Shopmaster Shop Talk

Dear Bob Fritz: I have the opportunity to purchase a Shopmaster Lathe/Mill combination similar to yours, but a 1998 model which has never been used for about half the price. Grizzly also makes a similar model. The main difference seems to be smaller motors, 3/4 horsepower. In your June article you stated that “you don’t want a wimpy half or three-quarter horsepower motor.” Should I consider purchasing this unit or hold out for the new model, which is over my budget? I have an old 6-inch Craftsman lathe which I use quite a bit, but it is pretty worn out. I would like to have the versatility of a mill.

Tony Jurcan

Bob Fritz responds: “1998? Never used? Try it out. But the lubricants are likely to be caked or dried, so do a careful check to see that things move that should, and things stay steady if they should. If everything works, the travel is smooth and the quill extends all the way (about 3 to 4 inches), and you can fit the collets in the quill, buy it. Shopmaster has a reputation of inconsistent manufacture. For instance, on mine, only the collet that came with it would fit; it had an extra-narrow indexing groove and key. I had to use a file to reduce the key. You can always upgrade the motors for about $100 each, though you probably wont need to.”

Tool Post Question, Answer

The KITPLANES articles (Home Machinist) in the issues were great. I bought a Shopsmith, and the toolpost is not very good as you said in your article. Question: April 2007 issue, Page 50, shows an upgraded toolpost, which you said was a good upgrade. What model is it and where can I buy it?

Rick Bristol

Bob Fritz responds: “That toolpost is from Enco (www.useenco.com). Just go there, do a search for P/N 505-2253 and/or Page 366 and you’ll see it. There are two types, piston and wedge. Either is fine for the home machinist. They added a caveat that the T nut might have to be machined, but I found that I could strip out the parts from the old one and fit them right onto the new one.”

Help for the FEW

With regards to the recently featured article about Legendary Aircraft TF-51: For those who are building or considering building a Legendary Aircraft (formerly Fighter Escort Wings) P-51, there is a builders forum hosted at the Matronics web site, www.matronics.com. Check out the site and join the forum for info from those who are either working on or have completed their projects.

Darren Henley

 Gonna Go Fishing and Catch Me a Trout

I don’t see Fisher Flying Products in your recent kit aircraft directory issue. Did I just miss it?

Mark Navratil

Fisher is still with us, but has decided to sell only as plans. As you probably noticed, the company was included in the January issue.-Ed.

Fractionally Incorrect

I saw Marc Cooks write-up on the PS Engineering PMA9000EX. He said that the front-panel jack is a 3.5mm (1/8 inch), but the unit I looked at and PS Engineerings own web site say its a 2.5mm (3/32 inch) jack. Whats up with that?

Joe Ramona

Call it a matter of seeing what you want to see. When I looked at the photos recently and at the device at Oshkosh, it sure seemed like a 3.5mm jack. But the new unit inputs music from a USB stick through this port, and so it needs to have four conductors; that, says PS Engineerings Mark Scheuer, meant keeping the smaller jack. Good news is that the company sells an audio patch cord with one small and one large plug, so you can plug your iPod right in.-Ed.

Save 51% Now!

The FAA and EAA are currently reviewing the “51% rule” and rewriting instructions to enforce it in a way that can impact your business. Efforts to make the rules more sane and safe have been ignored. What is needed at this time is political and economic pressure to get their attention. Please check out www.buildersassistance.com and send a message to the EAA and your elected officials to help turn the tide. Pass this information on to everyone you know in the Experimental aircraft community.

These rules, on average, are reviewed every 15 to 20 years. The opportunity now presents itself. Generating a large number of letters is one key to success.

Len Fox

For more on test pilot Foxs philosophy on how the Experimental/Amateur-Built rules ought to work, check out his “Unusual Attitude” essay in our September 2006 issue.-Ed. J


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