Input on hobbyist combination machine choice

CAG.Thompson

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Most important is that time is your best friend here.

If you have cash in your bank account and are willing to consider used you can get a much better deal than you'll find from Bolton or AliBaba.

Here's one in Tucson.


Yes, two separate machines but if it's too much hassle to move them when you get reassigned just sell them and buy what you really want at your next post.

I realize you've thought it through but you made a smart move by coming on here and asking for advice. Many of us have been exactly where you are now and will hate to see you make the same mistakes we did. The desire to have both a lathe and mill is strong and reasonable but once you start working with a lathe you'll realize how much can actually be done by just that one machine. But, you must get one that's capable of doing what you want.

Fixing up tools can be very gratifying but if you spent good money on something new you really shouldn't have to do that. You can find example after example of people on this list who bought new from eBay, or somewhere else and regretted it immediately. Don't be that guy....

If you have a friend that's familiar with machines then go look at some used ones that are under power, you'll learn more in half an hour than in days of looking at internet ads.

John
Hey John I really appreciate the message given here and the effort put into finding that deal. It is undoubtedly a great deal! Unfortunately I don't have the space to house both machines individually at the moment, nor will I have a two car garage in the next 5 years or alternative situation that will allow me to have two machines. Im strongly considering these two machines in the op still, and im not opposed to buying a used combo machine at all in fact if I could find either of these used I'd love that and id love to pay less for them or pass the same with additional tooling. Then again, there is sometimes some benefit to original purchaser product support and warranties even if it is limited. So much of the metal machine tool world is import and I understand the stereotype and hesitation when thinking about buying Chinese stuff, but there definitely is good stuff out there too. It seems alibaba has some decent options and at insanely competing wholesale prices too. Alibaba has backing that guarantees the sellers deliver on specs that they promise, some listings are of course more more low quality, in which case I assume the quality in the machine will reflect and I take that as a red flag. But I've managed to find some pretty impressive higher quality listings as well, with well articulated specs and in standard units of measure (all good signs). Still want to explore the possibility of mounting a mill column to the lathe itself
 

hman

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Just a quick note of caution regarding machine tools on Phoenix Craigslist. A goodly percentage of the machine tools I've been seeing in the past couple months are NOT actually available in Phoenix. There's an outfit in Connecticut, apparently owned by Al Babin, that advertises in various Craigslist cities. Their ads were previously easy to identify because the picture had a colored outline and the seller's "name" (usually Jack of Kirk or Sean or Alex) and area code 860 phone number (even though the "map pin" is near downtown Phoenix). They've since become harder to spot. Often they won't even give the phone number in the contact info. About the only way to spot their ads any more is that they have only a single picture of the item they're selling, and the description is a bit skimpy. For an example of one of their "surround" ads, my mistakenly posting it here, and some info from @MrWhoopee, check out

Anyway, best of luck finding a machine that will suit your needs!
 

matthewsx

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How large is the space you have?

Personally I wouldn't put any stock into warranties offered by any company in China. That's based on experience not prejudice, they're just too far away and can too easily weasel out of whatever was promised.

If you dig on this site you will find many stories of folks that have done what you propose. Not many work out well but your experience may be different.

You can also find folks on here that have build very impressive shops in tiny spaces.

I still stick with my "make sure it has a good lathe" comment, quite a few have removed or abandoned the milling feature of their multi-function machines. The lathe is the heart of a manual machine shop and you'll be amazed how many things you can do on a lathe, built this little guy without a mill.


JOhn
 

MrWhoopee

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Just a quick note of caution regarding machine tools on Phoenix Craigslist. A goodly percentage of the machine tools I've been seeing in the past couple months are NOT actually available in Phoenix. There's an outfit in Connecticut, apparently owned by Al Babin, that advertises in various Craigslist cities. Their ads were previously easy to identify because the picture had a colored outline and the seller's "name" (usually Jack of Kirk or Sean or Alex) and area code 860 phone number (even though the "map pin" is near downtown Phoenix). They've since become harder to spot. Often they won't even give the phone number in the contact info. About the only way to spot their ads any more is that they have only a single picture of the item they're selling, and the description is a bit skimpy. For an example of one of their "surround" ads, my mistakenly posting it here, and some info from @MrWhoopee, check out

Anyway, best of luck finding a machine that will suit your needs!
Here's an example:
1631891362009.png
 

Aaron_W

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Unfortunately I don't have the space to house both machines individually at the moment, nor will I have a two car garage in the next 5 years or alternative situation that will allow me to have two machines.

This is usually the reason people consider these 2 in one machines. If you actually compare apples to apples the combo machines do not really save you money, and only save a little space.

The milling machine part of most of these combo machines is quite small, in most cases much smaller and less capable than something like a PM25 or Grizzly G0704, which are small mills.

https://www.precisionmatthews.com/shop/pm-25mv/

https://www.grizzly.com/products/grizzly-7-x-27-1-hp-mill-drill-with-stand/g0704


The 13x40 lathe on the Granite is also not really comparable to most 13x40 lathes. They raise the spindle higher than normal to gain swing (diameter). In reality it is a smaller lathe pretending to be a 13x40.

The Granite 1340 has a spindle bore of 1-1/8" which is quite small for a lathe in this size class. It also only weighs 750lbs including the milling head. Weight relates to rigidity. It is hard to really make a good comparison of the milling attachment since it uses the lathe cross slide as a table, but it falls somewhere between a large mini-mill and the PM25 / Grizzly G0704 I linked to above. Smithy says you need an area of 85x43" for the machine.

Most lathes with an 11 or 12" swing typically have a spindle bore of 1-1/2". Many of the 13x40 lathes have a spindle bore of 1-9/16". A 13x40 lathe will generally weigh around 1200lbs, a 12x36" around 900lbs (and that is all lathe, it does not include 100-200lbs of milling head).

Smithy says you need an area of 85x43" for the machine.

If you were to pair a mill the size of the PM25 / G704 with a 12x36 lathe (theoretically "smaller" but as I said above in reality you aren't giving up much) you would only be looking at perhaps another 24" in length, and possibly less depth.

Most 12x36 lathes are around 61x24", a small mill like the PM25 / G704 is listed as needing 57x25" but that is to provide room for full travel of the table. You can have a certain degree of overlap with other things since the table is well above the floor, and can be moved to one side or the other to allow access past or to get it out of the way. I use much of this dead space below the mill table for storage.

Worst case scenario total length 118" (9-1/2 feet so could probably fit the short way across a one car garage with a little room to spare). If things are really tight creatively locating the mill, or mounting it on wheels could probably reduce the needed space by least 12-18". Mounting the lathe and mill back to back would only require a space of 49 x 61", an overall increase of only 6" of depth and a reduction in length of 24".

One last plus to something like a 12x36 and small mill. When you do have more room, you can keep the lathe if it still meets your needs and upgrade the mill to something bigger if you want a bigger mill.


If you really want to go with a combo machine, I'd buy used. With the exception of the Emco lathe / mill combos (high end Austrian machines) combo machines do not hold their value very well. I see machines comparable to the Granite 1340 on Craigslist often for around $800-1200 which is less than most smaller single function lathes.

Agree with some of the other posters the Bolton with its stand alone milling head is a better design, it makes fewer compromises to the lathe than the Granite. I would hesitate to recommend Bolton though as they seem to be a low tier importer.


I know you didn't want to be talked out of a combo machine, but if you decide to get one you should fully understand what you are comparing it to.
 
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Larry$

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I've been following this thread & it seems the originator has from the start decided not to take suggestions from the peanut gallery.
This comment is aimed @ experienced users. I've never used a milling attachment on a lathe but lots of hobbyists do. I have a knee mill and the most often limiting axis is the Z, mainly due to the tooling. Often to change from a drill to a reamer Either the Z has to be moved a lot or the X has to be moved to get clearance to change tooling. Moving the X will almost always introduce some (small) positional change. Given the very limited travel on the combi machines, I'm sure he would have way more travel using a milling attachment on a lathe of the same weight as the combi. Depending on the milling attachment's design the other axis will most likely be more limited. Small lathes are available in shorter beds if that demission is more limiting than total weight. Blondihacks has a small PM short bed lathe. She gets the most out of it. On her blog page she discusses the inherent limitations.

The larger 12 X 36 lathe discussed by Aaron and set up with a milling attachment seems like an excellent option. A sturdy enough machine to use a milling attachment with. It would not need to be replaced when more milling ability is purchased. All the tooling, chucks etc. that get accumulated would continue to be totally useful. PM has a much better reputation for support than Bolton. Life's full of tradeoffs.
 

Weldingrod1

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So, on the headstock vs bed attached milling head front... the smaller the structural loop is going from tool to spindle, quill, mill head, mill nod, column, -stuff-, mill x slide, mill y slide, vise, and finally workpiece, the more rigid it is. Small loop and you can get away with a lot less iron. Big loop, you've gotta have lots of iron! This is one of the reasons that cnc hardware leans toward gantries: two parallel structural systems come out a LOT more rigid per pound!

The smithy/granite method has a huge reach from the mill head attachment to the cutter.

The Bolton method gets the mill head and column quite close the the lathe ways. BUT the cast iron bits look skimpy. You could epoxy bed some structural steel behind the column ;-)

Sent from my SM-G892A using Tapatalk
 

matthewsx

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I think the biggest thing here is we're discouraging the OP from buying something that will disappoint and/or require modifications from the start.

This search will give some idea of how many times this has been discussed here as well as provide input from folks who have already purchased a combo machine.


Hope that helps....

John
 

Downunder Bob

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Prior to buying my lathe I looked for a suitable 3 in one machine, having previously used one, as mentioned earlier, After looking at all the small lightweight toys that are available, I decided to just buy the best lathe I could and learn to do what milling I need on the lathe.

This has worked out quite well as I have discovered it is quite easy to do some fairly heavy milling because the lathe is a 12X16 and is rather substantial. I know the bed is short at only 16" but that is all the room I have as it has to share space with a car in a single car garage.

I have begun building a vertical spindle milling attachment that will clamp onto the lathe bed, but progress is slow.
 

Choiliefan

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I saw this machine at Westec back in the 80's.
Still have the sales lit somewhere.
1632246632471.png
 
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