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View Full Version : Adventures in shopping, bought a 3D Taster



loose nut
05-18-2010, 07:45 PM
OK, so this comes under the heading of things I wanted not needed but will make a very useful addition to the shop.

I decided to get one of the 3D Tasters and because everyone has been saying how expensive they are I decided on one of the Chinese copies. Production Tool in Detroit is the closest supplier that sells them, $259.00 US (Windsor Factory Supply is a reseller for them in Canada and sells them also, special order) or you can get a German made digital version for close to $600.00 US, way to expensive for me.

At the last minute I decided to look into the real thing (Haimer), mostly out of curiosity but was unable to find anyone that sells them, so I e-mail the US office, I couldnít find one in Canada, and they replied that the nearest distributor was Single Source Technologies in Auburn Hills Michigan. OK, not so bad, they are closer then Detroit from where I live so I called them up to find out what the price was and the sales rep quoted Haimers list price of $350.00 US for the analog 3D Universal Taster but that they usually discounted that. Now that didnít seem to bad considering the cost of the Chinese version so I decided to bite the bullet and ordered one.

Enter problem #1. They donít sell retail, OK not a problem they said, I just had to fill out a account application form and it would be OK. The next day, Tuesday, I received an e-mail saying the account was a go and I could place an order which I did, delivery in a couple of days if Haimer has them in stock, SST doesnít keep them on site. On Friday morning I received another e-mail saying that it was in their office ready for pick up, I didnít have it shipped to me because of the brokerage fees that Fed Ex and others charge, hopped in the car and took off for Auburn Hills MI.

Now for problem #2. How exactly does one get to Auburn hills, road maps are near useless no direct route by major roads without going along ways around but with determination I was able to get almost all of the way there before getting lost. At this point I did one of the worst thing a guy can do, I stop and asked for directions and to make matters worse it was from a woman. Her directions were good and it turned out that I was only a few miles away from my destination.

After receiving my prize and picking up a few other purchases I headed back for the boarder, which presented problem #3. Since I was coming from Canada they routed the bill through there Canadian office, which I didnít know they had, paid in Canadian dollars with the Canadian taxes already paid. Good, it saved me the Mi. Sales tax but at the boarder the custom agent zoned out.
This does not compute!
This does not compute!
This does not compute!

Simply put since it was originally coming from Germany I had to pay duty on it which meant that I first had to pay the taxes. At this point I reminded him for the third time that I had already paid the taxes and he couldnít make me pay them twice (I hoped) so he had no idea on how to handle it. Eventually he waved me through without paying any duty, and forgot to collect the taxes on the other $125.00 worth of stuff I had, Iím assuming he just wanted to get rid of me.

So the final bill came to $318.00 plus tax, a $32.00 discount off the list price, and only $59.00ís more than the Chinese copy. At that price difference it isnít worth even considering the copy.

I have no expectations that because I have this device that I will now be able to dial in parts to a tenth and perform other miracles but after calibrating it (I also picked up a Bison tool holder from Wholesale Tools to mount it permanently) which only took a few minutes it did prove itself most useful in accurately centering a round part on my mill.

Anyone in the Ontario/Michigan area that is thinking about getting one should call SST, they did work very hard in getting me this little treasure at a good price.

brian Rupnow
05-18-2010, 08:08 PM
What the Heck is a 3D taster????????

TR
05-18-2010, 08:11 PM
Thanks for posting. I too want to buy a 3d Taster. Bit harder for me because I live in Australia.

dp
05-18-2010, 08:40 PM
What the Heck is a 3D taster????????

Watch this video: http://glacern.com/index.php?page=video_index&video=1&video_name=crash_course_mill_05

Mark Hockett
05-18-2010, 09:53 PM
I have a collection of 3D Tasters. I have the generic blue imported one that everybody seems to sell for around $250, a digital Haimer Zero Master and a Haimer analog model. I bought the import model and after 2 months of use it started reading .040" off for no reason. I contacted the company I bought the tool from, TSI Tool, and they said it only had a 30 day warranty and they didn't have a source for repairs. TSI Tool in Oregon has been a poor company to deal with on other purchases I have made with them. They sent me two defective tap guides and fought me about returning them. I called two local instrument repair shops and neither would touch repairing the import Taster. I then bought the Digital Zero Master Haimer. I did not like it for two reasons. The first reason is it only reads down to .0005" resolution and the second reason is it was hard to read the display in the VMC. I then bought the analog Haimer and I am very happy with that one. For the difference in price its just not worth buying the cheap one in this instance.

loose nut
05-19-2010, 06:49 PM
What the Heck is a 3D taster????????

If Starrett and Mitutoyo are the Cadillac/BMW's of indicators then they are the Ferrari's.

Check out these to sites the first shows the 3D Taster (It's German, means 3D sensor/feeler/edge finder depending on how you translate it). The second is a movie showing how it works.

http://www.haimer-usa.com/usa/taster-universal.php

http://www.haimer-usa.com/media/3Dsensors_DSL.mpg

gnm109
05-19-2010, 08:13 PM
Gosh, something else I didn't know I needed. LOL.

oldtiffie
05-19-2010, 09:43 PM
I have a collection of 3D Tasters. I have the generic blue imported one that everybody seems to sell for around $250, a digital Haimer Zero Master and a Haimer analog model. I bought the import model and after 2 months of use it started reading .040" off for no reason. I contacted the company I bought the tool from, TSI Tool, and they said it only had a 30 day warranty and they didn't have a source for repairs. TSI Tool in Oregon has been a poor company to deal with on other purchases I have made with them. They sent me two defective tap guides and fought me about returning them. I called two local instrument repair shops and neither would touch repairing the import Taster. I then bought the Digital Zero Master Haimer. I did not like it for two reasons. The first reason is it only reads down to .0005" resolution and the second reason is it was hard to read the display in the VMC. I then bought the analog Haimer and I am very happy with that one. For the difference in price its just not worth buying the cheap one in this instance.


Mark,

you've hit the big weakness of it right on the head.

It is a bit much to ask that it always be 100% correct - and a dangerous assumption.

Setting it up is one thing but checking that it is accurate is quite another.

There is no mention of checking it anywhere in either the German or Chinese literature or web sites - but they need re-checking.

The obvious way is to check a bore/hole/cylinder that is a known distance from two faces ("X" and "Y").

As you've found out, setting the Taster to zero is a big enough PITA but finding out that there are "other (internal) problems" is event worse.

The Haimer web site makes it very clear that the Taster needs to be checked at each time it is mounted/loaded unless you are VERY sure of the accuracy of the tool-holder/Taster combination.

From the Haimer web site:

3D Sensor Universal
The Universal 3D-Sensor is a very precise and versatile edge-finding, measuring instrument for milling and EDM machines (insulated probe). Made entirely at the HAIMER Germany facility, it is an instrument that no shop can do without. The 3D-Sensor is clamped into a tool holder and inserted into a milling spindle. Once clamped into the machine spindle, the run-out (T.I.R) is fully adjustable to Zero. Then, you are able to find exact positioning of the spindle axis on the edges of the workpiece. This allows for zeros to be set and the length to be measured quickly and easily. You may approach in any direction (X-, Y-, Z- axis Ė hence the name Ą3D-Sensorď). When the dial gage shows zero, the spindle axis is exactly on the workpiece edge. Only the HAIMER 3D-Sensor allows for the edge to be found on the first attempt. No calculating of the probeís ball diameter is necessary Ė just Zero it out!
Problems with mathematics or calculations are eliminated, allowing for fewer operator errors. Our 3D-Sensor is quick and easy, reducing the extra time needed with most edge-finders, increasing the productivity and accuracy of the operator.

Zero-ing/checking the Taster requires a pretty good Test Dial Indicator (TDI) with at least 0.0005" (0.01mm) - preferably better - and resetting can be a PITA as well.

The main supplier in OZ has withdrawn it from sale as there were too many that found that there were better/cheaper/other ways of getting a similar result without the "Taster". I was shown one which had obviously been "crashed" and claimed as "faulty". The dealer replaced it at no cost. Others were refunded the money. It just was not a commercial proposition to keep them in stock. Other than the crashed one, there were no faults with the Tasters.

I will comment further in a later post.

lazlo
05-19-2010, 11:36 PM
I then bought the analog Haimer and I am very happy with that one. For the difference in price its just not worth buying the cheap one in this instance.

Agreed -- MickeyD and I got the Haff & Schneider (same manufacturer) and they're gorgeous. Right out of the box they were right on the hand-cert: .004 mm (1.5 tenths) in X and Y, and .005 mm in Z.

The Z-axis isn't very useful for a manual machine (Mike runs a VMC), but zeroing the DRO on X- and Y- is much quicker than using an edge finder.

oldtiffie
05-20-2010, 07:39 AM
I have the "import" (read: Chinese) 3-D Taster.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Taster-3D-1.jpg

It is calibrated to 0.01mm (~0.0004") as per the "real" (German-made) item.

I prefer the better German-made item dial calibration as it is uniform throughout the dial range whereas my Chinese unit calibrations are very close for "X" and "Y" at and nearing zero:

http://www.haimer-usa.com/images/TasterUSA%203D-Sen%2BFond.jpg

(from the link provided by loose nut) at:
http://www.haimer-usa.com/usa/taster-universal.php

But other than that they are the same.

The calibrations on the Taster are 0.0005" (or 0.01mm ~0.0004" metric). The dial indicator for setting "X" and "Y" to zero should be at least as accurate - calibrated to 0.0005"/0.01mm - and preferably better. Using that level of indicator and adjusting to better than 0.0002" (2 tenths ~ 0.005mm) is or can be a PITA. At that point there is a built-in error if the "zero" on the Taster is to be relied upon. If the Taster is used in conjunction with either of the normally found digital read-outs (DRO's) used here (the normal DRO is +/- 0.0002" ~ 0.005mm and the "Digital caliper" type which has a reading tolerance of +/- 0.001" ~ 0.025mm) there is more potential for error ie the tolerance of the Taster plus the tolerance of the DRO. So the potential for what some may regard as significant potential error is getting to be a problem.

The video for the Taster that showed a possibility (inferred probability) of "1 micrometer" (ie = 1 micron = 1um = 0.001mm ~ 0.00004" - just less than "half a tenth") is not likely unless a very accurate DRO of the order of +/- 0.5um ~ 0.00002" is used. The mill shown looks very like a laboratory quality machine in a laboratory-level controlled environment.

If the Taster was set up permanently in a CNC NMTB holder I would believe that it was highly probable that it would retain its accuracy between times of setting, removal of the tool-holder and replacement of the tool-holder. This applies to a very good CNC work-station - not a standard mill using any sort or type of collets whether in a tool-holder or not - and especially so for say ER collets in a collet-holder.

The run-out of the collets is by-passed or negated by "zero-ing" the ball at the end of the Taster stylus as the ball is set to be concentric with the mill spindle axis.

I prefer this unit:
https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/Products?stockCode=M690

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Ball-type_edge-finder1.jpg

as I can rely on the visual (light) and audible (sound - "beeping") to alert me and with an accuracy of 0.005mm (~0.0002") it is twice as accurate as the Taster. I just put it in my 20mm ER-32 collet, no adjusting, and use a good TDI to read the "run-out" at "X" and "Y" and allow for the run-out and the ball diameter. It is much faster and more accurate than the Taster - and more robust and reliable and is much cheaper too.

The Taster is excellent for "blue-printing" in "X", "Y" and "Z" but it is only as accurate as any errors in setting it and the tolerance limits of any DRO used.

The Taster is of use in a CNC work-station/mill in "X" and "Y" but is of no use in "Z" as the reference must be to the under-side of the cutting tool/s for which these are required:
https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/Products?stockCode=M691

https://www.machineryhouse.com.au/Products?stockCode=M6935#

If I want to centre over a bore or a cylinder I prefer either my 0.01mm TDI:
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Dialindicator3.jpg

or my "Fake" (made in China) "Blake" (made in the USA) co-axial indicator:
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Co-axialindicator5.jpg

as both are as accurate as the 3-D Taster and both work quite well just held in a "Jacob's" drill chuck as well as collets - and they are robust, reliable and cheaper than the Taster.

So my Taster rarely gets out of its box - but it is handy when it is needed.

I think that in retrospect that the Taster is over-hyped and over-priced for what is can do.

I bought mine to see what it was capable of and in that case I thought that it was money well spent, but having done that I would not miss or need it if I didn't have it.

MickeyD
05-20-2010, 08:08 AM
My 3-D Taster is my favorite indicator by far. I use it in the cnc machines and it makes setups insanely easy. Do a quick touchoff in X, Y, and Z and enter the values in your work offsets table and away you go. I also set use it as the master tool for setting height offsets and it makes the tool offsets table so much easier to manage. Once you have used one (especially doing cnc work) you will NEVER want to be without one again.

oldtiffie
05-20-2010, 08:21 AM
Micky.

Many thanks.

As I said, I can see that the settings for "X", "Y" and "Z" will stay set in a CNC tool-holder.

I am curious as to how you relate the zero on the Taster to the under-side of the cutting tool in "Z" unless the tool is in a tool-holder and has been pre-set in "Z". Or are you using the Taster to set the entire tool-head which uses pre-set tool-holders?

MuellerNick
05-20-2010, 08:23 AM
The Taster is of use in a CNC work-station/mill in "X" and "Y" but is of no use in "Z" as the reference must be to the under-side of the cutting tool/s for which these are required:

Re the "no use in Z":
It is absolutely useful, but your tools have to be preset (known tool length).

There is one very neat feature of the Taster that those who don't have one might not be aware of. It automagically subtracts the ball's radius in X and Y. So you don't have to adjust for its diameter.

And re the centering:
With an DRO, the Taster is fast (left side, righ side -> first CL; front/back -> second CL). On a manual mill without DRO, the "centricator" or similar setups are clearly faster and by far cheaper.


Nick

dr pepper
05-20-2010, 08:33 AM
Taster, a funny sounding name.
German for feeler.

lazlo
05-20-2010, 08:37 AM
With an DRO, the Taster is fast (left side, righ side -> first CL; front/back -> second CL). On a manual mill without DRO, the "centricator" or similar setups are clearly faster and by far cheaper.

I've said that before, but it was unpopular with some ;)
The Z-setting would be great if you had quick-change tooling like the Tormach.

Be careful with the Centricator recommendation Nick -- a Centricator == a Blake Co-Axial Indicator :D

MuellerNick
05-20-2010, 08:43 AM
I am curious as to how you relate the zero on the Taster to the under-side of the cutting tool in "Z" unless the tool is in a tool-holder and has been pre-set in "Z".

You have to know the length from your spindle nose to the ball's tip. You determine that once and record it.
All other tools (mills) have a known length (tool presetter or other means) and it's recorded too (in your CNC).

That's why its important that the Taster stays in his holder (or you'd have to determine his length every time from new).


Nick

oldtiffie
05-20-2010, 09:13 AM
Thanks Nick.

And that is why a Taster is not really all that helpful for "Z" at all in a normal non-CNC-ed mill (or lathe).

As Lazlo says, the Centricator is nothing more than a high(er)-priced Co-axial Indicator - USA-made "Blake" or Chinese-made "Fake Blake" and it is just as accurate as the Taster.

The Taster is excellent in a normal mill for "blue-printing" where relative dimensions - and not absolute dimensions are required. There is no need to centralise the Taster either. Bring it up say to a "Y" face using "X" and centre/zero the Taster. Traverse the same direction in "X" to the next "Y" and centre the Taster and read off the relative distance from the reference "Y" face to any other "Y" faces and record it.

Repeat in "Y" and "Z".

DRO's are best but "taking-up/allowing" for back-lash works nearly as well - and it works just as well for holes (just average/get the mean of the two "X" readings for the "Y" centre-line).

But I can do that with any good Test Dial Indicator (TDI) just as well.

"Standard" set up:
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Dialindicator4.jpg

With dial up-ward:
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Dialindicator8.jpg

And all that was needed was a drill chuck.

Its all too easy to lose sight of the actual real requirement and get blinded by the "have to get/must have" impulse for the newer/better/"next big thing" etc.

Many people already have quite adequate alternatives to the Taster already in their shops.

A bit more "thinking outside the box" instead of buying what's in might help some here too.

oldtiffie
05-20-2010, 09:55 AM
A couple of thoughts for locating relative dimensions and the centre of an edge-finder over an edge or a feature in "X" and "Y".

Soopah-doopah "tenths" accuracy is not always (probably rarely) needed so just use tolerances and limits (ie "accuracy") to suit the real needs of the job.

Try the "Laser Centre/Edge Finder" from LittleMachineShop.com:
http://www.littlemachineshop.com/products/product_view.php?ProductID=2604&category=

It really does work and works well. I can easily get it to 0.003" or 0.002" accuracy and to 0.001" with a good "loupe" (magnifying glass/lens) - or at a stretch.

It works really well and has a good "X" and "Y" adjustment although I rarely use it as I "spin" it at 500>800 RPM and if it is "off-centre" it will describe a circle which is easy to centralise quite accurately and surprisingly easily:

About 40% of the way between "6 o'clock" and the centre of the scribed circle:
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Centring4.jpg

Almost on the circle at "7.30":
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Centring1.jpg

Or the trusty old "Wiggler" with the pointer/stylus that looks like a nail. It is all done "by eye". The "point" of the "nail" is centred by using the nail on my thumb while the Wiggler is spinning at 500>800 RPM after which it is stopped:
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Wiggler1.jpg

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa294/oldtiffie/measuring/Centring5.jpg

I would use any of these methods to set up and machine the "mark-out" items in Brian Rupnow's excellent "Pump Jack" at his thread at:
http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/showthread.php?t=41319

MuellerNick
05-20-2010, 10:45 AM
And that is why a Taster is not really all that helpful for "Z" at all in a normal non-CNC-ed mill (or lathe).

Full ACK!
On a manual mill in the home shop, an edge finder is an almost perfect replacement. At least, it worked for me, plus a home made centricator.


Nick

loose nut
05-20-2010, 08:00 PM
Tiffie, with all your negative replies to this thread someone might get the idea that you don't like them but a couple of counter-points.

In the home shop do we need them. No. Are they useful, hell yes!!! If we can afford them and the price has been dropping quite a bit, at least on the analog version, then why not. Will we be better at our work, maybe not and they are not necessary, there are alternatives but they are dead easy to use and make setting up a work piece a breeze.

The instructions that came with mine state quite clearly that the first thing that has to be done is to zero the taster out and the only way to do this is to permanently mount it in a good tool holder. Mine came with a 3/4" Weldon shank so I bought a Bison Weldon shank tool holder to mount it on. After that it states that the only time it needs to be re-zeroed is if removed from the holder or a new tip is put in. Admittedly it should be checked periodically to make sure it is still on spec the same as you would do with a DRO or other similar equipment but unless you are using a standard collet (bad idea) it does not have to be checked every time you mount it in the spindle. What you quoted in your first post was the reference to it's ability to be adjusted to near zero run out on it's first installation not a necessity to do it every time you mount it.

Will the quality of your machine affect the accuracy you achieve with a taster. Yes. If you have new crappy machine or an old worn out machine it is going to have a negative effect, the same as it would with any measuring equipment like a DRO. A worn out spindle, poor collet or a shot drill chuck will give you lousy results and a taster can't fix that. I have no need to hold tenths on my mill but I do try to hold a thou. even if the job doesn't need (I don't always make it though) as a way to improve my skill level. Anything I can do to improve the accuracy of my set up's like using a taster that is zeroed in is a plus to me.

My original post was just a humorous story on my "adventure" trying to pick up my purchase. I'm not advocating that any one else should run out and get one and that the company that sold me mine bent over backwards to help me, which is a good thing for anyone in this area that might buy one because they seem to be the only place to get one here abouts.

Last point. Most of the people that have one, stated here that they love them, the proof is in the pudding.:D

Tyro 001
05-20-2010, 08:22 PM
Oops. I hadn't seen this thread when I posted my question about center finders.

oldtiffie
05-20-2010, 09:14 PM
Tiffie, with all your negative replies to this thread someone might get the idea that you don't like them but a couple of counter-points.

In the home shop do we need them. No. Are they useful, hell yes!!! If we can afford them and the price has been dropping quite a bit, at least on the analog version, then why not. Will we be better at our work, maybe not and they are not necessary, there are alternatives but they are dead easy to use and make setting up a work piece a breeze.

The instructions that came with mine state quite clearly that the first thing that has to be done is to zero the taster out and the only way to do this is to permanently mount it in a good tool holder. Mine came with a 3/4" Weldon shank so I bought a Bison Weldon shank tool holder to mount it on. After that it states that the only time it needs to be re-zeroed is if removed from the holder or a new tip is put in. Admittedly it should be checked periodically to make sure it is still on spec the same as you would do with a DRO or other similar equipment but unless you are using a standard collet (bad idea) it does not have to be checked every time you mount it in the spindle. What you quoted in your first post was the reference to it's ability to be adjusted to near zero run out on it's first installation not a necessity to do it every time you mount it.

Will the quality of your machine affect the accuracy you achieve with a taster. Yes. If you have new crappy machine or an old worn out machine it is going to have a negative effect, the same as it would with any measuring equipment like a DRO. A worn out spindle, poor collet or a shot drill chuck will give you lousy results and a taster can't fix that. I have no need to hold tenths on my mill but I do try to hold a thou. even if the job doesn't need (I don't always make it though) as a way to improve my skill level. Anything I can do to improve the accuracy of my set up's like using a taster that is zeroed in is a plus to me.

My original post was just a humorous story on my "adventure" trying to pick up my purchase. I'm not advocating that any one else should run out and get one and that the company that sold me mine bent over backwards to help me, which is a good thing for anyone in this area that might buy one because they seem to be the only place to get one here abouts.

Last point. Most of the people that have one, stated here that they love them, the proof is in the pudding.:D

Thanks loose nut - appreciated.

I was only pointing out that there are "other ways" to achieve a result at least comparable with the "Taster".

I did not say - and hopefully did not infer - that the Taster is inferior or of no use.

The "value for money" aspect is for each individual to asses for himself according to his needs - and funds - at any time.

No method is the "one and only one true way". There are alternatives and I set about seeing and in some part showing what some are.

As I've said here often enough, I start at the bottom of the "Tools and Technology" hierarchy and work up the scale/tree until I get to the lowest level that will do the job in hand according to its needs.

Needless to say, in many cases not even dial indicators get a "look in" - and the "Taster" is well above that level in most cases and so it rarely gets used.

I have no good reason why people should not use or buy a Taster - for what-ever reason - as that is firmly their choice.

In my case, buying and trying the Taster out did all that was needed and in that sense it was value for money - whether I use/d it or not.

I had to smile at this part of your post:

My original post was just a humorous story on my "adventure" trying to pick up my purchase. I'm not advocating that any one else should run out and get one and that the company that sold me mine bent over backwards to help me, which is a good thing for anyone in this area that might buy one because they seem to be the only place to get one here abouts.

It was the "other side of the coin" from a user/buyer aspect and was the reverse of the situation my supplier found itself in when "customers" crashed or complained about their "Tasters". The supplier just "ate" it and put it down to "good will" and "the cost of doing business" and either replaced the item with a new one or more often refunded the cost in full. He then put it down to experience and withdrew them from sale.

loose nut
05-21-2010, 07:27 PM
Possibly the China copies have a problem that makes them fail or easy to damage. The cost of the "real" Tasters has come close enough to the copies (or other specialty shop equipment) that buying a Chinese version just isn't worth it.

oldtiffie
05-21-2010, 07:42 PM
I'd agree with that 100% loose nut.

There are a whole range of costs and quality in the "Chinese" range - from absolutely great to absolute crap/$hit - and just about everything in between.

I'd been very fortunate in my Chinese purchases - but a lot have not - for a variety of reasons.

There should be none of those risks or pit-falls for the unwary or the plain unlucky if they buy the "real deal" - Haemer et al - especially as the support is good and the costs are so close that the risk is not worth the slight price differential.

If that were the case here in OZ when I bought mine I'd have gone for the Haemer etc.

There were similar instances in the co-axial indicator thread not so long ago where the USA-made "Blake" - new and used - seemed to all be very good and the Chinese ran from very good to not good at all.