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View Full Version : So...you want to buy a Kurt clone huh?



torker
03-28-2007, 03:05 PM
This is what happened to mine last year. I kept the piece to post on the board but forgot about it til now.
This WAS from a Busy Bee (Canada) Tools 5" Kurt type vise with swivel base.
The vise was actually a really good looking piece when it came new.
I heard horror stories about these so I immediately took it to a machine shop to get it all measure out and get it ground if it needed it. The guy checked it all out and said there was no need. He said it was all ground well within spec and to just use it.
This vise was only used in a mill/drill that uses a 2" indexable endmill as the largest cutter.
The handle was never hammered on or had a snipe put to it.
A 100 pound girl used it as often as I did.
This is halfway through the third year in a homeshop.
You can see the part that broke out...violently during a cut with the 2" endmill. This is the part that the screw goes through and holds the jaw in place.
Nothing too terrible happened but I'm glad I never had the chance to use this on my bigger mill with a 6" facecutter @.150 doc.
I trust my Kurt vise....these I don't...for obvious reasons
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v210/torker/DSC00001-22.jpg
Russ

dalee100
03-28-2007, 03:27 PM
Hi,

I don't think I've ever seen a broken Kurt clone vice that didn't break in that place.

Was it an Indian made vice by any chance? They seem to be the worst of the bunch by my experience.

dalee

Willy
03-28-2007, 03:28 PM
Damn,I've got one just like that from the same place too,it's real purty yet,cause it's still in one piece.I guess it will be as reliable as my computers...not if it's going to crash but when.
Mine is probably better...it is green instead of blue.

torker
03-28-2007, 03:34 PM
dalee...it has no markings on it where it was made. After I owned it for awhile little flakes of paint started to chip off. After it broke I checked under the little chips. In some places there's 1/4" thick bondo. Whoever smoothed out the bondo was good at it though. There's a ton of it in this vise and you'd never know it to look at it new. The tailstock I bought from House of Tools is the same way...full of bondo AND poorly made. I should have sent them both back.
I'm not saying they(the vises) are all poorly made...just the one I bought. Take your chances!
Russ

torker
03-28-2007, 03:36 PM
Damn,I've got one just like that from the same place too,it's real purty yet,cause it's still in one piece.I guess it will be as reliable as my computers...not if it's going to crash but when.
Mine is probably better...it is green instead of blue.
Willy...it's funny that you mention that. Anything I've got from BusyBee that is painted green has been excellent. I was actually suprised to see this one come in the color blue. I'll ask for green next time!

Mcgyver
03-28-2007, 03:57 PM
someone should tell the Bee that cast cellulose just isn't up the job

lazlo
03-28-2007, 04:21 PM
someone should tell the Bee that cast cellulose just isn't up the job

Yeah, that chunk of "iron" looks awefully pourous -- sure doesn't look like gray cast iron (as used in most machine tools, including Kurt vises).
I just put an order in to Enco for a Chicom tilting angle table. I'm guessing it'll be made of the same Chinese pot metal.

sidneyt
03-28-2007, 05:40 PM
I paid $75 for my 5" Kurt clone vise from Enco (free shipping). It it lasts for 3 years (I have had it for more than 2) that would work out to $25/year. Not bad.

Your Old Dog
03-28-2007, 05:46 PM
Yeah, that chunk of "iron" looks awefully pourous -- sure doesn't look like gray cast iron (as used in most machine tools, including Kurt vises).


That's exactly how the two teeth that busted on my Harbor Freight Ring Roller look. About as porous as one could get and have it still work.

speedsport
03-28-2007, 05:47 PM
JB Weld and that vise will be good as.......................POS

cmiller231
03-28-2007, 05:59 PM
Torker : The bondo reminds me of the time i picked up one of those bench vises that you rotate up side down fo a pipe vise .I took it into work where we had a big sand blaster . .Started blasting it and i could not believe the huge chunks that fell off.Every body in the shop got a big laugh out of that.The real issue about your milling vice is safety though. Thank god nobody got hurt . I think they cast this stuff right on the beaches.Have their kids dig holes in the sand with their feet and pour the iron in.Chris

BadDog
03-28-2007, 06:49 PM
I paid $75 for my 5" Kurt clone vise from Enco (free shipping). It it lasts for 3 years (I have had it for more than 2) that would work out to $25/year. Not bad.
Not bad till you figure in the $200 indexable face mill along with the $40 worth of inserts that was destroyed when the now junk $300 part you just spent 5 hours working on came loose. And add in the $500 emergency room bill for stitching up your cheek as they tell you how lucky you were that you didn't loose an eye or worse... ;) Don't get me wrong, I'm as cheap (or more) than most anyone on here, but work holding is not somewhere I want to take chances. I have a good 6" Taiwan Kurt clone that looked brand new and cost me $100 with 2 sets of jaws...

MickeyD
03-28-2007, 07:14 PM
As porous as it is I wonder if it floats. I guess I will have to take a tub of water into harbor fright next time.

gellfex
03-28-2007, 07:18 PM
So... where's the sweet spot, the best quality clone? And is a used Kurt always better than a new clone? (we know with machine tools this ain't true)

BadDog
03-28-2007, 07:23 PM
So... where's the sweet spot, the best quality clone? And is a used Kurt always better than a new clone? (we know with machine tools this ain't true)
I would say so. A used Kurt is probably about as good as it was new, assuming no "hits" or rust. But then they usually demand near new prices too.

lane
03-28-2007, 09:36 PM
That is why you buy a Kurt. If it ever brakes send it to Kurt they will send you a new one. Life time guarantee.

Willy
03-28-2007, 09:52 PM
Russ, not that it would matter if it were a quality vise, but could you give us the details of how you were using the vise when it broke?For example were the jaws in the conventional way or did you have them reversed? Were you hogging out new teeth in a D-8 final drive sprocket.:D A few details, and maybe,just maybe mine may live a little longer. I remember the first thing I did to my vise was to machine a new pivot pin for the swivel base...the original one looked like it was made by a blind monkey with an angle grinder.
I had a good look at mine and I see what you mean about the bondo...the next time I sell an old clunker I'll have to look up those bondo bandits and see if they can do their magic on it.I should be able to double my money!
I believe that Alistair may be onto something with the green paint though, hopefully mine will last, but now I feel like I'm skating on thin ice.I still can't believe how coarse the grain structure is.

DeereGuy
03-28-2007, 09:55 PM
I don't believe it. Right after reading this post I went back to the mill to finish off some bearing blocks I am making. While tightening I felt something give so I carefully loosened the jaw to see what cracked. After looking everything over I didn't see a problem so I started to tighten the jaw again and noticed that something was binding while tightening. I loosened the jaw again and decided I needed to take a better look. Well turns out the thrust bearing plated cracked. Damn glad I looked into it better. And BTW this is a 3 year old Enco Kurt clone with what I consider less than normal use for an HSM over 3 years.

Ya get what ya pay for.

8ntsane
03-28-2007, 10:32 PM
That looks kinda scary Torker

Do you think maybe these could be breaking from over tightening?
I,ve often wondered if there is a correct torque numbers that should be used for all the differant sizes. Though I,m sure it would be a pain to use a torque wrench each time to tighten up your vise.

I do have a Kurt 5-inch clone, and often finding myself cranking down on it like I do to my Kurt 8.8 I have at times loosened it off, and tightened it back up, but not as tight.

I have noticed that the lenght of the handle is the same on both of these vises.

Cheers Paul

wierdscience
03-28-2007, 10:34 PM
Russ,those are made by the same folk who turn out the equally fine quality blue china vises."Blue china" because they are blue in color and break like a china plate:D

Seriuosly,those are Chinese knock-offs of other Chinese knock-offs.There is a company(Jiangsu Sainty Sunshine Co.,Ltd )that makes decent quality bench and machine vises.They are nothing fancy,but the cast is actually good.

The company making the knock-offs uses a coupola furnace which is fine,except they don't use coke but instead straight high sulpher coal.That explains the "oatmeal" grain structure.

We used to get stuck with the knock-off bench vises from our importer until we started sending them back.The boxes only had "vise" on the side,no other id than that.The better vises have a gold emblem on the side and lack the globs of sand,bondo(pink clay actually)and jaw screws driven in with a hammer:D

On the other extreme the're are some Taiwan vises that are very nice-

http://www.b2bchinasources.com/showroom.php?c=6642&f=5&p=0000034908

We were looking into importing some of these direct,but the minimum quanity was too large.The vise pictured in the link wholesales IIRC for $145 USD.

torker
03-28-2007, 11:28 PM
The vise that broke didn't see any hard usage. I never clamped anything off to one side or anything strange. Never overtightened it...I don't think??(maybe a "bit" tight is too tight for this POS) I've seen guys hammer on the end of the vise handle to "get er real tight"...I've never done that.
When it broke I had a 4" long piece of 1"X1" mild steel in it with 3/4" parallels under it to lift it. As for the tremendously huge cuts I can take on my mill/drill that would break the best K....ummm, we won't go there :D
Darin, whoever is making this stuff for these Canadian (and other) importers does the worst work I've seen yet.
I'd really like to get a smaller vise for my M/D but a 4" Kurt is waaay expensive, compared to my 5" vise. I'm dead skeeered to buy a cheapy again.
Russ

BobWarfield
03-28-2007, 11:32 PM
Gotta buy a used Kurt on eBay. They're half the price of new or better.

Best,

BW

torker
03-28-2007, 11:41 PM
Gotta buy a used Kurt on eBay. They're half the price of new or better.

Best,

BW
Bob, I've seen used Kurt 5" vises on Ebay up here. They usually go for only a few bucks less than a new one(I paid $525 Cnd for mine).
I'd like to see a 4" one on fleabay (Canada). Even if it went for 4 or 5 hundred it'd still be cheaper than the $900 or so for a new one.And shipping a vise to Canada is very pricey.
Russ

BadDog
03-28-2007, 11:48 PM
This 6" Homge (http://www.homge.com.tw/CATALOG/v-34-38.html) is the vise I have on my mill. Only cost $100 in like new condition, easily worth twice that even used. Just look around, they are out there, even in a machine tool desert like Phoenix...

Willy
03-29-2007, 12:11 AM
Well it certainly doesn't look like you did anything out of the ordinary Russ.
So it looks like mine is probably on the endangered species list as well.
It's very comforting to know that one's endmill will more than likely last longer than the vise.Hopefully it breaks when I tighten it and not after when I need it, but that's not likely.Thanks for the heads up,I'll be shopping.

torker
03-29-2007, 12:23 AM
Willy...who knows? Yours could be ok. I just cringe when I think of the forces involved when using my old Ohio with the 6" face cutter in it. And thinking of what it would feel like if my gurl helper or her son got hit by something flying out of a POS vise that snapped like that.
As was mentioned...this is a serious safety issue. Geez...I remember a real pro that used to be here (wink). He chastized the crap out of me for wasting my money on a Kurt.
I buy cheap stuff also. But this was a real suprise. I even remember sticking up for my cheap vise on one of the boards. It was ground well, it did look good...it um...just didn't last very long :D

Russ

lazlo
03-29-2007, 12:27 AM
The company making the knock-offs uses a coupola furnace which is fine,except they don't use coke but instead straight high sulpher coal.That explains the "oatmeal" grain structure.

Could you explain some more WS? Is the sulfur a contaminant to the cast iron?

Mark Hockett
03-29-2007, 12:49 AM
Since were on the subject of vises, has anyone here seen or used a Quad vise ( http://www.quad-i.com/web/products.html ). They have the fixed jaw near the operator. By doing this you can work in positive coordinates from the fixed jaw. They also have a nice mini vise for mini mills. They are made in California. I called to ask some questions about the vise and the owner of the company answered, He sounded like a real nice guy.

lazlo
03-29-2007, 01:13 AM
Gotta buy a used Kurt on eBay. They're half the price of new or better.

Yeah, but shipping is killer.

I bought my Kurt D675 on Ebay from a guy who was local. Otherwise, the prices for a good one get pretty close to retail price.

cybor462
03-29-2007, 01:31 AM
First its not like I want to buy a clone, just can't afford the real deal. :rolleyes:
I would love a Kurt. Not only are they a quality tool they also give some braggin rights to their owners.

Look Sam, How do you like my new Kurt vise. That deep blue color is something huh? It is heavy too, takes a real man to lift it.:eek: And when it falls on your foot you know your going to the hospital for sure, where you can dazzle all the cute nurses with your manhood stories from your shop.
Sam says, Yup, yup blue alright!

So, do I want to be made fun of and buy a clone?..... NO..... would I rather dazzle them with my manhood?....Yeah

Then I woke up. Nice dream huh?:confused:

BobWarfield
03-29-2007, 10:50 AM
Now don't go gettin' your manhood caught up in your Kurt vise--hurts like heck!

I went back and looked at what I paid on fleabay for my two Kurts. The 4" (a really nice size for smaller mills and doesn't cause a hernia to move it around) was $190. The 6" was $156. That's less than what the clones go for on Enco.

I do buy a lot of Asian tools, but I had read so much on the clone vise quality I decided to spring for Kurts and haven't been sorry. They'll last forever with just a little care. I wish my mill ran as smoothly as the Kurt vises do!

Best,

BW

pcarpenter
03-29-2007, 05:35 PM
I've got a genuine Kurt, but my Dad has a clone. I don't know about all of them, but I too have one of the Chinese Bondo rotating head bench vises and its pretty funny/aggrivating the first time you are working on something with a wire wheel and bump the vise only to have part of it disappear :rolleyes:

The Kurts, if I recall their lit correctly, are actually made from malleable iron rather than gray iron which has to contribute a lot to durability. Still, that has to be the high-stress point on any brand vise of this sort with a lot of stress pileup at that corner inside the "hook".

While its important to snug the work up good, the vise ends up enduring whatever pre-stress you put on it by snugging up, compounded with the work forces applied by the rotating cutter shearing metal. This has to create a worst-case scenario: The harder we are going to cut, the more we tend to snug up the vise to make sure it doesn't let go of the part.

Paul

lazlo
03-29-2007, 06:00 PM
The 4" (a really nice size for smaller mills and doesn't cause a hernia to move it around) was $190. The 6" was $156.

Good deal -- better than I did. I paid $270 for a like-new D675, with no shipping.

gellfex
03-29-2007, 10:03 PM
Good deal -- better than I did. I paid $270 for a like-new D675, with no shipping.

Very nice, but I've been watching the auctions and there have been no such deals recently.

I've been impressed with the quality of Phase II's import QC toolpost, does anyone know how the vises are?

I live 15 minutes from Phase II's HQ, I wonder if they have blems or recons for sale?

tslbogger
03-29-2007, 10:32 PM
gellfex you just miss a 6 inch Yuasa milling vise (seem in very good condition) on ebay for 60 $

matador
03-29-2007, 11:21 PM
I have had a "clone" vise for several years,and find it more than man enough for my type of jobs.If you want to use it in a commercial shop,then buy the real thing and collect the tax rebate.
Mind you,mine IS green:D.

lazlo
03-29-2007, 11:26 PM
you just miss a 6 inch Yuasa milling vise on ebay for 60 $

I have a 5" Yuasa that I bought from Reliable Tools (Smonros wasn't bidding that day ;) ). It had a cracked thrust bearing, and the moveable jaw was frozen with rust to the bed ways (of course, none of that was described, and didn't show in the pictures). But the replacement Torrington thrust bearing was ~ $3, and after some steel wool and pentrating oil, and some passes with an oil stone, it was good as new. They seem just as nice as the Kurt vises.

wierdscience
03-29-2007, 11:48 PM
Could you explain some more WS? Is the sulfur a contaminant to the cast iron?

The subject of cast iron is a complex one,but this except from the following link pretty well nails it-

"Sulphur. Sulphur is generally harmful in grey iron, and should be kept to below 0.12%. Even if the sulphur is adequately neutralised with Mn, if the high S slag is trapped in the casting, it can cause blowhole defects beneath the casting skin. "

Long read,but worth it-

http://www.makinamuhendisi.com/mechanical/mechanical-engineering-archives/224-Grey-cast-iron.html

There maybe any number of unknown quanities in coal,that's why charcoal or coke is used ,all of those unknows have been burnt off or brought under control.

Willy
03-29-2007, 11:58 PM
Lazlo, would you happen have a bearing part number for the Torrington thrust washer.I have been meaning to replace the crummy excuse for a bearing on my vise since I got it, and the local bearing supply house wanted forty bucks for one after looking at mine.:eek:
Thanks for your help.

Willy

tslbogger
03-30-2007, 12:05 AM
"Sulphur. Sulphur is generally harmful in grey iron, and should be kept to below 0.12%. Even if the sulphur is adequately neutralised with Mn, if the high S slag is trapped in the casting, it can cause blowhole defects beneath the casting skin. "

Long read,but worth it-

http://www.makinamuhendisi.com/mechanical/mechanical-engineering-archives/224-Grey-cast-iron.html

There maybe any number of unknown quanities in coal,that's why charcoal or coke is used ,all of those unknows have been burnt off or brought under control.[/QUOTE]

Maybe why my wise have a big hole under and one on the bed filled with lead .... Real POS:eek:

DeereGuy
03-30-2007, 09:30 AM
I have a 5" Yuasa that I bought from Reliable Tools (Smonros wasn't bidding that day ;) ). It had a cracked thrust bearing, and the moveable jaw was frozen with rust to the bed ways (of course, none of that was described, and didn't show in the pictures). But the replacement Torrington thrust bearing was ~ $3, and after some steel wool and pentrating oil, and some passes with an oil stone, it was good as new. They seem just as nice as the Kurt vises.


Lazlo, where did you get that thrust bearing for $3.00? I just took the day off to go to two bearing houses here in Lansing Mi and both didn't have it in stock and both wanted $28.00 with shipping to my home. I should have one by Tuesday.

Also if you look at my pics in photobucket you will see pretty much everything I have done in the Enco vice. Couldn't believe that dang bearing cracked already.

lazlo
03-30-2007, 10:06 AM
Lazlo, where did you get that thrust bearing for $3.00?.

I'm on a business trip up in Boston, but I'm flying back late tonight -- I'll check the part number and reply back tomorrow.

DeereGuy
03-30-2007, 10:10 AM
It will probably help others when they need one. I already ordered mine, thanks though. Have a safe trip.

Willy
03-30-2007, 10:15 AM
Yes, thank you very much Lazlo, forty bucks up here in Can. I could definitely use the part #.
Thanks again.

pcarpenter
03-30-2007, 11:11 AM
I have purchased roller-type thrust bearings (including one I retrofitted to my Bridgeport branded vise that didn't have one when I got it) from McMaster-Carr. Enco carries some too...and they are really reasonable. I think the one I got for my BP vise was under $10 for sure.

paul

DeereGuy
03-30-2007, 05:06 PM
I called Enco and they advised me they don't carry a thrust bearing for their china vise's. It's a metric size and not readily available locally so I ordered it. I have the part number in the house and will post what I ordered later this evening. In the mean time I broke out the old Brown & Sharp #23 vise, touched up the jaws with the surface grinder and I am good to go.

JCD
03-30-2007, 09:24 PM
These are hard lesions. We usually get what we pay for

lazlo
03-31-2007, 04:22 PM
Yes, thank you very much Lazlo, forty bucks up here in Can. I could definitely use the part #.

Hi Guys,

I just checked my invoice (and the vice) and it uses an NTA-1423 needle thrust bearing, which is .875" inner diameter, and 1.437" outer diameter.

It's $2.89 from MSC: part number 03380938
http://www1.mscdirect.com/CGI/NNSRIT?PMAKA=03380938

Remember, this is for a 5" Yuasa vise. That's very likely the same thrust washer as the (somewhat rare) 5" Kurt, but the 4" and 6" Kurt and Yuasa vises (which have a lot of interchangeable parts) use different size thrust washers.

Hope that helps,

Robert

Willy
03-31-2007, 07:47 PM
Thanks again Lazlo, I'll check into whether it will work for me...I may have to adapt it if it isn't an exact match.

lazlo
03-31-2007, 08:50 PM
Thanks again Lazlo, I'll check into whether it will work for me...I may have to adapt it if it isn't an exact match.

If your vise uses an inch sized thrust bearing, look on page 3784 of the McMaster catalog for all the various needle thrust bearings. They have the standard Kurt 6" thrust bearing there as well (also $2.89).

I didn't need to replace the thrust washers, but they run around 76 cents each. Same page.

DeereGuy
03-31-2007, 09:02 PM
UGH....leave it to the Chinese to use a ball bearing thrust bearing.