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Great Drill Press, meh Milling Machine

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Review by RoundestRock posted 1148 days ago 6451 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great Drill Press, meh Milling Machine Great Drill Press, meh Milling Machine Great Drill Press, meh Milling Machine Click the pictures to enlarge them

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!




View RoundestRock's profile

RoundestRock

49 posts in 1484 days



10 comments so far

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1324 days


#1 posted 1148 days ago

Thanks for this objective review. I’ve been considering this machine, but for metal.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Fallon's profile

Fallon

80 posts in 1759 days


#2 posted 1148 days ago

Grizzly, Harbor Freight, Enco, Jet & a ton of others all sell this same basic unit out to the same factory in China. Slightly different trim levels & accessories, but it’s the same basic unit. Almost all the small metal type lathes are the same way.

There are more fan pages & tinkering/modding/upgrade ideas out there for those lathes & mini-mills than you can shake a stick at. Very well supported from a community point of view.

One is high on my list of want, especially as I’m more of a tinkerer who uses wood on many projects, rather than a real woodworker.

http://www.mini-lathe.com/Mini_mill/Introduction/Introduction.htm
http://www.mini-lathe.com/Links.htm

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1324 days


#3 posted 1148 days ago

Thanks for those links, Fallon!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11644 posts in 2319 days


#4 posted 1147 days ago

Now that’s a review : ) Thank you !!

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2280 days


#5 posted 1147 days ago

good review – thanks

I was considering this mill as well when I was shopping around for one, but for the reasons you stated as it’s downsizes I ended up with the G0916 if anyone else is in the market, it might cost a tad bit more, and does not come with accessories (other than a 1/2” drill chuck) but addresses some alignment and quality issues found in round column mills.

not trying to hijack this review, just add some info for others (I guess I should just add a review as well)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View SPalm's profile

SPalm

4788 posts in 2513 days


#6 posted 1146 days ago

Nice review. I have also looked at this series.
I guess you get what you pay for…..

Purp: I think you mean the G0619 ??

Thanks again,
Steve

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Bertha's profile

Bertha

12951 posts in 1324 days


#7 posted 1146 days ago

^I’m pretty sure he did. Looking at the Grizzly offerings, you get into the really capable mills at about the $2000 price point. That’d be a tough sell to the fiance’ for yet another hobby. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for a vintage job.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View RoundestRock's profile

RoundestRock

49 posts in 1484 days


#8 posted 1145 days ago

Thanks everyone for the positive feedback. It’s always good to know when your incite has helped.

I actually considered G0619 and the other Grizzly machines like it when I was picking out my machine. The deciding factor for me was capacity. G1006 has 200 Lbs more weight, greater max distance from spindle to table, and more table travel in both directions. G0619 also only has 2 3/4’’ spindle travel. G1006 has 5’’. For larger projects that’s a deal breaker. G0619 looks like it wouldn’t take as much space though. I would also agree the trim looks a little better (don’t know for sure, haven’t touched it). I guess it’s like any machine choice; you have to ask yourself what you plan to do. My 2 cents, if you’re doing more wood go for G1006, more mettle go for G0619.

-- I only WISH I could do this for a living. Problem is I don't want to sell anything I make!

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2280 days


#9 posted 1143 days ago

Steve- yes, I meant G0619… :) and I completely agree with RoundestRock – I went with my choice based on more metal work, and figured I could work around the shorter spindle travel, but for more woodworking the longer travel would be a much more valuable feature. FWIW I figured that with the Z travel capabilities I could do with the shorter quill travel keeping the spindle more rigid, but operation would be less of a drill-press nature and more of a mill cnc nature.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View helluvawreck's profile

helluvawreck

15623 posts in 1498 days


#10 posted 1143 days ago

We have a Grizzly mill and Grizzly mills seem like ok machines for home shop machinists and woodworkers. However, they hardly compare with the Bridgeport mill that I have been using for 31 years. The only reason that I mention this is because you can often find a good used Bridgeport for a reasonable price at auctions.

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

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