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View Full Version : Metal Lathes feedback about this metal lathe



Karl Card
06-16-2011, 10:33 AM
grizzly G8688 7" x 12" Mini Metal Lathe

has anyone used one of these or know anything about them. I am thinking of buying a small lathe mainly for experience and to make small pieces for things around the shop.

Terry Beadle
06-17-2011, 12:45 PM
You might want to look at : http://www.micromark.com/MICROLUX-7x16-MINI-LATHE,9615.html

It's a little more money but 4 inches longer which will let you get the tail stock out of the way a little better.

The Griz is a pretty good buy but after shopping for about two years ( and still haven't bought ! Hoot! ) it's the concensus on most forums that you need to buy as big a lathe as you can afford. The experience being that you out grow the 7 X 12's very quickly.

Go up on the Practical Machinist site and some of the others that are linked there for more "hands on" feed back from posts in the past.

Good luck !

Bruce Page
06-17-2011, 2:41 PM
You might want to look at : http://www.micromark.com/MICROLUX-7x16-MINI-LATHE,9615.html

It's a little more money but 4 inches longer which will let you get the tail stock out of the way a little better.

The Griz is a pretty good buy but after shopping for about two years ( and still haven't bought ! Hoot! ) it's the concensus on most forums that you need to buy as big a lathe as you can afford. The experience being that you out grow the 7 X 12's very quickly.
So very true! I have a 14X40 that is too small at times!

Chris Fournier
06-17-2011, 10:36 PM
You might want to look at : http://www.micromark.com/MICROLUX-7x16-MINI-LATHE,9615.html

It's a little more money but 4 inches longer which will let you get the tail stock out of the way a little better.

The Griz is a pretty good buy but after shopping for about two years ( and still haven't bought ! Hoot! ) it's the concensus on most forums that you need to buy as big a lathe as you can afford. The experience being that you out grow the 7 X 12's very quickly.

Go up on the Practical Machinist site and some of the others that are linked there for more "hands on" feed back from posts in the past.

Good luck !

I wouldn't bother with the Practical Machinist Forum as it is ANTI-CHINESE - clearly stated by the web-host. Check out the Home Shop Machinist Forum for this sort of info. As Bruce points out, the lathe you own is always too small. Once you see how a lathe works you'll find out that the one you're looking at is good for miniatures. Personally I would look to a bigger machine for your stated usage.

To clarify a bit, the Practical Machinist is a great site and you should certainly check it out but not on this topic.

Karl Card
06-18-2011, 1:31 AM
I understand. Kind of like going to a Ford forum and bragging about Chevy or Dodge.... lol
I do understand about the size factor just from having a wood turning lathe, errr 3 wood turning lathes..

Chris Fournier
06-18-2011, 11:15 AM
You get it loud and clear Karl!

Your wood lathe experience is a good guide to metal lathes. I hope that you won't end up tooling up three metal lathes.

With metal lathes the size of the swing and distance between tailstock centres is the limiting factor about 5% of the time. 95% of the time the limiting factor of a metal lathe is its inherent rigidity. Of course you can work around this a bit with cutters and steadies but my import 12/36 will never be as rigid as a Monarch 10EE.

Howard Garner
06-18-2011, 8:13 PM
If you are looking at this size, check www.littlemachineshop.com

Howard Garner

george wilson
07-13-2011, 9:42 PM
I tried the NINE inch Grizzly a clockmaker friend has. Pretty miserable. I believe you had to change the gear train several times to cut all the threads indicated on the QUICK CHANGE gearbox. Been several years,so I can't remember all about it. I urge you to get a decent size lathe. My first decent lathe was a Jet 10" X 24". I started out with a 12" X 36" Craftsman(Atlas). There is NO WAY that flimsy lathe could have accommodated work anywhere near the size it would actually chuck up. The Jet was smaller,but a revelation in strength and rigidity.

I don't understand the very poor engineering on some of these lathes today. Our maintenance blacksmith bought a miserable Kent lathe of at least 12" or 14" swing. It had teeny little "V" ways on the bed. It also had one of those awful arrangements where you had to keep changing the gear train to cut the threads possible on the QC box. I never had that problem with the Jet. As is usual on most lathes,you had to change a gear to cut METRIC threads,but that was all.

Josh Bowman
07-16-2011, 8:02 AM
Karl,
I have the Harbor Freight 7x12 lathe.
http://www.harborfreight.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/370x/9df78eab33525d08d6e5fb8d27136e95/i/m/image_2781.jpgI've used it a good bit now and can say, it will do small stuff well. I've turned some aluminum that was a little bigger than 3" in diameter and a good amount of steel and brass. It will do the job.
The good:It fits with a mill and small bandsaw on one bench, it's cheap, cuts threads well, easy to control, nicely features for the price.
The bad: It's small, hate having to change gears for threading (but it works), size matters here-if it were heavier and larger-it would cut deeper and faster without chatter.
The fit and finish of mine was very nice, I had almost no mods or tweaking to do. I did have issues with the tail stock alignement, but called and they have sent me a new one.......on a very slow boat from China. However they said have at the old one, so I modified it and fixed most of the alignment problems. When I got into wood turning folks said, the tooling will cost as much as the wood lathe, I didn't experience that. However with a metal lathe or mill, the tooling will be more than the machine. Work holding and cutting are the big focus since work can't be allowed to move. Unlike wood turning where the work will just break, chances are in metal, the tooling or lathe/mill will break. As you use the equipent, you'll get where you measure more precisely....that's a whole vortex of it's own in equipment and doo-dads. I'm glad I finally pulled the trigger and a whole new world has opened up to augment my wood working. But I still wish I had gotten a bigger heavier lathe.
I bought the mill and the lathe at the same time, the mill is fine, but I'm already thinking of upgrading the lathe.