I have had one since 1976.
I upgraded to the 520 table system which allows growing your table to sizes well beyond most table saws (yea you have to see it to believe it).
I has arbors for mounting blades so changes are super fast.
I have upgraded to the new powerpro headstock, more power, more speed options, and uses less power. This feature is well ahead technically and sets a new standard for others to catch up to (same as Nova DVR motor). They have added reverse, which is great for lathe work or when you set up as a shaper. Now with dual tilting you can have a below the table shaper or router.
Conversions can be done in less then a minute most times, setup times are about the same time as any other tool. In some cases you can keep the settings and just change operations, in which case this machine has the advantage.
Shopsmith still supplies support for older machines and a clear upgrade path to current versions. Customer support is pretty good so most things users can maintain or repair themselves.
Some people get shopsmith and some people don't. I get it and I guess that is why I own 5 of them. One resides "upnorth", one is a 10ER from the late 1940's is being refurbished, one I have set up as a drill press and storage systems for storing attachments. I have a sawtrain system one another one. The other one is the most up to date model and the one I use the most. It treks to my driveway for a lot of projects and will go for years without needing re-alignment.
The other reason I have so many machines is that I plan to pass them on to my kids, yep they last that long.
Well I could go on.... but I'll stop cause this is getting too long. Look up the shopsmith forum online if you want more information.
I had a Smith for a few years, I think it worked fine really. However I had a few complaints and are as follows, 1) the table wasn't very flat from edge to edge. 2) the table height was to tall for me where it was very uncomfortable resulting in unsafe handling of material while cutting I finally starting using a wooden pallet to stand on so I could see the cut line or to put it another way so I could see the blade as it cut. After a few years of use I did sell it and bought a good cabinet saw. Granted I did not have a tool that could handle a lot of different tasks in the shop I believe having a tool that could to one job with accuracy was worth the change.
I have owned the Model 500 ShopSmith for about 10 years. I have built many projects with this unit. Furniture, kitchen cabinets, etc. I bought for about $475 out of some guys barn. I purchased missing parts from ebay. Because of my small shop space it works well. But I always have to adjust and tinker with every time I start a new project. Maybe the 520 may be better? But if I could afford some new tools and a larger space I would do it in a heartbeat.
I bought my first Shopsmith in 1975. Thanks to Craigslist and eBay as well as auctions in central Ohio I now own 11 Shopsmith systems. I also own "heavy duty professional woodworking tools" I use in my woodworking. For most amateur woodworker the Shopsmith with attachments will do everything you need. The new Shopsmith 7 is a great machine. Wouldn't sell mine. I've modified several of them for increased versatility. Great woodworking machines.
I inherited my father's Mark V (1956 model) and updated the headstock to the PowerPro. I still have a lot to learn about it, but I do remember using it as a kid. BTW, the current model is the Mark 7.
I have one and I like it but in can be a pain