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  • Who makes'um

    More questions than answers.

    Any one know for sure who/what machine works makes Enco, Jet, Birmingham, Grizzly or Smithy lathes.

    One person said Birminham and Jet are made at the same plant but to different specs.

    Looking at the pictures and specs for Enco, Jet, and Grizzly 13x40 size lathes and except for the color and knobs they are almost identical.

    And the quality issue is still out hanging around.

    I need a hobby machine I can get a half thousanths out of for my own gun barrel work.
    I see the Enco 1340 lath is represented in the posts and one Harbor Freight lathe was well though of.


    GreenWillyPeter at your service.

    Even mosquitos have a job to do, don't be to hard on them. Without mosquitos I wouldn't have quail, chukkar and pheasant for dinner.

  • #2
    I suspect you can't make a blanket statement, "X makes the machines for Y," as I imagine different machines may be made by different manufacturers, or the same machine may be made by different manufacturers at different times.

    17 years ago when I bought my Jet milling machine, there was an Enco milling machine that "looked just like it in the catalog." Well, there happened to be an Enco dealer and a Jet dealer within driving distance, to I went to look at both machines. They did !NOT! look the same in person. I thought the Jet machine had much better "fit and finish" than the Enco. Looking through the documentation, I discovered the Jet machine was made by Kao Fong, the Enco by Lan Wei (or something like that). Anyway, they were made by different Taiwan companies, even though they looked pretty much the same.

    Although this is purely surmise on my part, I had the idea that there may be a foundry that produces the castings for a lot of companies. Then, everybody from Kao Fong, which is a real machine-tool company, to some "company" of 3 guys in a garage, buy the castings and turn out milling machines of wildly different quality that "look the same in the pictures."
    But that's just a guess.
    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


    • #3
      Everything (lathes) under $5,000 at Enco are from China.

      MSC's cheapest Taiwan lathe is $3200. Unfortunately, it is sticker shock when it comes to buying a lathe. :-(



      • #4
        Definitely got to be something like that. I keep seeing lathes in the 13 x 40 catagory that look quite abit alike on the web.

        Found one person that has a Grizzly lathe and mill. I'm setting up an appointment to see him. He is a machinist by trade and works at a local company and had a machine shop of his own, so maybe I can get a good touchy-feely thing going if I promise to wipe off the drool and finger prints.

        I'm starting to get a little sore being hammered by all the hooha. Worse than fighting off the husband hunters and fleas.

        Thanks all for the input.

        GreenWillyPeter at your service

        If you can't join 'um, wave anyhow. It will keep them guessin' for awhile.


        • #5
          I'll throw my 2 cents into this pot... The Jet 1340 belt drive looks pretty suitable for gun work, of the ones you mentioned. I would look for older iron first, but you have to get up over 14" to get the big hole through the bore. I would go by weight; looking for the heaviest machine possible. Boy a flame hardened Monarch sure would be sweet, or a 14" Clausing for a lighter machine. I'm talking out my hat, of course; these are machines I've had the pleasure to work on, but not own. A D-4 chuck mounting system might be good too. I have trouble with chuck jaw runout every time I unscrew the four jaw to do something else, and in the gunshop, there is always 'something else' that needs to go for a spin. My solution was to spin on the 4 jaw, true it, and then I bought a little 3 jaw I chuck in the 4 jaw for small stuff. Just about the time I figured this system out, a munchkin lathe came along with a 5-C collet chuck and 33 collets, so now it catches most of the odds and ends. My big lathe is a 16" South Bend with riser blocks to 24", but only a 6 foot bed. Very funky.


          • #6
            you can take a chance and go to an auction. you might be surprized to find what is out there. Got an American made LeBlonde for $250 last year 14x42. Had to change the motor from 550v to 220v. Leblonde sells parts for most everything they ever made. You might find a Bridgeport or a Quality Import out there.


            • #7
              Hang tough ! I am new to machine tools and also became VERY CONFUSED reading all the catalogs about machines. Keep asking questions and reading info. Remember: "Knowledge is POWER!" and just like buying a car, the day after you bring it home is the day you find a better deal! Good hunting, Willy!