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  1. Trentbennett66

    Trentbennett66 Swarf Registered Member

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    Hello all
    Does anyone out there have any exp with the Smithy Machines. I am looking at there MI409 Mill and 1340 Lathe.
    I have looked at a lot of machines but I have not come across anyone using a smithy. Are they really made in the USA?
    How does a 3 in 1 machine stand up against dedicated machines.

    Any input would be helpfull good or bad.

    Thanks
    Trentbennett66
     
  2. dave2176

    dave2176 United States Active User Active Member

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    Hi trentbennett66,
    You mention their 1340 lathe and 409 mill, both of which have a $3500 price tag. You then mention a 3 in 1 machine. If your budget permits individual machines go that route. If it doesn't pick one of the machines and go that route anyway. I believe you will be happier in the long run. I only know 2 people that had 3 in 1s and they sold them after a while.

    I didn't see where they claimed to be made in the US but they have a striking resemblance to the clone machines sold by many companies. The mill appears to be a rf45 clone and the lathe looks like many 1340s out there.

    There are many options out there. Sometimes it may come down to who has the machine in stock because the clones are very similar. Take a look at the forum post for different machines to judge the differences for yourself. Look at standard features such as a lathe coming with 2 chucks which would allow you to use the machine and "grow" into a higher end chuck down the road. On a mill consider what you plan down the road. Spending money on power axis' when you intend to CNC soon for instance could be better spent on steppers and drivers.

    Happy shopping,
    Dave
     
  3. Ray C

    Ray C United States Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Trent,

    If the Smithys were made in the USA, it would be plastered all over their website. As far as I know, there are no more US companies making that class of machine. The last one I knew of was branded as International where some parts were made in the US. I believe they no longer answering their phones, emails or updating their website. -Doesn't look good. Even all the South Bends are made in either China or Taiwan.

    3 in 1 machines... Most folks will always go for individual machines if they have the space and that is what is strongly recommended. Things get cramped in those tight quarters and it drives me nuts. I help a friend run a robotics program at a local high school and they have a 3 in 1 and I'm constantly gritting my teeth trying hard not to swear in front of the kids... It's not to say they are bad. They can do good work provided you stay within their capabilities. The upshot is, if you have the space, go with individual machines.

    Many, many folks here that are looking at new machines are going with the Precision Matthews line. There are literally dozens of happy customers here and you can read thread after thread with positive things and barely find an unfavorable word about them. The mill you're looking at is the equivalent of a PM 932 or PM45. The two units are nearly identical but, the 932 is a slightly upgraded version that comes with power table, Z and variable speed. It's also about a grand less than the Smithy. Precision Matthews (www.machinetoolonline.com) has a great reputation and the machines are best your going to find in that class and price range. I've been a happy camper for 5 years with my PM45 mill and for about a year now with the 1236 lathe. I crank-out precision stuff with ease and have a small part time business... the machines are run 20 hours a week at a minimum without the slightest glitch.

    I do a lot of help and question answering for Matt at Precision Matthews and I've written countless posts here about how and where machines are made in Asia and how they're ordered, customized and shipped. Search around through my threads and you'll get a lot of insight. Have a look at the PM machines and if you have questions, let us know and you'll hear a chorus of help from myself and others here.

    Ray



     
  4. Ray C

    Ray C United States Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I did a little investigation... Smithy machines are and always have been produced in China.


    Ray
     
  5. drs23

    drs23 Active User Active Member

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    Finally a thread I can contribute to. I've been hearing about the Smitty 3 into 1 for several years on the various H-D forums that I frequent. I've not heard one person yet that would do it again if they had it to do over again. Most have shifted them at the first opportunity absorbing the hit and eventually did what Ray suggests which is getting "dedicated purpose machines". The consistent story line is that while it will do somewhat what it says it will do, it does none of them really well. It's a compromise in most situations where in the majority of the cases one would prefer to not have to do so.

    When the hay's in the barn, you'll find yourself much happier getting stand alone machines.
     
  6. Ray C

    Ray C United States Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    LOL... Ouch, you are a tough customer. -But I tend to agree. These days, multi-purpose units are not geared toward folks aspiring to do precision work. In the past, a couple vendors (now defunct) tried to make multi-purpose manual and CNC machines capable of reasonable accuracy -but like I said, they're now defunct.

    I have a few hours of time on one of the more expensive Grizzly units from the high school robot stuff -and it's fine for their purposes since they're only working on aluminum and mild steel and their implied tolerances are on the order of +/- 0.010" (10 thou). -Which as far as I'm concerned, you could land a 747 in that amount of space. My biggest complaint is banging my head and hands into the mill components while trying to use the lathe component. Heaven forbid you leave a sharp cutter or drill bit in the mill. There's no way you can run the mill and lathe at the same time but, having a cutter mounted above the lathe bed is a prescription for stitches in the top of your hand. Aside from that, it has "no-frills", and is not really accurized in any significant way and I would not try to predictably hold tolerances in the +/- 1 thou range or better.

    And finally, even if the lathe component were somewhat precise, it won't be for long after you finish milling a heavy piece that's connected to the same infrastructure...

    Ray


    EDIT: Clarified 4th sentence of 1st paragraph.

     
  7. Pmedic828

    Pmedic828 Active User Active Member

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    I have a IMAX 1340 - it is a Chinese machine built to smithy's specs. The machine's finish is not perfect but pretty good for someone who wants to learn like me and not have time restraints such as running a business. I have had a few problems with the machine when it was new but the customer service is GREAT! They treat you like friends and will spend numerous hours helping you. I had a pulley problem and they sent me a new pulley and belt - no questions. They also provide setup answers.
    No, it is not a Bridgeport and you can't take 0.050 each time, but I have had IMHO good precision with milling. If you want a machine to work on, and don't want to take up extra space that the 3000 pound + machines take, I would recommend this machine - it has a DC variable 2 hp drive from 0 RPM to 2800. I also use HSS cutters mostly on this machine but have tried carbide also.
     
  8. Rbeckett

    Rbeckett Platinum Rest In Peace

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    Smithy and Bolton are just two of the vendors you will find offering Taiwanese and Mainland Chinese machines. The 3-N-1 idea is good if you have a very small shop and need the room, but if you have the room two stand alone machines will definitely give you more accuracy and improve the overall quality of anything you could produce in a smithy or other machine. I have a 3-N-1 and two separate lathes and hope to add a real mill to the shop in the near future. I have no intention of getting rid of any of my machines and the mill will be in addition to what I already have. My biggest issue right now is where in the world I am going to put all the machines I have so there is enough room to work around each one in turn. Sooner or later I am going to have to add a shipping container or add on to the shop to accommodate all of what I have jammed in their now. I have looked at Handi Houses and they don't seem very sturdy for the money and they are made of wood so fireproofing is going to add significant cost to it if I decide to get one of them. A sea-land container is all metal and lockable. I can also do a roof over and add an AC unit and have a really nice work or storage area for all of my toolboxes and heavy industrial equipment from my Class 8 truck shop I was running before I went to Iraq. Wiring is simple to run in a conduit and wiring it for 220 single phase and 115 Volt 20 amp circuits for lighting and outlets is also very easy too. If I decide to get snazzy I can insulate and sheet rock the interior of the container and have a super nice shop with climate control and a clean comfy area to work. Just sayin....

    Bob
     
  9. Trentbennett66

    Trentbennett66 Swarf Registered Member

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    Thanks everyone for your help. I will definitely be going with stand alone machines,
    Just Looking for the best quality for the $$$$
     
  10. TC0853

    TC0853 United States Active Member Active Member

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    After having bought a Bolton 3 in 1 for a starter, and pretty much hating every moment, I bought a Smithy Granite Max 1324. Tbe Smithy is everything that they said it was. I would rather have bought individual dedicated machines, but the room in my garage doesn't allow for it. There are obviously some drawbacks to the 3 in 1's, mostly and foremost, not having any ways on the mill Z axis. This definitely hampers production. I read one person mentioning tolerances of +/- .010". I don't know where he got his information but I can turn "slip fit no shake" on the lathe all day long. If I'm working something small, and I need close tolerance I take the 3 jaw off and turn from a collet or on centers, if bigger, I use the 4 jaw. My 3 jaw has about .0015 tir, but thats the Chuck, put it on centers and I can get .001" or less. Smithy spec's their machines here in the states and they are built in China, but you wouldn't know it.I've had mine over a year and I haven't even had to adjust the gibs since I set it up. The worm gear on the mill quill is adjustable, but difficult to compensate for backlash so I just recently put igagings 6" DRO on it and that solved that. As my budget allows I will upgrade to a 12" on the cross slide and then a 24" on the Y axis. I'll be able to do all 3 for about $110,rather than Smithys $750. My limited experience with their customer service has been positive, and they're glad to help. So I would say if you you have an unlimited budget and space, buy a Bridgeport, and a Monarch, might as well go buy a Porsche while you're at it. If space is limited then a 3 in 1 is an option and I'd be willing to bet Smithys is at least one of the best ones out there, the Granites run about $5500 but if you wait they put them on sale for about a grand less, sometimes with free s&h. If that's too much then that puts you with a Chinese clone, which a Smithy is not. IMHO.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
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  11. TOOLMASTER

    TOOLMASTER you don't want to know Active Member

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    I can this close >< to buying one several years ago...I don't remember what it was that changed the game for me though
     
  12. wrmiller

    wrmiller Chief Tinkerer H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I too looked seriously at the Granite. Even 'test drove' one that was local. Then I had to move for a new job and ended up in an apartment for a few years, so I had absolutely no room for it. :(
     
  13. dzljon

    dzljon United States Iron Registered Member

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    I am brand new to this forum and found this thread that I might be able to contribute to. I have the smithy MI-409 mill and a granite 1324 classic, This mill is a good value to me because you have power feeds on X,Y and Z built into the machine with its own oil sump, the mill table is larger than the comparable machines form Rongfu and Precision Matthews( I really like the PM brand) it measures 9x40 and has almost 25 inches of travel, it is very heavy for the foot print it makes at over 900 Lbs with out a stand and anything thing else that could be added. the main motor is stamped with a 2 hp rating, there is another motor dedicated to the power feeds rated at .5 Hp and the motor to raise and lower the head is 1/3 hp, the control panel is easy and has power tapping built in, I have been pretty happy with this mill. the granite has been good and reliable but I have more space now and looking to get a something with a 40 inch bed and more weight everything I look at and compare always leads me back to the PM-1340GT so I am more than likely going to pull the trigger on that machine in the spring but I am not disappointed with the granite and it has served a good purpose introducing machining to me.
     

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  14. tweinke

    tweinke United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    Welcome aboard ! Good info about the Smithy machines, seems to not be a lot out there as far as information.
     
  15. hattrick300

    hattrick300 United States Swarf Registered Member

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    I have an older Smithy 1220XL that I purchased several months back. Prior to purchasing this I had never operated a metal lathe or mill so I cannot speak from experience, but I can say that so far I have had a difficult time making anything with a tight tolerance, but it is probably more of an operator error than the machine.
     
  16. tweinke

    tweinke United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    I have a shoptask 1720xmtc and being sure the gibs are properly adjusted and tooling is rigidly mounted is the biggest thing. Seem to be a decent lathe but milling not so much. Recently I bought a PM727m mill what a difference.
     
  17. ACS_Super

    ACS_Super United States Iron Registered Member

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    We use a Smithy Granite at my job. I went to school for Machine Shop years ago, and cut my teeth on a Bridgeports, Leblondes, South Bend, etc. I was pretty reserved to say the least when we bought the Smithy, but I took my time setting it up and went through the manual page by page. I was really impressed with the machine after I got used to it. It has its quirks, due to size and movement restrictions but I haven't found a project yet I could not complete on the Smithy.

    Sure I miss the bigger machines, but we do not do enough machinign to justify the cost. I've found it to be challenging and rewarding when I work on the Smithy. Hattrick, I would agree that your issues may be user related. Did you get a manual with your machine? That is your best friend for these machines. If not, I would reach out to Smithy and get a replacement.

    Speaking of reaching out to Smithy, I have had to call them a few times and they are wonderful. Very friendly, and very helpful.
     
  18. dzljon

    dzljon United States Iron Registered Member

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    Thanks!
     
  19. stormtaker

    stormtaker United States Swarf Registered Member

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    I have the Smithy Granite 1340 3 in 1 and I'm glad I got it. As a hobby machinist its a perfect starter. Don't listen to what people are saying about these machines. They are just as capable as any other out there as far as tolerence go. If people aren't getting good results its usually operator error, work piece not clamped down tight enough or not a rigid clamp down. Gibs out of adjustment or something. I have had mi e since they first came out and its still running great. The main complaint is switching from lathe to mill which isn't that big of a deal, it just would be nice to have a lathe and a separate mill. I have recently bought a Grizzly G0796 and all my tooling from the Smithy fits the Grizzly. I still use the mill on the Smithy when I have two projects going. Thats the nice part. If your thinking of getting a Smithy 3 in 1 I would recommend the biggest one you can afford or have finianced. 14970564287001040386066.jpg
     
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  20. ttabbal

    ttabbal United States Iron Registered Member

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    I'm a noob, with only high school level machining classes. I would really like to pick up a lathe, but the more I think about it, the more I think of things that a mill is really the right tool for. I have been considering a Midas machine, probably the 1230LTD. The longer lathe bed I could see using. I would want to add a QCTP and DRO to it to start with. I would likely need to pick up a follow and steady rest as well, as I have some projects in mind that they would be handy for.

    For comparison, the Lathe I am considering is the PM 1030V. It comes with more lathe tooling, which is a plus for me, but obviously the Smithy includes a mill and a slightly larger swing. The biggest workpiece I see using anytime soon would be about 6" diameter though, and that would be rarely done, and likely in aluminum. Honestly, I see myself mostly working with aluminum, brass and a little mild steel. Maybe some plastics when 3D printing is not the right tool for the job.

    Space isn't a huge issue, but budget is. I would like to stick to about $3k. I would like to get the most for my money, obviously, but I also want to make sure what I get is usable. I like that the Smithy can rotate the mill head out of the way, so I can use the lathe without interference. That seems like a big complaint people have about combo machines. This would also be a nice upgrade from my el-cheapo benchtop drill press, which is pretty crappy. :)

    Use is strictly hobby. I guess I might consider odd jobs at some point, but I'm not really interested in making a business out of it. I'm fine with it being somewhat annoying to switch between lathe/mill/drill modes. I also don't need the very best accuracy, but I would like to have the machine be able to do a few thou with a decent operator, which I hope to become eventually. To start with, I'd be pretty happy to consistently manage 10 thou. I know tooling will add up fast, but I expect to pick things up a little at a time. Perhaps picking up a basic set to start with, and some HSS blanks. And probably a better wheel for my HF grinder so I can shape them with at least some accuracy. Though the grinder might need some upgrades/replacement as well....

    Used market here is iffy, almost going for new prices for pretty beat up gear. As I have no other machine tools, fabricating parts would not be possible, and replacements might be difficult/expensive to source. I think it might be fun to try restoring an old iron machine sometime once I get some skill and practice though.

    Both machines have power feeds, though the mill Z on the Smithy looks to be manual, I can live with that.
    Lathe work areas are similar, though the PM lathe comes with more lathe specific accessories.
    Accuracy/capability? Not sure.
    Neither has DRO, but I can add one for a reasonable price.
    PM comes with QCTP out of the box, nice.
    PM doesn't look to use change gears, nice to have.
    Both are 110V. I have 220 single phase available as well.


    Are there other things I should consider? Pros/Cons of either direction are welcome, please keep in mind the intended use. I'm not a professional machinist, I'm a hobbyist. I'd love to be able to buy a nice new Southbend and Bridgeport, but that's not in the cards. :) I am willing to stick to the standalone lathe if it is a much better choice for my uses though. I see myself using a lathe more frequently than a mill, but if I only had a lathe, I see myself trying to use it as a horizontal mill as well, which is obviously not ideal either.
     
  21. tweinke

    tweinke United States Active User H-M Supporter-Premium

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    ttabbal, The pm 1030v does use change gears and until you spend a lot more unfortunately that will be the case. A lot of the 12x lathes will still require a gear change for some threads but most common threads no change needed. If you can swing it separate machines are the way to go but if not the Smithy 3in1 will certainly make parts that are nice. I have a Shoptask 3in1 and a PM727m mill and would like to get a stand alone lathe because the Shoptask doesn't have a halfnut and requires a lot of fiddling around to cut threads. power feed while turning is also another conundrum. The other 3in1 issue that is the real reason I now have a stand alone mill is the z axis lack of head room and the fact its a pain to get the work to a height that is conducive to working. If I sound negative about 3in1 machines I am not because very nice work can and is done on them and I also never would have been able to even start in this hobby with out one, just stating what I have learned over time. If I do get a lathe the PM 1030v, 1127 1228 machines from PM are on my short list. Matt has excellent customer service in my opinion and will get my money again. Good luck in choosing a machine or machines to get started. One word of caution, be prepared to spend a almost equal amount of cash on tooling as the machines cost over time. Its amazing how quick those costs add up when your get going and having fun! My two cents worth so take it as you will. Get a machine, make chips, have fun, and by all means ask questions here. :encourage:
     
  22. ttabbal

    ttabbal United States Iron Registered Member

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    Thanks for the correction on the pm1030v.

    I'm not too worried about change gears at the moment. I expect most threads I want to do will work fine with tap/die if I decide I hate gear changes. I do want to learn threading on the lathe as part of my education, even if I don't end up doing it frequently. That was one thing I liked about the smithy over some other 3in1 machines. It has a halfnut and threading dial. Those seem to be sought after features for lathe threading.

    I can see how changing the mode might drive one crazy after doing it for the thousandth time... And stacking stuff for milling...

    I'm leaning more towards PM right now for tooling. The machine cost is a bit lower, opening budget for tooling. And it comes with things I would have to add to the smithy like a QCTP. And I can always get a mill later if I decide I want one. And perhaps have budget for some mill tooling at that time rather than trying to make do with what it comes with. It seems like having some funds to pick up some extra cutters and such can go a long way towards enjoying machine time.
     
  23. dzljon

    dzljon United States Iron Registered Member

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    The customer support smithy offers is great, I have not dealt with a company that is as patient and helpful in a long time. But I would recommend that you step of from the midas and go with the granite, you have done lots of research and know your situation better but you get what you pay for. Your skill will outgrow the midas faster than you may think.
     
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  24. ttabbal

    ttabbal United States Iron Registered Member

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    I'm curious why the granite would be harder to outgrow? I can see how it would likely be more accurate out of the box, but am I missing something else? Overall, they look very similar in capability and features. I am sure the granite is built to a higher QA spec. I just want to make sure I understand things to be aware of as I research. I'm months out from ordering anything, so I'm quite willing to take my time and think things out.
     
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