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Dataporter

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.
 

Bresh

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View attachment 125697
I posted this on another 3 in 1 forum and then saw this forum was more appropriate.

I use a Smithy Granite Elite I-Max 1340 3 in 1 in my fabricating shop and think the 3 in 1 is way under-rated and too often laughed off as a toy. These are very capable machines as long as it is realized they are not a 2 ton Bridgeport or large South Bend lathe. The first thing I did when I got mine was take several days to set it up level and then clean, de-burr, lubricate, tram, scrape and tighten everything. Out of the box they are not the most precise equipment that exists for sure, but a little time and work and I have found it to be as good or better then separate machines. I added a 3-axis DRO, a coolant system and am in the planning phase of conversion to ballscrews on X and Y axis. Once the ballscrews are installed and working right I have a full CNC 3 axis system that is going to be installed.

To a lot of people it may seem crazy to put this much time, effort and money into a 3 in 1, but space considerations do not allow separates. The capacity is 13 x 40 which as of yet has not been too small for any fab job. Not going to line bore a V8, but that is not the type of work I do. Part of the reason for doing all this is just because I can and I like to do it, but also when I get done, like most other projects, I have exactly what I want and need for my application and needs. To get the same capabilities would require 3-4 times the money and considerable shop real estate that I don't have.

I could not agree more with another poster who said that a lathe is a lathe and don't think that any idea for a lathe cannot be adapted or used on a 3 in 1. I have seen some very incredible work done on these machines and like any other machine tool once you get used to the way the machine operates it is just as good or better than any of the Myfords, Craftsman, South Bends, or other smaller lathes that I see people own. I have been able to hold 2/10's on some precision work as long as I take my time and go slow and easy.
 

Bresh

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View attachment 125697
I posted this on another 3 in 1 forum and then saw this forum was more appropriate.

I use a Smithy Granite Elite I-Max 1340 3 in 1 in my fabricating shop and think the 3 in 1 is way under-rated and too often laughed off as a toy. These are very capable machines as long as it is realized they are not a 2 ton Bridgeport or large South Bend lathe. The first thing I did when I got mine was take several days to set it up level and then clean, de-burr, lubricate, tram, scrape and tighten everything. Out of the box they are not the most precise equipment that exists for sure, but a little time and work and I have found it to be as good or better then separate machines. I added a 3-axis DRO, a coolant system and am in the planning phase of conversion to ballscrews on X and Y axis. Once the ballscrews are installed and working right I have a full CNC 3 axis system that is going to be installed.

To a lot of people it may seem crazy to put this much time, effort and money into a 3 in 1, but space considerations do not allow separates. The capacity is 13 x 40 which as of yet has not been too small for any fab job. Not going to line bore a V8, but that is not the type of work I do. Part of the reason for doing all this is just because I can and I like to do it, but also when I get done, like most other projects, I have exactly what I want and need for my application and needs. To get the same capabilities would require 3-4 times the money and considerable shop real estate that I don't have.

I could not agree more with another poster who said that a lathe is a lathe and don't think that any idea for a lathe cannot be adapted or used on a 3 in 1. I have seen some very incredible work done on these machines and like any other machine tool once you get used to the way the machine operates it is just as good or better than any of the Myfords, Craftsman, South Bends, or other smaller lathes that I see people own. I have been able to hold 2/10's on some precision work as long as I take my time and go slow and easy.
Dwight202 Do you have any insight on the Smithy I-Max 1340?
 

38super

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Bought a Shoptask 1720 XMTC in early 90's, small enough to fit my garage. Learned a lot, would not trade the experience. Have a SB13 and a Rockwell mill now, but during the transition the ShopTask was there to make parts/tools for the SB refurb. Recently gave her to a friend interested in machining. Keep the ways clean and lubed, PRC cast iron is not meehanite.
 

Downunder Bob

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My only experience with a 3 way, it was actually 4 way, machine was back in the 1985-95 I was working as an engineer on board a large crude oil tanker and we had a 4 way machine in the engine room workshop.

It was a good size, I don't recall the exact dimensions, but the lathe was about 14" swing x 30"- 36" bed It was good quality, would have suited a toolroom any day.

The milling machine was not mounted above the lathe bed as most of the smaller hobby machines are, but was mounted at the extreme outboard end of the headstock. It was both a vertical and horizontal spindle with a good size table about 36" long and 12" wide.

The knee action table could be wound right down and expose a shaper head coming out from underneath the headstock. The shaper used the milling table, so it was all very robust, The only downside was that it only had one motor and main gearbox so we could really only use one function at a time.

We did do some pretty good work on it over the years. I don't recall the makers brand, but quite possibly Mitsubishi, as the ship, and just about everything in it was built by Mitsubishi.
 

eric chilton

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I have an enco 3n1 machine . I've had it since 2000 . it was my first machine tool . i have used it a lot but not much in the past few years ....also have a lot of tooling for it and the riser block....i cant say anything about the milling part of the machine as i have never used it ......about a year after buying it i bought a used enco rf mill/drill and used that as my primary mill......i had also bought a atlas 12" com bench lathe ......when i opened my shop away from my house i just got machines for there and let what i had in my garage at home........ I bought my 3n1 brand new from enco ........with having 3 atlas lathes an enco rf mill/drill and an enco 9x42 bp clone i would still keep the 3n1 if that tells you anything ....lol.....Eric
 

Driveslayer45

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I have an old HT800 i bought 20+ years ago i am trying to keep going (have another thread about powering on). its like the Bolton BT800 or older Grizzly. Anyway i stumbled upon this forum, and while i see it is very old and not active, I wanted to chime in. My milling head is mounted to the left, above the lathe spindle, and i cannot lower it. i have tried a number of ways to mill effectively, I've made a long R8 end mill holder for 3/8 end mills (works pretty well), but lately i am using granite surface blocks to raise my milling vise high enough so i don't have to extend my quill so far down. I do hope one day to buy separate machines but my 3 in 1 has served me well. A nice feature that i don't see talked about often is i have power feed on both the X and Y since i have a separate lathe motor. I can power feed either axis, either direction by running my lathe in forward or reverse while milling.

I've done a few basic projects such as cutting front cocking serrations on a 1911 style 45, made a drive shaft to install a John Deere Engine on a Husqvarna mower with the electric clutch (fun as it required lathe and mill operations), handle bar risers for my motorcycle, larger volume knob for the same bike. handlebar end caps, windshield mounting bushings for my motorcycle (original ones got old and broke).
Future projects i hope to complete: A reversing gear for my lathe leadscrew so i can cut away from the chuck while running the late in forward (also will allow cutting left handed threads), a possible DC motor conversion on the lathe to get better speed control. i want to cut an AR lower out of a block of aluminum (without a CNC), new highway pegs for my motorcycle, a 308 conversion from and 8mm Mauser...

anyway i look forward to hearing from other 3 in 1 users
 

eric chilton

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driveslayer45 if you go to bolton tools or smithy web sites they sell a riser block for 3n1 machines ........10 years ago i got mine for around 100 shipped ....i think they have went up since then.........i think the smithy one is 200 but its a little bigger than mine ...........i think bolton tools is the cheapest ..but i havent checked on it lately.........busy bee tools also has them but i think they are pricey there too.........before i got the riser block i had gotten a 4x4 x1/2 wall square tubing section that i was gonna use for a riser....you might look into that ............eric...........
 
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