View Full Version : Mini Lathe, part 4
Hoping that there are a few canucks here - well, at least one - who has purchased the minilathe from Princess Auto.
We can view it in all its glory in a catalog picture but all in the store are crated up.
Specifically, would be interested in your experiences with it. Pros, cons, what it does well and not so well. Do you have any idea of the manufacturer or more useful, its US equivalent (Grizzly, Harbor Freight)? Ever had to obtain spare parts (I gather some spare plastic gears might be worthwhile to have handy)? Any problems with the solid-state motor controller?
Any other gems of info about this model happily accepted.
03-27-2008, 03:23 PM
Will Grizzly ship to Canada (eh?):D I went that route to gain a bit of extra bed length. They claim its a 7x14 if I recall correctly.
I should sell you mine. I have hung on to it in spite of the fact that I now own a larger lathe because I am sure I will kick myself for selling it. Its been nice having one in the house. On the other hand, since I have had the bigger lathe, I keep thinking I might be better off converting it first to cash and then to some other sort of tooling :D Its in pristine shape with lots of the standard mods/improvements done so I hate to think about how much work I have done to it vs. the amount I used it..as though that will get better by keeping it:rolleyes:
Still, I would want the extra length if you can get a Grizzly there....plus the parts availability etc.
03-27-2008, 05:17 PM
They have everything you could ever want for mini-lathes and mini-mills.
They also have metal gears as well as plastic available. The costs are reasonable. Check out and bookmark this website.
You will find everything there, prices, tips, and opinion.
03-27-2008, 07:14 PM
the Calgary Princess Auto has their lathe and mill sitting out where everyone can play with them!! i had a quick look, but dont recall anything special about it... i think its pretty much the exact same as any mini-lathe.
Expect that the weight/distance for shipping from Grizzly (don't know exactly where the closest shipping point would be) would make a lot more expensive + customs clearance, etc.
Harbor Freight (HF?) does have stores in Michigan & New York (live in Eastern Ontario); this makes a cross-border trip a possibility but customs a factor here too.
Looking at their web sites, minilathes in US from these companies are ballpark price of the lathe in Canada - before considering freight(or road trip), customs, etc.
Thanks again, Dunc
03-27-2008, 11:26 PM
Do you have any idea of the manufacturer or more useful, its US equivalent (Grizzly, Harbor Freight)?
Any other gems of info about this model happily accepted.
The manufacturer WILL BE a chinese company called SIEG, they make ALL the mini lathes, NO MATTER who has their sticker on it or what colour it's been painted, it's called badge engineering.
So if you see a Grizzly, or the one you looking at, they are ALL the same, they ALL use the same spare parts manual.
Some 'turkeys' will say that the brand they have, is superior to some other brand, but their talking through their butt, they are the same bloody machine, just painted different colours or the switch is in a different place.
Spare parts are available from any corner store that sells these little gizmos, so no problem getting bits for them.
Look around for the lowest price and that way you can get a few extra's for it, instead of paying though the nose for the same thing.
Anyone want to argue about what's written above, then you better check with Sir John, before you decide to answer.
Sure clears up a lot of questions
03-28-2008, 09:52 AM
iam a canadian and got one of thoes minilathe from princessauto ,,it was total garbadage the controller board blew after only 2 month well ust under 2 months to be exact i was not impressed and furter not impressed i drove 3 hour out of my way to retun it for another one and got there and what was supposed to be another new one new in a box ,was a on the floor for who know how long missing a pile of peices i was not impressed got my money back went to busy bee next door and after about a month i spent the extra 100 plus tax and shipping got my self the 10x18 lathe for 999.00 in sale price and i have been happy ever sence had onyl one tail stop problem they ship me a new one right away and i sent them back the dud one and all is good and i have had it now for almost 2 years and have only had that one problem but no problems eversence and iam ruung my lathe almost every day for hours and hours at a time its bigger and better all around..
iam sure there are some good mini lathes out there but the one at Princess auto is junk in my honest opnion and busybee will always get my busines for any of my machineing needs..
sorry if i sound a bit harsh but once bit twice shy ....
03-28-2008, 11:27 AM
Not to be argumentative but to keep the record straight, there are at least two Chinese manufacturers who supply minilathes to US distributors: SIEG and Real Bull, where SIEG seems to have the vast majority of the market. Owners of these two argue about which is superior, of course, but the differences seem minor. The easiest way to tell them apart is by the carriage - the Real Bull has way wipers while the SIEG does not.
Australia seems to have more Real Bull machines than the US. Europe has SIEG and Real Bull plus additional suppliers, possibly including Weiss (Germany?) who reportedly has a plant in China now.
The minilathe seems to be a common design (possibly distributed by the Chinese government) which is manufactured - with some variations - by a number of companies in China. Because of this common design many (but not all) parts are interchangeable between machines from different sources.