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Best off-brand lathes/milling machines







linny

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#1
Hoping Nyeco will chime in a bit, but I'm looking for a new milling machine/lathe for the garage.

My machining experience, went to Machinist school for two years, programmed CNC's/welded for the National Guard for about five, and am now wishing I still had access to a Southbend Lathe/Bridgeport Mill.

The issue that I'm running into is all the of the used American machines "Bridgeport/Southbend" machines are beat to crap to the point where I'd spend more money fixing them than it's worth in my time.

Asian manufacturing has certainly improved, and I've been watching the Southbend/Bridgeport clones on Grizzly for some time and was hoping someone had experience with them. Acer's are good as well being made in Taiwan but are expensive to ship due to the COVID BS.
 

TexasJackKin

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#3
It's been my VERY limited experience with Asian machines (40 plus years, with older American machines) that the Grizzly branded stuff isn't to bad. Spend your money on a good milling machine vice, and a good 4 jaw chuck for the lathe. A DRO for the mill makes coordinate moves easy. I would defer to @NYECOGunsmith
 

Bumper

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#6
I've bought Grizzly machinery starting back around the mid-nineties. The early stuff sometimes had issues, such as a mill with vertical adjustment in metric but not inches. Not so important if you install a DRO (digital read out). Also the Taiwanese machinery is, IMO, much better than the Chinese stuff, and from what I've seen, often priced accordingly.
 

NYECOGunsmith

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#7
Grizzly and Jet are both pretty good these days, Birmingham is also pretty good, their bodies are made in China, but the head , gears, spindles, etc. on the lathes and mills are made in Taiwan, and aren't too bad.

I have had a Birmingham 1440 YGL lathe and a Birmingham 9x49 Variable Speed Vertical mill for 15 years now, and they both have done everything I have asked of them and zero problems with them so far. Bought them both new from a now out of business dealer in Las Vegas, Machine Tools Direct.
They aren't up to the quality of my Clausing lathe and my Bridgeport and Lagun mills that I had in the gun shop, but there isn't anything wrong with them either.

Precision Matthews are pretty good these days as well.

The Grizzlies and Jets are gone over pretty carefully at their facilities at the major ports of entry into the USA.

The president/founder/owner of Grizzly is heavy into competitive long range rifle matches, and their gunsmith's lathes are really nice, and Grizzly offers great customer support and parts supply if needed, both those things are right here in the USA.
The Grizzly would probably be my choice today if I were to replace the Birmingham's for some reason.

Finding a Bridgeport , Lagun , Haas, Okuma, Acra, or Mazak mill that is used but not clapped out is tough these days.
Same holds true for Clausing, Atlas, Logan, Acra, South Bend, Cadillac Gage, lathes.
It is possible to find them, but not easily on this side of the country, back east, much easier.
 

linny

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#8
Grizzly and Jet are both pretty good these days, Birmingham is also pretty good, their bodies are made in China, but the head , gears, spindles, etc. on the lathes and mills are made in Taiwan, and aren't too bad.

I have had a Birmingham 1440 YGL lathe and a Birmingham 9x49 Variable Speed Vertical mill for 15 years now, and they both have done everything I have asked of them and zero problems with them so far. Bought them both new from a now out of business dealer in Las Vegas, Machine Tools Direct.
They aren't up to the quality of my Clausing lathe and my Bridgeport and Lagun mills that I had in the gun shop, but there isn't anything wrong with them either.

Precision Matthews are pretty good these days as well.

The Grizzlies and Jets are gone over pretty carefully at their facilities at the major ports of entry into the USA.

The president/founder/owner of Grizzly is heavy into competitive long range rifle matches, and their gunsmith's lathes are really nice, and Grizzly offers great customer support and parts supply if needed, both those things are right here in the USA.
The Grizzly would probably be my choice today if I were to replace the Birmingham's for some reason.

Finding a Bridgeport , Lagun , Haas, Okuma, Acra, or Mazak mill that is used but not clapped out is tough these days.
Same holds true for Clausing, Atlas, Logan, Acra, South Bend, Cadillac Gage, lathes.
It is possible to find them, but not easily on this side of the country, back east, much easier.

This

5k for an American machine with real sloppy ways /backlash isn’t a sell for me
 

TexasJackKin

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#9
Grizzly and Jet are both pretty good these days, Birmingham is also pretty good, their bodies are made in China, but the head , gears, spindles, etc. on the lathes and mills are made in Taiwan, and aren't too bad.

Finding a Bridgeport , Lagun , Haas, Okuma, Acra, or Mazak mill that is used but not clapped out is tough these days.
Same holds true for Clausing, Atlas, Logan, Acra, South Bend, Cadillac Gage, lathes.
It is possible to find them, but not easily on this side of the country, back east, much easier.
You left Monarch Lathes off that list, one of my favorites.......
 

NYECOGunsmith

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#10
You're right Mike, The Monarch slipped my mind, the 10E was a great lathe, and the 24x72 we had in one of my shops was pretty darned good as well. Had a 10 HP 3 phase 440 V motor, and weighed as I recall about 8,500 pounds. D1-6 Cam Lock chucks on it, top speed was only about 1,000 RPM though, and the hole through the spindle was only 1.5 inches, but it was a solid lathe, zero vibration.
 

Grumpyoldretiredcop

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#11
I have a Grizzly 8689 mini-mill. The only complaint I have is the cheap plastic (Chinese) switches, electrical housings and spindle drive gears. The latter, I cured with a belt drive. I've had to replace both housings due to cracking.