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  • Quality differences?

    It seems that the perception here is that for similar items (identical other than paint color) products with the Grizzly name are higher quality than HF. John Stevenson wrote an excellent post last year explaining why this happens.

    Has the quality differential closed? In the two years since I purchased my "X2" mini mill from HF I haven't had any problems that concern me. Sure, it hasn't been perfect (1" chunk missing from the X-axis way near the end), but then again I only paid $439 for it. It was easily worth the price and I've been using it as both a mill and a lathe for some time now.

    Now I'm looking at purchasing a lathe soon: something in the HF 8x14 class, perhaps a bit larger (I know about the two threads on the 9x20 lathes). Given that HF and Grizzly have basically the same products, is there still a quality advantage to the Griz version?

  • #2
    No one knows for sure if there is a quality difference today and even if we did know there could be a difference tomorrow with the stroke of a pen. This is where the reputation of the company starts mattering.

    Parts can be made in the same factory and have quality differences. Parts that come out within a certain tolerance could be sold to company A, while those that don't could be sold to company B. Of course, if the manufactory has extra 'good' parts, they might sell those to B anyway.

    So you have good parts at A, and inconsistent parts at B. That muddies things up quite a lot.

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    • #3
      Dunno about quality, but try to get HF on the phone to replace some part that was broken in shipping. I'm sure they'll care.

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      • #4
        This entire idea of "being made in the same factory" is ludicrous. One of the larger machine tool manufacturers in China has 80 factories and they are not alone. China isn't producing billions of dollars worth of products from a small industrial park in the corner of Hong Kong somewhere. There are numerous makers of similar tools and equipment and there is a wide variation in the quality of the products they produce. Similarity in appearance in no clue to quality, good or bad.

        They don't all "use the same design" either. They do copy each other's best selling products and some are better copies than others. As usual, there is always available a reasonably good guide to quality and that is price. Don't expect top quality for chicken feed prices.
        Free software for calculating bolt circles and similar: Click Here

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        • #5
          You would expect quality to be higher from Grizzly because of the effort they put into the catalog, web site and customer service. All those things cost big money and are excellent places to cut corners to maximize your income. Compare the web page for -say- a Griz 12x36 lathe and the HF version that is just about the same color. Almost the same, except the HF model shows to have crossfeed. From appearances, you'd expect to get a better unit from Grizzly. But I can't tell from the postings if Griz actually looks at these units or just ships the crates from the warehouse to you. Looks like they just pass the unit on as it came off the boat. Which for them is OK because testaments from their customers indicate that their CS people will fix up any problems for you. If you buy from HF, best to get it out, set it up - even if it's on the floor - and check operation right now. If you find a problem that you deem serious enough to require supplier intervention, best to box it up and take it back to the store and let them order another. The folks I deal with at the local store are nice and helpful, but they don't seem to have the support structure behind them for larger machinery like Grizzly does. Bring back an item with a receipt inside the warranty period, you get another no problem. Need a part? Um, er.

          Which makes it hard sometimes LOL - Take for instance the lathes: There's a G4003 12x36 for $2495. Then there's the HF 33274 12x36 with cross feed and a bit better speed range for $1440 with a 20% coupon (have two 20% coupons at this moment). That's $1000 bucks. I can probably put up with some issues to save $1000.

          Edit - looking at the G4003 manual shows it identical to the 33274. Posts on the 12x36 Yahoo forum indicate that the machines are the same and tend to perform the same. If I could buy one today, I'd buy the HF and save the money. $125 for a BXA toll post isn't a deal breaker. It'd be $1558 with local sales tax.
          Last edited by Falcon67; 07-16-2009, 05:59 PM.
          Chris
          Merkel, Tx
          http://raceabilene.com/kelly/hotrod

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          • #6
            While that's substantially true, Evan, it's also true that many of the smaller, popular machines, do, in fact, come from the same facilities. There's a difference between the industrial stuff, and the little "hobby" stuff meant for export.

            The proof of that can be seen in LittleMachineShop's gallery of photos from a factory tour in China. One shot shows quite clearly what look like the ubiquitous 9x20 lathe beds stacked for "rework". The castings are shown painted at least three different colors, among them LMS's red, Smithy blue and a yellow.

            And I have, myself, used a Jet 9x20 and owned a Grizzly 9x20- the two machines were virtually identical down to the plastic drive gear. There's no way two entirely separate factories could produce two machines that close, unless they were buying from the exact same suppliers and following the same set of blueprints.

            Doc.
            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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            • #7
              my mate has an sieg x2 ..ive just trammed it in for him .

              seems that i cant tram the y axis ...

              had to shim the vice ..

              probably the column needs shimming to make it right ..
              should this be so ..

              is this bad quality ..or is it normal for you to have to do this to get things right .

              also the head goes up and down not so smoothly near the top of its travel . (top 2 inches).when gibs adjusted right...to make it travel smoothly all the way up to the top without jamming ..means too much slack in the gibs is needed

              all the best.markj
              Last edited by aboard_epsilon; 07-16-2009, 05:31 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by aboard_epsilon
                probably the column needs shimming to make it right ..
                should this be so ..

                is this bad quality ..or is it normal for you to have to do this to get things right.
                -It's what you could call "normal" for this kind of lower-end hobby machine, yes. I have an old Jet mill-drill, probably from the eighties, and it was always just a bit off-tram.

                Most of the time I used it I just dealt with it, thinking there was no way to fix it (IE, no head "knuckle" adjustment like on a Bridgeport.) It wasn't 'til later that I realized it could be shimmed at least, and more recently, could be scraped if one had the knowledge.

                Doc.
                Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Doc Nickel
                  While that's substantially true, Evan, it's also true that many of the smaller, popular machines, do, in fact, come from the same facilities. There's a difference between the industrial stuff, and the little "hobby" stuff meant for export.

                  The proof of that can be seen in LittleMachineShop's gallery of photos from a factory tour in China. One shot shows quite clearly what look like the ubiquitous 9x20 lathe beds stacked for "rework". The castings are shown painted at least three different colors, among them LMS's red, Smithy blue and a yellow.
                  The Sieg Factory. "Mini mills to be. Different colors are for different customers."
                  "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                  • #10
                    colours look like
                    siegs own red
                    machine mart uks clarke blue

                    and axminster uks old English white.

                    or coulds be chester uks combination of white and blue

                    all the best.markj
                    Last edited by aboard_epsilon; 07-16-2009, 05:43 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by aboard_epsilon
                      my mate has an sieg x2 ..ive just trammed it in for him .

                      probably the column needs shimming to make it right ..
                      should this be so ..

                      is this bad quality ..or is it normal for you to have to do this to get things right .
                      That's pretty typical. If you get Model Engineering Workshop, they've run two series back-to-back: rebuilding the 7x10 mini-lathe, and now re-building the X2 mini-mill. Last month's article involved re-cutting the X2 column and filling it with epoxy-granite.
                      "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did."

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by lazlo
                        That's pretty typical. If you get Model Engineering Workshop, they've run two series back-to-back: rebuilding the 7x10 mini-lathe, and now re-building the X2 mini-mill. Last month's article involved re-cutting the X2 column and filling it with epoxy-granite.
                        yeah what amazed me ..that just leaning on the column could make the DTI sweep half a dial.

                        all the best.markj

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                        • #13
                          1 other big thing for me is that at Grizzly you can try the machines at their Munsy Pa. show room. HF might not even have it on the show room shelfe for you to actually touch.....Also in the Munsy shop they have real machinists assembling and or repairing the stuff they sell. I spent half hour talking to 1 of them once.

                          mark61

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                          • #14
                            i dont understand how it is people are willing to spend good money 400 bucks and up and then have to make a pile of changes or fixes just to get the equipment usable.. junk is junk and needs to got for a replacment or refund.

                            i paid 999.00 for my 10x18 lathe from busy bee 4 years ago and its been great other then it needed to have the tail stock sleeve replaced once, and i have dont some amazing hi precision stuff on it..

                            i got my mill about a year ago from busy bee as well ct129 7x20 and its also been great paid 1200.00 plus tax for it and i blew a few fuses which was my fault but i found its limits.

                            my grinder is a jobmate my angle grinder is a job mate my drill press is tradmaster floor model had it for over 5 years its a work horse of a drill press, the list goes on

                            what looks good on a web site is sometimes not so good when viewed and used in real life and sometimes it is..

                            if i buy a tool and spend my hard earned bucks and it turns out i have to do all kinds of crap just to get it to work right then its not worth the metal it was made from..

                            i do alot of research and read alot of reviews as well,, this fourm alone convinced me long ago to stay clear of HF and many others out there..

                            my welding helmet thats solor auto darken is a lincon, i was told by many to stay clear of off shore stuff so i did. and then after reading some reviews i was glade i did stay away from the junk.

                            i made my own chipping hammer for welding saved my self a bundle really and at the same time made a better quaility one and its been beating to death and still even with resharping its hadely seen any lose in metal so i guess i did my job right when i made it, sometimes it pays to make even the simplest tool and its better then the other stuff out there...

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                            • #15
                              Actually, at HF the machines on the "showroom" floor are probably incomplete. Their apparent only source of replacement parts is to rob them off stock units. I have never seen one run, but I never wanted to, either.

                              As far as Grizzly, I think they at least WANT to be higher quality. I have actually met Mr Baliola, and he seemed to be a decent type, for an owner of a largeish business.

                              He uses tools and machines himself, so he is unlike the "paper pusher" type owners whose only qualification is an MBA in marketing, etc. (The latter type are often not good at quality, they aim for low price, and assume that makes up for defects.)

                              How far that 'tool user" status translates to product quality, I am not sure. I have been forced to return almost every item I purchased from Grizzly for severe defects. But they were not machines, rather they were ancillary products, not carrying the Grizzly name.

                              To be fair, I had to return every item bought from Enco for defects also, and Enco made me pay the shipping both ways. I had to push them to get the RMA.

                              Grizzly credited me the shipping, and sent a prepaid label for the return. If they are willing to do that, they are presumably a) not getting that much in returns, and b) much more oriented towards serving the customer than Enco, who apparently didn't give a rat's ass what I did.

                              BTW, to Airsmith's point, isn't Busy Bee the other Baliola brother? If so, you'd expect a similar attitude to some extent.
                              1601

                              Keep eye on ball.
                              Hashim Khan

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