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More newbie lathe questions.

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  • More newbie lathe questions.

    Ok, my trailer has finally sold and I am about to buy a lathe.

    I noticed while looking at lathe specifications that some lathes have rather a course "fine" longitude feed at 0.0047 (G9249) while other lathes have a rather fine "fine" longitude feed at 0.0011 (G4003). On the other hand, the G4016 has a fine feed of 0.0036. Is this something I should concern myself with? My only experience is with a Sherline 3.5x17 and I don't have the feed motor so I always hand fed the machine. (As an experiment, I was able to use the change gears to feed at around 0.010 and found that the finish was very poor....however, I did sort of expect that to happen.)

    Can the G4003 be placed against the wall? If I were to order it, without the stand, I would place it on one of the wide, concrete, ledges, around the walls of my formerly dirt floor, dug-out, basement. Also, how high is this stand? My ledges are about 26 inches high and over 20 inches in depth.

    Does anyone know what is the maximum weight that a lift gate can handle?

    Could a 127/120 tooth gear set be made and installed on the G4003? I noticed that they approximate the metric change gears on this lathe...though it is probably not much of a problem. However, the G9249 and G4016 both use the 127/120 tooth gear sets....and the G4003, G9249, and G4016 appear to have the same QCGB.

    Also, has anyone ever ordered a large tool (i.e. lathe) recently from Southern Tool Catalog? If so, what was your experience like?

    Oh, yeah, I did look at the G4003-type lathe at a HF store nearby and played with it for a little while. It didn't have any visible problems and the ways were very nicely ground.

    Also, why does the manual state that 36" are needed behind the G4016?

    Thanks in advance,

    Last edited by Rif; 06-07-2007, 04:42 PM.
    There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.

  • #2
    I don't see why you couldn't put the lathe against the wall. The important thing is to have space on the left of the headstock, so you can readily feed barstock through the spindle. Space behind the lathe is useful because it facilitates cleanup, but offhand I can't think of a reason why you'd absolutely have to have it.

    FWIW, my South Bend 10K has a fine feed of 0.0015". While I have occasionally used it, the finest I usually go is about double that -- 0.0030".

    The lathe ought to be mounted so the carriage handwheel comes to about elbow height -- so when you put your hand on the handwheel, your forearm is horizontal. How you achieve that is up to you. With use you may find you prefer slightly higher or lower, but that's the usual guideline. If it's too low, your back will soon tell you.

    At one point I looked up liftgates on the Internet, and as I recall the weight limit seemed to be about a ton, give or take, but that was pretty cursory.
    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
      I like lathes that go down to about .001" feed. If the lathe is good and you use a slight round nose tool sometimes you can eliminate filing the part to finish size. Most the time the smallest I use is .002" . The smallest feed will also compute to the smallest thread per inch so look at the thread chart for the lathe you are considering to buy.
      It's only ink and paper


      • #4
        Judging by the part #s I assume your talking about Grizzly lathe's.
        Grizzly's electrical panel's are on the back of the headstock, the door's are approx.ten inches deep, at that distance you would have to stand on your head or be Twiggy the model from the early 70's to wire it.


        • #5

          If the box containing the electrical equipment is mounted on the back of the lathe you may find that a 20" shelf is not wide anough to allow you access to the box. I suspect that this is the reason that the manual suggests 36" minimum space behind the G4016. Remember that if you have to work in there you not only need to be able to remove the box cover, but to be able to see inside and have room to use screwdrivers etc. Working with a mirror is difficult! Don't ask how I know this.

          Edit: J Ramsey beat me to it.



          • #6
            I just noticed Ramsey's and Franco's replies. I bought a Grizzley 13x40 Feb 2006. Getting it in place up against the garage wall took all day and most of the night. The next day it dawned on me that I hadn't noticed a power cord anywhere. Sure enough the electrical box is on the back of the head stock and was no more than 3" from the wall. The previous evening's installation adventure left me with no way to move the lathe, and I wasn't too keen about tearing through the wall from the other side. The door wouldn't swing open so I drove the hinge pins out, slid the door off and used a mirror to wire the thing. Fortunately, I had some ratcheting screwdrivers made for low clearance applications like this and I was able to get the job done without to much sturm und drang. I highly recommend you place the lathe at least 12" from the wall and avoid the aforementioned Twiggy act.


            • #7
              Check out this thread re: position of lathe relative to shop wall.

              Here's a link to a CAD model of my planned shop layout implementing these suggestions.;t=003379;p=0

              David Merrill


              • #8
                Thanks to everyone for the feedback.

                Since the G4003 has the finest feeds, I am seriously considering that lathe. I like the GMC 12x36 model, as well, due to the enclosed QCGB; but, I can't find any information on it. It is almost exactly like the PM-1236. (I e-mailed the company that sells that model and didn't get a reply.) I also requested information on that lathe from one company and received information on a lathe more than twice the price. It would be really nice if these companies, Grizzly and Enco excluded, would make the instruction book available online. That really helps to give somebody an idea of the lathes specifications and capabilities.

                I also found, on the Yahoo 12x36 lathe forum, where some people re-located the electrical box so that it can be accessed from the front or side of the machine. This looks like the best option for placing the lathe against the wall and to avoid having to do the "Twiggy act." Unfortunately, due to the space in my basement and the fact that it has ledges that project from the walls 2 feet in 3 directions, it will really help to place as many heavy tools as possible on these ledges.

                If I get this lathe (G4003), I am planning to make a set of change gears so that I can use the 120/127 gear ratio as is on the other machines...assuming that there is the space to install them.


                There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.


                • #9
                  I have the Birmingham 12x36 and needed/wanted to have it against the wall, --- and yes, the lectric access WILL be blocked if not corrected. As you found out over at the yahoo group -- where I got my info also -- its no biggie to reposition the panel box to where it opens to the left end of the lathe. Memory fails me on exactly the procedure, but IRC, drill a couple new holes in box and maybe? drill/tap one in the transmission case.... it really was a simple process.

                  If need I'lll take a pix for you.......
                  If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........


                  • #10
                    I had to replace a contactor that failed after about
                    3yrs, and doing it without full access to the box would have
                    necessitated picking up the lathe and rotating it 90D.
                    As Bill Pace says, moving the box is easily done, and a
                    180D rotation with some angles mounted in the old holes
                    you can mount the box facing forward. There should
                    be more than enough slack in the wires to allow this.


                    • #11

                      Quote: "It would be really nice if these companies, Grizzly and Enco excluded, would make the instruction book available online."

                      The manual for most of the Grizzly machines including the G4003 is available on their website. Many of the cheaper generic lathe types seem to originate from one factory and to be rebadged for sale by the various dealers, so the most of the information in the Grizzly manuals will apply to similar lathes in the same class.

                      Last edited by franco; 06-09-2007, 09:59 AM.


                      • #12
                        G9249 vs G4003, et al

                        Brand new member here folks. I don't feel competent to advise experienced machinists about much of anything but couldn't resist jumping in when I saw this thread. I looked at both the Grizzly lathes in question and bought the belt drive G9249 last July, a decision I have come to regret largely due to the extemely coarse feed. I spent all this time fixing all the things I deemed wrong with Miss Bondo and only now feel ready to start using it for the intended purpose - fitting rifle barrels. I made a new stand for it to make it possible to get it close to level and to allow me to straighten the bed by diffenerntially torquing the 4 (not 6) mount bolts. I could go on and on. At this point I have gotten as much error out of it as is under my control. I was able to realign the headstock, but can do nothing about the spindle nose runout (.0007) and the coarse feed which produces a rasp-like finish on steel. By grinding tools with a very broad nose aluminum can be turned fairly smoothly. This approach on steel merely adds real chatter to the topographic features.

                        I suspect that many of these issues, other than the feed, would also occur on the G4003 but could also be fixed. I will never buy another lathe this size with a threaded spindle. I will never buy another one with such a coarse feed. My principle problem with the G4003 was the lowest speed of 70 RPM seemed to fast for my application. That could have been dealt with by swapping out the motor for 3 phase and a VFD. I would love to have the cam lock spindle and more robust tailstock of the G4003. I thought that a cheaply made belt drive would have fewer vibration problems than a cheaply made gear head. Just speculation on my part. But I have been able to pretty much remove most vibration.

                        As to mounting against the wall - don't! I spend almost as much time behind my machine as in front of it. I don't know how many times I have had the motor off or fiddled with the leveling shims back there. I had to replace the start capacitor twice and realign the drive pulleys. I replaced the drive belt with a link belt. I installed shock mounting material between the motor mount and the lathe body. And so it goes. As has often been said by others, these Chinese machine tools are kits and consequently remain a work in progress. So don't back yourself into a wall.

                        Hope this is useful to somebody and I didn't take up too much space!
                        Last edited by Clinthub; 06-09-2007, 04:28 PM.


                        • #13

                          Re vibration - I have a 13x40 version of the generic G4003 type gear head lathe. Finishes are reasonable except at one speed, the nominal 250 RPM. Since the poor finish occurs only at one speed but at several feed rates, I assume it is coming from the headstock gears, though no faults are obvious from a visual inspection. Other than that, the only problem in ten years of light use has been with a starter capacitor. This seems to be a widespread fault with these machines.



                          • #14
                            More evidence Franco that I bought the wrong lathe. When my belt drive machine was made in Taiwan they were quite popular with gunsmiths here and were probably better machines. I seem to have one of the early Chicom jobs (ser num 365). Since you have had yours for 10 years I wonder if it isn't a Taiwanese product. Just curious.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Clinthub
                              Brand new member here folks. I don't feel competent to advise experienced machinists about much of anything but couldn't resist jumping in when I saw this thread. I looked at both the Grizzly lathes in
                              Hope this is useful to somebody and I didn't take up too much space!

                              Thanks for letting everyone know about the problems you have had with the G9249. I was seriously thinking about buying it until I read the course "fine" feed in the specifications...and your posting really confirmed my concerns.

                              I am now leaning towards the G4003...or something bigger.


                              Brian Reifsnyder
                              There are only 10 types of people in the world: Those who understand binary and those who don't.