Good tools/Bad tools

Topics include, Machine Tools & Tooling, Precision Measuring, Materials and their Properties, Electrical discussions related to machine tools, setups, fixtures and jigs and other general discussion related to amateur machining.

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Mr Ron
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Good tools/Bad tools

Post by Mr Ron » Sat Sep 15, 2012 5:18 pm

As I read through all the threads in this forum, a common response eventually pops up; "you get what you pay for". I completely agree with this, but realistically speaking as hobbyists and wannaby machinists, most of us are not in the position to shell out hundreds of dollars for a tool. The range of prices between "made-in-U.S.A" and imported is GREAT; A USA made tool can cost 10x more than an import. A hobbyist cannot afford the best and so has to make do with what he can afford. On small items, like drill bits or end mills, I try to buy the best, but other tools are way out of reach of the average hobbyist. I search through tooling catalogs and can only drool over what is available and can't possibly afford.

I think what is needed here is a realistic approach to machining problems without invoking the "best" tool for the job because that best tool may be out of anyones reach. If my $20 digital caliper is junk, what other option do I have other than investing in the "best" caliper that can cost 10x more. This in no way is a criticism of advice given on this forum. I appreciate the time and knowledge that is given answering our concerns. It is valuable, but sometimes leaves me out in the cold because the solution will cost me money I don't have. I know some will say "if you can't afford , get out", but I won't accept that. I think I still have something to contribute.
Mr.Ron from South Mississippi

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oldvan
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by oldvan » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:51 pm

You could grind "Made in China" off the tools, if it bothers you that much.

Jose Rivera
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by Jose Rivera » Sat Sep 15, 2012 7:55 pm

Some Chinese tools are real junk, but I can say that a bang for the buck is for real when it comes to Calipers, Micrometers, Indicators.
Not sure about durability comparing them with Mitutoyo or Starret, but they're as accurate.
It goes bad, no pain disposing them.
There are no problems, only solutions.
--------------
Retired journeyman machinist and 3D CAD mechanical designer - hobbyist - grandpa

Chuck K
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by Chuck K » Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:06 pm

I can relate....but in the case of the imported calipers, it really isn't a big deal. Calipers aren't that precise anyway. You can usually find a quality used micrometer for 10 to 20 bucks. I don't have a high opinion of most things that come from china. The only way that I can afford to have american made is by picking up used stuff. Most of my machines are pre 1960. Fixtures and misc stuff is newer but well used. I would still rather have the old stuff than comparable china imports. I refuse to use chinese endmills, drills, ect. Just my .02

Chuck

Jose Rivera
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by Jose Rivera » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:12 pm

My better quality tools come from eBay.
There are no problems, only solutions.
--------------
Retired journeyman machinist and 3D CAD mechanical designer - hobbyist - grandpa

spro
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by spro » Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:13 pm

Like most things of importance there has to be a standard. The tools by manufacturers are influenced by this. It is expensive to make these things so well there is a reason. So there is investment in further engineering. There has to be something which is an improvement over their own product which continues. All that investment by many companies is quickly copied by others. So there is latent resentment of the fact that their patents were not generated correctly and less expensive versions cause them to downsize. This causes the individual item price to rise. This is an attack into the heart of American production. We only see parts of it. Continually we see machines which should be on the factory floor within our grasp. This isn't just a good deal, it is a symptom of a larger situation.
However, the way this may work is that so many other machinists and mechanics have these machines, tools that would in another time be impossibe to own, it negates the probable.
That is the complete upset by a single act. That which was designed to stop everything cannot for there are the machines and the people who can use them, without sensitive electronics.

Harold_V
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by Harold_V » Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:45 am

Mr Ron wrote: If my $20 digital caliper is junk, what other option do I have other than investing in the "best" caliper that can cost 10x more.
Your problem isn't the cost of measuring instruments--it's not understanding what instrument is suited to the task at hand. I've read a few of your posts in regards to calipers, and you simply expect too much from them. I don't care how much you pay, nor do I care where they are made---calipers are not suited to fine measurements. Never have been, nor is it likely that they ever will be. They are, by design, not capable of precision measurements. Please do not raise a point that they repeat, or that you find them adequate. That's not relevant. What is relevant is that readings taken with calipers are always subject to question----they may or may not represent the true size, with a margin of error typically greater than .001". The error escalates if you hope to transfer outside dimensions to inside dimensions, and is greater on small holes than on large holes, due to the radius of the hole.

You would be far better served to buy micrometers, even imports, if you hope to achieve reliable readings. Remember, you can work only as closely as you can measure. Otherwise, it's the luck of the draw, and that's no way to machine.

This in no way is a criticism of advice given on this forum. I appreciate the time and knowledge that is given answering our concerns. It is valuable, but sometimes leaves me out in the cold because the solution will cost me money I don't have. I know some will say "if you can't afford , get out", but I won't accept that. I think I still have something to contribute.
No need to *get out*, but it's important for you to gain an understanding of what works, and what does not. When your expectations are in tune with reality, all of this will make more sense to you.

We have had individuals on this forum who labored under the assumption that calipers were the epitome of precision. I suppose that if a person had used nothing better than a yard stick, that may appear to be the case, but calipers simply are not reliable for close measurements, full stop. They are used because they are cheap as compared to finer instrument. If you choose to stick with calipers, just be advised that you will struggle more than the guy who uses the proper tool.

Hope I've said something here that will help. Do not misconstrue my words---they are not intended to be critical of anything you believe to be true--they are intended to help you understand the technique of proper measuring.

Harold
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

Mr Ron
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by Mr Ron » Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:07 pm

Harold wrote:I don't care how much you pay, nor do I care where they are made---calipers are not suited to fine measurements. Never have been, nor is it likely that they ever will be. They are, by design, not capable of precision measurements. with a margin of error typically greater than .001".

No need to *get out*, but it's important for you to gain an understanding of what works, and what does not. When your expectations are in tune with reality, all of this will make more sense to you.

We have had individuals on this forum who labored under the assumption that calipers were the epitome of precision. I suppose that if a person had used nothing better than a yard stick, that may appear to be the case, but calipers simply are not reliable for close measurements, full stop. They are used because they are cheap as compared to finer instrument. If you choose to stick with calipers, just be advised that you will struggle more than the guy who uses the proper tool.

Hope I've said something here that will help. Do not misconstrue my words---they are not intended to be critical of anything you believe to be true--they are intended to help you understand the technique of proper measuring.

Harold
Harold, Are you telling me my Starrett and Mitutoyo vernier calipers are and never will be capable of accurate measurements? They cost a lot of money. Should I get rid of them? There are many instances where a mike cannot be used, a step measurement for instance. A depth micrometer might work, or might not. The caliper seems to be the go to tool in many instances. I am familar with some of the precision instruments used in industrial settings, that depend on very sophisticated tools; surface plate, gage blocks, optical comparators, etc. These are well beyond a place in the home shop. I am far form being a "precision" machinist. I regard myself as a hobbyist machinist because I own a metal lathe , mill and a few precision tools. My metalworking is conducted more along the lines of woodworking where I cut, test, sand and test until it fits. I can "sneak" up to an accurate fit, but not with the repeatability required of a precision machinist like yourself.
Mr.Ron from South Mississippi

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neanderman
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by neanderman » Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:45 pm

Mr Ron wrote:My metalworking is conducted more along the lines of woodworking where I cut, test, sand and test until it fits. I can "sneak" up to an accurate fit, but not with the repeatability required of a precision machinist like yourself.
This technique absolutely has its place in metalworking and is done with scrapers. Not to put words into his mouth, but what part of what Harold is saying, I think, is that it is not the "best" way to do all of your metalworking.
Ed

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rudd
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by rudd » Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:05 pm

Just realize calipers have their place....
(if you own Starretts and Mits, why are you goofing around with the 20 dollar Chinee digital? )
They are good to a point - then it's time to reach for the mikes and snap gauges. Realizing where that point was took me a few scrapped parts.

stevec
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by stevec » Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:39 pm

Mr.Ron, please either work within your capacities or learn from those who have learned. If you can't, seek assistance from "above average bears"!
Try a one on one session with a grizzly.

Chuck K
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Re: Good tools/Bad tools

Post by Chuck K » Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:23 pm

"Are you telling me my Starrett and Mitutoyo vernier calipers are and never will be capable of accurate measurements?"

You really have to define your idea of "accurate Measurements". If you want to work closer than .002 - .003, probably not.

Chuck

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