It’s Coming Along Nicely

I just received an Email from Paul, the gentleman who so generously donated the Smithy 3 in 1 machine to me a while back.

He says that he saw that I have actually got it working and used it and says he is glad someone is finding some use out of that “boat anchor”

Well shiver me timbers mates, I replied to him that he had most definitely found it a good home and then attached some before and after pictures.

I hope he is pleasantly surprised because I am just thrilled with this little unit.

Here’s the Before,

And here’s what it looks like after I just took the chuck apart and cleaned it all up.

The “After”, I’m nowhere near done shining on this thing but I think it’s starting to look pretty good.

I don’t know what the odds are but they have to be way up there for me to get so lucky as to have the paint on my little Machinist’s Vise match the main unit.

But I’ll take it.

33 thoughts on “It’s Coming Along Nicely

  1. Lookin Good Phil. It’s so refreshing to see somebody take the time and effort to repair something to get the maximum use out of it. America was never meant to be a “throw away” society! We are a nation of hard work and “Never say Die!” Keep up the good work sir! 👍

    Liked by 1 person

    • It kills my soul to see perfectly good stuff get thrown away if I think I can get some use out of it.
      Even if something was broken on the thing, as long as it wasn’t part of a casting, I would have done whatever it took to make at least 1/2 of it work.


      • The worst part of “throw away society” is when they get you by planned obsolescence. You can’t get parts or upgrade it in any way.

        Computers and anything else that depends heavily on software are the worst of that.

        Liked by 1 person

      • We are twins. I have more crap that I rescued from the dumpster than I remember. But you’ve got some gold there man. I’m glad Paul passed it on to someone that will care for it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow thats totally awesome!
    Whats the chances you ended up with that? It’s got Phil written all over it.
    Looks like an Epic example one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Good Karma comes back around too, think of all the gritty and difficult things you are always doing for others out of kindness no matter how much you try to disguise what a decent shit you are, and them angles watching over you pointed a gift remarkably suitable to making you happy down to your toes, your way.
    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good score on the Smithy. I owned one just like that and made some good parts with it. The lathe works really well and is accurate. The mill works ok. The head clamp is insufficient and will shift in the middle of a cut with unsatisfactory results. I drilled it out and ran a piece of all thread all the way through with flange nuts on both ends. This clamped it tight enough to make light cuts without shifting. You have to remove the lathe chuck to have enough clearance to do much milling. Al in all a nice machine.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Phill:
    I always pay attention to your garage initiatives and I have a similar wifely control unit. The house is hers and the garage is mine, but much like FUSA, there’s no border wall, so my territory often comes under wifely encroachment attempts.

    Regardless, my work space is limited. I have been working out how to best layout / organize, and I have looked longingly at getting a used 3&1 due to the space limitations, but so many folks say that they are a bad solution to having a lathe, mill & press. Seems folks either love or hate the 3&1.

    When time permits, your sage advise / experience with the 3&1 would be much appreciated.


    Liked by 2 people

    • I know your pain, brother. I have too much in a small spot. Makes it hard to do a job, as every available spot is busy. I decided to go with full size. The price difference isn’t all that much, but big sure needs some room to live. Up side, I can do some pretty big work, downside, not much room to move around… Tradeoffs.


      • AR Park, appreciate the feedback. If possible I would like to know what make/models you went with, so I can check sizes as space is a big issue (as is my budget – LOL).

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m on the sidebar, budgetmachining. Currently I have a 10 x 24 inch Logan, 13×24 inch LeBlond Regal (about to move to a new home), 13×50 inch Clausing (in the midst of some maintenance, and a 9×49 Supermax mill (looked smaller in the pictures). The proverbial 10 lbs of stuff in a 5 lb bag. I think I still have a drawing of the layout somewhere…


    • Let me point you to Dshacks’ comment just above yours for a perspective from someone who has had some experience with one.
      Because I didn’t get the compound with this thing I haven’t been able to use the lathe yet. Just running the chuck though I am seeing and hearing a bunch of back lash in the clutch assemble. I downloaded the manual for this thing and it shows how to adjust that.
      I can already see that the key to the mill is taking lots of very light cuts. There will be no hogging of material but that is fine with me.
      From what it sounds like, I think one of these would be a great little machine for you. The whole thing is a compromise by design so they could achieve multiple machining procedures from one machine so it is going to have built in compromises but for what I need right at this moment in time I flat out couldn’t be happier.


      • Thanks Phil!
        I think you & Dshack are right, the 3&1 will probably provide all that I need. But I do want to take a look at the space the full sizes takes, if I get some make/models from ARParks setup to use as an estimate. I suspect full sizes are to big, but then how critical are a washer/dryer? Heh heh


  5. Looks like its got a pretty decent swing on it. Whats the thru hole ID on the head/chuck?

    Reason asking, you might be interested in something, did up a poor man’s 5C collet chuck for my lathe.
    I’m using a 3 jaw set-tru adjustable chuck on my lathe, real easy to dial in .0001 to .0002 accuracy, thats about the limit on the head stock bearings, using a Starrett last word indicator so there’s no doubt how tight the concentricity is.
    Made it to dial in rifle barrel blanks. Which is key to superior accuracy, chambering muzzle crowing and threading.
    It’s crude, down and dirty, but works and is simple easy to use, plus machined a “spider” for the other end of the head stock thru hole, uses 4 brass tipped allen socket head screws, I can dial in the flopping in the wind end of the barrel blank.
    It takes my cheap $3400 Grizzly Taiwan belt head lathe and turns it into a 12 grand Harding super accuracy tool room lathe.
    The trick is getting a “Set-Tru” chuck, the rest is cheap coin and simply a little improvisation. I shopped for the adjustable set-tru chuck till found a 6 inch 3 jaw Polish made Bison on sale for $375. The other bits are one of those Taiwan made boxed sets of 5C collet holders, come in a wood case with a hex and square collet body, pin wrench and closers.
    Take length of 4130 chrome moly aircraft tube, some hardware, and adaptation to the particulars of the collet closer body hardware, and some Tig welding.
    Don’t necessarily have to use a set-tru chuck, you can use shims under the jaws of a standard 3 jaw to dial your concentricity, different papers and tape work great, as you can squeeze a bit more tolerance adjustment by crushing them a bit by reefing down or backing off on your chuck wrench, watching the dial on your indicator till its where you are happy.
    ( thats a nifty trick for milling too. Say your wanting a slight oversize bore, say in a part using your mill you need to bore a specific diameter hole, you dont have the reamer or drill you need, the trick its called flutter, you use a bit of paper, different types of paper and tape crushes different, that way you can get the exact offset you need, or use a plastic shim they come in every thickness. Way to accomplish this is to place your shims under one finger of the mill collet your using, sometimes you have to figure out which finger works best, and its alignment to a cutting edge of your tooling, it puts say a 3/4 inch mill out of concentricity when it cuts, so for instance, instead of boring a .750 inch hole, you get .7505, or .751 interference or slip fit, or over size hole and its slides slick as shit over its mating part, no need to set up your adjustable boring head or by a reamer you might never use again)

    Thing here is us garage mecha-natics we are always setting all sorts of small hard to hold things in our machines, difficult to get straight bits, worn out oddball dimensions or sand cast oddities, and 5C collets hold your work way better than a 3 jaw chuck, and don’t change the zero when you swap out parts, because the piece of chrome moly tube that runs thru out the other side of the thru hole is what loosens and tightens the collet the 3 jaw chuck holds, instead of having to reset the part in the 3 jaw chuck.
    Its really nothing but an improvisational poor-mans Bison 5C lathe collet chuck, which cost about 1200 bucks.
    Another handy feature of 5C collets is they come in a crazy number of sizes and shapes, plus, get them in plastic and brass, and the “emergency” style too, left soft on the holding end so you can mill or turn any size or shape to fit a unique part. Some are mushroom heads like up to 6 inches OD, and you can even weld additional materiel to one and fabricate a really special collet. Its real cost conscious practical game changer that opens up your machines capabilities.

    Be my pleasure to make up the tube collet closer component for you. You procure the other bits. send the closer nut to me, I send you back to closer assembly fabbed up to your headstock dimensions.
    If you go the most economical way to start out, costs about $150 for the collet body set and a decent basic 5C collet set. And a good Fowler indicator say .008 – .008 dial indicator, run like $100-$120 from Travers supply, for a kit that gets you an adjustable indicator arm, adapter bits, that clamps in your tool holder on the lathe carriage, use it for center a bore for milling too, squaring up your mill vice, or a part your machining. Very handy accessory.
    I can’t expound enough how fucking handy this set-up is for me. Its really stupid simple too.

    Got a bunch of emergency collets that are for holding little parts can’t be machined any other way.
    What prompted me to go with this, is for locking bolts on Thompson Center Contender and Encore single shot rifle barrels I been making, the locking bolts are split design, an oblong one side tapered shape for the locking end, and a round tail for the locking spring plunger end. They cost, if you can get them, like $50 bucks a set, mostly they cant be had, they are the key to making those barrels. Since Thompson was bought out by S&W, you cant get squat for parts now.
    When TC was in NH, you could walk in or mail your frame, and they would give you the parts, or if you liked, rebuild your receiver totally free on the spot, they used to send gun smiths to silhouette shoots and matches, set up, and tune everyones Contenders free of charge.
    The locking bolts are precision investment cast parts, so they are extra stupid shapes which avoid complex commercial machining costs. And are essential to accuracy, as the taper determines consistent and tight barrel to receiver lock-up.

    The whole cause why, that made me come up with this expedient set up with the 5C collet holder. Its ended up like a crazy handy lathe accessory, and you take the collet closer tube off, use the slim, recessed closers comes with the collet body kit, and use it in the mill vice to hold crazy small shapes wont stay reliably fixed in the vice any other way.

    “You know what i speak of”, like Lady Galadria said to the ring bearer in Lord of The Rings; its those priceless parts that are like socks in the drier, that wing off into some 5th dimension, never to be seen again, even if you uncover every square millimeter of your concrete floor? Like when they get spit out, they have so much velocity they enter another time warp dimension because they violate Einstein’s E=MC2 speed of light limit.
    I don’t know what it is, but like socks in the drier, those parts go someplace and it ain’t on this dimension. Thinking there be Gremlins in Hyper Space, they steal those bits just to fuck with us humans in Einsteinium Space.

    Being constantly broke and cash poor is the mother of improvisational art.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m having a hard time picturing in my mind what it is you are trying to describe with this moly tube and collet thing. If you get a chance and are feeling charitable maybe you could send me a picture of what you are talking about?
      I already have a set of ER32 collets and am currently waiting for multiple collet holders for this thing. I ordered a collet chuck on an MT4 shaft, a hex and a square holder too.
      I was really, really hoping that the chucks would swap out between my Mini Lathe and this thing because I bought bigger chucks for that but no.
      I went up to 4 inch on the mini lathe and this thing has a 5 inch chuck.
      I will have to go measure the through hole size on the back end of the spindle.
      A spider shouldn’t be too hard to make for it I hope.
      Because I don’t have the compound I am going to get the center height and distance between slots on the table and have a buddy make me a base out of some scrap so I can clamp it down and then drill it, put a stud in it and make a rotating spacer and a clamp to grip the cutting tool so I can use the lathe. Even if I could get a new compound from Smithy the price would probably be prohibitive.


  6. If that is the original 3 jaw chuck that was in the first picture you are way ahead of me in ability to clean and polish things up. It looks darn near new. Beautiful little machine.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Day-um Phil, outstanding job on the cleanup. Who the hell kneads chinklandistan, we got a Phil in our midst, make our own parts. I’d like 2 put in an order for a 1948 Dodge One tunner, please and can I have it with the cummins 5.9 instead of the old flathead please. On second thought, just leave in the flathead, it’s less complicated…..

    Liked by 1 person

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