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Grizzly G0704 milling machine - review


jackofalltrades
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The Grizzly G0704 milling machine which can be seen at www.grizzly.com/Drill-Mill-with-stand/G0704  found its way to my shop a few weeks ago.  My shop is in the basement so I wanted a mill that could be moved into the basement without hiring a professional rigger.   So far I have found this to be well suited to the miniaturist and model maker. It is worth considering if you are in the market for a smallish mill in the sub $2000 price range.  I have no connection with the seller or manufacturer.  At $1200 + shipping I think it is a good value.

 

The mill was delivered into my garage in a wood crate with the stand in a cardboard box on top of the crate.   After removing the crate, I removed the table from the mill and detached the four bolts holding the mill to the pallet.  Using a hand cart, I moved the mill to the basement in three pieces.   Not fun but doable.

 

A "come along" was used to hoist the mill from the floor to the stand and the table was lifted to the mill manually.    Four bolts hold the mill to the stand.   Oil and grease was removed from the mill using paper towels.

 

The mill functions well "as is" but I will be making some modifications.   I have added iGaging digital readouts on all three axes in addition to the DRO on the quill.   Like the mini-mill, this mill has a plastic gear drive which works OK but is noisy.   I will be replacing the gears with an aftermarket belt drive I am waiting for.

 

One needs to have a drill chuck on R8 arbor, a set of R8 collets, mill vise (Kurt type recommended), and clamping kit to make use of this mill.

 

Pros-

 

   Very nice fit and finish on the machine

   Dovetail ways and taper gibs are nicely done

   large table for this type of machine (1/2" T-slots - not 7/16" as noted in instructions)

   Industry standard R8 collet

   Quill has DRO and positive lock

   Stand has storage

   Nice motor speed controller

 

Cons-

 

   Graduations on dials are in .002" increments (something to get used to but works)  Add DROs !!!

   Typical China gear drive

   Lack of adjustable quill stop

   Typical lack of one shot lubrication or positive lubrication points.

   Stand is about 6" too short

   Absolutely useless drill chuck on R8 shank included (drill chuck won't hold small drills) 

 

TIP - When I was searching for Vectra way oil (now about $37.00/gallon) for this mill I found a suitable substitute available at Walmart in small quantities cheap.    Chain saw "bar oil" has very similar properties to way oil.   I bought a quart from Walmart for less than $5 and it works well on both my lathe and mill ways. 

 

 

 

 

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Once you get this mill set up it sounds like you should be in business. I wish i had not gotten rid of mine.  Every thing I have purchased from Grizzly has been good quality even for made in China. I replaced the factory mill lead screws. I purchased them from Little Machine Shop.  They are good people to deal with.

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Here is a picture of the mill. At this point two of the quill handles have been removed since I prefer just one handle,  3 DROs added, Kurt type vise attached, and a "Kool Mist" coolant spray unit mounted. 

 

The mist unit is a luxury I haven't owned before though have used them in a machine shop.  It will provide a cooling mist for good finish and longer tool life.   I found that setting the mist as low as possible gives good results while not getting a face full of mist.  

 

The DROs are iGaging stainless steel units that are pretty nice.    I only wish they didn't have the auto turn off after inactivity which can cause confusion in my pea brain.    I now think in terms of only absolute measurement from this unit.

 

Still to be added is a belt drive.    The unit I ordered is pretty expensive :(      If it is good I will review it also.  

 

The 3 DROs will have the displays removed from the motor housing once the new drive unit arrives but I haven't decided where/how to mount them.  

 

I'm going to make a stand to elevate the mill so I am not hunched over as it is now.  I think the stand height is to suit Asian stature or for shipping cost reduction.     The height might be OK for larger work but since most of what I make is relatively small I want to have it where I can see it.   I am considering making the stand with lockable casters so the mill can be moved easily for shop clean-up.   

 

I may make some simple table covers that are held on by magnets since much of the work I do is in the vise.   Table covers speed up cleaning and protect the table from stuff dropped.

 

All this is going to be put to use this fall when I start building a 1:13.7 scale model of a Welsh steam locomotive.

 

 

 

 

 

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I would definitely like the height of the mill. My arm sockets get strained trying to operate the typical milling machines one comes across. Also I can't clearly see the work surface on them. I am not Asian, I am an average height woman.

 

Bolt some steel tubing under it to raise it up to your preferred working height. Check with your local metal salvage yard for material. A moveable caster base will induce far too much vibration in a top heavy machine such as this. It should sit firmly on the floor.

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Many have told me casters shouldn't be on a machine base and that is long time traditional old school thinking. Many years ago I remember walking up to a machine and checking it for level with a precision level.  I remember the good fellow who taught me how to scrap machine ways telling me how important heavy ridged and level machine bases are.   I believed that for many years but now I only agree with that for large machines doing heavy work.  I consider the individual machine and the work it will do to determine how it should be set up in the shop.  Personal preference is also important.  Most of the work modelers/miniaturists do doesn't require absolute rigid machine base.  

 

10 years back I set my mini-lathe on a Kennedy tool box base with casters because I was short on shop space and it worked just fine.   Next I mounted my 9X20 lathe on lockable casters and again it is stable and works well and has a wider stance on the floor.   My CNC mini-mill was on a bench with locking casters.    I have been using some very nice heavy duty casters from Woodcraft that work very nicely.  It is great to be able to move a machine easily for cleaning or rearranging the shop.

 

I have found that having the machine X-Y hand wheels at elbow level or just a tad higher is most comfortable for me.  This machine is a little short of that and my 9X20 lathe was also a bit short before mounting on casters.

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