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Joined: Sep 2016
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Hank01 Offline OP
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Anyone own one of these Grizzly mini lathes? It's a 7"X12".



This machine comes with a few accessories:



It's on sale now on the Grizzly website for $495 + $79 shipping. I'm looking for a small machine to turn firing pins, sight beads and screws.

I went to Harbor Freight and looked at this one. Same size as the Grizzly.



No accessories and the backlash in all of the hand wheels is horrible. Hard to imagine any kind of accuracy with this thing. They want $599 for it.

I'm wondering if the Grizzly has the same backlash issue as the one from Harbor Freight? It appears that both are made in the same factory with only cosmetic differences. I found this comparison from littlemachineshop.com and it does a good job of listing most of the mini lathes side by side.

Hank

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I had a look at a similar small lathe under a different name here in the UK, for use in my other interest clock making. I found it rather disappointing and flimsy so I went for the larger Chinese manufactured lathe the 9 x 20 a world of difference far more robust and stable though even then it required some simple modifications to improve its working especially to the top slide mounting. I believe Grizzly sell the 9 x 20 on your side of the pond, I am sure you will find the 9 x 20 a far more of a serious lathe in every way compered to the 7 x 12 take a look.


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I had the HF one . It worked OK for making Firing pins, screws, Ivory beads and turning guide bushings. I upgraded to a bigger Jet and like it better but the HF was OK for small stuff.

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These small lathes are pedalled by most of the small companies dealing in machine tools. They are nearly all made by Seig in China. If you look carefully the differences between the same model is nearly always the paint job an perhaps the addition of a chuck shield or handles. I bought one second hand some 10 years ago with some tooling for about $150.00. Mine was in Metric specs but a change of gear wheels and a replacement Imperial lead screw soon had it working in inches. Spares are available although if no one has the item in stock it may take 6 months to come in by sea from China, they (the Chinese) don't do it any other way. Most parts are interchangeable, when I've needed any spare parts and my usual supplier doesn't have stock I simply go to another supplier using a different Brand Name and his parts invariably fit. The Little Machine Shop carries a lot of spares and accessories for these little lathes including quick change tool holders, a handy set to have. LMS has a website. Google it and have a look around. Yes there is backlash in even new machines but there are procedures for getting around it. I've had no problems making small parts, pins, machine thread screws, parts for rifle sights ad many other items. It's not a massive financial outlay and it will pay for itself eventually.

Good luck,

Harry.


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I mostly agree with Harry. I examined one of HF's display models ( as well as display models of drill presses, vises, mills, etc).There were terrible problems with "slop", etc, as stated above. However, in my considered opinion, this was almost completely caused by a HF employee just taking the machine out of a box and setting it on the display. A machinist, or anyone willing to learn, can adjust most of the "slop" out of them. In addition to the source Harry cited, Micro Mark also offers a variety of parts and accessories. There is a "website", dedicated to these little lathes, that has an awful lot of "links" to improvements and other things relating to them. Check out " Gadget Builder's Mini Lathe and Little Workshop". If I didn't already have more lathes than I can fit into my shop, I would likely try one out.
Mike

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Chinese method of doing business is make a product to price point. No service spares or repairs. If the importer buys 100 factory ships 110, next order they ask how many were returned, over 10 he ships more next time, under 10 he ships less. Back in China everything is done piece work by contractors, the Chinese exporter goes back to the actual builder to settle accounts on rejected or returned.

Some of the larger importers have staff in China to sample quality and are better companies to buy from. Inspection is sparse though. I know a US Furniture company that brings in over 12,000 40' containers of furniture per year, and has 2 Americans in China inspecting. It's a standard way to do business that works well, as long as you understand it. They return a fair amount to China as defective too.

Way to deal with this as a buyer is only buy from importers that have firm written return policy's Get one that's off return it for another. Lathe you will only know after using it so make sure you can return after some defined period.

Those small lathes can work well and are good value for the money, if they work.

Boats

Last edited by Boats; 11/07/16 06:57 PM.
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I believe Grizzly has staff there, they also own "South Bend", which are now also made in China.
Mike

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I have one of the HF models that's the same as one pictured except for paint and a couple of switches. I bought it a few years back when I had a 20% off super coupon. I adjusted the slop out of it - at least as much as I needed for what I use it for. I make or repair a few parts but also use it a lot to repair brass cartridge cases - primer pocket depth, chamfer, etc.

My biggest complaint is the small hole size through the head stock.

PS, HF has a 20% super coupon in latest flyer. I was thinking of a vertical mill for Christmas. I haven't broken the idea with Santa yet.

Last edited by Bibbyman; 11/08/16 06:04 AM.
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Bibbyman,
Actually, the 3/4" spindle bore diameter is pretty good for this class of lathe. It is considerably larger than older "classic" lathes of similar size. My 6"x18" Atlas/Craftsman's is only 1/2",my 6"x18" Dunlap/Craftsman's is 3/8", I don't even consider my UniMat as having a spindle bore. To get as large as 3/4" in "classic" lathes, you have to go larger, like 10/12"x24/36" Atlas/Craftsman, Logan;9" or light10" South Bend. To get larger ,you have to go to something like a Clausing 12"x36", or the South Bend Heavy 10"x33".
A mill would make a useful addition to your shop.
Mike

Last edited by Der Ami; 11/08/16 12:58 PM.
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Hank01 Offline OP
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As Boats mentioned up there parts for these things could be a problem but according to littlemachineshop.com most parts are interchangeable. So, whatever fits the Grizzly should work on the HF machine too. I'm sure there are some differences but are they big enough to worry about?

Now I'm starting to think that the bigger ones as Damascus mentioned may be the better choice. The small hole through the head stock could be a problem if I start turning breech plugs.

Bibbyman how did you git rid of the backlash? The one I looked at Sunday had a good 1/2" slop in every hand wheel. How does one git rid of that?

Everyone has mentioned good points to consider -I'm just having trouble finding evidence that show me any one of them is better than the other. Even the bigger ones.

Hank

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