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  • 9x20 import lathe

    I'm thinking about buying one of the 9x20 import lathes to play with at home. Due to my experience with the brand and what I've read on the bbs, I think it will be the Jet.

    Does anyone own/use one of these? How about one of the other brands? Like it? Any other info would help.

    Steve

  • #2
    I've been asking the same questions about mills. The consensus on this board seems to be to go with Jet, forget the cheesy imports.

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    • #3
      Well, Jet is one of those Asian imports, but from my experience, not at all cheesy. I've heard nothing but good about Jet on this board as well. The Jet lathe is about twice the price of a Grizzly but from the horror stories I've heard about the cheapies, it probably would be worth it. I've been hearing about casting sand in the spindle bearings, grinder swarf, loose fasteners, you name it. I'm wondering if Jet takes care of this stuff a little better at the factory. I want a good ready to run lathe, not a "kit". I'm guessing the Jet is the same basic lathe, just put together better. Yes/No?

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      • #4
        Cheezy!?,Whoa!!,I'll tell ya somethin about cheezy.Please save your money and avoid Harbor Freight machines(for lack of the better word)I know ,I've been there.I bought a small Harbor Freight lathe(3 by 9).And Man,all you could do was sharpen pencils with it.I spent more time fidgiting with the machine than it was worth.I could'nt even sell it at a garage sale for 15 bucks.I wound up launching it into a dumpster.("Shux,,I shoulda saved the lamp chord wire off that thing").Just my 1.5 cents.

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        • #5
          I looked around my area for a used lathe and had little luck. I ended up buying an import lathe, 12x36. I found that the machinery dealers within several hundred miles of here all carried the same brand, Birmingham. They also all wanted the same steep price. I located a place selling them in Reno, NV and purchased it over the phone. I also saved several hundred dollars, even after shipping. I am quite happy with it as it meets my needs. No trouble in 9 months or so. The business in Reno is Bill's Tool Crib. They are on the web, pictures and everything. You can pick up extras elsewhere as this is where Bill makes his profit. Good luck, Mike

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          • #6
            I have the Jet BD920 and with the exception of the light weight compound, it's OK. I primarily bought it to use while I was rebuilding a South Bend 9" Model A bench lathe - they both have 1 1/2" x 8 spindle threads (most other import 9x20 lathes have a weird metric threaded spindle). The Jet is accurate (.0003 TIR on drill rod when turned between centers - not using a chuck) and I have had zero problems with the lathe.

            All that said....the SB 9" is still twice the lathe and 50 years older.

            IF I had it to do over again, and this was going to be my only lathe, I would opt for at least a 12" lathe - belt or gear head - but at least a 12" or better. The Asian 12" and 13" lathes are much heavier and more capable than the lightweight 9x20's.

            There is an egroup of 9x20 owners you may want to check....lot's of mod's to the equipment and user experience.

            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9x20Lathe

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            • #7
              Northerntool is selling the Jet 9x20 for $1000 during some Christmas special. Normally the price I've seen for this lathe is in the $1300-$1400 range. Their website is http://www.northerntool.com (that should be a clickable link, hope so.) This puts it $240 over Grizzly's.

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              • #8
                Thanks guys. That helps a lot.

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                • #9
                  snorman , check the low speed & see if u can live w/ it!!!
                  best wishes
                  doc
                  ps ...can get a good logan 10 atlas crftsmn ,OR s.b. for that kind of money & any of these are a lot more machine imho.
                  docn8as

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                  • #10
                    snorman, I gotta agree with Doc's last post. I had forgotten that I had come across a number of smaller lathes that were in quite good shape, and considerably less expensive than what I paid. A few looked new, and included many, many accessories. I passed them up only because the spindle bore was less than I was looking for. I could have spent 50% less on good used American, and been quite happy if I had not been looking for a larger spindle bore. Mike

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                    • #11
                      Well sure, a like new 12 or 14 inch would be my first choice. But where is one to find such a thing locally? I have no desire to travel hundreds of miles tracking one down only to find that it's already sold or whatever. Buy one sight unseen and you're at the mercy of the seller. Good luck on that. I don't have the expertise to evaluate a used lathe anyway, so the Jet sounds good enough for now. I once saw the ways of a new Logan completely worn out in a year. They were h&g too. I'm limited to 110 volt also.

                      I've heard talk of people getting spindle speed down to 75 or so on the 9x20's and I think it's possible to fabricate a back gear even. Actually that seems to be one of the selling points of the Asian lathes; you can modify to your heart's content with no fear of ruining a good machine. I may think on it some more however. Thanks all for the good input.

                      Steve

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                      • #12
                        whoa 1400$ for the jet 9x20 is off! it lists for 1040$ you should be able to get it for 944$, just go to jets website and find the closest dealer. I just bought this lathe and got it today. and let me tell you, what a pain in the butt. here is the story so far, I probably should have bought this lathe from enco, from what I understand this is the exact same lathe cast in the same foundry as the jet except it cost $795.00 and is blue. the major problem with buying either lathe is you cant see the lathe you are getting before you buy it. the reason I got the jet was beacause I thought there would be a greater deal of quality control.but I was probably wrong, enco said they inspect there lathes before they ship them to you, they degrease them, and make sure they work and they run them under power. I have read that most of the chinese lathes come from the same place.however the harbor freight lathe I saw was very poor quality.its like HF sells the substandard rejects from the factory. anyway with the jet lathe nobody who sells jet, stocks the lathe. what happened to me was the company I bought mine from after they sold me the lathe for $944.10 tryed to make me pay for the shipping to have it shipped to there store. and then they charged sales tax on top of that! not to mention I had to go to the bottom of my state to pick it up. enco ships their lathe to your door and it ships free right now. that aside you should be able to get the jet lathe for 944$ and not have to pay shipping if you pick it up. I dont know how enco's lathe is beacause I have never seen one in person. my jet lathe came to the store I bought it from, direct from the factory so this is probably true of all the jet 9x20's; after I took the plastic off the machine I noticed several rust spots which apear to be from not coating the machine with grease all the way. some of the casting are obviously rusted under the paint beacause in areas the paint flakes off and you can see the rust. they just painted over it. the lathe bed is okay on its external surfaces but if you run your finger on the inside, paint and sand falls off. they just painted over the sand dirt and god knows what else. but even so this lathe is infinely better than the one I saw at harbor freight. the enco is probably the exact same quality as the jet but cheaper and comes to your door. but I dont know for sure. any way the jet looks pretty good otherwise, I havnt run it under power yet I will be degreasing for a while.

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                        • #13
                          Orlon,

                          I was about to ask the exact question you just answered. I was trying to determine the difference between the Enco and Jet aside from price. I was leaning towards the Enco mainly because of their apparant good business reputation.

                          I'm new to all this so please let us know how the Jet works out for you. I don't really need a lathe but have been thinking for some time I'd like to get one to play with.

                          Greg

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                          • #14
                            There's big diffences between machines made in China and those made in Taiwan. The Rong Fu brand that Enco sells is Taiwanese, the Enco is Chinese. Call and ask them, they'll tell you.

                            Taiwan is better across the board. Jet is Taiwan. HF is Chinese.

                            This is the prime, and maybe only difference between any of the asian machine tools.

                            None of them come anywhere close to the old names in American machine tools.

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                            • #15
                              In reply to two previous posts.

                              Orlon: sorry to hear your Jet had some initial quality problems. Mine did not, but I bought it 2 years ago. Quality control seems to be a fleeting thing with Asian tools.

                              KenS: Careful about linking certain brands to Taiwan vs. China. Granted most larger Jet machines are Taiwanese, but the BD920N is made in China for Jet, probably at the same factory that makes everyone elses. And I agree, in general machines made in Taiwan have much better fit and finish than those made in China. The Chinese are capable of much better quality, but the importers are just looking for the lowest cost.

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