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Newbie looking for some advice on purchasing a new lathe Jet or Smithy

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BigRed

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So I believe I have narrowed it down to two (I do and will keep an open mind to suggestions) although I will like to stay away from any used machinery for the benefits of producing chips as soon as the machine is positioned and turned on looking forward to learning to machine small prototype odds and ends not to becoming a machine restoration specialist. having said that the two I am looking at are:

SMITHY MI-1440L 14" X 40" Heavy-Duty Bench Metal Lathe
2 HP (110/220 Volt) - 2" Spindle Bore - Precision ($5,228.00 delivered to driveway)
or
Jet 321236 GHB-1236 12"X36" Geared Head Bench Lathe
2 HP 230 Volt - 2" Spindle Bore 1.575" ($5,399.00 delivered to driveway)

Besides the obvious size differences and spindle bores, Can anyone weigh in on which of the two is a better buy when it comes to quality?
If they are similar I will probably opt for the Smithy since it comes with several extras included, but if the quality is far better on a Jet well I would sacrifice the size limitations for a longer lasting lathe. For now the largest item I see myself attempting is perhaps making a few custom wheel spacers for some diesel trucks. I am looking to learn this hobby as I near retirement something to keep me busy.
 

hotrats

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Look like great choices, have you considered Precision Matthews? They have some offerings similar.
 

Martin W

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I know you say not used. Just my 3 cents. For 5 grand you could have a nice used American made lathe and milling machine. It may involve some hunting and leg work, probably a VFD.
This is only my opinion. Good used equipment may be hard to find in your area.
Cheers
Martin
 

Janderso

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1440 is a more capable machine than the 1236. Imho.
More power, more options, bigger cuts.
 

mksj

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Both of these require a lot of change gears for both feed and threading, country of origin for both is China, so probably not the same quality level as a Taiwanese machine. Between the two the I would expect the Jet to be made a bit better. At this price range, you might look at the PM-1340GT, PM-1440GS or Grizzly G0709 (which is on sale for $4995), both I feel are better machines in this price range. The PM 1340GT is higher quality, the PM-1440GS G0709 has more features. The Eisen 1440E with DRO is more expensive, but also a more full featured lathe made in Taiwan and comes with a DRO installed.

 

BigRed

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Precision Matthews 1140 has definitely grabbed my attention have reached out to them and am awaiting a response but I have to say that their website indicates they are out of stock. (bummer)
Are Grizzly really that much better than the smithy? The price tag for the same features is almost 1000.00 difference.
I am in the Dallas Fort worth area in North Texas and Good used machines not requiring a lot of restoration are hard to come by. It is times like these that I wish I resided closer to the North East. the other times are in this brutal summer months LOL.
Thank you all for your comments they do not go unnoticed and are really appreciated.
 

mksj

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The price of the SMITHY MI-1440L and G0709 are about the same and come with similar features (both have a price reduction). The grizzly is a few hundred pounds heavier and has a wider range (less change gears) for the gearbox. I haven't heard of the MI-1440L and do not know of anyone owning one, vs. the other recommended machines above. I would recommend the G0709 over the MI-1440L based on the positive grizzly reviews and long term support for that model, the grizzly is a bit more robust and seems to be made a bit better looking at some online videos of both machines. The 1340GT is also a high quality lathe, I owned for for many years and sold it to a gunsmith who uses it as his primary lathe. They will all do good work, so always a difficult choice, but they are made to a price point.
 

derf

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I would go with the Jet. They have 750 service centers, in all 50 states, something you won't find with Grizzly or PM or Smithy.
 

BigRed

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Thanks to all for the great suggestions and insight. I have made my decision and have come across an extremely well kept and very fair deal on a Precision Mathews 1236.
A combination of asking price ,thought process and gut instinct led me to getting a good start on learning on the smaller yet very capable machine and perhaps in a few years upgrade to a more robust and higher end machine. For now tho, I am very excited (and the plus side is) in keeping true to my initial Budget I now have the funds for some very decent tooling like a nice rotary & push broach set.
Again Thank You All.
 
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