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View Full Version : Opinions wanted on Craftex



Greg Parent
04-29-2003, 10:27 AM
Hello all,
Any opinions on Craftex lathes sold by Busy Bee Tools?
Thanks
Greg.

Forrest Addy
04-29-2003, 11:47 AM
Craftex? Busy Bee Tools? I dunno, the brand names don't give me confidence.

A quick look at their website makes me think they shop the same place as Grizzly, so why not buy from Grizzly and take advantage of their excellent after sales support? Seems like it's worth a few bucks just for the warm fuzzy feeling.

Greg Parent
04-29-2003, 12:50 PM
Where is Grizzly located? Busy Bee is a retailer right here in my home town. I guess many retailers buy from Asian suppliers and rename the products to fit their market. Is there a North American manufacturer of metal lathes? I would gladly buy a local product even if the cost was a little higher.
Greg

siminov
04-29-2003, 01:47 PM
I own a craftex B2229 3 in 1 machine. first off I wuoldn't recomend a 3 in 1 unless space is at a extreme premium in your shop. I bought the 3 in 1 thinking that it was a great deal " you get 3 machines for the price of 1" . the money would have been better spent on a better lathe.
I think that this machine is probably made in the same factory as the rest of the chinese imports, eg harbour freight. my particular machine seems to be a bit better than what most people say about the asian imports on the net. I would buy another craftex again but not a 3 in 1.
I am new to the machining hobby ( 4 years )so take my opinions with a grain of salt. there are definitley more educated opinions on this board hopefully they will pipe in.

G.A. Ewen
04-29-2003, 02:29 PM
A friend of mine has just taken delivery of a Craftex 12 x 36 gear head (don't know model #). It is very noisy, so noisy that you can't hear it cutting or hear someone shouting in your ear. I'm not exaggerating. It may be some problem with this partitular machine but I would recommend that if you are thinking about buying one, get Busy Bee to start it up in the show room.

mayfieldtm
04-29-2003, 03:28 PM
I was looking at the Craftex 14" lathe on Busy Bees Web Page.
It looks exactly like and with the same specs. as the Kent 1430 that I just purchased for $3600.
Only difference, the Kent came with a 2 speed 3-phase, 3hp motor.
Proving to be a very nice machine in all aspects. Dead quiet and smooth running.
My first cut was in CRS and produced nearly a Mirror Finish!
I can't find even the smallest item to complain about.
After spending years of my working life in front of South Bend, Logan and German machines, todays High End Chinese and Taiwan Lathes are fast becoming hard to beat.
Note: I said High End, the cheap stuff can be quite laughable.
Don't buy anything until you can get your hands on it first.

Tom M.

spkrman15
04-29-2003, 04:59 PM
I have found busy bee great when it come to customer service. Same as KBC tools. One of the guys even said ``i am not the expert on lathes...ask him. He knows more``. You don`t hear that in retail very often. I belaive Grizly and some of those other companies to have the same quality...mostly. Shop around and see what is best for you. I figured i would want to upgrade latter and get a better lathe as i got better. Besides the machine is only as good as you are. BTW i own a B2229 as well.

Sprkman15

Rotate
04-29-2003, 07:31 PM
Craftex looks to be identical to products that Grizzly sells. In fact, BusyBee and Grizzly have some kind of anti-competative agreement. Grizzly will not ship anything to Canada, not even their catalog.

I would say that the quality of their product is anywhere from poor to usable. I know because I've dropped a lot of cash with them over the years. Now, I'm a little wiser about what to buy there and what to avoid.

If their store is in your town, make sure you ask them to inspect the unit before they ship it to you. The quality seems to vary between crate to crate.

Albert

Thrud
04-30-2003, 12:22 AM
Greg

Forrest has a valid point for Americans, However Albert is correct in Grizzly hating Canadians. I was treated like dirt in one of their stores and I was going to import eh goods myself - their attitude has insured that I will never buy from them - ever.

If you are close to Busy Bee go talk to them and check the machine out for your own edification.

mayfieldtm
04-30-2003, 11:30 AM
If you compare closely the specs of the Grizzly Lathes... they just don't come up to the Craftex.
Suppose one should expect that with Grizzly's lower pricing.
I have a few pieces of Grizzly machines and are happy with them knowing I was not buying top quality.
However... I had a rather foul customer service rep. when I wanted to return some Drill Bits.
And without going into detail... I will never again use my credit card with them.

Tom M.

nortly
01-07-2010, 04:21 PM
I own a Craftex CT089 lathe I am reasonably happy with it there is only a few things i would change like the stand height. I find Busy Bees service top notch and there staff very knowledgeable i normally deal with the retail store in London Ontario

lynnl
01-07-2010, 04:40 PM
This is an old thread.

Duffy
01-07-2010, 04:42 PM
I own a Craftex CT089 lathe I am reasonably happy with it there is only a few things i would change like the stand height. I find Busy Bees service top notch and there staff very knowledgeable i normally deal with the retail store in London Ontario
I think that you will find that the "non-competition agreement" is actually a family thing. I understand that the owners of the two companies are relatives.
In any case, while Busy Bee prices are very good, Grizzly prices MAY be better, if only because they have the potential for ten times the sales volume.
My biggest moan about Busy Bee is that their bins always seem to be empty. Even when there is a sale on, f'rinstance, of end mills or number drills, they NEVER seem to have the ones I want in stock. They are opening a big new store here in Ottawa, by the way, (across the street from Princess Auto,) slated for February. Duffy

brian Rupnow
01-07-2010, 06:26 PM
I own both a Craftex B2227L lathe and a Craftex CT129 mill, and I find them to be very good machines for the price. I have been using mine for two years now, and if I have any complaint it is that the lowest speed on the lathe (115 RPM) is still a bit fast for my reaction time when single point threading.---Brian

loose nut
01-07-2010, 06:39 PM
Grizzly's machines and Busy bee's machines are probably exactly the same (different paint) since the owners are brother's it,s a reasonable assumption that they co-operate on buying things since they co-operate on other things, like deciding who can buy what from whom.

Both places sell equipment that can be great or crap just like every other purveyor of Chinese made stuff. You get what you pay for.

MotorradMike
01-07-2010, 07:08 PM
Hi Greg:

I live near Brockville and just recently got a Craftex B2227L lathe from the outlet in Ottawa. I expected a POS that I'd have to baby a bit to get a decent cut. Not so. This machine is at least triple the quality I thought it would be.

I wanted a Southbend of course but for many reasons that didn't happen.

The gearbox works well, all the parts were there, and I've cut several nice threads with it(new to me).
Fit and finish is Chinese, but improved Chinese.
Manual not great.
Covered in filthy grease but way better than rust.
Wrenches that came with it are going to recycle on Saturday.
Store personnel were awesome. Both in the showroom and on the loading dock.

I think the Chinese machine tools mostly come from the same place and get painted grey for Grizzly, green for Craftex and ? for ? else.

Great stuff for home, if you run a production shop go to Legere.


My 2$ worth.

Mike

airsmith282
01-07-2010, 07:53 PM
i have the busy bee B2227L lathe 10x18 and the CT129 7x20 Mill and love them both , i have over 25,000 mean hours on the lathe and its still in great shape still looks almost new i take care of my tools, any how i got only a few hundred hours on the mill but i love it as well, ill buy from busy bee before any one else when it comes to my lathes and mills, and the service is awesome to.. i had an issue with a bad tail stock sleeve was replaced with and entire new tail stock they didnt want to take any chances , anyhow sent them back the one that came with the lathe and all has been perfect eversence, i als bought the adjustable tool post as well and love it i have 2 of them now, one just for the parting tool i got , and the other for my cutters, the one that came with the lathe was not adjustable but its perfect for my knurling tools and i just leave them in it, anyhow id by busy before i would HF or grizzly stuff , if you want qauilty import lathes and mills you go busy bee tools, for the home shop size stuff, anything large scale shop around alot,,

uncle pete
01-08-2010, 04:14 PM
Bull***t

Pete

brian Rupnow
01-08-2010, 04:25 PM
Bull***t

Pete

And that comment was directed at???????????

uncle pete
01-08-2010, 05:27 PM
Brian,
Definately not you, 25,000 hrs. = 40 hrs. a week, 50 weeks per year for 12 1/2 years. On a unhardened fairly cheap Chinese lathe bed? I've seen this lathe on one of his videos, I don't post on this forum to cause trouble but I gotta call B.S. when I read it, This kind of crap does a diservice to any new inexperienced person that reads it. The whole concept of these forums IMO is for like minded people to get togeather and help each other out,Fabricated B.S. has no place here.

Pete

brian Rupnow
01-08-2010, 06:04 PM
Brian,
Definately not you, 25,000 hrs. = 40 hrs. a week, 50 weeks per year for 12 1/2 years. On a unhardened fairly cheap Chinese lathe bed? I've seen this lathe on one of his videos, I don't post on this forum to cause trouble but I gotta call B.S. when I read it, This kind of crap does a diservice to any new inexperienced person that reads it. The whole concept of these forums IMO is for like minded people to get togeather and help each other out,Fabricated B.S. has no place here.

Pete

Maybe "Mean hours" are different than "man hours":p :p Kinda like "Dog years" ya know----:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Arcane
01-08-2010, 07:22 PM
I just put airsmith's 25,000 hour figure down to him being able to do math as well as he spells. :D

Black_Moons
01-08-2010, 07:25 PM
Maybe he just takes a very long time to dial things in. 24900 hours dialing things in and measureing them, 100 hours turning. :)

But yea, I kinda smell BS too.

oldtiffie
01-08-2010, 08:07 PM
I have the same lathe as the Busy Bee item under discussion.

A very good machine.

I bought it as a 3-in-1 (mill-drill-lathe) and I've done some very good work on the mill (round column) as well.

It is a very solid and accurate performer - all of it.

I up-graded to a vertical/dove-tail column mill (HF-45) not because of any short-coming of the mill on the 3-in-1 but because I wanted a larger work envelope.

I only removed the mill from the lathe so that I could fit taper-turning attachment to the lathe.

Then I found that I need the mill that I had removed as well so I (had to) buy a Sieg X3 mill - which is great as well.

I have it in mind to up-grade/convert the X3 to CNC and as I still needed a small mill, I went and bought a Sieg Super X3.

I could have bought a new lathe as well, but as my "Busy Bee" lathe works so well, it is staying where it is.

I also have a Sieg 6" lathe as well for smaller stuff if the "BB" lathe is otherwise "busy".

So.

All of my "Chinese" stuff - "BB" lathe included - is going very well.

I'd have no hesitation at all in recommending it.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Lathe_misc/Lathemill1.jpg

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Lathe_misc/Lathe2.jpg

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Lathe_misc/AirSmith10.jpg

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Lathe_misc/AirSmith09.jpg

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Lathe_misc/AirSmith06.jpg

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Lathe_misc/AirSmith04.jpg

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/Lathe_misc/AirSmith03.jpg

airsmith282
01-08-2010, 08:41 PM
Brian,
Definately not you, 25,000 hrs. = 40 hrs. a week, 50 weeks per year for 12 1/2 years. On a unhardened fairly cheap Chinese lathe bed? I've seen this lathe on one of his videos, I don't post on this forum to cause trouble but I gotta call B.S. when I read it, This kind of crap does a diservice to any new inexperienced person that reads it. The whole concept of these forums IMO is for like minded people to get togeather and help each other out,Fabricated B.S. has no place here.

Pete

so Pete you say iam full if eh ..well you certianly dont work at this as a job if you do then you work 8 hours a day.. do the math again , i work 14 to 16 hours a day some days more every day 7 days a week and you do what for living, and yes iam sure my lathe looks great and does not look like it has thoes many hours on it.. Could it be i take care of my tools extreamly well ,could it also be i dont take massive cuts at a time but insteade i take lighter cuts i need my machines to last me so i dont push the hog part of it like most guys do , thus i dont have to fix my machine hardely what ever.you ask any one in this town that knows me how many hours a day i work to make a living at this machinest stuff they will tell you, hell ask my kid that has disowned me and my wife how long of hours i work out in my shop. the wife not disowned me but my kid did..

you know nothing pete , to me 1000 bucks is not cheap for a lathe and did it ever occure to you that they are very well made, for imports ill buy another one once i ware this one out, same as my mill from the same place now it dont have as many hours onit, my lathe gets 99% of all the work .

anyhow belive what you want to i dont care,and there is 52 WEEKS IN A YEAR NOT 50 again do the math

airsmith282
01-08-2010, 08:57 PM
Hello all,
Any opinions on Craftex lathes sold by Busy Bee Tools?
Thanks
Greg.

hey Greg if you get a chance before making your purchase iam not sure the size of lathe your after i have the B2227l 10x18 your more then welcome if you want to make a trip for the day and come to north bay you can make some chips on my lathe if you like and get a feel for the machine. and see it in action for your self, PM me and ill give you my contact info and we can set up a time and date , iam home most of the time i work at home so iam usually here ..

uncle pete
01-09-2010, 02:31 AM
Air,
Most people take 2 wks. a yr. for holiday's.

Pete

Black_Moons
01-09-2010, 06:51 AM
BTW don't forget to ask about 'freight subsity'
I got my lathe delivered to my door with lifegate for free due to 'freight subsity' they had on the item. I think they had like a $350 subsity on my 12x36 lathe and it only cost like $300 with liftgate.. but I only live like an hour from busybee.

airsmith282
01-09-2010, 09:26 AM
Air,
Most people take 2 wks. a yr. for holiday's.

Pete

well its nice for the rest of the world but i dont get time off unless iam sick as a dog and thats rare for me,iam also not the type of person that has the ability to sit for long if iam not busy doing something i get really frustrated,

terry_g
01-09-2010, 10:35 AM
I have a Craftex 12x36 lathe and a Craftex 8x30 knee mill . I am very happy with both of them. I replaced the 6" 3 jaw chuck that came with the lathe with a Bison 6" 3 jaw. The Craftex chuck had .0035" runout the Bison has .0015".
The craftex lathe is way more rigid than the Southbend, but it does weigh two and a half times as much.
I had a couple small warranty issues with the lathe and the mill. I am very impressed with BusyBee's customer service. They are very knowledgeable and followed up after the repair to make sure I was satisfied.
I would not hesitate to buy from them again.

Terry

David Powell
01-09-2010, 10:57 AM
I have a Busy Bee 12 by 36 lathe from the early 90s and a Knee mill from about 2003. Both are adequate for home use. Certainly they do not equal the lathes and mills I have used at work. That said I have never failed to complete any job I have undertaken with them. To get good finishes I have to take a little greater care of tool grinding than with industrial machines and always use good quality end mills etc. The only complaint I have is that the quill on the mill is not a really good fit and to bore and get a well finished job I need to lock the quill and raise the knee. I have broken a few silly plastic locking handles and blown up the electrics on the lathe and replaced them but I have had no major difficulties or disappointments, In my opinion, my Craftex machines are well worth what I paid for them. Regards David Powell.

loose nut
01-09-2010, 12:09 PM
Look at it this way, you have three choices.

1. Buy Chinese from Busy Bee, Grizzly, HF or other, it's basically all the same

2. Buy used "real iron" that is probably going to be worn out. OK if you are good at reconditioning equipment but not so good if you aren't. Worn out lathes aren't going to work any better then new cheap Chinese equipment.

3. you can drop $16000 for a new Standard Modern 13 x 40" lathe which are the only manual lathes made in NA anymore.

Other then that what can you do???