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Warco GH 18 Milling Machine

Can't find any reviews

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Ian Thomson 202/04/2019 21:25:22
59 forum posts
16 photos

On paper it appears that the Warco GH18 could be a good buy.

A reasonable size and no electronic controller to go wrong.

But I can't find and reviews or information from users of this machine anywhere.

Has anyone got one of these? What are their good and bad points?

Ian Thomson 205/04/2019 17:59:27
59 forum posts
16 photos

Not a very popular machine then?

Bazyle05/04/2019 19:52:48
4755 forum posts
187 photos

You might want to check out the equivalents sold by Chester and the USA dealers like Grizzly, HF and PM then search on those. I think the Chester Lux is similar but not sure if it is a gear head.

BTW how long has it been around? That might account for lack of reviews.

Edited By Bazyle on 05/04/2019 19:53:50

JasonB05/04/2019 20:02:53
16427 forum posts
1739 photos
1 articles

Yes as Bazyle says it's quite a new model so not many people with one.

Ian Thomson 205/04/2019 21:09:56
59 forum posts
16 photos

I didn't realise it was new.

It does look very similar to the Grizzly G0795

SillyOldDuffer06/04/2019 17:38:27
4777 forum posts
1011 photos

I have a WM18 and was interested to compare specifications with the GH18. The GH18 is slightly smaller which could be useful if space is short. Apart from the motor controller, WM18 definitely electronic, not sure about the GH18, the other difference is the position of the Z-axis lever, WM18 on the right:


I'm nearly 6' tall and find reaching the handle on the WM18 a bit of a stretch. It might be awkward for shorter persons. The GH18 has the handle much lower on the left, easier to reach but I wonder if the control box might get in the way in some positions?

I think the two machines are of similar capability. I don't worry about electronic vs plain motor control myself, but the position of the handles might help some buyers go for one rather than the other. If non-electronic is a requirement best to ask Warco, what's inside the GH18's electrical control box is a mystery to me!


Ian Thomson 207/04/2019 21:43:28
59 forum posts
16 photos

I had the controller go on my wood turning lathe recently.

I could not believe the price of a replacement!

Luckily it was still under warranty, but it has made me cautious of the electronic control of DC motors.

This is what made me notice the GH18 in the first place.

not done it yet07/04/2019 22:19:37
3471 forum posts
15 photos

Not got one, but... looks reasonable as the gears are actually continuously lubricated.

The specs state that the motor is 900W. I suppose we have to guess that the motor is single phase (it does state 6 speeds, I suppose)?

All my machines run on a single phase supply but the motors are all three phase - the VFD does the donkey work! Extra cost for a three phase motor and VFD would be less than £50 at the manufacturing point - and they could have reduced the number of gear changes available in the box, so likely no extra manufacturing expense at all.

I reckon someone is missing a trick somewhere! Or it will be the next “updated” offering when they realise the utility of a VFD?

SillyOldDuffer08/04/2019 10:16:04
4777 forum posts
1011 photos

As usual Grizzly provide more information than UK sellers, assuming that the GH18 is much the same as a G0761.

Grizzly's spec says the motor is single-phase and to remove any doubt the parts list identifies Start and Run Capacitors in the motor assembly. (This is my punishment for saying in another thread that single-phase motors aren't used on modern machines! This one does! )

The G0761 Manual also explains the controls. The gear head provides 6 speeds, and the electric controls only do ON/OFF, Forward/Reverse, Mill-Drill / Tapping, and Emergency OFF. There is no electronic speed control.

The GH18 is a good match to Ian's requirement.

My view of motors, in order of desirability:

  1. Best. Brushless DC with controller. Pro. Excellent torque and power over a wide speed range. Con. Complex electronics. Cost.
  2. Close Second. 3-phase with VFD, Pro. Motor highly reliable. Smooth. Good torque and power over a useful speed range. Con. Complex electronics. Cost.
  3. Good Third. DC Motor with controller. Pro. Smooth. Good torque and power. Inexpensive. Con. Brushes wear out, less efficient.
  4. Serviceable. Single Phase AC Motor. Pro. works on domestic supply, simple control. Cons. Bumpy, low starting torque, reliability issues due to start/stop overheating and Capacitors, Centrifugal switches and Run Windings. No speed control.

Although single-phase is 'inferior', for most hobby purposes it's 'good enough'. But, now that cost of VFDs has dropped, broken single-phase motors are often replaced with 3-phase/VFD and owners notice the improvement.


Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 08/04/2019 10:17:47

not done it yet08/04/2019 11:14:52
3471 forum posts
15 photos

“The improvement”. Singular but meant in generality, I know!

”Improvements’ would have better described the enhanced attributes of a VFD. Soft start, braking options, power limiting, continuously variable speed selection, reliability of the motor, smoothness of the motor, etc.

For the minimal extra cost, I am sure most hobbyists would appreciate (not just ‘notice&rsquo the improvements of having the best drive available. The one thing about electronic control boards, supplied by the manufacturer, is that of being mostly tied to an expensive replacement from that supplier on a rather too regular basis. VFDs are now cheap, reliable and can easily be substituted for a superior make, if the cheap supplied one fails.

I think some hobbyists are being short-changed by some manufacturers/suppliers in that older out-dated drive systems are still being foisted on unsuspecting buyers. The likely reason is that these ‘expensive’ control boards are of such low initial cost (and quality) and later replacement costs are ‘extras’ for the suppliers. A bit like BEVs these days - so little servicing is required that dealerships will rather sell an ICE vehicle so as to perpetuate the high servicing requirements during the life of the vehicle.

JasonB08/04/2019 11:23:34
16427 forum posts
1739 photos
1 articles

Dave, you did miss off that the AC motor will probably give the best torque of all as the machine will be driving through a gearbox/belts and always running at it's optimum temp so no overheating at slow speeds.

Dave Halford08/04/2019 11:31:04
469 forum posts
4 photos
Posted by JasonB on 08/04/2019 11:23:34:

Dave, you did miss off that the AC motor will probably give the best torque of all as the machine will be driving through a gearbox/belts and always running at it's optimum temp so no overheating at slow speeds.

DOH! wink

SillyOldDuffer08/04/2019 12:12:32
4777 forum posts
1011 photos
Posted by JasonB on 08/04/2019 11:23:34:

Dave, you did miss off that the AC motor will probably give the best torque of all as the machine will be driving through a gearbox/belts and always running at it's optimum temp so no overheating at slow speeds.

Yes, and other things too!

I was trying to keep the summary simple. Motors that keep themselves cool with an impeller are indeed likely to overheat when run slowly, and speed control via gears as on the GH18 fixes that problem, which is a good thing. Another approach, the VFD speed controlled 3-phase motor on my lathe is cooled with a separate motor & fan that runs continually. Although the main motor never gets hot, the fan is hellish noisy. And the cheap computer type fan fitted to the VFD is even louder. Whatever its other virtues my WM280 can't be called 'quiet' and most of the racket is fans!

On the other hand, my WM18 mill has a DC motor, no fans, and a basic 'don't forget to grease me' 2 speed metal gearbox. It's surprisingly quiet and the motor doesn't seem to get hot, perhaps because I rarely cut masses of metal with it in one session.

Noise is rarely mentioned in the specifications when comparing machines and it might be important in a domestic setting. Nothing is ever easy...


Ian Thomson 208/04/2019 20:22:30
59 forum posts
16 photos

Thanks for all replies.

I spoke to Warco today. They are out of stock of the GH18 for the next few weeks, but they have one in their showroom that I can see running. This gives me a while to consider my options (and prepare the garage).

So for long term reliability should I look at something with a simple dc motor solution and gears like the GH18, or forget my previous bad luck with the wood turning lathe and go for something with DC brushless motor and complicated electronics? I assume this would include the WM18, and the SX3?

John Haine08/04/2019 20:49:41
2648 forum posts
134 photos

If you can, step pulleys, 3 phase motor and vfd.

Ian Thomson 208/04/2019 21:08:03
59 forum posts
16 photos

Hi John, Are you pointing me at the VMC? Too big I am afraid. (No matter how many times I measure the space).

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