate a malfunctioning motor, worn wheels, or unstable machine legs.
Another key observation is the wear on the wheels. A used baseball pitching machine will have some weathering along the wheels, especially if they are the air-filled types. Regardless if there is one or two wheels, the surface should be firm and not pocketed with cracks and anomalies. The axles that attach the wheels to the machine should not exhibit any shaking or movement as the wheels turn.
If it is possible to see the internal motor, such as through a secured access door, try to visually inspect the motor's physical exterior while the used baseball pitching machine is in the off position. Any scorch or burn marks should be pointed out to the seller; a damaged motor will fail at some point in the future and these parts are not an inexpensive purchase. All wiring extending from the motor to the machine's mechanical parts should be insulated with plastic.
Each feature offered by the used baseball pitching machine should be tested before purchasing. The buyer should change the speed control from low to high and observe the machine's reaction; a damaged speed control feature will hinder a proper athletic workout. If it is equipped, the machine should be physically moved from left to right, allowing the device to move along its gears. Any gear hesitation or stuck positions indicate a poorly maintained device.
Machines that have a vertical pivot point should have a large range of motion to generate pop up balls for catching practice. The buyer should try and move the device along its entire range to make sure there are no impedances.
A used baseball pitching machine may have some defects that a buyer can tolerate. The seller should negotiate with the buyer on a suitable price, reflecting any defects as a discount. In addition, any defects not apparent to the buyer should be made clear by the seller. In the end, a used baseball pitching machine should last relatively long for the enjoyment of the new owner.