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Review of Shopsmith's Lift Assist

#306 by wurlitzerwilly » Wed Aug 09, 2006 7:45 am

[font="Arial"][SIZE="6"]The Shopsmith Lift Assist[/SIZE][/font]


The Shopsmith Lift Assist is one of the most useful accessories that I have come across recently. In fact I've found that in use it actually encourages you to make frequent changes between horizontal and vertical modes (i.e. Drill Press) because it takes the strain out of lifting the headstock.

With the headstock at the extreme left hand side it is now easy to lift with just one hand and with the headstock on the right, it will lift itself! I'm told that on cut-down Mk Vs the headstock will rise unassisted, wherever it is placed.

The Lift Assist comes as a kit of parts and is easy to fit by one person. The only tools you'll need are a couple of open ended wrenches to tighten the bolts and an Allen wrench to do some minor alignment before you start. You should also aim to ensure that the way tubes are thoroughly clean and free from grease, dirt and debris.

The kit consists of sixteen bolts, nuts and washers and eight half blocks which when assembled make four anchor fixings at the right hand end of the upper and lower way tubes. For extra rigidity, two "tie bars" are provided and these are fitted across the blocks, one on the lower set and one on the upper. The only thing to watch for is that you carefully take note of the instructions, because the bolts that hold the block assemblies together are of different lengths. If you get them wrong you won't damage anything, you'll just have to take them out and start again! :confused:

There are three major parts remaining which are two brackets which each hold a ball assembly to connect to the sockets on the third part, which is the gas strut, just like those used to raise and lower the trunk on a hatchback automobile. This is the reason that the Lift Assist works and has been specially chosen for the length of travel and the weights involved. The gas strut sockets simply snap over the ball on each bracket, but can be removed with a screwdriver, although so far I've not found this to be necessary.

Once all of the parts have been aligned according to the instructions, the fixing nuts and bolts are then tightened and you're all set for a fun time. :D
Just a final check that everything's tight and you can unlock the handle at the left hand end and really find out for yourself what you've been missing. One hand under the left end of an upper way tube and up she goes with ease.:)

One word of warning: Because it's now so easy to raise and lower the headstock, it is all too easy to get blasé about it, so don't forget to ensure that the headstock is locked before you attempt to raise it!:eek:

The instructions that come with the Lift Assist are quite comprehensive with pictures and text, so you can't really go wrong. They do mention some adjustment that may have to be made, once everything's assembled, but so far I've not found this to be necessary. All the parts went together as expected and the Lift Assist worked first time and continues to make life easy for me.

It's worth mentioning that fitting the lift assist can cut down on the available free space below the Mk V, which might be a problem if you have under machine storage. In horizontal mode, the main arm sits 2 1/2" below the bottom edge of the lower way tubes, and extends 17" from the right hand inside end of the MkV. The gas strut starts at
2 1/2" and slopes to the far right where it joins its bracket at 7" below the lower way tubes. If you have a purpose built cupboard under your MkV, provided that it has no upper drawer, it would be easy to cut a slot in the top to allow the Lift Assist arm to pass below.

You will also loose 2" travel for the table at the right hand end, due to the fixing blocks, but in practice this is rather insignificant unless you want to turn stock right to the limit of the Mk Vs capability.

For what it's worth, my advice to Shopsmith Inc. is that the Lift Assist is a great selling point and for a small increase in cost, should be fitted as standard to all new Mk Vs.

---

Regards,

Alan.
www.theatreorgans.co.uk
www.virtualtheatreorgans.com
Admin: UKShopsmiths Group
Theatre Pipe Organ Builder
ShopSmith V520 + Power Pro

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#309 by Ed in Tampa » Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:46 am

It is good to get information separate from the sales hype.
I have a few questions
The lift assist seems to cut down on under machine clearance. Is that a problem?
The lift assist seems to cut down on the amount of travel of the headstock to the right. Has that been any problem?

Thanks again for the review.
Ed

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#312 by wurlitzerwilly » Wed Aug 09, 2006 2:41 pm

Ed in Tampa wrote:It is good to get information separate from the sales hype.
I have a few questions
The lift assist seems to cut down on under machine clearance. Is that a problem?
The lift assist seems to cut down on the amount of travel of the headstock to the right. Has that been any problem?

Thanks again for the review.
Ed


Hi Ed.

You're welcome.

I've now added a couple of extra paragraphs which should answer your questions.

Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

BTW The kit of parts fits quite well into a suitcase. I brought mine back to the UK without paying excess baggage! :D

---

Regards,



Alan.

www.theatreorgans.co.uk

www.virtualtheatreorgans.com

Admin: UKShopsmiths Group

Theatre Pipe Organ Builder

ShopSmith V520 + Power Pro

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#313 by jgrounds » Wed Aug 09, 2006 6:42 pm

wurlitzerwilly wrote:
Once all of the parts have been aligned according to the instructions, the fixing nuts and bolts are then tightened and you're all set for a fun time. :D
Just a final check that everything's tight and you can unlock the handle at the left hand end and really find out for yourself what you've been missing. One hand under the left end of an upper way tube and up she goes with ease.:)


Excellent Review!

Two questions.

In the quote above it is not clear to me whether the gas strut is initially installed with the MK5 in vertical or horizontal?

When the lift is placed in vertical with the headstock near the center of the ways is there much resistance when returning the machine to horizontal?

Thanks for any comments or observations.

John

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#316 by wurlitzerwilly » Thu Aug 10, 2006 7:31 am

jgrounds wrote:Excellent Review!

Two questions.

In the quote above it is not clear to me whether the gas strut is initially installed with the MK5 in vertical or horizontal?

When the lift is placed in vertical with the headstock near the center of the ways is there much resistance when returning the machine to horizontal?

Thanks for any comments or observations.

John


Hi John.

The easiest way to fit the gas strut is in the vertical position, although I guess it could be done in the horizontal, but I never tried that.

I guess it depends how much strength you have, but let's say I'm of average strength for a male and I find in the central position, I can lift it with one finger.

---

Regards,



Alan.

www.theatreorgans.co.uk

www.virtualtheatreorgans.com

Admin: UKShopsmiths Group

Theatre Pipe Organ Builder

ShopSmith V520 + Power Pro

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#317 by jgrounds » Thu Aug 10, 2006 7:57 am

wurlitzerwilly wrote:Hi John.

I guess it depends how much strength you have, but let's say I'm of average strength for a male and I find in the central position, I can lift it with one finger.


Yes, I understand it is very easy to lift with the head in that position. I was trying to get an idea as to the amount of resistance encountered when returning the head to horizontal from vertical with the head near the center?

Thanks again
John

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#318 by wurlitzerwilly » Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:40 am

jgrounds wrote:Yes, I understand it is very easy to lift with the head in that position. I was trying to get an idea as to the amount of resistance encountered when returning the head to horizontal from vertical with the head near the center?

Thanks again
John


Sorry John, I misread you.

It's difficult to describe. There's an initial resistance whilst you pull the headstock past its center of gravity, then it gradually gets easier. I'd say that the resistance is about the same going down as it is going up, except that going up you're pushing it and going down you're restraining it.

Hope that helps.

---

Regards,



Alan.

www.theatreorgans.co.uk

www.virtualtheatreorgans.com

Admin: UKShopsmiths Group

Theatre Pipe Organ Builder

ShopSmith V520 + Power Pro

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Lift Resistance

#321 by fjimp » Thu Aug 10, 2006 8:07 pm

Speaking as a person who lives with a rotator cuff tear anf has linited strength in one arm, the lift is very easy to use. It reduces the weight being lifted and lowered to a very managable level. It's great for someone who otherwise would be unable to fully use the shopsmith:) Jim Parks

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Lift Assist

#323 by Bill-Co » Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:40 pm

I didn't think I would like (or needed) the lift assist. I did give in and ordered on when they were on sale. Since I installed it I wouldn't be without it. I think this is a very worthwhile purchase for anyone.:) :)
Bill-Co

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#795 by dusty » Sun Nov 26, 2006 10:29 am

You guys have convinced me. I now must overspend the Christmas budget by at least $144.49.

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