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Smithy combo Machines

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  • Smithy combo Machines

    I am beginning to gunsmith semi-seriously (have been a tinkerer for years)and am concidering the purchase of Smithy Combo lathe mill drill. Probably model 1324 or 1340. I have had some training in machine work in shops where I have worked and am going to take a basic machining course at a local junior college. I would appreciate any feed back regarding the the accuracy and general usability of these machines. Would either be a good chioce for me.

  • #2
    just one comment. I thought they could not be too bad. BUT

    You might check the spindle speeds available on the smithy.

    When I looked at some Grisly (Grizzly) 3 in 1 specs, I found the usual LOWEST lathe spindle speed to be around 150 RPM. One was even higher than that.

    What were they smoking when they made those speed choices? Could they be serious?

    My Logan goes at 35 RPM as its slowest and that is really handy, even needed for some things. I would hate to have 5 or even 10 times the RPM as my lowest speed.


    • #3
      I love mine !!!

      check also -

      you'll find a separate forum for 3in1's.


      • #4
        I remember as a kid, my parents bought me one of those roller skates (roller blades weren't invented at that time) which strapped on to your shoes. They were much cheaper than the real ones and they "sold" me on the idea that they are better because you can just remove them and walk on your shoes. Needless to say, the money they saved didn't do any good. I think I made my point.


        [This message has been edited by Rotate (edited 03-03-2003).]


        • #5
          I bought a Smithy 3in1 a few years ago, and I dont know if I'd like to fire a weapon made on it, or fly in an aircraft made using it.

          I pulled the mill head off it, and just use the lathe....I then bought a mill from Grizzly.

          I know an experienced machinist (not me) can probably work miracles with a lesser machine, but the precision question aside, I found it to be a huge hassle jumping back and forth between lathe and mill....dialing in vises and fixtures....blah, blah, blah.

          If you're not sure if it's really something you're gonna pursue seriously, the 3in1's are a good way to save money initially, but you may end up paying more later to get a good mill and a good lathe.

          Sorry so long winded.

          Good luck,



          • #6
            I can understand the appeal of the 3 in 1 machine to someone just starting out in metalworking. It promises to be all things for the price of one.

            Unfortunately, I believe the truth of the matter is that, these machines perform none of the functions to any degree of satisfaction. I would strongly advise anyone to consider a well built lathe as their prime machine; then either get a vertical slide attachment to allow some milling functionality on the lathe, OR go out and buy a true milling machine.

            I have met a lot of people who have been down this road and wasted a lot of money. The 3 in 1 machines do not hold their resale value, the reason I am sure is that there are a lot of folk who have learnt this lesson the hard way, have their 3 in 1's for sale ~ and are now 'upgrading'.

            I am sure also that a few people find these machines capable of producing what they want to produce; but for a gunsmith I don't think it begins to meet the requirements.



            • #7
              Being a gunsmith myself I want to seriously discourage you from getting a combomachine. Buy a smaller used lathe if that is what u can afford. I myself can do almost everyting on a microlathe even! I use sherline and I'm very impressed. But if you're doing barrel work you need a bigger lathe of course..


              • #8
                <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ragarsed Raglan:

                I have met a lot of people who have been down this road and wasted a lot of money. The 3 in 1 machines do not hold their resale value, the reason I am sure is that there are a lot of folk who have learnt this lesson the hard way, have their 3 in 1's for sale ~ and are now 'upgrading'.


                I have yet to see one forsale! If anybody knows of one LET ME KNOW!


                • #9
                  I would sell mine, but the parts are worth more to me than the price I would get for the whole machine.



                  • #10
                    i second Rotate's motion.

                    on the advice of machinists what i worked with, i opted not to get a Smithy machine. instead, i spent an extra grand (more or less) and got some cheap import machines... Enco or similar seller.

                    think i spent around $1800 on each with the kits and tools etc.

                    it was a great way for me to get into the homeshop lifestyle and i dont regret spending the money because, at the time, that was all i could afford.

                    never got rid of them since having a second smaller "lathe" around comes in handy and the mill.. well, lets just say it makes an okay drill press.

                    get separate machines. if the extra $ hurts, then get the lathe first. from my experience, "round parts" are much harder to come by than "square parts" ... so get the lathe to make the round ones.

                    i've also found that "pass through" or whatever the hole in the chuck is called to be WAY more important than bed length. bigger is better.


                    • #11
                      I'm going to venture a response though I'm a ripe novice in machining. My first machine was a Smithy 3 in 1; I bought it new in 1998. My father, who was a master machinist, warned me that my skills might very quickly outstrip the Smithy's capabilities; when that time came he said I could spend my time in trying to make the Smithy more accurate (which in his opinion was time badly spent) or opt for a well made (preferably U.S. made) lathe. He reasoned I could do most of my milling on the lathe and if someday I decided I must have a mill then at that time look around for a small used mill. I got rid of the Smithy in 2000 and, because I had been carefully budgeting for the last few years, I bought a brand-new Myford Super 7B with almost every attachment Myford produces.... and I love this Myford. It was expensive but it is extremely accurate and only now am I starting to think about getting a milling machine - not that I cannot do what little milling I need to do on the Myford, but simply to reduce the time I spend in setting the Myford up for a milling job. Too long-winded a response but this is one question I felt I could answer with at least a little authority, based on my experience.


                      • #12
                        I would add one more thing.... at this point I would actually prefer a small shaper to owning a mill. Most of the milling jobs I've done on the Myford could be done just as easily on a shaper. Unfortunately too many other people seem to be arriving at this same conclusion and the prices of used shapers keep climbing.


                        • #13
                          I owned a Smithy 1220xl 3in1 machine. It was SUCH a diappointment!!! I could RANT for 20 minutes...easily! It was loose,crude, overpriced and did not meet to my smallest expectations. Save yourself some grief and money. Avoid the combo machines, a CHEAP used one (if I had nothing else) well, The price would have to be very low.


                          • #14
                            That shaper idea is a good one!