buying advice for Smithy 1220XL 3 in 1

ARC-170

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Saw this on sale. Wanted to know your thoughts on if I should consider buying it. I'm limited on space. I'd consider a 3 in 1 but have never used one. I'm teaching Engineering at a local high school and would like a machine for home use so I can create projects at home and on weekends. This will prevent me from having to stay late during the school year or come in over summer. I have access to bigger machines at work, but I'm mostly going to make small stuff.

Is this a decent 3 in 1 and is this a fair price? What am I looking for? Are parts available?

A Midas Smithy Mill and Lathe 1220XL. This has the extra long tool table. This is in great shape and runs well with very little use. Includes, spring loaded ejection chuck key, vice and tool holder.

$1700 o.b.o. Extras NOT included in this Price!

Lots of extras that are some as an addition cost. Almost all of these accessories have never been used and are still in boxes and I have priced them to move. All of these for another $250 ($300 individually priced)
3/8" arbor $15
1/2" arbor $20
5/8" arbor $20
Clamping set (never used). $40
Tunsten mill bits $50
Cutting blade $20
Cutting Blade arbor: $15
Tailstock extension: $25
Lathe Live center: $35
Die holder: $10
Dead center: $10 each
Drill chuck: $20
Chuck arbor: $10


smithy 1.jpgsmithy 2.jpgsmithy 3.jpg
 

Bob Korves

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In the quest to be multi functional, 3 in 1 machines become less than ideal for most work. They do fit in a smaller space than separate machines, but also have reach, size, speeds, and rigidity issues. If at all possible, I would get a bench top lathe and a bench top mill for about the same total price, or perhaps less.
 

wa5cab

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I agree. If you have the space for three machines (lathe, mill and drill press), go that route. If you don't, from what little I know of them, the Smithy machines generally have a good reputation.
 
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markba633csi

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Agree with all above- the mill portion is usually a poor compromise and gets in the way for lathe work. Get two small machines.
mark
 

Dataporter

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I'm a little late to the party. But I have virtually the same machine and I have done a lot of things with it. I didn't get the memo that you can't make anything with a 3 in 1. See some of my projects on this website. Yes the mill head leaves a lot to be desired, no it doesn't get in the way when using it as a lathe. The lathe part is decent. For what is it worth, I paid I think $1200 for it including more tooling than shown above as extra. Good luck and have fun making chips! Dave
 

ARC-170

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I decided to get a lathe and a mill. I got good deals on them. I think the 3 in 1 could have worked, though. Seems people either love them or hate them.
 

Ulma Doctor

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i had a hf CLONE, Central Machinery badged and HATED IT.
i sold it 2 months after purchase
 

Grasshopper

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ARC-170, not to hijack your thread but your original question is very close to what I'm looking at, albeit not the XL. I don't have a lot of space but I have even less patience so I'm wondering if this is right for me. My biggest hang up re: this model is a comment I read elsewhere which stated " Between the centerline of the lathe and the toolpost, there is less than two inches clearance. So when I put my cutoff toolholder in there's only enough room to cut something less than one inch!". Is this correct? 2nd question; I'm going to look/buy it Sat AM and it is in a storage unit w/o electricity plus he removed the head stock to lighten it enough for moving. I guess I can have him sign a statement guaranteeing the unit is functional but are there any tell tale signs to look for? This from the ad:

"Smithy Midas 1220 LTD Mill Drill Lathe + XYZ Digital Readout DRO + Steel Bench. Condition is Used. Local pickup only.

Included is the machine, the steel bench, the digital readout system, and the extras shown inside the drawers.

The machine goes for $2200, the tooling pack is an additional $766, the DRO is $700, and the steel bench is another $300 = $3966

I’m also including an ER32 collet tool holder (shown) along with a set of ER32 collets (shown)."


It's being offered for $2000. What are the collective thoughts on this besides "You'll wish you'd bought separate machines".

After looking at your location and Avatar I think we know one another from a 914 forum and your the guy that steered me here.
FWIW, I'm not in a hurry but I would like to hear y'alls thoughts so I can keep or cancel my Saturday appointment. TIA, Kent


 

Dataporter

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My biggest hang up re: this model is a comment I read elsewhere which stated " Between the centerline of the lathe and the toolpost, there is less than two inches clearance. So when I put my cutoff toolholder in there's only enough room to cut something less than one inch!". Is this correct?
Not correct. In fact it seems nonsensical.

The owner's manual is available on Smithy's website. I think this is it:
https://smithy.com/sites/default/files/media/pdf/MI-1220 Manual 2010.pdf

It states the Swing is 12" and the Swing Over Work Table is 6-3/4” , those are the theoretical maximum radius of a work piece that could be cut....

Unless it is obvious that the machine has been used and abused, it would be worth your time to look at it and make an offer...
If it is like new, IMO, sight unseen, $2000 could be a good deal. If the seller is motivated to sell, you could get an even better deal.
Good luck!!
Dave
 

Grasshopper

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Thx Dave. I really appreciate your timely response. This seemed like a good starter machine and a good value. That one review made me re-think the purchase. The internet is such a Springboard for complainers that one never knows without an experts opinion. Thx again.
 

markba633csi

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To me, the 3 in 1s are overpriced considering their limitations. That's purely my opinion and many people like them. Not sure if this was mentioned but changing setups between lathe and mill can be an issue. I won't say "a problem" but I believe it takes longer & requires more effort.
I have also seen several instances of folks having motor reliability issues, but many import machines have that weakness. If I recall the motors are an odd size and difficult to source from anyone except Smithy. Your mileage may vary. I would get two little machines, then you can upgrade one machine at a time rather than the whole unit.
Mark
 

Grasshopper

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That does appear to be the general consensus and I would really like 2 machines as well. But with my 2 car garage already stuffed and the price I figured that I can get out from under this one with little or no loss. Factor in that my only knowledge of mills and lathes come from Youtube so I'm not even sure I'll be able to run this contraption. o_O If I catch on, with the collective help of this forum, then I'll look at this as a starter machine. With that said I believe that I offer him 1600 instead of the asking price of 2000.
 

matthewsx

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Clear out your garage and get 3 dedicated machines. If you only have room for one buy a decent benchtop lathe as that will also work as a drill press and a small mill with the right attachments. I had a 3 in 1 and there is a good reason why people are trying to advise otherwise. I bought my Seneca Falls lathe for $300 and it has served me well for 15 years. The 3 in 1, well I was happy to sell it for about half what I paid. Never could make a decent cut with it. Now, I won't tell you that nobody does good work with one. But it's unreasonably hard to make one of those machines do what you want it to do. The Smithy's and Emco's seem better than most but for that money you could build a shed and put bigger machines into it.

Do what you like but $1600 will buy a decent small lathe or mill/drill and you will wish you had bought either with that money. It's kinda like if you want to learn how to play guitar. You can get one for $25 bucks at the pawn shop but you're unlikely to learn anything because it won't be worth the time you put into it.

JMHO,

John
 

matthewsx

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BTW, reach out to someone from the list with more experience and see if you can spend an afternoon in their shop. I doubt any of the youtubers you've watched are using $1600 3 and 1's, life is just too short for that....
 

wa5cab

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As others have said, less than two inches between the front of the tool post and the spindle axis makes no sense for a 12" swing lathe. My guess is that that is the vertical distance between the flat surface on the top of the compound slide and the spindle axis. That dimension is about 1-1/4" on my 12" Atlas 3996. A little less than 2" there would mean that you would probably have to use a BXA tool post instead of an AXA. But nothing else.
 

ARC-170

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Grasshopper/Kent! We DO know each other! 914 RZ-1 here, aka Jeff. Glad you found this site. It's been a huge help to me. I'll see you at the WCR.

Did you buy the 3 in 1? Did you look at it? Do tell! Post any pictures you took.

If you do buy it, keep in mind that if you don't like it you'll have a hard time getting rid if it and will have to sell it as a loss. Seems no one wants these machines except a few types with certain needs.

I went with 2 separate machines. Got an Atlas Craftsman 12 x 24 lathe (look for my restoration thread to see what it looks like) and a LMS 3990 mill (littlemachineshop.com). Parts are available for the older Atlas Craftsman machines, and are not too expensive. It fits on a 24 x 48 table. You really need to mount it on something heavy and substantial to minimize vibration and shaking. I've been told by the machine shop teacher where I work that the mounting method I'm using will be fine for light cuts. I've got it on a 3/4" MDF table with a 22 Ga steel top. I plan to add a piece of support steel under the table located under the headstock. The lathe is bolted to the table. I'll see how that goes, then add a more substantial table if needed.

The mill is small, but it's all I have room for. I've got mine on a rolling tool chest. The next size up seems to be the RF-25 and RF-30, which are a little too big. Knowing what you want, I think you'll find them too big as well. The next size after that is a floor-standing machine.

Look on CL in the LA area. I saw a few lathes and milling machines for sale. Not "name brand", but that's not as important as you think.
 
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ARC-170

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Check this one out. I've never heard of the brand (maybe others who have will chime in) but it looks alot like other ones I've seen under different names. He's asking $1500.:
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/lgb/tls/d/la-habra-king-metal-lathe-1-owner-lathe/6888456813.html

Maybe this seller will part with just the lathe:
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/ant/tls/d/lancaster-metal-brakemetal-lathe-drill/6898193751.html

This one is small (the table it's on is big):
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/tls/d/tarzana-lathe-south-bend-9x-36/6890703679.html

This looks like something you want to call about. I found it by typing "mill drill" in the search box. Might be gone, it was down about 5 rows:
https://losangeles.craigslist.org/sfv/for/d/sunland-craftsman-atlas-lathe-12x36/6900521577.html
Seller wants $1400. Comes with a QCGB and a QCTP. This is just like mine, I think, but it's longer. Mine has change gears, though (no QCGB). I think I saw something about these being worth about $600 if bought separately. A QCTP is about $175 new shipped.
I might be able to look at if for you.
 

Grasshopper

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Grasshopper/Kent! We DO know each other! 914 RZ-1 here, aka Jeff. Glad you found this site. It's been a huge help to me. I'll see you at the WCR.

Did you buy the 3 in 1? Did you look at it? Do tell! Post any pictures you took.

If you do buy it, keep in mind that if you don't like it you'll have a hard time getting rid if it and will have to sell it as a loss. Seems no one wants these machines except a few types with certain needs.

I went with 2 separate machines. Got an Atlas Craftsman 12 x 24 lathe (look for my restoration thread to see what it looks like) and a LMS 3990 mill (littlemachineshop.com). Parts are available for the older Atlas Craftsman machines, and are not too expensive. It fits on a 24 x 48 table. You really need to mount it on something heavy and substantial to minimize vibration and shaking. I've been told by the machine shop teacher where I work that the mounting method I'm using will be fine for light cuts. I've got it on a 3/4" MDF table with a 22 Ga steel top. I plan to add a piece of support steel under the table located under the headstock. The lathe is bolted to the table. I'll see how that goes, then add a more substantial table if needed.

The mill is small, but it's all I have room for. I've got mine on a rolling tool chest. The next size up seems to be the RF-25 and RF-30, which are a little too big. Knowing what you want, I think you'll find them too big as well. The next size after that is a floor-standing machine.

Look on CL in the LA area. I saw a few lathes and milling machines for sale. Not "name brand", but that's not as important as you think.
I did indeed purchase it, Jeff. OMG that thing is heavy. I'm just about finished setting it up and will post pics. The one I purchased was in San Juan Capistrano. Much nicer than the one you posted. I look at this as a starter machine. It came complete with lots of accessories and tools so I should be turning in a week or so. Lots to digest and more reading to do before so. I understand the limitations of this set up but given my space limitations it was the right move. I had to move my bench press outside and re-arrange my garage in order to have even this 3 in 1. I'll post up pics soon. See you @ WCR.
 

Grasshopper

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I've been going thru this machine and correcting what I'm able. Spent the better part of a day cleaning, lubricating and generally discovering my machine. Parts take about a week to arrive but that's OK as I'm taking baby steps here. The first order consisted of new belts a spindle cover and a 2 piece brass nut that is used to remove backlash. Then I discovered that the power feed would only engage in one direction so I pulled that gearbox. Pretty obvious why these 2 gears wouldn't mesh. The new gears will be here next Tuesday.
 

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Grasshopper

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Awaiting one little C clip before I can re-assemble this Power feed gear box. In the meantime I wondered which grease is preferred for use on the steel gears? Lithium. axle grease???
 

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higgite

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From the Smithy website:
https://smithy.com/product-support/maintenanceGrease Points
"In addition to oiling your machine, some Smithy's are equipped with grease fittings and you should plan to grease these points at least once a month. In our shop we use, a general automotive and industrial multi-purpose grease from Valvoline.
You should also coat the gear train gears with a light layer of Multi-Purpose Moly Grease. If you have a Granite machine or CZ-239, keep the quick change gear box lubricated with Moly & Graphite Chain and Cable Lube. The wand allows you to access the gears easily and chain lube tends to be "stickier" and better penetrating."

Hope it helps.

Tom
 

markba633csi

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Those were some munched gears, hopefully not too expensive to replace
Was that a case of previous owner abuse?
Mark
 

Grasshopper

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From the Smithy website:
https://smithy.com/product-support/maintenanceGrease Points
"In addition to oiling your machine, some Smithy's are equipped with grease fittings and you should plan to grease these points at least once a month. In our shop we use, a general automotive and industrial multi-purpose grease from Valvoline.
You should also coat the gear train gears with a light layer of Multi-Purpose Moly Grease. If you have a Granite machine or CZ-239, keep the quick change gear box lubricated with Moly & Graphite Chain and Cable Lube. The wand allows you to access the gears easily and chain lube tends to be "stickier" and better penetrating."

Hope it helps.

Tom
Thanks Tom. Just want to do this once and that means correctly. Or should I say hopefully? :cheerful:
 

Grasshopper

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Those were some munched gears, hopefully not too expensive to replace
Was that a case of previous owner abuse?
Mark
It was the PO. The parts are surprisingly inexpensive! A few mins ago I noticed a rough spot on the "1/2 nut" lever when rotating the lever. I'd better open that up to see what else is worn or damaged. Shipping cost would be cheaper if I could look ahead.:mad:
 

markba633csi

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Good deal, I have heard that Smithy is pretty good about providing parts and information- the machine may have some weaknesses but having a good company behind it helps to offset that
 

Grasshopper

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I finally have a working lathe/mill. It would have been done 2 weeks ago but as usual I discovered that I needed "one more part". The gear that transfers power into the "Power Drive" selector box is located in the Gear & Pulley cabinet. When I pushed the spline gear adapter onto the gear shaft it split into. I wondered why until I noticed the elongated hole on one side. This all goes back to why I had to rebuild this gear box in the first place. The rotational direction lever shouldn't be moved while the lathe is turning. The gears are square cut and non-synchronized, of course. They cannot mesh without being forced to while running. This in turn bevels these 2 gears which I showed in another pic. That impact is transferred to the gear shaft> then thru the cotter pin>then thru the splined gear adapter. One pic shows the elongated hole and a fracture where it was also coming apart. That cotter pin was hammered against this part so many times that it eventually elongated the hole. The cotter pin is independent of the gear so it was obviously designed to be the fuse between ignorance and machine. The replacement part is twice as long so I cut it in half drilled it out. This was the first time I was able to use my machine as I needed to match drill the new adapter. What a pleasure. Took my time with measurements, used the DRO to center the hole and a #31 bit. Time to learn how to operate the lathe and mill now. I'll start another thread for stupid questions. LOL
 

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markba633csi

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That looks like a decent vise you have there- better than some of the swivelly adjustable things I have seen, is that a Smithy accessory?
Mark
 

WCraig

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Good stuff!

Craig
(Is it just me or does it look like it should have fresh, hot coffee waiting for you anytime you walk up to the machine? ):coffee break:
 
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