10-17-2005, 12:21 PM
Hello. Hopefully this topic has not been beaten to death previously. I had a Sherline lathe and separate mill many years ago to make model steam engines, etc. I sold everything long ago. I am contemplating retirement and possibly restarting this hobby. I think I would like a larger (but not gargantuan) setup. I am considering one of the Grizzly Tools lathe & mill combinations, or possibly a Smithy. Anybody have any thoughts, pros and cons on either make, other makes to consider, suggestions in general? Any insight will be greatly appreciated.

pwilson1204 (Bel Air MD 21014)

10-17-2005, 01:07 PM
This topic had definitely come up many times before.
Start off with some searches in the General forum using the terms ‘combination machine’ and ‘smithy’, then post any specific questions you may have.


10-17-2005, 01:24 PM
The biggest complaint I hear about regarding the 3-in-1 machines is having to tear down one setup, say a turning setup, to do a quick job like milling or drilling a hole. If you can live with that on a daily basis then I suppose it may work out OK for you.

That said...I was considering a Smithy 3-in-1 machine when I first got into this hobby but after much consideration I decided seperate machines would work out better for me in the long run. In retrospect I am glad I made that decision.

10-17-2005, 03:03 PM
I have a smithy midas 1220 at home, the lathe part is good , the mill part is ok.

the set up, tear down is a pain in the ass going from mill to lathe or vice versa.

my shop is a wood shack with no power other than an extention cord, after I tear it down and put up a steel pole building and get some 220 in there I will get some bigger better machines. I'm used to running 7-10 hp lathes and 3+ hp mills at work. what I want the most is a lathe with a foot brake and a carrage hand wheel.

For $1,000 my smithy is fine but would much rather have 2 machines.

Jon Leary
10-17-2005, 03:50 PM
I have a g9729 combo machine. I made a tool holder that screws in to the mill vise so for alot of turning or drilling jobs doesn't require changeover. To make changeovewr easy I captive tnuts and a knurled screw for the handwheel. Can swap in a couple minutes. Jon

Frank Ford
10-17-2005, 04:00 PM
If I could offer only one piece of advice it would be not to make the same mistake(s) I did. Don't sell yourself short and figure you're "not worth" good equipment because of your limited experience or skill, or the use to which you'll put it.

If you have the dough, go for the best you can get your hands on, and grow into the gear rather than out of it!

10-17-2005, 06:39 PM
I am a past owner of a Grizzly G4015 3in1 machine. I learned quite a bit using that machine and the last thing was that machining small engines like I do now is much easier and much less frustrating using a separate lathe and mill. It doesn't have to be a large lathe. Even a 7 x 10 lathe will allow you to machine many small engines. The mill part is what I would be especially concerned about. The Lathemaster (lathemaster.com) X3 mill would be a good size for most small engine projects. Or, a mill/drill like the RF31 or similar is a good size for engine building. I have been machining small engines for the past several years using a 12 x 36 and a RF31 type mill/drill. This may be a little large for your taste, but you they are certainly flexible tools.