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  • Chinese mics

    When I stopped working in machine shops I sold most of my tools to my foreman. I had some really nice Starret and B&S stuff. (I always liked the B&S calipers because of the covered rack) I don't regret it because he is a great guy who didn't have many tools and always admired mine. (I went on tool binges a lot back when I was in aerospace...)
    Anyway, I need some measuring tools and they have a set of 1-3 carbide faced mics for $39. They look OK and figure they'll be alright for the backyard shop. I'm not as hung up on fancy stuff anymore.
    Any input? Thanks

    ------------------
    Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga
    Techno-Anarchist

  • #2
    I have a $15 chinese caliper and a $65 (ebay) mitutoyo caliper. I grab the mitu first.. Really thou there is not a dollars difference.

    THE $15 chinese has a comm port on it. HF has them that cheap anyways.

    David

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    • #3
      Will a 0-1 do what your wanting to measure, or do you need the extra size? I could probably throw a 0-1 together for the cost of shipping.
      David from jax

      ------------------
      Have gun, will travel.
      A serious accident is one that money can't fix.

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      • #4
        I took the luxury tools to the job. I have a cheapy Enco 2-3" w/carbide faces and an old B&S 2-3" at home. I reach for the Enco first - I double-checked it many times when I first got it and it's dead on over its full range. The verdict for me is a decent, cheap new tool is better than a worn out name brand. You still take a chance though. I've seen some cheapies I'd just as soon throw away as use, but I can depend on that 2-3 all day long. Pretty smooth-working too.

        [This message has been edited by vinito (edited 11-29-2004).]

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        • #5
          I have a set of the metric chinese mic's at home, and use Mitutoyo at college. The Mitutoyo's and my new (to me) B&S are much much nicer to use, are smoother and are presumably more accurate. However for the money that you spend to buy them they'd want to be!!!

          I am generally happy to have a part accurate to a thou and make a few things that require light press fits with bearings. The chinese mics do this sort of work fine for me - well, as good as a mitutoyo or moore and wright or B&S as I am the weakest link in the chain here anyway!!

          [This message has been edited by ben78 (edited 11-29-2004).]

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          • #6
            hoffman --

            If you're considering the Chinese micrometers, use your own hands and eyes to inspect the very ones you're considering IF AT ALL POSSIBLE. The fit-and-finish varies from piece to piece within a batch, and varies widely from batch to batch.

            Having said that, I keep a 3-piece set from Harbor Freight (US$ 25 on sale about 3 years ago) in my desk at work because they don't grow legs like name-brand micrometers do.

            The H-F "Cen-Tech" micrometers have painted frames, carbide faces, spindle locks, but no vernier scales, and they came in a molded-plastic case with a 1-inch and a 2-inch standard. I had to soak them in mineral spirits (paint thinner) for a couple days to get rid of the preservative grease they were embalmed in, oil them, adjust the "collet nut" that the spindle threads ride in, and adjust the thimble-and-sleeve zero.

            Checking them against gage blocks, I can't find any error in the spindles.

            When reading one of these micrometers, I interpolate to a quarter of a thousandth with confidence.

            At home I have Starrett, NSK, VIS (Polish), B&S (both US-made and Swiss versions), and Zeiss micrometers. Although I prefer these brands to the Cen-Tech micrometers, I can't think of any job I'd take on with a US, Japanese, Polish, Swiss, or German micrometer that I'd be unwilling to tackle with one of my Chinese micrometers.

            John

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            • #7
              I agree, too, about the Cen-Tech stuff....one caution I'd have to add is that a set of 3 mic's I got from the wife as a gift a few years back had one of the mic's scales engraved BACKWARDS on the mic, so that instead of seeing 5 - 10 - 15 - 20, etc as you spin open the mic, you'd see the 25 - 20 - 15....otherwise it was fairly accurate, but imagine one's surprise trying to figure THAT out the first time!!!

              Gotta luv those toolmakers from across "the pond"....

              LOL!

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              • #8
                KPLugnut:
                Yeah, but those guys still drive on the wrong side of the road!

                Me, I drive down the middle - take no prisioners, I always say! Make them eat meatloaf!

                [This message has been edited by Thrud (edited 11-30-2004).]

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                • #9
                  I have a set of the Cen-Techs as described above. I think they are a good value and have served my needs well.

                  How'd you like a set of 3 with wooden box for $9.95 ???

                  http://www.ipstool.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=MICSET03

                  I bought a $4.00 mic from HF a while back. I'm going to use it to make a carriage stop. Could've used one last night.

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                  • #10
                    Yea they are HF Cen-Tech. I only looked at them for a moment and they seemed OK. I wish they'd just left off the plastic deal on the frame. My local HF has a bunch of precision tools in a glass case stacked up together but no displays. I only knew what they were because it was written on the box. Lord knows the folks working there probably have no idea what any of the stuff is for. I think I'll look and see what all they have when I'm ready to buy.
                    Thanks for the input.

                    ------------------
                    Hoffman in Warner Robins Ga
                    Techno-Anarchist

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                    • #11
                      WE too have Harbor Freight mics and calipers put to good use alongside Starett
                      Mit, B&S.

                      Their keyless 1/2 chucks for 22 bucks or so are a steal. I have extra unmounted used to hold cylindrical items for grinding filing etc.

                      In general the vast majority of imported stuff(especially Taiwan power tools)from Harbor Freight is next door to terrible and their guarantee is short lived.

                      I assure you they go for the cheapest on all accounts without regard to quality but
                      on certain items you might luck out(and that is the operative term).

                      Their 12 rolls of electrical tape for 2.99 on sale is a sure bet

                      N

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                      • #12
                        Check out Enco's "better" brand of import mics, distinguishable only by their slightly higher prices - $18 for a 0-1" vs $11 for the made in China version. The better model is made in Poland (European craftmanship?) and has a friction thimble vs a ratchet thimble for the cheaper units. I like mine.

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                        • #13
                          If it ain't Starrett, it's junk!!!
                          (i know I will get beat up for this comment)
                          Non, je ne regrette rien.

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                          • #14
                            Hoffman, that plastic thing looks like it would just snap off. Mine aren't handy or I'd check.

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                            • #15
                              Nothing irritates me more than a bad tool, no matter where I am. I have this attitude that whatever I make and do is a reflection of myself, and quality and workmanship is of the utmost. I do not like to make the excuse "I made this at home (cough cough grimace)". I hate that "good at work, hack at home" stuff. Not saying you are, just my attitude towards work.

                              That being said, I use Mitutoyo, Brown and Sharpe, and Starrett. Sets for home and work. I work at home for pleasure and necessity, and I do not want an inferior tool to be the bain of my pleasure, or the barrier and handicap to my immediate necessity.

                              I am a big fan of the Mitutoyo mics, the satin big heavy ones they have, and their digital mics and calipers. I have my fathers mics, these are now going on 30 years old, and I have my own 0-6" Mitutoyos mic set. However, I will say this is individual taste, for the school shop is all Starrett and Brown and Sharpe but for my mitutoyos, and a few odd and end Fowlers that were there before I came here.

                              There are some good chinese and such tools out there, but the trick, as noted, is feel. I do not like to "hope I find the one", so I go with what I know, and the feel of the tools I know.

                              I imagine cost is an issue, and maybe the way to start is the inexpenive ones, but when you can, get good stuff. You will not want to turn back.

                              Just my opinion with respect to all other opinions.


                              CCBW, MAH

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