Can anyone give me some real info on central machinerys metalworking
machines-Lathes mills etc-Not expecting huge results from the price-But can
they be fixed/rebuilt and made better-Many have said they have some problems.
Any comments from Actual users?
There are several China made lathes, I currently am looking at the
9x20 lathe, some of the brands are Jet, Enco, Harbor Freight, and
Grizzly to name a few. I found these web sites, check the links, it
should answer some of your questions. Just type 9x20 lathe into
I bought a Jet as it has a 1 1/2 X 8 (I think) nose for the chuck.
However it was as
I was warned, It was packed / assembled with sandy grease or was it
Any way it required extensive clean up.
The main problem with the HF stuff is the variable quality. You're
going to have to put in some work with most of the machine tools to
get something that's going to do the job. In some cases, they're
ready to go out of the box after degreasing, kind of rare, but it
happens. I've gotten a couple like that. Usually you have to tear
the thing down, get the casting sand and filings out of the headstock,
put in proper grease or oil, check to see that things are square with
the world and generally rebuild the beast. There's also a few design
deficiencies that the links that the other poster gave address. You
may get one that's ready to go as-is, you may have to do extensive
Yes, they can be rebuilt to better-than-new, in some cases pretty
easily, in other cases, you're better off hauling it back to the store
to either try again or get your money back. Do you feel lucky?
I would never mailorder one, go to the store and see what's in the
crate first. The stores will usually price-match the sale fliers,
unless the ad says internet and mailorder only.
I have 2 Harbor Freight machines, a 7x10 lathe and the Mini-Mill with
the R8 spindle. These two machines get used regularly and have given
very good results with little aggravation.
I advise you to buy the micro mark version though as their 7x12 model
actually has 4" more capacity than the HF model. I've upgraded mine
to a 14" bed that i got from LMS.
All of these machines are made in the same factory in China and the
only differences are the accessories included and bed length...
Prices vary from a stripped down one for $299 from Homier (when they
have them) to over $500 with all the accessories.
is a good resource for information on these
I also have a ENCO 9x20 lathe which is much more of a machine than the
mini-lathe... with all the accessories these can be had for $900
shipped. Beware of Harbor Freight's prices as their models come with
less accessories and their customer service/shipping is very, very
is also a good source and they have
excellent customer service.
Enco doesn't carry the mini-lathe but do carry the 9x20 and offer
great service, speedy shipping and their customer service folks are
Hope this helps.
The mini lathe is easier to use for small items and is actually quite
firstname.lastname@example.org (Stan Schaefer) wrote in message
It happened with me and a friend who both purchased HF 12 x 36 lathes
(model 33274). Mine worked fine with only leveling. No loose nuts or
bolts. I had to tighten the handles. The 33274 does not come with oil
in the headstock. It was clean, however, and I changed the oil within
2 months after I got the lathe. There was no sand or metal in the oil
when I drained it.
I also own a HF mill/drill ( # 33686) which did have sand and metal in
the spindle. This caused some abrasion in the lower spindle bearing. I
wound up replacing the bearing, although I could have probably reused
the bearing ($35). The mill/drill is acceptable albeit it is a
mill/drill. It was what I could afford and I have used it a lot.
Unfortunately, they don't carry much of their better lathes or mills
in their stores. I don't know about luck. Do you have to have good
luck to buy something from Grizzly, Enco, Wholesale Tool, Penn Tool or
That's great if you have a store nearby. I guess buying mail order is
So you never buy mail order from Harbor Freight or anywhere else?