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  • Which mill to buy?

    Howdy,

    I am looking at buying a small mill. The choices (due to price and budget) are:

    Grizzly G3102 - $1,795.00 (includes base)
    Grizzly G0519 - $1,495.00
    HF 40939-3VGA - $1,399.99
    HF 42827-2VGA - $1,099.00
    Lathemaster ZAY7045FG - $1,395.00
    Wholesale tools ZAY7045M - $1,499.00

    I appreciate alternatives, comments, etc.

    My observations are as follows:

    Grizzly G3102 = Spindle to table too short.

    Grizzly G0519 = 3 phase motor a problem

    HF 40939-3VGA = Not enough info available

    HF 42827-2VGA = Round column

    Lathemaster ZAY7045FG = Front runner

    Wholesale tools ZAY7045M = Late entry, is the table rotation a good thing?

    Any direction that y'all can give me would be a big help.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  • #2
    Hi,jim.i have the local(new zealand)version of this model mill-drill,and overall i'm quite happy with it,considering the price.you may need to fiddle a bit with the various adjustments to get it working smoothly.on my machine the gib strips were rougher than a bear's rear portion,they appeared to be hacked out with an axe .but a bit of work with a decent file soon made them smooth in action,if not in appearance.one of the table locks has stripped,caused by poor quality screws.i have replaced most screws with "proper"ones now.the handles are so-so,but again that's a relatively minor item.The basic machine does good work to a standard as accurate as i could ever hope to get.i've just fitted a power feed using a wiper motor,since the power feed units are not available here.i guess as long as you don't expect commercial use it's quite adequate.My main reason for choosing this machine over the others was the dovetail column,imo the round columns are a pain in the pendant .hope this is of some use to you,and good luck with whatever you choose.

    ------------------
    Hans
    Hans

    Comment


    • #3
      <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by matador:
      Hi,jim.i have the local(new zealand)version of this model mill-drill,and overall i'm quite happy with it,considering the price.you may need to fiddle a bit with the various adjustments to get it working smoothly.on my machine the gib strips were rougher than a bear's rear portion,they appeared to be hacked out with an axe .but a bit of work with a decent file soon made them smooth in action,if not in appearance.one of the table locks has stripped,caused by poor quality screws.i have replaced most screws with "proper"ones now.the handles are so-so,but again that's a relatively minor item.The basic machine does good work to a standard as accurate as i could ever hope to get.i've just fitted a power feed using a wiper motor,since the power feed units are not available here.i guess as long as you don't expect commercial use it's quite adequate.My main reason for choosing this machine over the others was the dovetail column,imo the round columns are a pain in the pendant .hope this is of some use to you,and good luck with whatever you choose.

      </font>
      Hi Hans! Good post, but you didn't say which of Jims 6 options your machine represents.

      John.

      Comment


      • #4
        "Grizzly G3102 = Spindle to table too short."

        Yes, but it also has a real knee and high quality bearings (ABEC 7). And, you could add a spacer to add space under the spindle. The low end speed of this model could be an issue depending on what sort of things you are making (steel gears).

        "Grizzly G0519 = 3 phase motor a problem"

        Actually this could be considered an advantage because with the addition of ~$200 VFD you would have infinite speeds available. You just have to add the cost of the VFD to the price of the basic machine to arrive at the final price.

        "HF 40939-3VGA = Not enough info available"

        Same as the above Grizzly without the stand. No, shipping on the HF so it costs less than the Grizzly by several hundred $s.

        "HF 42827-2VGA = Round column"

        Don't be too fooled by this feature. You can still do a lot of machining with this model or similar. Rong Fu still sells an identical model for twice as much. Downside of this model and other gearhead machines without 2 speed motor or VFD is the limited speed selection and not very high top speed. This may not be a problem depending on what you are making.

        "Lathemaster ZAY7045FG = Front runner"

        See above.

        "Wholesale tools ZAY7045M = Late entry, is the table rotation a good thing?"

        Maybe, what are you planning to make with your new milling machine?


        Comment


        • #5
          Get yourself a used Bridgeport for about
          the same money. You'll be glad you did!

          I had one of those cheapie chineese mills
          and hated it. I ended up buying the BP and
          selling that POS tabletop mill for half of
          what I paied for it.

          Comment


          • #6

            I bought my used Bridgeport with 2J 2HP variable speed Head (J 271832), with Kurt Vise and a Heidenhain Digital Readout system and a set of R8 collets for $1500 from another home machinest in the local want-ads.

            If you buy one of those new Mills that you listed above, you'll still need a good vice, and you'll definitely want a good digital readout system. A new Kurt Vise is around $400 and a new digital readout is around $800 (Or $1200 for a very good one) so think twice before turning your head away from a used bridgeport that already has these things.

            -3Ph

            Comment


            • #7
              --------------------------------------------

              sidneyt
              posted 01-03-2005 08:35 AM

              Maybe, what are you planning to make with your new milling machine?

              --------------------------------------------

              I plan to make simple things. Assorted brackets, odd shaped spacers, etc. Nothing overly precision, nothing overly complex. I guess I would view a mill as an effecient way to shape hunks of metal that I probably could have done by hand given enough time.

              When I posted this same question to the Yahoo groups, I said;

              I met a guy who is machining his own racing heads for a Chev. V-8....I doin't see myself doing something like this. I have seen people who are building, from scratch, radial engines....I don't see myself doing something like this. I might consider building a sinlgel piston steam engine someday, but right now that is not my focus.

              In the context of a car or buggy, I want to build the motor mounts, but not the motor.

              In general, I just like to tinker, and now that the wife, and her amazing spending habits are gone (you do the math, 1/2 the family income disappeared when she left, bills stayed the same, but now there is money left over at the end of each month!) I can finally afford to buy some of the toys that will let me do that!

              Comment


              • #8
                I am comtemplating the Grizz 519, I don.t require something in the mega-ton weight range.
                Lotsa daylight under spindle, 3ph. a bonus.

                Comment


                • #9
                  john,you're absolutely right.brain fade.Jim,i have the ZAY7045FG,dovetail column,single phase.sorry for any confusion
                  Hans

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    john,you're absolutely right.brain fade.Jim,i have the ZAY7045FG,dovetail column,single phase.i actually intended to post a pic with my reply.sorry for any confusion.
                    Hans

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      http://www.industrialhobbies.com/

                      i had one of their mills arrive at my house on wednesday. haven't even had time to fully break it down yet, but lemme tell you, it's BIG. 39" table on a benchtop machine with a 2hp engine. i can't wait to start making chips with it.
                      -paul

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Jim,
                        I'm trying to make the same decision. A friend who just retired as a high school shop instructor bought the HF42827 about a year ago and loves it.

                        Would like to know more about the speed control for the 3 phase Grizzly. Have their 4003 lathe and like it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In an effort to conclude this thread, a few more questions....

                          Does everyone vote that the round column mills are useless, or just limited?

                          Is the table power feed just nice, or is it mandatory?

                          At this point, I am down to 2 choices I think....

                          This...

                          http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/cta...emnumber=33686

                          or, this

                          http://www.wttool.com/p/3006-0080

                          I am kind of reaching the point where I can't afford the "minimum" that everyone thinks I need, and if that is the case, I guess I am figuring I could get the HF model, for a $700 savings, and just make do.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Round columns are far from useless, mostly just a PITA when tool height differences come into play.

                            Power feed is a nicety to some, but absolutely mandatory for me. I wouldn’t buy a mill without adding it quickly.

                            I take it that a G3616 is too much? It includes, power feed, a vise, light and coolant system. A lot of mill for the money IMHO.
                            Location: North Central Texas

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would have a hard time recommending Harbor Freight or Wholesale Tools as a soure of machine tools. I have been in the stores of each, and the tools on display are frequently broken, damaged, or not completely or properly assembled. If this is the way they display their tools, I wonder what to expect as a customer.

                              Talking to the employees, and asking questions does not instill a lot of confidence as to their level of knowledge about the machines, especially true of Harbor Freight.

                              If something is being offered at 1/2 the cost of the rest of the field, there is a good reason.

                              Any of the low priced, imported machines can be a crap shoot. Regardless of what some people might say, these machines are not all the same, and quality can vary widely between vendors and even between the same machine from the same vendor. This HF may be a gem, the one next to it total junk. If at all possible, inspect the machine you intend to purchase in person. Try to buy locally, as there is a very good chance you will have issues, and trying to settle them over the phone with shipping back and forth will lead to frustration.

                              The round column and lack of power feed do not make it a poor machine. Piling features on a machine to disguise low quality will not make it a good machine

                              What to do? My advice is to try to find a local dealer that handles what you are looking for, talk to them and try to get an idea of what they are like, and how they may respond. Are they knowledgeable about the tools, or are they a sideline? Can they provide service and help with problems? If you can find a dealer that seems to know the product, and you have confidence in, buy the machine you can best afford.

                              Jim H.

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