|Review by RoundestRock||posted 07-06-2011 08:33 PM||10617 views||1 time favorited||10 comments|
NOTE: The G1006 mill and the G1007 mill are EXACTLY THE SAME MILL. The G1007 has the addition of an X axis power feed. So this review applies for both.
First off I generally like this machine. The few problems I’ve found can be worked around or are just fit/finish pet peeves. Yes it’s intended as a mettle working machine. But I bought it specifically for precision cutting wooden mechanical parts. So mine is a woodworking machine ;). If you’re upgrading from a drill press and this is what you can afford, I say go for it without reservation. On the other hand, if you can afford a full size knee mill and are willing to move the thing, don’t cheep out. Buy the knee mill. Here is why:
Vertical head adjustment – The head can be moved vertically on the pipe column via a hand crank. This serves the same function as raising/lowering the knee on a full size mill. While this makes gross adjustment of the spindle to table quick and easy, it’s also sloppy. That set up with the head on a pipe saves a BUNCH of cost. The problem is it also allows the head to swivel when you loosen the bolts to adjust the head height. That means all the work you did aligning your spindle to center is lost. You can get around this with planning and experience, but you’ll want to think through your cuts before you get started.
Vertical depth stop is cheesy – So the mill has a cast iron collar that clamps around the quill. This collar then has a screw that goes up into that face you see on the front of the mill. So far so good. On this screw is a cheep, badly cast, plastic nut ‘thing’ which has the depth indicator screwed to it. You can see mine removed in the second picture. Mine has about 3/16’’ of slop in the threads. Add that to the only thing the ‘stop nut’ has to stop against is the bottom of the plastic face housing. I figure it will cost me about $25 to get a credible replacement for that screw/nut set up. At which point I’ll have a solid depth stop with tolerance too about 1/100th’’. For now I’m just using the micro down feed to get depth.
Plastic feed hold levers on X cross slide – OK. so they work. But they also flex when you put any kind on pressure on them. I just don’t see these holding up over time. Easy to replace with cap screws from the local hardware store. Then use a small second hand socket wrench for adjustment. Again a $10 solution.
Feed knobs are plastic and a bit small – As far as these being made of plastic, it’s good plastic. They feel solid and have almost no flex. That said, they feel like plastic, and there is slight flex. Grizzly also put good tight gibs on this machine. While this is good, it makes precise adjustments with small knobs a bit finicky. The hand wheel for the micro down feed is also too close to the front of the head. When gripping the entire wheel for fine feed control you can get your fingers caught between the wheel and front of the mill head (see third picture). Grizzly sells upgrade mettle hand wheels for good prices. It also doesn’t look too bad to make your own. I just wish the machine didn’t give me the urge.
Included accessories are junk – The mill comes with a 3’’ fly cutter, a 3’’ angle vice, and 1/2’’ drill chuck. The fly cutter is OK, but quickly made. Extra welt on the face of the teeth make it a pain to sharpen. The angle vice is cheep. It’s small, clunky, and worth about $30. A standard ‘shrug and put it on the shelf’ type item. The drill chuck is about as cheep as they come. It’s movement is loose and mind has a slight stick as you adjust it. I bought a Ryobi bench top drill press a few years ago for $100. It has a nicer chuck. The fly cutter is handy once you clean it up, but don’t plan on using the rest.
Now for the good, and there is LOTS of good:
Huge table – with 23’’ X travel you can’t find a bigger table with more feed for less than 2 1/2 times the price. Use the entire length or set a 6’’ vice on one end and a 10’’ rotary table on the other! I’ve done both and been nothing but happy. The table definitely has the fit/finish of a quality machine.
R8 spindle taper – If you’re new to collet spindles don’t be intimidated. These are GREAT. Just get a set of collets with the mill and you’re set. I got the Grizzly G1646 set of 12 for about $75. There are cheaper sets out there but I found this set to be quality. R8 is also a fairly standard spindle for much higher end machines. That means when you upgrade you can take your tooling with you!
Clutch engaged down feed – This is awesome! Use the side crank to get close, turn a knob to engage the clutch, then go the rest of the way with the micro feed. Need the spindle out of the way? Turn the knob again and the feed spring pulls it out of the way! There is also a locking lever on the left side to ensure your Z axis doesn’t change when feeding the X or Y axis.
Speed changes – The first time you move the belts might feel cumbersome. Once you get used to it you’ll won’t think twice. Grizzly put nice BIG solid pulleys on this machine so you generally don’t need to get crazy with the belt tension. There are 2 bolts and a lever for setting the tensioners and Grizzly gives you a good wrench for the bolts. Plan on having access to the right side of the machine (facing) and everything will work fine.
Only 600ish Lbs – This sounds bad, but it’s not. One ‘not dim’ guy with a rented engine hoist can move/set up this mill. If you put the machine on a wide stand with good casters you can role it around the shop as you like! On the other hand, with a full size knee mill your options are: 1) fork lift 2) suicide.
Packing – it comes bolted to a solid pallet, covered in packing grease, wrapped in plastic, framed in wood and surrounded in heavy gauge card board. The packing is such that if it’s been set on its side or dropped it will show. When the freight guy delivers it BE PICKY! Grizzly doesn’t ship anything but clean and pristine crates. If it’s dirty or damaged the freight company did it! CALL THEM ON IT! The packing grease is a mess, but it wipes off easy and your machine is spotless and well lubed when your done!
I own this machine, so if you have questions post them as a reply to this review and I’ll give you an unbiased answer as soon as I see your question.
-- I only WISH I could do this for a living. Problem is I don't want to sell anything I make!