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New To The Forum & I Am Sure This Has Been Debated

Discussion in 'QUESTIONS & ANSWERS (Get Help Fast Here!)' started by Pjblues, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Pjblues

    Pjblues United States Iron Registered Member

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    I am brand new to the forum so please excuse me for bringing this up but does anyone own or have knowledge of the Smithy IMax 1340? I am considering it versus a bench mill and a 12 x 36 lathe. I am a retired person who is not interested in starting a business. This is pure hobby for me. I have a room I built in my garage 10' x 9' just for a small or couple of small machines. Again, you folks have most likely debated this over and over but I just wanted an opinion.

    Thanks.

    PJ
     
    Nzchessie and Charles Spencer like this.
  2. RandyM

    RandyM United States Global Moderator Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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  3. Pjblues

    Pjblues United States Iron Registered Member

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    Thanks so much Randy. I really appreciate your help so fast.
     
  4. David S

    David S Canada Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Welcome PJ, Looking forward to your contribution here.

    David
     
  5. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Hi PJ,

    I had a Smithy Granite Classic for 14 years. I purchased it at the time due to space constraints. IMHO the smithy Granite is the best of the 3-in-1 machines. The lathe is pretty good and the mill is okay. Working on this type of machine takes some planning and strategy but high quality work can be done if you understand its limitations. There is a pretty active Yahoo group for the smithy machines and you can see what work can be done on them.

    I posted some examples of the work I did in it here. http://www.hobby-machinist.com/threads/combo-machine-quality.49980/#post-420512

    That being said, if you have the room and means, separate machines are always better. I have since moved on to a larger lathe and mill.
     
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  6. Pjblues

    Pjblues United States Iron Registered Member

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    Hello JBolt,

    Thanks so much for sharing this information and pictures with me. The projects you completed are fantastic and I am betting dead on the money in quality and dimensional accuracy. Great work.
     
  7. terrywerm

    terrywerm New Member Liaison Staff Member H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Welcome to H-M, PJ! Most of us here are hobbyists, but yes, a few are professionals. Like you, my shop space is limited, though my shop is in the basement in a room that is 12 x 14 which affords me a little more elbow room. I do not have any personal experience with the Smithy line, but I've seen some beautiful projects done with them. All machines have limitations of one sort or another, and as long as you work within the limitations of your machine you will be quite happy with it.
     
  8. Pjblues

    Pjblues United States Iron Registered Member

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    Thanks so much Terry for your opinion. I appreciate them.
     
  9. Cadillac STS

    Cadillac STS United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    From what I know the Smithy is a better version of the 3 in 1 setup and there is forum support which is a big plus.

    I have seen/run one of those lathe/mill machines (Not Smithy) in person and it had one motor and a transmission to switch between lathe and mill. It was very loose and full of vibration due to the transmission. For that reason if you go this route try to get something with a separate motor for lathe and mill.

    An issue and probably the reason that mentioning planning to use the machine above (With the precision parts made on it.) is it can do one thing or the other at one time but not both. And depending on the setup it takes some time to remove the vise you had on and trammed in for milling to place on the lathe tooling for turning. Then remove the lathe turning setup and replace the vise and re-tram (Get it set precisely) for something else. Sounds like not that big of a thing but is there.

    One thing to consider is the new price of the Smithy Imax 1340 From what I can see $4500 to $5000. With that budget you could have two good quality separate machines. Or else with that budget could consider something beside Smithy 3 in 1 for similar price but more precision tool. For example and I just typed in "Lathe mill combo" on eBay.com to get this:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-11-x-28...694810?hash=item3ac87c55da:g:pvoAAOSwZVlXkpRW

    Then there is that concern of replacement parts if needed. Smithy will have parts if needed in the future, Off brand might not.

    Best thing you did was ask questions prior to purchase to get some ideas. This is a great friendly forum.

    Being in Ohio where used equipment is plentiful is a bonus. Could take time and search for your equipment as part of the fun of it. Definitely search all Craigslist within trailer range for mill, lathe or used Smithy. And can search eBay with location closest to find something close if going used from there.

    Smithy machines are quality and might be the best option.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2017
  10. Cadillac STS

    Cadillac STS United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Here is one on Craigslist Cincinnati just searched "Smithy" Not sure where you live location wise in Ohio.

    This is not the 1340 but could give you into one for less. For the price likely get back out of it without losing money if you want:

    https://cincinnati.craigslist.org/hvo/6108461625.html

    For used when they say "Tooling" it can be a significant amount of cost savings over what the machine itself is worth.
     
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  11. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    The closet machine to the smithy that had separate motors was the ShopMaster. The last version was the Patriot. They have since gone all CNC and as far as I know the manual version is no longer available. A friend of mine did a rigidity test on both machines and the results were almost identical. The patriot used an overhead gantry for the mill head vs. the round column of the Smithy.

    I have a good friend with a Griz lathe similar to the one linked to above and found the milling capacity/rigidity to be far less than the Smithy with the mill column being bolted to the lathe bed. A standard lathe V bed does also not have the same rigidity for milling as a dovetail bed.
     
  12. jbolt

    jbolt United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Also I meant to add that the power transmission on the Smithy is switched via a dog gear on the lathe spindle. A bevel gear drives a sub shaft in the column of the mill head. The mill spindle is driven off the sub shaft via v-belt/pulley. The bevel gear on the spindle is steel and the driven gear is nylon and works well. The mesh of the bevel gears is adjustable. The only looseness I have felt in the Smithy Granite machine I had and others I have encountered was the fit of the spline in the mill head. This is no different that any of the Chinese bench top column mills.
     
  13. Doubleeboy

    Doubleeboy Active User Active Member

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    The people at Smithy are good to deal with. I have met them and though I do not own a 3 in 1 machine, nor have I ever used one, if I thought a 3 in 1 was for me it would be Smithy for sure. They have a long history, travel to China on regular basis to check on production and support their products. If you really think this is the tool for you, I would contact them and arrange for a personal visit to their business in Ann Arbor MI and try the machine out yourself before purchasing. I recently saw them at a show, I was there to look at a small CNC mill they import, while there I looked at the Granite, and fiddled with it a bit, did not run though. I was impressed at how tight yet smooth the slideways operated. Fit and finish of parts seemed very nice. If you are not experienced with checking out used machinery and like the compact nature of a 3 in 1, and realize their limitations it might be a fine choice.
     
  14. Pjblues

    Pjblues United States Iron Registered Member

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    These are great posts. I have researched the Smithy Granite 1340 extensively. It appears to be the recommended model when it comes to 3 in 1 machines. I am strongly considering one. The Smithy people have told me I would have 90 days to try it out and if unhappy, I can send it back for a full refund. Of course I would have to pay about $200 for the return shipping. That said, it might be worth it.

    I have also examined the Grizzly and Precision Mathews machines, thinking I would go with independent machines, PM does not have the stock of their mills that I need. Anyways, I am hoping to make a decision to purchase the 3 in 1 or the two machines very shortly. I do not do a lot of metal machining so I am questioning if I want to go the multiple machines scenario. I am mainly a woodworked who may need to do some metal machining once in awhile.

    These forums are extremely helpful to someone like me!
     
  15. Silverbullet

    Silverbullet Active Member Active Member

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    Hi and welcome to the site. It's not the machine that makes the part it's the machinist that's using it. If your happy with the machine you will make it do everything you need. Lots of amazing things are built with small home shops with limited resources . Good luck with the smithy , have fun but be safe.
     

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