View Full Version : Grizzly 13" x 40" High Precision ToolRoom Lathe ?

06-10-2004, 02:14 AM
I would like to get some opinions whether you would purchase this machine for new $5800 or look for something in the same price range used like a Leblond, Southbend etc...

Any help would be appreciated, Thanks.

06-10-2004, 09:00 AM
I don't have a cataqlog in front of me, but I would like to know the difference in that one and the "standard" 13x40 engine lathe? Where is the $2K or so difference?

06-10-2004, 09:51 AM
I'd probably look for a really good South Bend "Heavy 10" toolroom lathe. You ought to be able to get one in excellent condition for that kind of money, although it may take a lot of looking.

06-10-2004, 10:10 AM
For $5800.....I'd go for a used gear head lathe of American, European or Japanese manufacture. For that kind of money you should be able to find something nice.

While the SB's may be nice machines, they aren't gear head and don't have the ease of speed changes and the usually aren't set up for quick change over to metric threading.

A Colchester or Harrison might be a good choice. They're in that price range.

06-10-2004, 10:10 AM
I have the 13 x 40 G4016 and I have been very pleased with it. So much that I just bought a 13 x 40 G9036 too.


06-10-2004, 10:27 AM
The difference lies in Taiwan (AFAIK). The Z series are built to a different level of quality and precision.

Used old iron can be a big disappointment and headache. Even when you think you've checked it adequately, things pop up.

However, I was very fortunate to pick up a Harrison M300 recently for a lot less than you're thinking of spending. It is hard to beat in terms of spindle range (40 to 2500 rpm) and has a threading gearbox to die for (inch, metric, diametral and mod threads with no gear changes). Got if from an engineering lab so the wear is low (although Harrison paint absolutely sucks with a capital "S").

It can take a lot of looking, depending on where you are and the state of local industry, to find a really good machine.


John Stevenson
06-10-2004, 10:31 AM
"(although Harrison paint absolutely sucks with a capital "S")."

I've spent literally 1,000's on machines, drill, taps dies amd the rest of the cutting tools.
If I had realised that you also needed paint I'd have had a word with Alistair http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

John S.

06-10-2004, 10:32 AM
The toolroom lathe appears to have a meehanite bed, while the others have cast iron, induction hardened, don't know that that is a major difference, but it may be a plus.
It also offers additional accessories, and does appear to be a different machine than the other 13" lathes. However, they do not make any reference to the accuracy of any of their lathes, so it is difficult to compare any advantages there.
The three phase motor will add the cost of a VFD or other conversion to the price if not available.
I agree that a good, used US lathe should be available at that price. That is the route I would take.

06-10-2004, 10:58 AM
John S: I've never seen a machine factory painted while all the name/speed/change plates were on it http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//eek.gif

And, it looks like much of it was by brush in a dusty area.

I've color matched it (green) and have a pretty cheap Dupont Nason enamel that seems to be pretty hard (we'll see about chipping later). No strip-down here, just a little bit of pretty-ing up ... Alistair would be proud http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif


06-10-2004, 02:08 PM
Taking a quick look at the catalog ... The $5800 G9730 *is* basically the same lathe as the $3400 G9036. It's safe to assume for the $2400 difference you get higher quality components, fit and finish, BUT it is not going to take heavier cuts or handle larger work. I'm sure it's a fine lathe and maybe the price difference is jusified.

The easiest measure of the capacity of a lathe are the weight and the bed width. Both of the 13" lathes weigh 1700 lbs crated and show a 7-1/2" bed width. That is pretty light duty and really still in the same class as say a SB Heavy 10.

Looking at their 16" lathe for example the G3621 at $7000 it weighs 5700 lbs and has a 13-1/2" bed width. Totally different class of machine.

For the $5800 you can get a heck of a nice used lathe in this latter class that will eat the 13's or SB's for lunch. It takes some education to choose and buy safely.

Grizzly's selection is limited, there are other decent imports in between their offerings, that may be a safer place to put your $.

John Stevenson
06-10-2004, 03:16 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toolbert:
The easiest measure of the capacity of a lathe are the weight and the bed width. Both of the 13" lathes weigh 1700 lbs crated and show a 7-1/2" bed width. That is pretty light duty and really still in the same class as say a SB Heavy 10.

Looking at their 16" lathe for example the G3621 at $7000 it weighs 5700 lbs and has a 13-1/2" bed width. Totally different class of machine.


Give that man a prize off the second shelf.

With machine tools it's all about rigidity.
The more beef the better the quality.
Toobert hit on one with the width of the bed.
Other pointers are, is the spindle bore too big for the size of the machine?. Some makes have larger than standard bores as a feature but given the thin tube left this can cause ringing and chatter very easily.
Look at the length of the headstock and compare it to the overall weight. If it's not a heavy machine and has a short headstock chances are there's some skimping done inside in gear and bearing widths to get this all in.

Another factor in the search to compare new to old look at the spindle speeds and type of bearings. Up to the 70's speeds were limited to about 700 - 800 rpm as this as as fast as common tooling went. Plain bearings were good for this speed.
Nowdays 1500 to 2500 is quite common to take advantage of carbide and bearings have improved as well.
That old but in good nick flat slapper on plain bearings isn't up to getting the best out of carbide tooling.

John S.

06-10-2004, 03:59 PM
I have been looking over the new G0554. 2,400lbs with a cast iron stand, 10 1/4" bed, hardened and ground gears, and a variety of other features. It comes with lots of accessories, a coolant system, and a taper attachment or collet attachment is a $425 option. All of this for $4,295 makes it a heck of a bargain in my book.
I know in other parts of the country used equipment can be had at good prices, but down here in TX, not much is available.

[This message has been edited by Joel (edited 06-10-2004).]

Mike W
06-10-2004, 05:33 PM
I called Kent lathes to find out what was the difference between their "precision" ones and the regular ones. The answer was the regular ones are made in China. The precision ones are made in Taiwon.

06-10-2004, 05:42 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by nheng:
Used old iron can be a big disappointment and headache. Even when you think you've checked it adequately, things pop up.</font>

Very true, I've been on that end of the deal several times.

06-10-2004, 08:03 PM
That G0554 is a nice machine. I wanted it except for two things, one it is bigger than I need and two it evacuates shavings from the back and I put my lathes against a wall. So I got The 13 x 40 again.

I think you will be pleased. I have learned that for me the old stuff is not always better. I qualified that with "for me" because many here do not like the China/Taiwan stuff. You do have to be careful, I would not do anything from Harbour Freight but I go like Grizzley. Does everything I ask it to do.

You have to decide what you need it to do. For me the light duty machines are ideal and I like plug and play and the price was right.


06-10-2004, 08:31 PM
To All

Thanks for the priceless opinions given. If I can find a decent used lathe that is something I would be willing to do. In the event that nothing comes up I will be looking into a Grizzly, not neccesarily the 13X40, it was a starting point to get some info flowing. The comment about the rigidty of the machine I agree with & I do not have a problem shelling out an extra $2000 if it will preclude unesessary head aches since I will already be dropping $5800. What I am interested in is the quality issue with this companys product, pros & cons. Again Thanks to all for their honest opinion it is greatly appreciated.

06-10-2004, 09:03 PM
Just my opinion,but everything I have ever used with a square headstock casting has been a diappointment,regurardless of make,that includes everything from a 13x40 to our 240x120 Italian lathe,all flimsy IMHO

However,if that price doesn't include shipping and you have the room you might consider an American model "c",really heavy robust machines,and they can be had even from dealers for what your wanting to spend.

06-10-2004, 09:21 PM
Rangerod, if you are willing to go a bit more, take a look at Summit Tools, they have a 14x40 demo machine listed on their site for $8500. http://www.summitmt.com/usedanddemo.shtml
A local machine ship has a 16x80 I believe and speaks very highly of it.

You might want to try calling Grizzly to see if they have any customers with that machine locally. They usually have a list of references that are willing to let you come out and see the machine before buying.


06-17-2004, 12:07 AM
I have just gone through this exact scenario. Lucky for me, I live not too far from the Grizzly showroom in Bellingham, WA

I was fortunate enough to be able to compare these lathes side by side. In general, the machines from Taiwan had substantially better fit and finish.

The 0554 just had better fit and finish on the dials, hand cranks, and general finish on the machine was pretty good. The 9036 wasn't bad either, but they didn't spend much time on areas that weren't functional, such as the body of the lathe. The 9036 is a little lighter weight, but is also a bunch less money.

In the end, I actually bought the 9036 lathe and a G4027 mill. The mill is from Tawian, the lathe from China. So far (ie 1 week) I really like both machines, and the savings on the lathe allowed me to get DRO setups for both machines.


06-17-2004, 04:48 PM
Kevin, Congrats on your new machinery, I have a 4027 Mill and I have been very pleased with it. One question, though, is the 0554 Lathe made in China or Taiwan? Also, did you by chance look at the 0509 lathe, and if so, what did you think.

Thanks - Jeremy

Bob Quale
06-17-2004, 07:55 PM

Congrats also!

I don't live near Grizzly. Did you happen to look at the G9731 or G9730? They are about $5800.

Just lloking for a comparison.

Thanks Bob

Forrest Addy
06-17-2004, 08:19 PM
I like American made heavy-duty machine tools as well as anyone but finding a 30 or 40 year old machine suited for a low experience home shop machinist is a like finding a clean white shirt in a coal mine. Most home shop owners work in isolaation without mentoring and thus have no skill in compensating for machine error and deficiencies. Thus old worn machine tool are an endless source of frustration for them.

For that reason alone I usually reccommend they purchase a new Asian import machine as the superior bargain if otherwise comparable in price to a beautifully painted South Bend of equal capacity in need of lead screws and a compound re-scrape. Old machine tools unless surveyed by a machine tool expert are a pig in a poke. Even good machinists having many years of experience have little knowledge of machine tool survey and are likely to approve a candidate lathe on the basis of checking the backlash indicated by the micrometer dials and the presence of frosting (fraudulent rescrape) on the ways.

A good 14 x 60 American Pacemaker or Lodge and Shipley Turnmaster from the early '60's if in like new condition (less than 2000 hours) having spent 40 years in a sawmill maintenence shop has to be tracked down and conned from its owners. Usually these old machines will have 50,000 hours on them and they suffer from every problem common to old machinery.

So my suggestion is unless you have an expert surveyor (or are one yourself), leave the 40 year old machine tools to them who can rebuild them to like-new condition. Instead hold your nose and buy a new Asian lathe that starts out straight and sound.

There will certainly be minor problems with an import Asian lathe but nothing like a strongly built but worn-out American made machine whose saddle has 0.020" rocking chair or whose cross-slide is so hour-glassed you have to adjust the gib every few inches of travel.

Dave Opincarne
06-17-2004, 08:31 PM
Good points Forrest, they aren't being sold because this years model has a tilt wheel and racing stripes. The last penny gets squeezed out of those machines. One thing I've noticed is the subject of mass always comes up. But in looking at smaller vintage american machines they are not that heavily constructed as compared to the import stuff.


Bob Quale
06-17-2004, 08:37 PM

I think you give excelent advise. I have purchased the pig and the polk! I have since bought some new asian machines and I am making chips for a change, and learning the craft! The once in a lifetime american steal or deal, is just that in my opinion.

Now I need a new lathe. I am leaning tword the Grizzly G9731. I hope I can find someone who has one!


06-20-2004, 01:59 AM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bob Quale:
I don't live near Grizzly. Did you happen to look at the G9731 or G9730? They are about $5800.

Yes, I did look at the G9731. (I spent about 2 hours looking at everything!) Nice lathe. In fact, I was fairly impressed with all of the 'Z' series machines. All appear to be made in Taiwan. The G9731 was actually the machine I was originally thinking of buying.

The basic design is similar to the G9036. It has the Meehanite castings, which are more stable. There are many differences in construction.

I wasn't able to run the machines. They don't have them powered in the showroom.

The one thing I liked about the G9036 was that the chip pan is removable to the front. I really like that for cleaning up.


[This message has been edited by kevinro (edited 06-20-2004).]

06-20-2004, 02:17 AM
I took a trip to the Grizzly showroom in Williamsport PA to look at the tool room lathes when they first came out. The one thing I did not like about them was that you had to change the gears (manual removal and replacement) to thread metric. Where I used to work I ran a SunMax lathe (import), all of the english to metric to DP was all done with the throw of a lever.

Just my two cents,

Mike W
06-20-2004, 03:56 AM
Thank you Forrest. You have reinforced what I have been thinking.

John Stevenson
06-20-2004, 06:22 AM
Forrest, A very good post.
Dave brought up the fact that the mass of the import machines is greater than the mass of the older US made ones that everyone says are more desirable.
What you have to realise though is that times move on and the same for designs.
That 40 year old US lathe is actually built on a 50,60 or even 70 year old design.
Designed in an era where carbide tooling, and high speeds were not heard off and in a lot of cases plain bearing ruled supreme.

Now I'm really going to stick my neck out here and get it bit off.

Older lathes were planed, some times ground on their slides and then hand scrapped to get the precision required.
Looks also came into this, some being done purely as a pattern than as a leveling feature.
Mostly this was done though to get flat level surfaces because the equipment being used to make these was normally a *lot* older than the product being made.

Remember new machine tools are made on old ones.

Nowdays there has been that much Western money pumped into far eastern companies they are better equipped than anything we had when we were producing machine tools.
Modern CNC way grinders are that accurate that no finishing process are needed.
Next time you get a chance look at a high cost machining centre and see how the bed is finished. No scraping, just a ground finish.
If they needed scraping to get the precision requires at 1/4 or 1/2 a million dollars they would.
The spin off is that this technology has filtered down and is available on the smaller machines we use.
Grinding is a very accuraete method of surface finish.
Have you ever seen a roller bearing thats been hand scraped? or a linear rail ?

John S.

[This message has been edited by John Stevenson (edited 06-20-2004).]

Bob Quale
06-20-2004, 07:25 AM
I have been looking at the 9731. I contacted Grizzly, They told me the the 9731 was made in taiwan with better fit and finish, they also said it had better bearings and would run smoother with better surface finish. They also said it would hold up better with harder use.

So, I guess the question is, does it justify the $2000 more for it? I don't live near Grizzly so don't have the option to compare.

Thanks Bob

06-20-2004, 08:55 AM
Hello Everyone,
I thought I might jump in here on this very interesting and important, discussion.
I think one of the first questions we have to ask ourselves before we buy any equipment is what are we going to do with it? Are we going to build models or restore old V8 engines? The second question is how much space do we have to work in and what are the limitations, for example, my first lathe, many years ago, was a small poorly built 6" machine but it was good to learn on. I was living in a second floor apartment with my machine shop in a large closet and it allowed me to full fill my meager designs. Once I learned the basics of lathe operation I was better equipped to buy a lathe that fit my needs and finally aid business which was patent prototyping with some small machine repair. The lathe I bought was a Maximat V10P with a milling machine attachment. This allowed me to have everything contained in my small closet and still have the flexibility to do the many varied jobs that came into my shop, not to mention it was light enough for me to haul up the steps of my walk up apartment house unassisted!
I don’t know how many of have run a design business but I will tell you the scope of projects that come through your doors is mind boggling and I can’t tell you the number of jobs I did on that machine, in that tiny apartment that went well beyond what the makers of that lathe would consider reasonable.
When I finally had the opportunity to build my own house and the shop I wanted, I bought a Maximat Super 11 lathe. What a machine! I took the V10P and used it with the milling head as a dedicated milling machine so now I had a lathe and separate milling machine.
I, foolish soul that I am, had the policy of rarely turning away jobs and I mean very rarely! Once a customer brought a broken shaft 44" long and 3" in diameter into the shop. It had an eccentric cut on each end and came from a stone cutting mill. Now, how was I going to cut an eccentric on a 26" lathe bed with a 1-3/8" head stock bore? I bought the steel, cut it in half, machined both ends and bored a hole in each piece for a register pin. I then made a jig out of 4" angle iron 48" long with three disks on it. This allowed me to MIG weld the two shafts together while turning them without losing register.
The point here is that Home Shop Machinists have, in most cases, a very significant advantage over commercial machine shops and we should utilize that to our advantage. That advantage is time and if you have ever worked in a commercial machine shop where deadlines are an everyday occurrence or you had to make 300 hundred or 3,000 similar parts you know it’s no fun and it’s not a hobby, it’s business.
The point of all this and I apologize for the long post, is that buying equipment requires balance and the money you might spend on a lathe with a 14" swing might be better spent on a smaller better lathe that allows you to buy the attachments that will make your machine shop much more versatile. In all the years I did commercial work the percent of jobs I couldn’t do on my light weight lathes fell into the single digits. The rest of the jobs got done with ingenuity. Light weight lathe chatter? It didn’t happen, I cut slower, changed the cutting angle or took a little longer to make the cut. What did I gain? Flexibility, small lathe precision and a smaller, easier to work in shop, with more money to spend on the very important tools that rounded out my shop capabilities.
Look back in time at the work of some of the great English model makers and you will see tremendous creativity and things done with small light weight lathes that are no less than remarkable.

Milacron of PM
06-20-2004, 10:24 AM
Ah yes, the muddling of adjectives to suit ad copy desires. If that thing is "high precision", then what is a Hardinge HLV-H, Monarch 10ee or Schaublin 102, 125, 135, 150, 160...."ulta, nano, superduper highest on high... precision" ??

John Stevenson
06-20-2004, 10:42 AM
Dunno, Never seen one in a Grizzly ad http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

06-20-2004, 02:56 PM
Ahh! The Schaublin, now there's a lathe!

03-17-2005, 11:01 PM
Just thought I would let you all know I finally came across a early 70's 15" X 50" Leblond Regal Servo Shift on Monday for $6800. I was told the machine was a tool room lathe & it seems to show. I ran the machine at the place I purchased it from & everything functions well. When I get a rotary phase converter I will let you know how it goes, Thanks to everyone for the help.


03-18-2005, 12:34 AM
I looked at the Grizzly 0554 online before buying a Jet GH1340W-1, and they appear so similar that I believe they're the same machine with different paint. I bought the Jet because Grizzly had no 0554s in stock, plus the Jet was offered with free freight. I'm fairly satisfied with the Jet - though I'm currently waiting on a new set of belts in hopes they'll fix the vibration that sets things to shaking when I select 910rpm - this thing would put a Maytag on spin cycle with all the clothes on one side of the tub to shame. Vibration decreases with speed over 910rpm - any ideas why? The apron also leaks oil, which I gather is rather common, based on what I've seen posted on various sites.

This is my first lathe, so I've nothing to compare it to - except Dad's old 8" Atlas that I've played with for over 40yrs. At any rate, I'm not terribly disappointed with my choice, especially since fitting a Phase II wedge type QC tool post and finding four extra toolholders for it. I feel it'll be very suitable for the gunsmithing work I bought it for.

Michael C
03-18-2005, 10:37 AM
I spent a year and a half looking for a lathe, ebay, catolgues, auctions etc. I probably had the phone in hand to call Grizzly a dozen times and then didn't.

I finally got hooked up with a guy in California who specializes in used Monarch 10ee's. For the same money as this Grizzly "toolroom lathe" you can buy the real deal. Sure its old and I have had to do a little work to the famous drive system but its phenomenal to use, makes you smile everytime you use it. Plus it will turn faster and slower than any Grizzly, cut more threads, weights twice as much, the bed is wider, deeper, harder etc.

Something to consider. Machine shops are dumping their manual machines left and right. The lathes are out there if you look hard enough and talk to enough people.

Used mills seam much harder to find in good shape than lathes IMO, but USA made lathes are all over the place.

Good luck

Michael Moore
03-18-2005, 01:19 PM
Hi flatlander,

You are probably hitting a resonant frequency for that belt. Have you checked the tension on it? See what happens if it is made a little tighter or looser.

You could switch to one of the Fenner link-type belts:


"Reduce transmitted vibration.
All conventional V-belts with a continuous internal mono tension cord will transmit vibrations from the motor to driveN components; these vibrations cause system noise and can significantly shorten bearing life.

The segmented twist-lock design of PowerTwist Plus acts as a vibration dampener - vibration can enter a link but cannot be transmitted as there is no continuous tension cord present."


Glenn L
03-18-2005, 09:29 PM
I bought a G9730 toolroom and am sorry I did. It was full of grit, metal shavings a broken foot brake switch, and the 4 jaw chuck is of no use it does not hold on all jaws. It vibrates at 915 rpm bad and somewhat at other high speeds.I tried everything they told me to do,I rubber mounted the motor and also mounted the motor oa stand and tried a different motor. I tried other chucks and belts. It is level and tight to the slab.They do not want to do anything but replace parts if I can find out what is wrong.It is also noisy in the feed box. After a month of this I turned it over to my credit card service. Now all I can do is wait and see what happens. This was to do rifle chamber work and other projects. I am to the point now ,I do not think I even want a lathe even after buying several thousand dollars or tooling. The whole thing has been a nightmare.If they make it right I will be sure to let you know. Glenn

[This message has been edited by Glenn L (edited 03-18-2005).]

03-18-2005, 10:25 PM
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by rangerod:
Just thought I would let you all know I finally came across a early 70's 15" X 50" Leblond Regal Servo Shift on Monday for $6800. I was told the machine was a tool room lathe & it seems to show. I ran the machine at the place I purchased it from & everything functions well. When I get a rotary phase converter I will let you know how it goes, Thanks to everyone for the help.


Congratulations, I think you made a fine choice. They are great machines.

03-22-2005, 06:32 PM
Thanks for the feedback Michael. My Jet lathe has a single phase motor, and from what I've read here, that could also be contributing to vibration. I added the Fenner site to my list of favorites - if a new set of v-belts doesn't help, I may try them.

03-22-2005, 07:02 PM
rangerod, congrads. I've had a late 70's 15x30 servoshift for 8 years, one of the last ones they made in the U.S., no regrets. Feel free to email me at bobp@dogpatch.com if you think I can help with anything.


[This message has been edited by Toolbert (edited 03-22-2005).]