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Registered Member
Apr 11, 2003
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i'm looking to buy a drill press in the near future. does anyone have any thoughts as to which one to get? i've been looking at a JET or a delta. any ideas?

also, does anyone know anything about SMITHY milling/lathe combo machines. i would like to do some minor fab work, and was wondering if these machines would be up to the task. if not... which ones?

matt /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif


1/2 ton status
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GMOTM Winner
Dec 24, 2000
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Bakersfield, CA
The small mill/lathe combos are basically worthless. It is not ridgid enough to use any large milling cutters and the travels and table are so small that you can't do anything over about 4" square. Best bet would be ebay and other auctions and grab an old bridgeport mill. Usually get one with power feeds and dro for about $2000 in good shape.


1 ton bucket of rust
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Oct 6, 2002
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San Francisco
The combo machines are not worthless, they do have their place, but you would be well better served if you bought dedicated machines. Go here and search for 3-in-1, smithy, there has been a lot of discussion about this topic. Like Willyswanter said, your best bet is to look for used American made lathe and milling machines. Keep an eye out in the local classifieds, thats how I picked up an old Sheldon Lathe for $400. Bridgeport is definitely a name to look for in milling machines, For lathes I would look for Atlas, Clausing, South Bend, Monarch($$$), Hardinge, Sheldon. Craftsman used to put out a nice lathe made by Atlas, I see these all the time on ebay. For a lathe, figure out what you might want to do with it, if you would like to cut threads, a quick change gear box is a nice feature. Tooling gets expensive, so if you find a lathe with a good amount of tooling with it, for a price you can afford, take a closer look, you might find a bargain. I got really lucky when I got mine, I knew almost nothing about lathes, except that I wanted one. Folks who see it can't believe I got it for only $400. It came with very little tooling, though. I've easily spent $1000 on ebay tooling it up over the last four years, and I still don't have all the stuff I want. Also, try estate sales and auctions, but do some research on what to look for first. The HSM site I linked to at the beginning of the post is to machine tools, what this site is to Chevy trucks, TONS of searchable info, and a LOT of extremely knowledgeable folks. They welcome stupid questions of all kinds and are always willing to help out a newbie. /forums/images/graemlins/thumb.gif

And check the same site for drill press info, I think this was discussed pretty recently. A jet model was mentioned, I believe...
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