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    My son and I are building a small machine shop to support my hobbies and his laser chemistry research. We will be manufacturing vacuum system components, optical mounts, etc. We are planning on purchasing a Taiwan manufactured lathe (12x24 to 14x40) and mill. Currently evaluating Jet (JTM-4VS mill, or equivalent and GHB-1340 lathe, or equivalent), Victor, and Grizzley. I would appreciate hearing of other users experience with these brands in terms of precision, ease of use, durability. Local university students will be working with them as well. Thanks for your feedback.

  • #2
    I don't know that it's actually any better really, but Victor has a better reputation around here. Otherwise I'd go with Grizzly since it's just as good as Jet but less money. Most of the Grizzly and Jet machines are made in China nowdays, not Tawain, btw.

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    • #3
      Grizzly machines may look "just like the Jet machine," but I stronly suspect there is a good reason the Jet costs more money.

      When I bought my Jet mill about 16 years ago, I looked at Enco as well. The pictures in the catalogs might have looked the same, but when I actually saw the machines, the Jet was obviously a far better machine than the Enco.
      ----------
      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

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      • #4
        Never owned either one, but I've looked at and felt Jet and Grizzly pretty closely in the showrooms and in peoples shops. The Jet's look much nicer in the catalog photos, but I'm always amazed at just how sloppy the paint jobs and fit/ finish is on them in real life...don't look one "iota" better than a Grizzly to me.

        I suspect Jet does have better service/parts and has a longer history in the metalworking machine field, as Grizzly really made their name in the woodworking end of things originally. But comparing machine model to machine model I just don't see that much difference, other than a cabinet door or knob here and there, compared to the often great differnce in prices. Jet has a large network of dealers that have to get their cut, Grizzly is all direct sales..and that's the majority of the price difference. The rest of it's reputation, but reputation can often be total BS propagated by the legions of dealers, their salesmen, and magazine ads. A perfect example of which is the Jeep Wrangler..."a legend"..actually one of the sorriest made vehicles out there (I know I use to own one !...course then there's the ultimate "poorly made for what it cost" vehicle, the $60,000 Range Rover ) What we really need is a "Consumer Reports" for machine tools that would do unbiased comparisons without considerion of the advertisers. But I doubt that will ever happen due to the realitively small segment of the population involved and the cost and rigging involved in getting machines in to test.

        [This message has been edited by D. Thomas (edited 04-26-2001).]

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        • #5
          I have used both Jet and Grizzley machines and found good points and bad points with both. depending on what machine you get from either company it could come from taiwan or china. I have had to order repair parts for something I damaged from Grizzley and was surprised at the quality of service I received. The part was in stock and They called back promptly to let me know they had it. I had tried to get the part other places first but no one had it. My jet belt sander motor went out a few days after i purchased it and I had a new motor in a few days so their service is good to. I think the Taiwan machines are better than the Chinese. In our shop we have a Grizzley 8"x29" chinese knee mill and I have a 9"x42" Taiwan mill, the Taiwan quality is much better but the chinese still gets the job done.
          Mark Hockett
          Mark Hockett

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          • #6
            The best thing to do is compare your machine
            with a Bridgeport mill. The Bridgeport has
            a great reputation for for long life and
            quality craftmanship. So take the specifications from the Bridgeport and compare it to the specifications of your
            machine. Like what class of bearing does your
            machine have? The Bridgeport costs 12,000.
            A taiwan special costs from 5000 to 7000.

            doug

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            • #7
              Lagun (made in Spain) is also an excellent quality mill of that ilk. Many folks prefer them over Bridgeport. I once had a Beaver/Pal (made in England) that was superior to Bridgeport, but the Beaver is, unlike Lagun, probably no longer available new.

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              • #8
                About 20 years ago, I purchased a new Asian made knee mill (in this case from Enco). After many hours of fixing minor problems and having the head support face re-machined (it was not square with the table) the machine performed fairly well. I aquired a used Lagun (from a Vocational School)6 years ago. This is an exceptional machine, every bit as good as a Bridgeport and Republic Lagun located in Los Angles, CA provides excellent service and supply of parts (in my case I needed to replace the electrical rotor switch which control the main motor). I have looked at the latest offerings from Jet and they are not near the milling machine that the Lagun is. I second the option that you look into aquiring a Lugan.

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                • #9
                  I thought of more information that might be
                  helpful. If your going to be working with
                  students,they will be making boo boos,like
                  drilling holes in the table. Maybe it would
                  be better to buy a cheap mill,like Enco for
                  $3200. Bridgeports are built to run for 24 hours a day,7 days week,for about 20 years.
                  It sounds to me that you don't have that much work. Would a cheap machine do you
                  just fine? Also,stick an alumnium plate about
                  one inch thick on the table, bolt down with
                  cap screws, to save the table.

                  doug

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                  • #10
                    My experience with asian equipment has been pretty good. One word of caution though: When you unpack the machines, drain all oil out of any resivoirs, and replace it with quality stuff. Also you must really clean all working parts wery well, because they always have a very fine and very abrasive dust on them.

                    Further, I have been able to produce very fine results with my asian mill and lathe, but I spend obout one hour out of every 10 maintaining them. Cleaning, adjusting gibs, shimming leadscrews to kill backlash and so fourth. I rarely do that with my american lathe (once a year).

                    Good luck, you will probably be modifying them as time goes on, but we all do that to any machine we have.

                    Wade
                    Wade

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                    • #11
                      Hi!
                      I have been looking at the offers of
                      Grizzy, Jet and Enco Mill/Drill Machines,
                      for the last year or so.
                      I have looked at and handled all these machines.
                      Still unable to make up my mine, I
                      decided to take a trip to GRIZZLY IND.
                      locataed in Springfield MO.
                      (About 1025 mile round trip)
                      I was able to see all of there machines on the showroom floor. Most of them are made in Taiwan and look very good.
                      I spent the better part a day a half
                      in the showroom, before making up my mine to buy a Mod.G1006 Mill/Drill and cab stand.
                      The cost to me was $1383.00. Of course, the
                      trip set me back any amount I saved buying
                      at the showroom.
                      This machine will fill my needs for a long time. I also, know what the are selling how good it is(or I hope it is).
                      The point of this message is that Grizzly does have very good prices, they a
                      Mod. G6760, with power feed, U.S.A. motor and free shipping. All for a cost of $2995.00
                      oin the sale cat., IF! you buy at the showroom $2795.00 , $200.00 less but, you
                      pay MO tax at 6.475%.
                      Any way, they have the machines the people to help(and also know about the machine)
                      Check them out.
                      Thanks, Sandeater

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                      • #12
                        I have had great luck with the Chinese machines. You must usually clean, deburr, adjust and tweak them, but the cost savings is enormous. Grizzly is probably your best bet. The G4003 is a lot of bang for the buck and comes with lots of accessories that would be expensive to add later. I think (not positive) the Jet lathes have metric lead screws and dials, so one factor might be deciding if you are going to cut more inch or metric threads. Have fun!

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                        • #13
                          I haven't worked with the machines you mention but the ones I have worked with have taught me that the skill of the operator is much more important than the machine. I.E. a highly skilled operator can make high precision work (tolerances of less than 0.0003) with a machine that isn't that accurate.

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