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Posted: 2/16/2021 5:17:19 PM EDT
I'm considering getting a Lathe/Mill combo unit so I can start doing smaller jobs myself, such as threading barrels, or trying my hand at doing a Form 1 silencer.  I know the normal answer is to look for a deal on a used unit, but I'm in Alaska, so there is a rather limited used market.  I was looking at the Lathe/Mill unit that Grizzly makes for gunsmithing, and wondered if any of you all had any thought on them.  Feel free to point me in another direction.  I am just in the thinking research stage, so I am open to suggestions.
Link Posted: 2/16/2021 6:08:11 PM EDT
My first thought is will this be a hobby tool or will it make you enough money to cover the cost?.  You might be able to find a used mill in Washington and ship it. New HAAS tools cost a lot of money so they have to be making money.  A gunsmith once told me if it flies floats or fucks it’s cheaper to lease.  That may also apply to machine work if the quantity vs cost ratio doesn’t work.
Link Posted: 2/16/2021 6:20:04 PM EDT
The combo units are small, not rigid enough and underpowered. It beats trying to do machining operations with hand tools, though.

There's not much you can't do, eventually, if the workpiece can be made to fit and you go slow and use sharp tools. For threading, pay close attention to the through-bore size on the head, especially, since you won't be able to mount anything long between centers on such a small machine.
Link Posted: 2/17/2021 12:42:56 PM EDT
For those jobs, I would ditch the combo and just look at lathes.
Link Posted: 2/17/2021 2:19:45 PM EDT
Yeah I have that bigger grizzly 3 in 1.
Count the mill feature as useless unless you are very careful.
Too much slop in the table.
As far as under powered, if you bind it up, the belts will slip before it powers out.
Which is kind of nice actually.

I don't have the space but if I did, I would go the stand alone gunsmith lathe, then mill and a drill press.

I used mine yesterday to face off a chunk of brass for extending the front site on a 1858 Remington project.

I have cut threads with it but that is a pain in the ass.
You have to swap around gears to get the right combination.

The threw hole is also a bit small to do barrel work.

I tried to turn down a green mountain blank once and found I didn't have enough ridgity to do so.  All I got was chatter no matter what I did.

I will freely admit that I am not a pro machinist.

I have turned Remington take off barrels and made my own 20" ak type rifles.  Not sure why that worked and the green mountain blank didn't . Saw first hand why those barrels were take offs though.

Link Posted: 2/17/2021 3:33:48 PM EDT
Okay, sounds like they are a bad idea.  I have the space, I was just thinking I might save on the shipping costs to have it all in one unit.  Thanks for the feedback!
Link Posted: 2/21/2021 10:27:50 AM EDT
Years ago I bought one of the grizzly 3 in 1 machines. The thing would not work right out of the crate. Would not power up, was just completely dead in the water. Customer support/tech was a joke. I eventually got mad enough and they took it back and I got my money back.
I eventually found a smithy granite 1324 locally. It was used, but I inspected it and it seemed in perfectly good working order. Also came with a ton of extras (end mills, lathe bits, collets, too much to list)
All in all I am very happy with it. The factory chuck, the jaws did not completely close (could slide a feeler gauge between them when closed), so I replaced it with a shars chuck and it has been great.

The lathe part works great, has a decent sized through hole (can not remember the exact size, but I think a hair over a inch).
The mill part works fine, however in my opinion, the head it too far above the table. If you want to clamp something directly to the table, the head will not lower enough to reach it. You pretty much are forced to use a vice to get it up high enough to mill.

All in all I am happy with it and it is a good hobby grade machine. But that is all it is. If you are wanting to make parts for a living or as a business, get a dedicated mill and lathe. If you just want to piddle around making small parts and whatnot for yourself at the house, it will be great. I'm not making parts for the space shuttle, so it does everything I need it to do.

If I was rich, I would definitely have a high quality lathe and mill (and a place to put them). But I am not, so I make due with what I have
Link Posted: 2/22/2021 10:04:14 PM EDT
I have a Grizzly G9729.  For its size, you'd be hard pressed to find a lathe with more swing and distance  between centers.  That said, it has a serious lack of rigidity, the Gibs are impossible to adjust to an acceptable manageable level, the mill is just about unusable and having to change the gears around is a pain in the ass.  I got it for what I would call a great deal and I've done a lot with it, however not one day since I've owned it have I not wished I had something better.  I've worn out parts and broken parts that just should not have been an issue.  I'd be much happier with old american iron.
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