View Full Version : New at this.

08-15-2002, 08:53 AM
I will be getting a Smithy Granite 1324 in early September, and would like to hear from people who have used this machine. Also, anybody who has advice on how to start machining. Thanks.

08-15-2002, 09:55 AM
Most contributors to this BBBS do not express a great deal of enthusiasm for the three in one machines.
If you have already made the decision to buy one, or you are aquiring one by some other means, I will say that I have seen some very nice machining done with this equipment. There is a gentleman who displays at NAMES and Cabin Fever who has built three Gatling guns, and several IC motors with one.
My advice on starting machining, assuming you have no experience, is to find a school in your area which offers evening courses.
I think the general consensus of the best books available are the two volume sets; Machine Shop Practice, by Moltrecht, and Machine Tool Operation, by Burghardt. The How to Run a Lathe books by South Bend and Atlas also offer a great deal of information. I think the Atlas book is a little better for the beginner.
Welcome to the hobby. Enjoy it, and work safely. You will find it very rewarding.

08-16-2002, 04:27 AM

Best advice I can offer for getting into this hobby is to go take some course at your high school, college, or trade school. Some offer night courses and it is a good way to start off - getting good instruction. If you cannot do this sse if there is a local club you can join - they would be most helpful.

One thing that is absolutely imperitive is that you understand and follow safety considerations. A power tool like a lathe or mill (even small ones) can eat you for breakfast if you screw up. Most accidents happen because of inattention or laziness (I won't clamp this plate, it is just one hole to drill). I have worked in the industrial sector for way too long and seen far too many injuries for my taste. Don't be a statistic.

Despite all of that, this can be a great hobby, challenging, and sometimes frustrating. I love it.

08-16-2002, 01:49 PM

Always wear safety glasses. Thurd has it right. Remember that if it can cut steel it can most assuredly cut you.

09-05-2002, 07:32 AM
Hi L Smith, just got here myself.I have taught machine shop since 1969. At school V-tec. and OTJ.Will assist where I can. You already got good advice from the other old hands here.As for your choice in equipment.
I have run a Smithy 3-in-1. For a lack of space they do have an edge on other equipment.The machine I tried,(at a friends shop)could not do single-point threading, and had a very limited speed range. Personally I think most off-shore equipment is junk.Wouldn't have this machine in my shop. But then again I'm an old fart who believes cast-iron should be on the precious-metal list!I don't trust anything born after 1970!
However, if this is what you have to work with, it can be of great value as a teaching aid.Get the books the other members have suggested.Make a list of support-tooling you will need to make this here creme-puff sing.Build your tooling with this machine.This will teach you as well as any course could. Go to www.lindsaybks.com (http://www.lindsaybks.com) for a free catalog of tec. books. Most are reprints that outline the machine tool world in detail for the last 150 years. Good luck! regards, Ron

Paul Gauthier
09-05-2002, 08:17 AM
Advice to a Smithy buyer. DON'T. get youself a real lathe, that means American if possible, and a real milling machine. Life then will be good. I believe anyone buying a mill can't do better than to find an older Bridgeport in good shape. It may take time to find one for a reasonable price but you will never regret it.

Paul G.

09-05-2002, 11:45 PM
Thanks for the replies. Let me reply to the repliesby explaining how I come to be asking the question in the first place.
I've been a locksmith for 19 years. I've always been fascinated with machine work. A few months ago, a trade catalog came out with a new tool for opening a certain kind of lock. I looked back through my trade magazines and found the trade trick I sent in in 1996. The new tool was based on my idea, to the point that they used a sentence out of MY trade trick in the new catalog!My point is, had I been able to follow throughand produce a working model of that tool, I would be reaping the benefits.
I come up with a lot of trade related ideas, and I always wished I could build the tools and test them. That's the reason for buying the machine: I will be going from nothing to something, which is a vast improvement. I have to start somewhere, and I don't have a huge amount of space.
As for the quality of the stuff made overseas, well, I haven't gotten the Smithy yet, so I can't say, but the company doesn't try to hide the fact that they're made overseas. I am getting the idea that Bridgeport is the standard by which others are judged. It may very well be that I'll be looking for a used one in a few years.
I appreciate the comments thus far. I really like to hear from people who have used the machine, and not just heard about it. There have been many things in my life that I had opinions about,that I was wrong about, after I experienced them.

09-06-2002, 07:59 AM
While "a Bridgeport" is indeed pretty much the de facto standard against which all milling machines are judged, it may be a bit large for many home shops. You're not in the market for one now, but take a look at the Jet JVM-626 and JTM-830, for instance, just for comparison. They're smaller mills that are of pretty decent quality. (At first glance the JVM-626 looks like it is a B'port, but if you check the dimensions you'll see it's significantly smaller.)

mike thomas
09-06-2002, 10:29 AM
No, no, no, never get a Bridgeport! The damn thing posseses you, never letting go whether you are awake or asleep. It tortures you with self doubt, and frustration. I swear some evil demon lives in the one I have. It sits there waiting for me. It laughs when I cannot get the speed and feed just right. It cackles when I bust an end mill through stupidity. But on the other hand, maybe it is just me. Mike

09-06-2002, 11:51 PM
Another ??? What does a shaper do and how is it different from a mill? What would you use it for, and what can it do that a mill can't?

09-07-2002, 04:59 AM
I blame male menopause. Or, I ask my cat why she did not warn me about that... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

09-07-2002, 09:09 AM
A shaper is totally unlike a milling machine. With a shaper, a single-point toolbit (very much like a lathe toolbit) is mounted on a sliding ram. The toolbit traverses across the workpiece, removing a shaving. The work is bolted to a table that has an automatic feed so the work moves under the reciprocating toolbit.

A shaper is measured by length of stroke; South Bend made a really nice 7" shaper that will fit on a bench. Cincinnati and others made 24" and larger shapers.

They are capable of producing a very fine finish and a very flat surface, but they're slow and less versatile than a milling machine, hence they've gone out of style for commercial use. I'd love to have one in my home shop though.

There must be shaper pictures on the internet someplace.....

Oh -- what can a shaper do that a mill can't. Internal keyways, for one thing. With the proper setup, it can generate involute gear teeth. Probably other things.

[This message has been edited by SGW (edited 09-07-2002).]

09-08-2002, 07:31 AM
Ummm,huh? Somebody say Bridgeport? Art thou calling upon the Sacred One?Ahh my children, you knoest Thou,(ok so i fluked englysh!Knowbodies perfect!)I inhibit your dreams and working hours. Your fondest projects never lie at rest until you create them with me.Your wives shall become 'shop widows'.Give up all hope Ye who enter thy shop wherest I reside! OK, so much for sunday worship. Yeah I love bridgeports. The 9X42 is all I need to make almost anything...except when it comes to a shaper. A good friend of mine swapped a shaper for some machining he needed doing on his Harley. We now have built 2 bikes togather starting with an engine and some ideas.Talk about being abcesset!But back to the shaper. This little toy is a 1920's bench shaper W/7" throw.Has all origional parts that work. Even the origional bench!I'am in process of restoring all the bronze bushings and will hand-scrape the main head. In the mean time let me tell you what you can do with one of these little gems. You can: shave heads, broach a shaft,make tapered gibs,square up any stock you can get on the table,cut outside radii with precision, and so on. In lindsay's booklet on shapers,it shows both large and small shapers doing all of these things. From watch-parts to broaching a water dam turbine shaft,(they moved the 24" shaper to the shaft for this work because it was much smaller then the work!!)I can run a job on my shaper whilst doing a lathe or mill job. It has gear-actuated feed so you can let it run without standing over it. When I was teaching machine shop at my alma mater NTEC Riviera Bch Fl. a student was running the Brown & Sharp 24". The driving ram-gear is about 20".
While the tool was shaving a modest 1/8" off the stock he was squaring;he sat there reading a book. I walked over and asked him where his machine was. He looked over to where it should have been...it weren't there!Instead,it have humped it's way across the shop floor until it came to the end of it's theter!It took him and 2 other guys with inch bars to jack it back into place!If you can get a shaper in almost any condition do so. They should be fairly cheap because no one seems to have a use for them. Even though they are the cheapest machine to tool up!

09-08-2002, 12:51 PM
Mike is right a bridgeport can seem to get you to do it's bidding, instead of what you desire.
Shapers are great tools to have, they can use single point cutters you grind to shape instead of more expensive milling cutters. One of the things I use mine for is cutting splines and racks.

Good luck, Rick

[This message has been edited by chip's (edited 09-08-2002).]

09-08-2002, 12:53 PM
Mike is right a bridgeport can seem to get you to do it's bidding, instead of what you desire.
Shapers are great tools to have, they can use single point cutters you grind to shape instead of more expensive milling cutters. One of the things I ues mine for is cutting splines and racks.

Good luck, Rick

mike thomas
09-08-2002, 06:30 PM
There was a shaper head for a Bridgeport, made by Bridgeport, on ebay the other day. That was a new one on me, but I quickly turned away. Mike

Al Messer
09-08-2002, 09:01 PM
As popular as Shapers appear to be becoming amongst the hobbists, I am surprised that some enterprising company off-shore has not tested the waters and re-introduced an Atlas clone to the market place. (Wish I had my old one again!!)

09-09-2002, 07:34 AM
The shaper I have is called The Automotive maintinance machinery Co. Chig. Ill.When I set it up and ran it for the first time,it kept a tolerance of .001 in 7". Not bad for an old clunker!regards, Toolabard

Dick Payne
09-19-2002, 01:04 AM
Hi! I am a Smithy owner. I have been using it for over a year now and am ready to move up to a better machine. I have a Smithy 1220.
The reason I am going to two machines (seperate lathe and mill are as follows:
1. no power cross feed
2. lathe power feed in only one direction
3. size of spindle bore is only 1"
4. manual change gears for threading
5. manual belt changing for speed changes
6. no thread counter
7. mill is too high above x-y table--needing extensions
8. mill head retates too easily ( not stable)
9. mill does not use low cost R8 collets
10. mill dial graduations are 0.040 per division therefor it is very hard to do close tolerence milling in vertical axis
The machine you bought has several of the features that my machine does not have.

You may still have the following problems:
2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10.
My machine only has .0005" of runout on the lathe spindle with the 5" chuck. I do not know if they are all that good but I was really suprised.
Your machine has many of the features that I want to get on my next machine.
I found the lowest cost place to get low cost accessories is Enco--www.use-enco.com
Get on their mailing list to receive their sale catalogs and the big catalog. They sell a lot of chinese made tools that are good enough for beginners like us unless you have lots of money to spend. Grizzly also has low cost accessories --www.grizzly.com Airgas-Rutland Tool does also.
Have fun with your new toy and be sure to take some machining classes or find someone to mentor you.


09-19-2002, 01:35 AM
LOCKSMITH: An alternative to consider is a 10-12inch lathe with a milling attachment. My friend Stanley used such a combination to do amazing things. WALT

09-29-2002, 12:21 AM
Just so you know it, the machine arrived last week. It is still on the pallet in the basement till I get time to put it's bench together and get up a crowd to help me lift it. The comedy of us getting it off the pickup and into the house could not be exceeded by the best episode of the Honeymooners. I'll keep you posted.
A retired machinist uncle of my boss, wants to come over and see it when it's done. Used to work for Kuffel and Esser in Hoboken.

09-29-2002, 12:41 PM
I have had a few of those comedies or calamities myself. You didn't damage, you, your help or the machine. You even got it to the place where it needs to be or close. You can't ask much more, unless you wanted to be on funny videos. I'm glad It worked out ok for you.

09-30-2002, 08:08 PM
Locksmith. The funniest and also the most trgic machinery move I've seen was the on ramp to the expressway. A huge lowrider tracktor trailer along with the semi was on its side in the middle of the curve. Its cargo. A very large machining center, didn't only fall off the trailer but rolled downhill into a ditch. To make it a comepleat Norman Rockwell painting, the driver was standing there surveying the scene scratching his head.I have more ,but this one was by far the most spectacular.

10-01-2002, 02:52 AM
Does the millhead on the Smithy you're getting have an R8 or MT3 taper?
I was looking at a Smithy add today, and noted that a set of collets for MT3 was $165, while the same set of R8 collets was $45.

10-01-2002, 07:51 AM
Quality collets cost money, no matter what size they are. Since for milling you can get by with only 3 or 4 (3/16, 3/8, 1/2, 3/4), I wouldn't worry too much about the cost. R8 is certainly the more common, though, with more tooling readily available.

Don't bother buying "a set of collets" that includes a bunch of odd sizes. Odds are extremely high you'll never use them. Much better to take that money and buy fewer GOOD collets in sizes you'll actually use.

Dick Payne
10-01-2002, 02:16 PM
There is one advantage for having several sizes of the MT3 collets. You can modify a MT4 to MT3 sleeve and make a draw bar for the lathe and have very precise collets for your lathe. I did not want to spend the money on lots of MT3 collets so I also made an R8 adapter for the lathe to use R8 collets. I bought a set of low cost collets from Enco which turned out to be better than I thought they would be. I only found one to be a problem, it has threads that bind a little.I really do not use them much because my Smithy 1220 3 jaw chuck runout is within 0.0005 when I chuck up drill rod and put a dial indicator on it. I seldom need better than this for the things I make. The downside to the collet adapters I mentioned above is that you cannot have your work piece go all the way through the head stock like with some of the 5C collet closers.


10-05-2002, 11:06 PM
Some more news on my Smithy: I started putting the Kennedy work bench for my machine together today.
I'd like to meet the SOB that wrote the instructions for that bench. I've never seen anything like it. I'm going to write and tell them to grab somebody off the street and let them try to put it together according to their instructions. And THEN I'll send them some instructions for a piece of IKEA furniture, which a blind man could put together with ease.

David Hafnorske
10-16-2002, 07:07 PM
Just a warning to you. Most guys on this BBS have what I call machining obsesive compulsive dissorder. Yes, they would rather machine than eat. I would suspect that this might happen to you, you will spend every dime on metal and new machines. Scientists can't explain this phenomenom. So when your machine arrives say goodbye to your family and kiss yor wife goodbye because she may become a machine shop widow. When you emerge from your shop about six months later with a full beard, greesey clothes, smelling to high heaven, and a broad grin on your face, your wife will have a strange glint in her eye like, "that man looks vageley familiar to me". Soon machining will obsess your every thought and desire. Good luck and be safe.

David Hafnorske
10-16-2002, 07:12 PM
How silly of me, I didn't see the date of your original posting so I guess you already have your machine. So I would assume that you are on your first six month tour of duty with your machine, which means you won't be reading this until about Feb.

10-16-2002, 10:17 PM
Machining can be an involving hoobby. It is very easy to be addicted.