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Opinions please - Grizzly G4000 bench lathe

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  • Opinions please - Grizzly G4000 bench lathe

    For less than a thousand dollars (free shipping) and for a hobby tool, this looks like a pretty good deal. Anyone have an opinion about, or any experience with, this machine??

    http://www.grizzly.com/products/9-x-...ch-Lathe/G4000

    Thanks,
    Jacque
    Eagon Leather & Knives

  • #2
    Not sure what you have in mind to do with this.....suspect it may have something to do with knives . I've tried some lathes similiar to this....not that EXACT one....but for now will assume that all of them are similiar. It was a nightmare,in a word. Anything more than 20 or 30 thou resulted in a alot of vibration,funky finish and chatter. My experience is these are best for non ferrous stuff and plastic,work great for light cuts on light material.IMHO you'd be alot happier with a heavier machine'you'll want to broaden your scope at some point,and then you'll have the machine to do it.

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    • #3
      I started with that exact lathe. Mostly a "toy", but with a few mods (upgrade compound mount and "plinth" option to eliminate compound being the main ones) they do ok for light work on aluminum or VERY patient/slow work in steel. Slowest speed is way too fast, and half gear-box combined with change gears makes threading a chore. Within 6 months I upgraded to a Rockwell 11" and was pretty satisfied at that point. Personally, I would recommend you skip the 9x19 and get a better all around lathe. Whether you go for used SB or other small import, that class of lathe is just more hassle than it's worth in my opinion...
      Russ
      Master Floor Sweeper

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      • #4
        This little lathe is arguably the most popular of all the under 12" home/hobby lathes, so obviously they have something going for them

        There must be 10 to 15 brands/makes of them with some strong indications that for all practical purposes the are all alike, so if you were to decide on one, find the cheap one (Usually the HF version)

        With the huge following of the lathe it follows that there are a myriad of mods/tweaks/improvements that have been dreamed up for them, several of which can and do make the little lathe into a pretty decent little tool -- and, can be some fun projects in themselves.

        As with most everything, there is indeed not only 1 web site at yahoo, but there are 2! There is something around 7000 members in this one ---
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9x20Lathe/
        Take a look over there and maybe read back thru some random pages and you should get a feel for them -- and take a stroll thru the files and photo section

        Now for my thoughts on them --- I have one, the ENCO version, and have done probably all the mods/tweaks to it and its an OK lathe --- for a newbie. Once you get bit with this hobby, you'll want to step up to better stuff, theres not much doubt there! I did,and have - moved up - to a 13".
        If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

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        • #5
          That is simply the Jet I had only a different color, I even bought some belts and a plastic gear from griz for that lathe for replacements for my Jet. If you must buy that machine, and I can from experience recommend not doing so if it is at all possible to do better, then get the thing from Harbor Freight and save yourself some money. Those things can be bought from HF with one of the discount coupons they seem to offer every week or so for less than $600 and they are the same exact thing except for the color! I had the opportunity to compare my jet "hands on" to the HF machine and I know for a FACT they are the same stinkin thing! Ditto for the Griz. Get the HF and if it does the job for you then you will have made a real deal and if it doesn't then you won't have lost as much, if it doesn't don't think the Griz would be any better because it won't. The Jet is generally considered the top version of that machine and the HF the bottom but as I said I know from hands on experience from both machines that the HF was every bit as good (or as bad depending on the point of view) as the Jet.

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          • #6
            The first lathe is tough. You'll see opinions from "do it! small chips are better than no chips" to "Chicom sux buy old American iron" to everything in between.

            Don't do what I did - I bought a used lathe without a mentor. This has yielded a lathe that I can not use - it doesn't work. It has been educational - and entertaining - to fix it. But after 2 years of fiddling with it as time and interest permits - I still don't have a usable lathe.

            My advice, then, is to buy
            1. a larger used lathe with major assistance from a trusted knowledgeable friend, or
            2. the largest new Chicom lathe you can afford, reserving money for tooling, or
            3. the smallest new Chicom lathe that seems like it will work, understanding that you may be replacing it - and the tooling - in a year or two.

            If I were going to make a list of my 'must haves' they would include a full threading box and a power cross-feed.

            Depending on what you want to do, a turret lathe might be better. I don't know if they make them anymore however.

            What do you want to build with the lathe?

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            • #7
              When I traded up from my little jet I shopped around for months looking for "old iron" but it seems a lot of other people was too! I guess it's out there and good deals pop up but not as often as they did a few years ago. What I did was to buy a new Chinese lathe, ready to work and not worn out, instead of an old lathe that I would need to do a lot of work on it before I could do work with it. I found that a lot of the even larger china machines, jut like that little one, are the same things with a different color and name so I just bought one from HF. I got the 14 x 40 gap bed engine lathe which it turns out is the exact same one Enco sells but at nearly twice the cost. Using one of the 20% off coupons and ordering from their "special order" catalog at the store I got this thing for only $2559.20 so with Tn sales tax of 236.73 and free delivery to the store that thing cost me $2795.93 sitting on my trailer, delivered from Enco would have cost nearly twice that much. This is for a new ready to run lathe and it has done just that since January rebuilding mining machinery parts. A machinist buddy of mine who uses the Enco version can attest to the fact they are the same as he has now spent a lot of time on both machines.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by radkins
                When I traded up from my little jet I shopped around for months looking for "old iron" but it seems a lot of other people was too! I guess it's out there and good deals pop up but not as often as they did a few years ago. What I did was to buy a new Chinese lathe, ready to work and not worn out, instead of an old lathe that I would need to do a lot of work on it before I could do work with it. I found that a lot of the even larger china machines, jut like that little one, are the same things with a different color and name so I just bought one from HF. I got the 14 x 40 gap bed engine lathe which it turns out is the exact same one Enco sells but at nearly twice the cost. Using one of the 20% off coupons and ordering from their "special order" catalog at the store I got this thing for only $2559.20 so with Tn sales tax of 236.73 and free delivery to the store that thing cost me $2795.93 sitting on my trailer, delivered from Enco would have cost nearly twice that much. This is for a new ready to run lathe and it has done just that since January rebuilding mining machinery parts. A machinist buddy of mine who uses the Enco version can attest to the fact they are the same as he has now spent a lot of time on both machines.

                I got a new 13 X 40 Enco Gap Bed Geared lathe in 1994 for $2,300 in the crate out the door. They are twice that now. It's served me well and parts are still available if I need them. Back then, I couldn't locate any used manual lathe that wasn't totally worn out.

                I think that the 9" lathe mentioned by the OP here is a bit small regardless of quality. the 3/4" spindle bore would stop me. Harbor Freight has more or less that same machine (9X20") on the web at about the same price with the stand plus tax and shipping.

                http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=45861
                Last edited by gnm109; 07-13-2009, 01:07 AM.

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                • #9
                  I have been very happy with my HF lathe so far. It has been trouble free, I just changed the oil when I got it, cleaned off the Cosmoline, made a few adjustments and it has been doing great. Even running it on a static phase converter it has plenty of power, is quite accurate and the feeds are very smooth, turning the feeds by hand is REALLY smooth compared to that JET! I got hooked when I bought the JET to build a few parts to a mowing machine I was building and I was wanting to trade up within only a couple of weeks but I used it for nearly three years before biting the bullet and getting my new one, I wish I had of bought the big one the first time! The first reaction from most people when they see it is "you bought that from HF, are you nuts"? Seems it's kind of hard to make some believe that HF's larger machinery is much better quality than the tool shaped pieces of scrap metal they have in the stores and they are actually the same quality as machines costing a lot more.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gnm109
                    Harbor Freight has more or less that same machine (9X20") on the web at about the same price with the stand plus tax and shipping.

                    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=45861

                    And with the 20% off coupons they pass out every week or so (there is one now that's good through Monday) that makes the price only $559!

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                    • #11
                      I have the Jet version of that lathe and it works ok as a starter lathe, but you will most likely quickly outgrow it and become annoyed by its limitations.

                      Some of the issues with it you should be aware of:

                      1. The lathe works as delivered, but several modifications will need to be made to make the lathe more usable. You can see some of these mods here www.bedair.org

                      2. Does not have powered crossfeed. If you do a lot of facing, you will come to hate this

                      3. Lowest speed at 130 rpm is quite fast. You will need quick reflexes to thread with this lathe.

                      4. Spindle is threaded instead of using a camlock nose, some like this, many don't. A threaded spindle cannot be run in reverse for those times you might want to mount a tool on the rear of the cross slide.

                      If you buy this lathe, go in planning on upgrading in the near future. That lathe is going out the door for something bigger with better features as soon as I find a new job. If this lathe is all you can afford, then I would say go and get it and start having fun, but go in with your eyes open.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by radkins
                        And with the 20% off coupons they pass out every week or so (there is one now that's good through Monday) that makes the price only $559!
                        That's right. I hadn't figured on any discounts.

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                        • #13
                          Let me add to the problems with the Jet, not only does it not have power cross feed but the feed was very rough and required constant fussing (and cussing! ) to keep it smooth enough to feed by hand, I made an extension handle that could be attached to that tiny wheel when facing. Just as with several other items on that machine there are upgrades to fix this problem but it should not be a problem in the first place. Even with the handle attached there was still a problem with the screw binding from chips which was also a problem with the main feed screw, better keep a supply of those plastic gears on hand. Also you should keep a couple of spare belts (more like rubber bands) because these too fail quite often or at least I had a problem but I did push the machine to it's limits which is VERY easy to do. I suppose that for very small parts this machine is usable and maybe I expected too much from it but if that is the case then too much is not a lot at all!


                          BTW, When I got to use the HF version of that lathe I discovered that not only were they the EXACT same thing but the extra money (nearly twice as much!) for the Jet did NOT mean better quality, it was not any better at all, but the HF lathe came with a splash guard and a live center that was not included with the Jet even though it was $400 more, don't know if the Griz has these or not. Not too long after buying the Jet a rather good sized chunk of "bondo" fell out of the tail stock, so much for the better quality of the Jet!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by gnm109
                            That's right. I hadn't figured on any discounts.

                            When the girl at the counter rang up my lathe I just handed her the 20% off coupon and she deducted a whopping $639.80, it was as simple as that!

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                            • #15
                              BTW, what part of a knife do make with a lathe?

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