Grizzly tools Good or not so good?

I'm considering a new drillpress and an engine lathe. I ran across Grizzly
Tools site, but I don't know anything about their products. I don't do
production work, just a home backyard workshop. What are your opinions of
Grizzly, both the company and their products?
TIA
Paul
Reply to
Paul in Redland
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They sell their own color of the standard Chinese manufactured machinery. Quality is something of a crapshoot, if you get a good one then you'll do fine. If you get a lemon, then you could be in for a world of pain getting the bugs worked out, which in the extremity of trouble could include re-crating the machine for return. Customer service wise, Grizzly seems generally considered to be a more responsive operation than Harbor Freight, though some say Harbor Freight isn't so bad.
If you get one of these import machines- no matter from whom- expect to do a good deal of cleaning (which may include getting sand out of the headstocks and bearings), sometimes stuff like sludgy paint is left in gearboxes, etc.. and be prepared for the possibility of things like bad bearings, lumpy belts, failing motors and erratic paint jobs right out of the box. These machines are sometimes termed "kits", rather than finished equipment.
Which is not to say you are guaranteed to have problems, many people don't- but the possibility is there. Grizzly et al don't assemble, inspect and prep these machines when they come into the US (except for perhaps sampling the product stream) so they don't know the state of what they're shipping you. If there's any assembly done in the US, its "assembling" the shipment of boxes that they send you.
There are more highly regarded importers of Chinese machines, but you'll pay accordingly. Jet, Birmingham, Kent- for example, tend to bring in a somewhat better class of machinery, but you'd probably have to find a dealer rather than ordering thru a website.
Gregm
Reply to
Greg Menke
I've had good luck with them, they seem to stand behind their stuff pretty well. Doesn't really matter which importer you buy from, the only difference is the color of the paint. Some stand behind their products, some don't.Grizzly seems to have a little more interest in making sure that what they sell isn't crap, I've found a little better attention to how things are setup before they ship, otherwise, same as anyone else.
Rich
Reply to
greybeard
I was up in the Grizzly main store in Bellingham, WA about a week ago looking at lathes and drill presses. As someone else said, in general you should assume the machine needs to be "touched up" as it comes out of the box rather than ready to go. It will probably work ok after a simple cleaning but it would be far better to assume you need to put a good 40 hours into most machines to make sure alignment is improved and that potential crap like casting sand isn't in the works.
I did notice one thing about their larger lathes. The overall quality of the castings appears to have become a little worse over the years. There is a bit more flash on the castings and they seem a little rougher than they used to be. I assume that the "works" you can't see are also a bit more cheaply made.
On their larger lathes, they tend to offer a basic as well as a "Z" series or something marked "toolroom" or similar. The floor models appeared to be differrent enough and improved enough on these models to make them worth the extra money if you can afford the difference. The difference is probably a Tawianese factory instead of a Chinese factory version.
Grizzly does tend to back up their stuff reasonably for a vendor of Chinese import stuff and also tends (according to rumor) to have parts available long after the other guys have moved on to other models. Jet is rumored to back up their stuff fairly well also but seem to build a wall between the buyer and company (called the vendor) that may make it harder to resolve problems.
As long as you know you are buying cheap machines and you get what you pay for, I would have no hesitation in buying from them.
Koz
Reply to
Koz
Years ago I went up to the Grizzly showroom with a piece of ground rod and a mag base with DTI in hand. I chucked the ground rod in their drill presses (one at a time) clamped the mag base to the table, and checked runout by hand with the dial test indicator. In no case was the runout less than 1/32", in other words awful. The manager saw what I was doing and came out. At first he thought I was trying something funny but then he realized I knew what I was talking about, then he watched and once he got it, he took me in the back and we spent about an hour with one of their employees uncrating new drill presses and testing runouts. They were *all* over 1/32" runout. They were most apologetic but said after all, their primary target was woodworkers.
I didn't relieve their anxiety by telling them the error was almost certainly in the cheap-ass chucks they used. Needless to say I left there without buying a DP. I would have popped the chucks out an directly indicated the spindle but they wouldn't let me, said that was disassembling the machine. Snicker.
Nice paint, though.
Grizzly has safety reading glasses for a reasonable price of $10:
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Grizzly is said to stock spare parts and to have good customer service.
GWE
Koz wrote:
Reply to
Grant Erwin
Yeah, take the chuck out and it'd be a week until the assembly guy came around to reinstall it.
Far as I'm concerned, eye protection is pretty much #1 in the budget- not a big recurring cost in general. I'll cheap out on the paper towels instead.
Greg
Reply to
Greg Menke
There isn't anything low quality about these, I was working with a guy today who was wearing them. I have always used safety glasses in my shop but now that I'm over 50 I can see fine work a lot easier with some magnification, so I started buying safety glasses which have an integral reading glass lens in them. Very handy, don't know why all the chain stores don't sell 'em. I'm not sure I understand your point about "cheaping out", Greg, can you please elaborate?
GWE
Reply to
Grant Erwin
That is a good price. Enco had the same thing for $11.95 in their current hot deals catalog. If you "need" enough other stuff (and who doesn't?) to do the free freight thing it might be cheaper.
Someone here sent me to Phillips Safety. I bought a couple of pairs of the ones pictured at bottom here:
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More expensive than the Grizzlys but I like the size and style better.
Reply to
Rex B
Its not a particularly useful point, just that for me the price of eye protection is not the deciding factor. If the $10 glasses work and aren't junky, then I'm all for it. I'm a little suprised that Grizzly would sell something nice inexpensively but perhaps they got a good deal on them too....
Gregm
Reply to
Greg Menke
Resale value is a really good point. Chinastuff has little to none...basically a little above scrap value unless you find a sucker or friend who really wants your unit.
On the drill press, unless you are really green, buy more than I think I need to begin with. Better to have some real iron there for that future job that needs it than a frustrating bottom of the line model. For big lathe stuff, you can always contract out that once every couple of years job but I can think of no one who would enjoy contracting out simple drilling because their drill press is the flimsy $ 150 floor model.
With regards to "old" iron....one problem is how incredibly cruddy a mill or lathe can get over years of use. It's a miserable job to try and scrape chips coolant from 1950 out of every crack and crevice. Some just leave it and call it "battle scars" but I hate to start with a machine that's new to me but still has someone elses mess in it.
So the question is...any cleaning secrets out there? I've heard many speak of elbow grease and solvents but gads that takes forever and isn't very satisfying. Steam cleaning sounds good but the idea of all that water on a machine and the potential for rust gets a little scary. E-bay has a ton of used machines that appear to be repainted. Are they skimping on the prep and painting over crap (assuming a reputable dealer) or is there a secret/better way to clean up a really cruddy machine?
Koz (who got about 2/3 of the way done with the elbow grease method and said "screw it", leaving the rest of the crap)
Reply to
Koz
On ebay this might be true, but what I've seen is that the used asian machines bring just about the same as used american iron, IF they're just advertised with a fair price on them and the seller is up front about the machine. Try to sell it for what it isn't and there aren't many buyers stupid enough to swallow your line. I've picked up old US made drill presses from the scrapyard for little to nothing, but have yet to see one of the asian machines come in.
On the flip side, I've got an older Shopsmith in beautiful condition that I've got $200 in, and it looks like I'm going to sit on that until I die, $200 is what I have to get for it, and I'm not coming down. If it doesn't find a new home by the end of summer, one piece at a time it'll go to the scrapyard.
Rich
Reply to
greybeard
Koz wrote:
That may be true for drill presses, but judging by the prices on ebay, import tools don't seem to depreciate any more than US-made ones do. In fact, Chinese minilathes and mill-drills seem to bring most of new price for a used machine with minimal tooling. I own some of both, most bought used in the last 5 years. I can recover my initial investment on any of them, probably make money on every one. This is in Texas. Might be different up in the Rust Belt where you guys are awash in used machine tools.
here I'd agree. I have a nice, almost-new Ridgid DP like the home stores sell. I'd swap it in a minute for an old, heavy US-made DP. The one I have is fine for wood, but marginal at best for metal.
Call me weird (my wife would agree) but I enjoy that stuff. I like to find an old neglected lathe and spend the next several weeks finding the tight, shiny machine beneath all that rust and grease. My primary tools:
Homemade parts cleaner from a 55-gallon drum and kerosene, submersion pump. EvapoRust rust remover. That stuff is amazing. For me it works better than electrolytic and is much easier. Carb cleaner dip for alloy parts. ATF - cleans and lubricates fine-grit 3M Scotchbrite - used sparingly. Wire wheel on a 8" bench grinder.
The biggest lathe I've done is a 10x36 Atlas or a 10x24 Enco. The latter is arguably "bigger" as it outweighed the Atlas 2 to 1. I have several boxes of cleaned, dried Atlas 618 parts waiting at home for paint and reassembly. That's what I'll be doing after work this week.
For a bigger lathe, I'd consider steam cleaning, followed immediately by liberal application of WD40 in every nook and cranny, followed by an oil or ATF spray. The WD40 will chase the water out, get plenty of it in gallon or the hi-volume aero container. Then I'd partially disassemble the lathe as soon as I got it home, same day for sure, to make sure all the water was gone, and spray additional oil as needed. Let it sit a few days and the oil/ATF will soften the grease and varnish. Of course, you will have to remove the oil from parts that need to be de-rusted, but you will often find that what appeared to be rust is really hardened oil that has turned brown.
Rex
Reply to
Rex B
Diesel fuel works well and is lots easier on everything than raw gasoline- which is handy for really nasty stuff though. Cleanup after the cleanup is kind of problematic though. I like the spray on Citristrip- kind of slow on the grease and sludge but it takes off paint pretty well.
I did a 10" South Bend with electrolysis and a 12" American with the Citristrip & diesel method- found the latter to be less messy and annoying, though I got plenty tired of the smell after a while.
But don't neglect a plain old scotchbright pad, dish detergent and hot water for things other than ways, bearings, etc.. if you get the rinse water really hot and get the part dry quickly its a handy way to clean up smaller stuff- particularly after the paint is stripped.
Greg
Reply to
Greg Menke
Stuff like a Shopsmith goes quickly on
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Actually, it goes aggrevatingly fast. If you don't get a call or e-mail to the seller within the first hour or two, you are usually too late for anything of value.
greybeard wrote:
Reply to
RoyJ
Now Roy exactly what are you basing this on? In my area old Shopsmiths sit around on craigslist for a long long time, in fact back when I was collecting 10ER parts I used to let them "cure" for about 3 weeks and then go talk to the then-discouraged sellers and offer them $60. It worked 5 out of 5 times, then I got real tired of trying to sell the stuff and basically had a giveaway sale myself, keeping only one *really* fully tooled machine.
GWE
Reply to
Grant Erwin
I've had to sit on a lot of things before, one big hangup being shipping, it will usually run twice what the machine costs. Won't be the first I've scrapped one part at a time, probably won't be the last.
Rich
Reply to
greybeard
Figure what you need to get out of it, part it out on ebay piece by piece until you net out your total, and scrap the rest. Works great.
GWE
Reply to
Grant Erwin
Too many horror stories, most of them true, about ebay for me to even think about it. It will go to a local buyer or the scrap, I druther have my money back, but it won't break me. Don't have any need for it, HF had most of their top end stuff on sale last summer, I've had fun making it work like it should, but that was before the Shopsmith came up.
Rich.
Reply to
greybeard
I just got my enco 12x36 machine last friday have been working to get it up and running ever since it looks in great shape other than I wanted to re-wire for 110 and the Taiwanese dont like to explain how to do that very thoroughly, luckily my cusin is an electrical engineer so he figured it out after I sent him some pictures of the wireing schematics etc.
However the Taiwanese don't like deburring eather it seems, since my nuts that run my crossfeed look like a badger was chewing on the threads, and it runs across like crud if you can even call that running across. It's getting better but I havent deburred them completly yet I thought the 1 nut was good and clean so I only cleaned the one that looked bad however after running it across again there was a couple chips from burs that came out again so im going to take the second off and clean it today. Hopefully everything else works fine going to pickup some oil today and oil it up so I can start her up and make sure everything else is alright.
Oh and if you are looking at the cheep lathes grizzlie/enco etc. Make sure you know what your buying for instance right now the grizzlie gear head lathes have half the gears/speeds the enco lathes have. Otherwise there basically the same other than I think the grizzlies may have came with a quick change toolpost and the enco didn't but thats a cheep fix.
Reply to
redice
Nope. Running over every machined corner with a stone will make it feel a lot better, and it doesn't take that long either. Check the gibs in the cross slide and compound, they're usually sharp where they meet the bottom of the dovetail, digging in makes it impossible to get a good feel, let alone a good adjustment. couple of swipes with a file to get rid of the sharp corners will improve it a lot. Carriage gibs are usually ok, although in the 7 X 12 Homier, I had to grind them, they looked like the end of a rollercoaster ride when I took them out. Hard they are, flat they weren't.
Rich.
Reply to
greybeard

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