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  • Jet BD920W any good

    Hi All
    I'm new to the group and have a question .I'm looking at buying a Jet BD920W
    the new one.Was hoping someone here can help me .I've looked at buying
    a used SB or Logan and the others but really want a new lathe.Ive been told
    that the Jet is the same as Harbor Freight ? What I would like to know is any info good or bad on the subject.
    thanks in advance.
    Woodspinner

  • #2
    You can google "9 x 20" lathe- there are numerous sites out there that have information on them. I have the Harbor Freight version, but have yet to fire it up- have two others also that I got at about the same time, a 10" Sheldon and a 9" South Bend. I just now got the Sheldon running (like it!) and need to do varying amounts of work to the others; basically because I had to disassemble them to haul them home when I bought them.

    I know there is quite a bit of difference price wise between Jet and Harbor Freight, but they are basically the same lathe. Quality control is supposed to be better on the Jet, but that is what I have read and can't really say from experience. The one I have seems to be okay for what it is, a lot of people recommend re-doing the compound plate from two bolts to four to make it more solid- you can even find prints for that on the internet.

    As a hobby lathe it probably would not be too bad. The difference is that the others are built heavier, there is quite a bit of difference in the ways, width wise, with the Harbor freight being narrower. That would have to make life a little easier. I debate on selling one of them, probably should, but the darn little Harbor Freight lathe is set up to cut metric or English threads, which the others are English only without buying an extra set of gears.

    Hope this helps!

    Comment


    • #3
      The new ones of those look like the old ones, only if anything, a little taller and thinner, more flexible and limber. While it is a "usable" tool, it suffers from being a decent 5" machine turned into a 9" by putting everything on risers...... but not stiffening it at all.

      Some stupid stuff, like the 130 rpm minimum spindle speed, are fixable..... for reference, my Logan has a minimum speed of 30 RPM, verygood for large threads and turning bigger diameters.

      If you REALLY want new, go for it. It's likely the cheapest way in. And Jet, unlike Harbor Freight, has parts, and will probably still be around when you want them. But of the folks I know of or know who have one of those, or did, most all have disposed of theirs and moved on to a heavier machine, or added a bigger one..... generally, the 12" or larger machines are much much much nicer. And, of course, more expensive.

      I have a Logan, and I know from experience, that I would NEVER be happy with the BD920W, even though it is "usable". Not after using the Logan.

      Used is usually the cheapest way in to get a solid machine...... for less than you'd pay for the BD920. I know of a guy who bought an 11" Logan, which is a NICE machine taking 5C collets, etc, for under $400. And it isn't a beater. You can pay more for a new 6 x 12" machine than that

      But if you really want new, go for it.
      1601

      Keep eye on ball.
      Hashim Khan

      Comment


      • #4
        If you decide to go the new import route, you'll get a lot more for your money by stepping up to an import 12 x 36. The 9" lathe has too high a low speed, no cross feed, a threaded spindle, a flimsy bed, it uses the lead screw for both feeds and threads, etc.

        Comment


        • #5
          I agree with much of the above information. A few years ago I was in a similar situation. Luckily I have a KBC tool store very close to me, so I went and looked at the JET 9x20 and their "house brand" 9x20; side by side. I must say it was a no brainer to me after looking at them, and touching them. They were nearly identical except for price. Although I have never used a JET, I am very happy with my 'House brand" and I have ordered parts from Grizzly that fit my machine perfectly.

          For me (because I have very little machining experience), I don't think that the more expensive JET lathe would have made a huge difference in the outcome of my parts. If you look around there are plenty of very nice things being made with those house brands.

          IMO the 'machinist' makes the biggest difference, not necessarily the machine.

          The "newness" feeling wears off very quickly, and then you have to buy all kinds of expensive tooling, and the warranty's and manuals are well...not worth the extra cost. I am speaking from experience.

          My advice would be to

          #1. Look for a good used machine, (many times it will come with extra tooling $$$$$) for the same money as a "shiny, new Chi-Com machine"

          #2. Get the cheaper HF/Grizzly/Enco machines and buy tooling with your savings.
          \"I see\" said the blind man, as he picked up his hammer and saw.

          Comment


          • #6
            Someone is sure to bring up the old wheeze that goes: "I don't want a used machine, I don't want something that is worn beyond usability and was tossed out by every previous owner."

            Mind, I just LOVE people who say that....... They make it possible for me to have a well equipped shop at a reasonable price. I could not buy one new chinese mid-range lathe for what I have in my whole shop, actual money-wise.

            We won't talk about restoration labor, but I kinda like doing that anyway. It involves machining, general shop work, and learning new things. I support other restoration hobbies....I'm not fixated on making toy engines... never have made one, might someday.

            But, getting back to "worn out machines".... to be fair, while there are real POS used machines, or balls of rust, most of the used machines , while certainly not perfect, are very usable.

            I have used machines with problems... so what? bed worn? "omigosh, gotta scrap it"....... NOT. Most cases of bed wear are not an issue unless you want to turn a long straight shaft to close tolerance. I have needed to do that maybe twice, although my machine is not badly worn at all, and I can do it.

            Besides..... do the math. On a 1" diameter shaft, if the carriage drops 0.01", , the diameter error on the shaft is about 2 tenths.... 0.0002", an amount you may probably not be able to measure accurately, if your mic is even calibrated that low (many are not).

            I am NOT going to tell you what you must do. Someone else is sure to do that, anyway.

            Just giving you information...... Once you have used shop machines for a while, you will be able to more accurately determine for yourself who is right.......
            1601

            Keep eye on ball.
            Hashim Khan

            Comment


            • #7
              There are so many accounts of guys having one of this group of (many brands) 9x20 lathes and their recounting how there is virtually no difference in them, other than paint and some of the switches & sheet metal being different, that I would say find the cheapest one - probably HF, and go with it. There is a member here _ I think "radkins?", anyway, he bought the Jet and his friend bought HF and they went deep into the 2 and found there was virtually no difference -- except the Jet was about double the price!

              There are some many considerations in getting that first lathe -- they are many and varied. Personally, anymore, going the route of new outweighs going 'old American iron' - finding a decent used lathe is getting more and more difficult, and the improvements/quality in the Chinese lathes has definitely improved.

              Then there are the pitfalls of 'new' - for instance, this lathe you are asking about has several weak spots, primarily the compound - its a terrible design and its almost a 'must' to do one of the many mods to make is better, and, there are 3-4 other areas that are also lacking. All of this group of small lathes are lacking in areas like this.

              As mentioned, you really need to get into the 12x36 size of Chinese lathes to begin to get into a rather nice lathe.

              Go over to the Yahoo group for 9x20 lathes and spend some time reading thru the posts and scroll through the files section and note the - unbelievable - amount of modifications that have been dreamed up for this lathe. Mind you, this is a highly popular lathe, there is some 6000 members at the site, just do your home work before committing to anything.

              http://groups.yahoo.com/group/9x20Lathe/messages
              If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something........

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Bill Pace
                There is a member here _ I think "radkins?", anyway, he bought the Jet and his friend bought HF and they went deep into the 2 and found there was virtually no difference -- except the Jet was about double the price!

                Actually I had both machines, I bought the Jet first and acquired the HF lathe a few months later in a trade for some other items.

                If you are going to buy one of these 9x20 lathes just get the one from Harbor Freight for half the money and paint it the same color as the Jet and you will have a Jet! I think now the HF machine does not come with a 4 jaw chuck anymore but that POS is no loss anyway and I found it next to useless so you will need to buy a chuck no matter which machine you get. Some can say what they want about brands but I KNOW the only difference between the Jet and the HF lathe is the color and the price, at least the older model 9x20 Jet lathes. The newer ones do have a few minor differences but from the people I have talked to about them it is mostly just cosmetic changes to make them appear different in an attempt to justify that inflated price.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am reasonably sure that the "universal 9 x 20" is a 9 x 20 "thing", possibly also true of the mini-lathes as well.

                  When you get to the 12" and larger, the brands seem to vary, with different specs and features, although many are similar even there. But one will have a foot brake, and another not, etc, etc.

                  I think everyone buys the exact same "9 x 20" to "fill out their line" with an entry level machine. but service does still vary..... HF apparently gets their replacement parts off the machines in the warehouse, or out on the display floor..... Other brands do actually stock parts.
                  1601

                  Keep eye on ball.
                  Hashim Khan

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Both Grizzly and Enco have a 13 X 40 that is virtually identical. (Grizzly calls it a 13-1/2 X 40, LOL). It's identical to my 1994 Enco 13 X 40. I like a 13 since you can use a BXA toolpost and 5/8" tools. It also has an MT3 tailpost that will take a nice 1/8" to 5/8" Keyless chuck. You also get a nice 6" three jaw and an 8" 4 jaw with a 1-1/2 spindle bore. Speeds are either 8 or 16 depending on model with a 1-1/2 to 2 hp single phase motor. You can cut all sorts of metric and Imperial threads as well with the QC gearbox.

                    Yeah, I know, they are larger, take up more room, cost more and so on. It could be your last lathe, too. It's amazing what you can do with one of them.

                    I'm not arguing for Grizzly or Enco, just for a 13" lathe. It puts you in a different class as to what you can do with it. A used American lathe would be nice. Back in the 90's I spent the better part of the year looking for and at used American lathes and couldn't fnd even one that wasn't wiped out.

                    There's something nice about something new in the crate. Mine still runs like the day I got it.

                    JMO.
                    Last edited by gnm109; 09-11-2010, 11:18 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Thanks for the help

                      Hi guys

                      Thanks for all the info.I'll let you know what I get.Having a 7x10 HF used and a old Atlas (which is really used ) I'm just having a time trying to deside.
                      But thanks for all the help it's making things easyer .

                      Woodspinner

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by gnm109
                        I'm not arguing for Grizzly or Enco, just for a 13" lathe. It puts you in a difference class as to what you can do with it. A used American lathe would be nice. Back in the 90's I spent the better part of the year looking for and at used American lathes and couldn't fnd even one that wasn't wiped out.

                        There's something nice about something new in the crate. Mine still runs like the day I got it.JMO.


                        Same story here, I searched and waited and wasted a lot of time and gas looking but everything I found was either scrap iron or too expensive and by expensive I mean about 3 times what I paid for my Chinese import. Since I was going Chinese anyway and still stinging from the price screwing I took on that little Jet I decided to get my 14x40 from HF because it was identical to the Enco 14x40 and the Birmingham YCL1440 but a heck of a lot cheaper. I run it everyday and I am still waiting for all those parts to break, they will won't they? Everyone says they are going to!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well I'm glad some have had a good experience with the Chinese lathes, Jet, HF or whatever. My experience with Jet 1440's was simply the worst lathes I have ever encountered.

                          I have two SB's, a 9 X 40 and a 14 1/2 X I forget, but around 54 or 60. I had to wait and look for the 14 1/2 and ended up driving about 400 miles each way to get the machine. However, I'm really glad I did. BTW, the 9" was given to me. Not running at the time, but now runs like a sewing machine.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dr Stan
                            Well I'm glad some have had a good experience with the Chinese lathes, Jet, HF or whatever. My experience with Jet 1440's was simply the worst lathes I have ever encountered..

                            The little time I have with a "real" lathe helps me to understand why you feel the Chinese lathes are a bad experience, it is easy to see the difference between the two and given a real choice I would not have bought Chinese. It has been my opinion that the Chinese machines are the same no matter who is selling them and although I might argue a HF lathe is as good as an Enco for example I would never argue they are as good as the American or European industrial machines. Those of us who are willing to accept the Chinese quality for economic reasons are usually quite satisfied with them for hobby use but I doubt a pro trying to make a living with one would have much, if anything, good to say about them-for a good reason! I am very happy with my HF lathe and I know a lot of other people are too but most of us are not using them in an industrial setting and they are adequate for what we do with them, I have no regrets at all about buying Chinese from HF but I do understand why someone with a lot of experience with "real" machines might be disappointed with one.
                            Last edited by radkins; 09-12-2010, 04:48 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by radkins
                              The little time I have with a "real" lathe helps me to understand why you feel the Chinese lathes are a bad experience, it is easy to see the difference between the two and given a real choice I would not have bought Chinese. It has been my opinion that the Chinese machines are the same no matter who is selling them and although I might argue a HF lathe is as good as an Enco for example I would never argue they are as good as the American or European industrial machines. Those of us who are willing to accept the Chinese quality for economic reasons are usually quite satisfied with them for hobby use but I doubt a pro trying to make a living with one would have much, if anything, good to say about them-for a good reason! I am very happy with my HF lathe and I know a lot of other people are too but most of us are not using them in an industrial setting and they are adequate for what we do with them, I have no regrets at all about buying Chinese from HF but I do understand why someone with a lot of experience with "real" machines might be disappointed with one.
                              There are different levels of Chinese as well as Taiwanese. We can't lump them all together and then place them all underneath worn out American machiney that's 50 to 60 years old.

                              We also can't generalize about what a "pro trying to make a living" might do. Such a person isn't going to be using an American manual lathe very often anyway. More likely he'll have a Japanese Milling Station and something like a Mazak CNC lathe. He might have a manual machine or two in the shop somewhere but regardless of brand, he will make his money with CNC anymore. JMO.

                              .

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