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7x10, 7x12, 7x14 Mini-Lathe Information

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12x24, 12x36, 13x40 LATHES

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12x36 Lathes First Look

After much deliberation (as many of you reading this page have already gone through or are in the process of), we decided on the Grizzly 12x36 G4003 bench lathe. While the G4003G gunsmith version was very tempting for its stated larger through bore size, tighter tolerances, and knick knacks like the halogen light, plus a cast iron stand, we really only wanted the 1.5" through-bore and thought that the extra $500 could be better spent on tooling and the makings of our own stand.

The Precision Matthews PM1236 lathe was a top contender because of the extra goodies and the foot brake. The price was pretty good at just under $3000 delivered. But again, the through-bore issue was in question.

Then, it was confirmed by a member on the 12x36 import lathes Yahoo! group that the G4003 indeed had a 1.5" through-bore. And just like that, we placed a call to Grizzly to place the order.

That was a Monday.

On Thursday, it arrived:

g4003 on forklift

We had first inspected the insides by removing the top cover while it was within the FedEx freight truck. Everything seemed to be in order. We didn't notice any large rust spots, gaping holes in the crate, or anything too out-of-the-ordinary for a machine shipped from China on a boat, sent to a Washington port, then placed within Grizzly Bellevue warehouse (you have to wonder if Bill Gates ever visited the store?).

With a quick swoop of the forklift, we had it placed down to ground level for all to see:

g4003 crate 1

There were some other coverings on it, but as you can already see through the plastic, it's "Grizzly green". At this point, there was some excitement in the air. Our shop already has a Webb 16x40 lathe that's pretty substantial. On the other extreme are the 7x12 and 8x12 mini-lathes. This fit somewhere in between, but we were unaware of the true size of this lathe. Impressive!

g4003 crate 2

Now, with the plastic pulled out of the way, we continued to stare at it some more...

g4003 crate 3

Finally, it was time to see all the goodies laying on the crate. There's a box containing the 6" 4-jaw chuck, 10" faceplate (seen in the brown waxed paper wrapping up front) and a metal toolbox strapped to the crate (seen in red). The 8x12 shipped with a plastic toolbox. This was a definite upgrade :)

Notice that the crate sits atop a pallet. If you have only a 2-ton cheapy engine hoist, it's best to remove the pallet first. Get some friends to lift the tailstock end (making sure to protect the levers for the gear change box - otherwise, it may get smashed), and then slide the pallet from underneath it.

g4003 off pallet

As you can see, once the lathe sits on its crate bottom, a standard engine hoist will be able to slide around the lathe and over the crate bottom and begin work. Again, watch out for those gear levers!

It's always fun to peek inside the toolbox:

g4003 toolbox

Inside the red toolbox were some extra jaws for the 3-jaw d1-4 chuck, tool holders and tools for the series 200 quick-change tool post (this comes with the Grizzly, but not the Harbor Freight), a really cheap drill chuck, MT3 arbor, MT3 to MT5 sleeve, gears (presumably for metric threading), chuck key, manual (and inspection record for this lathe), and a definitely "made in China (or some other emerging manufacturing country)" screwdriver with a wooden handle. I don't even think Harbor Freight sells these ;)

While the G4003G lathe ships without oil, the standard version does. So, we cracked open the drivetrain cover and took a peek inside:

g4003 gearbox oil metal shavings

It's a little difficult to see here, but there are tiny little metal flecks. We presume this is OK, but you might want to grab a magnet and get as much of it as you can, then flush out with copious amounts of oil to clean it up nicely.

Finally, we wanted to verify that the G4003 has a 1.5" through bore. With a 1.5" diameter steel rod, we chucked it through the lathe:

g4003 1.5" diameter through bore front

You can barely make out the 1.506" on the digital caliper - our battery was dying... But this is good news, indeed!

And from the back:

g4003 1.5" diameter through bore back

Maybe the reason for the G4003G (gunsmith lathe) having the larger through bore is so that it can accommodate the spider outboard support screws. Clearly, it this one had them, it'd be useless on a 1.5" diameter workpiece.

Next up, building the stand and putting this lathe on the stand using a two-ton engine hoist.


Looking for mini-mill help and how-tos? How about lathe help and how-tos?

We're prototyping a benchtop CNC vertical mill using the DigiSpeed-XL interface card for Mach, Dart Controls and KB Electronics KBIC/KBMM 90VDC motor controllers, 1.5HP treadmill motor from Surplus Center and a R8-spindle head from the X2 mini-mill - not to mention Gecko servo drives and an entirely closed-loop system. Come take a look!

CNC 8x12 Lathe
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