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Machine Shop and Tool Talk

Metal working tools

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Old 03-10-2006, 07:30:43 PM
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Mark Birdeau Mark Birdeau is offline
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Default Metal working tools

I know alot of you folks have lathes and milling machines and such,and I was wondering if anyone has or have used any of the Smithy 3 in 1 tools.I've been looking at them for about three years and just can't make my mind up to buy one.I'm looking at the Midas 1220 LTD model,what do you all think? Mark:
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Old 07-14-2006, 02:01:58 PM
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Craig DeShong Craig DeShong is offline
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Default Re: metal working tools

I’m surprised you didn’t get a lot of responses on this one. This topic “usually” sparks a lengthy and opinionated debate. I have a mill and a separate lathe. Though a single multi-purpose tool would have fit my shop size better… all my machinist friends warned me against getting this type of tool. They told me that the set-up time in converting from mill to lathe and back to mill would become very tedious after a while. I have no experience with this personally… because I’ve never used one, nor do I know anyone with one of these tools. I would recommend that you open a new thread in the “shop talk” forum and solicit lots of opinions. Try to match the people who post a response with the type of work you will be doing. If you’re a hobbyist (as I assume you are) then concentrate on answers from hobbyists or machinists who look at your question from a hobbyist point of view. Good Luck.
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Old 07-16-2006, 03:39:12 PM
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Tanner Remillard Tanner Remillard is offline
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Default Re: metal working tools

I have never had experience with these either. The theory sounds good, but as far as how good they work I dont know. One of my machine school instructors told me they were POS. Why, I dont know, but he grew up and did his apprentice in Germany, and has been doing it for 50+ years, so he probably knows what's what. But I guess the only way to find out, is to get several opinions from actual owners of them before considering buying one. I myself would prefer seperate machines anyday. One more thing I would consider, is when converting them back and forth, if they would hold there accuracy messing with them all the time.
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Old 07-16-2006, 04:54:41 PM is offline
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Default Re: metal working tools

I have limited experience on a smithy. And have both a stand-alone mill and lathe, I found the stand-alones are fare superior because they perform a specific job with much less setup time, they are more accurate, and they lend themselves to additional attachments better than the Smithy. One always sacrifices something when trying to combine two or more machines into one. However, having said that, if space and your pocketbook dictate that you can only buy one machine the Smithy will do fine. As your skill level progresses however, you will quickly out grow the Smithy, which negates any monies saved in purchasing one machine.

"That's just one mans opinion, and I could be wrong!"... Bill
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Old 09-22-2006, 11:08:12 PM
George Andreasen George Andreasen is offline
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Default Re: metal working tools 'tention now........A lathe is the way to go and I should know. I've owned eight of them in the last 10 years trying to find one I liked. All were picked up for very little by just keeping my eyes and ears open. Alright, so now you have a lathe, perhaps a South Bend or something similar. You can obtain a milling attatchment that replaces the tool post, place a cutter in the chuck and presto! You have a horizontal mill capable of good work if you do things properly. A lathe can turn, drill, bore, spin, mill, deep hole drill, polish, surface grind (with a tool post grinder) and weld. Well okay, that last one was an accident when the guy forgot to lube his tailstock center. Welded to the workpiece pretty darn good too! What I'm trying to get across is the old saying that a lathe is the "king of machine tools" is very true. It is also the only tool that can reproduce itself. With the addition of a modest drill press for everyday work, you would have a nice setup for making engine parts or what have you. What kind did I end up with? Well I finally bought a new 13" x 40" Chinese machine and it is a joy to use. But I also have an 1890's Putnam overhead flat belt lathe for nostalgic fun, and it's pretty accurate too!
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Old 04-04-2008, 09:58:00 AM
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Mark Birdeau Mark Birdeau is offline
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Default Re: metal working tools

I brought this back up to the top to thank those who responded. I kind of forgot about my thread after not getting any responses for a couple of months. I still haven't bought anything, and yes room is one of the reasons I was looking at the Smithy. If I was to come across a good old lathe that is probably the way I would go especially now with the comments received. Thanks again; Mark:
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Old 04-04-2008, 11:03:00 AM
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Elden DuRand Elden DuRand is offline
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Default Re: metal working tools


If your space is limited and you don't think you will be doing any really big and heavy work with the machines, I can recommend (with slight reservations) the Jet 9X20 lathe and one of the vertical mills from any number of overseas outfits.

Sure, they aren't up to something like a good Atlas or Hardinge but they will do the job if you are careful.

The one thing I will strongly recommend is, if you buy a new one (a VERY good idea), make sure to clean EVERYTHING (except headstock bearings). The Chinese, etc. seem to make fairly nice stuff but I don't think they've ever seen a can of washing solvent. There's black mill grit in every part, including ways, gears and bushings. I haven't had the nerve to take the headstock apart on my Jet so I don't know about it.

Anyway - the bottom line is for you to get what will work for you.

Have fun!

Take care - Elden
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