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View Full Version : Machinist squares from China, worst I've ever seen



nc5a
04-29-2019, 10:23 PM
Ordered a set awhile back and just recently had the opportunity to use them and what a disappointment. It's hard not to order tools from overseas when you're on a budget. I think I got 5 squares in the set with the largest having a 6 or 7 inch blade for something like 40 bucks. Before you guys say it, yes I know you get what you pay for but this poor of quality is unacceptable. Yet I'll keep them and try to make them better or at least more usable.

https://i.imgur.com/GjWQeyu.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/LIu2Zi0.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/KK4SBjB.jpg

reggie_obe
04-29-2019, 10:39 PM
Amazing! Who was the seller?

JoeLee
04-29-2019, 10:58 PM
The money you wasted on those could have been put towards something decent. B&S or Starrett used would be just fine.
I'm sure they are pretty soft too.
On the bright side..... if you have a surface grinder you can take the curse out of them.

JL................

nc5a
04-29-2019, 11:06 PM
Amazing! Who was the seller?

I can't remember. maybe ebay, Shars, could even be KBC. I know it wasn't Harbor Freight as I very rarely order from them.

J Tiers
04-29-2019, 11:22 PM
You show ONLY the sideways error from vertical. While that is certainly a "sign of quality level", it is not the way I use squares. It actually would not have to even affect the usability of the squares, although it might make certain measurements difficult.

What are they like if put edge against edge (facing opposite to each other)? What are they like if put next to one another facing same direction with edges against a flat object that is aligned with one of the edges?

nc5a
04-29-2019, 11:30 PM
You show ONLY the sideways error from vertical. While that is certainly a "sign of quality level", it is not the way I use squares. It actually would not have to even affect the usability of the squares, although it might make certain measurements difficult.

What are they like if put edge against edge (facing opposite to each other)? What are they like if put next to one another facing same direction with edges against a flat object that is aligned with one of the edges?

What I showed was the worst of the bunch. None of them are even close to being square in any plane when measured against a Starrett square

Fasttrack
04-29-2019, 11:33 PM
You show ONLY the sideways error from vertical. While that is certainly a "sign of quality level", it is not the way I use squares. It actually would not have to even affect the usability of the squares, although it might make certain measurements difficult.

What are they like if put edge against edge (facing opposite to each other)? What are they like if put next to one another facing same direction with edges against a flat object that is aligned with one of the edges?

I agree with JT. What you're showing is what I consider to be a "fit and finish" problem, not necessarily a functional problem. I never assume my squares are square in that orientation.

Edit: Just saw your post above. That's a bummer. But hey! Now you have a reason to buy a surface grinder if you don't already have one! ;)

darryl
04-30-2019, 12:04 AM
I have discovered that a great many squares are not square at all. They are mostly L shaped. But groaning aside, of all the squares I own (with the exception of the plastic ones) only two are actually square- and one of those I built myself. The other is a stamped steel woodworking tool with flanged guide edges. It's old, and it beats every other square for being true, except the one I made.

I must have lucked out with my cast iron blocks because they put on a good performance when compared on a surface plate. Those are my standards for the most part.

wierdscience
04-30-2019, 04:02 AM
If you knew the seller the thing to do would be to raise a stink with them.99% of quality control begins with customer complaints.

SteveF
04-30-2019, 04:09 AM
Ordered a set awhile back and just recently had the opportunity to use them and what a disappointment. It's hard not to order tools from overseas when you're on a budget. .............................]

This is why I buy these kinds of things on eBay. If you hunt around you can usually find a really nice example of a quality tool that was US made and either well cared for or barely used.

Have two PowerShot 5700 staple guns, one from the 1990s and one from about 3 years ago when the wife couldn't find it and went out and bought another one. The difference in quality was extremely obvious to even a non-mechanical person. The new Chinese one just broke so I got up on eBay and now own a second one that is identical to my 1990s one except it is in near new condition and for less money than a new one. So, now when my original finally breaks, or she needs to take one to a craft show, I'm still good to go.

Steve

JoeLee
04-30-2019, 07:47 AM
You show ONLY the sideways error from vertical. While that is certainly a "sign of quality level", it is not the way I use squares. It actually would not have to even affect the usability of the squares, although it might make certain measurements difficult.

What are they like if put edge against edge (facing opposite to each other)? What are they like if put next to one another facing same direction with edges against a flat object that is aligned with one of the edges? It would if you were checking something cylindrical.

JL...................

Mcgyver
04-30-2019, 07:59 AM
It would if you were checking something cylindrical.
.

I agreed, it is terrible. Jerry just likes to disagree :) For sure complain as Weird says its how quality improves, better still name the vendor on social media like here.

Glug
04-30-2019, 08:22 AM
I couldn't stomach looking at such a piece of garbage. I could make something better on a table saw (maybe not the ground faces of the base - maybe).

I had a bad banggood experience recently. Paypal was also a big PIA to deal with. It will have me sticking close to ebay. I will be making a post with details at some point. There were lessons learned.

J Tiers
04-30-2019, 08:28 AM
It would if you were checking something cylindrical.

JL...................

Which is what I said... it makes some measurements difficult.

However, that type is really the wrong tool to measure cylinders. All such squares, even if they LOOK decent in thst direction, may be "off" somewhat, and the cylinder should have a "line contact". An angle plate type tool is the item needed.

I totally agree that the squares probably could fairly be said to suck..... but the narrow base of that type square is simply insufficient to guarantee "perfect" squareness.

Yes you should expect better, and I would send them back for a refund, I'd not want replacement. But you should not expect "perfection" in the sidewise direction. That type square is not made for it.

If they were square on their edge, they would still do what you want such a square to do, 90% or more of the time.

JoeLee
04-30-2019, 10:27 AM
I couldn't stomach looking at such a piece of garbage. I could make something better on a table saw (maybe not the ground faces of the base - maybe).

I had a bad banggood experience recently. Paypal was also a big PIA to deal with. It will have me sticking close to ebay. I will be making a post with details at some point. There were lessons learned.

Please do, I'm always interested in learning new lessons.

JL....

Frank Ford
04-30-2019, 11:13 AM
Had one like that myself -- chopped the end off and made into a lathe tool height setting gauge:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/Tooling/ToolHeightSet/toolheightset.jpg

dalee100
04-30-2019, 11:18 AM
Hi,

That's pretty bad. But I've seen Brown&Sharp and Starrett squares that weren't a whole lot better either. It seems as if this style of square is far more likely to not be, than one piece squares are. While I do have an old import set like that, (no where nearly THAT bad), I have learned over the years that this style of square is far more likely to be accurate and hold that accuracy better https://www.mscdirect.com/product/details/06506505 (Not a recommendation, first photo, yadda yadda).

While they can be fixed, I would send them back. For the money paid, they ain't worth much effort.

754
04-30-2019, 11:22 AM
I say file it by hand and correct it.
And whilst doing that you can reflect onnthe you get what you pay for philosophy.
There usually is no free lunch.

Personally I would worry more about if it were 90 degrees, inside and out..

BCRider
04-30-2019, 12:23 PM
Even the "cheap chinese stuff" isn't what it used to be apparently. I've got one from years back that was cheap at the time and is nicely made. And when checked with the squareness comparator against the cylinder square I made a year or so ago proved to be the most square of square I've got in my shop along with an older Moore & Wright which matched it for squareness.

These are so bad that I think I'd ask about returning them. Or if the shipping will be more than it's worth and they ARE soft then you may as well mill them to be as square as you can manage then maybe lap them the final amount or for the finish. Might make a good exercise at squaring things and testing them. Or perhaps there's a lathe tool height gauge in your near future. But it would still need machining or with a lean like that would be tipping over all the time.

RB211
04-30-2019, 12:29 PM
Return it, when it comes to metrology, it's either Mitutoyo or Starret for me. Don't care if it costs 5x as much. Quality is something you hand down to your kids, junk is wasting money.

nc5a
04-30-2019, 01:18 PM
It would if you were checking something cylindrical.

JL...................

JoeLee...........That is exactly what I was doing when I noticed how bad it was. Actually I was reverse engineering a drill bit holding chuck for a Darex M5 drill sharpener for a HSM member. It became very clear there was a problem when I was projecting a line from a flat surface onto the cylinder body.

nc5a
04-30-2019, 01:25 PM
Had one like that myself -- chopped the end off and made into a lathe tool height setting gauge:

http://www.frets.com/HomeShopTech/Tooling/ToolHeightSet/toolheightset.jpg

Nicely done Frank. I'm going to make a height gage like yours. For those wondering if the metal is soft, it is very soft.

mattthemuppet
04-30-2019, 02:29 PM
Return it, when it comes to metrology, it's either Mitutoyo or Starret for me. Don't care if it costs 5x as much. Quality is something you hand down to your kids, junk is wasting money.

that's why I don't have a machinists square - can't afford quality, don't want to buy something I can't trust.

The Metal Butcher
04-30-2019, 05:01 PM
My dad got a set cheap from an MSC sale. They aren't even square in the direction they're supposed to be! These are woodworking squares at best! I trust my Starrett combination square 1000x more. I think these guys in China are gluing them together and plopping them down on a wooden workbench or something. There is typical Chinese junk, then there is these.

Magicniner
04-30-2019, 05:07 PM
There's decent kit available, both new and used and at reasonable prices too, if you are willing to shop around.
I'm kind of surprised that anyone buys unknown brands sight unseen though, where's the logic in that!

J Tiers
04-30-2019, 05:32 PM
I have a set of the no-name squares. Dunno where I got them, possibly in a toolbox or other assortment at a sale. I know I did not buy them new.

There were 4 or 5 in graduated sizes. Out of the lot, one was dead-on, two or three others were so close as makes almost no difference, and the last was fairly far out. I filed and ground the last one true, as well as the middle two, just so I could put a decent one at every machine.

If I want reference, I have a good Japanese square, a cylinder square, a B&S 4-way toolmaker's square, and three angle plate type squares that were scraped round-robin to be "perfect". They all agree, now.

I like having the cheapo ones, because I do not feel bad if I drop one. I actually have dropped one, but it landed in such a way that it still is good. It is very handy to have "shop floor" squares that you can use without feeling like you have the crown jewels out in a canoe.

None of the cheapo ones are like the pics above, but I also know that they are not square in the sideways direction.

JoeLee
04-30-2019, 09:51 PM
I can't remember. maybe ebay, Shars, could even be KBC. I know it wasn't Harbor Freight as I very rarely order from them.I got a little 3" square like that from KBC as a GWP. It wasn't perfect but no where near as bad as the ones you pictured. That was back in the 90's. I trued it up on my grinder.

JL...............

anddsn
04-30-2019, 09:51 PM
I bought this from Amazon 3 inch Moore Wright decent price. Checked it with a Square Checker within 2 tenths

https://www.amazon.com/75mm-inch-Engineers-Square-Wright/dp/B00K88D272/ref=sr_1_fkmrnull_3?keywords=machinist+square+moor e&qid=1556675115&s=gateway&sr=8-3-fkmrnull

mickeyf
05-01-2019, 10:33 PM
High quality drill bits also available:

http://thesweetoasis.com/misc_photos/drillbit2.jpg

rjs44032
05-02-2019, 02:33 PM
High quality drill bits also available:

...

Now that was funny :)


I often see posts from people who pay material prices for things and are disappointed when they are not top standard. Here's how I play it: Asian import quality is generally good up to about 80% (sometimes 90%) of the finished quality. I buy for that standard and I'm rarely disappointed. I bought a Shars AXA toolpost. It was pretty good 90% quality. I had to do some work on the screws and the fitment of the top nut and mounting (about 4 hours). The thing is great now for what I need. Cost was @ $100 Aloris cost was $600. Just bought a 20 ton press from HF new for $139. I know I'll have to finish it when I get to it. But I couldn't buy the stock for that price.

If you're in business, then it makes sense to buy things that you can throw into production immediately and start working. For those who meet that criteria, I agree that Asian imports are a waste of time and resources. But for those of us on a budget, you can't beat the bang for the buck on much of the Asian stuff as long as you are willing to finish the products yourself. Just my 2 cents.

Best Regards,
Bob

Doozer
05-02-2019, 03:40 PM
Complaining about cheap Chinese tools is like
complaining when you loose at playing the slot machines.
You apparently need to manage your expectations a little
more realistically.

-D

Mike Hunter
05-02-2019, 04:06 PM
The problem with treating them as “kits” is that the material is usually substandard as well. Case in point… I picked up several “import” machine vises, spent hours “fixing” them… to include surface grinding…. Less than a year later, all had cracked and were in the scrap bin. So…out initial cost of the vices, and out the time and labor to correct them. Ended up buying Kurt, 10 years later still using them.
So, Cheep vise $120 + labor to fix that lasts less than a year = $120+ year
Kurt vise $500, no labor to fix = $50 a year and going down every year.

nc5a
05-02-2019, 04:14 PM
Complaining about cheap Chinese tools is like
complaining when you loose at playing the slot machines.
You apparently need to manage your expectations a little
more realistically.

-D

Now that's about as foolish a statement as I've heard in a long time.

Cheap Chinese tools are durable goods (no matter what the quality) and bought with currency that supports an economy somewhere.

Complaining about losing a bet with a slot machine isn't even in the same ballpark.

You apparently need to somehow get your head out of your a.. so you don't make stupid comments.

J Tiers
05-02-2019, 04:24 PM
I believe the "payoff" is equated to getting a part from china that is made correctly. And the point is that the frequency of that happening is similar to the frequency of a slot machine payoff exceeding the total money pushed in the slot to get it.

I think it is incorrect, but that is because I blame the customer and importer and not the maker or source country. The customer and importer set the acceptable quality level, the maker simply adheres to that standard (or gets no more orders)

plunger
05-02-2019, 05:21 PM
During my apprenticeship we had to make two squares. A big one and a small one. I think they were made of gauge plate. The instructor would put the small one in the big one and if there was light he would throw it away for you to start again. It was agonizing.The long blade of the square had to be draw filed and the bevel,inside and outside could not fluctuate in measurement .We had a cylindrical square to blue it up on if my memory is correct. Unfortunately they were stolen but I wonder how accurate and how much time would be invested in a homeshop to do this.At least one could use a milling machine to get it close. We werent allowed to use anything except a file.

Not having elaborate testing equipment in my homeshop ,How would one go about testing it for square.

Tundra Twin Track
05-02-2019, 08:16 PM
I have a set I bought from Busy Bee years ago,Groz made in India.Quality is good must not have been made on a Monday or Friday!

Arcane
05-02-2019, 08:34 PM
I can't begin to tell you how bad I feel losing out on NASA contracts because my Chinese made squares just aren't good enough...

TGTool
05-02-2019, 10:04 PM
During my apprenticeship we had to make two squares. A big one and a small one. I think they were made of gauge plate. The instructor would put the small one in the big one and if there was light he would throw it away for you to start again. It was agonizing.The long blade of the square had to be draw filed and the bevel,inside and outside could not fluctuate in measurement .We had a cylindrical square to blue it up on if my memory is correct. Unfortunately they were stolen but I wonder how accurate and how much time would be invested in a homeshop to do this.At least one could use a milling machine to get it close. We werent allowed to use anything except a file.

Not having elaborate testing equipment in my homeshop ,How would one go about testing it for square.

You can verify squareness with a surface plate, an indicator and a surface gauge. The easiest way to visualize the process is to imagine the process for a rectangular block. For it to be a rectangle, each set of opposing sides must be parallel and the corners at 90 degrees. So you use the surface gauge and indicator to verify first that each set of sides are parallel. Fix them if not.

If parallel, then arrange the surface gauge and indicator so that with the block upright, the "toe" of the surface gauge is touching a side near the bottom and the indicator is touching near the top. Now rotate the block so you're checking the opposite side with the same end sitting on the surface plate. If the block is square the indicator will read the same. If the block is actually a parallelogram, the indicator will show double the deviation from square.

Testing an L-shaped square is only slightly more complicated. The surface gauge must be on blocks or parallels so the beam of the square can slide underneath on reversal. Checking the blade for parallelism and zero deviation is the same.

reggie_obe
05-03-2019, 09:51 AM
Now that's about as foolish a statement as I've heard in a long time.

Cheap Chinese tools are durable goods (no matter what the quality) and bought with currency that supports an economy somewhere.

Complaining about losing a bet with a slot machine isn't even in the same ballpark.

You apparently need to somehow get your head out of your a.. so you don't make stupid comments.

I don't feel compelled to support the chinese economy and avoid it whenever possible.

One quality used square beats buying several useless ones....
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Brown-Sharpe-Steel-6-Square-540-Machinist-Toolmaker/192896133041?hash=item2ce98167b1:g:GcYAAOSw-LNcvhT2

Mcgyver
05-03-2019, 12:37 PM
I can't begin to tell you how bad I feel losing out on NASA contracts because my Chinese made squares just aren't good enough...

haven't you heard? No problem, NA firms have been learning from the Chinese - just fake those certs!

https://news.sky.com/story/company-suspended-from-nasa-work-after-faking-test-results-and-destroying-700m-worth-of-missions-11708366