Grizzly 4003G Gunsmith’s lathe chuck issue resolved

I’ve had my Grizzly 4003G Gunsmith’s lathe for approximately 2 years and love it.  Since I use the lathe primarily for barrels, my work has been with a spider or 4-jaw chuck.  I only mounted the 3-jaw a few times and something didn’t look right.  It turns out the chuck had .040″ of run out!  .040″- not a typo- see pics below.

IMG_4705 IMG_4706

The Grizzly customer service was responsive (a little slow, 2-3 days to reply to each email), however the machine is now out of warranty so they told me to buy a new chuck.

I ended up getting a Gator 6″ set tru chuck (model 1-901-0600) and D1-5 backplate.  The chuck is adjustable for run out using four screws at its base (similar to the way a 4-jaw chuck is dialed in).  Within 5 minutes of opening the box, I had the new chuck’s total indicator runout (TIR) under .001″!  I’m very happy.

Gator chuck

Here are my take away lessons from this experience:

  1. If you buy a new lathe, check the run out on the chuck(s) when you get it.  I have no doubt Grizzly would have replaced the chuck if it was within a year of purchase. While this is obvious if you are a machinist, I’m not.  Lesson learned.
  2. Gator chucks rock- I couldn’t be happier.  I ordered mine from a dealer on Monday and it arrived Tuesday. Fit and finish were excellent. In some ways this was a blessing in disguise.

I bought my Gator chuck from Ajax Tool Supply in Columbus, Ohio.  I called him around noon, the chuck drop shipped directly from Gator, and it arrived late Tuesday afternoon.  I’d suggest giving him a call if you need tools or tooling for your machines.