Opinions on Grizzly lathe/mill combos

I'm thinking of getting a lathe/mill combo. Can anyone give their opinions on these two from Grizzly
http://www.grizzly.com/products/G4015Z
http://www.grizzly.com/products/G0516
These would be used in a home workshop situation mostly for hobby type jobs. TIA
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Asking about the Combo machines generally doesn't get a very good reception. The consensus is that the milling capability is less than adaquate and you spend all your time changing setups on the machine. Perhaps if you state what kind of machining experience you have and list your hobbies, someone here could steer you in the direction of a good lathe for mill for your needs.
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I suggest you look at the Shopmaster- www.shopmasterusa.com They have addressed most of the issues about the milling capabilities.

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I guess what I'm asking about is the quality of the machines. I'm not expecting anything outstanding, but don't want to buy junk either. My budget is $1000 more or less. What I really want is a smaller lathe, about 9x20, and was thinking that it would be handy to have a mill also. What I'm wondering is if these two combos are really a poor compromise, and are not worth the price. Also, about the overall quality of the Grizzly line of small lathes. I figure that they are Chinese imports, but that doesn't necessarily mean junk. Thanks again.
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I picked up one of the G4015Z Combo Lathe/Mill machines from a work acquaintance who couldn't figure out how to run it, become frustrated and sold it for about half the marked price. He threw in a nice bench he'd made and a fair amount of tooling. I took a short course at a local community college called "introduction to machine tools". That was enough to get me started. There are a lot of drawbacks, but some of the learning has come from figuring out how to work around them. Someday, given more room there will be a separate mill and lathe of a decent size. But for now, the machine really hasn't given me any trouble and I've worn the chrome off the handles. Gotten a lot of use out of it, had a lot of fun with it, learned bunches from it. Kind of wish I'd gotten one sooner. Little things I can do that I couldn't otherwise. Such as making a new smaller jet for the cheapie barbecue so it wouldn't set the meat on fire. Works great.
Making bushings of all sorts. Taking the basic Harbor Freight grinders and setting them as a base for all sorts of things. Fixing things that would have been thrown out otherwise and you would have had to buy again. Such as the hinge pin for the coffee maker when the plastic one broke.
Buy it. You'll find enough things to do with it for yourself and friends that it will pay for itself in a couple years. The longer you have it, the more you'll find yourself doing with it. Its underpowered enough that you'll have a hard time hurting yourself with it. Leave the key in the chuck and it'll fall on your foot before it gets up enough speed to hit you in the head. I find it to be a nice forgiving machine to learn on.
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As an opinion
I think a 9x20 will serve you better. the 3 in 1's have big limits on their capacities as mills but a purpose built lathe will at least be able to do its lathe work well and then you could add a vertical slide like a palmgren attachment if you need some limited milling capacity
But youre tlaking to somoen who learned on a lathe and just bought himself an old iron mill of a NOT insignificant size
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On Mon, 9 Apr 2007 17:27:03 -0700, with neither quill nor qualm,

Then buy a small lathe and a mini-mill. Combo units always have more drawbacks than their individual component counterparts. The minis don't take up much more room, either. For your grand, you'll get both units plus some extra tooling goodies.

True. I've had good luck with their woodworking machinery. I have a Grizzly 18" bandsaw, 13" planer, 1.5hp dust collector, trim router (a freebie when I bought the dc and bs), and a Shop Fox mortiser. All have given splendid performance at considerably less cost. I did move to a link belt on the bandsaw and noticed a vibration decrease: it's damnear silent now.
--- Is it time for your medication or mine?
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On Sun, 08 Apr 2007 19:36:21 -0700, 42etus wrote:

The entry level Smithy is about a grand and is much better made.
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opinions
jobs.
Actually the Smithy is the same machine from the same factory as the 3 in1 shown. The traditional lathe with mill attachment has the same old problems as all of those designs- very small mill table and limited travel due to mill column bolted to the lathe bed. Either one of those machines would be classed as lathes with minimal milling function.
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Sometimes I wonder. It's the same BASIC machine from the same factory, but if two retailers buy from the same factory, and one wants to pay $20 less that the other, the Chinese manufacturer will reduce their costs to meet the price point.
As an example - when I bought a 4x6 bandsaw, I noticed that some of the places that charged more that Harbor Freight has subtle differences/advantages, visible in the picture. (i.e the wheels).
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The appearance is similar, but it is not a Smithy machine and they are not produced at the same factories. You can compare images with those at www.smithy.com.
Design similarities are due to an old practice of factories sourcing designs from a central bureau. There were 20+ factories producing the 3-in-1 machine tools at one time.
Combo lathe/mill machines can fit your need and there are times they don't. It depends on what you want to do, your level of experience and what you expect. I've turned out some good pieces with a Swiss Army knife and a drill motor. ;-) And I've turned out junk on good machine tools. It wasn't the machines' fault.
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type
in1
problems
would be

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't your 12-20 Midas machines made in the Huangshan factory- same as Grizzly, while your Granite machines are made in Linyi, same as Harbor Freight?
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Glad to gently correct you. :) The original image the discussion referred to is a variant of the old HQ-400 machine made by the White Eagle factory. The White Eagle factory used to be about a 4 - 5 hour car ride (bumpy, windy and narrow road -- horn blaring the whole way) away from the factory at Yellow Mountain (Huangshan). We do not currently purchase any 3-in-1 machines from the White Eagle factory. About 7 years ago we purchased some 3-in-1 machines from them but that project was discontinued after a relatively short time. The White Eagle factory does supply 3-in-1 machines to Grizzly and Harbor Freight as well as others. The Yellow Mountain factory and Smithy have worked together for almost 20 years producing 3-in-1 machines and those machines are sold by Smithy. (They are the best ping pong players of the group). The "Star" factory does produce a variety of machines -- now predominantly much larger commercial machines for the domestic Chinese market. (Did you know China is the largest consumer of machine tools for the last 5 years running?! Amazing compared to what it was like almost 20 years ago). They produce some extremely inexpensive machines for a variety of customers selling in the low price market. When we began working with them years ago, they expressed frustration (like most good engineers/machinists); they knew they could make something that reflected better the quality of the work they could do if they weren't so controlled by price. We partnered with them at a time when most were convinced the Chinese couldn't make a decent cardboard box much less anything precision. (There are still some that insist the Chinese will never produce quality goods. I leave to them the reminder of what "Made in Japan" used to mean). To each their own opinion. We had a great engineer working with us that understood which factories could produce which products and we partnered with them on the Granite series of machines. Again, you'll note that these are exclusively Smithy products. You'll find the accountants in China can be just as sharp (and controlling) as accountants here. If price is your only determinant, you can usually find someone to sell to you at a price. But just like here, being driven only by price usually mean sacrificing quality. On the other hand, we had a great machine years ago that sold like crap. It was a beautiful machine -- Emco Maier clone -- but it wouldn't sell here. The price was higher because it was quality but customers wouldn't believe quality could be had out of China and the product died. It sold great in Europe but never took off here.
It's a very interesting to visit these factories. Over the years they have run the full range from state and local enterprises to fully functioning shareholder owned capitalist enterprises... from places that made every tool they used to new modern factories with full CAD centers and CNC machinery. They're in major cities and small villages and spread across an area equivalent to NY to Atlanta. You write as if you have visited China and some of the factories. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
China has changed much in a very few years. I believe Americans would be rioting in the streets if our lives changed as much as the Chinese have in the same time period. (IMHO). To be accurate -- there have been demonstrations and disturbances. I started seeing protestors about 5 to 6 years ago and the police weren't hustling them away. Consider, there are more skyscrapers in Shanghai than New York City. (When I first went to Shanghai there were no skyscrapers and only rice paddies where most of the city stands now). They have over 170 cities with populations in excess of 1 million, and I even saw a call center this last trip answering calls from North America. This doesn't mean that life is a breeze there; that there isn't poverty -- interior provinces have yet to share much of the wealth. That much change, even positive change spawns problems. Remember that the last few hundred years of history, the part that most westerners know, with China being a weak power is atypical for most of Chinese history. The Chinese have a lot longer institutional memory than we do and remember China as the most advanced society on the earth for much of that memory/history. A classic example of how little we really understand China is that we make the mistake of translating the character the Chinese use for China as "middle" i.e. Middle Kingdom. I feel a much better translation would be "center", as in the "Center of the World" Kingdom. They want to create a great China and are working like crazy to get there. I really wish I could be in China for the party the Olympics. What a "Coming Out" party the Chinese are going to throw. Sorry to get a bit off topic.
Disclaimer: I work for Smithy. These are my opinions and not those of my employer.
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made in

made
You should quit Smithy and go into politics- that was about as long winded a non answer as you would get from a White house spokesman- but I think the pared down version would read something like;
" Yes our Midas Machines are made in Huangshan and our Granite machines are made in Linyi"
I have also travelled to those places and have some of their product catalogues which show your machines along with others.

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It's always good to meet someone else in the same business. None of these factories are exactly on the tourist routes -- though the Yellow Mountains are beautiful.
To be brief -- sorry my last post was from the office; it was late and I was attempting to ignore a stack of paper I didn't want to touch.
The original image is not a Smithy and that prticular machine is not sold by Smithy.We sold about 160 very early HQ-400 machines in about 1989 --- but that's a long story -- so I won't bore you. ;-) Yes, we work with both factories and several others depending on the product we need built. Yes, the companies show the products they make in their literature about their organzations.
If you're worried about posting your name, drop me a private email. It's interesting to compare impressions about business. Too bad we missed the big international machine tool show in Beijing this week. Last years' domestic show was pretty amazing.
Disclaimer: I work for Smithy. Actually, Smithy pays me, whether what I do qualifies as work is sometimes up for disussion. The opinions expressed are my own.
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buy a 9" southbend with a milling attachment on ebay

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Before buying a used South Bend, check out the availablity and prices for replacement parts- you may be shocked.
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To answer the original question.
For hobby work, 3-in-1 machines can do a fine job. Some things to consider. G0415Z The swing is large. This can be a blessing and a curse. The taller swing means you need a plan to move small work closer to the mill spindle when milling. Morse taper tooling for the mill is less common and more expensive than R-8 taper tooling. Some people have expressed concern with the combination vise/tool post -- choosing to replace it with separate tool post and vise. Lowest speed may not be slow enough for some operations. G0516 Most concerns deal with size. If it fits your requirements it can do light jobs well. There's also a good Yahoo Group that deals exclusively with 3-in-1 machines. Owners share a lot of adaptations and work-arounds for their machines.
Disclaimer: I work for Smithy. Opinions expressed are my own.
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