WHO BUYS THE MIDAS 3-IN-1 MACHINES FROM SMITHY?
Home and garage shop machinists are still the most likely purchaser of a MIDAS machine; though there are thousands of units that are being used in a production setting. The MIDAS is not as automated and precise as the GRANITE line, but it is perfectly good and adequate for light duty applications. Buyers for GRANITE include schools, military, labs, and also home shop machinists.
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 by Smithy was developed in the 1980's and quickly became popular because the Emco-Meier design had four disadvantages: 1) Much smaller milling capacity, 2) the mill can't be moved out of the way when you want to use the lathe (like you can with a Smithy combo), 3) the lathe turning cross feed capacity is limited because the mill head interfers with the travel of the work table, and 4) the size of the work table is limited because 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, the Smithy Combo machine design offers more working capacity and higher efficiency and ease of use, compared to the traditional design.
IS THE TOOL PACK HELPFUL?
The FREE tool pack is intended to give you a basic tool set-up to get you started when you get the machine. It's a balanced set of tooling, but you will likely need more tooling once you figure out specific projects you want to do.
WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY "INSPECTED TWICE?"
Each lathe is inspected by trained company employees at the factory - PLUS, a second complete inspection is performed at our warehouse in Ann Arbor, MI before it is sent to the customer.
WHY ARE THESE LATHES BETTER THAN OTHERS ON THE MARKET?
For a machine tool to be truly great it must have attention paid to every step of its development - design, production, quality control, testing, and after sales support. No other bench top lathe on the market, at this price, has the level of quality committed to every step like these MIDAS lathes.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN SELLING THESE LATHES?
Almost 30 years.
ARE THERE MACHINE TOOL SELLERS OUT THERE NOW THAT TOOL BUYERS SHOULD BE AWARE OF?
The biggest change in the market recently is the increase in Chinese sellers coming into the market. They tend to sell cheap and buy knock-off products that don't have the quality of the traditional sellers. It is easy to start a website and throw a bunch of machines on it at low prices to see what sells. These companies tend to have poor service support on products that are poor quality from the start.
DO I NEED TO BE A MACHINIST TO USE THIS MACHINE?
NO, many buyers of these machines don't have experience - what they have is the need to make parts. Usually they already have something in mind they need to make. What is needed is a commitment to learn and curiosity. It will take time, but you will figure it out. We have a set of machining training videos on our website - you can usually find classes at a local community college or Vo-tech school. Get a machine and get going! You won't be disappointed.
WHAT SORT OF TOLERANCE CAN I EXPECT FROM THESE MACHINES?
The MIDAS specification is one thousandth of an inch production tolerance. The "TIR" (total indicated run-out) should not exceed .002" on any spindle assuming that you have followed proper setup procedures and have not exceeded the physical capacities of the machine or surpasses 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 willl also fit into the pickup bed, along with the machine.
ARE THE DIALS IN INCH OR METRIC?
Inch, the machine design and gearing is based on inch measurements. You can also cut metric threads with the 1220 LTD.
DOES THE MIDAS HAVE A HOLE THROUGH THE CENTER OF THE SPINDLE AND WHAT SIZE IS IT?
Yes, all MIDAS machines have a 1.03" spindle bore through the center of the spindle for passing stock through.
WHAT ARE THE POWER REQUIREMENTS FOR THE MACHINE?
MIDAS machines run on 110 volt power and plug into a standard household outlet. The motor draws 11 amps. We recommend using a dedicated 15 AMP breaker.
HOW MUCH SPACE DO I NEED TO ACCOMMODATE THIS MACHINE?
A MIDAS normally takes up the space required to store a bicycle. When planning for your MIDAS installation, be sure to account for movement around the machine and opening the pulley door on the left end.
HOW EASY IS IT TO CUT THREADS ON THE MIDAS MACHINE?
Cutting threads is accomplished by following the pitch chart to manually change gear to match the desired thread pitch. The threading dial helps you stay on track while cutting threads. Cutting inch threads is straight forward. Cutting metric threads can be accomplished.