combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

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sonmtn
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combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by sonmtn » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:43 pm

I tried seasrching for opinions but can't search the term (3 in 1)
My queston is how well do they work?
I would really like individual machine but wondering if the combo ones
work fine or are they for lack of a better term hokie.
I really don't see me turning into a machinist, at work we contract it out to
someone that does know what is up. But it would be nice to have as mostly
a hobbie machine. Snowmobile and ATV bushings, shafts, resto car items, different tinkering and such.
I use a old South Bend 9" now, not real precise anymore and have always wanted a real
mill instead of usig the drill press.
ones i had looked at are
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jus2311
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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by jus2311 » Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:34 pm

I have had several stand alone lathes and mills. I just used a Smithy 1220 LTD at a friends house. I as very surprised and pleased with its performance. I am going to get rid of my Grizzly Import lathe and mill which I have been very VERY happy with for years and purchase the said Smithy machine. I am a machinist/toolmaker for the past 30 years and have run everything from a manual and cnc, mini lathe to 40' long Poreba...VTLs, boring mills, in tool rooms and in shipyards, shapers, mills jig borers, turret lathes etc... These machines save space and they maybe limited on some things due to size and what not but I would not have any reservations if I were you. these are good machines for hobby and gunsmith work.

just my opinion.
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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by troublemaker » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:32 am

Good to finally hear a recent, first hand account of the smithy. I have been looking at their granite series for a long time. I cannot find any recent reviews but 7 year old reviews from hard core machinists, which do not like the 3 in 1s in general due to set up time when going from lathe to mill. The smithy does seem to have a very easy way to do the switch and appears to be decent from looking at online vids. Although I have my forms approved my life is crazy at the moment so I'm still waffling between a mini, smithy granite or go all in with cnc.

If anyone else has hands on experience with a recent model of a smithy it would be good to hear.

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by nbw123 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 1:57 pm

I started out with a mini but was disappointed with its limitations. I put it on the shelf and bought a used Smithy 1220 LTD. The Smithy is very capable for cutting and threading SS, Al, and even Ti. It comes as a 110 VAC configuration but is also designed to run 220VAC with a simple wiring change. Don't waste your time on a mini. I swear by my Smithy.

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by kbs2244 » Fri Apr 13, 2012 2:16 pm

If you plan to do barrel threading the one specification to be sure to check is spindle bore dia.
Everybody seems to agree you need one inch for this.
Not many of the 3 in 1 have that large a bore.

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by rogerme » Fri Apr 13, 2012 7:59 pm

I agree with several point already mentioned.
Spindle bore. GO big you will not regret it.
Power. G as high as you can 220 is better then 110 and 3 phase is better then 220. Plus the higher the voltage the less power you use.
Length. Figure the longest thing you woudl ever turn and get one longer.

Do not discount older used machines. You can get some real deals. MY brother in law got his big mill off the gov for 150 bucks. A new one would run around 100 grand or better.

Check this site for gov sales in your area. www.govliquidation.com this is a military one and they have many great deals on machinery. I used to buy all the bulk used brass here in Maine but about 2 years ago the price went up and people started to buy. I used to make good money selling scrap this way.
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sonmtn
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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by sonmtn » Fri Apr 13, 2012 10:41 pm

I keep checking the auctions sites but in Montana nothing ever comes our way.
I had already given thought to the bore dia i have had need of 1"1/4
i don't believe any of the multi machines are that large.

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by nbw123 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:32 am

I believe that the bore on the smithy is 1.17" for the Midas and 1.6" for the Granite model. I enjoy the mill as much as the lathe. I will try to attach a pic of the work I did on my AR10 upper (side charging handle

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by Historian » Sat Apr 14, 2012 7:40 am

jus2311 wrote:I have had several stand alone lathes and mills. I just used a Smithy 1220 LTD at a friends house. I as very surprised and pleased with its performance. I am going to get rid of my Grizzly Import lathe and mill which I have been very VERY happy with for years and purchase the said Smithy machine. I am a machinist/toolmaker for the past 30 years and have run everything from a manual and cnc, mini lathe to 40' long Poreba...VTLs, boring mills, in tool rooms and in shipyards, shapers, mills jig borers, turret lathes etc... These machines save space and they maybe limited on some things due to size and what not but I would not have any reservations if I were you. these are good machines for hobby and gunsmith work.

just my opinion.
Good information from an experienced person on the Smithy. From past postings on
Hobbyist sites it has received less than stellar approval. Guess it is a function of the user.

In the end any lathe and milling machine is better than nothing. [ From an unrepentant
tool addict. :) ]

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by jus2311 » Sat Apr 14, 2012 5:11 pm

Yeah these machines sometimes get a bad review. However, if you know the limitations and know how to set these machines up (which isn't rocket science) they are pretty good machines. I worked in SC at a shop that had the CNC servos etc on it and it worked pretty good. You can't turn a FFG Pintle pin on it but for smaller lighter stuff it worked great.
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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by epicdoom » Sun Apr 15, 2012 9:30 am

Being a machinest I have had plenty of opertunity to use this type of machine if your interested in the 3 and 1 set up the most important thing is to only buy one where the Milling head swings away from the lathe and is attached to the head unit. The reason for this is that the milling head will get in the way of some lathe operations if it cant swing and is a pain when you smack your head off it trying to look over your work. The most important reason is it's alot more rigid of a set up. The other type such as the Baileigh you posted run on the Ways and are not good to the ways over an extended period of time. are not nearly as rigid. the only good thing about that type is being able to mill at any any point along your turnings without having to remove the work from the chuck, but this requires a steady rest to perform so I would personaly rather just remove the work and mill as normal. I Personaly would rather have seperate units for each task but I was pleasantly surprized with the performance of the 3 and 1 units the smithy was one of the better units I tried out and the Harbor frieght units were also inspite of low price very accurate and up to just about any task I required. With machining and the machines we use to perform tasks the 3 main important things to remember is 1-rigidity, 2- rigidity, 3- rigidity one sure way to know how well a machine will have rigidity is its weight I see plenty of units that can perform the same size operations yet one is 100lbs lighter then the other ---Allways buy the heavier unit. Probably the most important thing to consider is work size some of the units I used had a fixed Milling work size and it was usualy smaller then stand alone machines having to lower the spindle or use adapters to reach work as apposed to being able to lower the head or raise the table lends its self to less rigidity. If you have a machine tool supplier or repair shop in your area go visit them you'll find allot of machines of this type to check out as most companies or hobbiest will buy this type and eventually upgrade to individual machines.


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sonmtn
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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by sonmtn » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:06 pm

Now that is why i ask
way more people know way more than I
I definately see your points about the moveable head,
I know for a fact i would have to wear a bumpcap when using it if i couldn't move it aside
and i have enoough trouble seeing as it is. You know the eyes are the first to go.
Thanks for the insight very helpful

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by jmorris » Tue Apr 17, 2012 10:31 am

I played with one for a while. It always seemed like a pain in the ass to have to remove the tool post to install a vise (and indicate it in) to mill something then, of course, have to turn right around and tear down my vise to reinstall the tool post turn a single part. I know some have tool posts that are the vice for the mill but those are s--t and even if they were decent are so small they are useless unless your a watch maker.

If that didn't piss me off enough the size limit of work that could be accomplished, even with a good vice, was disappointing.

The concept however, seems to be the best way to have one machine that wears out twice as fast.

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by SSDVC » Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:00 pm

I recently purchase a Smithy Granite 1324-I . It came with several setup tools and also a CNC setup and on top of a decent cabinet. I found it on Craigslist. They are heavy and they do have some limitations when compared to standalone machines, but for the hobbyist, I don't think you can go wrong with one of these and they should last a fairly long time.

Good luck in your search.

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by epicdoom » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:28 pm

For sure any set up can get things done being able to perform a task outside the scope of your tools is and has been done by many A drill press makes a good lathe in a pinch. I have turned 46 inches of stock on a 40" lathe. Just takes determination and imagination. Just remember to buy the best you can afford and keep in mind at some point you may want something bigger or even better. I personaly feel if you can hang on a month to save a little more to get what you want, will serve you better then settling for what you have money for on hand rite now. I fell into this trap on my first purchase of a lathe I had cash in hand and wanted a lathe. I settled for what I could afford at that moment and found I hated it. Whats sad is I was only 1000 bucks from the lathe I eventually bought to replace it but was to impatient to wait. Now here is the big kick in the pants if I had the money I spent on buying 2 lathes I could have bought an even bigger lathe. It's kinda no win. I also urge you to consider where your work will head in the future. My intrests change, today I'm making Tattoo machines tomorrow RC car parts the day after Suppressors in a week motorcycle parts see where I'm headed with this? I have many intrests as I"m sure you do as well, its better to buy what serves those intrests then to urn for for something you could have just waited and bought in the first place. do some net searches with terms like review, upgrade, mods in them as they pertain to the model your thinking of getting. even a low priced HF lathe and Mill can be made to do some fairly precission work with min. time in mods and upgrades.


Joe
It's truely amazing what the mind can conceive and prompt the hands to create <---Mine..
Semper Fi

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by Josh » Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:35 am

Well I can say so far I'm not impressed with the elite 1340 3in1 machine 7000 $ and it is falling apart after 3 months feed gear s striped the mill just sheared something internally an only thing I have worked is aluminum not worth the money at this point also it quit shifting between feed direction on the other hand the tolerance is great what ever that is worth I will let you know what costumer service is like after I manage to get it squared away.

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by Josh » Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:35 am

Well I can say so far I'm not impressed with the elite 1340 3in1 machine 7000 $ and it is falling apart after 3 months feed gear s striped the mill just sheared something internally an only thing I have worked is aluminum not worth the money at this point also it quit shifting between feed direction on the other hand the tolerance is great what ever that is worth I will let you know what costumer service is like after I manage to get it squared away.

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by nbw123 » Tue Aug 30, 2016 7:31 pm

My Smithy Granite has been rock solid for 5 years. Nine form 1's plus several barrel shortening projects. I like it because it doesn't take up the space of 2 machines in my garage. If I had unlimited space I would probably go with separate machines but that is not the case. Smithy makes a great product IMHO.

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Re: combo machines 3 in 1 lathes and mills

Post by Josh » Sun Sep 04, 2016 5:24 am

Josh wrote:Well I can say so far I'm not impressed with the elite 1340 3in1 machine 7000 $ and it is falling apart after 3 months feed gear s striped the mill just sheared something internally an only thing I have worked is aluminum not worth the money at this point also it quit shifting between feed direction on the other hand the tolerance is great what ever that is worth I will let you know what costumer service is like after I manage to get it squared away.
Great customer service email and pix and informed them what it would take parts wise an 3days later they were here . Was on my own though on the installation ,

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