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spkrman15
10-29-2003, 10:18 PM
ARe the lathes KBC tools any good? Any ideas where they are made and/or come from?

Thanks

Spkrman15

JCHannum
10-29-2003, 10:30 PM
I think close inspection will reveal a marked similarity among all of the import economy lathes. It is called badge engineering. Whether they be KBC, Enco, Birmingham, Grizzly or some off the wall name you never have heard of. I have to think the same caveats apply to all of these machines. Some are good, some are bad. Be prepared to clean and assemble and replace marginal fasteners etcetera. Inspect them carefully before purchase and while setting up. Remember that you are the quality control inspector as this seems to be a way they save money.
You may end up pleasantly surprised or terribly frustrated.

[This message has been edited by JCHannum (edited 10-29-2003).]

Rich Carlstedt
10-29-2003, 11:30 PM
JC you "nailed it !"

jfsmith
10-29-2003, 11:35 PM
It depends on which ones and how well the brand is know, I like the Kent ones over the clones that many places sell under their own names.

Jerry

John Garner
10-29-2003, 11:45 PM
spkrman15 --

I can't speak of KBC's lathes at all, but I had an interesting experience at the Rutland showroom in San Jose, California a half-dozen or so years ago.

Rutland had 4 different-brand 14x40 (IIRC) imported-from-China lathes lined up in their showroom with a similar-sized Nardini completing the lineup. The Chinese lathes were at 4 different price-points -- something like $2,500 through $6,500 in roughly-equal increments. The Nardini was, as you'd expect, quite a bit pricier.

The interesting thing about the Chinese lathes is that they looked like identical quadruplets wearing different clothes from 20 feet away -- the same controls in the same places -- but a closer examination showed that the machines varied drastically in fit-and-finish. The cheapest was downright shoddy looking and each successive machine was an improvement over the earlier ones.

The pick-of-the-litter Chinese lathe may not have kept anyone up late in Elmira, but it was nice enough to cause some insomnia in Brazil.

Several months later, in discussing European lathes with an former-Eastern-Block-refugee machinist at work, he commented that many Eastern Block nations built machine tools to standardized designs . . . but that the quality of the end products varied tremendously from time-to-time, plant-to-plant, and country-to-country.

Another fellow at work, an engineer originally from the PRC, confirmed that the machinist's statement about Eastern European machine tools applied equally well to Chinese equipment. China is a big country with many different factories producting products that may be theoretically identical but in practice are not.

As an aside, the same guy told me that the precision tools made in the Beijing area are the best made in China, that the precision tools made in Chengdu and Shanghai are #2 grade, and that the precision tool factories in other areas are in less demand.

John