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Thread: General Impressions of Grizzly G4003G Lathe

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    16

    General Impressions of Grizzly G4003G Lathe

    I have been looking around for some time at buying a lathe for general metalworking, and when I saw the Grizzly G4003G, I thought "Hey, I would love to tinker around with crafting a gun barrel for my 30'06, I'll kill 2 birds with 1 stone!" This will be my 1st lathe and I am a complete newb, but I want to buy a good one to start with in this price range.

    Anyway, I have seen quite a few posts about this lathe, but not a lot of recent ones. So, I have a few questions for those that have it.

    1) I assume this is a great gunsmithing lathe, is it also a great general purpose metal working lathe?

    2) What do you love about the lathe?

    3) What do you dislike about the lathe?

    4) If you were to think of the basic things that I need as far as tooling goes. What should I buy? I'm thinking Knurling, Thread Cutting (internal / external), parting etc.

    5) I think I understand the milling and boring aspects that you would go through to build a barrel, but how do you go about rifling the barrel?

    6) This question is for Shiraz Balolia if he gets a chance to see it. Shiraz, I live in North Bend washington. I called customer support and they told me that these lathes are on a 6 week back order. Are they truely on backorder, and does this seem like an accurate amount of time I am going to have to wait? I would have ordered and picked one up yesterday when I called if it were in stock.

    Thanks in advance for your help. To be clear, I have never owned or used a metal lathe, but I am anxious to learn. I have a fully equiped 40'x60' Woodworking shop with every dream tool you could want (a lot of grizzly), but no real metal machining tools.

    Scott...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Rachel's Glen Greenville, AL
    Posts
    738
    First of all, forget anything about making a gun barrel from raw material with anything you'll find in a normal catalog. Be smart and buy your barrels from on of the many sources available. In fact, it's hard to buy a bad barrel if you stick with the names on this forum.

    I have a Grizzly toolroom lathe but I'm not intimately familiar with model numbers. Is this the larger gunsmith lathe? You'll get a good lathe from Grizzly.

    Did I mention forget about drilling your own gun barrel?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    594
    They have had issues with the small gunsmith lathe of late, probably why there on backorder. Two friends had to return theirs with possible spindle bearing problems...I've been working with a standard 4003 for a few years now without issue. Its a fabulous lathe for the money.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    23
    I started out with a Southbend 10K and fooled around with it for about 10 years before replacing it with the 4003. I've had mine for almost a year and couldn't be happier. The size is just right for my shop, it's more accurate than I am and didn't bankrupt me. I added several tool holders, boring, knurling, spider chuck and a DRO. The only issue I've had is a burned out bulb in the light that I haven't been able to find a replacement for. No regrets here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    48
    While you are waiting for your lathe, sign up for a metal shop course through the local community college, it will give you a chance to use some equipment, get some experience and then when you do buy you will know better what you need.
    Eagle

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    South East Georgia
    Posts
    24
    I have had this lathe for a little over a month. I am by no means any type of machinist. Just a hobbyist that got the bug after doing a little turning at a friends machine shop on his Southbend and LeBlond. I did a lot of internet searching, reading and forum following over the past year before ordering. It was the size (going in my home garage) and its price that sold me for a fist time lathe buyer. And the fact that Grizzly dropped its freight charge for this lathe to FREE... My future goal is to one day build an accurate hunting rifle with this machine, but I have a bunch to learn. Like pduryee above, I added several tool holders and a DRO (Similar to what Mr. Bedair did as described on his web site: http://www.bedair.org/Grizzly12x/GrizzlyG4003G.html) I added a Phase II QCTP in place of the QCTP that came on the lathe (ENCO was having a sale for the series 200 set with 5 tool holders). So far I am very pleased with it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Southwest
    Posts
    98
    I'm sure it's a good lathe for the money, but I can't stand the cheap, open bottom gear boxes. My last lathe was this way and I have used others like it- I much prefer the toolroom style like Mickey has. I just couldn't bring myself to get another noisy one like that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Tidewater, Virginia
    Posts
    59
    I have the G4003G gunsmithing lathe. I am also a newbie with respect to metal working. And like you I am an experienced woodworker with a complete woodworking shop.

    The lathe is an excellent choice for a newbie, because it has a lot of nice features you won’t find on old iron. I did not have the experience to evaluate an old machine’s wear or condition. I could have gotten into trouble real fast, by buying used, and that is why I bought new.

    I have had a couple of problems with the lathe that were all taken care of under warranty. The halogen work light, the halogen rocker switch, the forward/reverse switch have all had to be replaced.

    The steady rest wouldn’t open past 1-3/8” because the roller supports were too long. I had to swap them with the shorter follow rest roller supports. Grizzly knew of the problem, and sent me a third follow rest support free as the follow rest only has 2 supports. I also had to buy a metric tap and die to clean up the threads of the roller supports to make them adjust smoothly. (This was because of the poor machining process).

    The cap screws to the spindles cam locks were too long and had to be ground down so they would tighten fully. They kept backing out preventing the chuck from being pulled up tight and square against the spindle. I didn’t complain about this I just fixed it. This caused me a lot of problems until I realized what was wrong.

    Even though I have listed a bunch of small problems with the lathe, Grizzly support is excellent, and will stand behind their products. I would still recommend the lathe as it is a lot of lathe for the money.

    From one newbie to another, I would also recommend a DRO. Backlash in the dials drive me crazy. I started to buy Grizzly’s DRO. I learned from DROPro, that the same company that makes the Eaason makes them for Grizzly. However when I bought mine, Grizzly was selling the Eaason’s 8 under their name (Grizzly), for $50 more than you could buy the newer model Eaason 10 from DROpro. I don’t really know what the difference is, other than the Eaason 8 has a plastic housing, and the Eaason 10 has aluminum housing.

    During the DRO installation process I photographed the procedure similar to what is shown on Steve Bedair’s web page. It is a lot more detailed, if you need it, I can email copies to you. (DROpro liked the photos so much they asked me if they could use some of them on their web page.)

    As another poster stated, being a gear driven lathe, it is noisy.

    Quote Originally Posted by pduryee View Post
    The only issue I've had is a burned out bulb in the light that I haven't been able to find a replacement for. No regrets here.
    The light bulb is a 24 volt, 50 watt, with a gy6.35mm base. Very hard to find. Grizzly part number is H3250.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Mercer Island WA USA
    Posts
    212
    The Grizz 12x36, the HF 12x36, and the PM1236 are mostly the same machine.

    I have a PM1236 on order.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...=216408&page=5

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    89
    Hal D: Would you happen to have any other information on what the problems were with the spindle bearings? Just interested. I've had mine for two years now and I did have to adjust the bearings, but they seemed to work well after doing this.... But if there are "incipient" problems, I'd be interested to know.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    The Grizz 12x36, the HF 12x36, and the PM1236 are mostly the same machine.

    I have a PM1236 on order.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...=216408&page=5
    Wow, now that looks like an awesome lathe too. How long is it going to take to get your PM1236?

    Scott...

    P.S. Thank you all for your comments so for, its helping me a lot, and keep em coming! Ron, thank you so much for your detailed review!
    Last edited by sagreen83; 04-09-2009 at 11:41 AM. Reason: Forgot to mention:

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    594
    Quote Originally Posted by Crow99 View Post
    Hal D: Would you happen to have any other information on what the problems were with the spindle bearings? Just interested. I've had mine for two years now and I did have to adjust the bearings, but they seemed to work well after doing this.... But if there are "incipient" problems, I'd be interested to know.
    I really don't have a clue. One of my friends is just getting into metal work and asked me to come by and check out why he couldn't cut nice threads. The machine seemed to run a bit rough and noisy for the limited time I had on it. I couldn't make it cut decent threads unless I ran the lathe at 360RPMs. He spent the next week or so dealing with Grizzly's customer service and tech support, but no one ever came up with an answer as to what was going on. As far as I can tell, they were guessing as much as anything about the problem. Apparently they have no one in country for service work, so the lathes had to be sent back. My two buddies were none to happy to have to crate up their new lathes to be sent back...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    89
    Yeah, that could have been just about anything... bearings out of adjustment, tooling, gibs needing adjusted and so forth. Btw, mine ran slightly noisy at first... You have to break in each gear / speed by running for maybe a half hour.... AND, I did need to change the headstock oil / clean the chips out of the headstock right at the start too. I suppose if some cast iron filings got inside the bearings it could have pretty well mungered them up. Yes, it could have been anything. Too bad about having to send both machines back. If it'd been me, I'd have probably dumped it in the river behind the shop instead of going through all that gut- busting and hassle...

    It realy sounds like Grizz needs to develop a good in-country service department. I had a small problem with harmonics and chatter. Their service department was absolutely no help. I solved it by running the belts loose, using smooth instead of cogged belts, and by isolating the motor base from the main casting. Apparently it's one of those things that happens with single phase motors.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Nebraska
    Posts
    585
    This is the 3rd year on my 4003G and I am very happy with it.
    If I had it to do over, I would buy the 4003G again.
    The only real complaint I have is that the 4 jaw is out of balance, had I complained to Grizzly when I got the lathe I am sure they would have taken care of it.

    James

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    16
    Quote Originally Posted by Clark View Post
    The Grizz 12x36, the HF 12x36, and the PM1236 are mostly the same machine.

    I have a PM1236 on order.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...=216408&page=5
    So, I am looking at this PM1236, and 2 features that it has that really appeal to me are the foot break and the coolant system standard. It seems to me that if the accuracy is good, the PM1236 would be the way to go.

    What do you all think?

    Scott...

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