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Old August 19, 1999, 08:20 PM   #1
Brett Bellmore
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I'm a somewhat experienced machinist/designer, (More on the design than the machine, as it happens.) and I'm looking at setting up a corner of my basement, about 10 by 10 feet, as a shop, to do gunsmithing and other light machine work. I've seen advertisements for the "Smithy" combination lathe/milling machine, and have even been to their factory a couple hours drive from here, to look at the product. But I don't know anyone who's actually USED one of these machines. Are they any good? (The specific model I'm looking at is the CB-1239) If not, what would you recomend, keeping in mind the limited space?
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Old August 19, 1999, 10:43 PM   #2
James K
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Hi, Brett,

Maybe it's none of my beeswax, but if you are going to work on other than your own guns, I hope you have considered the various laws and other angles involved.

Jim
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Old August 19, 1999, 10:49 PM   #3
George Stringer
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Brett, I haven't used the Smithy but I'll send you a copy of an article from the American Gunsmithing Association magazine. Your main problem with space is the lathe. To have one large enough to do barrel work you'll need a bed at least 36" long and a hole through the spindle of at least 1-3/8". Of course if you are going to limit yourself to making firing pins, pistol barrel work, etc., you won't need one that large. I have large milling machine also, but 9 out of 10 milling/drilling jobs I do in a Sherline table top mill. I can't say enough about that little jewel. It's paid for itself a dozen times over and their warranty/customer service is second to none. There are always machine tools listed on E-Bay and if you use your search engine for lathes you'll find a lot of used equipment on the net. http://www.chaski.com/wwwboard/machine/index.html is a great site to ask general maching questions as well as find equipment for sale. George
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Old August 20, 1999, 06:15 AM   #4
Brett Bellmore
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Jim: I have no plans to work on other's guns at the moment; Rather, I'm a designer at an R&D shop, and I've got some ideas I'd like to try out. I'd be doing it at work in my spare time, but ever since an ex-marine who used to work here started relaxing with a bit of target shooting in the parking lot during lunch, our company has had a no firearms policy. Idiot.

George: The model of Smithy I'm looking at has 39" between centers, and a 1.5" spindle bore; I'm more concerned about issues like rigidity. I'll take a look at that Sherline; It might be a good tool to start with, even if I do eventually get something bigger. Thanks for the url, I'll check it out.
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Old August 20, 1999, 10:36 AM   #5
4V50 Gary
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Brett, before you buy a Smithy, wait until you read that article George is sending you. It'll make you think twice about a Smithy.

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Old August 20, 1999, 11:02 AM   #6
Brett Bellmore
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Gary: I went to that URL he gave me, and I'm already put off; The consensus there was, "It's a piece of garbage manufactured by commie slave labor, and why would you think of buying one, you pinko scum?"
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Old August 20, 1999, 08:25 PM   #7
Brett Bellmore
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Ok, I'm persuaded: Forget the Smithy! I think it was that guy at the url who owned one, and had no major complaints beyond the gears shedding teeth! Since I live the the Detroit area, machine shops are as thick as can be; When the time comes I'll start looking for a used lathe, and maybe a Bridgeport that needs reconditioning.
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Old August 20, 1999, 10:48 PM   #8
George Stringer
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Now you're talkin' Brett! Most of those guys on the machinist url wear the union label and are very decided in their thinking when it comes to anything not American made. But, for the most part they're right. I can't think of one tool that I've ever bought marked Made in China, etc., that ever lasted more than a couple of uses. George
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Old August 21, 1999, 07:32 AM   #9
4V50 Gary
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Hey George, what about their needle files and for a while, they exported screwdrivers made the old fashion way - the shank extended into the handle and two pieces of wood were cut to fit (just like a knife)?

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