Smithy 3 in 1 Machines

Smithy 3 in 1 Machines

Joined: July 17th, 2011, 8:44 pm

April 9th, 2012, 6:25 am #1

Hi, Please give me your thoughts on these machines-quality, accuracy etc.

Thanks,
Russ...
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Joined: April 25th, 2008, 12:25 am

April 9th, 2012, 10:28 pm #2

off of Craigs List for $250 - an old Harbor Freight Chinese 3in1 tool shop.

I am now into it for closer to $600 -

considering all the toys and tooling I bought to make it work better.



Not super high quality but it works good and is accurate enough for making airgun small parts and turning barrels etc.

The hardest part was getting it completely balanced, level and straight. Now that it is my cuts are decent.

I am a complete newbie and am learning 'as I go' from internet 'how to' videos and just practicing on all stock.











Not the prettiest tool by far but it gets the job done well enough and until I get MUCH better at machining I don't feel the need for something better or more expensive.

I researched the SMITHY 3in1 and they looked really nice for the money, in fact the guy I bought this one from had just upgraded to one - hence getting rid f this old one.

I think the biggest complaint they have is that you have to switch from lathe work to milling or drilling and set everything up from scratch. Which takes time, rather than just
having separate tools dedicated to each job. But as far as saving work shop space I thing the 3 in 1 tools are great.

Regards
James

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Joined: July 17th, 2011, 8:44 pm

April 10th, 2012, 6:07 am #3

The 3 in 1's are a compromise and a journeyman machinist's probably thinks they are crap. I thought the Smithy looks like a step up from and is more versatile than the hobby stuff and a good value for the money. Being a newbie I'm aware that there's volumes I don't know. What looks good to me may have many shortcomings that I won't discover until after my money has been spent. I really don't know what to look for in these machines, ie what are the must haves and what things aren't necessary. Like you I'm not looking to make a living with it, but I'm looking for a machine I can grow into rather than out of. I'm leery of buying things used, however for $250 I would have bought that one of yours too.
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Joined: May 8th, 2001, 4:06 pm

April 10th, 2012, 3:37 pm #4

off of Craigs List for $250 - an old Harbor Freight Chinese 3in1 tool shop.

I am now into it for closer to $600 -

considering all the toys and tooling I bought to make it work better.



Not super high quality but it works good and is accurate enough for making airgun small parts and turning barrels etc.

The hardest part was getting it completely balanced, level and straight. Now that it is my cuts are decent.

I am a complete newbie and am learning 'as I go' from internet 'how to' videos and just practicing on all stock.











Not the prettiest tool by far but it gets the job done well enough and until I get MUCH better at machining I don't feel the need for something better or more expensive.

I researched the SMITHY 3in1 and they looked really nice for the money, in fact the guy I bought this one from had just upgraded to one - hence getting rid f this old one.

I think the biggest complaint they have is that you have to switch from lathe work to milling or drilling and set everything up from scratch. Which takes time, rather than just
having separate tools dedicated to each job. But as far as saving work shop space I thing the 3 in 1 tools are great.

Regards
James
Just wondering, might be an important feature to someone if they plan to do threading.
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Joined: August 20th, 2006, 5:36 am

April 10th, 2012, 3:38 pm #5

The 3 in 1's are a compromise and a journeyman machinist's probably thinks they are crap. I thought the Smithy looks like a step up from and is more versatile than the hobby stuff and a good value for the money. Being a newbie I'm aware that there's volumes I don't know. What looks good to me may have many shortcomings that I won't discover until after my money has been spent. I really don't know what to look for in these machines, ie what are the must haves and what things aren't necessary. Like you I'm not looking to make a living with it, but I'm looking for a machine I can grow into rather than out of. I'm leery of buying things used, however for $250 I would have bought that one of yours too.
That's exactly the problem with the 3 in 1 machines, most guys DO grow out of them quickly, or give up in disgust. Although the Smithy's have a good rep for quality, they're still a collection of compromises. A common complaint I've heard is that you need a mill when it's set up for turning, or vice versa. About the only good reason to have one of these is if you just don't have the space for two machines. That said, I use my lathe FAR more than my mill, and even when I do use my mill, it's more often as a precision drill press rather than a mill. Of course, that needs to be qualified, too, as I'm also new to all this, and things change . Later.

Dave
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Joined: April 25th, 2008, 12:25 am

April 10th, 2012, 5:56 pm #6

Just wondering, might be an important feature to someone if they plan to do threading.
I might be able to make or buy
some sort of threading attachment ....

but no idea where to really start on that one !

The speed is adjustable by putting the belt on a different pulley
for both the lathe and drill

But no gearing ....





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Joined: July 17th, 2011, 8:44 pm

April 10th, 2012, 6:40 pm #7

off of Craigs List for $250 - an old Harbor Freight Chinese 3in1 tool shop.

I am now into it for closer to $600 -

considering all the toys and tooling I bought to make it work better.



Not super high quality but it works good and is accurate enough for making airgun small parts and turning barrels etc.

The hardest part was getting it completely balanced, level and straight. Now that it is my cuts are decent.

I am a complete newbie and am learning 'as I go' from internet 'how to' videos and just practicing on all stock.











Not the prettiest tool by far but it gets the job done well enough and until I get MUCH better at machining I don't feel the need for something better or more expensive.

I researched the SMITHY 3in1 and they looked really nice for the money, in fact the guy I bought this one from had just upgraded to one - hence getting rid f this old one.

I think the biggest complaint they have is that you have to switch from lathe work to milling or drilling and set everything up from scratch. Which takes time, rather than just
having separate tools dedicated to each job. But as far as saving work shop space I thing the 3 in 1 tools are great.

Regards
James
Like I said I'm far from an expert, but I would think that with careful planning of cutting a work piece, switching back and forth could be kept to a minimum. It is very unlikely that I will be working on multiple projects at once, so needing the mill when the lathe is chucked up shouldn't be a huge issue.

I've been looking at these two Smithy's.

http://www.smithy.com/granite/features

It seems that if I bought two separate machines the cost would be a third higher than the Smithy with similar features.

I have plenty of room, so space dosen't limit me to a 3 in 1. Point me to some other machines rather than the Smithy. I looked at Grizzlys and they don't seem to be of very high quality. What else?
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Joined: June 29th, 2009, 6:38 pm

April 11th, 2012, 12:29 pm #8

Russ and all, I had a Smithy 1220XL for 10 years. It was a great machine as far as the lathe part was concerned. The "mill", should really be termed as an expensive, complicated to set up drill press. I never had great results trying to mill anything accurately and without chatter. The mill head had too much flex due to it's design.

I now own a Grizzly G9972Z lathe. It is a outstanding machine. Don't kid yourself regarding the quality of the Grizzly products as they are top shelf. Like anything else, the more expensive the machine, the higher the quality.

If I could it to do over I would definitely purchase a lathe AND a mill. The combo machines just don't cut it as far as ease of use or accuracy. It is a compromise and not a good one. My advise would be to buy a good lathe and save up for the purchase of a mill at a future date.

Tom



"What, me worry?"

"If I were two faced would I be wearing this one?" - Abe Lincoln
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Joined: January 31st, 2010, 8:47 am

April 12th, 2012, 3:33 pm #9

Hi, Please give me your thoughts on these machines-quality, accuracy etc.

Thanks,
Russ...
I own a Smithy 1324 Granite, I've had it for over 10 years and wouldn't if I could do it again. Although I have received good service from the machine as a lathe the mill is a big zero. The first thing I did after buying the 1324 was to buy a square column bench-top mill with dovetail column and ways. After setting up my big mill I took the mill head off the Smithy. I've wanted to replace the Smithy with a new Grizzly gunsmith lathe but I can't justify doing so as I easily have $5K in D1-4 spindle tooling. IMO if you expect to machine to 0.0005" (half thousandths)tolerances a Smithy is going to be very frustrating; it can be done, if you have the training, patience, and time to learn how to get good results with mediocre equipment (experience). As the saying goes "a good machinist can make good parts on any machine but a mediocre machinist needs excellent equipment to make good parts"

WARNING! The cost of the equipment is far less than the cost of tooling for the equipment!

If you think you're going to save money by making your own parts think twice... this is just another addictive money pit like airguns.










My DIY CNC Gantry MiniMill.


My Tormach PCNC1100 CNC Mill


My very crowded workshop (The Boomer Technologies Laboratory) The burgundy colored (HF) mill was replaced by the big IH blue mill. Round column mills are OK but if you unlock the column for any reason it's almost impossible to re-align to your work in progress.

Airguns are a gas

Boomer
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Joined: June 11th, 2005, 7:51 pm

April 15th, 2012, 1:54 pm #10

Hi, Please give me your thoughts on these machines-quality, accuracy etc.

Thanks,
Russ...
you buy a used one. I've done a lot of work on mine and it is accurate if you take your time and set it up right. They are a compromise machine, but for the guy with limited space they work well. Also Smithy is great company to work with as far as repair parts and information.
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