The accepted wisdom for the last 20 years is that Shopsmith doesn’t roll out new products. The old gear still works great, and no matter the version it’s gotten the job done for over 50 years now. So when a brochure for the new Shopsmith PowerPro computer-controlled headstock arrived in the mail last week, my jaw went slack.
They might be a little late to the party, but the ShopSmith now features a computer controlled, 1 3/4 hp motor at 120 volts that can swing from 250 to 10,000 rpm in forward or reverse. To keep up with the times they also tweaked a few odds and ends such as constant torque at any rpm and a soft-start function that won’t trip the breakers in your shop.
It also solves the setting issues for you if you’re unsure what your optimum speed should be. Just tell it what you’re doing and it’ll set the rpm for you. So with one release, your old Mark V gear can be moved into the 21st century with less than an hour of install — oh, and somewhere in the neighborhood of $1500 — $2000.
I am both stoked and bummed. It’s great to see the folks at SS releasing new gear; I just wish I didn’t have to sell internal organs on the black market to get them.