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Read this if you are considering a Jet ZX series lathe…

mxsnoxDan

Plastic
Joined
Jan 8, 2019
First time contributor here. I’ve referenced the information here for several years and I think that the members of this forum have shared a lot of knowledge that is very helpful for learning about machines, tooling, and techniques.

Summary of why I’m posting:

If you are considering buying a Jet ZX series lathe because you value buying a brand of machine that is well supported by the original manufacturer, you may be disappointed. I know I am! Prior to owning a Jet I had assumed that since they were still in business, and that since the model of machine I bought was still in production, it would be no problem to order factory replacement parts as needed. This has turned out to not be the case.

In my experience:

1. Jet does not always sell individual parts. For example, I’ve been told by JET that the brass nut used on the cross slide lead screw (ZX-04302) is only available when bought with a new lead screw. Often, its only the brass nut that wears, and the cost of the sub-assembly is considerable. Just because Jet lists an individual part number for a component in the parts fiche does NOT mean they will sell you the individual part.

2. Some parts which appear to be available as finished parts are in fact supplied as unfinished parts that require some features to be machined by you, the customer. This is not communicated ANYWHERE in the parts fiche, owners manual, or website (as of early Jan 2019). Furthermore, when you receive an unfinished part, it does not come with ANY instructions, drawings, dimensions, tolerances, etc. I’ve experienced this first hand trying to replace a damaged top slide (Jet # ZX-04107A for a GH-1440ZX lathe). It has been a very poor customer experience. I was expecting to get a bolt in replacement part for ~$250, and instead I got a project.

3. Some parts that are able to be ordered from Jet may not ship out to you for more than 2-3 months. Perhaps this may not be the end of the world for a hobbyist, but I imagine this could really put someone in a bind if you were depending on your Jet lathe to make a living.


While I know that discussion of home shop machines is banned here, I think that the Jet ZX series “large spindle bore precision lathe” with its ~$25,000+ msrp, 5,000+ lb weight, 3.125” spindle bore, and 7.5+ hp place it in a category of lathes that is of interest to the Practical Machinist community.



More details for those that have the time to read:

A while back I decided it was time to finally buy my own lathe for general purpose use in my home shop. I wanted a quality machine with a D1 camlock chuck (so I can thread with the tool upside down and running backwards without worrying about the chuck coming off) and enough weight and stiffness to produce parts with a good surface finish. Since I didn’t intend to use my machine to generate income, I wanted to keep the cost down and choose to buy a used lathe. After many months of looking I came across a Jet GH-1440 ZX that appeared to have seen relatively little maintenance but also very limited use, and I decided to buy it. After buying I went through it and found a few worn and damaged parts I wanted to replace, including the compound which had cracked on one side of the tool post T slot.

I ordered a new part and it took around 3 months to arrive. Later, when I went to install it I discovered that it was missing features that were needed to attach the lead screw to the top slide casting. I assumed that the part I received had missed a few finishing operations (and quality control inspection) so I contacted customer service at the vendor I ordered it through (MM tool parts) and attempted to initiate an exchange for a properly finished part. They failed to respond to two different emails over the course of 2.5 weeks so I called them. It was then that I learned they had contacted a Jet representative who informed them that my unfinished part was not a mistake. When I pressed for more information they referred me to Jet.

When I contacted Jet directly, each person I talked to was always apologetic at first. I initially spoke with customer service and pointed out that the part that was supplied to me did not match the part shown in the parts fiche because it was missing the three tapped holes and two dowel pin holes needed to attach the lead screw to the top slide (these features are visible in the parts fiche). I was referred to service and after they looked into it the explanation provided is that the part is provided unfinished so that I can “get the lead screw perfectly aligned.” Apparently the company that put their name on the side of my lathe is not able to reproduce the part that was originally installed, and feels that the best solution is to have the customer attempt to do so (with no instructions, drawings, dimensions, tolerances, or other guidance). This makes me wonder what the margin for error is before binding occurs, and what is going on within Jet/JPW to make them think this approach is a good way to manage their brand.

At this time, after escalating this through Jet customer service and the Jet service department for more than a month I’m still stuck with an unfinished part and I’ve received no assistance beyond offers to sell me an entire compound assembly or for me to return the unfinished part in exchange for a refund. I suggested they disassemble a complete compound assembly and exchange the completed part for my unfinished one but they refused. I’ve communicated to Jet that their failure to address this is damaging to their brand, and that this customer experience is well below my expectations for an original equipment manufacturer regardless of industry.

I wouldn’t expect anyone that doesn’t work for Jet to care that I had a few crappy customer experiences with Jet, but I think that its only through publicizing these sorts of issues where customers give companies multiple chances to correct a problem that the real value of a brand is exposed.



In recognition of other brands that have met my expectations, I’ll mention that stuff I’ve bought from Shars has always turned out to be what I thought it would be (often slightly lower quality than some of the big name brands but at a much lower cost). I’ll also mention that some tooling I bought from Precision Matthews has generally exceeded my expectations, and one of their R8 drill chucks has been as been excellent so far.
 
First time contributor here. I’ve referenced the information here for several years and I think that the members of this forum have shared a lot of knowledge that is very helpful for learning about machines, tooling, and techniques.

Summary of why I’m posting:

If you are considering buying a Jet ZX series lathe because you value buying a brand of machine that is well supported by the original manufacturer, you may be disappointed. I know I am! Prior to owning a Jet I had assumed that since they were still in business, and that since the model of machine I bought was still in production, it would be no problem to order factory replacement parts as needed. This has turned out to not be the case.

In my experience:

1. Jet does not always sell individual parts. For example, I’ve been told by JET that the brass nut used on the cross slide lead screw (ZX-04302) is only available when bought with a new lead screw. Often, its only the brass nut that wears, and the cost of the sub-assembly is considerable. Just because Jet lists an individual part number for a component in the parts fiche does NOT mean they will sell you the individual part.

2. Some parts which appear to be available as finished parts are in fact supplied as unfinished parts that require some features to be machined by you, the customer. This is not communicated ANYWHERE in the parts fiche, owners manual, or website (as of early Jan 2019). Furthermore, when you receive an unfinished part, it does not come with ANY instructions, drawings, dimensions, tolerances, etc. I’ve experienced this first hand trying to replace a damaged top slide (Jet # ZX-04107A for a GH-1440ZX lathe). It has been a very poor customer experience. I was expecting to get a bolt in replacement part for ~$250, and instead I got a project.

3. Some parts that are able to be ordered from Jet may not ship out to you for more than 2-3 months. Perhaps this may not be the end of the world for a hobbyist, but I imagine this could really put someone in a bind if you were depending on your Jet lathe to make a living.


While I know that discussion of home shop machines is banned here, I think that the Jet ZX series “large spindle bore precision lathe” with its ~$25,000+ msrp, 5,000+ lb weight, 3.125” spindle bore, and 7.5+ hp place it in a category of lathes that is of interest to the Practical Machinist community.



More details for those that have the time to read:

A while back I decided it was time to finally buy my own lathe for general purpose use in my home shop. I wanted a quality machine with a D1 camlock chuck (so I can thread with the tool upside down and running backwards without worrying about the chuck coming off) and enough weight and stiffness to produce parts with a good surface finish. Since I didn’t intend to use my machine to generate income, I wanted to keep the cost down and choose to buy a used lathe. After many months of looking I came across a Jet GH-1440 ZX that appeared to have seen relatively little maintenance but also very limited use, and I decided to buy it. After buying I went through it and found a few worn and damaged parts I wanted to replace, including the compound which had cracked on one side of the tool post T slot.

I ordered a new part and it took around 3 months to arrive. Later, when I went to install it I discovered that it was missing features that were needed to attach the lead screw to the top slide casting. I assumed that the part I received had missed a few finishing operations (and quality control inspection) so I contacted customer service at the vendor I ordered it through (MM tool parts) and attempted to initiate an exchange for a properly finished part. They failed to respond to two different emails over the course of 2.5 weeks so I called them. It was then that I learned they had contacted a Jet representative who informed them that my unfinished part was not a mistake. When I pressed for more information they referred me to Jet.

When I contacted Jet directly, each person I talked to was always apologetic at first. I initially spoke with customer service and pointed out that the part that was supplied to me did not match the part shown in the parts fiche because it was missing the three tapped holes and two dowel pin holes needed to attach the lead screw to the top slide (these features are visible in the parts fiche). I was referred to service and after they looked into it the explanation provided is that the part is provided unfinished so that I can “get the lead screw perfectly aligned.” Apparently the company that put their name on the side of my lathe is not able to reproduce the part that was originally installed, and feels that the best solution is to have the customer attempt to do so (with no instructions, drawings, dimensions, tolerances, or other guidance). This makes me wonder what the margin for error is before binding occurs, and what is going on within Jet/JPW to make them think this approach is a good way to manage their brand.

At this time, after escalating this through Jet customer service and the Jet service department for more than a month I’m still stuck with an unfinished part and I’ve received no assistance beyond offers to sell me an entire compound assembly or for me to return the unfinished part in exchange for a refund. I suggested they disassemble a complete compound assembly and exchange the completed part for my unfinished one but they refused. I’ve communicated to Jet that their failure to address this is damaging to their brand, and that this customer experience is well below my expectations for an original equipment manufacturer regardless of industry.

I wouldn’t expect anyone that doesn’t work for Jet to care that I had a few crappy customer experiences with Jet, but I think that its only through publicizing these sorts of issues where customers give companies multiple chances to correct a problem that the real value of a brand is exposed.



In recognition of other brands that have met my expectations, I’ll mention that stuff I’ve bought from Shars has always turned out to be what I thought it would be (often slightly lower quality than some of the big name brands but at a much lower cost). I’ll also mention that some tooling I bought from Precision Matthews has generally exceeded my expectations, and one of their R8 drill chucks has been as been excellent so far.

First of all, do you really think jet gives a rats ass what you think? so what if you don't buy from them again, some other sucker will. Quality and jet do not belong in the same sentence together. jet buys their machines from whom ever they get the best price from, china, taiwan, wherever. What is the obsession with parts availability? get a decent machine to start with then you don't need parts all the time. It's like the Haas owner bragging to the Mazak owner about the great service when his machines are down. The Mazak owner can't remember when he last needed service. Did you ask about jet on this forum before you spent your money? for what that thing cost you could have bought a nice used Wacheon and had 10x the lathe.
 
First of all, do you really think jet gives a rats ass what you think? so what if you don't buy from them again, some other sucker will. Quality and jet do not belong in the same sentence together. jet buys their machines from whom ever they get the best price from, china, taiwan, wherever. What is the obsession with parts availability? get a decent machine to start with then you don't need parts all the time. It's like the Haas owner bragging to the Mazak owner about the great service when his machines are down. The Mazak owner can't remember when he last needed service. Did you ask about jet on this forum before you spent your money? for what that thing cost you could have bought a nice used Wacheon and had 10x the lathe.

Ouch! Serious body blow and the OP is down for the count. :D But I do tend to agree. Over the years I've had several
lathes from different manufacturers and offhand I can't remember buying parts for any of them...
 
On the other side,I have often fitted Chinese spare assemblies to replace missing items on older quality lathes.....so I could sell them.....(gasp...Colchester).....and pointed this out on sale.The stuff(compounds,cross slides .lead and nuts,etc.) while not very "nice",was far better than nothing,or scrapping the machine due to beyond extravagent genuine spares prices......I once worked for the local 600 Machinery (not on machine tools),and know that some Colchester items were supplied with machining margin ,and wouldnt fit directly......This practice was also followed with Velocette motorbikes......fitting was known as fettling.
 
OP- it actually makes sense that the nut and screw would be mated on the lathe, although matching the the nut to the cross slide would be much simpler.
This place can be rough, and many people have strong opinions on lower end import brands (although I agree $25k is not chump change)
I believe you bought the lathe used, therefor did not pay $25k, so a used Wacheon ( a high end Korean import) was probably not an option.

Don’t sweat the opinions here, get the lathe up running, sooner or later the post will help someone.

I wouldn’t mind seeing pics of the lathe



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
 
The OP needs to read:
1. the discussion guidelines (no chinese homeshop machinery discussion)
2. make your title descriptive as to what's inside.

Needs deleted.
 
if I understand OPs tone correctly, this is a rant about a non-issue becoming an "issue" because of the lack of the OP competence in the this sort of thing, all this would be avoided if the OP understand the meaning of "hand fitted" replacement parts, meaning - fitting by hand is a method used in manufacturing, less and less common these days, but not gone completely, there are manufacturing processes where it is easier/cheaper to make mating parts rough and finish assemble them by a skilled fitter, that does the actual finish machining, scraping etc to fit the mating parts perfectly - and in this sort of manufacturing process it is impossible for the manufacturer to supply the end user with a perfectly fitting part, it has nothing to do with the country of origin of the machine, it is the process, I bet even today some USA manufacturers (that are still around) use this method and will not sell you a replacement part, even half finished, because they don't need this sort of talk on the interwebs about their support.

and because of difficult customers like these other companies may decide to stop selling individual replacement parts altogether... not many people will thank the OP for such a review...
 
I have a ZX series lathe- and its definitely not "chinese home shop". Mine was made in taiwan, it weighs well over 5000lbs- actually close to 7000lbs, its 7 1/2 hp 3 phase, with 3" Plus thru the spindle. I turn rough forgings on it, it works fine. I bought it close to 20 years ago, and it hasnt broken yet.
NO, its certainly no Monarch, or American Pacemaker, or Lodge and Shipley- and, if any of those companies was still making similar lathes- mine is a 16"x60"- they would cost around $200k.
But no american company makes a lathe like this, nor have they for maybe 30 years now.

If you wanted a new cross slide for a monarch, it would cost a whole helluva lot more than that Jet part did. And probably take six months for them to make it for you.

Jet is a company that sells a wide variety of tools, some of which are, as Doug said, chinese home workshop. And some, like the Swedish gear head drill presses, as good as you can get right now. They have sold a lot fo crap, and some very good machines- they used to sell URPE lathes for a while, which were nice European machines. They also sold a series of 10x24 home shop lathes that there havent been parts available for since the early 80s. They are currently US owned, and own Powermatic, Wilton, and Edwards Ironworkers.

So, when buying from Jet, you can get made in america crap, foreign crap, or mid range quality of either.

But- the bottom line is- there are very few manufacturers of manual lathes left in the world, outside of China.
None of them have "reasonable priced" parts.
All will charge you a fortune for any replacement part, and probably well over 3/4 of the used manual lathes on the market will have zero new parts available.

So not buying Jet is absolutely an available choice- but buying pretty much any other available used lathe will not improve your ability to get replacement parts.
Try getting a new cross slide for an Axelson, or a Schaublin or an American Pacemaker.
 
In response to the points some contributors made:

I did not buy the lathe new, and I’m also not regretting the decision to buy it at this point in time. I looked at enough other lathes in my area to know that I paid about what you need to pay in order to get a functional machine in this class. It was less than a new import 14x40 and its about 3x the weight. The ways seem to be in great shape and all the features seem to be working smoothly so far. I’m still confident that it will fit my long term needs.

I never thought JET was a premium brand, but I do see them as being an entry level industrial brand, and as such I expected them to have the sort of attention to customer service that industry demands from their business partners. I don’t feel like the three items I pointed out lived up to this expectation, and I would take this into consideration if I was sourcing a new machine for use in a business setting.

It seems that someone has interpreted my disappointment in not receiving a ready to use part from JET as a sign that I am not capable of creating the missing features. I assure you this is not the case. My disappointment is centered on the idea that I should have to do this – I believe that this is what I was paying JET to do when I ordered the part from them. If I wanted to spend my free time building a top slide I could have and would have done so. Instead I chose to pay them to do it for me. I’m upset because they didn’t finish the job, and I’m not buying the excuses they provided for why they didn’t do what I paid them to do. The part I’m attempting to replace was mass produced to the specifications on a drawing that they control. When I ordered from them, I was expecting to get a like part made to the same drawing, but this did not occur. They also failed to communicate that they did not intend to supply me with a ready to use part or even a part that matches the line drawing in their parts fiche.

I know not everyone in the world will agree with my point of view, but I suspect that there are many who have expectations like mine when it comes to ordering a replacement part that is being supplied by an original manufacturer.


Do you think Rolex would have the brand equity they have if customers were supplied with a hunk of un-tanned cow hide when they ordered a replacement strap for their $25,000 wrist watch? I don’t. I also believe that Rolex would not have the recognition they have if they did choose to treat their customers this way. They also would not be able to sell many wrist watches for $25,000 because people would not think that their brand was worth paying that much for.

These days quality products can come from just about any country if the company and brand prioritize striving for excellence. I believe its less about where a product is made, and more about who is deciding what and how something should be made, and what they are willing to invest in making it. The common example of this these days is Apple and their Iphones. Apple doesn’t make them, yet they have control over every aspect of what gets produced and what the customer experience is like. I don’t know if Jet is trying to be like Apple, but I can tell you they aren’t succeeding.

I’ll end here with a tip of my hat to jz79… I needed a good laugh!
 
If Bill was able to post, he would wear your ass out for buying the lathe. While he would use a thousand words, I will not.

My first thought was "is this Bill" Given the length of post. Still wouldn't put it past him.... made me chuckle just thinking it.
 
if it says JET, the moderator don't like it. if you really need to discuss it, call it a wilton, acra or whatever is
the same can of bees .

when you manage a discussion forum, you can enforce your own set of rules. no jet. no enco . no horror freight. that's the way he want's it.
otherwise...it's a failure to communicate,,
 
I bought a used uh,,,"wilton acra" lathe cheap, the cross slide had the compound's swivel bolts pulled right through the circular T slot, so the cross slide was toast as was the compound base, a terrible crash.
I bought "E replacement" parts to replace the two castings. Both needed extensive scraping and even milling to be put into service again. The cross slide casting had a hard spot that wouldn't scrape with a carbide scraper, I had to take it just below flush with a die grinder.
But considering that I found spare parts at all I felt pretty fortunate, and scraping everything myself I knew it was right. I concluded, looking at the existing scraping elsewhere on the lathe, they didn't spend more than an hour or so on the whole lathe, I really think that's true. In addition I had to scrape the saddle ways and went ahead and scraped the bottom ways to a better fit on the bedways. Thankfully my brother helped me and between us we spent many hours over several days. The ways are all smooth running now and I think better than new, so if I ever get to retire I'll have a nice hobby lathe.
The bad thing is you can only get that value back by using the machine, because no one will credit you for your time.

I also far underestimated the time it would take to do that, and should have turned away from the wreck. But it's a nice lathe now and maybe I'll get to retire and use it someday. I have no regrets and learned a lot from it.

But the truth is also that anyone who has worked as a machinist who hasn't made parts for an old lathe or mill is probably just an operator. I'm used to making my own replacement parts, even making gear blanks and having them cut for me and heat treated, or in the case of change wheels made them myself. Isn't that part of having your own shop?


"They also sold a series of 10x24 home shop lathes that there havent been parts available for since the early 80s."

Those little 10X24 belt drive lathes are cute, I know a guy who owns a company with many millions of dollars worth of multi axis late model machines who rebuilt one of those in his home shop, and uses it a lot for smaller parts. After he got done with it (And it had been a real wreck with back gear teeth all busted off) it is a valuable addition to his small retirement shop. Some folks look down on Asian machines, but those who love machine tools can take one and make it sing. I'm not talking about what they call "minilathes" with their plastic gears and awful design work, the first small lathes were better made.
 
In response to the points some contributors made:

I’ll end here with a tip of my hat to jz79… I needed a good laugh!

you are clueless about where the problem is, machine slides are made matched, that is why they often are numbered, they are rough milled and then finished as sets, hence Jet not being able to finish the part 100%, same goes for the pin holes that you didn't see, the principle there is that the parts are first fixed together and only then they are pinned

then there are revisions to designs, who knows how many there are for that particular part

there is no way to satisfy a customer like you in this context, because if the factory did finish the part to very high tolerance, then it still might not fit the worn sliding surfaces you might have on your machine, then again they would be at fault for making slide ways that wear, right?

it sounds like you would be a happy customer for the really low end Chinese equipment, where everything is so loose, it will fit, and then you wonder why the chatter marks, why you can't get a good finish even on aluminum, why the tools chip and wear faster than on well fitted machines, right angles are not exactly 90 degrees on your parts, but that is ok, as long as the factory can send you a replacement slide that just bolts on and you can continue working, right?
 
It seems that someone has interpreted my disappointment in not receiving a ready to use part from JET as a sign that I am not capable of creating the missing features. I assure you this is not the case. My disappointment is centered on the idea that I should have to do this
You wouldn't happen to be a millenium by any chance? Plug and play machine tools? As someone in the machine repair industry coming up 40 years. Your disappointments, are the exact opposite of mine.

First: Its not a Brass Nut, they would be Bronze. How fucked up can you be if you don't know the difference between brass and bearing bronze. And you can kid yourself until next Sunday, the wear on the screw is there. It would be rude to expect a new nut to fit a screw that's already worn out one nut. Your just bull shiting your self to expect that you can buy a new nut to fit an old screw. There are standard's for this. Dr. George Schlinger, would have specified back lash at about 0.02mm, (That would be 8 tenths for you).

Ever heard of this hand scraping / hand fitting capper. Ever heard of adjusting gibs? Surely that move's the saddle over. And moves the centre line from the slide to the screw, alignment due to wear. Yet you want Dowel holes, from the factory. You are aware dowel holes are about the absolute best positioning of any two components.

Wouldn't you produce them, when you have the best possible alignment, according to the position / wear of your slide at the time? I regret to inform you, sounds to me, that's the kind of nut with 3 bolt holes and two dowels and a right angle face that attaches to the cross slide. The height won't be right also. You managed to miss that critical alignment. It will have 1 mm of stock to mill, grind and hand scrape to bring it to centre line, as the height changes with wear.

I buy parts from noble companies such as: Mazak, Okuma, Waldrich, Hegenscheidt. If they ever sent me a gib that's not 6" longer than I need it to hand fit, and chop off what I don't need. I've never seen a nut and screw, that wasn't matched / paired as an assembly. Yet your expecting plug and play. (From Jet).

Seriously BRASS feed screws? Does that not tell us something of your understanding?

I think you have know idea of machine fiting.

You should be proud of yourself. I wouldn't have been bothered, except I'm still on holidays and bored. You got some traction.

Come next Monday, I'd write you off for a Home Shop Harry, that thought his feed nuts where BRASS. I regret to inform you, it's really obvious, how little you know. But that can wait until next Monday, when I get back on deck....Then I'll tell you what I really think.

In the meantime.

#Jet owner with no clue. #Unreal expectations. # I thought my bits would fit. # I'm going to get even when they don't. # Thought my yellow metal was brass # Why cant I plug & play. # I:m so hard done by. # Why aren't those pricks sympathetic to me.

You might be better over at the HAPPY home shop harry site; Home Page - Projects and Articles on Our Forum! | The Hobby-Machinist

I'm sure they will blow some smoke up your arse.

How'd you go with that Jet Jihad?

Regards Phil.
 
well.. this is a somewhat entertaining thread, have to give the op credit for that.
I wish I could say TLDR! I guess I was bored, but holy crap, Edit!
Sounds like we are a bunch of bitter drunk old farts on here, nice work guys.
Yea, sure if you have a small home shop you can avoid Jet stuff, but in a working shop with any but the very deepest pockets, your gonna wind up with some.
They do sell industrial class machines, and are aware of the baggage the brand carries, what with the “pro line” they are trying to hawk (with the gray and black paint).
Anyone had any expierience with those?
Even if it is acceptable or standard practice to provide semi-finished parts they should be clearly described as such.
 
Last edited:
The OP needs to read:
1. the discussion guidelines (no chinese homeshop machinery discussion)
2. make your title descriptive as to what's inside.

Needs deleted.

You been on here long enough to know the more expensive Jets are OK to talk about.
I got one and I make money for 12 years on it.Not production,mostly onesy twosy.And yes,,precision work all the time.
I have also used a friends that is exactly the one the OP is talking about.Not no toy by no means.

Look at this post from the Boss himself
JET 1440ZX "Big Bore" lathe...anyone here have one ?
 








 
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