Smithy granite

This forum is dedicated to those hobbyists with the 3-in-1 metalworking machines. Mill-Drill-Lathes. Tips, techniques, modification and use of these machines is topical.

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Smithy granite

Post by Timdco » Sat Mar 04, 2017 10:00 am

Hello everyone, I have a small engine, motorcycle and ATV shop. I have been contemplating getting in to machining small parts and accessories . I have been looking at the smithy granite 1324. I am not a machinist, this is all new to me so i know very little about it. Does anyone have any input on this machine? Is it a good way to get started? I have seen many mixed reviews on them some people love them some hate them. I dont expect it to be a bridgeport in capability, and if that is what it would take for me to get started i wont be able to afford the cost or space two big machines would take. Thanks for your input.

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Re: Smithy granite

Post by Torch » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:38 pm

Without considering the merits of one specific brand over another, the 3 in 1 format is suitable for a hobbyist on a budget and/or in limited space. I have used mine for making unobtainable (or even difficult-to-obtain) parts for motorcycles and outboard motors that I am restoring/repairing. Even more useful is the ability to make special tools (or suitable substitute) that were once available to the dealers. I wouldn't want to be without it and don't know how I survived the deprivation for so long.

But the benefits for a commercial enterprise have to be weighed against the cost of time. The mill in particular is light-duty compared to a Bridgeport -class machine, so it takes more passes to remove a given amount of metal. Swapping over from turning to milling or drilling is not as fast or convenient as simply removing the part from a chuck and clamping it in the vise of the adjacent machine. Were I am tinkering away and can take all the time in the world to make a custom part, it becomes hard to justify the cost to a customer; particularly compared to the cost of simply ordering the required part (assuming you are working on a sufficiently current model for which parts are available). Plus, the cost of parts can be blamed on the supplier, whereas "excessive" labour charges are obviously your fault. ;-)

The final consideration is your skill and experience level. The pros that hang around here (eg: Harold) will tell you that they spent years honing their craft and acquiring the skill to make parts consistently, accurately and efficiently. My own experience is that I can hit 2 of the 3 after a few years of practice. I can be consistent and accurate if I take my time; speed comes at the expense of accuracy and/or consistency. Now, some things don't require +/- 0.0005" accuracy (about my best capability). For some things, 1/16" is close enough. So, if you just need to make a spacer sleeve around a bolt, it won't take much skill. But boring a critical interference fit is probably a bit much to expect on your first attempt. With any machine.

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Re: Smithy granite

Post by warmstrong1955 » Sat Mar 04, 2017 4:54 pm

I bought a Smithy 1340 years ago for three reasons.
One is I didn't have the space.
Two is I didn't knowhow much I would be using it. I was working at the mines a lot more than I was at home then.
Three, is it appeared to be the heaviest machine out of all the 3 in 1's.
It also is the easiest 3 in 1 out there to go from lathe to mill. D1-4 lathe spindle makes it pretty quick.
I've machined a lot of parts with mine, both with the lathe and with the mill.
Bottom line, it's a lot better lathe, than it is a mill. Doesn't mean you can't machine with some precision when milling, just that it takes more some time, and some little tricks you need to learn & do to make it work. The lathe is not bad to deal with. Still a fw things you need to work around, like no brake, but all do-able.

When I did build an addition to my shop, the first thing I bought was a Jet JTM-4VS BP clone. I was doing a lot of parts that required milling, and although I could do them on the 1340, it was slow. 1340 has a manual quill feed too. Some of the setups were challenging due to the size of the parts as well.

All said, if I was short some space, I'd buy one again. No regrets.
I still use it as a lathe. It has some handy features, and works well for small parts. I haven't used the mill portion in years.

If you have any specific questions about it, ask. I bought mine about 12 years ago, so I learned a trick & tweak or two to make things happen.

Today's solutions are tomorrow's problems.

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Re: Smithy granite

Post by toddalin » Sun Mar 05, 2017 3:02 pm

If you are looking at a Smithy Granite, also look at the ShopMaster, though Smithy has better customer support.

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