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Posted: 5/23/2005 12:45:21 PM EST
I am looking for a lathe/mill combo. I have looked at the chinese ones that Harbor Freight and Grizzly have to offer and they look substantial but I am not sure if they will hold up.

Any other sellers you recommend?

Thanks!
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 1:18:14 PM EST
I have the HF 3in1 Chinese. It needs some upgrading as the parts break, but nothing you won't be able to handle. They're on sale now too.

But if you have the $$$, I'd advise a Smithy. Much better quality, "Yankee" engineered (not a Metric conversion like the Chinese), and quick to get repair parts for (took me many months to get a replacement part for the Chinese). Smithy also has periodic sales on damaged, blems, and returned machines - a really good deal.

Back to the Chinese from HF - it is more than adequate for AK's, AR-15's, and 1911's. I've done all of them on it. Also turned down heavy 20" AR-15 barrels to carbine length, contoured, and threaded for FH. Piece of cake.

The HF Chinese will also thread Metric as well as Yankee.

If you're used to a Bridgeport and/or US lathe, the dials and gearing will throw you at first. I don't even pay attention to them any more. I dial indicate everything instead.

I had trouble with the motors, too. Had to have a motor electrician reset the point gaps so they'd work. Not a big deal, but annoying. (Possibly a shipping problem).

A good starting point for prospective hobby machinists. There's always somebody who'll buy it when you're ready to move up.

BTW: it is *heavy*...
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 2:31:22 PM EST
My only regret with the 9" South Bend Lathe I have is the headstock bore size, which in only 3/4". You can't stick a barrel through it for threading or profiling, so I have to either profile/thread between centers or on the steady rest. Most of the lathe/mill combos were the same, except for the largest Grizzleys. Like mentioned above, if you buy a cheap lathe/mill combo, expect stuff to break - frequently. That is the only constant feedback on these cheap machines that I have gotten.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 6:25:20 PM EST
Which HF 3in1 Chinese did you buy?

I have found that the HF and Grizzly are made by the same company and sevearl models are exactly the same except the paint color. Grizzly is a lot more expensive.
Link Posted: 5/23/2005 7:13:23 PM EST
Hey Mongo, spindle bore size is one reason I bought a 13" Colchester. It has a 1 13/16" bore. It also weighs 2000 pounds! I have a 6 jaw Pratt chuck on it with ground top jaws and I just love the machine, you can get a superb surface finish with it. Put all Aloris tooling on it. Now looking for a Harig surface grinder and a Bridgeport Series I. Then I'll be done as I have a friend who owns a big shop and will EDM stuff for me. Way too handy when you need to do something at 0300!

Phil
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 1:39:56 AM EST

Originally Posted By props:
Hey Mongo, spindle bore size is one reason I bought a 13" Colchester. It has a 1 13/16" bore. It also weighs 2000 pounds! I have a 6 jaw Pratt chuck on it with ground top jaws and I just love the machine, you can get a superb surface finish with it. Put all Aloris tooling on it. Now looking for a Harig surface grinder and a Bridgeport Series I. Then I'll be done as I have a friend who owns a big shop and will EDM stuff for me. Way too handy when you need to do something at 0300!

Phil



I'm envious. I already have plans to get another lathe and a mill when I get more space to put them in.
Link Posted: 5/24/2005 7:53:50 AM EST
Tag - very interested in this as well...
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