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getrdun
09-14-2010, 03:54 PM
:confused: anyone ever mess with these lathe/mill/drills? i,m an old, old clunker machinist that would prefer to go with separate machines for my shop but space has limits here. (is it ok) to ask for someone to share their opinions of who makes a dependable setup or am i just wasting my time with these things? i don't want to offend anyone, so maybe a pm would be ok ? thanks for anything

The Artful Bodger
09-14-2010, 03:57 PM
:confused: anyone ever mess with these lathe/mill/drills? i,m an old, old clunker machinist that would prefer to go with separate machines for my shop but space has limits here. (is it ok) to ask for someone to share their opinions of who makes a dependable setup or am i just wasting my time with these things? i don't want to offend anyone, so maybe a pm would be ok ? thanks for anything

Hi, lots of folks share their opinions here!:)
From what I have read and my very limited experience separate machines are to be prefered and that is why as a newbie I bought a lathe leaving the mill till later ($$$) and in the meantime I do a little bit of milling with a vertical slide on the lathe.

However, I am sure a combination machine would be better than my present arrangement.

John

getrdun
09-14-2010, 04:06 PM
but wow, i hear you guys had a quake. was it bad and how's things there?



gene

saltmine
09-14-2010, 04:21 PM
When I saw retirement looming on the horizon, I shopped combination machines. It didn't take long and I discovered that these machines usually suffer from space problems of their own (between the spindle and ways, and the spindle to ways) I also discovered that they can get quite heavy, especially if you get one big enough to do what you want to do with it. (most smaller ones are limited to jewelry and toys)

Another thing to take into consideration is the fact that with a combo machine, you're limited to one set-up at a time. Where a separate machine you could have two set-ups going at the same time( depending on the set-up)

Combination machines also tend to have less than normal sized motors.

I don't own one, but I can see there might be some issues regarding accuracy too.

The Artful Bodger
09-14-2010, 04:22 PM
but wow, i hear you guys had a quake. was it bad and how's things there?



gene

Hi Gene

A lot of property and land damage. Although very many buildings were severely damaged and dozens totally destroyed or later demolished for safety reasons most of that city is operating again but best of all there were no deaths and I think only one major injury. I live a few hundred miles away and did not feel a thing.

John

camdigger
09-14-2010, 04:24 PM
This subject has been addressed before. There are definitely two camps, but the smaller camp by far supports the 3 in one machines. Some wish they'd opted for the individual machines.

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=43594&highlight=3+in+1+machines

ikdor
09-14-2010, 04:25 PM
This guy has been writing up his experiences with one. Lot's of fixes and upgrades, but he seems happy enough.

http://www.the-alchemist.com/

Igor

JanvanSaane
09-14-2010, 04:30 PM
I have a 3 in 1 machine, I am not a machinist, just a mechanic. It does all I need it to do, I can't do high production projects but am able to make and modify small items. Due to rigitity issues light cuts are a must. I am currently trying my luck at a small wind generator project. My work hours are bad so I don't get to play as much as I would like. I hardly have room for the 3 in 1 much less separate machines. If I had the space I would have separate machines. Jan

tmc_31
09-14-2010, 04:36 PM
getrdun,

I also am in the separate machines is better camp. However, I was perusing the Grizzly catalog this morning and ran across the G0492 and the G4791 3 in 1 machines. These appear to me to be fairly capable machines.

Here is the link if you are interested:

http://www.grizzly.com/products/category.aspx?key=465000

Tim

fredwillis
09-14-2010, 04:54 PM
They work fine for a small home shop, the mill part is a bit wimpy but the lathe is fine.
Even the small $1,200 smithy midas 1220 will swing a bigger part then that new $5,000 southbent lathe everyone is talking about.

AiR_GuNNeR
09-14-2010, 05:30 PM
I have the Granite 1324 and I'm happy with it. Having to change over the table for milling operations kind of sucks, but it's not too bad. When I started making air rifle parts in quantity, I ended up with a square column mill as well to get away from change-overs.
The Granite mill does an ok job on steel, light cuts only, does a whole lot better in aluminum of course. The lathe I like alot. I just turned the rotors for my van last night. It's not going to take 1/4" cuts like a Monarch, it sure is a whole lot easier getting it into the basement!
At one point, I decided I wanted to replace it, but I had a hard time finding anything that was equal:
2 HP brushless variable speed motor
30-2500RPM
13" swing
24 inch (like you, I have space limitations)
D1-4 spindle
metric and american threads

fredwillis
09-14-2010, 05:51 PM
I have the Granite 1324 and I'm happy with it. Having to change over the table for milling operations kind of sucks, but it's not too bad. When I started making air rifle parts in quantity, I ended up with a square column mill as well to get away from change-overs.
The Granite mill does an ok job on steel, light cuts only, does a whole lot better in aluminum of course. The lathe I like alot. I just turned the rotors for my van last night. It's not going to take 1/4" cuts like a Monarch, it sure is a whole lot easier getting it into the basement!
At one point, I decided I wanted to replace it, but I had a hard time finding anything that was equal:
2 HP brushless variable speed motor
30-2500RPM
13" swing
24 inch (like you, I have space limitations)
D1-4 spindle
metric and american threads

the Granite 1324 is nice, nobody I know with one complains about it, in fact they take some time and make nice things with them.

2ManyHobbies
09-14-2010, 06:55 PM
3-in-1 machines have a place. That place is when you don't have the room for what you really want.

I have a 3-in-1. It covers my needs for now. When I have space it will be replaced, but in the mean time it makes a good excuse to collect the tooling I'll need later.

In most cases you'd be hard pressed to match a 3-in-1 for price and swing. Sure I don't have 36" between centers or much of a hole through the headstock, but I can turn brake rotors on it. :D

Most of my work is in wood or plastics with a little in brass and mild steel mixed in. I'm typically accurate to eighths.

PeteM
09-14-2010, 10:22 PM
A good multi machine in a small space? If you have tons of money, Google "Golmatic."

whitis
09-15-2010, 01:23 AM
On the style of machine with the mill spindle mounted over the lathe headstock, there is a tendency for it too lean so badly you can sometimes even see it in product photos. That far out of tram causes problems. Plus the travel issues on Z. And you seem to get about as much usable XY travel as you would have gotten if you just put a right angle milling attachment on the cross slide. Or just used the lathe as bench to set a sherline mill or a tiny mini mill on.

Still some people find them useful.

The EMCO style (grizzly G0516) you can actually buy the base for (littlemachineshop.com) and convert to a minimill - which seems to be what people who buy them end up doing.

BillDaCatt
09-15-2010, 02:20 AM
I own a Smithy 1220LX and I have made several things with it. As was already mentioned the mill requires a light touch but it does a nice job. The biggest headache is having to tear down your setup when you need to switch from lathe to mill or vice-versa, only to set it back up when the operation is completed. I eventually bought a 9x20 lathe because the 1220LX isn't really suited for threading and now I use the 1220LX mostly for light milling work. However I do feel that the 1220LX is a fairly strong lathe and it does have a larger swing than my 9x20 does. (I have been led to believe that the 1220 stands for 12x20)

If I had it to do over again I probably would buy separate machines, but a 3-in-1 could be a nice fit in certain situations and I am certainly not willing to give mine up just yet. But let me be clear, if you have the space but not much money: buy a lathe and use a cross-slide mount for milling work while you save up some more money for a mill. A 3-in-1 is really only a good choice for folks who are limited on space. I was, and continue to be, shocked that I have actually spent more money on tooling for my two machines than I spent buying the machines themselves. So if you are considering a 3-in-1 to save money - you will not. (but if you are like me you will have a very enjoyable time learning that lesson)

And speaking of tooling - anyone who is looking to buy a mill should be aware that a good deal of mill tooling is made to fit an R-8 spindle. My 1220LX takes a #3 Morse Taper. :(

philbur
09-15-2010, 03:15 AM
I don't own one and have never used one but it seems that the "mill over the the bed" is argued to be better than the "mill over the headstock" type. Over the bed is a standard mill arrangement, with a "normal" Z axis travel. Over the headstock has a great deal of daylight between the spindle and the table, none adjustable, extending the quill is a poor substitute.

Something to think about
Phil:)


On the style of machine with the mill spindle mounted over the lathe headstock, there is a tendency for it too lean so badly you can sometimes even see it in product photos. That far out of tram causes problems. Plus the travel issues on Z. And you seem to get about as much usable XY travel as you would have gotten if you just put a right angle milling attachment on the cross slide. Or just used the lathe as bench to set a sherline mill or a tiny mini mill on.

Still some people find them useful.

The EMCO style (grizzly G0516) you can actually buy the base for (littlemachineshop.com) and convert to a minimill - which seems to be what people who buy them end up doing.

torchroadster
09-15-2010, 05:28 AM
I have a Smithy Granite 1340 (the 1324's big brother). When I bought it separate machines were not an option because of space. I've run it for 4 years now and made many one off parts. Yes the mill has its limitations but it does have desirable features, like x-y power feed. Changing setups between lathe and mill can be annoying, but if you plan your projects out not too bad. I do have a separate drill press which helps. The lathe is very capable.

I have more space now and the next major tool I buy will be a separate mill, however the Granite lathe I will probably use for many more years.

A.K. Boomer
09-15-2010, 08:48 AM
I went through that decision along time ago and was looking at 3 in 1's

I bought a Mill instead and I use it as a lathe on occasion, I have one "real" machine that can be turned into another when needed, no I can't thread, and no I can't turn long shafts but my little 5" R-8 three jaw and my quick change mount allows me to do some pretty surprising work on my mill - the thing that surprised me most was the rigidity - wasn't expecting it to be so much for a 2/3rds scale mill...

The thing is is even if I upgrade and also get a lathe later Im still keeping the mill so im not going to take a beating on anything and don't have to shuffle a bunch of machinery around.

mongerrl
09-15-2010, 09:29 AM
Here in the Alternative Fuel Vehicles Lab at JMU in Harrisonburg, VA, we have a Smithy 1340, an ENCO 13x40 Lathe, and a Lagun milling machine. One of my functions is to teach college students how to use the various hand tools, saws, drills, welders, cutters, and machine tools in the Lab. I tell all my students that they will train on the Smithy because "If you screw up on the Smithy, it will probably stall; If you screw up on the ENCO or the Lagun, it will probably break something. When you become comfortable and familiar with the Smithy, then you can move up to the more powerful machines." Then I show them the part that broke when a student on the ENCO didn't reverse the direction of the feed and ran a bit into the chuck. I tell them: "That part was $140, plus freight, and a half day's labor fitting the gib to make it work smoothly."
For this reason, I would recommend one of the smaller, cheaper 3 in 1 machines to someone with no machine shop experience who wants to dabble into the craft. They tend to be more forgiving of errors, mishaps, and abuse and will probably stall rather than breaking something. When he/she is comfortable and familiar with the machine and realize its limitations, then they can move up.

Tait
09-15-2010, 09:54 AM
I bought a Mill instead and I use it as a lathe on occasion, I ... do some pretty surprising work on my mill

I just recently purchased a mill/drill instead of a three in one and was surprised how well it worked for a turning project I had.

I'd like to know more - rather than hijacking, I posted the question in a new thread (http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=43647). I hope the discussion is helpful to the original poster as well.

Tait

AiR_GuNNeR
09-15-2010, 10:25 AM
I don't own one and have never used one but it seems that the "mill over the the bed" is argued to be better than the "mill over the headstock" type. Over the bed is a standard mill arrangement, with a "normal" Z axis travel. Over the headstock has a great deal of daylight between the spindle and the table, none adjustable, extending the quill is a poor substitute.
Something to think about
Phil:)

Actually, this isn't true. The mill over the headstock can be adjusted in the Z axis as well. I'm going by memory, but I think I have around 6" of travel via a crank handle on the mill head. The newer Granites have a wider mill head that extends out over the table further, (better range, but less rigid. Although I don't know if they beefed up the components to compensate for the extra overhang)

philbur
09-15-2010, 10:36 AM
Yes but I bet you can't touch the table with the spindle or get anywhere near it. This means you have to extend the quill or raise the work piece, neither of which is a good idea for a milling operation.

Phil:)


Actually, this isn't true. The mill over the headstock can be adjusted in the Z axis as well.

philbur
09-15-2010, 11:08 AM
You have to ask why companies like Weiler and Emco used the "mill over the bed" configuration rather than "mill over headstock".

http://i186.photobucket.com/albums/x36/philbur/PrimuswithMill.jpg

Phil:)

gary350
09-15-2010, 11:16 AM
I posted this same question about 2 weeks ago. There is a guy up the street from my house that bought one of those 3 in 1 machines. His hobby is civil war stuff. He told me at his last job he had guys in the machine shop do work for him. At his new job he can not do that so he bought a 3 in 1 machine so he can do it himself. He says what the guys us to do for him in 10 minutes on a bridgeport mill it takes him 2 hours on the 3 in 1 machine. All I know is what I have been told I don't own one and don't want to.

Dr Stan
09-15-2010, 12:03 PM
I think the appropriate analogy here would be to compare 3 in 1s with a Shopsmith. They both provide different configurations lathe/mill/drill/etc, but there are serious trade offs. If you have turned something and need to mill some features one must change the machine from a lathe to a mill. This takes time.

Another issue is rigidity. Whenever one introduces flexibility into a machine or accessory you give up rigidity. Take a plain milling machine vice and a swivel angle vice as examples. One can take some serious cuts in material held in a plain vice when used properly. However, using the same material, cutter, depth of cut, etc in a swivel angle vice and you just may end up with a projectile. :eek:

jdunmyer
09-15-2010, 08:36 PM
I see a 3-in-1 machine as being very good for those who only need to do occassional machine work of a simplistic nature and are space-limited. A fella who restores cars/tractors/engines/whatever and needs to make/modify a part would be a good example. Most jobs that he tackles will entail mainly a single operation such as turning up a spacer bushing or milling a flat on something. The guy who wants to build something will be much less likely to be satisfied.

Of course: "We all know that Harbor Freight machines are junk" and "We all know that you can't do complex projects on a 3-in-1 machine". This puts the lie to what "We all know...": http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=27489&highlight=Howell

getrdun
09-16-2010, 11:59 AM
i'm blown away with this web site and response i've recieved on my question. appreciate all the feedback. thanks for letting me climb aboard here. if anyone happens to know who it is that built that mini pump. (ahidley), would you ask if i can sign up as an apprentice.:D
thanks again

AiR_GuNNeR
09-17-2010, 08:29 AM
Yes but I bet you can't touch the table with the spindle or get anywhere near it. This means you have to extend the quill or raise the work piece, neither of which is a good idea for a milling operation.

Phil:)

If I use tool holders rather than the R8 collets, I can touch the table, but this had never been a problem for me because almost all the milling I had done on the Granite involved holding the part in my vise. The only time I was milling off the table was when I was boring holes into .5" thick 6061. The length of the boring head had no problem getting to table height.

Paul Alciatore
09-17-2010, 10:00 AM
Combination machines are definitely a space saving concept. I started many years ago with a small combo machine, a Unimat. About two square feet of tabletop and I had lathe, mill, drill press, and with proper attachments, many other machines.

The advantages are in space and cost. The disadvantages, as stated above are in the time required to go from setup to setup and in the fact that the machine is not going to be as good as a dedicated machine in many of these applications. For a commercial shop it would be almost impossible. In a home shop for hobby work it can be OK.

But there are other ways of doing different types of work on a single machine. The lathe is definitely the most versatile machine in the shop and many things can be done on it that are not immediately apparent in it's job description. Before I purchased my mill, I did a lot of milling work in my SB9 lathe. One of these posts shows the milling work for a two bit fly cutter that I made for use on the lathe when milling.

Check out:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/sho...=milling+lathe

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/sho...=milling+lathe

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/sho...=milling+lathe

Also:

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=34282&highlight=milling+lathe

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=35163&highlight=milling+lathe

But, like the combo machines, there are compromises in rigidity and setup time.

In the end, you are only limited by your imagination.