I am a disabled Marine Corps combat veteran of Iraqi Freedom and being unable to work I am on a MINUSCULE budget. I have been trying to build a shop with which I can make money for the passed 7 years and after years of turning on a HF 12" x 36" lathe I was finally able to afford a new, larger, more powerful lathe. In the year prior to my purchase I saw the G0766 in the 2015 catalog when it arrived at my house at the beginning of the year and I was ecstatic and the price and its size fueled a great deal of that excitement as it is far more affordable than other lathes... Who has $7500 for a 24" x 48" wood lathe?
When Grizzly had the 15% off coupon for active service members and veterans I jumped on the opportunity to purchase this lathe and I have not regretted it once since. The G0766 is certainly NOT lacking power and having the Variable Frequency Drive helps out a great deal if you are like me and cannot afford a 3-phase power converter or have 3-phase installed. Right away I could tell that my days of taking HOURS to turn pieces, that should take only minutes, were over. I have turned a wide variety of projects on my lathe from small treens (turned lidded boxes) up to 20" wide by 36" tall solid, Maple table lamps and large Wenge floor lamps. The G0766 eats it all and never stalls. With the G0766 you are going to get professional lathe features at hobbyist lathe prices, an undeniable and fantastic fact.
Features I like:
1.) The indexed spindle: This makes carving or routing on the lathe a breeze and it also helps tremendously when removing and switching between different types of chucks.
2.) Reversible Spindle: I do a TON of spindle work with exotic woods with in my table, desk and floor lamp making, some are very demanding woods with finicky grain patterns to say the least and being able to put my lathe in reverse and sand makes short work of this otherwise mundane task. I have also found that being able to reverse and stand on the opposite side of the normal operator's position also offers the ability to get into precarious places and features on my turnings that are not possible with other lathes.
3.) The Sliding Headstock: Having the option to move my work to the end of the lathe when I need to turn a table top or bowl that is larger than 22" is an incredible feature and gives this lathe and its operator great advantage over comparable lathes in the same range which feature fixed headstocks (ie Oneway).
4.) 3/8" Lamp Auger Hole Through Tailstock: Because I make table and floor lamps, being able to do deep boring while turning between centers is ESSENTIAL to producing accurate, high quality work. I will say that MY lathe did need some improvement and that the 3/8" bore was undersized, this forced me to machine the tailstock bore myself which I was not happy about as it caused me a tremendous amount of frustrations and missed work time while I searched to find a solution for the problem. I will say, however, that for the price that is a nearly negligible flaw.
5.) Solid Cast Bed and Legs: Grizzly did not skimp on material when it came to the engineering and production of the G0766, the solid, thick and heavy cast bed provides more than ample anti torque prowess yielding smooth, powerful and accurate work holding capability. I have worked with large balanced spindles blanks up to 20" in diameter and large, unbalanced Eastern Red Cedar bowl blanks and the G0766 took it all in stride, no chatter, flex or rattling or walking itself across the shop floor, the heavy cast legs and bed provided a solid base on which to turn.
6.) Quick Change Between RPM Ranges: Grizzly masterfully engineered the spindle pulley arrangement and headstock casting in a fashion that makes changing from high torque to high speed ranges a process that only takes seconds. In their infinite, innovative wisdom Grizzly chose to place the access cover on the front of the lathe which prevents a ton of hassle for the operator. No walking around to the other side of the lathe, having to go on a bear hunt (can't go over it, can't go through it, can't go around it, can't go under it) if you have your lathe in a small workshop, like in my situation, 1/2 of a 2-car garage. Needless to say it is a significant improvement over competing lathes in the G0766's size/range.
7.) Variable Speed Motor: Having this feature makes finding a speed that suits your work or needs on a particular feature an enjoyable task; the motor is fast, responsive and does not lack for power at any speed. If you have worked with other lathes that require changing the belt over on stepped pulleys you know how inconvenient and frustrating that can be, you get one end of the belt over, then the other end wont come over, slipping, pinching your fingers, often cramped spaces in which to complete the task, its a real hassle... not so with the G0766, just turn the dial and spend more time turning instead of fooling around with belts, stepped pulleys or levers.
8.) Heavy Duty Steel Motor Lever: Having this rigid, sturdy beast of a lever to hoist the somewhat heavy motor upwards while changing pulleys is a great help and definitely helps make the process fast, easy and enjoyable.
Things I Would Like To See Improved:
1.) A 50" Bed Extension with Extra Leg: I turn large pieces but lately I find myself with the opportunity to turn columns, decorative and structural. The one thing I was sincerely hoping to see Grizzly incorporate into the design, manufacturing and options for this lathe is a bed extension. At first I looked into the parts manual to see if it was possible to simply purchase a bed and single leg alone but of all of the parts one CAN purchase, those two are specifically unavailable. A few months ago I spoke with someone at Grizzly and asked if they were going to be producing an outboard turning and bed extension that will attach to the legs and bed, respectively, as they already have holes bored into the legs and ends of the bed... The answer was "no" and I have to tell you I was incredibly disappointed. I certainly don't want to have to go to those who shall not be named (P------tic) just to find a lathe that will suit my turning needs. I feel that Grizzly is really missing out on an EXTREMELY important part of the machine market, which is upgrades, feature upgrades and options that expand the capabilities of their machines, specifically, in this case, the G0766. Now many would say, "Well, for this price you could just buy a second lathe and have a spare leg and headstock/motor/VFD etc on hand..." and while that SOUNDS like an attractive idea, I would rather not spend $1600 to get $800-$1000 of parts. I have talked with a lot of other professional woodturners and fellow owners of the G0766 and they have expressed this sentiment as well.
2.) Do away with the plastic locking handles: Of all of the most important places not to skimp on material, the locking handles is certainly not one of those and I have had plenty of experience with stripped out plastic locking levers/handles on quills, banjos and motors.
3.) Change the Tool Rest Locking Mechanism: Having a single screw though a tapped hole in the banjo to tighten and hold the tool rest into position is a feature I expect from smaller lathes such as a 12" x 36" or benchtop lathe but on this machine it is DEFINITELY out of place. I would like to see a double-wedge mechanism with a beefy cast locking lever and screw. Would adding this feature make the price for this lathe go up proportionally? Yes and I would gladly pay the money. It is possible, however, that Grizzly is not comfortable with this mechanism as it may push the lathe into a price point in which they feel they could not sell the lathe as easily, and I completely understand that, but for a lathe of this magnitude and power that allows its owner to turn much larger pieces it needs the holding power.
While I do have a list of features that I would like to see improved or options offered I still stand by giving this lathe a 5 star rating. Even with these short comings the G0766 outperforms and "outprices" its competitors of similar size and power; this lathe is in NO WAY an amateur, hobby lathe, it packs serious punch and is not afraid to turn whatever you put on it. It is not a shy beast by any means, after all, it is a Grizzly and given the last decade it is what we all have come to expect from this company.
Semper Fidelis! Always Faithful!