Last Updated on July 30, 2021 by Charles Wilson
The Grizzly Industrial formed in 1983 by Mr. Shiraz Balolia is undoubtedly producing the finest power tools like metal lathes, CNC, milling machine, and so on.
Within a short time, for their outstanding delivery of collective machines and, most importantly, backend support, they instantly grabbed the attention of the local machinists.
Besides, the price of these mini lathes is fairly compatible with similar metal lathes out in the market, but the work output will surely amaze you in every aspect. You will know why.
I will try to give you guys a brief review of the noticeable specifications, comparisons of performance according to the price with other units, and the additional consumables needed for Grizzly G8688.
These might be of help for future references, and this is all from my own experiences being a former machinist.
Let’s get you started now.
Disclaimer: As an Amazon affiliate, I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases. This means no extra charge to you.
The Major Specifications at a Glance
You can obviously find these specs on their official website, it’s all the same. But be my guest today. Not to mention, the parts are interchangeable of course.
- Motor: 250W (0.34HP)
- Swing: 7″
- Distance between centers: 12″
- Spindle bore: 0.78″
- Spindle type: Intrinsic Back Plate
- Speeds: 100 – 2500 RPM
- Tailstock taper: MT#2
- Spindle taper: 3″
- Tailstock barrel travel: 2-1/2″
- Shipping weight: 90 lbs.
- Chuck Diameter: 3″
- Tool size: 5/16″
- Threading: 18 threads (12 to 52 TPI)
- Cross slide and compound rest dial: 0.0394″
- Includes threading dial indicator
- Leadscrew: 16 TPI
- Tailstock extension: 2-1/2″
- Cross slide travel: 2-3/4″
Grizzly G8688 Overall Review
Now let’s talk a bit about the overall built, and then I will compare it with some other mini lathes of 7″x12″ dimensions as well.
The construction surely is very sturdy built. When there is heavy use of the lathe, the conventional lathes tend to produce vibration which gets unbearable at times.
Now, chattering or vibration occurs for so many reasons. Weight is one of the primary characters of absorbing vibration.
Though it weighs around 74 pounds which is not so heavy, it’s enough for small projects. I love cutting threads or making small brush pulleys. And I never felt any odd vibration during my work.
Weight distribution might not make a strong suit here, however, the weight can be subsidized with its awesome added features on board.
I would strongly recommend you bolt it tight enough on the benchtop first.
Variable Speed Controls
In this time of the revolution, the technological aspects are getting better and better. Variable speed nowadays is a must for a lathe owner.
So, whenever there is an option of having variable speed regulation, we should take it in the first place.
Grizzly G8688 features Variable speed just like its allies. You will get a low setting of 0-1100 RPM and the highest being 2500 RPM.
You will have an inch and metric dials, turret tool post, chip tray, and splash guard all at extremely affordable prices.
It has a motor inbuilt that is 250W motor which is efficient for beginners and intermediate machinists for lightweight projects. Forward and reverse are also available in all the speed options.
People often underestimate this solid machine which I don’t agree with at all.
The capabilities of the Grizzly G8688 to handle turning techniques such as facing, turning, shaping, chamfering and parting are 90% satisfied with every turner I talked with including me.
Whatever you do, the margin is a 12″ long spindle with a 7″ swing diameter. You can make small bolts, nuts, or any handy power tool mallet from scraps anytime for home use and even for sale.
Slide travel of 2.75 cross slide and a tailstock and a spindle that measures 20mm can make the treat pitches as long as 10 meters.
Also, the dial meter of the thread is very standard graduations. The thread range of this benchtop lathe is 18 standard 12-52 TPI and 10 metric thread pitches.
The threading gears are made of plastic, which is relatively tighter than the lathes in the market.
Though it could have been much better if it was made out of alloy instead of plastic but I think it’s okay.
So, the head of the housing gears is also made of plastic which is good but could have been better as this can be addressed as semi-professional mini metal lathes.
There is also a four-position turret post that is ergonomically designed for better gripping in hand.
Lastly, I would say if you could afford to change the plastic gear into a metal one, you are most welcome. It’s going to take some work.
What you will get with the package
This grizzly metal lathe comes with some extra accessories unlike most of the mini-lathes saving you a handful of bucks.
- A faceplate
- Steady rest
- 2 Morse taper dead center
- Motor interlock switch
As the Grizzly team has a clear vision of providing the best customer service before and after sales, they have considered providing necessary equipment and accessories free.
An MT#2 Dead center is a tool that has been ground to a point to accurately position a workpiece on an axis.
Other accessories also include a guard for the protection of the backsplash, a steady resting tool, Jaw chuck with external jaws, a chip pan, a 6-1/4-inch faceplate.
These tools are much needed, and it feels very cool and handy to have them for free. If you need a drill chuck for your tailstock, you can always find that online as it won’t come with the package.
Also, you can buy a new DRO to install on the compound slide.
Comparison with similar lathes
There are similar mini metal lathes with the same capacities and diameter. To be honest, most of them are made in China, just like this Grizzly lathe. The only exception is that they all have some minor feature differences along with the price.
You can take Harbor Freight central machinery, Precision Matthews, Seig, Eastwood, Hi-Torque, BestEquip, and so on. They all are pretty good at their job and so does the Grizzly.
Everyone has different choices and taste while choosing their machines. I personally love Grizzly for its quick customer support, fair price, and parts availability.
Talking about the price, I recently bought and reviewed their G0766 wood lathe for half the price of a Powermatic. That’s how reasonable they are. Let’s talk about some notable differences between them.
Price: Seig C3 currently running with 800 dollars, Harbor Freight $700, Hi-Torque at $1200, BestEquip at $650. Grizzly will cost you around 800 bucks.
Additional Accessories: I have mentioned earlier that only grizzly comes with those consumables.
Size: Seig 2 inches longer than Grizzly whereas Hi-torque is 4 inches longer in the center distance. Central machinery comes with the same distance and Bestequip appears 2 inches longer.
Chuck Diameter: Only Hi-torque comes with a 4″ diameter chuck, the rest are all 3″.
Size of the tool: They all are share 5/16″ dimensions.
I hope you can at least come up with a decision now.
The concerning part
No machine is perfect in this world of machinery. They all have their limitations, which leads companies to upgrade their machines constantly from time to time. You need to understand that a bench lathe is a very sophisticated tool in the metalworking world.
People work with different projects, and they have different turning methods, which sometimes creates complexity. Not necessarily you will face the same.
My experience says until you push these micro metal lathes to their limits, lathes like Grizzly will serve you well in the long run.
All you need to care about is to refresh the parts from time to time and take care of lubricating with the right oil.
The first thing I want is a safe and polite shipment. Bad shipping could be a nightmare for anyone. You may seem a part missing, broken, loosen, and so on. Call them right away and they will replace it.
Check the quick change tool post as it’s a kinda common issue with small lathes. Manage a plastic chuck guard to stay on the safer side. You can also see my recommendations for quick change tool post here if you want to upgrade the built in one.
Again I am telling you, you may find complaints regarding quality controls, like dents on the base plate, etc and all these are for bad shipping.
So, try to google or talk to a real owner to find any noticeable drawbacks of this benchtop metal lathe cause as far as I have seen or used it, it seemed a nice good machine for handling tiny works.
Take advantage of this awesome support company.
Is there any better version of Grizzly G8688?
Here is the most exciting part and probably a smart one. Grizzly has improved their G8688 with a new unit called G0765. They have worked with the motor capacity and expanded the center distance.
Things that have upgraded:
- Motor power raised to 3/4 HP.
- Distance between centers increased to 13-3/4″
- Weight went up to 110 lbs.
- Finishing design retouched
Now, of course, the price has gone up too which is obvious. But those who are grizzly lovers, wouldn’t mind spending few bucks more to have 2 inches difference with motor HP being enhanced.
It’s a healthy step-up for any machinist.
I also have talked about the Grizzly G0602 lathe you might be interested in, Check it here!
Any Further Questions?
I think there is no point in repeating the same questions about specs and features that you can find on the manufacturer or simply visit Amazon to see what other owners are talking about.
If you still think you need help with something that you are not able to find online, you can email me at [email protected], or just leave a comment here and I will reply.
Grizzly G8688 is a great little lathe out there in the market that can take your hobby to the next level, making you prepared for a professional approach.
You also have to keep in mind that this one is not meant for heavy-duty metal turning. The operation of this micro lathe is comparatively easy, so first-timers or beginners are encouraged to get their hands dirty.
All the features of this cool machine are available in heavy metal lathes like the grizzly g9972z but in a limited boundary.
So if you are about to play small then why bother getting a hefty lathe machine, where you can just get the smaller and compact size instead.
And to me, that’s the beauty of mini-lathe. It a great machine tool that will save money, hassle and needs minimum repair cost.
I hope this helps you in making your purchase decision.