Just to kind of clarify some unknowns a little back in the post i'd like to share my problems/solutions.
I wanted to get SPI hardware working on the UNO to obviously ILI9341. I used the adafruit library the whole time. However, I could only get software SPI to work. I was using a CD4050 to step the 5v signal from the digital pins to 3.3 for the LCD. The problem with the 4050 is that it's a buffer and not a driver. The current coming out of it is too damn small for the inputs of the ILI9341. I'm not certain why the 4050 let software work but the hardware mode. However, when i went to using voltage dividers with resistors I tried two different sets of values. The first set of values were close to 100k. So i got the right voltage but in the micros for current. With this setup software mode DID work, but still not hardware. then i went way down to a reasonable current, and finally hardware worked.
So if you are having problems getting hardware to work, I think the signal current has a significant part to play.
Good point in describing!
This is why I tell people to attach a scope and read the waveform before asking impossible questions.
If they cant afford a second hand unit from ebay then this is the wrong hobby