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View Full Version : Shopmaster, worth it?



yax75
09-15-2002, 03:25 AM
I was just wondering if the Shopmaster Eldorado, would be a good first machine?

Thanks

Dave

Thrud
09-15-2002, 06:58 PM
Dave

Take a course on machining in your local tech school or high school to get yourself aquainted with the machines. This will help you make an intelligent decision for yourself. Once you figure out what you plan to do with it and how much you are willing to put into the hobby time and money wise you can decide what you need to do then.

chip's
09-15-2002, 07:07 PM
yax75,
Thrud is right, take a class it will help you more than just talking about what kind of machine you would like to use.
One fellow I know said before he took a class he couldn't even turn the machine he had bought on. After taking the class he was quie disapointed with his purchase.
He now has other machines to go along with what he had but he still can't do what he wanted with the original without problems.

Good luck, Rick.

Dick Payne
09-15-2002, 08:20 PM
yak75:
The advice on taking a machining class is good advice. It is a lot faster and cheaper to learn from other people's mistakes and learn the tricks of the trade from others who have spent a lifetime learning. I only wish we had local machine shop classes in Orange County southern California. Most of these classes have been discontinued by the local schools and replaced with computer classes. I wish that I had a mentor to work with to bounce ideas off of. I wish I had known about this web site a year ago.

I purchased a Smithy-mill/drill/lathe because of limited space and to learn on. Fortunately
I purchased a used one and it was OK for a year. I then purchased a used /Rung Fu RF30 mill/drill. This is a step up from the mills found on the 3 in 1 machines. I now plan to replace my 3 in 1 machine with a 12x36 lathe
I have looked at used ones and lathes from Grizley, Enco and Harbor Freight. At this point I am leaning towards the Grizley gear head lathe. I am tired of changing gears and belts to set up the lathe for the correct speed and threads. The Grizley also has a quick change tool post and I am tired of shimming lathe tools up in the 4 way tool post of the Smithy 3 in 1. I will have to wire my garage for 220 volts.
If you are looking for advice and willing to take some from a novice.
Take the machining class if available, purchase a seperate mill and lathe if you have room. They do not cost much more than the combo machine. $2000 for the lathe and $1200 for the mill/drill plus shipping. The machine you were looking at is $3000, I paid $800 for my used Smithy 1220 which was origionally $1800 and now is about $1000 new.
If you are looking for a small set up the Harbor Freight 7x10 mini lathe is $369 and they have a small variable speed mill for $499. The nice thing about the mill is the R8 collet. Grizley has them also at a little higher price.
An old time machinery dealer warned me that I would outgrow the 3 in 1 machine quickly and he was right.

Your decision also depends on how deeply you plan to get into home shop machining.
Well I have rambled on long enough.
Good luck in your decision.
Regards:
Dick



------------------
Dick

Stepside
09-15-2002, 09:03 PM
When you find one of the few of us that still teach machine shop, think of this.
1) We have to pay, scrounge, or beg for materials. We need you to help with this. We don't run a hardware store.
2) If all you want is the one finished project, then pay someone to build it and stay out of my way. If you really want to learn then put some effort into your schooling.
3) Be willing to share your knowledge and abilities with others. There is one instructor and lots of students.
4) Beware of the leeches that want you to take their stuff to class and do it for them. Tell them to pay the freight, because you are paying for the education.

I totally agree with trying some machines and processes before you buy. It is possible you might not even like doing any sort of machine work. Its kind of like dating first and moving in later.

Rather seeming like a total grouch-- This reply has to do with problems I have experienced in a 38 year teaching career. Some of my best friends, best business contacts are former students.

Stepside
09-15-2002, 09:03 PM
When you find one of the few of us that still teach machine shop, think of this.
1) We have to pay, scrounge, or beg for materials. We need you to help with this. We don't run a hardware store.
2) If all you want is the one finished project, then pay someone to build it and stay out of my way. If you really want to learn then put some effort into your schooling.
3) Be willing to share your knowledge and abilities with others. There is one instructor and lots of students.
4) Beware of the leeches that want you to take their stuff to class and do it for them. Tell them to pay the freight, because you are paying for the education.

I totally agree with trying some machines and processes before you buy. It is possible you might not even like doing any sort of machine work. Its kind of like dating first and moving in later.

Rather seeming like a total grouch-- This reply has to do with problems I have experienced in a 38 year teaching career. Some of my best friends, best business contacts are former students.

Stepside
09-15-2002, 09:03 PM
When you find one of the few of us that still teach machine shop, think of this.
1) We have to pay, scrounge, or beg for materials. We need you to help with this. We don't run a hardware store.
2) If all you want is the one finished project, then pay someone to build it and stay out of my way. If you really want to learn then put some effort into your schooling.
3) Be willing to share your knowledge and abilities with others. There is one instructor and lots of students.
4) Beware of the leeches that want you to take their stuff to class and do it for them. Tell them to pay the freight, because you are paying for the education.

I totally agree with trying some machines and processes before you buy. It is possible you might not even like doing any sort of machine work. Its kind of like dating first and moving in later.

Rather seeming like a total grouch-- This reply has to do with problems I have experienced in a 38 year teaching career. Some of my best friends, best business contacts are former students.

mike thomas
09-16-2002, 12:34 AM
Stepside, Maybe you should consider retirement. The students have driven you to repeating your self. Mike

Stepside
09-16-2002, 10:17 AM
Mike
Repeating myself because the "gimmee" group does not listen very well

yax75
09-16-2002, 02:49 PM
THANKS guys!!! All your comments are exactly what I was looking for. I totally agree that I need a course first. Luckily we have a lathe at work so that I can try my hand at a few simple projects there, I hope!

Thanks again

Dave

Dick Payne
09-16-2002, 06:09 PM
yak75:
I just remembered another reason I quit using the mill on my Smithy 3 in 1 machine.
The down feed dial increments are 40 mills per division (0.040") which I did not realize before I bought it. It was impossible to mill anything with precision better then 0.010". Be sure to check all of the dials on any machine you buy to be able to resolve at least 0.002" and preferably 0.001".
I was the manager of an engineering department and had access to the prototype shop and learned to use the mill, lathe, and surface grinder on some of the smaller equipment. The problem is that it was after the shop guys went home and I did not have anyone to ask questions until the next day. In some cases that was too late I had already put a nick in a vice or chuck. Fortunately it was on machines that were purchased for use by novices like me.

------------------
Dick

chip's
09-17-2002, 12:10 AM
Stepside,
I guess I am one of the more lucky ones. I had an excellent man as an instructor. He always paid attention to us and the ones who didn't want to learn slowly left.
I learned so much from him I wouldn't be able to fit it all in avery large book. This man was so good he could tell by the noise you were making what you were doing wrong and upon what number machine you were doing it.
Sadly the collage doesn't even think of having this course any longer because their machiery is not cnc.
I know of many good machinists that owe him much.
Stepside if you haven't been told so for awhile, thanks to you and your peers for helping us and enabeling us to help others. Thanks, thanks, thanks and thanks again.

Greatfully, Rick.

Thrud
09-17-2002, 02:57 AM
Stepside:
Don't get discouraged because of dingleberries! I can tell you quite honestly that the best times I had in school were with my shop teachers. I appreciated their wisdom and they gave me more freedom than the others had to do my own thing - to explore my abilities. They, unlike most teachers I had cared and nurtured the desire to learn. Something I never forgot. So, on behalf of, and in respect of my former teachers & friends - thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Dave

chip's
09-17-2002, 11:49 PM
Amen.

Gizmo
09-18-2002, 01:42 AM
yax, if you do take a shop class somewhere, don't get discouraged if the instructor doesn't warm right up to you! My story, by Gizmo. Stepside can verify it for accuracy; as I am not personally known for reliability when it comes to telling the truth. I learned metalworking at gun school. Machine shop was the last stop, and frankly, I don't know what 85% of the guys were doing there. Mostly spending someone else's money, I think. So Gus, nearing retirement and having repeated the process thousands of times was not quick to warm up. After he chased me out about three weeks running (Blaney, dammit its ten til four get the hell out of here) he saw I was serious about learning the trade. Then he taught me all I could soak up. He just didn't like to waste it.

Stepside
09-18-2002, 09:04 PM
Today was great. great students, great progress. Its like getting paid to play or being a talent scout for a house of ill repute.
Time being what they are and being politically correct being necessary I have eliminated all the really good "shop teacher"humor from my teaching.--well most of it anyway.
I have some students that show up at 6:00AM because they want the knowledge and the skills. I actually use a lot of info gleaned from this site.
Thanks
Pete

OutlawSmithy
10-23-2002, 02:50 AM
I considered the ShopMaster ElDorado along with the Smithy Granite 1220 and they are pretty much neck & neck with a couple of exceptions. 1. is that the state of Nevada has no record of licensing for ShopMaster, nor does the BBB. And 2. is the YELLOW color! I don't think I could deal with looking at that yellow thing day after day. So, I bought a the Smithy as my first machine and I'm happy with it, but, I'm not a "die-hard" machinist either, just a home hobbyist.

Mueller
10-25-2002, 05:30 PM
I have an older Shoptask (17-20) but it's close enough to the Eldo, IMHO

It's a love/hate relationship with my machine. Due to the size and how it was built there are comprimises for it. I had the chance to purchase a bridgport knock off on Monday for $750 with a DRO, but I really like the size of my 3.n.1 and it does work well for the projects that I have taken on.

I've changed mine over to ballscrews and have done other changes to improve it.
(CNC conversion will be finished this weekend)

Try to find one local to look at, even if you have to go a few hundred miles away, it might be worth it to see how you like it. Had I done this, I probebly would not have bought mine, but now I am very happy with it. Supposedly the Eldo's are an improvement.

I would get the quadralift option if they do not come standard, too me this is the mills weakpoint with the poor mill head design. I was going to make one of my own design, but I ended up purchaseing the quad. option today since I would be up and running that much quicker.