PDA

View Full Version : New to Machining_Need Some Opinions



meadeblows
08-17-2001, 03:29 AM
Thanks guys. After posting this last night I did exactly what Dog suggested. Oh boy! Unfortunate about Smithy since they're right down the expressway from me. I just don't want the hassle of a bad machine. I like to build things that work and build them with stuff that works. I think considering what I'm planning a lathe and mill setup would be best instead of the this and that in one. I'd still like to know what the best manufacturer is for what I need. If there is one.

meadeblows
03-04-2006, 02:55 AM
Hello all,
Although I am new to machining I have many years of mechanical design and "tinkering". I am looking for a "desktop" Mill/Lathe suitable for machining telscope mounts and telescope parts. I almost put my money down on a Smithy but after reading a few posts I think I'll pass which is unfortunate because that's really the size I'm looking for. The Sherline and Taig mini-mills and lathes are too small for what I plan on machining. Are there any well made 3-in-1 type setups out there that will permit me to spend more time on making things rather than trying to get the equipment to work right? Has anyone had a good experience with Smithy or does Smithy only talk the talk?

Your Old Dog
03-04-2006, 08:34 AM
You might try banging in 3 in 1 in the search engine. You might bang in Smithy also because some similar machines may be mentioned in the same thread. I know this topic has come up several times in the past year or two. I think most guys would encourage to not do the 3 - 4 or 5 - in 1's. If you're into astronomy heavy enough to build your own gear than you might be a methodical enough thinker to be able to handle a 3-1 machine. I'd sure hate to be far along in a project, mess something up and then have to back up using a 3 - 1 setup! I do alot of backing up and retrying these days !!

ray........

[This message has been edited by Your Old Dog (edited 03-04-2006).]

jkilroy
03-04-2006, 09:20 AM
A 3-in-1 makes a terrible mill. I would suggest just saving some money and buying a small lathe and mill. You will be much happier in the long run.

Evan
03-06-2006, 12:13 PM
bump

SGW
03-06-2006, 12:21 PM
You might look at what Prazi has to offer. Also EMCO. (That's EMCO with an M.)

Blue Ridge Machinery and Tools (usual disclaimers) has quite a variety of offerings.

[This message has been edited by SGW (edited 03-06-2006).]

Wirecutter
03-06-2006, 01:19 PM
What really breaks my heart? Seeing a Monarch VMC sell for $500 on eBay. It was within driving distance. Problem with it was that it weighed in at upwards of 20,000 lbs, had a footprint of at least a single car garage, and appeared to be about 10 feet tall. It had a 20HP spindle motor, IIRC, and ran on 3 phase 480V.

Scale down the equivalent functionality to desktop size, setup for single phase power, and the price jumps to $3000-5000

Supply and demand at work.

PaulT
03-06-2006, 02:13 PM
The 3 in 1's have significant limitations, but for small parts or model work they can get the job done. However, if you have the room and money, a small mill-drill (RongFu or Clausing) and a small lathe (9" or 12")is a big step up in capability. Next step after that is a Bridgeport size mill and a 12" or 14" lathe. This last setup covers a large workpiece size range.

Don't get nothing just because what you can afford or have room for has limitations, if you only have room and money for a 3 in 1, go for it, you can make some nice parts with one of those. I started out with a drill press converted to a mill with an add-on cross table, all housed the closet of my apartment. I was able to make some parts I couldn't have made otherwise, and as I got more room and available funds, I upgraded my equipment.

Good luck-

Paul T.

tattoomike68
03-06-2006, 02:35 PM
I have a smithy 1220 , I like the lathe part, I should have just gotten the lathe.
the mill part is less than great thats for sure.

Mike Burdick
03-06-2006, 02:59 PM
meadeblows,

Maybe you considered this, but if not...

How about a South Bend 9-inch Lathe? It has a footprint of approximately 48-inches by 30-inches and can be put on a desktop if "space" is such a premium for you. Also...it can do all the things (and likely more) that one of those 3-in-1 machines can do by adding a milling attachment or other clever "devices" that you may dream up! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif It would be perfect for making telescope parts!

If you're worried about a used one being worn - which it is going to be - don’t let that stop you. Remember, most things don't need accuracy over a long distance and a lathe that has considerable wear is still capable of holding a tolerance over a short distance for bearings seats etc. In other words, the "operator" doing some thinking can easily compensate for most inaccuracies of a lathe! Once you know what problems the lathe has, corrections will become second nature. Besides, you'll soon need to do this regardless of any machine you buy - new or used!

Be patient! If you check ebay and other suitable venues, I'll bet you will find one that is just perfect for you and you’ll have a machine that will get your job done time after time.

If a South Bend is not to your liking, then consider just a lathe. The other 3-in-1 features can easily be had by attachments or jigs.

Mike

_____________________



[This message has been edited by Mike Burdick (edited 03-06-2006).]

Evan
03-06-2006, 03:26 PM
"In other words, the "operator" doing some thinking can easily compensate for most inaccuracies of a lathe! "

Yep. Keep in mind that all new machines are made on used machines.

My 1937 South Bend 9" is perfect for telescope accesories and parts. Here is a crayford focuser I made. All parts were made on my lathe including all milling operations.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics/crayfoc1.jpg

meadeblows
03-06-2006, 05:08 PM
Thanks everyone. You've brought up some names I was not familiar with. Space is not a problem but I like a compact Machine so I have more room for the kids to run around. I plan on making a deticated tool shop so adding a few more square feet is cetainly possible. Now that I think of it, although the mill and lathe may not be as accurate as I think I need I would think that making a jig or possibly another tool all together would work for specific applications. Is there a "Home Machinist" magazine that is better than the others?

Evan, nice focuser. Bout time someone puts some shine on their scope. None of that flat black stuff for me unless it's in the tube. Have you ever made a drive worm gear and worm wheel?

Evan
03-06-2006, 05:23 PM
I have made a worm and wheel but not for a scope.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics/wormwheel1.jpg

It's for a small rotary table. What looks like a worm is the hob for making the wheel.

The wheel in the drive below was a precision brass gear that I found. I made the worm for it and designed the rest including the stepper drive for it.

http://vts.bc.ca/pics/scope1a.jpg

http://vts.bc.ca/pics/scopedrive1.jpg



[This message has been edited by Evan (edited 03-06-2006).]

tattoomike68
03-06-2006, 05:26 PM
I do like my smithy, its fine for hobbie work at home , my brother has a big machine shop i can use for free if needed.

Oh yes, do not be afraid of an old machine if you turn a part .002-.005 oversize file it some at a slow speed to get it within .002, speed it up and polish off the last thou or so with some used emory cloth and you can get to less than .0005 with most any machine.

It comes off easy, putting it back on does not work so well.

[This message has been edited by tattoomike68 (edited 03-06-2006).]

meadeblows
03-06-2006, 05:59 PM
Alright Evan, it appears you're my new best friend! My main goal are the drives. Any suggestion or reference material on the net that you're aware of concerning fabricating your own drive gears and worms? I found one page explaining one method but frankly, I want to know how Ed Byers does his.

Your mount looks nice! I'd like to see some more views of it. You do any photography or just observation?

Evan
03-07-2006, 02:13 AM
Here is a good writeup on machining worms and wheels by Chris Heapy. This is an archive of his site so not all the links work.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/chrisheapy/worms.htm

Here is a link to his astronomy projects section.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/chrisheapy/lx200.htm

This is a link to my astronomy pages.

http://vts.bc.ca/astrophoto/astro.html

Rooter
03-07-2006, 06:12 AM
Although I don't presume to know much about any of these machines, here is the website to the Shoptask 3-in-1 and also one from someone who bought one. Very detailed write-up.
http://www.shoptask.com/
http://home.comcast.net/~cassarole/Shoptask.html

Fasttrack
03-07-2006, 11:08 PM
I have a smithy machine; its not bad at all. In fact i really like the lathe for small stuff. Like already mentioned anything that has to be super exact i polish it to the tolerances - takes a little time but otherwise very happy with it. Even the milling portion is good enough for me. Sure its not the greatest in the world but most of the milling i do is light duty on aluminum heads or rough cutting slots for brackets etc so tolerances dont have to be exact. Quality wise i think the smithy is an excellent value, but of course, it IS still a three-in-one machine so you can only get so much out of it.

DanR
03-08-2006, 01:43 AM
I have seen this same response everywhere. The 3-in-1 bashing will not likely end, but in my limited opinion it is not wholly warranted either.

No question, a 3-in-1 is not a Bridgeport and it is not a Southbend or Clausing... but it IS smaller than either of them, and is IS larger than the Taig and Sherline.

The mill on the Granite 1324, for example, will only handle about 8 inches square without re-mounting the part. Pretty small by most standards... but IF your requirement fits this size range, it is a whole lot cheaper than alternatives and it IS a smaller footprint if room is an issue.

As others have said, the lathe is a 13 inch over bed lathe, and if retrofitted with a QCTP can actually do some decent work.

You won't be taking huge cuts in any case and that's where I think the problem lies.

Most machinists and hobbyists appear to be touched with the "Tim the Toolman Taylor's" need for MORE POWER! The equipment that may have been okay initially soon ISN'T because requirements change.

The Smithy is not the Shopsmith of metalworking. I have seen few machines that do many things do any of them well. The Shopsmith (in the woodworking world) does them all well with the right blades (Forrest) and the right drill bits, etc - even though it is not geared to production because of the need to change over machine configurations.

The Smithy doesn't do everything well, but it has great parts and technical support and you don't have to call to India (or China) to find someone who can talk to you about it.

At work we started with one of the first Smithy Granite 1324's in 1999. It has really been improved since then, but it is still limited. We were going to be happy to mill some small fixtures for an environmental shaker table and to turn some non-standard thread adapters for optics that local machine shops totally ripped us off for (two threads of 1/2 inch length with a knurled ring in between (through barrel) for $100 bucks each if we bought three. [yes, I know that we weren't a repeat customer and they might have had to bypass their normal setups, but this is lathe work in 1998 - they weren't using CNC to do it either]. Over the years our requirements grew to include plate fixtures with standard radial patterns or 2 inch on center 3/8-16 through holes with counterbores etc for a 13 inch diameter shaker head. The Smithy gave way to a Bridgeport and a 1340 Jet lathe that used the same D1-4 tooling we had with the Smithy. R8 collets and 5C collet chucks etc. are all still useful.
We now smile as we make big honking cuts with the Bridgeport like a hot knife through butter (480 three phase power), but it is a different world. The Granite 1324 in many ways was a good choice. We only paid $2500 for it and have many times that in tooling that although small, is not useless.

We have had the option of retrofitting most of the Granite improvements to make it a better tool. It served well in limited capacity given the lack of skill of those who used it (including myself). I am asking some pretty basic questions on this forum because I never tried a lot of things, and now I am ready to swallow my pride and "ask for directions". I still learn by making plenty of mistakes, but have greatfully been steered clear of folly many times by forum members.

Now, I don't mean to be some Smithy salesman, but the 3-in-1 has a place. It is limited, and it has been a great learning tool. Looking back, was it worth the money? Definitely. It did pay for itself in pretty short order.

Where all of the 3-in-1 bashers are absolutely correct is not that they won't do limited work - but that the requirements of 99% of the people will change after they get started and the requirements will likely outgrow the machine.

There is ONE thing worse, though, NOT GETTING STARTED! You might not start because 1) you are always saving for the bigger stuff and never get there or 2) you don't get started because although you have the money for bigger machines, you can't fit them into your hobby space and you can't work them into a business opportunity.

So having said all of that, if the venerable and almost 'saint status' machinists on this site tell me I am all wet, I will bite my tongue, shut up and sit down.... but I am betting that most will agree in principle.

[This message has been edited by DanR (edited 03-08-2006).]

meadeblows
03-08-2006, 10:41 AM
DanR, thanks for the response. Smithy is still on my list since I am within maybe 45 minutes of their store front Homestead Tools. If things didn't work out I'm sure getting support would be no problem and if it were I could always show up on their doorstep with a 600 lb "rock". You make a lot of great points and I've heard the same arguments in other hobbies of mine. Carbon fiber or steel! Refractor or reflector! AMD or Intel. I can get 10 different opinions from 5 different people but as I've discovered before it is ALWAYS best to do your homework first. And thanks to Evan I now have an archive of some of the greatest telescope maching info out there (so far). If I can make a Smithy or any other 3-in-1 machine better I will but every machine has got to have a good base to start with and that's what I'm really looking for. Often if not always, good product support is 80% of the battle and Smithy is high on the list there. Still looking though. Thanks again.

RobertLC
11-20-2006, 12:20 PM
After having a Smithy 1220LTD, it's not a bad FIRST machine. One of the major problem areas is breaking the lathe to use the mill and vice-versa and there will be operations where you have to alternate back 'n forth to get the piece done and that can get old real quick, maybe even, somewhere down the road, to the point of loosing interest in machining, particularly after you spent 2 or 3 thousand for a 3-n-1, when you should have gotten seperate units. This was my situation! Now, after a year or so, I'm looking to get back into making chips, but, this time with seperate machines. As much as I'd like to get a B'port and machines of this stature, they are just too big for my shop and in some ways, overkill. I'm looking at Grizzly, RongFu, etc, which certain models are virtually the same unit, no matter what name is one it, in which case, I'll go by price, support and parts availablity. As for a lathe, small Logans, etc., can be bought on ebay or even locally. Granted, seperate machines take up a little more room than a 3-n-1, but, not that much more...AND....THEY WOULD BE A REAL PLEASURE TO USE 'cuz you don't have to break 'em down to use the other, getting the piece done sooner and in all probability, a better finish. Just think about it before you "take the dive".

Bob

A.K. Boomer
11-20-2006, 01:26 PM
Its amazing what you can do with just one machine, Evan's example is nothing short of stellar with what he acomplished with just a lathe, Its kinda funny that im doing the exact opposite by turning my mill into a lathe when needed, The trouble with the little 3in1 machines always seems to be people complaining about the mill part of the machine, the smithies and bridgemills (shoptask) can hold pretty good tolerance with the lathe part of the machine (with allot of tweeking) but iv talked to several owners when i was considering them and they stated that the mill part was a chatterbox, loose, and lacking ridgidity and dispite all thier efforts they were not able to bring them around,,,
My take on it is this, if your strapped for cash get one good machine, if the machine is stout enough and has good quality bearings and some weight to it then it is great for what it was designed for --- everything else is just a bonus, so you spend a little money tooling up to make it do what it really wasnt designed for but that doesnt take away from what it can already achieve plus over half the stuff your buying you would have had to get for your other machine eventually anyways, the bottom line is - is that your really not stuck with a compromise, so you get to the point where you can afford the other machine, nothing is really lost and your first machine is a keeper --- unlike a compromise that you have to get rid of and still have to buy two machines...

No i cant thread on my mill or work on long shafts but for what im trying to build i dont have the need (yet)...
That being said the only real thing i have to do to set it up for lathe work is tram the head sideways, my quick change mounts in my vise, the vise/QC position is stored in my DRO and its not that bad, the last little drive pins i turned out i held 3/10ths --- i also just turned a 4" drive pulley from steel and was amazed at the machines ridgidity in this mode, Happy for now and not a nightmare if i decide to change over later... :)

kap pullen
11-20-2006, 01:30 PM
I don't have a Smithy, nor have I ever had one.

Smithy HAS been in the market place since I was a child.
That should say something FOR it.

My trips to Harbor Fright have tempted me on that type machine for single phase basement work.

The South Bend heavy ten, mill, and shaper aren't too impressive either.

These are the type machines I spent my apprenticeship on, but bigger!

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v206/kappullen/4311-1.jpg

This is a small Devlieg Jig Mill, maybe a 4B-72. 4 is the spindle diameter and 72" the table legnth.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v206/kappullen/Gray_Planer_small.jpg

This is about a 48" (wide) Gray Planer. The table looks to be 12 feet long. I can't make out if it has 3, or four cutting heads. I would guess four heads are better'n one.

This one is in the basement.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v206/kappullen/cupchuck.jpg

Kap

It's A poor mechanic That blames his tools!

-----------------------------------------------------------

TheShooter
01-20-2007, 05:33 PM
So... it's driving me crazy :confused: - what machine (or machines) did you finally choose and get???

Evan
01-20-2007, 06:29 PM
You should go a bit easy on the signature Shooter. Advertising isn't allowed on this board.

IOWOLF
01-20-2007, 06:43 PM
I sure hope you don't mean the NRA thing ,Evan.

Evan
01-20-2007, 06:48 PM
Advertising is advertising regardless of what it is about. I'm not about to get into a discussion on firearms. I own a rackfull myself and you know that.

JCHannum
01-20-2007, 07:43 PM
Several contributors have links to their businesses and outside interests incorporated in their signature line. No one has ever objected to any of them. I don't know why you would start now.

If you don't want to look at it, don't click on it.

TheShooter
01-20-2007, 07:55 PM
Hey, no big deal to me... I would understand if I were putting MY business in there, but if it is an issue, one of the administrators will surely tell me... ;)

Todd Tolhurst
01-20-2007, 09:21 PM
You should go a bit easy on the signature Shooter. Advertising isn't allowed on this board.

Out of curiousity more than anything else, may I ask where is that written? This forum seems to have little in the way of written policy.

rantbot
01-20-2007, 10:02 PM
I'd personally like to see all the sigs go. The little aphorisms and epigrams might be entertaining the first time, but after the fiftieth the humor wears thin.

Evan
01-20-2007, 10:09 PM
You are quite right, the stated policy is very terse and does not mention that advertising is not allowed. It is however still the policy of Village Press. I tried to be polite when mentioning it.

I refer you to a thread that I started last year about this:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=18702

Neil's reply to the question about the omission of any mention in the stated policy was:



It's an oversight, Evan. I'll get the matter put onto the IT "do" list.

Thank you for pointing out the omission.

Neil

Also, when signing in for the first time the user will pass through the screen listing and describing the three forums. The advertising policy is clearly stated there in the description of the Third Hand forum.



This forum is for seeking and finding help in a variety of ways. You may be seeking advice on a way of solving a problem you have in your shop. Or possibly you just bought a used lathe or some other machine tool, but the seller didn't have an owner's manual, parts list or operating instructions, so you are in need of one. Perhaps you want to contact a manufacturer, but don't have any information about their address or phone. In other words, any help you need can be solicited here. One thing we insist upon, however; this is not a place to sell something. Also, out of courtesy to the helper, the offer of payment for photocopies and postage is certainly in order.
My emphasis.

TheShooter
01-20-2007, 10:10 PM
Well, funny how a forum gets its panties in a wad about a signature...

TheShooter
01-20-2007, 10:10 PM
Actually, not the whole forum - sorry - just some members...

Todd Tolhurst
01-20-2007, 10:16 PM
So, the only question that remains is whether the signature in question constitutes an advertisement. I didn't consider it as such.

TheShooter
01-20-2007, 10:18 PM
So, if my sig has the nra.org link, what EXACTLY, am I selling??? I get no money or kickbacks from it, just that I believe in a cause...

BUT, I have asked the administrators who run this thing and THEY will tell me if that is inappropriate or against any rules.

Until then, I suggest you all relax...


You are quite right, the stated policy is very terse and does not mention that advertising is not allowed. It is however still the policy of Village Press. I tried to be polite when mentioning it.

I refer you to a thread that I started last year about this:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=18702

Neil's reply to the question about the omission of any mention in the stated policy was:


Also, when signing in for the first time the user will pass through the screen listing and describing the three forums. The advertising policy is clearly stated there in the description of the Third Hand forum.


My emphasis.

Todd Tolhurst
01-20-2007, 10:26 PM
Hey, I'm not even sure which part of your sig was supposed to be an ad. Was it the NRA (http://www.nra.org) link, or the line identifying you as a pistol instructor? Either way, I didn't see anything to get exercised about.

--
Member, ARRL (http://www.arrl.org), NRA (http://www.nra.org) & ACLU (http://www.aclu.org)
Certified ARRL Volunteer Examiner

Evan
01-20-2007, 10:26 PM
So, the only question that remains is whether the signature in question constitutes an advertisement. I didn't consider it as such.

I consider it such. Although I agree with the aims of the NRA providing a link to the organization web site is promoting the organization and it's policies. Promotion is the equivalent of advertising.

Todd Tolhurst
01-20-2007, 10:30 PM
Opinions are what make horse races, but neither your opinion nor mine control here. I'm sure Neil will have a word with anyone who crosses the line, wherever Neil decides that line is.

Evan
01-20-2007, 10:37 PM
Perhaps he will.

Todd Tolhurst
01-20-2007, 10:44 PM
I'll let ya know.

J. Randall
01-20-2007, 11:30 PM
Looks like an ad to me. It says you want to be called Shooter, as does the top of the post, and you like to shoot, you defend the right to shoot, and you think you can teach someone else to shoot. What has that got to do with machining? Just a name at the bottom would suit me, and it would not waste the hosts bandwidth. James

Todd Tolhurst
01-20-2007, 11:44 PM
Maybe it's an ad, but the bandwidth issue is insignificant. His signature consists of 432 bytes of HTML code. The little dot icon to the right of your name at the top of your post is 1026 bytes.

The reason the forum software provides a signature capability in the first place is to allow people to "advertise" a little something about themselves. Shooter's signature tells me that he's a gun guy, and quite effectively so.

TheShooter
01-21-2007, 12:20 AM
FYI - when registering, these are the "rules" ;
The Home Shop Machinist & Machinist's Workshop BBS Rules
Forum Rules
In order to proceed, you must agree with the following rules:

Forum Rules

Registration to this forum is free! We do insist that you abide by the rules and policies detailed below. If you agree to the terms, please check the 'I agree' checkbox and press the 'Register' button below. If you would like to cancel the registration, click here to return to the forums index.

Although the administrators and moderators of The Home Shop Machinist & Machinist's Workshop BBS will attempt to keep all objectionable messages off this forum, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the author, and neither the owners of The Home Shop Machinist & Machinist's Workshop BBS, nor Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd. (developers of vBulletin) will be held responsible for the content of any message.

By agreeing to these rules, you warrant that you will not post any messages that are obscene, vulgar, sexually-oriented, hateful, threatening, or otherwise violative of any laws.

The owners of The Home Shop Machinist & Machinist's Workshop BBS reserve the right to remove, edit, move or close any thread for any reason.


Hmmmmmm... I don't see anything about ADVERTISING...

ronm
01-21-2007, 12:37 AM
Give 'em Hell, Shooter...as a relative newby myself, I can tell you there are some on here that will bully you if you let them...not mentioning names, of course...;) they know who they are, & you will too, if you don't already. Just stand up to them. There's also a vast amount of knowledge, if you can stand the BS. Just don't call them a "dysfunctional family" when the fur starts flying...:eek:...
Ron in CO...

Evan
01-21-2007, 12:38 AM
Hmmmmmm... I don't see anything about ADVERTISING...

Quite so. I guess you missed my response to Todd on that matter.

Todd Tolhurst
01-21-2007, 12:50 AM
Still, it remains the only stated policy on acceptable forum use. Since The Powers That Be haven't bothered to change the policy in the 9 months or so since you brought this to their attention, one might conclude that it's not a terribly important issue for them.

I wonder which of the following signatures would be considered advertising?


Frank Ford
FRETS.COM (http://www.frets.com)
Gryphon Stringed Instruments (http://www.gryphonstrings.com)
My Home Shop Pages (http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Machining/index.html)

NRA Life Member.

Regards, Marv
Home Shop Freeware - Tools for People Who Build Things
http://www.myvirtualnetwork.com/mklotz


Doc's Machine (http://www.docsmachine.com/). (Probably not what you expect.)


When in doubt, doubt your doubt.
www.metalillness.com (http://www.metalillness.com/)

TheShooter
01-21-2007, 12:51 AM
[/b][/u][/i][/color]

Quite so. I guess you missed my response to Todd on that matter.
DOH! So many messages flying around... you're right, missed it.

Apologies, and, thanks for the support...

All I really want to know is what the original poster decided on for their first machine... :confused::confused::confused:

IOWOLF
01-21-2007, 06:41 AM
Thank you Todd for posting that I was too tired/lazy to do so, but wanted to.
Correct me IF I am wrong but hasn't Evan posted a link to His site on an occasion or two? This is not an attack on Evan,Just an eye opener.

So, Shooter thanx for sticking up for yourself and the "Cause".

And for those who can't figure it out,A Firearm is a machine,One that often needs upkeep and upgrading,If your local laws don't oppose this, then you can do this yourself, with your MACHINIST tools,be it a file or more.

Your opinion MAY vary,Tough.

Your Old Dog
01-21-2007, 09:45 AM
Getting back to the topic at hand for a minute:

Aren't most of the projects with telescopes made from aluminum? If that's the case I'd think the Smithy's mill would be perfectly adequate. It may/may not be poor on milling difficult steels but hell you can mill aluminum on a drill press. In other words, if I were going to use alumininum 99% of the time then I'd tough it out the 1% of the time I had to slow way down on the mill to handle steel.

I now return you back to the side tracked topic.

If I have my signature reflect the fact that I am not an NRA member is that still advertising? example.

signature:
Not a member of the NRA but engrave and own firearms.

Jay, was that a typo? "Your opinion MAY vary,Tough." Did you mean to say "Your opinion MAY vary, Though." :D

JCHannum
01-21-2007, 10:35 AM
Regarding advertising, the rules apparently no longer mention it, and it is quite unrealistic to expect a new member to search the archives for months to find out that it was unacceptable at one time. The sponsors had requested no advertising previously, and I am supportive of that. They publish several magazines, which The Shooter purchases. Not all contributors here do that.

Blatant advertising, or offering something for sale, such as a lathe or tooling does violate the original intent. I am OK with that, and do not feel it belongs here as it takes away from Village Press's main source of revenue. However, a link to an organization in a signature line is far removed from that, and no different at all from the links to manufacturer's and vendor's websites, eBay ads and many other sites that are part and parcel of the information exchanged here on a daily basis.

Let us not forget that Evan often mentions his wife and her employer as a source of grinding wheels and supplies. His wife also has posted offering information and presenting herself as a source for the same. They have both recommended contacting her. Said employer does not advertise in the magazines.

The new software provides a means to report a bad post, and I suggest that if anyone feels someone has posted something that is inappropriate they make use of it. It is very simple, and allows the appropriate persons to reach a decision.

In response to the Smithy question, I do not know, or recall if it was ever determined which machine was purchased. Many people have them and are quite satisfied with them, many other people have them and curse the day they purchased them.

There are many people who do excellent work with the three in one machines, and if you end up with one, it is much better than no machine at all. However, they do have drawbacks. The lower priced versions, like all machines built for a low price, suffer quality problems. The more expensive versions are a little better.

They all share the fact that compromises must be made to provide the functions, and work must be planned around having to tear down and set up the machine to use the different functions. You are generally much better off with dedicated, individual machines if your budget and shop space will permit.

Spin Doctor
01-21-2007, 11:05 AM
There are combination machines and there are combination machines. You get what you pay for. To me the biggest single thing wrong with the Smithy is the weak looking mill set up. That and the fact that you just know as soon as you set up the mill you are sure as you know who made little green apples gonna need the lathe. As to a small lathe this thread is one of the best overall discusions of that subject I have ever seen

http://www.practicalmachinist.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php/topic/1/26843.html#000000

It even contains pictures of some really nice multi-purpose machine tools. Expensive but nice :D

Bill Pace
01-21-2007, 11:12 AM
I'm not gonna touch this advertising thing!!

But, I'll comment on what I've noticed on the 3 in I's ----In all of these threads on this type tool...and there are MANY!...one thing stands out to me. If the owner is generally having good things to say about his particular choice, (and that in itself is pretty rare) there seems to always be a "But,--- etc, etc". I cant ever recall an enthusiastic full praising. Oh, no doubt there are some totally satisfied owners, but, when you think of the owners of, say a South Bend lathe, or a Bridgeport, or any number of other machines, their praise is deep felt, with seldom a "but" mentioned........

Evan
01-21-2007, 11:41 AM
Correct me IF I am wrong but hasn't Evan posted a link to His site on an occasion or two? This is not an attack on Evan,Just an eye opener.

I have never posted a link that points directly to the commercial pages on my web sites. I have posted links that point to my pages on metal working and astronomy but those are strictly non commercial and machining hobby related only.

ljchipmaker
01-21-2007, 12:46 PM
Being an owner of a Smithy, and also one who has had less than satisfactory results a couple of times with their tech-support I feel qualified to respond. For the money I would definately recommend separate machines. The model that you would want which has a quick change gear box, variiable speed, etc., will run you close to 3k. For that kind of money you can get some pretty nice independent machines, and also some tooling. My machine is fine for aluminum, brass, and plastic; but lacks the rigidity needed to do almost any grade of steel unless using very light depths of cut. Like the others have said, the lathe is the best feature, and I can hold work to within .001" easily on the lathe. However, on my model when turning steel I am limited to a depth of cut no deeper than .020" when using the power feed on the lathe. Likewise, on the mill when cutting steel the vibration is usually extreme with cuts deeper than .020". But probably the biggest problem with any 3-in-1 is the limitations that result from the round mill column and fixed table height. These problems will give you hours of frustration.

Do lots of research, there are a lot of independent machines out there that are much better than any individual aspect of the 3-in-1, especially the mill; and you can usually get a bench-top lathe and mill for less money than you would pay for a new 3-in-1. If you get a bech-top mill, get a square column.

I believe to someone who has little or no experience machining they can find the compactness of the 3-in-1 attractive. After some experience has been achieved you begin to realize how restricting their design really is, and then find yourself constantly working around their limitations.

This is my opinion as a result of buying a 3-in-1 prior to having any machining experience, and how I feel now 5 years later after I have much more knowledge of machining and can better understand the real limitation of a 3-in-1. I made a mistake then because I didn't have access to a sight like this where I could get honest opinions, and was attracted to the 3-in-1 by the way it is marketed.

Larry

TheShooter
01-21-2007, 12:49 PM
I am now leaning, heavily, towards a larger Knee-type mill. Possibly a very good condition used Bridgeport.

I guess what it all boils down to is deciding on what features I must have vs. what is nice to have, or wants, and choose based on that criteria. Kind of like buying a car. Do I need to get fro home to the train station each day with reliability, but no fluff, or do I HAVE TO HAVE all the bells and whistles for that same 13 mile drive?

So, my strategey is to outline what I NEED, find all new and used machines that meet that minimum criteria and get one. Once I have it and am using it, I can then decide if certain enhancements and upgrades are what I NEED. Of course, needs change, so what isright now a WANT may become a NEED once I am up to my nostrils with whatever machine I get.

AHEM... We still do not know what machine the original poster settled on?

AND... I will not mention the major OT discussion :rolleyes: except to say thanks to those who lent support and to JCHannum who clarified things a bit for everyone. Also, Your Old Dog - thanks for bringing it back on topic along with the others who actually read the question I was asking.

Through the din I have been able to focus my plans on a range of machines that I will begin looking at and evaluating.

IOWOLF
01-21-2007, 02:22 PM
I have never posted a link that points directly to the commercial pages on my web sites. I have posted links that point to my pages on metal working and astronomy but those are strictly non commercial and machining hobby related only.


Then I stand Corrected,I will not search the archives to prove any one wrong.

Oh and Dog, I have spell check.;)

Your Old Dog
01-21-2007, 02:41 PM
Shooter, if you really are new to all this then you should be told that "setup time" is far far more time consuming then making the actual cuts on the machines. So, that's why I say backing up to redo something made on a 3 in 1 is so problematical. I don't have a 3 in 1 and I still frequently end up making things in 3's so I don't have to do re-setups to cover for my blunders. I usually end up with one working part and considerable scrap! I'm not the brightest bulb with machinery LOL :D If I did this for a living they'd change the old phrase to "doing it for a dying"....

Wolf, how can you spell check? I have IE6 and can't get it to spell check. I have a Websters Dictionary but that assumes you can get close enough in speling it to even find the word in the dictionary ! A couple of times I haven't! Anything I can do to make myself look entellegent wood be well come.

IOWOLF
01-21-2007, 03:45 PM
IIRC , click on the "ABC" and then download the spell check.

Please Help him who ever knows how.

Todd Tolhurst
01-21-2007, 03:58 PM
I have never posted a link that points directly to the commercial pages on my web sites. I have posted links that point to my pages on metal working and astronomy but those are strictly non commercial and machining hobby related only.

Never is a long, long time. Remember this (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=33217#post33217)? Or this (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=210068#post210068), or this (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=35580#post35580), or this (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=113770#post113770), or this (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=30739#post30739)?

Personally, I don't see any problem with any of those posts. But I think it's stretching things a bit to say that you've never linked to commercial pages on your web site.

OK, you can tell me I'm wrong now.

dp
01-21-2007, 04:59 PM
Never is a long, long time. Remember this (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=33217#post33217)? Or this (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=210068#post210068), or this (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=35580#post35580), or this (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=113770#post113770), or this (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=30739#post30739)?

Personally, I don't see any problem with any of those posts. But I think it's stretching things a bit to say that you've never linked to commercial pages on your web site.

OK, you can tell me I'm wrong now.

When links like this are unacceptable then references to Enco, Harbor Fright, Little Machine Shop, Online Metals, etc. become equally unacceptable. That's just unacceptable :) <-- note smiley face!

Actually, none of those referenced a specific thing for sale but were rather given as a resource someone seeking information could follow. But if someone posts links to items they're selling that would be a bit much except if it is an unusual item that would be of interest here. It also calls into question posts along the lines of 'Want to buy...' solicitations vs. 'Need opinions for machine I want to buy'.

The last thing I think of when I see Frank Ford's frets.com link is an advertisement. While there is plenty to spend money on at frets.com, it is one of the most interesting sites on the web for machinists looking for inspiration and solutions. I'd hate to see that kind of thing discouraged.

However - I do find TheShooter's sig to be tiresome for it's lack of brevity and context, but that's just me.

TheShooter
01-21-2007, 05:07 PM
Shooter, if you really are new to all this then you should be told that "setup time" is far far more time consuming then making the actual cuts on the machines. So, that's why I say backing up to redo something made on a 3 in 1 is so problematical. I don't have a 3 in 1 and I still frequently end up making things in 3's so I don't have to do re-setups to cover for my blunders. I usually end up with one working part and considerable scrap! I'm not the brightest bulb with machinery LOL :D If I did this for a living they'd change the old phrase to "doing it for a dying".... <<<snip>>>

Yes, I think that a 3-in-1 machine is not what I want for what I plan ot do. I am sure I need a mill, lathe and probably a basic drill press for basic drilling and just keep those three things distinctly separate. I have the room for 3-5 machines, just not sure about power. Since I will not liekly be running ALL the machines simultaneously, I can probably have my electrician friend work up a switching system for power with safety circuits for each.

Anyway, I am positive I will buy separate machines. Still working on "candidates", but it sounds like a square column model is important, so I am looking at those as the number one choice. Still not settled on a brand or specific model yet.

I will put my list up later today of the candidates so far.

Many thanks (again & again) to all who have offered advice and thoughts on mills. You are helping IMMENSELY!

Michael Moore
01-21-2007, 06:08 PM
I guess what it all boils down to is deciding on what features I must have vs. what is nice to have, or wants, and choose based on that criteria. Kind of like buying a car. Do I need to get fro home to the train station each day with reliability, but no fluff, or do I HAVE TO HAVE all the bells and whistles for that same 13 mile drive?

You don't need to have windows in your car to get to the train station, but they can come in handy on rainy days. :)

I've had good luck with the philosophy of buying the maximum of what my budget will stretch to, and maybe squeek out a bit more if it seems justified. I'd rather pay up front and then have something I can "grow into" instead of being in a constant upgrade cycle.

I'm also trying to shy away from the cheap deals on tooling that seem to end up being not so cheap in the long run.

As people have told me, in a couple of years the extra money you paid up front doesn't even cross your mind, and you've also had the nicer tool to use for those years.

Granted, not everyone has an expansive budget available to them and we all have to work within our budgets or end up suffering the consequences. But buying quality usually seems to pay off in the long run, and even in the short run it may reduce the level of aggravation you experience.

I seem to usually buy high and sell low, so if I'm trying to trade up to what I really want the trading up process ends up costing me more than just going straight to the goal would have.

I think most of us are doomed to eventually having a project that is just too big for the machinery we have. But I'd rather be in that condition once every few years, instead of buying a less capable machine and finding myself in that state every 6 months.

cheers,
Michael

TheShooter
01-21-2007, 06:28 PM
Agreed - if I have a budget of $5000-$5700, I can put together a pretty decent setup. I could squeeze up to $6K if I had to...

JCHannum
01-21-2007, 07:00 PM
When links like this are unacceptable then references to Enco, Harbor Fright, Little Machine Shop, Online Metals, etc. become equally unacceptable. That's just unacceptable :) <-- note smiley face!


The difference is that instead of referencing a vendor, the links are to Evan's wife's place of employment and e-mail links to her. This is personal advertising, not passing along information.

matador
01-21-2007, 07:31 PM
One thing i haven't seen mentioned,is that any reasonable size lathe will permit SOME milling,with the use of a vertical slide.
For the money you'd lay out for the smithy 3 in 1,methinks you could buy a fair size lathe plus a vertical slide.(a 10x24 perhaps?)
Would this be any less rigid than a 3in1 machine?Of course,it does come back to the footprint,but did you mention you were going to extend your shop anyway?
Just a thought.
Eventually you're bound to want a separate mill,for the projects will grow like topsy:).

plastikosmd
01-21-2007, 07:45 PM
6k, you could have a heck of a shop if you take your time..that is more than what i have into my shop (metal shop)..but i took my time
www.plastikosmd.com
hey look Im advertising!
scott

Evan
01-21-2007, 08:27 PM
The difference is that instead of referencing a vendor, the links are to Evan's wife's place of employment and e-mail links to her. This is personal advertising, not passing along information.
The only time I have ever posted that information is in direct response to a query asking for the information. Further, my wife doesn't own the business, she works there. It isn't personal advertising.

I will also point out that the few members that have purchased products from the business she manages have been given significant discounts as well as free extras.

I have also shipped some items to some members at no cost that were supplied by my wife from the business, as a gift, not a promotion.

Todd Tolhurst
01-21-2007, 08:46 PM
The only time I have ever posted that information is in direct response to a query asking for the information.

Not really true.

In this thread (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=33217#post33217), Shaque didn't ask for anything from you, but you offered an unsolicited recommendation of your wife's business.

In this thread (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?p=30728&mode=linear#post30728), Doc had already decided to use HSS teeth, but you took it upon yourself to upsell him on carbide teeth your wife's company could supply.

Again, I think both postings were perfectly appropriate, and I have no problem with them at all. But it is inconvenient when you're trying to scold someone else for advertising, isn't it?

Evan
01-21-2007, 08:56 PM
That's a very old post. I also wasn't aware of the policy at that time since it has never been clearly pointed out. As soon as I became aware of it I ceased posting that information without a direct request.

The suggestion of the Rhino teeth I made to Doc was definitely not an upsell. The price I quoted in that thread was at cost, zero profit. She still has them at that price if you would like some.

IOWOLF
01-21-2007, 09:01 PM
Thanx again Todd, Now we can get back to the question TheShooter asked...
GET SEPARATE MACHINES.Definitely.

Todd Tolhurst
01-21-2007, 09:05 PM
Definitely seperate machines.

Your Old Dog
01-21-2007, 10:57 PM
Agreed - if I have a budget of $5000-$5700, I can put together a pretty decent setup. I could squeeze up to $6K if I had to...

I think you won't have much trouble coming up with a decent backyard machine shop for that kind of money. I think you mentiond the square column mill and you're right. I have a round column mill/drill and I certainly wish it were a square.

Also, if you buy a drill press get the 15 speed and I reccomend having the bench top variety and not the floor. I've had both and am stuck with a floor model Delta that I don't particulaly like, the bench version of the same unit I had years ago was much more comfortable to work with. I have never had to drill the end of a baseball bat and that's the only reason I can think of for a floor model drill press. I would reccomend a 5/8 chuck if you can swing it.

On the advertising thing, why don't we do it this way before we have a full scale war that accomplishes little. If you want to advertise go ahead. If web management doesn't like it they'll tell you to cease and desist or risk being booted. I haven't seen anything that offends my sensibilities with respect to advertising except the clowns using this site to up their google standings. I think a pissy little topic like this has the potential to create some really hard feelings and for what? A simple signature line? It ain't worth it IMHO. Put it to bed. It don't look like anyone's gonna say uncle or change their opinion :D

TheShooter
01-22-2007, 12:24 AM
Ya, I figure I could get what I need for that much, have a nice shop and produce some good items.

:cool:

torker
01-22-2007, 01:01 AM
I'm not sure what kind of reach you'd get with a bench mounted drill press but I've made a few stocks for Reminton 1100's and was glad to have a floor press to drill the deep hole required. It was pretty easy(well...ok...not really) to set it up with an angle block and the stock hanging down off the side of the table. You might find if you don't have enough drill press that you can't do this kind of stuff.
I've also drilled out quite a few new bolt patterns in car axle flanges with my floor press. Good luck doing them on a bench model.
Just a thought anyway.
BTW...Welcome Shooter!

BadDog
01-22-2007, 01:22 AM
Also, if you buy a drill press get the 15 speed and I reccomend having the bench top variety and not the floor. I've had both and am stuck with a floor model Delta that I don't particulaly like, the bench version of the same unit I had years ago was much more comfortable to work with. I have never had to drill the end of a baseball bat and that's the only reason I can think of for a floor model drill press. I would reccomend a 5/8 chuck if you can swing it.

YOD, I gotta disagree on that one, based on my experience, the floor model has been a make-or-break item on several fab projects over the years. There are the hole-saw pipe notching jigs for one thing. These are far too tall for most bench top drill presses. Only a few months back I lowered the rack-n-pinion table down about shin high to run a hole saw into the side of a tank, and the list goes on. The floor models are most all much heavier/stronger than the bench tops I've seen/had. Not to mention the only ones that ever seem to have slow enough speeds (generally requires a jack shaft on a belt swapper) are the larger floor models (though there are exceptions). And that speed thing can be a huge deal if you dont have a mill, which I didnt until fairly recently.

I would never consider a bench top unless I was REALLY strapped for space or as a back up/extra in addition to a floor model. Everyone has their own needs and preferences, but even without my experience, I always tend to err on the side of more capacity than I think I'll need, and I still often find myself coming up short! :D

Your Old Dog
01-22-2007, 08:01 AM
If you need the capacity on the drill press that much maybe a floor stand would be more practicable. If you don't use it that often you still have options. Mine was mounted on workbench at the extreme end. I'd loosen the head rotate it so it hung over the floor. Then I chucked up a piece of full length drill rod and used it to indicate plumb for the bit. I never did a rifle stock but don't think it would have taken me that much time to fabricate a temporary table under the stock and clamp it to the workbench to hold it while drilling.

I liked the convienance of having the broad worksurface close at hand and absolutly no wobble. My floor press is not bolted to the floor. My dream setup would be 3 15speed bench machines on one workbench so I would have to dink with setups when doing more than one part.