Competitively priced product, company has reputation for qualityCons
Imported product - potential issues with supply of parts and supportVerdict
The 1640ZX is great for occasional usage, but the support/parts factor may be a concern for industrial applications
JET GH 1640ZX Lathe - Product Review & Information
JET GH-1640ZX Lathe: The First Cut is the Deepest
At $17,599 (US) this Jet metalworking lathe is not a trivial purchase. Purchase of sophisticated tools such as this need to take into consideration a large number of factors: purpose, functionality, precision, warranty and support, availability of spare parts and extra tools, programming method and user interface and safety features to name a few. The method of purchase is also a factor, now that large machines such as this are available to buy on the internet at very favorable rates. Here, the hidden costs are crucial: delivery, back up, warranty, support and maintenance.
Metalworking lathes are designed for precisely machining hard materials by rotating the workpiece. This workpiece was originally metal but now plastics and other materials are common. As part of large production machining processes the machines need to be reliable, robust and consistent, for example when producing parts for the automotive industry.
The better machines are solidly constructed and manufactured with great precision, helping to ensure that the components manufactured meet the industry required tolerances and repeatability. Good physical support is also essential because cutting metal produces a great deal of vibration which could, potentially, bend the workpiece and ruin the production run.
So who makes good lathes? You may as well ask ‘who makes good cars?’ because so much depends on personal preference. Jet have been a top supplier of woodworking, metalworking and milling machines for over 50 years. Their lathes are imported from Taiwan, and in general the imported machines rate lower than US built machines, however they are considerably cheaper and the consensus suggests that Jet products are of a higher quality than other imported lathes. Jet products have an average of 4 (out of 5) on toolcritic.com and the company has a reputation for craftsmanship.
The 1640ZX model comes with a 2 year warranty and this is where customers should examine the small print carefully because one of the main complaints about Taiwanese machinery is the lack of replacement parts and service. This is backed up by consumer reports of delays in getting spare parts, ‘I felt this was a great product until I needed spare parts’ (discussing the 1440ZX model). Other consumers point to inconsistency in manufacturing itself: ‘some aren’t so great, some are pretty decent.
So consumers have to do their research and ask pertinent questions.
For home or occasional use the GH-1640ZX would be a great machine at a very reasonable price; for industrial applications issues of support and parts should be examined carefully. Consumers should do their research and ask pertinent questions.
Visit the official site for GH-1640ZX Metalworking Lathe
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