Quick Summary:


SKU number: JT321896

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  1. Precision: Extremely accurate measurements.
  2. Versatility: Includes a taper attachment for a variety of turning operations.
  3. Powerful: High horsepower motor suitable for heavy-duty tasks.
  4. Durability: Robust construction ensures longevity and sustained performance.
  5. Ease of Use: User-friendly controls and an ergonomic layout.


  1. Cost: Higher price point, which may be prohibitive for hobbyists or small shops.
  2. Size: Larger footprint requires more space, which might not be ideal for smaller workshops.

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Personal Experience with Jet 321896 GH-26120ZH Lathe with ACU-RITE 300S DRO

As someone who has extensively used the JET 321896 GH-26120ZH Lathe in a professional setting, I’ve come to appreciate the subtle yet impactful features that differentiate it from other lathes I’ve operated. My firsthand experience with this lathe has revealed its strong suits in handling both routine and complex tasks with remarkable precision and reliability.

Handling and Operation

One of the first things I noticed about the GH-26120ZH was its robust construction. The stability provided by the Meehanite castings minimizes vibrations, a crucial factor when working on precision parts where even a small amount of vibration can be detrimental. The large spindle bore has been especially beneficial for the kinds of jobs we handle in our shop, which often involve large, bulky items that lesser machines simply couldn’t accommodate.

The clutch-operated headstock is another feature that stands out. It allows for smooth transitions and adjustments during operation, which is particularly useful when working on projects that require varying speeds and precision handling. This ease of control significantly enhances productivity, reducing downtime between operations and allowing for smoother workflow management.

Digital Readout (DRO)

The ACU-RITE 300S DRO is arguably one of my favorite features. The digital interface is intuitive, which was a pleasant surprise when I first started using the lathe. It displays precise measurements that are easy to read and interpret, even for less experienced operators. This accuracy is crucial for the custom parts we fabricate, as it ensures each piece meets stringent specifications without the need for constant manual measuring and adjustments.

Practical Applications

In our workshop, we frequently engage in creating custom parts for local industries, and the GH-26120ZH has proven itself to be invaluable. Whether we are threading, turning, or performing complex fabrications, the lathe’s versatility in handling different materials—from soft plastics to tougher metals—is impressive. The range of threading capabilities, in particular, has allowed us to take on specialized projects that we would have otherwise had to pass on.

Long-Term Use and Reliability

Over the months, the reliability of the GH-26120ZH Lathe has proven to be one of its standout attributes. We’ve run it for extended periods, often pushing it to handle complex and labor-intensive tasks, and it has stood up to these demands admirably. The maintenance routine is straightforward and not overly burdensome, which is vital in a busy shop like ours where downtime means delayed projects and potential revenue loss.

The coolant system deserves a special mention for its efficiency. It’s remarkably effective at keeping the machine cool, even during the most demanding jobs, which helps in prolonging tool life and maintaining the quality of finished parts.

Advanced Features in Action

One specific project that highlighted the machine’s capabilities involved intricate threading for a bespoke automotive part. The threading dials are clear and accurate, allowing us to execute precise, repeatable cuts, which is often a challenge with less sophisticated lathes. The digital readout was invaluable here, as it ensured that we adhered to the exact specifications required for the part to function correctly in its mechanical system.

Purchasing Experience from Beaver Industrial Supply

I purchased the JET 321896 GH-26120ZH Lathe from Beaver Industrial Supply, and the experience was exceptionally positive. Their customer service team was knowledgeable and attentive, providing detailed answers to my inquiries about the lathe’s capabilities and suitability for my specific needs.

The purchasing process was smooth and transparent, with clear communication about delivery timelines and setup requirements. Their after-sales support was commendable; they followed up to ensure that the installation went smoothly and that the machine was performing as expected. It’s rare to find a supplier that maintains such a high standard of customer care throughout the entire purchasing journey.

JET 321896 GH-26120ZH Lathe with ACU-RITE 300S DRO Overview

In the world of precision machining, the right lathe can be the cornerstone of a productive workshop. The JET 321896 GH-26120ZH Lathe, equipped with an ACU-RITE 300S Digital Readout (DRO), is designed to offer a blend of durability, precision, and ease of use that is suited for both high-output production environments and meticulous crafting projects. This review will delve into the various features, specifications, and user-centric benefits of this robust machine, which is backed by JET’s industry-leading two-year warranty.

Design and Construction

The JET GH-26120ZH Lathe is a testament to robust engineering. It features a 4-1/8″ spindle bore and a clutch-operated headstock, with all gears within the headstock being hardened and ground to promote longevity and enhance performance. The use of Meehanite castings—a high-grade cast iron known for its uniform soundness, physical properties, and excellent machining qualities—further underscores the lathe’s build quality. These castings are integral to the machine’s vibration dampening and stability, essential for precision work.

Another key feature is the heavy-duty tailstock and quill that provide remarkable support for long workpieces, reducing wobble and ensuring accuracy down to minute details. The inclusion of a rapid power traverse on both the cross slide and the carriage allows for quick, smooth movements, which is a significant time-saver during extensive projects.

Performance and Versatility

The GH-26120ZH is designed to handle a wide variety of machining tasks. It boasts 12 spindle speeds ranging from 36 to 1,600 RPM, facilitating the selection of the perfect speed for different materials and applications. The headstock gearbox design makes it easy to select inch and metric threading, a feature that simplifies complex threading tasks and enhances the machine’s versatility.

The induction-hardened and ground bed ways maintain alignment and resist wear, which is crucial for maintaining the precision of cuts over the lathe’s lifespan. Additionally, the lathe’s 26-inch swing over bed and 120-inch distance between centers make it capable of handling large and long workpieces, ideal for both small-scale industrial operations and large, bespoke projects.

Digital Readout (DRO)

One of the standout features of the GH-26120ZH is the ACU-RITE 300S DRO. This advanced digital readout system enhances the functionality of the lathe by providing precise measurements and readings, enabling machinists to achieve more accurate cuts with less effort and reduced error potential. The DRO is user-friendly, designed to be intuitive even for those who may not be as experienced with digital systems, ensuring that all users can achieve optimal results.

Standard Equipment and Accessories

JET has equipped the GH-26120ZH with a comprehensive set of tools and accessories to ensure that it can perform a wide range of machining tasks right out of the box. This includes a 4-way toolpost, a 12″ 3-jaw direct-mounted scroll chuck with jaws for strong grip and precision, a 16″ 4-jaw chuck for irregularly shaped workpieces, and both a faceplate and a follow rest. The lathe also comes with two steady rests and a coolant system, which are indispensable for long machining sessions and for maintaining the longevity of both the tool and the workpieces.

Advanced Specifications and Operational Flexibility

Delving deeper into the technical prowess of the JET GH-26120ZH Lathe, its operational capabilities are enhanced by a robust set of specifications that cater to a broad spectrum of machining requirements. The lathe’s swing over bed is a substantial 26 inches, coupled with a 16-1/2 inch swing over the cross slide, and a 34-inch swing in the gap. This provides ample space for larger or irregularly shaped workpieces, making the machine highly adaptable to varied project specifications.

The precision in control is exemplified by the lathe’s comprehensive range of longitudinal and cross feed rates, boasting 65 different settings. This feature allows for very fine adjustments to the feed rate, ensuring that each machining task can be tailored exactly to the needs of the material and the specifics of the project, whether it requires delicate, precise cuts or more robust, heavy-duty operations.

Pros and Cons of JET 321896 GH-26120ZH Lathe with ACU-RITE 300S DRO


  • 4-1/8″ Spindle Bore: Allows for the accommodation of large materials, enhancing versatility.
  • Clutch-Operated Headstock: Provides smooth control and adjustments during operation.
  • Hardened and Ground Headstock Gears: Ensures durability and prolonged gear life.
  • Meehanite Castings: Offers excellent stability and vibration dampening, crucial for precision machining.
  • Heavy-Duty Tailstock and Quill: Supports long workpieces effectively, minimizing wobble and ensuring accuracy.
  • Rapid Power Traverse: Enhances productivity with quick and smooth adjustments to the cross slide and carriage.
  • Comprehensive Speed Range (36-1600 RPM): Allows for flexible machining of various materials and applications.
  • Induction-Hardened and Ground Bed Ways: Maintains precision and alignment, resisting wear over time.
  • ACU-RITE 300S DRO: Provides precise digital readouts for accurate machining and measurements.
  • Extensive Threading Capabilities: Offers a wide range of inch and metric threading options.
  • Comprehensive Standard Equipment: Includes essential accessories like 3-jaw and 4-jaw chucks, face plate, steady rests, and a coolant system for immediate operational readiness.
  • Two-Year Warranty: Backed by JET’s industry-leading warranty for peace of mind.


  • Size and Weight: Weighing over 9,300 lbs and with substantial dimensions, the machine requires significant space and a solid foundation.
  • Complexity for Beginners: While it offers advanced features, the complexity of the lathe might be daunting for beginners.
  • Cost: As a high-end lathe, it represents a significant investment, which might not be feasible for small shops or hobbyists.
  • Power Requirements: Requires a 230/460V supply, which may necessitate electrical upgrades in some workshops.
  • Maintenance: While generally low-maintenance, the complexity and size of the machine might require professional servicing for major repairs or adjustments.

Thread Cutting Capabilities

The JET GH-26120ZH excels in thread cutting, offering a wide range of options that underscore its versatility. It can handle 48 different inch threads from 2 to 30 TPI (threads per inch) and 22 metric threads ranging from 1 to 14 mm pitches. This comprehensive threading capability makes it an excellent choice for specialized custom threading tasks or general machining work where versatility in thread cutting is a necessity. The ease with which operators can switch between inch and metric measurements is a significant advantage in workshops that handle diverse projects.

Safety and Maintenance

Safety is a key consideration in the design of any industrial equipment. The GH-26120ZH includes a traveling splash guard and a halogen work lamp to improve visibility and safety during operation. The gearbox and apron are fully enclosed to protect the operator from moving parts and minimize the ingress of debris, which also makes maintenance easier.

JET 321896 GH-26120ZH Lathe with ACU-RITE 300S DRO Specifications

Size26 x 120 inches
Digital ReadoutACU-RITE 300S
Swing Over Bed26 inches
Swing Over Cross Slide16-1/2 inches
Swing Through Gap34 inches
Length of Gap8 inches
Distance Between Centers120 inches
Spindle Bore4-1/8 inches
Spindle MountD1-8
Spindle Taper with SleeveMT-5
Number of Spindle Speeds12
Range of Spindle Speeds36 – 1,600 RPM
Number of Longitudinal and Cross Feed Rates65
Range of Longitudinal Feeds.0023 – .0937 IPR
Range of Cross Feeds.010 – .0404 IPR
Number of Inch Threads48
Range of Inch Threads2-30 TPI
Number of Metric Threads22
Range of Metric Threads1 – 14 mm
Max Tool Size1-1/4 x 1-1/4 inches
Compound Slide Travel5-1/2 inches
Cross Slide Travel12-3/32 inches
Carriage Travel108-1/4 inches
Tailstock Spindle Travel6 inches
Taper in Tailstock SpindleMT-5
Follow Rest Capacity25/32 – 3-15/16 inches
Steady Rest Capacity (Small)25/32 – 4-29/32 inches
Steady Rest Capacity (Large)3-15/16 – 9-7/16 inches
Width of Bed16 inches
Motor10 HP, 230/460V, 3 Ph
Prewired Voltage230V
Weight9,362 lbs
Overall Dimensions (L x W x H)178 x 43 x 57 inches
DriveGeared Head
Style (Type)Engine – Large Spindle Bore

Maintenance and Support

Maintaining the GH-26120ZH Lathe is straightforward, thanks to its design considerations for ease of access and minimal routine maintenance requirements. Regular lubrication and cleaning are all that’s required to keep the lathe in optimal working condition, ensuring longevity and consistent performance. In the unlikely event of a mechanical issue, JET’s extensive network of authorized service centers provides prompt and reliable service.

JET’s Red Assurance 2-year warranty is a testament to their confidence in the lathe’s reliability and durability. This warranty not only covers repairs but also ensures that operators can access professional maintenance services and support swiftly and efficiently.


The JET 321896 GH-26120ZH Lathe with ACU-RITE 300S DRO represents a significant investment in quality, precision, and durability. Whether it’s for a high-output production environment or for detailed custom projects, this machine promises to deliver excellent performance.

Coupled with the comprehensive two-year Red Assurance warranty, JET ensures that this lathe not only meets but exceeds the expectations and needs of modern machinists, making it a wise choice for professionals seeking reliability and precision in their machining operations.

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