The Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689 gives an expanding custom knife business an edge in precision craftsmanship.
What do you think about when considering what goes into making a custom camp knife? How about a chef knife, or even an axe? It wasn’t until the opportunity came up to review the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689, that I even started to consider what makes a knife, a knife.
The story begins when two independent blade-smiths in Lakeland, Florida decided to merge their talents and businesses. Merging is a great way to leverage complimentary skills, split facility expenses, combine purchasing power and of course, share both the cost and use of tools and equipment. Most importantly, a merger can only be as successful as the owners’ compatibility. Alex Eisenberg of RP Knives and Jonathan Porter of Doghouse Forge decided it was time to consolidate their operations. This is where the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689 will take its place as part of 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 piece is one of a kind. The difference between a hobby and a business is the challenge of increasing your productivity and delivery, while never sacrificing the quality and novelty of the delivered product. The Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689 provides power and consistency while keeping the craftsman in complete control of its every move.
The Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689 is a 3-axis bench top drill / milling machine. It accommodates up to ½ inch drills and mills and can be fitted with T nuts to hold material to the table. The head can be positioned up to 45 degrees to the table. Variable speed control on the geared drive (no belts to mess with) provides infinite speed and feed options to maximize tool life and desired material finish.
Investing in the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689, gave the blade smiths both speed and improved control. The time saved for this two-man operation with over 20 orders in process at any time, allowed each to focus on more detailed aspects of their products where machinery is not beneficial. As more diverse orders come in, jigs are made to help decrease set-up time and changeover time from product to product. The T nut feature of the milling machine allows for relatively quick repeat set-ups on the machine’s table.
Prior to having the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689, working various metals, woods and epoxies was unpredictable in terms of fit and finish on the higher end or exotic styles of knives. While handcrafting is precise to an extent, it is very difficult to accurately shape holes, notches and grooves in a way that makes for snug and centered mating of a blade, a bolster and a handle. When set up properly, the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689 takes away the error associated with strictly handcrafting.
While the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689 is not a particularly tight machine from a precision movement perspective, it does travel in a fairly smooth fashion. The hand wheels have ruler like “scales” for travel reference once the slack is compensated. With some practice, using the scales on the wheels can be fairly reliable for travel. Chip guards are provided and are adequate but stiff and do a pretty decent job of preventing metal chips from dropping directly into the threaded table shaft. The provided guard is really not all that useful given its size; so personal eye protection is essential.
With a shipping weight of 149 lbs, this baby Grizzly is hefty. It’s design and construction is reminiscent of the 1950’s when everything was made of cast metal. The heft and substantive presence of the body exudes a look and feel of multi-generation durability and dependability. While it is certainly heavy enough to stand unsecured, bolting it down to a solid surface is advisable. Bolting it down also allows for a reliable tilt of the head to 45 degrees without the risk of the unit tipping over.
At a retail price of $714 including shipping, the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine G8689 is one of the best deals for a smaller fabrication operation. Grizzly is known for their simple and reliable systems and they are a go to consideration for value-oriented pros. Spare parts appear readily available to order from Grizzly’s website, as there are over 200 parts available for this unit alone. There is a one-year warranty and it requires household voltage of 110v and draws 4.5 amps, meaning a standard household circuit would be sufficient to run this unit.
Overall the team at Doghouse Forge and RP Knives really appreciate and utilize the Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Model G8689 as part of their every day production. It’s as versatile as it is reliable and consistent from movement to movement and material to material. Alex and Jonathan aren’t strangers to Grizzly… They have saws and sanders by Grizzly as well and this latest equipment is right at home. Sometimes the best and most endearing compliment you can give a piece of equipment and its maker is “it works”.
Grizzly Mini Milling Machine Key Features
- Dovetail column
- Safety shut off switch
- Adjustable depth stop
- Fine feed head control
- Geared drive
- Clear guard on spindle
- Rubber chip guards on ways
- Zero setting dials read in inches
- Adjustable dovetail ways on column
- 3/8″ and 1/2″ collets
- 1/2″ drill chuck
Grizzly Mini Milling Machine 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
- Max. distance spindle to table: 11-1/2″
- Swing: 12-3/4″
- Table travel (longitudinal): 7-5/16″
- Table travel (cross): 4″
- Table size: 3-5/8″ x 15-3/4″
- Range of speeds: Variable, 0–2500 RPM
- Approximate shipping weight: 149 lbs.