Building a stand for the Smithy


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H-M Supporter - Gold Member ($25)
Oct 1, 2017
Seeking opinions on setting up a bench/stand/support for the Smithy. What is the best height for the support structure under one of these 3n1's? I am average height at 5'9" (or 175cm.)

What does your bench/table/stand measure? Is there a general rule where the chuck should be in relation to ones waist or elbow for good ergonomics? Since the head is able to rotate, I am not too concerned about it being too low; but so many people have commented on hitting their head, I may be missing something on this. I would think the center of the chuck at elbow height would be a good place. Not to high you have good access, without too much stooping to see the contact area.

I am a complete newbie to machining and would appreciate thoughts and experiences on a good working height. I will be welding a stand, so can custom build it, but would rather not do a lot of trial and error to get there. Thougts? Comments?


Oct 13, 2014
I don't have a Smitty, but the spindle centerline about elbow height is a good starting reference point. You can make that height the center of your adjustment range on the leveling feet and if you mount the machine on riser blocks you can always add or take them away if needed.
As far as the width and length of the stand, that kind of depends on where it will be placed, a little extra room around the machine is nice if you have the space.


Active User
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Jul 25, 2012
This may or may not help, but I am only 5'6" tall, and in addition to my old Hardinge (fixed height), I got a 9x20" Birmingham, and I actually mounted the thing on blocks (actually huge massive beasts, but I don't know what else to call them) to get the spindle height up at the same height as the Hardinge work height . it is a lot easier for me to see and really give the cut at the headstock chuck the evil eye ... at 65 it really takes a lot of strain off my back. The blocks got it up 6" taller and that really, REALLY helped ... that is just me, but I am awful glad I did. You might want to go into your local machine shop, and if they will let you (their insurance might prohibit that), walk up to one of their lathes or mills and try to get a feel for their working heights .... you gotta do what is best for your height and comfort ... and don't forget task lighting ... you should have something like 540LUX at the work position (buy a cheap light meter online - you will be glad you did) ... Hope this helps a little .... just another idea to consider before rather than "wish I hadda ...." later :)


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Nov 9, 2015
I have had the Smithy Granite-1324 for about 15 years. I bought the stand that Smithy sells to go along with it. The center line of the spindle is 45" above the floor. I am 6'0" and the bottom of my elbow to the floor is 45" - so this is consistent with what Eddyde shows as a starting reference point. This working height is quite comfortable for me.

I also have an Atlas, and built the stand such that the spindle is the same height above the floor as the Smithy. My Precision Matthews lathe, however, came with a stand that puts the spindle center line 43" above the floor - which is too low for me. Just 2 inches makes a big difference.

The chip pan for the Smithy stand measures 20" X 54", and the base inside the pan upon which the machine is mounted is 29 1/2" from the floor, putting the spindle center line at 45" above the floor. If you haven't visited the Yahoo Group's Smithy site - you may want to check it out. We had a good discussion about lathe stands for the Smithy machines several years ago.

As far as hitting your head on the mill head - I suppose that is possible, but it has never happened to me - and in fact I have only moved the mill head from its center position twice since I have owned the machine.

I am sure you have thought about stand rigidity. It is especially important for the 3 in 1 machines, since that heavy mill head sits so high in the air. If you get the machine vibrating and the stand isn't rigid enough, you have created a perpetual motion machine. I improved rigidity for my stand by anchoring it to the wall studs using angle iron, which helped a lot. Others have lined the chip pans with a slabs of granite. I have included a couple of photos of the stand. Hope this helps.

Here is a front view of the Smithy stand.
Smithy Stand.JPG
Here is a side view that shows how I anchored it to the wall.
Smithy Stand from Side.JPG

And here is a close-up
Anchoring to the Wall Studs.JPG