Homier 7x12 Mini-Lathe Review

(old version, no longer sold by Homier)

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If you have not already done so, please read the Disclaimer (last updated 10/18/09)


Introduction 04/05/02

Important update (09/03/02)
Homier has changed suppliers for the mini lathe and is no longer shipping the version described here. The new version is manufactured by Sieg and other than the blue color, is essentially the same as the Grizzly 7x12.   For more information and pictures of the new version, click HERE.
End of update.

I first started hearing about it around summer of 2001. Like a summer storm rolling in, it began with a distant rumble that grew to a dramatic crescendo as it drew near. The Homier 7x12 mini-lathe had arrived on the scene. Priced at $299.99, the Homier (Speedway) lathe immediately set a new standard of value in the mini-lathe marketplace and prospective purchasers were wondering how this lathe stacked up against the competitors.

By now quite a few members of the 7x interest group have purchased these lathes and have provided much positive feedback. I was anxious to get my hands on one so that I could do a thorough side-by-side comparison with the well established Harbor Freight 7x10 and Grizzly 7x12 lathes (I have one of each). That opportunity arose, and what you are reading here is the result of that analysis.

Since I will continually be comparing the Homier lathe to the other lathes, I will use the acroynym
TOL to refer to "The Other Lathes" throughout the review.

As a point of reference, the HF and Grizzly lathes are made by the same factory and, aside from the length of the bed and details of the power supply, are practically identical in most respects. By contrast, the Homier lathe is made by a different manufacturer and has a number of features not found on the other two lathes. Refer to the Features page for comparison with the HF 7x10, and to the Setup page for comparison with the Grizzly 7x12.

Which one is better? To find out, you'll have to read the rest of the review.

As in all my reviews, I try to present a fair and balanced view and report the not so good along with the good. But as you read the following review, keep in mind that this lathe cost $299 as of 04/02.  It's really quite remarkable that you can get a lathe anywhere near this quality for a price like that!


Receiving and Unpacking

The Homier 7x12 was delivered by UPS and left on my doorstep.  That's standard practice in my neighborhood, and I have never lost a package. This one weighed 95 lbs. and came in a plain brown outer packing box, so it's not too likely that anyone would have walked off with it.  However, I was home at the time, so I loaded it onto my little luggage cart and wheeled it into my shop in the garage.

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Opening the outer box revealed the inner box containing the lathe.  Homier obviously has been responsive to reports of damage and is now shipping the lathes with this double box method.  I'm happy to report that mine had no damage except a very minor bend in the chip tray.

 lathe_box_.jpg (43633 bytes) box_open_.jpg (29774 bytes)

The lathe is securely padded by thick packing paper which cushions the parts inside the box.  Some owners have reported receiving the lathe with the tailstock loose in the box, but wrapped in the packing paper.  On mine, the tailstock was securely clamped to the ways, as it should be.

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The lathe is a nice-looking deep royal blue color.   Here it is on the bench just as it came from the box. The rubber feet are already attached to the lathe, whereas on the Grizzly and HF lathes, they must be mounted by the owner.

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Accessories

Inside a small carboard box can be found the accessories that come with the lathe. The outside chuck jaws and dead center, being prone to rust, are wrapped in rust deterrent oiled paper.

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Top to bottom, left to right, the accessories are:

Plastic oil bottle, handwheel handle, toolpost handle, tailstock lock handle, outside chuck jaws, dead center, cross-feed handle (3 pcs.), Hex wrenches (6 pcs.), chuck wrench, open end wrench.  A small open end wrench (10mm) neeeded to remove the chuck is not provided, so make sure you have one on hand before your lathe arrives. 

Shown below are the extra change gears.  They are made of plastic and are slightly thinner than those provided with the HF and Grizzly lathes.

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Also included is a 16 page user manual, comparable to those supplied with the HF but a little less detailed than the Grizzly manual.  A spare fuse is packed inside the plastic bag containing the user manual.

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Cleanup

As reported by others, I found the packing grease on the Homier lathe to be very light compared to the thick red gunk on the HF and Grizzly lathes.   This makes cleanup a much less daunting task, but I did notice a few small areas of rust, so this grease may not provide quite as much protection as the thick red stuff.   As you will see in the following pictures, the grease is pretty mild:

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To clean up, I just brushed the surfaces with kerosene and wiped them clean with a cotton rag.  A couple of passes and 45 mins. later, the lathe was looking pretty good. For comparision, here's a photo of the red grease that protects the Grizzly 7x12:

cleanup0.jpg (42020 bytes)

For more information on cleanup and setup of the 7x lathes, check the setup page.

One thing to watch out for: the kerosene stripped some of the red paint in the grooves of the ways.  No big deal, but worth noting if you wish to maintain your lathe in showroom condition.  No problems were encountered with the blue paint.

paint_peeling_.jpg (28774 bytes)

For more information on cleanup and setup of the 7x lathes, check the setup page.


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Mini-Lathe    Mini-Mill    Bandsaw   Grinder  Anodizing   Lapping    Links   Projects   Safety     Premium Content

Mini-lathe:  Accessories   Adjustments   Capabilities    Chucks    Dial Indicators   Features   Getting Started   Glossary     Introduction   Materials    Modifications   My Shop   Operation    Reviews    Sieg Factory    Tool Grinding    Troubleshooting   Tuning     Versions