To start this review off I would like for you to be aware that this is the only lathe I have ever used but with my background in custom cabinets I do know equipment. Now to the review on the lathe. When I was choosing my lathe I kept a few things in consideration. I wanted variable speed because I didn't want to be changing belts all the time. I also wanted a machine that could do most anything I wanted it to do since I had never done wood turning before. So I wanted a large swing to be able to turn large bowls and enough room between centers to handle most spindles. Now for the most critical part I needed a lathe I could afford.
So I decided on the Grizzly G0698 and I have had it now for about 3 months and I have turned probably around one hundred bowls and other things on it. It has a 18 inch swing and 47 inches between center. A 2hp 3 phase motor with a inverter so it runs on standard 220v. It weighs in at close to 500lbs out of the crate. Solid cast iron legs and a machined bed.
Now for the pros of the lathe. It was heavy but with a helper it took about an hour to setup including leveling the feet. My head and tail stock centers line up perfectly. all of my movable parts seem to fit very well. I did do about 2 minutes worth of filing on my banjo but that was more for me than having too. The motor runs quiet and I have not noticed any excessive heat. it does get a little warm when I am sanding at slow speed but nowhere near the point that I have any concern. There has been talk about the lathe hunting at very slow speeds and mine does at below 50 rpm but I get bored myself at that speed and my specs say not to go below 100 rpm so no problem there. The lathe has a lot of power and I have turned ruff cut blanks up to around 75lbs. I ended up building a ballast box for my lathe and added around 600lbs to it and I am able to start turning most of what I turn at around 400 rpm. I could probably start turning faster than that but I'm on a conventional foundation and my floor will flex and give me a wobble. That I will be fixing pretty soon.
Now for the cons of the lathe. Soon after receiving my lathe I noticed a crack on the head where the indexing holes are. Let me say something before I go any further. I have not contacted Grizzly on any of my issues with the lathe. I have read that they do have excellent customer service but as of now I can live with my few problems easier than I can live without my lathe for a week or so. Another issue with the lathe is the bolt that tightens up the tool rest stripped out when my cousin was using the lathe. So I don't know if it was abuse or not but it was an easy fix for about 20 cents at our local hardware store here in Noxapater Ms. Now for my last con on the lathe. The large bolt that tightens the banjo to the bed vibrates loose and every so often you have to reach under the bed and tighten it by hand. It mostly has to be done when you don't tighten the banjo while you are sanding. This could easily be fixed with a locking nut but I would I like not having to use tools to remove it so not a problem again.
In the end I have been very happy with my lathe so far. it has done everything I have asked of it when I asked it. I am sure the more expensive lathes are very nice and one day I hope to get to use some of these. For now I am happy with my choice and having the extra $800 worth of accessories I was able to get with the savings from not getting one of the other lathes.
Thanks Joseph Bealis