Grizzly 7×12 Version
Grizzly 7×12 Version
When it became available in Fall of 2000, the Grizzly 7×12 (G8688) was a great advancement over the original Harbor Freight 7×10 for several reasons:
- Bed is actually 4″ longer (not 2″ as you might expect)
- Much improved power supply
- More accessories including a faceplate and steady rest included
As of 03/02, the price on the 7×12 is $495 plus $30 shipping ($525 total). It went on sale during summer of 2000 and 2001 and again during holiday season of 2001.
It remains an excellent machine for the price. In fact I bought one myself in 9/01 mainly for the extra bed length. I have been quite happy with it, now that I have gotten the usual quirks and kinks worked out of it.
It’s important to note that the bed of the 7×12 is actually 4″ longer than the bed of the 7×10 so the 7×12 is really a 7×14 using the same measurement criteria. More accurately, the 7×10 is really a 7×8. Measuring from the base of the headstock to the end of the bed, the 7×10 is 15 1/2″ and the 7×12 is 19 1/2″.
While 4″ may not seem like much, in practice it makes a big difference. This is because the 7×10 version provides about the minimum possible length that can still make a functional lathe. This is particularly noticeable when drilling since the drill bit may extend several inches from the end of the chuck.
For example, with a standard 3/8″ dia. ‘Jobber’ length drill bit, the 7×10 provides only 2″ clearance from the tip of the bit to the chuck jaws. If the workpiece is more than 3/4″ diameter, so that it won’t pass through the spindle, it must be no longer than about 2 3/4″ inches to permit drilling .
The longer bed of the 7×12 also provides enough room to move the tailstock out of the way when you are not using it, but I still find that I remove the tailstock when I’m not using it.
The 7×12 has a better speed control than the classic HF 7×10, including the following features:
- Low speed with high torque ‘out of the box’ (low speed mod no longer needed)
- Speed must be reset to zero before restarting lathe (safety feature, but also prevents accidentally switching into reverse; interlock mod no longer needed)
- Emergency cut-off button
Newer models of the 7×10 now include all of these features.
The Grizzly 7×12 includes some extra accessories such as a faceplate and steady rest which do not come with the HF and other brands, but are now available separately from HF. However, the live center that comes with the HF, does not come with the Griz 7×12.
The user manual is pretty complete and, unlike the one that came with my HF 7×10, this one includes actual instructions on how to use the lathe including such esoterica as how to adjust the gib strips.
Otherwise, the lathe is pretty much identical to the HF 33684 and similar lathes sold by other vendors. If you like the idea of a 7×12, but want true inch leadscrews and dials, the Micro Mark 7×12 may be the lathe of choice for you.
Description of accessories in the photo, left to right: Brackets with rubber feet, stack of gears, hex wrenches and oil bottle, dog, faceplate, outside chuck jaws and wrenches, steady rest and chuck key, user manual. Included but not shown: dead center.
Compared to Harbor Freight, Grizzly generally provides quicker shipping and better customer service if you have a problem. Sometimes Grizzly will report shipping delays due to an out of stock condition. If this happens, ask if they can ship from a different warehouse – a number of owners have gotten quicker shipping this way.
I find the Grizzly 7×12 to be an excellent value. Although Grizzly’s price for the 7×12 is higher than some of their competitor’s prices, Grizzly provides a few additional accessories and is well know for their reliable and courteous customer service. You won’t go wrong purchasing from them.