I'm looking into a 3 in 1 (need to save space and money) combo. I've looked
at the Shopmaster Eldorado, Smithy and Grizzley.
Use will be for turning some small shafts (12-20" long, 2-6" in diameter)
and making some beveled gears. Nothing real demanding I guess. I'd like it
to be CNC upgradable. The Shopmaster and Smithy seem to be pretty decent but
I'm not sure about the service/support from these companies. Grizzly seems
ok too, not sure how easy the CNC upgrade would be for it.
Material would be (most likely) 4130 steel.
I'm open for suggestions.
You won't be able to turn 20 inch lengths on either the Shopmaster or Grizzly.
The 20 inch spec on them is from spindle flange to tailstock barrel. When you
add a faceplate, driving dog, spindle and tailstock centers, you lose about 4
(more if you use a chuck). Then you have to subtract the width of the saddle
(doubles as milling table) to see how much cutter travel you actually have.
So figure the longest turned surface you can make will be a bit under 10 inches.
These machines are fairly decent short lathes, but short is the operative word.
Smithy does make a long bed machine (36 inches) that could do it, but it is
Realize also that none of these machines are very good as mills. The mill
heads aren't very rigidly mounted, and the work envelope is really cramped.
The lack of rigidity means you have to take very light cuts to avoid chatter.
You'll need an index head mounted on a sine plate to cut the gears. You'd
run out of room to do that for gears much over 2 inches. (It isn't the gear size
so much as it is the size of the index head and sine plate that eats up the
These machines are ok for small work, and for milling aluminum or brass,
but for your jobs in your materials, you need bigger equipment. I'd suggest
at minimum a 12x36 lathe, better a 14x40 (note, a used 10 inch South Bend
would do, but I'm talking mainly about new imports here), and at least the
largest of the mill/drills (RF30 type). Much better would be a knee type mill.
Yes the two machines will be larger, and weigh more than the 3-N-1, but
you need the size, and you need the weight (for rigidity). On the used market,
you could very likely get both for less money than a 3-N-1 too.
I've been down this road. I started out with a Shoptask (now Shopmaster).
Then I very quickly bought a RF30 mill/drill as I discovered the inadequacies
of a 3-N-1 as a mill. Then I bought a 13x40 lathe to handle longer pieces, and
to be able to single point thread them. Now I have a 15x60 Colechester Triumph
2000 lathe and a Bridgeport size mill. Unfortunately, with machine tools, size
The one nice thing about the Shopmaster is that it is already set up for adding
CNC (the cog pulleys are mounted and the stepper mounts are there). But you
have to realize that its work envelope is smaller than you imagined, and it
isn't a very good mill. For a model shop that never handles anything longer than
about 10 inches, and works mainly with aluminum or brass, it is pretty good.
But for things larger or harder than that, it is woefully lacking.
So in closing, eiher rethink the size of your projects, or rethink the size of
the machinery you need. You won't be able to do what you want with the
size machines you're thinking about.
On Sun, 31 Aug 2003 16:28:05 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Gary Coffman)
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded
state of moral and patriotic feeling
which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing
for which he is willing to fight,
nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable
creature and has no chance of being
free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
- John Stewart Mill
Yes it was!
And that's info I can use. Thank you much sir. :)
How about a Grizzly G4003 or G4016 for a lathe and the G3616 for a mill?
Also, I see a combo vertical/horizontal ( What are the benifits? ) mill
(G3617) for a couple hundred more.
Thank you guys.
They'd be adequate. (Do realize that they'll need some tweaking to get
them ready to work. That's normal for any of the import machines in this
price class.) MSC, ENCO, J&L, Travers, (even the infamous Harbor Freight)
sell similar machines (probably from the same factories). Shop around,
you can probably beat Grizzly's deal, especially if you can find a distributor's
showroom or warehouse close by so you can save on shipping.
I've kicked the tires on that one a couple of times myself. I've resisted
buying one though. A horizontal mill is very convenient for certain sorts
of milling jobs (and typically lots more rigid than a vertical mill of similar
size). Having both in one machine looks like a good deal. It isn't quite
as versatile in vertical mode as a purpose built vertical mill of the Bridgeport
type, but it is much better as a horizontal mill than a Bridgeport with a
horizontal adapter. Still, I'm continuing to look for a used *separate*
horizontal mill for my shop. That'll probably be better, and much cheaper
too, since hobbyists tend to shy away from them.
What does a horizontal mill do that a vertical can't , or vica versa?
I need the lathe first so I can't wait a bit on the mill 'till I get a
better handle on "what's what".
And what type of "tweeking"? I've read there's plenty of goo to clean off.
What else should I prepare for? :)
Well, from what I've seen, a horizontal mill has a horizontal drive
shaft above the work. You slot cog-like cutting tools onto said shaft
and make it spin them as the work passed by underneath, cutting nice
channels and so on. Or facing the side edges of the work.
Whereas a vertical milling machine has a vertical shaft which points
down at the work, like a column drill (drill press). You can still cut
channels with it, just the cutter acts on a different plane. It's not as
good for facing the sides of things, though, I expect.
With a horizontal mill you can stack several cutters along the shaft
with spaces inbetween in order to cut several parallel channels in the
item as well as facing the sides, should you feel the need.
You can do a lot of milling type stuff in a lathe - imagine clamping a
shaft in the lathe with cutters attached, and you have a horizontal
milling machine if you clamp the work to the cross slide. And if you
bolt an angle plate to the slide and bold the work onto that and put a
cutter in the lathe vice, you have a vertical milling machine on its
side. And you can use the lathe as a drill. And all sorts.
I want a lathe, but if I get one it'll fall through the floor of my 1st
floor flat and kill the people on the ground floor, which would be
Really the issue boils down to the moveable quill on the
machine. Vertical machines tend to have them, horizontals,
rarely. A moveable quill makes the machine less rigid and
makes the spindle itself smaller.
So horizontals can take heavier cuts as a rule. They are
typically geared such that the spindles can be turning at
60 or 70 rpm to take advantage of larger diameter milling
cutters, with a consequent increase in torque.
For example, a bridgeport has a spindle that's sort of an
inch or so in diameter, and because it has to slide in
and out of the spline on the top, it is reduced more
up there. The bearings are about two or three inches
The hardinge horizontal I own has a spindle that's a steel
tube about 2.5 inches in diameter, and the bearings are
about six inches in outer diameter. Nothing slides so
the spindle is the same cross section all the way.
Because vertical machines have motors that ride above
the spindle, they get real tall real fast. For a person
with limited headroom a horizontal has a distinct advantage.
Of course the lack of a moveable quill gives that machine
a distinct *dis*advantate when it comes to drilling holes.
I use a drill press for that.
Most milling can be done on a horizontal - I have various
angle plates and also a bridgeport vertical M head that
can be fitted to the machine - but I rarely use them.
One can also find the factory made vertical attachment
that hardinge put out - but those don't have a quill and
as such are not really that handy. I've done various
jobs including deep pocketing and it's not really
a problem. You just have to stand by the side of
the machine to see what's going on.
One of the best adaptations I've seen for an M head to
these things is here:
where the support axis of the head has been raised up a bit.
That is one of the problems one encounters, you run out
of room between the bottom of the quill and the top of
the workpiece with a setup like this.
Atlas, Sheldon, and Benchmaster all make small horizontal
machines I believe.
================================================= please reply to:
JRR(zero) at yktvmv (dot) vnet (dot) ibm (dot) com
One way around this is the way the Nichols mill does it. The
spindle is mounted to the column via a set of ways, with a lever and
segment gear engaging a rack to raise and lower the head. Add to that
the right-angle head for the machine and you have the ability to drill
or plunge mill. The spindle is a NTMB 40 taper, and the right-angle
head uses the same taper.
However, this is a fairly small machine, by comparison with a
Note that while the name is the same, as far as I can tell, I am
no relation to the person who built the machines.
Email: < email@example.com> | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
(too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
A good summary. If you are looking at the Grizzly horizontal/vertical
combo, you really should consider a used Van Norman mill. They come
in a range of sizes from the 1300lb #6 and 1800lb #12 to 7000-8000lb
beasts with 50 taper spindles. Model 12's show up on ebay every month
or so, the going rate is usually under $1000, sometimes a lot under.
I bought mine from a local dealer for $500. Van Norman mills do not
have a quill, so you need at least a drillpress.
For more info, see my Van Norman website:
There are also pics of my #12 in action in the dropbox:
They can both do essentially the same things, but some milling jobs
are easier to do on a horizontal than a vertical, and vice versa. For
gang, straddle, or slab milling, the horizontal excells. For pocketing
and angle milling, the vertical excells. And of course the vertical
usually has a quill, so it can be used for drilling, boring, and reaming.
Sounds good. You can do a limited amount of milling with a lathe too.
You should be prepared to stone off burrs, adjust gibs, set geartrain
clearances, etc. You should also drain the oil and flush out any casting
sand before you start it for the first time. In addition, you'll need to
"level" the machine so it'll cut true. What you're basically doing here
is taking any twist out of the bed by using shims under the bench
mount, or adjusting the leveling legs if it has them, so that it will cut
a true cylinder. (You have to do this with any lathe you've moved.)
Polytechforum.com is a website by engineers for engineers. It is not affiliated with any of manufacturers or vendors discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.