View Full Version : chinese mill clamp sets - good or save for Gibraltar

08-20-2010, 08:08 PM
I sort of want to just save up and get a Gibraltar set but I also want to buy other tools as well and that would be a big dent in my budget. Does anyone has a favorable opinion of this Chinese clamp and step block set:


Any specific issues about them like studs or nuts that like to strip out, clamps that bend, steps that are just square instead of angled? You know, the usual things that would make one wary of Chinese products.


08-20-2010, 08:13 PM
I got the chinese set and I think the step blocks and straps are fine (they're just chunks of steel after all), however I thing the threaded hardware is not so great. As I bung it up with binding threads I replace it with (hopefully) better stuff when on sale.

08-20-2010, 08:16 PM

If those clamps are the same as the ones I bought here is OZ, they should do you very well. Mine are very well made, have had a fair bit of service and are as good as when I bought them. I was that pleased that as I needed more of them I bought another set - just as good.

Just use normal tension/torque and you will be OK.

These are them - but the ~AU$110 ~ US$100!!!

08-20-2010, 08:20 PM
I have that set and it sure seems to be worth the price. The clamps are steel and I have really put some torque on the them and the studs/nuts with no sign of stripping or damage to the clamps. The step blocks are cast and I did manage to get some of the teeth to crumble on one of them but to be fair it was entirely my fault as I had them at a bad angle and the teeth not fully engaged, however had they been steel I don't think it would have failed. As far as the stud, nuts and clamps they are quite strong and the step blocks are adequate, the one I damaged should never have been subjected to that kind of abuse in the first place!

08-20-2010, 08:25 PM
I have a set of Gibraltar's for both of my mills. I bought them from Enco while they were on sale, with free shipping and with the 20% off coupon this past June. If you can wait a little while, they'll probably pop back up on that deal. Just keep an eye out for them and the 20% off coupon.

Bill Pace
08-20-2010, 08:37 PM
Ive got an Enco set from a few years ago - they likely have changed suppliers by now, but, FWIW I wouldnt hesitate to buy them again. I had 2-3 of the threads a bit sticky, I just ran a thread die over them and that solved that. I would think the step blocks would be the critical part of the set, and all of mine are very well done.

To my thinking its another one of those Chinese offerings that I just cant figure how it can be sold for $29.95!! - and still be a very serviceable tool.

08-20-2010, 08:39 PM
Get the cheap set and spend the differance on other tooling you need. Had one for over five years and no problems.

08-20-2010, 08:41 PM
Get the cheap ones and spend the differance on other tooling you need. I have used one for five years with no problems.

08-20-2010, 11:14 PM
Stuart, I've got two different sized import clamp sets from Enco. I'm normally very picky about the quality of my tools - I usually avoid import products now. That being said, I was very pleased with the set. I've never had any problems with it and I can be pretty heavy handed at times... ;) (I bought my most recent set about a year ago and it was still good).

I agree with PortlandRon. Get the cheap ones and spend the rest of your budget on other stuff! :)

08-20-2010, 11:49 PM
I got a cheap set from busybee, Works wonderfuly. One or two Tnuts are oversized to fit into my table however.. Odd. Will attack them one day with a face mill or something.

The rod segments are fine. Little annoying that they are not threaded in the very middle, But you can allways make more with an abrasive saw + grade 8 allthread (I don't trust grade 8 in my bandsaw..) + a belt sander for pennys each.

Paul Alciatore
08-21-2010, 01:58 AM
I have bought and used four import sets from at least two different suppliers. I haven't had a single problem with any any of them. The last 1/2" set I bought was only $40 on sale and it is every bit as good as the others. It even came with a wrench and a Tee slot cleaning tool.

As others have said, save your $s for other things.

08-21-2010, 02:08 AM
I've had my Chinese made set for over 10 years now with nary a problem.

Your Old Dog
08-21-2010, 08:02 AM
They work just fine. As others have said, the threading could use some time in a tumbler to clean some rat hairs/burrs off of them but they do seem to wear in okay.

08-21-2010, 08:12 AM
I have a couple sets of the imports are both have worked just fine as it should. One set came from Little Machine Shop and the other not sure which Enco, KBC, or Warehouse Tool.

08-21-2010, 10:13 AM
Thanks for all the feed back guys! I was pretty wary of them so I figured it would be better to ask.

08-21-2010, 12:03 PM
Apparently I am the only one that has had any problem at all and the tool can't be faulted in that instance! The only thing that went through my mind when I damaged that step block was "Dang, that was a stupid thing to do", it never even crossed my mind to blame the block since it was my doing.

08-21-2010, 12:12 PM
Mine advertised T slot cleaners included...
I had T-slot cleaners on the same shoping list...
I go. oh, It comes with them, No need. I cross it out... Go shoping.
Sales person: 'oh I noticed t-slot cleaner on your list do you need one?' 'nono thats ok' because its included with the clamping kit!

Get home with not one, but TWO clamping kits, 1/2" and 3/8" (rotary table)
... No T-slot cleaners in either :'(

08-22-2010, 06:15 AM
My set works just great. I got the 1/2" slot version for my lightweight mill.

For UK members, JLMSC is doing a web-sale on the 5/8" slot chinese sets - 21.50 (http://www.mscjlindustrial.co.uk/CGI/INSRIT?PMPXNO=103085489&PMORGN=SALES:WEB_SALE)