View Full Version : Smithy 3 in 1
04-30-2004, 08:51 AM
OK, I received one of their catalogs yesterday and thought I'd ask for some input from those who know. I have been fabbing parts for some time with just hand tools and a lot of guess work. Mostly building street rods and customs as a hobby (computer analyst by trade). Have always wanted a lathe and am now giving it some serious thought. So, does anyone have any comments, pro/con on the Smithy machines?
04-30-2004, 11:55 AM
You can read a little bit about my experience with my Granite 1324 under the Grizzly lathe thread.
I've been very happy with mine, but I'm not a professional machinist nor toolmaker. I've made a lot of stuff with it and it is more accurate than i am.
Call me if you have any questions.
work 315 734 - 2137
home 315 -738 - 1399
04-30-2004, 12:50 PM
I have a '90 model Shoptask. I can't seem to get a good cut with the lathe portion (chatter). This may be from my inexperience or the bushing in the headstock. Have made many parts with it though. It also doesn't have any powerfeeds, but are still available. Changing belts for different speeds is annoying. The mill portion works good, but you have to take light cuts. On mine, the quill doesn't go low enough to the table and extensions lead to chatter marks. It looks as though the newer machines are much better. Get one with R8 tooling for the mill.
04-30-2004, 06:54 PM
In my entire life I have never used a multipurpose tool that performed any of it's designed functions anywhere as well as a single purpose machine. Someone said about a multi tool once. "Yeah, it does indeed do X things....poorly"
Having said that, I've never seen a smithy much less used one. The HF version looks pretty light for working steel of any size.
04-30-2004, 08:35 PM
Bought mine used for $500 10 years ago. I got $400 worth of brand new end mills and other misc bits, but they didn't fit the tool post or any of the collets. I'm getting ready to sell it since I have a full size Bridgeport clone now and soon a good lathe. Was offered $500 last and now I wish I had taken it. I don't think I would ever buy a new one, but like I said before, the new ones may be alot better.
05-01-2004, 12:49 AM
I’ve had my Smithy Granite 1324 four almost 2 years now. It’s been as accurate as I’ve need for everything I’ve done so far. Lets face it I’m not building parts for NASA.
I agree that it would be better to buy full size equipment. But not everyone has the space to put them. I considered buy them but just couldn’t see giving up 1/3 of my shop to equipment that I’m not going to use all the time. Besides trying to figure out how to get them home and in the shop. After checking, for what I paid for my Smithy and all the tooling that I have, there was no way I could get a full size mill with variable speed, power X & Y feeds, digital read out and a full size Lathe with tooling. My Smithy only takes up a 2’ x 5’ space in my shop.
It does have some drawbacks. You can’t take real deep cuts (just doesn’t have the power for that) and I’ve needed to mill some things that are larger than the milling table feed will allow. Which means unclamping and re-setting things up to finish a cut. Yes it a pain but this is just a hobby not a production shop.
As for accuracy (this is only my opinion). I think the operator and how well he knows the machine he’s using has a lot to do with how accurate your parts come out. All machines weather full size, American or Chinese have their own little quirks that you have to compensate for. I have seen a guy mill a part to dead on accuracy with a mill he had to put knee up against the table to make it go straight. He had used the machine for about 10 years so he knew were to push and how hard.
Just my 2 cents
The 3 in 1 machines area hell of a lot better than nothing!
I had a Shoptask Eldorado Quadralift for a while. It worked well but the lathe portion was noisy. The Quad lift function really stiffened up the milling capabilities. I sold it in the end and bought a 1958 model Sheldon VS lathe and a Sharp HMV mill. Much more capable machines but they are 3 phase and take up a fair bit of floor space. Having said that I would not go back to a 3 in 1 unless lack of space were a huge factor.
05-31-2004, 09:46 PM
I had the misfortune of using a Smithy 3 in 1 for a few months as a fabricator working on architectural metal work. I found it to be fairly inaccurate. The milling feature would allow the head to raise if attempting a cut of any significance. When using the lathe operation it was often guess work as to where you would actually end up, note this primarily was a problem when attempting fairly large diameter reductions. Attepting to use it as a commercial type tool it is a steaming pile. If your aspirations are only for your own garage fab without really tight tolerances go for it. It has nothing beat by a long mile. If you are willing to slow down a lot and take small cuts you can achieve fairly good results. You just have to watch how much material you are removing and measure constantly. I must warn you however it will do some funny things here and there just the nature of the beast as far as I could tell.
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