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View Full Version : Opinions please - Grizzly G4000 bench lathe



TexasKnifeMaker
07-12-2009, 06:47 PM
For less than a thousand dollars (free shipping) and for a hobby tool, this looks like a pretty good deal. Anyone have an opinion about, or any experience with, this machine??

http://www.grizzly.com/products/9-x-19-Bench-Lathe/G4000

Thanks,
Jacque

hawgwrench
07-12-2009, 08:29 PM
Not sure what you have in mind to do with this.....suspect it may have something to do with knives:D . I've tried some lathes similiar to this....not that EXACT one....but for now will assume that all of them are similiar. It was a nightmare,in a word. Anything more than 20 or 30 thou resulted in a alot of vibration,funky finish and chatter. My experience is these are best for non ferrous stuff and plastic,work great for light cuts on light material.IMHO you'd be alot happier with a heavier machine'you'll want to broaden your scope at some point,and then you'll have the machine to do it.

BadDog
07-12-2009, 08:36 PM
I started with that exact lathe. Mostly a "toy", but with a few mods (upgrade compound mount and "plinth" option to eliminate compound being the main ones) they do ok for light work on aluminum or VERY patient/slow work in steel. Slowest speed is way too fast, and half gear-box combined with change gears makes threading a chore. Within 6 months I upgraded to a Rockwell 11" and was pretty satisfied at that point. Personally, I would recommend you skip the 9x19 and get a better all around lathe. Whether you go for used SB or other small import, that class of lathe is just more hassle than it's worth in my opinion...

Bill Pace
07-12-2009, 09:39 PM
This little lathe is arguably the most popular of all the under 12" home/hobby lathes, so obviously they have something going for them;)

There must be 10 to 15 brands/makes of them with some strong indications that for all practical purposes the are all alike, so if you were to decide on one, find the cheap one (Usually the HF version)

With the huge following of the lathe it follows that there are a myriad of mods/tweaks/improvements that have been dreamed up for them, several of which can and do make the little lathe into a pretty decent little tool -- and, can be some fun projects in themselves.

As with most everything, there is indeed not only 1 web site at yahoo, but there are 2! There is something around 7000 members in this one ---
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9x20Lathe/
Take a look over there and maybe read back thru some random pages and you should get a feel for them -- and take a stroll thru the files and photo section

Now for my thoughts on them --- I have one, the ENCO version, and have done probably all the mods/tweaks to it and its an OK lathe --- for a newbie. Once you get bit with this hobby, you'll want to step up to better stuff, theres not much doubt there! I did,and have - moved up - to a 13".

radkins
07-12-2009, 10:19 PM
That is simply the Jet I had only a different color, I even bought some belts and a plastic gear from griz for that lathe for replacements for my Jet. If you must buy that machine, and I can from experience recommend not doing so if it is at all possible to do better, then get the thing from Harbor Freight and save yourself some money. Those things can be bought from HF with one of the discount coupons they seem to offer every week or so for less than $600 and they are the same exact thing except for the color! I had the opportunity to compare my jet "hands on" to the HF machine and I know for a FACT they are the same stinkin thing! Ditto for the Griz. Get the HF and if it does the job for you then you will have made a real deal and if it doesn't then you won't have lost as much, if it doesn't don't think the Griz would be any better because it won't. The Jet is generally considered the top version of that machine and the HF the bottom but as I said I know from hands on experience from both machines that the HF was every bit as good (or as bad depending on the point of view) as the Jet.

tony ennis
07-13-2009, 12:04 AM
The first lathe is tough. You'll see opinions from "do it! small chips are better than no chips" to "Chicom sux buy old American iron" to everything in between.

Don't do what I did - I bought a used lathe without a mentor. This has yielded a lathe that I can not use - it doesn't work. It has been educational - and entertaining - to fix it. But after 2 years of fiddling with it as time and interest permits - I still don't have a usable lathe.

My advice, then, is to buy
1. a larger used lathe with major assistance from a trusted knowledgeable friend, or
2. the largest new Chicom lathe you can afford, reserving money for tooling, or
3. the smallest new Chicom lathe that seems like it will work, understanding that you may be replacing it - and the tooling - in a year or two.

If I were going to make a list of my 'must haves' they would include a full threading box and a power cross-feed.

Depending on what you want to do, a turret lathe might be better. I don't know if they make them anymore however.

What do you want to build with the lathe?

radkins
07-13-2009, 12:38 AM
When I traded up from my little jet I shopped around for months looking for "old iron" but it seems a lot of other people was too! I guess it's out there and good deals pop up but not as often as they did a few years ago. What I did was to buy a new Chinese lathe, ready to work and not worn out, instead of an old lathe that I would need to do a lot of work on it before I could do work with it. I found that a lot of the even larger china machines, jut like that little one, are the same things with a different color and name so I just bought one from HF. I got the 14 x 40 gap bed engine lathe which it turns out is the exact same one Enco sells but at nearly twice the cost. Using one of the 20% off coupons and ordering from their "special order" catalog at the store I got this thing for only $2559.20 so with Tn sales tax of 236.73 and free delivery to the store that thing cost me $2795.93 sitting on my trailer, delivered from Enco would have cost nearly twice that much. This is for a new ready to run lathe and it has done just that since January rebuilding mining machinery parts. A machinist buddy of mine who uses the Enco version can attest to the fact they are the same as he has now spent a lot of time on both machines.

gnm109
07-13-2009, 12:59 AM
When I traded up from my little jet I shopped around for months looking for "old iron" but it seems a lot of other people was too! I guess it's out there and good deals pop up but not as often as they did a few years ago. What I did was to buy a new Chinese lathe, ready to work and not worn out, instead of an old lathe that I would need to do a lot of work on it before I could do work with it. I found that a lot of the even larger china machines, jut like that little one, are the same things with a different color and name so I just bought one from HF. I got the 14 x 40 gap bed engine lathe which it turns out is the exact same one Enco sells but at nearly twice the cost. Using one of the 20% off coupons and ordering from their "special order" catalog at the store I got this thing for only $2559.20 so with Tn sales tax of 236.73 and free delivery to the store that thing cost me $2795.93 sitting on my trailer, delivered from Enco would have cost nearly twice that much. This is for a new ready to run lathe and it has done just that since January rebuilding mining machinery parts. A machinist buddy of mine who uses the Enco version can attest to the fact they are the same as he has now spent a lot of time on both machines.


I got a new 13 X 40 Enco Gap Bed Geared lathe in 1994 for $2,300 in the crate out the door. They are twice that now. It's served me well and parts are still available if I need them. Back then, I couldn't locate any used manual lathe that wasn't totally worn out.

I think that the 9" lathe mentioned by the OP here is a bit small regardless of quality. the 3/4" spindle bore would stop me. Harbor Freight has more or less that same machine (9X20") on the web at about the same price with the stand plus tax and shipping.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=45861

radkins
07-13-2009, 01:14 AM
I have been very happy with my HF lathe so far. It has been trouble free, I just changed the oil when I got it, cleaned off the Cosmoline, made a few adjustments and it has been doing great. Even running it on a static phase converter it has plenty of power, is quite accurate and the feeds are very smooth, turning the feeds by hand is REALLY smooth compared to that JET! I got hooked when I bought the JET to build a few parts to a mowing machine I was building and I was wanting to trade up within only a couple of weeks but I used it for nearly three years before biting the bullet and getting my new one, I wish I had of bought the big one the first time! The first reaction from most people when they see it is "you bought that from HF, are you nuts"? Seems it's kind of hard to make some believe that HF's larger machinery is much better quality than the tool shaped pieces of scrap metal they have in the stores and they are actually the same quality as machines costing a lot more.

radkins
07-13-2009, 01:18 AM
Harbor Freight has more or less that same machine (9X20") on the web at about the same price with the stand plus tax and shipping.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=45861


And with the 20% off coupons they pass out every week or so (there is one now that's good through Monday) that makes the price only $559!

mbensema
07-13-2009, 10:13 AM
I have the Jet version of that lathe and it works ok as a starter lathe, but you will most likely quickly outgrow it and become annoyed by its limitations.

Some of the issues with it you should be aware of:

1. The lathe works as delivered, but several modifications will need to be made to make the lathe more usable. You can see some of these mods here www.bedair.org

2. Does not have powered crossfeed. If you do a lot of facing, you will come to hate this

3. Lowest speed at 130 rpm is quite fast. You will need quick reflexes to thread with this lathe.

4. Spindle is threaded instead of using a camlock nose, some like this, many don't. A threaded spindle cannot be run in reverse for those times you might want to mount a tool on the rear of the cross slide.

If you buy this lathe, go in planning on upgrading in the near future. That lathe is going out the door for something bigger with better features as soon as I find a new job. If this lathe is all you can afford, then I would say go and get it and start having fun, but go in with your eyes open.

gnm109
07-13-2009, 11:56 AM
And with the 20% off coupons they pass out every week or so (there is one now that's good through Monday) that makes the price only $559!

That's right. I hadn't figured on any discounts.

radkins
07-13-2009, 12:02 PM
Let me add to the problems with the Jet, not only does it not have power cross feed but the feed was very rough and required constant fussing (and cussing! :mad: ) to keep it smooth enough to feed by hand, I made an extension handle that could be attached to that tiny wheel when facing. Just as with several other items on that machine there are upgrades to fix this problem but it should not be a problem in the first place. Even with the handle attached there was still a problem with the screw binding from chips which was also a problem with the main feed screw, better keep a supply of those plastic gears on hand. Also you should keep a couple of spare belts (more like rubber bands) because these too fail quite often or at least I had a problem but I did push the machine to it's limits which is VERY easy to do. I suppose that for very small parts this machine is usable and maybe I expected too much from it but if that is the case then too much is not a lot at all!


BTW, When I got to use the HF version of that lathe I discovered that not only were they the EXACT same thing but the extra money (nearly twice as much!) for the Jet did NOT mean better quality, it was not any better at all, but the HF lathe came with a splash guard and a live center that was not included with the Jet even though it was $400 more, don't know if the Griz has these or not. Not too long after buying the Jet a rather good sized chunk of "bondo" fell out of the tail stock, so much for the better quality of the Jet! :rolleyes:

radkins
07-13-2009, 02:07 PM
That's right. I hadn't figured on any discounts.


When the girl at the counter rang up my lathe I just handed her the 20% off coupon and she deducted a whopping $639.80, it was as simple as that! :D

sidneyt
07-13-2009, 06:03 PM
BTW, what part of a knife do make with a lathe?

QSIMDO
07-13-2009, 06:33 PM
I've got the Grizzly 11X26 and all I can say is thank God I have access to the Takisawa at work.
Nothing more frustrating then to take just a tad too much cut and the thing stops dead, or to learn threading with 120 + rpm (I HAVE gotten right snappy though) or the lousy feeds or the limited capacity, or, or....
But it's all I could afford at the time and it has done some pretty decent projects so it was good to start on.
I'd say especially since you really do have to get in and make improvements.
You do learn a lot about turning and the realtionships of components.

You also learn the bare-ass minimum of metal you can assemble and still call it a lathe too! ;)

TexasKnifeMaker
07-13-2009, 06:44 PM
BTW, what part of a knife do make with a lathe?

several folks have asked ' whatcha gonna do with it ? ' and the truth is, I don't have a clue - I just love tools and a metal-working lathe is one that I don't have. For less than $1,000 the griz looked like a pretty good deal. It has some accessories that the HF machine doesn't - 7.5" 4-jaw chuck, steady and follow rest, MT#2 live center, faceplate, free shipping. Last year I had just about decided on a Lathemaster 8 x 14" Mini Lathe. But, at $870 plus shipping, this griz for $925 with free shipping looked like a better deal.

Jacque

radkins
07-13-2009, 10:52 PM
It has some accessories that the HF machine doesn't - 7.5" 4-jaw chuck, steady and follow rest, MT#2 live center, faceplate, free shipping. Jacque



Better take another look at the HF machine, it does have those accessories-all of them. Not sure what delivery costs would be for the HF unit but they will of course deliver free to a store for pick up there. I am sitting here looking at that lathe in the Griz catalog right now and there is no doubt at all this is the same exact machine as the HF/Jet/Enco, etc. With the usual 20% discount coupon from HF that's $559 vs $925 and the difference is the color and the price.


[EDIT] I just looked up the HF lathe on their site and for whatever reason they do not have a 4 jaw chuck listed anymore. I know the one my buddy bought, the one I used, had a 7" 4 jaw with it and the ones I looked at in the store (when they still had them in the stores) had these 4 jaw chucks included. It was about 5 years ago when he bought his and the last one I saw in the store was about three years ago so maybe they don't include those chucks now. They do however have the rest of the items listed but that chuck was the only thing of any real value. Maybe they dropped it to cut costs and maintain prices instead of increasing the price, it is the same or even cheaper now than it was 5 years ago.

Falcon67
07-14-2009, 12:46 AM
Yes, the Griz is a green HF 9x20. I have an HF model, got it in 2006 during a perfect storm of sale plus 20% coupon - out the Irving store door with TX sales tax for $519. Never mind the 500 mile round trip to fetch it. That's a trip to the store in Tx anyway ;)

Note: the 20% coupon fine print says OFFER GOOD FOR IN STOCK MERCHANDISE ONLY. [EDIT - see corrected info in post below [/EDIT] So you have to find a store that actually has one. You cannot order one with the coupon. Big city stores might have them - maybe. I didn't ask about back stock, but a recent trip through three Fort Worth area stores yielded zero 9x20s and zero mill-drills. The Abilene store used to have all that plus a 12x36 - now all are special order. If you trade with one a lot, you might get a deal from the manager. I did not make it to the Irving store on the lastest visit to the area - it's a big one that seems to have a lot of stuff in it.

Also note that the "7 1/2 chuck with reversing jaws" is a face plate. That little beast might die if you hung a real 7 1/2" chuck on it.

It's a good little lathe - I'm just an amateur, but I like having it. Had I known then how useful it would be, I would have just gone for the 12x36.

All the usability issues listed are valid - fixes are out there and each one makes it a little better. Join the Yahoo group and dig through the files - everything you need to know is in there, probably every question you'd have has been asked and knowledgeable options/answers posted in response so searches turn up plenty of info.

radkins
07-14-2009, 01:07 AM
Note: the 20% coupon fine print says OFFER GOOD FOR IN STOCK MERCHANDISE ONLY. So you have to find a store that actually has one. You cannot order one with the coupon.



Not so, I ordered my 14x40 from the "special order" book at the store. They will not accept the discount coupon for regular catalog orders but that special items book at the store is the same as "in stock merchandise". When I ordered my lathe I just paid for it at the check-out just like buying anything else from the store, handed the girl my discount coupon, she deducted the difference, handed me the receipt and told me it would be delivered (to the store) in 7 to 10 days. I know several others who have done the same thing at different stores in different states. The manager told me that they started doing this to save floor space and decided instead of having these large items on the floor they would just have the description and picture and would just ship them in from the warehouse when a customer bought one.

Falcon67
07-14-2009, 01:25 AM
That is good to know - I stand corrected. If I need to order, I'll try a different clerk next time!

PS - here's my HF in the "machining center"

http://raceabilene.com/misc/machine/MachiningCenter.jpg

BobWarfield
07-14-2009, 12:40 PM
several folks have asked ' whatcha gonna do with it ? ' and the truth is, I don't have a clue - I just love tools and a metal-working lathe is one that I don't have. For less than $1,000 the griz looked like a pretty good deal. It has some accessories that the HF machine doesn't - 7.5" 4-jaw chuck, steady and follow rest, MT#2 live center, faceplate, free shipping. Last year I had just about decided on a Lathemaster 8 x 14" Mini Lathe. But, at $870 plus shipping, this griz for $925 with free shipping looked like a better deal.

Jacque

Jacque, the 8x14's and their relatives are quite a bit nicer lathes than the 9x20's. They are much more rigid from the get go. Lathemaster is a good outfit, I have their 9x30, but there are others, including Harbor Freight that carry that lathe.

If you don't like the 8x14's, the Griz G0602 also has free shipping is a lot nicer lathe. If nothing else, it weighs 140lbs more. Have heard good things about it various places.

Cheers,

BW

TexasKnifeMaker
07-14-2009, 02:50 PM
PS - here's my HF in the "machining center"

(I didn't repeate the picture)
That looks like what I'd like to have, sizewise. I have the mini-mill (Sieg X2) from Micro-lux and am considering a lathe. How long is your work bench??

J.

Falcon67
07-14-2009, 04:25 PM
(I didn't repeate the picture)
That looks like what I'd like to have, sizewise. I have the mini-mill (Sieg X2) from Micro-lux and am considering a lathe. How long is your work bench??

J.
I think it's 22 x 60 but I can measure later. I got it on closeout from Sears for $99 just before i bought the lathe. They had some on closeout sale last week for $149 - might be similar. I built some brackets for the bottom that have adjustable feet so I could level it some.

The G4000 specs in at 37" x 22", per the manual.

TexasKnifeMaker
07-14-2009, 06:03 PM
I think it's 22 x 60 but I can measure later.
The G4000 specs in at 37" x 22", per the manual.

Great!! My bench is the same size - the table on the microlux mill is longer, but, this puts things in perspective. I can make them fit on the same bench.
Thanks.
J.

bobw53
07-14-2009, 08:46 PM
I Had a 9X20, a Jet. It paid for itself and then some. However, damn thing broke all the time. Gears, shafts and belts.

The gears in the apron are made from what appears to be compressed dirt and are about as sturdy.

All the screws on the steady rest came pre-stripped so I didn't have to it myself.

All the grease was already impregnated with sand (presumably as a filler) so I didn't have to leave it outside for 6 months.

It was a decent little fun machine, though for the weight and size, its pretty weak, I think i got more done on a 7X12 or whatever those tiny little ones are. Keep spare belts, and if you break something, buy multiple spares, it will break again. And spares of anything that mates with it.

A word of caution, the parts on all of them aren't the same, for my Jet, I figured it would just be easier to order Grizzly parts, in stock and ship quick. About a 1/3 of them were different, so had to order from Jet, and they take FOREVER.

radkins
07-14-2009, 11:11 PM
My jet was exactly the same thing and I agree 100% about the material those gears are made from. I don't know what parts are different between the Griz and the Jet but my buddy and I shared parts between my Jet and his HF outfit, there was not a thing we found that would not directly interchange. The only parts we ordered from Grizzly was those plastic gears and the belts both of which worked just fine. I had a lot of fun with my little Jet and if nothing else I learned a lot but it kind of ticked me off every time I thought about spending an extra $400 for the "better quality" (yeah right! :rolleyes: ) of the Jet. We both had the same problems, broke the same parts and did this at about an even rate between the two so, in my case at least, the extra money for the Jet was just a waste. These things can be a lot of fun and they are useful as there is a lot that can be accomplished with them but knowing what I do now about them I just can not see paying more for one the the HF model.

TexasKnifeMaker
07-25-2009, 02:51 PM
Well, after all the good input from y'all, I found a really great deal on a used ENCO 9x20 from one of the thread's contributors. Then, 2 days before I was going to go pick it up, I found out I was going to have to put a new roof on my house. Still waiting for the estimate on that, but, suspect it will be in the $5000-$7000 range. So, getting a lathe is on hold for a while.

Many thanks to all who have responded -
Jacque