The Grizzly Mini Mill Model G8689 offers the advantage of precision craftsmanship for the expanding custom tooling business.
When thinking about making a custom camping knife, what do you think? How about a chef's knife, or even an axe? It wasn't until I had the opportunity to review the Grizzly Mini Mill, Model G8689, that I began to think about what makes a knife, a knife.
The story begins when two independent knifemakers in Lakeland, Florida decided to combine their talents and businesses. Merging is a great way to leverage complementary skills, share facility costs, combine purchasing power, and of course, share the cost and use of tools and equipment. Most importantly, the success of the merger depends on the compatibility of the owners. Alex Eisenberg of RP Knives and Jonathan Porter of Doghouse Forge decided it was time to consolidate their businesses. That's where the Model G8689 Grizzly Mini Mill will take its place in this era's "Maker's Revolution".
Craftsmen love to work with their hands. Customers who appreciate their work are often willing to pay a premium, especially if the work is unique. The difference between a hobby and a business is the challenge of increasing productivity and delivery, while never sacrificing the quality and novelty of the delivered product. The Grizzly Mini Mill Model G8689 delivers power and consistency while giving the craftsman complete control over its every move.
The Grizzly Mini Mill Model G8689 is a 3-axis benchtop drill/mill. It holds up to a ½-inch drill and mill and can be equipped with a T-nut to secure material to the table. The head can be angled up to 45 degrees from the table. Variable speed control on the gear drive (no belt interference) provides unlimited speed and feed options to maximize tool life and desired material finish.
Investing in the Grizzly Mini Mill, model G8689, offers bladesmiths speed and improved control. The time saved by this two-person operation can handle 20+ orders at any one time, allowing everyone to focus on the more detailed aspects of their product, where machinery is unhelpful. As more and more different orders come in, the fabrication of jigs helps reduce setup time and changeover time between products. The T-Nut feature of the milling machine allows for relatively quick and repeatable setups on the machine table.
Before using the Grizzly Mini Mill Model G8689, machining a variety of metals, woods and epoxies was unpredictable in terms of fit and finish on high-end knives or fancy style knives. While handcrafting is somewhat precise, it can be difficult to accurately shape the holes, notches, and grooves so that the blade, backer, and handle fit snugly and are centered. When set up correctly, the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689 eliminates the errors associated with rigorous handcrafting.
While the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine model G8689 isn't a particularly compact machine from a precision movement standpoint, it does move in a fairly smooth manner. After compensating for slack, the handwheel has a ruler-like "scale" as a travel reference. With a little practice, using the scale on the wheel is fairly reliable for touring. Chip guards are provided, adequate but stiff, and do a fairly good job of keeping metal shavings from falling directly into the threaded table shaft. The guard provided is actually not that useful given its size; so personal eye protection is essential.
This grizzly has a very heavy shipping weight of 149 lbs. Its design and construction are reminiscent of the 1950s, when everything was made of cast metal. The weight and solid exterior of the body exudes the look and feel of multi-generational durability and reliability. While it does feel heavy enough to stand unanchored, it is recommended to secure it to a solid surface. Securing it down also allows the head to be reliably tilted up to 45 degrees without risking the unit tipping over.
With a retail price of $714 including shipping, the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine G8689 is one of the best deals for small manufacturing businesses. Known for their simple and reliable systems, Grizzly is the choice of value-conscious professionals. Spares seem to be easy to order from Grizzly's website, as there are over 200 parts available for this unit alone. The warranty is one year and requires 110 volts of household voltage and 4.5 amps, which means standard household electrical circuits are sufficient to run the unit.
Overall, the teams at Doghouse Forge and RP Knives appreciate and use the Model G8689 Grizzly Mini Mill as part of their daily production. It's versatile, reliable and consistent from sport to sport and material to material. Alex and Jonathan are no strangers to Grizzly…they also have a Grizzly saw and grinder, and this newest piece of equipment is at home. Sometimes the best and kindest compliment you can give a piece of equipment and its manufacturer is "it works."
Grizzly Compact Mill Key Features
- dovetail post
- safety off switch
- adjustable depth stop
- Fine Feed Head Control
- gear drive
- Clear the guard on the spindle
- Rubber chip guards on the road
- Zero setting dial reads in inches
- Adjustable dovetail slots on uprights
- 3/8″ and 1/2″ collets
- 1/2″ drill chuck
Grizzly Small Mill Specifications
- Motor: 3/4 HP, 110V, single phase
- Spindle Taper: MT #3
- T-slots: 2 @ 1-1/8″ centers, 7/16″ wide
- Head Travel: 7-1/2″
- Head Tilt: 45° L/R
- maximum. Distance from spindle to table: 11-1/2″
- Swing: 12-3/4″
- Table travel (longitudinal): 7-5/16″
- Table Travel (Cross): 4″
- Table Dimensions: 3-5/8″ x 15-3/4″
- Speed Range: Variable, 0–2500 RPM
- Approximate shipping weight: 149 lbs.