No announcement yet.

jet lathes

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • jet lathes

    Are Jet lathes any good???
    Is a geared lathe better then a belt ?


  • #2
    I have found that a flat belt driven lathe is more forgiving for "operators' errors". The belt will slip instead of things going "crunch!"


    • #3
      Agree on the flat belt; not as good for transmitting power as a gear drive, but it keeps things from going CRUNCH! as much when I'm stoopid....

      As far as "are Jet lathes any good," it likely depends to some degree on WHICH Jet lathe you're talking about. Jet, generally, has a pretty good reputation for import stuff, but some of their products are better than others...just like any manufacturer. I recall one Jet milling machine with which I was completely unimpressed, but I think the model I eventually bought is pretty good. (This was almost 20 years ago.)

      Best idea is to go see, in person, the particular lathe you're interested in, and form your own judgement if you can. When I bought my Jet milling machine, the dealer didn't have one in stock, but he referred me to a local shop that had bought one a short time ago, where I could see it.
      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


      • #4
        I know of several guys that have or do own the 12x36 belt drive bench lathe and they have been good machines. When I spoke to a dealer myself, he recommended one model but suggested that I may not be as happy with another. Some of their stuff is better than others. I decided not to buy either and ended up with a used American made lathe in nice shape instead.



        • #5
          I bought a 13x40 geared head Jet lathe and it was like a kit. After I took it all apart and cleaned it, dug all of the crud out of the bottoms of the screw holes and tapped all the screw holes deeper and replaced all of the bolts then it was not to bad of a machine. Now I am waiting for a new shaft and gear that went out last week. I have taken good care of this machine but it is just a real piece of junk. It has things like soft gears and a host of other things that make for trouble to happen fast.


          • #6
            Here'shat I got from the salesman at J&L industrial Supply. Jet has three producers of their products and their priced accordingly. China, Taiwan and Japan. The better quality being Japanese also more exoensive. I bought their 13X40 gearhead lathe. and was very satisfied. Sure wish I still had it.


            • #7
              Two years ago I bought a new Jet 13" belt driven lathe for our school shop. The gear head was my first choice, but friend in industry, far brighter than me, suggested the belt drive because of the chance of massive damage when a student operator panics and yanks the wrong lever. With two years use, I will make the following observations. For the money the Jet is OK for a school shop teaching basic operations, but, the factory did a lousy job on alignments. The 4 jaw chuck would not run true and had to be replaced. The tailstock spindle binds in the tailstock somtimes, but not always. The plastic knobs are brittle, fall off and break. The levers on the QC loosen up and need to be checked before each use. The toolpost is a pita, the idea of having an indexing pin drilled into the compound strike me as an after thought. If I had to suffer with this bastard at home, I would completely dissmantle and rebuild. But then again, why not just start with a better lathe and rebuild it? By the way, the administration insisted on buying new. As the budget was very limited, the Jet was the only option I found.

              It's interesting to me all the stories and theories about why the quality of import equipment varies so much. If some Jet equipment is made in Japan my guess is that that would be the stuff to buy. But then again, the design of the Jet lathe leaves somthing to be desired in my biased and uneducated opinion. I know plenty of people who can do better work on a Jet than I can do on anything,but I like the feel of an older machine by South Bend or Rivett.
              Just my opinion, bias and limited experiance.
              After re-reading this, I'm not sure if I want to post it. I'm spoiled by having a creampuff SB, and a completely rebuilt Rivett 608. I'm a confermed toolaholic and maybe too harsh about import equipment. Any lathe is better than no lathe and in many places good used stuff is hard to find.

              best of luck


              • #8
                thanks for your replies guys! I don`t really have the money but i am hoping to have it by the end of the summer. BONU$ time!

                I have a 3 in 1 and i love it. I know it isn`t the best but my mechanical experience and stuborness are paying off. When something doesn`t work right i take it apart and go for it. That is a pain in the but, however it is teaching me more about lathes and how they work then if i had bought a used SB. How would i know what was worn? I would just think it was me!

                The other thing the 3-1 has toaght me is to be patient. If that is possible for me! It isn`t exact so you have to do things slowly when you get close to what you want. Kind of cool, well atleast now while i am on the computer. Kind of POed when it happens but hey i am learning.

                Now when i look at another lathe, i check all the things that have given me problems so far. Some things feel slack and other things feel tighter, etc. This has helped me to form my own opinion but the input of more experienced ppl is also key

                Still turning!!!


                • #9
                  I recently bought a JET GH1440W lathe and initially was quite shocked at the crude workmanship. In the last several weeks I've cleaned up and tweaked many of the small dislikes, and now I don't feel quite so bad.

                  Here's a link to photos of what I encountered.


                  Problems and remedies:

                  The quick change tool post arrived from ENCO last week, and I have not had time yet to really dig into the machine and check tolerances. At this point I've run the lathe six hours under no load and changing gears every so often. Leveled the machine. Made a test cut on a bar of steel and aluminum. So far every thing seems OK. Time will tell I guess. I plan to update the problems page above with either my solutions or JET's solutions. So it will be my ongoing JET lathe diary of sorts.


                  Larry "NgtCrwlr" Mingus


                  • #10
                    Any comment from Jet on any of this?
                    This is not a cheap lathe right?


                    • #11
                      Once again I'm reminded that any lathe under about $10,000 new is cheep to some extent.
                      BE willing to fix it or save or pennys.
                      I would look at Acer machine first in the imports.
                      Rule #1 be 10% smarter then what you\'re working on.
                      Rule #2 see Rule #1


                      • #12
                        Sorry to here about the problems you encounterd Larry, I hope their only cosmetic in order to keep the price down and the functionality of the machine is not compromised.

                        Excellent write up! It will be of use to all the new guys asking about import lathes in the future.



                        • #13
                          kenc: I am waiting until I have time to run accuracy tests before I contact JET with my laundery list. Soon I'll get to see first hand how responsive JET's customer support is. At this point I still have faith.

                          Kerry.S: I have to wonder about the money threshold. I am betting that the 10K and up JET large bore ZX and RX machines if made in China will be of the same workmanship. I think most larger shops don't care much about paint and cosmetic things. The two larger shops in my area are by my standards grease pits where most of their equipment you would be lucky to find old paint.

                          If customers don't demand the quality control, manufacturers and distributors like JET can cut corners until sales say otherwise. I'm sure that if JET started selling woodworking equipment that looked like my new lathe they would have a major problem on their hands.

                          I bought a new Birmingham BPV-3949C mill at the same time as the JET lathe and the quality control difference is major. Even though the base of the mill is made in China it is still far and away better quality workmanship.


                          The bottom line is... go way out of your way to see the machine you're about to buy in person. Which these days can be a very difficult and expensive task.

                          Dave Opincarne: Thanks for the compliment, I really do hope that my efforts can help others at least have a better idea of what they may be getting into.

                          I'm already starting to like the off white beast. I'm sure in the end JET will make me a happy swarf making maniac.




                          • #14
                            The flat belt drive on my South Bend has saved my ass more times than I care to tell.
                            Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here


                            • #15
                              I think the question, "Are Jet lathes any good?", is too vauge. Any good for what, exactly? What are you going to be using it for? Important: how often will you run it, 8 hours a day or 8 hours a year? I would ask how accurate you need it to be, but you can get as close as most people need with almost any machine. What lathe you choose will depend on what you want/need/expect out of your machine. I think that most everyone looks at this a little differently.
                              Location: North Central Texas