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Import Mill Purchase, Need Reccomendations

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  • Import Mill Purchase, Need Reccomendations

    I need an opinion regarding a new import mill purchase. I would like to hear from those with relatively recent experience with this equipment, preferably first hand.

    This machine is for occasional hobby use, however I would like the option of attaching CNC controls later. We dont need to hold extream tolerances but dont want a much poorer quality machine just to save, say $2,000. Our budget for the base machine is about $6,000 but dont want to spend that much if it dosnt make sense.

    The taiwanese options we have considered are the Grizzly G4027 (2hp,1P,$4,000), the G4029 the Enco Turn-pro BB100-1949(3hp,3P,$5300), or the MSC Vertrax(3hp,3P,$6000). I have heard good things about the G4027 but would prefer a variable speed control and/or a 3 phase motor with a VFD. I have not researched Jet.

    We are not opposed to chinese mills (grizzly, enco, or jet) but we have no experience with the quality of these machines vs. the alternatives. It is my understanding that the chinese mills are getting better and should be considered. I would like to hear from those of you with any of these machines to get your thoughts.

    Any help is greatly appreciated-

    David Ausman
    Anchorage Alaska

  • #2
    Personally, I wouldn't buy an Enco anything.

    And I think you get what you pay for. If a machine is $2,000 cheaper, there is a reason for it, even if it's not immediately obvious.

    Try to make a living, not a killing. -- Utah Phillips
    Don't believe everything you know. -- Bumper sticker
    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects. -- Will Rogers
    There are lots of people who mistake their imagination for their memory. - Josh Billings
    Law of Logical Argument - Anything is possible if you don't know what you are talking about.
    Don't own anything you have to feed or paint. - Hood River Blackie


    • #3
      Why not buy a used machine. There are lots out there to choose from and you can get a full size Bridgeport style knee mill for $3-5K.


      • #4
        Used machines are not too common in Alaska and when found seem quite expensive. Due to my lack of experience, I would want a knowledgable person to check the machine over before getting it. I would not want to buy it "sight unseen". Also, I have been told that for the price, a new import, abiet lower quality, is better than a worn-out bridgeport. All these things compell me to buy a new import machine.


        • #5
          I am not a big fan of the economy Asian imports. I do see your reasons for wanting to go with a new machine versus a used.
          The Grizzly and Jet are reasonably good machines, and have a good service reputation. I agree about avoiding ENCO, however, I believe the TurnPro is a separate manufacturer, non ENCO, and may also be of reasonable quality.
          If I were you, I would investigate the service organization of my intended purchase as well. A broken new machine waiting for long lead time parts or service people is no better than a worn out used machine.
          If at all possible, get to someplace where you can see the machine you intend to buy. Get a feel for it, and how it preforms. The pictures of these machines may look the same, but the machines are vastly different in person.
          Jim H.


          • #6
            I would check with some machine shops and find out where a used machinery dealer is and spend more time chasing that route. I bought my Lagun with very low hours for $3k and paid a reputable service tech to check it out. Then I drove 650 miles to Portland,Or, they put it in my 3/4T Dodge diesel, and I brought it home.
            Let me tell ya, it is well worth the extra effort to do your homework and at least try to buy a good machine.


            • #7

              Consider a used machine first - a actual Bridgeport in good shape will last forever with good maintenance. Lagun is good.

              Hardinge is taking over parts and service for Bridgeport VM and should start producing new ones if all goes to plan.

              Haas has a toolroom mill manual/full cnc that starts at just under $20,000. This is more than your budget, but it is worth looking into. They may even have some used units available. It is one of the few cnc machines that can be used like a manual mill.


              [This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 12-28-2002).]


              • #8
                Dave, I just purchased a Grizzly 4027 mill and while I have not had too much time to test it out, I will say that I am very happy with it, and that I am glad that I bought it over the used B'ports that I looked at. While I won't go so far as to say that it is as good of a machine as a new B'port or even that elusive used, but in good condition B'port, it is far superior to a used/beat up machine. It is tight, quiet, and as far as I can tell square. Other than that, if you have any specific questions about it, feel free to ask me. - Jeremy


                • #9

                  I'm in Eagle River, so know exactly what you're talking about in regards to used machines up here. That is the only thing I miss about living down south.

                  So far I've only purchased a drill press and cross table from Grizzly, but I've been pleased with their service. The cross table was damaged in shipment, and they mailed me a new one, which cost them $70+ on a $110 item.

                  I plan on purchasing a mill drill and lathe from Grizzly in the near future, they aren't the best of quality, but they are workable tools, and you won't be spending thousands of $'s on scrap metal, as you would on many used machine tools.

                  Another thing to consider is shipping costs. Grizzly is in Bellingham, so right on the docks, and you pick it up here down by Ship Creek. The shipping costs from Grizzly are roughly $.25-.30/# to Anchorage.


                  • #10
                    I would like to thank everyone who took the time to post, email, and talk with me on the phone. After much consideration and investigation, I purchased the Grizzly G4027 Mill and the G4003 lathe. Unfortunately, the mill is backordered 6-8 weeks but I will be happy to share my experiences with those who inquire.


                    • #11
                      Dave: Get real. bunch of us here have passed the stage where we forget to zip back up- now we forget to unzip!!!! Don't even buy green bannas- yet you expect us to remeber for 6-8 weeks to ask some thing?

                      Get real! YOU TRY to remember to let us know when it arrives and what you think. OK?

                      mumbles: folks always wanting me to rember for them, then bellyache when I do remeber what they said. I bet with 24 hours that damn thrud gonna deny he ever said some thing and i get laughed at. Grumbling


                      • #12
                        Did I tell you that my buddy gave me a 21" Viewsonic PT810 Professional Series monitor for Christmas?

                        I can read again!

                        ...and Quake 3 Arena at 2048x1560 is a blast


                        • #13
                          Lol, Thrud, I knew you could read. my mistake was I figured you would protest an earlier post (I dont remmeber which one) where i deliberatly twisted some thing you said 180 degrees. Thats why the mumble above- you not only can read, you have self restraint. I was counting on your well known inability to peacfuly tolerate fools.
                          You were misjudged, you a better man than I judged!! I was counting on your protest!

                          Still hope dave lets us know how he likes the new machine.

                          Congrats on the 21" monitor. Mine is supposedly 20" (meaasures 19 1/2) but nothing like the resolution you speak of. I am thinking of trying out a two monitor system (add a card, use an older monitor). Fastest game i play is free cell,which, as you may know, does not need an exrtemely good video card!!!!. And Gson says "wow- if Thrud has Quake, why don't you git it too?" I say no video card for that kind of game. Poor kid still trusts me!!!!
                          Peace bud


                          • #14
                            I have used both Tia and China machines the Tia is superior in terms of dependability over the long haul the machine in question is a MSC model that we have used in production 40 hours a week for more than five years.The machine is just now begining to show signs of wear and the only repairs have been a switch and the back gear shift fork.The china mill on the other hand is also an MSC and although the table and knee fit and finish are excellent the variable speed head is junk!Many of the parts that make up the belt pulleys were machined out of round by as much as .100 T.I.R.!This caused lots of vibration and poor finishes we wound up re machining many of the parts our selves.Bottom line stay away from china andvariable speed heads!

                            [This message has been edited by wierdscience (edited 01-04-2003).]
                            I just need one more tool,just one!


                            • #15
                              Yes, my once legendary ninja like reactions in such games has given way to being called "frag bait" too often by smart-ass 8 year olds shooting me in the back....