12-28-2002, 06:52 PM
I need an opinion regarding a new import mill purchase. I would like to hear from those with relatively recent experience with this equipment, preferably first hand.
This machine is for occasional hobby use, however I would like the option of attaching CNC controls later. We dont need to hold extream tolerances but dont want a much poorer quality machine just to save, say $2,000. Our budget for the base machine is about $6,000 but dont want to spend that much if it dosnt make sense.

The taiwanese options we have considered are the Grizzly G4027 (2hp,1P,$4,000), the G4029 the Enco Turn-pro BB100-1949(3hp,3P,$5300), or the MSC Vertrax(3hp,3P,$6000). I have heard good things about the G4027 but would prefer a variable speed control and/or a 3 phase motor with a VFD. I have not researched Jet.

We are not opposed to chinese mills (grizzly, enco, or jet) but we have no experience with the quality of these machines vs. the alternatives. It is my understanding that the chinese mills are getting better and should be considered. I would like to hear from those of you with any of these machines to get your thoughts.

Any help is greatly appreciated-

David Ausman
Anchorage Alaska

12-28-2002, 09:04 PM
I have used some of the big enco mills. They were ok but nothing to brag about. Mills ran ok but seemed to me a bit sloppy (run out.)I think they are probably ok for the money.
Good luck to you on deciding.

12-29-2002, 08:34 PM
I recently purchased an enco mill drill. I looked at all the imports in the $1500-2500 range. I've always purchased old machinery and fixed it up, and decided that I deserved a new machine that I didn't have to work on, so milldrills seemed to be the best option for the money. My experience with Enco was excellent, and the machine seems to work well, but I haven't really put it through any really tough tests.
good luck in your search.

12-29-2002, 10:50 PM
I have a CHEVALIER mill. Purchaced it 4 years ago at a machinery show as a "Show Special". It came with collet set and Accurite programmable DRO(does bolt circles, cutter comp, etc.) For a little under 9000, the DRO was about half of that cost. It was very hard to tram the head in on this machine. I don't move the head unless I absolutely have to. After about 6 months of running (not very hard work) the belt started to crap out, when I called for warranty service I was given every excuse under the sun for them not to come and fix it. The belt finally blew 2 wks. after the warranty was up and I had to fix it myself. The belt numbers did not match anything available from any of the power transmission dealers in the area. I had to get one from the dealer's parts dept. at a cost of about 4x the amount the power trans. guys wanted, and the numbers still did not match. I have gotten about 3yrs. out of this belt but I'm going to have to buy a spare to have on hand soon. Otherwise the machine seems pretty sturdy and I haven't had any problems with accuracy. A friend of mine bought the heavier model (square ways) about 2mo. after I bought mine and had the same problems with tramming and belts. At the shop where I used to work we had a Jet. That thing ate belts about one every 2mo. The DRO that was supplied with the machine read backwards (+ - ,- +) and got confusing. If I had to buy a Jet or a Chevalier again I wouldn't. I hope this helps.

12-30-2002, 12:03 AM
The nice thing about Jet is that freight is free on most machines, but I dunno about Alaska. Sharp machines are decent, and VERY popular in the northwest. Alliant machines are crap, as are Clausing. I don't know about the Enco or Grizzly machines, but they always looked questionable in quality to me.
Maybe consider looking a little further.

Go ask the guys at Cash Machine...if they're still in business.... http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//smile.gif

12-31-2002, 03:55 AM

I have a Grizzly G4027 Mill and like it so far. For the money it was a good buy. I don't know about converting it to CNC with the feed screws that are on the machine. Think you would need ball screws to get better accuracy.

The Grizzly products are a good buy for the money. The mill has been an exception to what I have found on other Grizzly products that I own. Most of the Grizzly products need work and debugging to get them to produce good tolerance and work smoothly. I have also found that the casting have improved over the years but they still don't get all of the sand off the casting before they assembly the machines. They do not deburr anything, many sharp edges. I have found paint in bearings, leaking seals, poor alignment and fits of parts and other such problems on new equipment. The mill has not had these problems.

One thing that I found out the hard way is that Grizzly will offer new equipment for sale and then discontinue it after only a year or two. Parts availability can be a problem when they discontinue the machines.

Several years ago I was at the trade show in Chicago and looked at a mill made by Acer. I is an import but it felt as smooth as a Bridgeport and was more expensive than Grizzly. I was told that they had machines that could be converted to CNC without changing the screws. You might want to look at them. The price for the mill was in the $6000 range.

12-31-2002, 08:37 PM
I would like to thank everyone who took the time to post, email, and talk with me on the phone. After much consideration and investigation, I purchased the Grizzly G4027 Mill and the G4003 lathe. Unfortunately, the mill is backordered 6-8 weeks but I will be happy to share my experiences with those who inquire.