Machine Tools Made In USA

I'm researching a combo type of machine tool to buy.
Similar to the Smithy, ShopTask, Grizzly brands.
Are any of these made in the U.S?
Are there any others?
If not, are there any older brands that were made in the US?
Could I get parts, manuals?
Thanks,
DW
Reply to
DW
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All the listed machines are Chinese made. There was a thread earlier about an old American 3 in 1 machine called a Triplex last made in the 30's- Face facts, if there was a machine made in USA it would be 10 time the price of a Chinese unit. If you want a 3 in 1, Chinese is your only choice. Your other alternative is seperates, but then you must choose between new Chinese and used American.
Reply to
turnitdown
I'm interested in learning the art and science of machining. To date, I have ZERO knowledge. I figure I can't learn much until I have something to learn on but I'm too dumb to pick something out.
I notice the machines the machinists at work use are either very old American made or Asian.
What then is the difference, in a new machine, between a brand name and brand-X? They all come out of a Chinese factory. Is it design, specification/tolerance/QC, support/parts, standards?
-- WS mostly in m.s -
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Reply to
Winston Smith
(Snip)
Winston, please consider a machining course at your local Junior College. I really enjoyed the intro course at my local JC. It was extremely cheap and highly valuable. I brought along a pal who was also interested. It was really great knowing one other person in class from the first day.
A lot of what I learned made me smack my forehead in the realization that I was doing it the 'slow, painful' way.
We both passed the course with 'A's. That didn't hurt either.
:0)
--Winston
Reply to
Winston
No.
I've seen pictures of a big one made in Russia, and there are several small European combo machines like the Emco and Prazi which have a small milling head on a column you can erect over the lathe bed, but nothing really comparable to the Chinese 3-N-1 machines.
Haven't seen one, but I've heard stories that there was one made in the US about 80 years ago. Apparently it didn't sell well because I've never seen one, or know anyone who has.
For the Chinese ones? Sure, no problem.
The big issue with these machines is that they aren't nearly as capable as they appear. Particularly as a mill, they have rigidity problems due to the long overhang. That means you'll be fighting chatter when trying to take anything but the lightest of cuts. Setups are often difficult. There isn't a lot of room for tooling, and tooling changes. And while they are decent short lathes, they *are* short, much more so than the specs would imply, because the wide carriage, which doubles as the mill table, limits the amount of travel you have compared to the nominal center to center distance.
In other words, you can't turn something the full stated distance (even after you subtract the distance consumed by the chuck and tailstock center) because the mill table hits the headstock casting or the tailstock casting before the cutter can get to the end of the stock on one end or the other. So realistically, while these machines claim a 20 inch center to center distance, you can't turn the full length of anything much over 10 inches long. (Smithy does have one long bed model which can turn longer pieces.)
The general consensus here is that two separate machines are preferable to a 3-N-1. Even a Chinese 12x36 lathe and a Taiwanese mill/drill would be much more capable and much easier to use, for only a little more money than one of the bigger 3-N-1 machines like the Shoptask.
Buying separates also opens up the used American machinery market to you. There are numerous choices of lathes and mills in this market segment which can be had for no more than the cost of one of the bigger 3-N-1 machines. Might take a little looking to find ones in good condition, but they are out there.
With the American metalworking industry in decline, there are a *lot* of these machines appearing on the used market, or at the scrapyard. Many of them are still perfectly suitable for use in your home shop. (Don't fear 3 ph, there are cheap VFDs available to turn 1 ph power into 3 ph to run these machines. Or you can build a simple rotary converter very inexpensively.)
Note that I owned a Shoptask. I don't have anything in particular bad to say about its quality or support, in fact I think it is about the best of the lot. But everything I've said in general about the limitations of 3-N-1 machines applies. I very quickly bought a mill/drill to solve the milling issues, and then about a year later bought a 14x40 Chinese lathe at a MSC "scratch and dent" sale to solve the other issues.
Today I have a used 15x60 Colchester and a Bridgeport type mill (both acquired very inexpensively). The heavier and the bigger the machines you can buy, the easier and better they'll do the tasks you have for them. Of course they do take up more room.
If you're only going to work with *small* parts, Taig and Sherline have American made tabletop lathes and mills which are *excellent*, and relatively inexpensive. I own a Taig for the itty bitty jobs that would get lost on the Colchester. But these really are for tiny work. The 7x12 Chinese lathes aren't bad either, and they're pretty cheap. Stay away from the Chinese 9x20s, they're real dogs.
Gary
Reply to
Gary Coffman
Oh dear God..where is the FAQ Gangis Pete was supposed to write?
Gunner
"To be civilized is to restrain the ability to commit mayhem. To be incapable of committing mayhem is not the mark of the civilized, merely the domesticated." - Trefor Thomas
Reply to
Gunner
A lot of what you say is true about most 3 in 1 machines, but you should look again at the Shopmaster ( Shoptask) Bridgemill. It looks like the Shoptask people have been listening to customer comments and have taken steps to improve the milling situation. Comments by users seem very positive about the mill head and R-8 spindle upgrades.
Reply to
turnitdown
Yeah. You could get lucky. However, I looked for a long time without success before I bought my Smithy. If you have the space and money for *good* separates and the knowledge to recognise the good ones and then do the neccessary repairs, that is unquestionably the way to go. Otherwise, especially for a hobby setup, consider a good brand 3-in-1. I'm very happy with my Smithy.
It takes some thought and ingenuity for some of the setups but you can do an awful lot with one of those machines. Here's a few of my projects that you may care to look at:
The .TXT files shown have associated pictures and/or drawings in the same location with the same file name (possibly with a number or letter appended) and an appropriate extension. e.g.
Ted
Reply to
Ted Edwards
Now that you mention it. Where is Gangis Pete? I have been afraid to ask for most of the last year.
Mark Rand RTFM
Reply to
Mark Rand
They've made the quadralift head and R8 spindle standard (they were options on my machine), added a brace, and added the new setback tailstock to approach the previously claimed, but never acheived, center to center distance. You still can't use all that distance because of the width of the mill table.
Gary
Reply to
Gary Coffman
Heh, I didn't find any deals on used machines either, until I bought the Shoptask. Then they seemed to come out of the woodwork, and I could really appreciate why I wanted them instead of the Shoptask.
Gary
Reply to
Gary Coffman

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