I SEE TWO COMBO MACHINE DESIGNS OUT THERE ON THE MARKET. ONE IS THE "MILL HEAD MOUNTED ON THE LATHE SPINDLE" DESIGN, WHICH SMITHY DEVELOPED AND POPULARIZED. THE OTHER DESIGN HAS THE MILL HEAD MOUNTED ON THE BACKSIDE OF THE LATHE BED. IS ONE DESIGN BETTER THAN THE OTHER?
The combo machine with the mill head mounted behind the lathe bed has been around for over 60 years. It was developed by Emco-Meier and was sold by that company as the Maxi-Mat machine.
The design sold bySmithy was developed in the 1980's and quickly became popularbecause the Emco-Meier design hadfour disadvantages: 1) Muchsmaller milling capacity, 2) themill can't be moved out of the waywhen you want to use the lathe (like you can with a Smithy combo), 3) thelathe turning cross feed capacity is limitedbecause the mill head interfers with the travel of the work table, and 4) thesize of the work table is limitedbecause the mill head column is mounted so close to the lathe bed.
Among some combo machine operators the Emco-Meier design has the nickname"The Head Banger."This came about because an operator that is turning on the lathe can get focused on his project and forget about the mill head being in the way - the result being he bumps his head.
Overall, theSmithy Combo machine design offers more working capacity andhigher efficiencyandease of use, compared to the traditional design.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE NEW GRANITEXT AND THE OLD GRANITE MACHINE?
The GraniteXT is designed so you can add features that fit your needs. The old Granite had several models, each with a different combination of features. Now you just go through the list of optional features available for the GraniteXT and add the features that you need for your application. The GraniteXT is customizable so we can add features before shipping or you can add them on later.
The new GraniteXT also has design improvements over the old Granite and has several added new features that are included on the base model at no extra cost.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE GRANITE AND MIDAS MACHINES?
The biggest difference is that the Granite machines are bigger, more powerful and more automated than the Midas machines. The Granite has very good power feeds on X and Y, quick change gear box, and most importantly, a variable speed spindle. Speed changes are made with the turn of a dial. The Midas machines are more manual – gears and belts are changed by hand.
The Granite machines also have tooling that is easier and faster to use. The R8 spindle taper and D1-4 lathe chuck mounts are the industry standard for US productions settings. Tool changes are quicker and easier and the tooling is easy to find for both machine lines; the R8 standard tooling on the Granite machines is generally cheaper.
What is more important to you – time or money? If you are trying to make or save money and you need to maximize speed and efficiency, then the Granite machines are probably your better choice. If you have more time than money then maybe the lower-cost Midas is better for you.
WHO USES THE LONGER BED THAT'S AN OPTION ON THE GRANITE?
Typically people who don't want to be limited by their options.Practical applications include:
Agriculture – drive shafts, PTO shafts
Auto – drive shafts, axles
Gunsmithing – black powder, bull barrels
Hydraulic Cylinder repair
Karting - axles
WHAT SORT OF TOLERANCE CAN I EXPECT FROM THESE MACHINES?
The Granite specification is one-half to one thousandth of an inch production tolerance. The “TIR” (total indicated run-out) should not exceed .001” on any spindle assuming that you have followed proper setup procedures and have not exceeded the physical capacities of the machine or surpassed the safe feed/speed rates.
WHAT ARE THE MACHINE WEIGHTS AND DIMENSIONS? WILL THEY FIT IN A STANDARD 8' PICKUP TRUCK BED?
Yes, all Smithy combo machines fit into a standard 8’ pickup truck bed. A disassembled machine stand will also fit in the pickup bed, along with the machine.
ARE THE DIALS IN INCH OR METRIC?
Inch, but a metric Granite model is available.
DOES YOUR MACHINE HAVE THE HOLE THROUGH THE CENTER OF THE SPINDLE AND WHAT SIZE IS IT?
Yes, all Granite machines have a 1.125” spindle bore through the center of the spindle for passing stock through.
SETTING UP MACHINE
WHAT ARE THE POWER REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MACHINES? WHAT PLUG STYLE DO I NEED FOR THE 220 VOLT MACHINES? WHAT AMP SERVICE IS REQUIRED?
The basic GraniteXT runs on 110 volt power and plug into a standard household outlet.
220 volt power can be chosen as an option on the GraniteXT. It uses a NEMA 6-15 plug.
Although the motors are DC motors, they still plug into a normal wall outlet. The AC to DC conversion is done by the motor controller or drive.
The motors draw from 8-16 amps. We recommend using a dedicated 20 AMP breaker.
HOW MUCH SPACE DO I NEED TO ACCOMMODATE THE MACHINE?
A Granite normally takes up the space required to store a bicycle. When planning for your Granite installation be sure to account for movement around the machine and opening the pulley door on the left end.
USING THE MACHINE
HOW EASY IS IT TO CUT THREADS ON THE GRANITE MACHINE?
The quick change gearbox makes choosing thread pitches very easy. The threading dial helps you stay on track while cutting threads. Cutting inch threads is straight forward. Cutting metric threads can be done, but it requires manually changing a gear. Good metric threads can be made on the Granite. The threading dial is not used when cutting a metric thread.
HOW GOOD ARE THE POWER FEEDS ON THE X AND Y AXES? ARE THEY HELPFUL?
You can power feed on the X or Y axis – whether using the lathe or mill. Easy to engage, with 21 different feed rate options for optimal surface finishes. Cross feed safety shear pin prevents damage to machine apron when travel limits are accidentally exceeded. The safety clutch on the lead screw prevents damage to the gearbox and transmission when travel limits are exceeded.
WHO USES THE GRANITE AND WHAT PROFESSION ARE THEY?
Small Production:Granite machines meet industrial tolerances and are used in a wide variety of production settings for small manufacturers or as a second machine.
Repair Shops:Auto, aviation, boat, gunsmith, farm, motorcycle, models. The list goes on and on.
Education/Military:Great tool for educational settings. All machining operations can be shown on one compact machine. Used extensively in military settings where space is at a premium.
Engineering/R & D:You would be surprised at the number of engineering labs and schools that have a Granite machine in the corner for when you need. Used extensively in R & D settings, by both big and small companies.
Small/Home Shop:Some Granite owners are current or retired machinists. The vast majority of Granite owners don't have a lot of experience with machining. The common interest is the need to make or save money by producing your own parts. Remember, all Granite machines are guaranteed to pay their own way.
TOOLING FOR THE MACHINE
WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE MACHINE TOOL PACKAGE THAT COMES WITH THE MACHINE?
Smithy machines are shipped with tools that allow you to do basic milling and turning from day one. See the Features Tab on each machine's product page.
DO YOU OFFER A LARGER LATHE CHUCK FOR THE GRANITE? CAN I EXCHANGE THE STANDARD CHUCK FOR IT?
We offer a 8" 4-jaw chuck plus a 6" 4-jaw chuck but larger 3-jaw chucks are not offered at this time. Any D1-4 chuck will work on the Granite spindles. We do not offer "trade-ups" on the machines accessories or items in the free Quick-Start Tool Packs.
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