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Thread: plastic gears??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Mountain Home, Arkansas

    plastic gears??

    A friend of mine who is a gunsmith recently acquired a bench top machine lathe and a mill. Neither has a brand name on it. They are (Grizzly?) green but, to me, look cheaply assembled. Again, to me, they scream 'Harbor Freight'. But, in fact, I dunno.
    While using a few days ago the lathe made loud noises and wouldn't turn despite the motor running. He opened up the gear box and found the plastic gears had stripped.
    He claims these units are the same as those sold by Grizzly. Again, I dunno. But, I do have a gut feeling Grizzly would not sell something so prone to failure as a machine lathe with plastic gears.
    I am really surprised something would be made like this. The gears that failed were of a soft, not particularly hard, plastic. There may be super-durable high density plastics avaiable but these were sure not.
    Is this unusual or common?
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada
    My HF lathe is green. The rails are square tubing. It works OK, but I am not sure I want to put a bowl on it. There are no gears, the transmission is stepped pulleys and a belt.

    The other member of Mensa, but not the NRA

    Everyone is a self-made person.

    "The thing about quotes on the internet is that you cannot confirm their veracity" -Abraham Lincoln

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Kansas City, Missouri
    Frank, there may be some upgrades on that will work for it.

    These look like metal, but may have to verify with their customer service, the page doesn't say:

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    No, not all of SoCal is Los Angeles!
    We have all found diamonds-in-the-rough at HF and they're great. Some folks think because their F-clamps work okay that their vertical mills or router bits must be great too. Your friend may fall into the category that some of my friends do. They swear that the HF version of something is "the same as" so-and-so's version. I tend to remain mute when these declarations are made. When an entire machine coasts less than a decent chuck for another machine, you have to expect some shortcuts. There are some amazingly tough plastics available today. I'm pretty sure those gears weren't made from them. Hopefully there are some inexpensive metal replacements available. ;-)
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Southeast Pa
    Well I am sure this is one of the 7x10 12 or 14 metal lathes. And yes the Griz is the same as the HF. The lathes and mills both have plastic gears from the factory. The idea is when you do something stupid the cheap plastic gear is the weak link. There are metal replacements available but some(many) that go that route end up breaking something more expensive to replace. Most of these are made by Seig but there is another very similar one that is/was sold by the traveling tool trucks.

    For more than you ever wanted to know about these:

    and replacement parts are readily available from:
    Last edited by Garry Foster; 04-28-2012 at 04:41 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Southeast Pa
    Darren I am pretty sure that set is plastic..

    They have a set of metal change gears for 100.00 and a set of all metal gears for somewhere around 200.00
    Last edited by Garry Foster; 04-28-2012 at 07:57 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    My Grizzly metal lathe has plastic gears, I've had to replaced a couple of them.
    Jesus was a Woodworker

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