Depends on the price. Griz and Boltons do share a lot of the same models often manufactured in the same plants and just painted a different color. So I would look at the two choices and consider which one has the most options and included accessories for the best price and don't forget that demon called freight. Some freight companies charge for everything and others do not. Look for the hidden residential delivery and liftgate charges because those add up quickly and can often turn a good deal into a not so good deal rather quickly. Also look at customer service and parts availability over time. Will your supplier of choice still be in business when you need that part eventually. I would also look at the Precision Mathews line of machines and see what Matt has to offer in that size range. His may be more or less than the griz, but they are better machines in quality of fit and finish than their counterparts from either of the suppliers you mentioned. Hope this helps get you going...
I must agree with much of what Bob has already said. The "Sieg Pattern" 9x19 aka 9x20 mini lathe (just depends on how it is measured) is produced by several manufacturers. Did not come with a forward / reverse as original equipment, but can be fitted with a mod by the end user. Mini Lathe .com has a wealth of information on this model from its various distributors. Recent models may have been upgraded to variable speed motor control. I mention the forward / reverse item, because it is an operational nicety that one becomes accustomed to, and I cannot imagine living without it.
The second reason I am replying to this particular post is, I have owned a Bolton BT1030A since February of 2014. Several things went haywire with wrong parts and parts missing from the start. But, most notably, the change gears for metric threading were not with the Lathe. After a year and nine months of begging for those gears from Daniel, the manager at Bolton Tools in southern Cal., I still don't have them. He promised me he would provide them shortly after the sale.
This is the kind of nightmare you do not want to experience. I pray every night that nothing breaks on this Lathe, I don't think Bolton can get the parts.
I just saw the date of this original post, but decided to reply anyway. Perhaps others will see the Bolton title thread and benefit from my experience.
My first mini was a Bolton. I found myself newly retired and looking for something to occupy my time and had always kind of wanted to do some machining. So not really knowing a lot about it, but having a good mechanical aptitude (I got the attitude later) I bought Boltons 12x24 3 in one.I had it for about four years, and obviously most of what I was doing was practice, but I found that as long as I could keep it running, and harder yet, getting replacement parts, it would do pretty much what I wanted it to. But, and it's a BIG but, I had to baby it every step of the way, and worse yet, it seemed like I had to adjust the gibs on the cross slide every other time I used it, and even then you would get movement out of it, or it was too tight to travel the cross slide. Finally, and I'm sure this was related to the gib problem, the table broke, that's right........BROKE! OK, now it needed to be fixed. But no thanks to Daniel, and his partner in crime, Jose, they couldn't even give me a solid price, let alone get the part ordered. (God forbid they carry anything bigger than cross slide nuts in their inventory). At this point, due in large part that I didn't want to keep dumping money into this temperamental POS, I bought a Smithy. Sure, they cost more, and they're an import, but what Smithy has done is they designed the machines here in the States, with American engineers, and Spec'd the tolerances, metallurgy, and whatnot to American standards, and I'm telling you they're worth what they cost, I've had mine over a year and haven't had one failure, and what's real nice, is on the Granites, not only do they have a "crash protection" clutch on the end of the leadscrew in the pulley box, so if you happen to run the machine past it's limits it doesn't start spitting out pieces of change gears, but since I did the initial setup when I bought it, I haven't had to do anything to it other than maintenance and service. I haven't even had to readjust the gibs and there is NO movement on that table. I have no problem getting "slipfit no shake" time after time. And oh, did I forget to mention the quick change gear box? The only change gears are the A,B,C gears for metric threading, and they're not on the main gear trellis so that's a snap too.
I got off the Bolton topic there but that was just to illustrate how inferior IMHO the Bolton is, compared to what is actually another import. And, Smithy has a large parts inventory here in the States and they want you to come back and buy from them, and it shows in the way they treat you. Also you can call their 800 number and talk to a warm body about tech issues.
OK, I'm done. I don't want to wear out my welcome, I'm a new member and this is my first post.
Hey Gary, did you ever get those gears? I have a bunch of gears in inventory, and if you can get me some details or dimensions on what you need, I might have them or be able to get them for you. I can't promise anything, since I am not sure where exactly that their machine comes from, (It is not from any of the factories that we deal with, I know that) but I just hate to see someone stuck and unable to get parts that they need. A lot of times they use similar parts, so if I am able to help you out, just wanted to offer it.
I recently compared a Bolton BT1022 10 x 22 lathe to my Grizzly 602. Here are the differences that I found ( Bolton listed first):
cross slide travel 2.75" vs 6.5"
compound travel 2" vs 3.5"
metric spindle vs inch spindle
spindle bore .82" vs 1.0"
spindle taper MT3 vs MT4
tailstock taper MT2 vs MT3
swing over saddle 5.5 vs 6.13
min rpm 125 vs 150
fewer thread options and smaller range 15 inch/17 metric vs 33 inch/26 metric (it appears that the .1mm thread pitch is a typo, the manual shows .35mm as the finest pitch)
metric lead screw, cannot use thread dial for inch threads vs inch lead screw, cannot use thread dial for metric threads
fewer accessories included, no 4 jaw, faceplate, follower, steady rest
It does have power cross feed which the 602 doesn't
I wouldn't waste my time and or money on a chinese machine. Yes, I know some people have had a good run, but so many have not.
I realise that for many cost is a problem, But think about the cost of a less than satisfactory machine. Bite the bullet and buy a Taiwanese Machine, they are not much dearer than Chinese, but many times better.
I can't speak for the dealers in USA., but here in downunder the Taiwanese dealers are pretty good. My machine pictured left was only about 10% more than a similar specced Chinese machine, but when I looked at one in the dealer's shop, you could tell it was poorly made.
I own a Bolton 12" x 24" Gear-Head Metal Lathe | CQ9332. This is not the only lathe I own, just wanted one around house for small jobs and the honey do list, on days off.
First impression, looked nice. 1-1/2 through head stock, mt5, metric and american threading, tail stock over 3" of travel, mt3, etc.
Now for the bad news.
Feeds are backwards, carriage feed is too fast and cross feed is way to slow. Yes, I know its a change gear, but the feed / compound feed is backwards.
Next, once you engage the feed lever for cutting and it loads the tooling!IT CAN NOT be unloaded SAFELY, OSHA should be involved in this one. Saw this on another thread where a guy had same problem. still trying to remember where I saw it, and what he done to fix it.
Next is threading, You can not use the threading dial, 1 because it has a odd number of gear teeth / numbers on it. least-ways not with the book and pdf down load that is suppose to be for this lathe from Bolton. 2 it will not stay engaged in the threading worm. Bad teeth on treading dial gear, and height of gear to worm/ miss alignment.
I will try fixing its flaws with a compound tare down and rebuild/rework? Also, changing its 1 hp single phase motor to 1 1/2 hp 3 phase and a freak drive so i can slow it down to 20 or so rpm when threading, not 75 rpm like it does now.
I paid less then 1/2 of list price for the one I have, from a guy that brought it new. He only used it a couple of times, and could not figure it out. I am still trying to figure out who got the better end of that deal?
Will I buy another Bolton lathe, probably not. Can they be fixed? Probably, at least I hope I can.