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Paul Alciatore
07-17-2008, 01:05 AM
On my way back from vacation, I stopped at the Grizzly showroom in Springfield, MO this past Saturday. I was looking at the G0484 vertical mill (dovetail column). It looks like a very nice machine for the money. Almost exactly what I need. The introductory price is still in effect - I was worried with the rumors of shipping rate increases. The salesman on the floor said that price should be good till the end of the year. But delivery is a problem. They are out of stock and the next shippment, due next month, is sold out. Looks like November for delivery. Oh well, I may not have the cash till then anyway.

I was particularly interested in the measurements. My shop has a low ceiling and the catalog does not give a good set of measurements. I cranked the head all the way up and found that it was well over my 6' 4" ceiling. I guess I will have to make a shorter base. The original base that is included with the machine is one solid peice of CI with several sheet metal cover panels. No real chance to shorten it. If I make a 18" tall base it should work. I'll need a short stool to work with it.

I picked up a $20 bench grinder from a stack by the door on the way out. At that price, I just couldn't resist. Hard to get the wheels for that price.

All the usual disclaimers.

doctor demo
07-17-2008, 01:21 AM
Paul, Did You check out the whole place or just look at the mills? Is it just a show room/ warehouse or do they mfg. there also?
Steve

J Tiers
07-17-2008, 08:06 AM
They don't make ANYTHING anywhere......

It is all contract manufacturing, in Asia. At least one of the locations does, or did, do some "re-manufacturing", i.e. repairing the factory mess-ups.

Grizzly QC, as far as I can determine from what I have purchased (and had to return in several cases), is dependent on the $$ amount. more expensive things may get better inspection. less expensive appear to be shoved in a box and sold.....

While that is natural, it does show that the QC is largely "after-the-fact" inspection, attempting to "inspect-in" the quality. There may not be any sort of SPC type process control at the factories. Or possibly the cheaper stuff is just "bought" from whoever makes it this week, which means that Griz has no control or input at all.

Their most expensive items are probably OK. No worse than anyone else.

Below that, I'd be careful.

ptjw7uk
07-17-2008, 09:59 AM
I thought all the chinese QC was done by the buyer as per Microsoft software!!!

Peter

oldtiffie
07-17-2008, 10:36 AM
This pic is about two Tool-makers who used to work for Black & Decker here in OZ.

They "chucked it in" and went out on their own.

One of them lives about 25 Km from where I live.

The pic will show that they have made quite a "go" of it all.

It seems that GMC export product (possibly some from China) to the USA and do quite well at it.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/GMC-tools1.jpg

I have several GMC items and I can tell you that they do the job. They are perhaps more for the serious "amateur" than the "Trade/Pro" but never the less they are well designed, work well, do all that they say they will and they have a support and "returns" policy second to none. I would never buy another "Makita" tool again as I'd go for GMC. For better/heavier stuff I prefer (German) "Metabo" and "Bosch" tools. They "cost' but they sure "perform" too.

I bought a GMC 7 1/2" power (wood) saw for $38 just to do a couple of small jobs with the idea that if it didn't work out I would and could afford to "toss it". Well, what a pleasant surprise - everything was just as you'd want it and it performed flawlessly. I chucked the "Makita" instead!!!

I have several GMC tools and all do their job very well. I have heard and seen some problems with compressors and portable generators but the returns policy "kicked in" and replacement or full refund was there without question.

They also bought, own and support the well-known OZ "Triton" range of tools.

http://www.gmcompany.com.au
http://triton.com.au

pcarpenter
07-17-2008, 10:57 AM
We have family in Oklahoma and I have hit the Springfield, MO Grizzly showroom several times. Its nice to get to see stuff so you can do your own QC, but they don't have one of everything there. Even at that, its a big place and they do have a lot of their tooling type items out for display in addition to a lot of the machines they sell.

I am not sure I agree with Jerry, but it depends on how you define "cheap stuff". After getting to see a lot of their stuff together, the percentage that is really junky is small, so a small mail-order sample might not produce a valid assumption. A lot of their tooling items are cheap because they are small items and just inherently not that expensive, but are actually quite nice for the money. In other cases, they are commodity items, but priced higher than the same item from one of the other importers such that it pays to buy it elsewhere. One of my favorite finds was this face mill which was very well finished and came with three Mitsubishi inserts. It was about as cheap as many of the imports, but much better made. It uses a standard shell-mill arbor. Someone here pointed out that the brand on the box for the head (which escapes me) is actually a Korean company.

Edit-- as for the original topic, I think I would make allowances in the ceiling and keep the nice heavy base :-)

Paul

http://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n16/pfcarpenter/Tooling/GrizzlyShellEndMill1.jpg

oldtiffie
07-17-2008, 11:05 AM
On my way back from vacation, I stopped at the Grizzly showroom in Springfield, MO this past Saturday. I was looking at the G0484 vertical mill (dovetail column). It looks like a very nice machine for the money. Almost exactly what I need.
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Paul,
that machine is the newer version of the oft-quoted/mentioned HF-45 with the power raise/lower on the milling head. I don't mind the "handraulic" method on mine but power will be nice.

http://www.grizzly.com/products/g0484

It has good vertical clearance and a reasonable table size and "X" and "Y" travel.

I soon found that a power "X" was very desirable and bought one.

Tilting and re-setting the head is a PITA. If you go past 30 degrees you sure had better have a good grip on it at it is very top-heavy and has no adjusting worm/mechanism. I use as large shifting spanner on a 1/2" or so section on the side of the head. The three securing bolts are a PITA to get right as well but with practice and perseverance, you will get there.

I have the MT3 spindle taper as it takes all my 3MT tools for my 3-in-1 and my "Seig" X3 mill as well. Its apparently as rare to see an R8 spindle taper here as it is to see an MT3 taper in the USA. Same applies to collets. Its just about all ER series here whereas in the US it seems to be R8 and C5.

That machine is quite heavy enough for good cutting both with HSS and TC. I can drive a 3" facing cutter easily.

The accuracy is quite good. I do like the quill fine feed.

The geared head is very noisy but it works very well.

My 8" rotary table sits on that mill easily.

It is a pretty good mill really.

sbmathias
07-17-2008, 03:45 PM
A very interesting side note to this thread is Global Sources. As I understand it, this is an organization that promotes sourcing goods from China. At their web site http://www.globalsources.com/ you can see the scope of what a variety of goods they handle.

I'd heartily recommend that you get a free copy of one of their sourcing magazine (Hardware and DIY is quite interesting). Several things struck me:
1. The quantities involved. 500 chain saws may be the minimum order.
2. The scope. Many of these Chinese manufacturers develop many new models of whatever they sell each month. Compare that to US time-to-market.
3. The professionalism. Almost every ad for a manufacturer will tout their ISO certification, responsiveness, etc. All ads are very professionally laid out and worded. No chinese english anywhere. They really want to convince you to do business with them, and it is quite effective. (Your mileage may vary, however.)

Order a free issue, and prepare to be amazed.

Paul Alciatore
07-19-2008, 02:18 AM
Steve,

Grizzly is an importer. I do not think they make anything themselves. Their Springfield showroom is a very nice looking, modern, clean, well lit, ACed building that occupies about a city block. They even have a snack area which my wife appreciated while I was looking. As near as I can tell, all of their items are on display there. And a big stuffed(?) bear, a grizzly I suppose. It is a very nice experience. They have a warehouse across the street that is even bigger, but not open to the public.

I did make a circuit of the floor and looked at other things, but my visit was somewhat rushed so I was a bit selective. I had been there a couple of times before so the initial WOW factor had worn off. They have three models of Drill Doctors that I looked at.

As for quality, their stuff is made in China for the most part. I have seen other imported machines and have read the many descriptions by others here and on other boards. I have purchased several Grizzly machines in the past, including a mill drill for my employer, a 3 in 1 sheet metal machine, a rotary table, and a couple of metal cutting band saws. I have not had any major problems with any of them and they worked out of the box (off the pallet), but there have been several small problems over some years of use. And the mill drill did need to be trammed in by shimming the column. In my opinion (and I am not anywhere near an expert) their quality is as good as or better than other importers. I have also been to a local HF store and there is absolutely no comparison between the machines on display there. I would be very hesitant about purchasing a major machine from HF, but not from Grizzly. Others I have no experience with so I can't comment. And of course, that's just my opinion.

J Tiers
07-19-2008, 09:02 AM
I am not sure I agree with Jerry, but it depends on how you define "cheap stuff". After getting to see a lot of their stuff together, the percentage that is really junky is small, so a small mail-order sample might not produce a valid assumption.

Actually, the "sample" includes some mail order I bought (or returned) plus larger equipment bought either by my employers, or by clients.

The very expensive stuff is the best QC'd and tends to have the least problems.

Medium stuff works, but will have some "issues" in many cases. Just annoying things, usually, minor fixes.

Small items are highly variable. That cutter may be quite good. Of perhaps 7 or 8 smaller items I either bought myself or recall that others bought, maybe 15% or 20% were bad enough to return. The rest were either fine, or at least usable.

To my mind, the advantage, if any, of off-shore manufacturing is NOT the ability to make the cheapest stuff even cheaper, although that is what is normally done.

The real advantage as I see it is the opportunity to make the better stuff less expensive, but still of high quality.

I am not interested in buying cheaper crummy stuff. I would prefer to buy a better quality item for less than I might otherwise pay.

Having a generally lower labor rate SHOULD allow that. It isn't getting something for nothing, it is taking the same time and trouble, but having that time and trouble cost less. The cutter pictured is a possible example. Depends on whether it's characteristics are "acceptable for the cost" or "very good fit and finish etc". I gather that it is towards the latter.

Unfortunately, that is the reverse of what normally happens. Only after costs have risen does the other come into effect. Some of that is natural, since low cost labor is often unskilled, and after acquiring skills, the cost rises. But one would expect that more would take advantage of the opportunity.

Instead, everyone goes for the lowest rock bottom purchase price, forgetting quality altogether, and even cheapening construction, removing features etc to reduce the cost FURTHER. Alternately, marginally executed 'fluff" features are added to a cheaply built unit, attempting to "imitate" a better unit. This when a very good durable and solid unit could be made for the cost of a domestic cheapie.