View Full Version : New guy here. Looking for advice.

02-05-2008, 02:27 PM
Hello guys, I've been reading and dont see much when it comes to a JET lathe and mill ?

What do you guys think of Jets smaller tools ?

The size is just right for me, prices are a little higher but does it mean a better product or not ?

Thanks for any feed back.

02-05-2008, 02:51 PM
I don't want to be rude to a new guy, but when I searched on "Jet lathe" I got 500 hits.

Everyone has their favorite brand. Jet tools may have a bit better fit and finish than some (take Harbor Freight as a worst-case example), but its no guarantee.

I bought a Chinese lathe with the "Kent" name on it. The same lathe is sold by Grizzly in "Grizzly green". At the time, the machinery dealer I ordered from also sold Jet. When I asked if he had had any problem with Kent (another importer of asian stuff) he said the only thing he had had problems with recently was Jet....so there's two conflicting opinions in one posting.:eek:

I am happy with what I have. Few of the imports are perfect, but neither is a well worn US machine tool. I just went and looked at yet another well-used US lathe for my Uncle this weekend. I think the reason you may find that many hate answering the "which Chinese lathe should I buy" question that comes up so often is that it always ends in the Import vs. used argument:D They likely also hate it because it comes up so often:D


02-05-2008, 03:04 PM
After more research I'm leaning towards Grizzly. This lathe and mill should be just right for me.



Peter N
02-05-2008, 03:19 PM
There is a very active group on Yahoo for the 9x20 lathes, and it may well be a good idea to join up(free) and do a bit of research on there.
Owners have come with many modifications and improvements for this model, and there is a wealth of ideas and support out there on the net for it.


There is a simlar group for mill/drills, and again, probably well worth joining for advice and support.



02-05-2008, 03:30 PM
You may want to do more research on the round column vs. dovetail column vs. knee discussion. Round column mill/drills tend to be a nuisance (I've heard) because they lose their alignment when you move the head up or down.

But suitability also depends greatly on what you're going to do with it.

As for quality (or lack thereof) of a particular brand: it all depends on which machine you're talking about. All brands have machines that are better (or worse) than others. IN GENERAL, Jet tools may be better than some other brands, but if you don't talk about "Model X," then it's just probability, nothing definite.

You seem to want to buy a lathe and a milling machine. While that's definitely a good long-rage goal, you may want to consider putting more money into getting a better-quality lathe or milling machine now, and waiting a year or two to get the other machine when you've saved up more dough.

02-05-2008, 03:30 PM

I'd look around before buying a round column mill. LOTS of setup time used up due to loss of registration when raising & lowering the head to change tooling.

The rectangular/dovetail column design or good ol' knee mills don't have the problem. I have an X-3 (dovetail column) and love it. http://www.grizzly.com/products/Mill-Drill/G0463 Ya pays yer money & takes yer choice.;)

Your Old Dog
02-05-2008, 03:34 PM
befor you spend any real money on a mill, reconsider the mill/drill. That's what I have but sure wish it was the square column version. When I loosen my head to run it up or down the head flops around taking me out of registration with the work I've just done. (why are we speaking so clearly? LOL)

I got a geared head thinking it would run slower. Well it does but goofing around like I do speed would be a nice advantage. Mine tops out at 1500 rpm and I think the belt driven ones go nearly twice that speed but not sure. The geared head also makes much more noise then the belt jobs.

Welcome aboard, have fun and don't be a stranger. Your presence makes some of us look like we know what we're talking about! I was in your shoes not long ago :D (actually if the truth be known I'm probably still wearing at least on of them!)

Mark Hockett
02-05-2008, 03:35 PM
You might want to look at the dovetail column mills. They are much better for milling. The mill drills can be painful to use as a milling machine because the Z axis can rotate on the round column making it hard to raise or lower the column and keep the spindle in the proper position. Here are some links to the dovetail column mills.



I would also look at the 10"x22" lathe if you can swing the extra cash,


02-05-2008, 03:46 PM
and why not got for the latest Square Column Mill too ...


Alistair Hosie
02-05-2008, 04:17 PM
Hi welcome wouldn't you consider used equipment ?You could get a good as new deal if you watch out for one more bang for your buck as you guys say just a thought.Alistair

02-05-2008, 06:25 PM
I'm a paraplegic and for some reasons being at a machine shop would be hard to do at times, I will be moving into a new place and it has a good sized shop out back, I'm try'n for a grant for a small buisness.
I want to present them with a high and low end set of tools needed, if they wont or cant do a grant for me I'll apply for a loan.
I'm a welder by trade for 15 years so picking out welders is the easy part.
I'll mainly have to see what's available to me and go from that.

02-05-2008, 07:13 PM
Is this going to be a general machine shop, or are you planning on making something in particular? Those machines look to me to be a bit small for general 'whatever walks through the door' work.


tony ennis
02-05-2008, 07:46 PM
The frustrating thing about Chicom tools isn't that they are bad, or good. It's the inconsistency between identical tools from the same manufacturer, at least at the low end.

02-05-2008, 08:52 PM
Is this going to be a general machine shop, or are you planning on making something in particular? Those machines look to me to be a bit small for general 'whatever walks through the door' work.


Mostly for the airgun and motorcycle guys I'll be making small parts for, and any other that my come in, as for the welding I'll take what ever I can get as building trailers to sheet metal intakes for racers to welding premade parts for others.

The Mill and Lathe will be used to make odd parts and making parts fit, so would tool room quality be more for what I'd need ?

02-06-2008, 09:44 AM
I wasn't so concerned about the quality of the Grizzly machines, as Chinese stuff goes theirs is pretty good. I was just thinking of their size, I'm afraid you'll have to turn away too much work because your machines aren't big enough to do it, or to do it at a profitable rate.

I would also echo the folks that suggest a dovetail column mill, or a knee mill. While it's entirely possible to do exquisite work with a round column mill, it's likely to take a lot longer due to the need to either plan the job so you don't have to move the head, or re-align it when you do. For a hobby that's fine but for a commercial shop it seems like that time would kill your profit.


02-06-2008, 05:46 PM
Thank you for the help. Words of wisdom ! The best way to learn is to listen to those who know !

tony ennis
02-06-2008, 08:28 PM
If you're having a shop built, that will run 20 thousand dollars (guesstimate.) With regards to building a business case, it doesn't make sense to populate that building with 2 or 3 one-thousand dollar machines. If you can get the loan for the building, you can likely get a similar amount for tools, tooling, supplies, business machinery, and accounting services.

02-06-2008, 09:34 PM
Definitely go for the square column on the mill. Siegs are nice in the smaller sizes. There are bigger ones to, the Rong Fu 45 and clones. I have an Industrial Hobbies mill that has a lot of capacity and is great.

On the lathe front, I would seriously consider the 10x22" suggestion as well as a Lathemaster 9x30 for smaller lathes. The 10x22" looks similar to the Lathemaster. Check the weight of these lathes, it gives a clue to their rigidity. The Lathemaster is very similar to a small SouthBend and a lot heavier than a 9x20. Even a lower end 12x36 lathe is likely much more accurate than the little lathes.

If you really want a "pro" shop, you should be targeting a 12x36 or maybe a 14 or 16" lathe and a Bridgeport clone.

Lastly, with machinery, you have to factor shipping into the overall cost. It can be significant! Be on the lookout for deals. Enco often has free shipping on some of their machines, but never on all. That can be a big savings.

Also be sure to budget for tooling. The rule of thumb is you'll want as much money for tooling as you spend on the machines. I started out thinking that was BS, but it can even turn out to be light if you're gearing everything up from scratch because you've got to pay for all your measuring and other incidental tools. Machine specific tooling will involve cutters and workholding among other things.

Given your handicap, you may want budget for power feeds if you're buying a mill of any size. The mill and lathe you mention are no problem, but cranking the table or a heavy head up and down on a bigger mill is a lot of work. Besides which your finish will be nicer and you'll be more productive.

BTW, lots of ways to make money. You're a welder. It looks to me like a CNC plasma table could be a money maker depending on what's available in your area. You can build one of those beasts pretty easily--lots of folks over on CNCZone are doing it. I've talked to people who claim they paid for themselves pretty fast.

Best of luck and welcome to the board!


02-07-2008, 12:39 AM
Mike, I bought a new Jet heavy 13x40 lathe three years ago, and followed that with a Jet JTM-2 vertical mill a year later. The lathe is a chicom, while the mill was made in Taiwan. They both work well for me, but the lathe had some problems - it was the single phase model, and the motor crapped out within the two yr. warranty period. Since they didn't have a spare motor in country, Jet gave me $300 credit towards a replacement motor of my choice. I went with a 3hp 3-phase, bought a VFD to run it, hired an electrician to rewire it, and have been well-pleased with the way that worked out. The OEM 3 & 4-jaw chucks were crap - they needed balanced, and the 3-jaw didn't sit on the D1-4 spindle squarely. Jet replaced them both with better quality chucks.

No real problems with the mill, though the goofball who prepped it for shipping from Taiwan secured the plastic toolbox on the table with plastic wrap. It wound up rubbing through the wrap around the table, causing some rub marks into the table surface, along with some light pitting in those marks. They haven't caused me any problems yet, nor do I expect them to - it's just kind of a bummer to spend the money on a new machine and wind up with a blemished table as part of the deal.

I drove out to Vegas to the SHOT Show last weekend and had the opportunity to meet the owner of Grizzly Tools, as well as to get a good look at the two gunsmithing lathes he sells. They were both very good looking machines, and I'm lusting for one of the 16x40s. He also had a new Taiwanese variable speed 16x40 lathe and VS 9x49 vertical mill on display. If these machines had been available three years ago when I was shopping, I'd have made my purchases from Grizzly, even if it meant having to save up until I could swing the deal. Jet treated me fairly on the problems my machines had, but Grizzly has also got a great reputation for customer service.

02-07-2008, 03:58 PM
The house we are getting in a month has a shop out back, has all the power but needs water and phone line, I dont want to build a Pro Shop and wont have room for large tools, a lathe around the size of 8-9" X 20" will be just fine.
I'll looking at CNC for a mill so I can carve out shapes and names, but I dont see a need for it to power the mill head up or down. My wife wants a new'r PC so I can use this one in the shop.

02-07-2008, 04:33 PM
not sure cnc would work if you do not power the z axis otherwise you will be limited to outline shapes only.

02-07-2008, 07:42 PM
:o oops........... yep, got to have the head move up. Cant you tell I'm a newbie.
Anyway to do this with out a $40,000 cnc mill ?

02-07-2008, 08:09 PM
Just make your own CNC mill like Evan ;)