View Full Version : Is Enco a Step Up?
12-28-2005, 03:07 PM
I'm looking to get my first mill. I've been reading this forum extensively, and I've pretty much decided what type of mill I want: Square column with a longitudinal travel of at least 20" (for the type of projects I intent to build). I'm pretty set on a bench-top type unit because of my limited space. The depth of the larger floor machines is too great because my "machine shop" is also my garage, and the tools need to be lined up around the perimeter with enough space to pull in my full size truck. 30"-36" is the absolute maximum.
Anyway, I've narrowed it down to the Enco 325-5184, and a few Chinese-made machines like the Lathemaster ZAY7045FG. The Enco is made in Taiwan, which, in my experience with woodworking machinery, is a big step up from the mainland China tools. The Enco is a few hundred dollars more, but I'd pay the extra if it makes a difference.
Also, have I overlooked any other machines that would suit my needs?
Thanks for any help. I've learned a lot reading this forum.
12-28-2005, 07:31 PM
You might want to check these out;
I have the one from Wholesale Tools. I have been happy with it but I am just a hobby shop guy.
Paul in NE Ohio
12-28-2005, 07:35 PM
I have the same mill but I got mine from Penn tool. It is listed as a top tech brand. I think I gave $1499 for it and I like it a lot. For the difference between it and the enco model you could order the power feed unit for it too. I added my power feed later but now I couldn't do without it. I just ordered a digital readout for it and can't wait. If you call Penn tool, ask them if that is the best price because they knocked off enough on mine to cover shipping cost. Mine came wired 110 volt. I run bridgeports and bigger mills at work but for the money and a home shop I have been real pleased with it. I use mine mostly for model engine work.
12-28-2005, 07:46 PM
Yeah I forgot about Penn Tool. The top tech is the same mill. Mine is 110 volt also, the grizzly is 3 phase, that is the reason I did not get it. I figure the price of a vfd to run it bought my power feed! (how anyone can live without one is beyond me!)
Paul in NE Ohio
12-28-2005, 09:46 PM
Harbor Freight is now selling the ZAY7045 in brown. I saw one on display last week. The darker color sure shows all the casting imperfections though. HF had a price tag of $1995 but I don't know if this included the stand or not.
I'm sure it will be on sale at around $1495 soon. If you can get your hands on a 20% off coupon at the same, it could be a good deal--At about $1200.
12-29-2005, 08:10 AM
Yeah, I ruled out the grizzly because it is three phase. What about the China vs Taiwan question? Is the Enco a better built machine?
How about customer support?
[This message has been edited by Northboundtrain (edited 12-29-2005).]
Review past messages for opinions about Enco support. My only experience is with a 20-year old machine, for which they have no records and no parts, end of discussion.
If support is a big issue, Lathemaster is probably your best bet (from what I've read). Harbor Freight is actually pretty good in dealing with warranty problems. Grizzly is reputedly excellent also.
12-29-2005, 10:20 AM
Grizzley support is excellent. At least it has been for me. Grizz is also reputed to get the pick of the litter, as far as QC is concerned.
Happy New Year,
12-29-2005, 01:07 PM
"I ruled out the grizzly because it is three phase. What about the China vs Taiwan question? Is the Enco a better built machine? "
Having a 3 phase motor is really a plus when you add a VFD. Three phase motors generally run more smoothly and having the ability to vary the speed is a BIG advantage, especially considering how limited the speeds are on the single phase machine. Of course, this depends on what sort of things you will be doing. Milling aluminum and drilling smaller holes really benefit from speeds greater than the 1970 rpm you get with the Enco. Also, if you do any gear cutting or even fly cutting with larger fly cutters, 120 rpm is just too fast.
I also looked at the Enco web site and I do not see any reference to Taiwan in the description of the 325-5184. Maybe it is made in Taiwan, however I am not so sure you are getting that much better of a machine these days just because it is made in ROC. I think I would spend the difference in price between the Grizzly and the Enco and get a VFD (and later a x-axis powerfeed, and DRO).
12-29-2005, 03:11 PM
I have had experience with ENCO machines. Although their support in helping you determine the replacement parts, actually getting the replacement parts takes a very long time. Additionally ENCO models change a little bit every year for the same machine. If it is more than 5 years old, getting a replacement part that has been updated since you bought the machine may be more difficult.
My first Harbor Freight machinery was the little 10X24 Drill/mill/lathe. The feed screw nuts were made from cheap bronze and cracked right away. The replacement parts were available, but it took about 3 months to get them. I say go with the better parts replacement / customer support even if it costs a few hundred more.