I make fishing rods. I often have to make small metal items which are used in some aspects of these rods as well as some tooling that we use on our specialized rod building lathes. For some years I have had a small Taig lathe. It's a nice tool, but I have long wanted something larger. I have looked at the various 7X10 and 12 lathes coming out of the orient but frankly have not been very impressed. The Prazzi is nice but very expensive and the 9x10 lathes seem to be what I am leaning towards.
The more I look around though and for what I need to do, I keep thinking about this Smithy Mill/Drill unit. They seem like a very reputable company that goes out of its way to provide a good machine. But I have never read a review or heard from anyone who bought one of their machines and how well they liked it.
Any comments on anyone who has a Smithy and how they might compare it to similar sized lathes in the same price range? Thanks.
In my very humble opinion a smithy is too much one and not enough of another. Doing neither job very well. For not much more you can get a dedicated lathe and mill. Whenever asked this question by others I tell them to get the most machine for the money If you can pick up a decent 12 for the price of a 9 by all means get it you'll find yourself using it for larger work and it can still handle the smaller stuff.
If you or someone you know is knowledgable about used equip. now is the time to hit auctions. Good used equip is going for stupid money these days.
It has been said on other boards that Smithy is not very good about service. Some folks have reported being told to basically "buzz off", and being refused service.
They may have been angry, eventually maybe even rude, but that does not change a company's obligations.
I have heard that there is an official and heavily edited user BBB, and another user-sponsored board where negative comments do not disappear quickly.
I have no idea of the truth of the matter, but the existence of this sort of report or rumour would make me go elsewhere.
[This message has been edited by Oso (edited 07-29-2002).]
I would love to read the posts on those other boards if you have the address for them.
I guess since I don't plan on using the machine on a daily basis and it will only be for occasional work I thought it might be a good choice. The mill part of it would only be used on rare occasions.
I am also looking at the Emco Maier Maximat lathe but I hate to even ask about the price!
I own a Smithy so..... 3in1s are a bad idea but, aside from that IMHO you need smaller for machines for such small work.
Maybe a Sherline?
[This message has been edited by rmatel (edited 07-29-2002).]
Thanks. The Sherline is too small for what I need to today. It wouldn't buy me that much more lathe than the Taig that I have now.
I second Bob. Stay away from 3in1.
I went through the same agonizing decision making process about a 3 in 1 vs. dedicated machines about nine months ago. Based largely on the advice I got from this BBS, I decided on dedicated machines and got a Jet lathe and a Grizzly mill/drill. I am very happy that I did it this way. If you have limited time, it is nice not to have to reconfigure from a lathe to a mill to a drill.
I third that opinion. Jack of all trades and master of none. You will have to compromise with a multi-function tool.
You didn't state your price range, but the South Bend 9" Model A is a nice machine if you find a good used one. If you can find a clunker, then it is not a nice machine.
I have not been happy with my Asian lathe and after the cross slide shattered and popped off I gave it away. And they want to go to moon. :-/
It's a tough time trying to find a good quality lathe, but they are definitely worth owning.
Some of these smaller European machines are high priced, but I have heard good things. You get what you pay for.
I have a high quality Emco Maximat 7. Its major drawbacks are very limited milling envelope, and it is never big enough. It runs 2800 rpm stock, 5600 rpm with the VFD conversion - just under the maximum for my chucks. Does lovely work - lovely small work.
[This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 07-29-2002).]