3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

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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Blaster2019
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3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by Blaster2019 » Fri May 03, 2019 8:23 pm

I am new to metal working, or at least I'm a novice to lathe and mill type work and am need of some advice/insight into two separate 3-in-one machines that I am seriously looking at on eBay. I need this forums expertise to help me sort out these two models and point me in the right direction so I get the best unit for the money as well as the unit with the options for starting out in this new area.

On eBay I have found the two 3-in-one units shown below and need some advice on which one may be better than the other as I'm wanting the best bang for the buck as they say. I am not worried about any cosmetic damage to either unit, I can fix that. Between these two they look almost alike, however on the fourth picture on the Task Model 1720, it looks like it has a second motor that the Shopmaster doesn't have, of which I have no clue as to this, so I need some gentle mentoring here as way out of my knowledge level here.

eBay item # 1 - Shopmaster Model 2000, eBay item number 332856136126 https://www.ebay.com/itm/Shopmaster-Mod ... SwKMNb1JL9

eBay item # 2 - Shop - Task Model 1720, eBay item number 232982540483 https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R ... 3&_sacat=0

RMinMN
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by RMinMN » Sat May 04, 2019 5:29 am

From my perspective the 3 in one machines are about making everything fit into the least amount of space, not about the size of the work envelope. If the only thing you are using it for is small items you can make something like that work but you will be limited in size and constantly changing the setup to work with the other part of it. If you have the room for more than one tool, the 7X12 lathe from Harbor Freight plus a mini mill might make more sense. They will cost more up front but will be new instead of needing repair. You might want to get just one now and learn on it, then add the other later.

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tornitore45
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by tornitore45 » Sat May 04, 2019 7:37 am

I would avoid a 3 in 1 machine like the plague. Is a constant setting up, dismantling one set up for the other operation.
Unless you are severely limited by space, buy a lathe first and a mill later.
You can do just about anything with a lathe and ingenuity. Generation of craftsman have made outstanding models with just the lathe.
While waiting to buy the mill there is much to be learned by using the lathe.
Do not be eager to buy many accessories until you understand the options, otherwise you end up like me with a few relatively expensive accessories that get nearly no use because other practical options are available.
Also keep in mind that accessories, tooling and measuring device will easily double the initial cost of the machine.
Mauro Gaetano
in Austin TX

Torch
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by Torch » Sat May 04, 2019 9:14 am

Most 3in1 machines have 2 motors. One for the lathe and one for the mill. (A very few run the mill from the lathe motor via a gearbox) That Shopmaster looks like it's missing the lathe motor as well as having been dropped. Lord knows what other hidden damage it suffered. I would absolutely pass on that machine sight unseen as a first machine at any price.

The shoptask looks like it's sharing the same pallet. It also shows some impact damage (though not as severe) and is missing some parts like a handwheel and tailstock center. It might be worth something to someone who knows what they are doing and can inspect it in person. But I personally think it's too small for general use and priced too high for a gamble.

I have a 3in1. It does take time to switch setup from lathe to mill and back. It is a better lathe than it is a mill and I would love to add a separate small mill to my shop someday. But with time and care you can make a lot of quality parts on a 3in1. I've been doing it for years. I just think a beginner is best off with a new machine or at least something that has been checked out in person by someone with experience and knows what to look for.

Blaster2019
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by Blaster2019 » Sat May 04, 2019 2:37 pm

OK gentlemen, your advice is well taken and I will go a different direction now that makes more sense,and I surely appreciate the time and effort from all. I guess I was trying to save a buck, but just as well spend my retirement money now on the right equipment to start with as I'll be better off in the future. Besides, why let Uncle Sam get it if I would kick the bucket, at least my kids and Grand kids will have a quality tool to at least fight over if not pass down to a family member.

Now with that said any recommendations on a lathe and mill and I do have plenty of room in my machine shed for separate machines? I will mainly use them for restoration type work on old vehicles, trucks, lawn mowers, and anything with wheels that needs it. I will also be doing some gunsmithing, especially finishing 80% lowers for rifles and pistols, which the mill will do very nicely for.

Blaster2019
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by Blaster2019 » Sat May 04, 2019 2:50 pm

RMinMN wrote:
Sat May 04, 2019 5:29 am
From my perspective the 3 in one machines are about making everything fit into the least amount of space, not about the size of the work envelope. If the only thing you are using it for is small items you can make something like that work but you will be limited in size and constantly changing the setup to work with the other part of it. If you have the room for more than one tool, the 7X12 lathe from Harbor Freight plus a mini mill might make more sense. They will cost more up front but will be new instead of needing repair. You might want to get just one now and learn on it, then add the other later.
Sounds like a good plan, let me check out Harbor Freight now and see what sales they have going on. :D

jcfx
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by jcfx » Sun May 05, 2019 12:54 am

Have you looked at Craigslist for separate lathe and mills ?
Depending on where you're located there may be lots of options.

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tornitore45
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by tornitore45 » Sun May 05, 2019 5:43 am

Were you interested in models then small machines would be ideal, but you mention restoration of vehicles and guns.
That place you at a different scale. Small machines may suffice for a variable fraction of your needs but some project would be limited by the size of your machine. You can not turn a 9" brake drum on a 9" lathe and you can not fly cut an engine head on a small mill.
Gun require a lathe with a large spindle bore to pass a barrel, so called gun lathe are available.
Choosing a set of machine comes down to objectives, budget, and space available. Often a compromise need to be struck, once that is done you can start evaluating the options. If expectations are realistic there is a wide selection of solutions.
Mauro Gaetano
in Austin TX

Blaster2019
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by Blaster2019 » Sun May 05, 2019 8:52 am

jcfx wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 12:54 am
Have you looked at Craigslist for separate lathe and mills ?
Depending on where you're located there may be lots of options.
Checked Craig's list out yesterday and not much available then, however will keep on the lookout and will probably expand my look further out...

Blaster2019
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by Blaster2019 » Sun May 05, 2019 8:54 am

tornitore45 wrote:
Sun May 05, 2019 5:43 am
Were you interested in models then small machines would be ideal, but you mention rests.oration of vehicles and guns.
That place you at a different scale. Small machines may suffice for a variable fraction of your needs but some project would be limited by the size of your machine. You can not turn a 9" brake drum on a 9" lathe and you can not fly cut an engine head on a small mill.
Gun require a lathe with a large spindle bore to pass a barrel, so called gun lathe are available.
Choosing a set of machine comes down to objectives, budget, and space available. Often a compromise need to be struck, once that is done you can start evaluating the options. If expectations are realistic there is a wide selection of solutions.
Thanks and this is definitely the current kicker in the backside..

toddalin
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by toddalin » Sun May 05, 2019 2:23 pm

Both machines are by the same company with the difference (e.g., # of motors) by generation. you can go to the Shoptask website and they have the history of their machines. I have the Tri-Power with manual feed , power feed , and full CNC control and 3-axis digital readout (Jenix DRO).
https://www.shopmasterusa.com/

This is similar to mine but mine is in nicer shape and I added table limit switches after I exceeded the limits and broke the spline shaft on the Y-power feed because their scale was so far off. Know that with ANY CHINESE MACHINE you may spend as much time fixing it as working with it. Also know that when these are assembled, they have all the parts in the world to choose from (and do). But if you break a part, and get a replacement (if you even can), it probably won't fit, at least to the same tolerances. I had to buy three spline shafts from ShopMasters competition (Smithy) and one of the three fit and then it had to be cut down in length to make it work. Luckily I was still able to use the mill portion to cut this length.

https://youtu.be/58pkC9UH07k

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SteveHGraham
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Re: 3-in-1 Advice Needed from the Experts

Post by SteveHGraham » Sun May 05, 2019 6:17 pm

My advice is not to buy anything used unless someone who knows what he's doing can look at it for you first. Learning to machine is a challenge. Fixing a screwed-up machine tool before you learn to machine is just too much.
Every hard-fried egg began life sunny-side up.

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