Introduction, commentary on need for sticky

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.

Moderator: Harold_V

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Introduction, commentary on need for sticky

Post by Cppdungeon » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:17 am

Hello! It seems to be the custom here to introduce yourself in an introduction thread.

I am a student who had an interest in machining and decided to take a machine shop class. I have decided that i like it very much, and would like to get into here i am. Meager budget and epic tiny space are leaning me towards a 3-in-1.

One thing I have noticed this forum lacks is some sort of sticky/FAQ on what machines are good, what machines are bad, which ones are good for beginners, which ones are more rigid, experiences and all that. If there is no particular reason for this not existing, or if it doesn't already exist, feel free to post here or pm me and I will compile a list of the machines and the reviews, so n00bs like me have some info to draw on.

I am especially interested in reviews on Chinese and older machines, as that is what my budget permits.


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Post by Harold_V » Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:59 am

Welcome to the forum!

Regards a list of what is, or is not, desirable------it isn't really possible to do that. The requirements of each individual demand different qualities and capabilities of the machines they select, so unless you were to categorize by size and application, it wouldn't make much sense. Beyond that, many of us that have experience in the trade have our own ideas of what is and what isn't a good machine. Doesn't make us right-----although it might be right for the individual in question.

Personally, I'm not a fan of Southbend lathes. That, of course, tends to raise the hackles of those that are dyed-in-the-wool devotees-----so to voice an opinion tends to do nothing more than alienate some individuals. There are countless satisfied owners of SB lathes-----so it's a matter of personal opinion, plus the type of work that is expected of the machine. Certainly, to expect the performance of an EE Monarch from a Southbend would be foolish.

The subject of import machines, particularly those from China, tends to be a rather tender spot with many of the readers, yet many of our readers own such equipment and are perfectly happy with their choices. In general, we support these readers-----in many cases they are buying all they can afford, or what makes them happy. It's not for other readers to rain on their parade.

The best idea is to research machines in your price range, then ask opinions of the readers. Be prepared to hear that what ever your choice may be, it's not a good one-----that's the nature of people that have ideas about what is, and what isn't, a good machine.

Here on the Chaski board, we do not permit flaming, or posting negative comments about others. I fully expect that you will get sincere responses, but always be careful to temper anything you read with common sense, and to balance opinions according to your needs and expectations.

You've come to a great place to get further educated. We have some outstanding people on this forum.


Jose Rivera
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Post by Jose Rivera » Tue Oct 27, 2009 10:15 pm

Well said Harold as usual!! 8)

Cppdungeon, welcome to this board.

I could not add more to what Harold posted.

My two cents is that all the Asian machines of certain price range are almost the same machines. you either buy it a Harbor Freight or Grizzly.

The customer support for Grizzly is excellent, but is all I can say :roll:

You can look for an older 3 in 1 made by Emco of Austria.
They have them from 3" swing to 13" swing.
Usually the 10" and under include the milling head, but not all of them.

I have a Maximat V10P Mentor and a Emco Compact.
I have no problems with either one.

eBay has them very often but is best to look locally through craigslist.
At eBay they usually go for more than you can buy one locally.

One thing I did before I made the decision of having a garage machine shop was to limit the size of the parts that I will be making.
Then one can start buying the machines to fit that goal.

One cannot have part size floating in the mind because you will end up buying to large of a machine or to small.
There are no problems, only solutions.
Retired journeyman machinist and 3D CAD mechanical designer - hobbyist - grandpa

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