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Old 02-26-2009, 10:05 PM
oldred oldred is offline
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OMT, I would strongly suggest going with a stand-alone mill and lathe or just a decent lathe because you can mill most anything with a milling attachment on the lathe that you could with that combo apparatus. Those 3-in-1 machines just have too many drawbacks, the swing is usually way too much for a machine that light so you get a lot of flex (read inaccurate) and they come only with a 3 jaw chuck, good luck finding and installing a 4 jaw which you will need sooner or later. The mill is just too light to do any real work with and I found it to be just more in the way than useful. For a Chinese import the Smithy is decent quality but then there are a lot of equal quality import machines out there that are actually a much better deal. Grizzly has about anything you would ever need at decent prices and believe it or not Harbor Freight machine tools are as good as most of the "name brand" import outfits and it is no wonder why, they are the same thing except for the color! Enco, some of the smaller Grizzly, some of the JET lathes, Birmingham (the Chinese units anyway) and several others all import the same machinery except for the price and the color. Don't confuse their heavy machines with the tool shaped pieces of scrap metal they carry in the stores. Actually these machines are not at all bad for the money when you reach the 12" swing and higher and with the gap bed they have you will be able to handle a heck of a lot more with one of these than with a Smithy. That much money will get you a decent China import (The Smithy is also Chinese) 13x40 gap bed lathe that will swing 18" with the gap and it will come with a 6" 3 jaw and 8" 4 chuck, it would be a heck of a lot more useful than a Smithy 3-in-1.
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