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New Forum for 3 in 1 machines

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Dataporter

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#31
Hi Domperna52, I bought my Smithy CB 1220 XL used off craigslist for $1100. It came with a lot of tooling and even some brass, steel and aluminum raw materials. So keep your eye out for that kind of a deal. I haven't been in the market for a 3 in 1 for a long time so I don't have much advice for a new one. Smithy.com of course, I've been able to get parts and advice for mine. Boltontool.com grizzly.com maybe Harbor Freight mini lathe and mini mill.
Thank you, thank you for working with the High School Robotics team! The elimination of industrial arts from junior high and high school is something that I hope doesn't come back to bite America you know where.
Best of luck in your search
Dave
 

domperna52

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#32
Thanks for the note. I've started checking out various machines on line at the web sites you listed, and will make a comparison list of the features to help with the purchase decision. I do believe that the lack of industrial arts in junior and high schools will bite us down the road. I don't know where else future engineers/scientists will get any practical hands on experience to balance their academic education. I find it sad.
 

ACS_Super

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#33
Agree with Dwight. We have the same machine as you, also with a 3 axis DRO. So far, I have not ran into a project I could not complete with the Smithy. I learned to machine on a Bridgeport and South Bend, and used the same machines for years at my company. Was laid off, and the new outfit just can't justify the cost of the larger machines. They bought a Smithy a few years back and I have been very pleased and impressed with the quality of work this thing can do. It's a great machine, and would not hesitate to buy one for my own home some day.
 
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BackyardWorkshop

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#34
Hey guys - another 3-in1 owner here too - I JUST got the Smithy Granite 1340 Max - I had an Enco 3-in-1 and it was good enough for me except for a few things (like no power feed when milling and changing thread gears) and so far I'm loving the Smithy
 

intjonmiller

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#35
I have always liked the concept of the 3-in-1. It makes perfect sense for a few situations, most particularly those who want more than a drill press, but less than a fully complemented machine shop (occasional lathe and milling tasks, but infrequent enough that the changeover isn't a real issue), and those who simply do not have room for separate machines. I thought that was where I was headed for my small shop, but then my brother offered me his lathe (our father's old lathe) on indefinite loan. So now I have a decent lathe and no mill. I don't agree with the argument that I'm any better off than if I had a 3-in-1 (other than the tremendous cost savings in my specific example). I'm frankly frequently frustrated when I need to do a simple milling operation, like making new quick change tool holders for the lathe, and I have no capacity to do so without adding a collet chuck, collets, and any of several makeshift (or very expensive used) milling attachments. I don't mean to complain (I am TRULY grateful), just expressing that the 3-in-1 doesn't get the respect it deserves. They do far more than my solo lathe, and in no more space in the shop.
 

Laytonnz

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#36
this was my second lathe and im happy with it, sure i would like bigger and better but it does everything i ask, the mill head is average.. i actually brought it to preform surgery on my 1950's Harrison l5 lathe.
just a few pics i had uploaded to photobucket of little things ive made with it...


pretty poor pictures camera must have been dirty

have made loads of bronze bushs, bronze nuts, various tools, spacers, cut threads ect does all pretty well.








 

Downunder Bob

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#37
Ritchie
I assume you have seen this manual for your unit here:
http://manuals.harborfreight.com/manuals/44000-44999/44142.pdf
See pages 12 & 13 for thread cutting, gear selection etc.
Looks to me that if you have an "inch" leadscrew, you can cut "inch" threads and if you have a "metric" leadscrew you can cut "metric" threads.
Dave
Most lathes use a 120 x 127 compound gear to convert imperial to metric and or the other way around, some small machines use 63x60 but it's not quite as accurate. the 127 divided by 2 equals 254. 25.4 mm =1". that is the connection.
 
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Pjblues

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#38
Well I have tracking this forum for a week or two to see what people are saying about the 3 in 1s. I am ready to purchase either the Smithy Granite IMax 1340 or separate machines. I have a small room but two machines can fit, like the PM 1236 lathe and PM 932 Mill, however, in my case it is a question of how often will I use them since I am a hobby woodworker. I am strongly leaning towards the 3 in 1 due to the fact I do not really want to get into metal work even though I started my career as a machinist. I just want to do metal type of work on occasion when I or one of my friends need something. Last year I purchased a Torch 770 CNC mill and kept it for six months before selling it and losing several thousands of dollars because I did not want to really do extensive metal work. So my dilemma is now what do I do? I have operated several different types of machines both manual and CNC, I see nothing wrong with 3 in 1 machines unless you are really going to go all in to start a business, and still they are very capable.

Just my two cents. I need to make a decision on which way to go.
 

Downunder Bob

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#39
Well I have tracking this forum for a week or two to see what people are saying about the 3 in 1s. I am ready to purchase either the Smithy Granite IMax 1340 or separate machines. I have a small room but two machines can fit, like the PM 1236 lathe and PM 932 Mill, however, in my case it is a question of how often will I use them since I am a hobby woodworker. I am strongly leaning towards the 3 in 1 due to the fact I do not really want to get into metal work even though I started my career as a machinist. I just want to do metal type of work on occasion when I or one of my friends need something. Last year I purchased a Torch 770 CNC mill and kept it for six months before selling it and losing several thousands of dollars because I did not want to really do extensive metal work. So my dilemma is now what do I do? I have operated several different types of machines both manual and CNC, I see nothing wrong with 3 in 1 machines unless you are really going to go all in to start a business, and still they are very capable.

Just my two cents. I need to make a decision on which way to go.
A dilemma, yes. The answer is entirely up to you. Think of it as a series of questions and answers.
Do you have room for two good size machines.
Can you afford them.
will the smaller 3 in 1 be able to do everything you are likely want to do.
Would you use them more if you had the two bigger machines.
Remember most people often wish they had a bigger machine, I know I do, but I just don't have the room
 

Dataporter

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#40
Well I agree with Bobshobby. But I can make just about anything on my 3 in 1 that I put my mind to... If I had more time, space and money I would definitely buy a mill and a lathe but I think I would keep the 3 in 1 !
Dave
 

Pjblues

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#41
Thanks folks, I have enough space and I have the funds to pay for both but I do not think I would use them on a regular basis. I really do woodworking and only would use the machine or machines to make repairs to other equipment. I do not envision doing projects on them like I do on my CNC router. That said, when I need to make something out of metal, I need to do it now. This is a situation only I can figure out but I sure am open to everyone's opinion. I do not want to have any regrets.
 

Downunder Bob

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#42
Thanks folks, I have enough space and I have the funds to pay for both but I do not think I would use them on a regular basis. I really do woodworking and only would use the machine or machines to make repairs to other equipment. I do not envision doing projects on them like I do on my CNC router. That said, when I need to make something out of metal, I need to do it now. This is a situation only I can figure out but I sure am open to everyone's opinion. I do not want to have any regrets.
Occasional use or not, do you have any idea what the biggest job you are likely to ever want to do, will that fit on the 3 in 1, now make that job 50% bigger will it still fit on the 3 in 1, if so then go for it, if Not I'd do some serious thinking. There is nothing worse than after having spent your money finding it won't do the job.

My standard advice has always been and still is. The biggest (within reason) that will fit the available space, and the best that you can afford. properly looked after they will not deteriorate in between use, keep them well oiled and covered, just an old sheet for a dust cover is all you need.
 

Mad Monty

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#43
For what it's worth, I've been pretty satisfied with my 3-in-1 from Enco. There will always be a bigger, better option than the one we choose, but one has to draw the line somewhere. Have you got access to a bigger machine or know someone who does for the once-in-blue-moon time you need to make something bigger or more accurately or harder material, etc., than the 3-in1 can handle? That would cinch it for me.
 

Pjblues

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#44
Now this is excellent advice! I was ready to order the Smithy yesterday and then someone posted about the ShopMaster Patriot. I need to find out what these are about? Honestly, I do not know which way to go at this point. I put aside about $7K aside for the allocation and I already know the Smithy all in is going to be about $5500 - 6,000. I also know two PM machines, lathe & mill will be about $7K. Then I would also eventually like to get a laser engraver. Two machines and a laser engraver will not fit in the room.

I would like to make a decision by next week so I can just get on with it. Thanks for all the input, it is great to get other people's opinion and advice.
 

wa5cab

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#45
I have no experience with 3-in-1 machines so I always avoid offering opinions about them. But if you really need the laser engraving machine and if three machines really won't fit in the available space, then I think that answers your question of what to buy.
 

Pjblues

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#46
Thanks for the input. I am trying to figure out what laser engraver to purchase to see it it can go in my basement. That will help make the decision easier, maybe.
 
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