View Full Version : Smithy 1340 - $2200 ????

01-02-2007, 10:13 AM
Saw an ad in the paper yesterday for a Smithy 1340 for $2200 - used of course, includes stand and tools. Haven't seen it yet, but wanted to solicit this board's opinions first. Here's a link to the machine on Smithy's site https://www.smithy.com/features.php?cid=1&pid=4

I've read the archive's on this and other boards about the limitations and drawbacks of the the 3 in 1 machines. The points are well taken the bottom line from what I've read is -

1. You can buy more capable individual used lathes and mills for the price of new 3 in 1's.
2. It can be tough to find used lathes and mills locally.
3. The 3 in 1's function OK as a lathe and not so well as a mill, they are especially limited working with steel. Main problems are lack of stiffness and chatter.
4. Changing over between lathe and mill is a pain.

I am a complete novice with mills and lathes, but have wanted to get started for a long time. I very much enjoy working with my brake, drill press and welder and know that I will continue that metal working enjoyment with a mill/lathe.

My questions are -
1. Could I hope to find a separate used mill and lathe in workable condition for $2200 total?
2. Is the Smithy 1340 OK for strictly a home hobbyist application, mostly small parts in aluminum, but occasionally steel as well.
3. Are the limitations of the 3 in 1 machines, mainly in accuracy and repeatability?
4. Space and price savings are both big priorities of mine, is a used 3 in 1 tool a good compromise solution?
5. If I purchased the 1340 and didn't like it, or wanted to upgrade, could I assume I could resell in a couple years for about the same price?

Thanks in advance for the advice!

01-02-2007, 10:20 AM
I bought a 1340 new 2years ago, with extra tooling I've got about 7k in it, 2200 seems like a steal. The lathe is ok, the mill has it's shortcommings, lack of travel/rigidity/etc. but for my limited experience it's been a great machine. It does a great job with aluminum, I work mostly with steel and it does ok with that too, you just have to take your time and make sure the setups are as rigid as possible. I think it's a fine beginners machine to learn on.

01-02-2007, 10:22 AM
Thanks for the quick reply - any tips on what I should check for when evaluating this used machine?

01-02-2007, 10:55 AM
I've been using a 1324 Granite /w Shooting Star DRO's extensively for about 3 1/2 years. I've replaced the lathe spindle bearings with real Timken precision units which has dramatically improved surface finish while turning. I've fitted all the gibs, and done a lot of deburring and cleaning up of parts and castings.

Once tuned up, it's not a bad small lathe. The mill is pretty miserable, but better than nothing, and at the time of purchase I didn't have room for a real one. I did just find out that the drawbar was banana-shaped and had nothing to center it in the mill spindle. I straightened it, turned it true, and made a centering bushing-washer so it runs concentric in the spindle now. It should help.

Smithy has been quite helpful with regard to replacement parts. Bear in mind, ultimately it's a slightly nicer than average Chinese tool, and as such is sort of a starting point, but for $2gs, it's hard to go wrong.

Mark Hockett
01-02-2007, 12:27 PM
I don't think you will find separate machines with tooling for $2200. The Smithy would probably be a good way to get started and determine if this hobby is for you. Once you get an idea of the type of work you will be doing then find machines that fit the bill.
I have a friend who out of the blue bought a Harbor Freight 3 in 1 a few years ago. He got hooked and now has a 12"x36" lathe and a BP size vertical mill.
Be careful this hobby is addictive but we have a good support group here.

J Tiers
01-02-2007, 12:54 PM
I don't think you will find separate machines with tooling for $2200.

OTOH, I have probably got no more than $2200 in my whole shop load of machines.....

10 x 24 lathe, horizontal mill and vertical head, several drill presses, die filer, bandsaw, 2 Atlas shapers, belt/disc sander, arbor presses, most of a T&C grinder (project)..... Plus a bunch of tooling, dividing heads, toolpost grinder etc drawers of chucks and accessories etc....

OK, its a 13" lathe on that 3 in 1 .... but I don't think the milling capability of that unit is much more than my 5 x 18 mill..... and the drilling capability surely isn't close to an 18" 1 HP DP...

it just depends.... Personally, as a hobby type with a little commercial work on the side, I feel that you kinda need to be a bit in "scrounge" mode, and not be afraid to get a fixer-upper. I tend to question the capability of folks who can't fix a machine or diagnose the problem.

But that is my bias, because I do that stuff, and came into the hobby with a long history of tool-using...... and I am cheap..... I hate paying retail, unless it is to save time. I'll pay retail if I have to to save time when I need to, and if I had a commercial shop, I'd change my tune so fast it'd spin you around.

01-02-2007, 12:58 PM
I paid $1000 for a new Smithy 1220 - thier smallest machine. I thought i'd only do tiny stuff for go-karts but i've been using it for all sorts of stuff. I made a drawbar for a big john deere 4-wheel drive tractor, i've been turning 2" solid round, machining 1" thick plate for a compressor, all sorts of non-sense. Its surprisingly capable if you take some time to come up with a creative solution to its short-comings and even more time actually setting it up. With a set of 2-4-6 blocks, clamp kit and a set of 1-2-3 blocks you can get a lot done although the accuracy may be dubious if you have a large piece. (If i'm doing something really big i have to shut everything down and move the piece and re-clamp it which leads to not so good accuracy... :D )

"I tend to question the capability of folks who can't fix a machine or diagnose the problem. "
No kidding - scary to think of someone "jumping behind the wheel" before they know at least basic operation/construction of a machine. I think the biggest limitation for many of us is space. I would love to have a full-size lathe even if it were a fixer-up (on a related note emissions guys wouldnt even test my rust-bucket truck - too dangerous :D ) but trying to get a big heavy piece of equipment here and then squeezed into a garage that still needs to fit two cars.... plus i'll be headin' to college myself and then probably an apartment so...

01-02-2007, 02:11 PM
Wow - thanks for all the great replies guys. I don't mind fixing things up, in fact I enjoy it, but I've got plenty of other projects (toys) to fix up or make things for that I'd like to spend my time on.

Sounds like this is a good deal for me if it's in decent shape at all - going to look at it this afternoon so I'll know soon. The guy says he bought it new in 2001, but has used it less than 10 hours total. He says just never took the time to learn to use it.

I know what you mean about getting hooked on things - I bought my welder about 4 years ago for no good reason and find I use it fairly frequently now. Same with the drill press and brake - don't know how I got along without them before. This will probably be the same.

Like Fasttrack I need to squeeze this in a garage that still needs to park two cars. Looks like I can make it with some rearranging and condensing other stuff, but there is no way I'd get separate machines in there without parking a car outside.

01-02-2007, 02:24 PM
$2200 can buy an awful lot of lathe in the right places. High school and vo-tech auctions, small shops and laboratories, elderly home shoppers with lightly used machines, etc. Earlier this year, I went to a HS auction were several Cincinatti traytop lathes went for $150 for both (tooling for all machines was held safely aside and went with the machines). A Harrison M300 went for under $500 and a Nardini (1230 methinks) went for around $1200. I sold a fully tooled SB 9" (yes, a smaller machine) long (52") bed, fully tooled, with taper attachment, low mileage, for $500 this year (to a friend, but would have been $1200 to others).

Not saying they're out there every day but from what I hear about the light duty of the lathe, marginal milling at best, the question is ... can you live without a mill and get a better lathe to start with? It looks and sounds like a decent mill-drill might run rings around the 3n1 considering beef, flexibility and tooling options. With a well built lathe, you'll never look back. Steel and stainless steel won't present painful challenges.

It still all depends on what you wanna do with it, the precision you need and other factors you and others have already observed.

01-02-2007, 03:45 PM
Another poster from 'just up the road' (I live just outside of McKinney)!

All good advice so far.

I personally don't think all that well of most of the 3 in 1 machines. I almost bought a Smithy years ago, and couldn’t be happier that I didn't. But, that being said, Smithy is known to give decent service and replacement parts are available. Also, by having a quick change, power crossfeed, 40" capacity, and a D1-4 mount, the Granite is definitely a cut above the standard machine. The lathe portion should be more than acceptable, and while the mill portion will fall far short of a dedicated machine, any milling capability will sure beat having none at all. Do make sure all the parts are there and everything works correctly on the Smithy before laying out the cash. You don't want a machine that is being sold because of a hard crash or loose bearings.

1) As far as getting nice separate machines for $2,200 in this area, it would indeed be quite a challenge. If you continue to diligently watch the newspaper, Craigslist, the for sale section on the PM site, and keep an eye out for auctions, it is conceivable - if you are in no big hurry. If you were able to increase the budget, new import machines of decent capability are only a mouse click away.
2) Yes.
3) It depends on the machine, but for one such as the Granite, I would say that you shouldn’t have much trouble with typical tolerances.
4) My personal opinion is that the total lack of available space is the only significant justification for a 3 in 1. Heck, none of us will ever have enough space anyway, and creative arranging can do wonders!
I don’t see any cost savings with a combination machine when the limitations are factored in.
5) If purchased new, almost certainly not, but if the Granite you are looking at is in good shape and has any tooling of value, I would expect that you shouldn’t have any trouble reselling it without losing your shirt.


01-02-2007, 06:57 PM
Well.....I went to look at it this afternoon and left a deposit on it. The machine looks new to me - and the tooling included is much more than I expected, including a rotary table and angle vise. Lots of end mills, tool holders, etc. that have never been used.

Thanks again for all the advice. I don't doubt anyone when they say that separate machines are better, but all things considered, including price, I think this is the best solution for me right now.

Now the challenge is how to get this beast home! I've got a big enclosed trailer and a buddy has a tractor with a bucket loader and the seller has a buddy with a forklift so hopefully between us we'll get it figured out.