View Full Version : Craftex

10-12-2011, 07:02 PM
So I went and bought a used Craftex 12 x 40 lathe. Did I buy a piece of junk or is it a useable lathe. Just seen a pic on Craigslist and spoke for it. He said his dad used it six times so it's basically new. Anybody out there with one? (gearhead) Peter

10-12-2011, 07:54 PM
Well......he's claims to be no expert (former member Airhead), but knows for a fact, that it's a good a machine as any Monarch, L&S, Sidney, Logan, Sheldon or other lathe made this side of the Pacific rim.


10-12-2011, 07:58 PM
So in other words, its a generic chinese made lathe.

10-12-2011, 08:05 PM
My experience with Craftex products is that they are at the upper end of the Chinese quality spectrum. Some are made in Taiwan rather than the PRC.

Craftex machines seem to have well made motors, for instance. The motor on my Craftex bandsaw is not likely to burn out and even after hours of use is only slightly warm. The quality of the castings is very acceptable and the overall fit and finish is good. I have looked at quite a few Craftex machines in a couple of Busy Bee stores and I would not be ashamed to have one. While many Chinese made machines may look very similar there are very considerable differences in quality at the detail level.

10-12-2011, 08:20 PM
I have a Craftex mill/drill made in 1984, so I expect that it is Taiwanese. In any case, it is pretty sturdily built and serves me well.

10-12-2011, 08:55 PM
Thankyou gentlemen, I assume I'll not be dissapointed. Peter

10-12-2011, 09:15 PM
Every thing was pretty much Taiwan in the 80's. I am lucky to have bought my vertical mill and 16" lathe in 1986. Still in perfect shape,though not used like they would have been in a production shop.

And,only ever used to cut BRASS,too!:)

jim davies
10-12-2011, 09:51 PM
Craftex is the house name of BusyBee. I have a few of their machines and in this corner of the world where machine tools are few and far between, they are good value for the money in my experience. The few times I have needed parts they have always had them, including the real old stuff. Prices are decent, too.

10-12-2011, 10:36 PM
I do not have experience with Craftex.

I have experience this Busy Bee.

Stay away from Busy Bee!! When stuff happens they claim not to know you and want to charge you to do what any retailer would do for free.

Busy Bee is the lowest of low!!

10-12-2011, 11:07 PM
That hasn't been my experience. Once they sent me a countersink that was supposed to be 82 degree but in the blister pack it was a 90 degree part. I called them to inform them and order another counter sink. They offered to replace it with the correct one but I told them not to bother.

The next day I had a personal call from the vice president of Marketing, Hanif Balolia, thanking me for alerting them to the problem since it turned out they had 5000 units all marked wrong.

Busy Bee is owned and operated by the brothers and relatives of the owner of Grizzly in the US.

10-12-2011, 11:19 PM
The newest Busy Bee catalog shows a new Craftex line for the high end hobby and pro market. It will be interesting to see what it looks like.
My experience at Busy Bee is you have to closely look at what you are buying. They have some good stuff and some really cheap stuff.
If its made in Taiwan is probably not bad.


10-12-2011, 11:49 PM
I have a Craftex 12 x 36 geared head lathe I bought it about 1 1/2 years ago.
I also have a Craftex 8 x 30 knee mill that is a couple years old. I am very happy
with the quality of the machines. the lathe is made in China and the mill is Taiwanese.
The 3MT taper in the tail stock quill was very poorly finished and did not hold well.
I emailed BusyBee and they promptly sent me a replacement quill which was properly finished.

I would say that they are good value for the price paid.


10-13-2011, 07:16 AM
Craftex is the house name of BusyBee.

Actually, Craftex is the name of Craftex Industries which is owned by the owner of Busy Bee. Craftex imports and sells a wide range of products including metal work machines, wood working machines and a wide range of assistive living devices ranging from special toilets to electronic screen magnifiers.

brian Rupnow
10-13-2011, 08:29 AM
Both my lathe and my mill are Craftex and I am very happy with them. Some of the local BusyBee tools distributor outlets don't know their a$$ from their elbow, but the product is good.

10-13-2011, 11:28 AM
I do not have experience with Craftex.

I have experience this Busy Bee.

Stay away from Busy Bee!! When stuff happens they claim not to know you and want to charge you to do what any retailer would do for free.

Busy Bee is the lowest of low!!

That' s not my experience with Busy Bee they have better than average customer support more than willing to correct all issues. You always catch more flys with honey than poop on a stick. Go figure!


10-13-2011, 12:26 PM
My 2HP Mill motor had a bad start circuit and would draw 20A and hum loudly unless you helped it go. However, it would spin up OK with no load.

The "tech" at BusyBee Ottawa tested it and deemed it fine because he was testing it with no load.
After a few minutes of explaining by me, he just said "OK", and handed over a new motor which worked fine.

Both my Lathe and Mill are perfect for my needs.

Sure, I'd rather have a LeBlond, or Myford, or Heavy 10, and a Bridgy(to drop a few names) but that's out of my reach.

10-31-2011, 11:32 PM
Holy crap, had to go to page 12 to find my post. The lathe arrived Friday and had it up and running today, Sunday, and I am pleased with the general quality of the machine 12 x 36. Don't like the stick on plastic degree graduations on the compound, will take it off and graduate it in the dividing head. The thread dial indicator has to be zeroed, just a matter of loosening the allen screw on the bottom and setting it while the threading leaver is engaged and carrage moved back to take up backlash. All in all however, I am pleased with the lathe so far, have to level it and check for twist while bolting it down. There are only three wires to the lathe, two one twenty's and a neutral. No ground? Do I need to provide a seperate ground or is it good to go as is. I'm a machinist not an electrician. Have to thank those that responded. Peter

10-31-2011, 11:36 PM
The 3rd is ground, theres no neutral.

11-01-2011, 12:52 AM
Thankyou, Peter

11-01-2011, 01:19 PM
I don't own any craftex machines, but know some that do, and they mostly seem satisfied with them.

I,ve only bought a few small items from them and the service was pretty good, however as Brian Rupnow stated some of their floor staff really need to read up or take a training course on what the product is they're trying to represent or sell, i,ve ran into one clueless guy who should have been doing the janitors job.:rolleyes:

Before buying i,ll do my darndest to find an american built machine, but it's getting very difficult, what is for sale a lot of the times is a "Baffed" out leftover someone is trying to peddle.

11-01-2011, 05:27 PM
Busy Bee is owned and operated by the brothers and relatives of the owner of Grizzly in the US

and what DFMiller said about them now having a higher end line...plus that Grizzly now ships to Canada (I am not entirely "up" on when this happened, just saying it has not always been the case...)...I am wondering if this higher end line is the same as the "higher end" line up that Grizzly has ("white"?) and also curious as to how much difference there is between the two product lines (Grizzly v Busy Bee I mean) when they both carry what is dimensionally the same item...knowing that Grizzly has a larger product line in general...and curious as to the conflict of interest, which would not have been there when Grizzly did not ship to Canada (family connection)...and, I guess, for that matter toss South Bend into the mix

uncle pete
11-01-2011, 06:06 PM
Take this as barely semi true, It's my understanding that anything Grizzly carries is avalible thru Busy Bee as a special order. Sometime in the last year or so both companys came to this agreement. South Bend equipment? I really don't know, Maybe somebody who has tried to order thru Busy Bee to get South Bend equipment could answer this. It does make a person wonder what the added extra charges to Grizzlys price would be. When I first heard about the Grizzly equipment being offered thru Busy Bee I guessed that it had something to do with them becoming a dealer for the South Bend line of equipment. So far I haven't seen any evidence of that. I'd be suprised if that didn't happen though. Grizzly now will ship to Canaduh so it may not be worth going thru Busy Bee.


11-01-2011, 06:15 PM
The last flyer i got from busy bee showed this new white line of machines, mostly wood working stuff.

I find it strange that if these are both family run businesses that grizzly is shipping to canada now cutting into busy bees sales.

That doesn't make sense to me.

What i'm wondering is if busy bee is going to switch to just woodworking stuff and grizzly will ship the metal working stuff?

uncle pete
11-01-2011, 06:35 PM
Or? Both companys made some trades and Grizzly is going to move into Canada? Maybe no more Busy Bee or at least renamed and both brothers are shareholders?

Pure speculation on my part, But maybe in the future? If you think about this, It would almost make sense since Grizzly has most of the U.S. covered and Busy Bee is a pretty small company in comparison.


11-01-2011, 07:28 PM
I got hold of Busy Bee over 2 years ago now...prolly closer to 3 years..about getting some Griz equipment.
Yep...they could get it for me...but HOLY SMOKE!!!....The price was pretty tall....I never ordered thru them.

11-01-2011, 07:37 PM
If you consider where Grizzly is based out of, and also the fact that the owner is known to read/interact on the various machinist forums online which likely means he has heard some of the griping about not selling in Canada...I would say that it simply made sense for them to sell up north. Also, regardless of potentially competing with Busy Bee if they are owned by relatives, it simply makes sense for two companies to work together to provide a larger line of equipment. More choices = happier customers = more sales made.

11-01-2011, 09:45 PM
To me, adding Grizzly and perhaps at some point South Bend to the mix leave a fair/good/great opportunity either deliberately or by chance to muddy the waters in regards the quality debate. And muddied in a different way since AFAIK, there is still discussion as to what of the South Bend product line one actually stands a chance of getting (in the US, taking importing into Canada out of the question for the moment)

Are some Craftex items the equal to Grizzly, to Grizzly "white", to South Bend? Are some Craftex more equivalent to HF? And when it comes to the individual lines, when talking about relative precision pieces (this goes back for me to that search for a lathe chuck) what is the hierarchical order? I mean you could have little difference for a good percentage more money just by different paint colours.

Related: unless I missed something, I found it a bit odd that the South Bend lathe chucks talk nowhere in the ads or colour brochures of TIR, for example.

uncle pete
11-01-2011, 10:06 PM
For what it's worth, I did buy 2 "Kurt type" vises from BB. Going by what I've read, I think Horror Freight would refuse to sell these. I did buy cheap and I got exactly what I paid for.

A higher price and no TIR? I can do better with other manufacturers that will list their maximum allowable specifications.


Robin R
11-02-2011, 12:04 AM
KMS Tools here in BC are now listing some South Bend products, mostly just things like collets and a drill press vise, though I believe you can order other things in. http://www.kmstools.com/manufacturers/south-bend-452/

11-05-2011, 10:19 PM
If you remember I was not thrilled with the plastic stick on degree indicator on the compound, turns out is was rivet on aluminum and only went to 45 degrees so I removed it.


So I put the cross slide on the rotary table in the mill and set it up and marked degrees on it. Machined a flat on the compound, dialed it in line with the bed and marked a datum, must remark it a little clearer. Only marked the 60 degree number as yet but will now know my angles.

http://i273.photobucket.com/albums/jj232/brockley1_bucket/compounddegrees001.jpg Peter

11-05-2011, 10:39 PM
Actually, Craftex is the name of Craftex Industries which is owned by the owner of Busy Bee. Craftex imports and sells a wide range of products including metal work machines, wood working machines and a wide range of assistive living devices ranging from special toilets to electronic screen magnifiers.

so i actually wasn't that far off all these years calling them Craptex :D

11-05-2011, 10:43 PM
Good job Peter...as usual! (Pssst...damn machinists...just can't leave nothin alone :D
Hope life is good back home....

11-05-2011, 10:46 PM
Yeah Russ, makes it look less like a toy. Peter