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  • Fowler brand = Taiwan

    At work I use the other machinist 90 deg angle block all the time for set-ups. They measure 3' by 3' by 1/4 thick with some lighting holes in the middle section. I have been meaning to make some as it would not be to hard to make them and have them hardened and then grind them nice and square, but when you do this for a living for 40 or 50 hours a week you dont always feel like going in on your free time to do this kind of stuff. So the other day when I was ordering some tools for the shop I saw some in J&L's catalog. They offered import versions 2 of them for like 40 dollars and the Fowler brand angle blocks were 55 dollars. Imports would probably do me just fine but this is my career and I like to fill my toolbox with quality so I went with what I thought would be the better purchase(Fowlers). So today the UPS man make his delivery and I open up my package to find Machine Tool brand made in Taiwan angle blocks, what the **** I think. So I call up the nice girl at J&l and tell her whats going on, she puts me on hold for a few minute's and comes back on and tell's me she just talked to Fowler. They told her they have manufacturing places all over the world and assured her that they were the same quality as if they had been made wherever Fowler is located(swiss I think). I told her that was bull**** and that they should not list them as Fowler if they are not made by them and do not even have the decency of packaging them in a Fowler box. The quality of them was poor also they were not very hard and the grind job was just plain ****ty, I didnt even bother checking the accuracy of the angles. Anyways I got a credit and I am shipping them back, guess I will have to wait till I have the time to just make some myself. I do know this I have bought a ton of Starret and Mitutoyu tools and have always got what I expected, this was my first Fowler purchase and also my last. Rant over

  • #2
    Watchout for Starrett an for that matter Mito too,they have begun re-lableing as well.

    I see it as being a matter of all tool making moving offshore,not just here,but also Europe and Japan.
    I just need one more tool,just one!

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    • #3
      Starret's offshore brand is called the exact series.I am not sure about Mitutoyo's. Starret at least has the decency to tell you it is made in China and they package it appropriately.

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      • #4
        It doesn't matter where they are made mochinist quality is still quality...

        I have seen stuff come out of taiwan of better quality than some stuff coming out of the US. It all depends on how it was made and quality assurance...

        This idea people have in their brain that says oh it is made in taiwan then it must be rubbish is just a delusion. Crap can be made anywhere and good stuff can be made anywhere as well...All you have to do is look to see if the item looks like quality if it does than it most likely is..

        See Ya
        Precision takes time.

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        • #5
          Fowler just plain sucks. Mitutoya is getting there stuff made elsewhere also ive heard, Where do you get a decent vernier nowadays,

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          • #6
            I, or my boss, had the same experience with Brown and Sharp 123 blocks. 85 bucks for something that , accuracy wise, we could have bought from Enco for 9 dollars a pair.
            Pete

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            • #7
              "the same experience with Brown and Sharp 123 blocks. 85 bucks for something that , accuracy wise, we could have bought from Enco for 9 dollars a pair. "

              Yep, a customer showed me their new B&S V-block set. "Made in USA". Pretty shabby compared to my much older set. On the new set the bottom surface wasn't ground, it appeared to have been end milled, circular mill marks were still present.

              The customer is setting up a mini inspection department to check in coming parts.

              They ordered everything from MSC. The indicator and height gage were from Fowler. They had to send the first set back, poor quality and the indicator mounting didn't fit the height gage as it was supposed to.

              Hard to say where all this off-shore manufacturing is leading with inspection equipment. I've never trusted Fowler and SPI, but when I see B&S, made in USA, V block with such poor quality that makes me wonder what's going on.

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              • #8
                madman RE: decent vernier.

                what are you looking for? I have nearly never used 6year old mitutoyo 6" vernier caliper I'd like to get rid of. has two different inch scales, one decimal and one fractional 1/128. if I recall.

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                • #9
                  I bought a "fowler" 6 inch digital caliper thru Travers a couple years ago just to take to work sizing parts, and noticed that it will not hold a zero at all! at the time it was the cheapest one I could find at around $70.00 or so. The ones I use now are very accurate, and normally cost $20.00 from Harbor Freight, now on sale for $14.95!!!
                  Good and bad imports seem to be the norm these days. By the way, I just received an order from ENCO and have to send half of it back. They were very courteous and are picking up the bogus item, but what a pain in the ass.
                  Robert
                  grumpy old fart
                  www.wirewerkes.com

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                  • #10
                    Quality and "garbitch" can come from anywhere in the world. I have a 30 year old Fowler dial caliper that was made in Germany that is a quality piece. I also have a set of HF silver and demming drills which probably came from China that are of excellent quality. They surprised the hell out of me, they are that good. The set of "made in USA" drill bits I bought from Enco are OK but, I'd have to say the HF bits are better. I bought a USA made die from MSC which was "Garbitch", couldn'd even thread it on a bolt of the correct size let alone cut new threads. My RF-45 made in Taiwan is of fairly good quality, I'm happy with it for the money I paid. I do try to buy things made in USA, just to keep my countrymen employed, although this is becoming harder to do. The cost difference between the HF and USA silver and demming bits was huge, so that made the decision for me. The USA ones can't drill any better than the HF ones and they cost a fraction of what the USA ones cost. Also, we make less and less in the USA every month. It seems nowadays, everything you buy, no matter where it is made is a crap shoot. Some are good some are bad. Maybe we need to look at it as a pecentage thing. In other words, quality needs to be evaluated as what % of the things made by company X are quality, and what % are garbitch. In the old days if you bought a USA made item there was a 99%+ chance of it being of quality. Now, no matter where it's made the chances of it being quality are way less than 99%. It's a shame you can't pay more money and be guaranteed of getting a quality product, but that's the way it is.

                    Chris

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                    • #11
                      Ringer thanks for telling me "It doesn't matter where they are made mochinist quality is still quality". No **** I wasnt aware of that. I honestly dont care where they were made my beef was the fact that they were not what I ordered. I liken it too going to the local Chevy dealership and ordering a specific car, then going to pick it up and finding out it is a Kia. Now I have nothing against Kia but that isnt what I ordered. These angle blocks were not even marked Fowler the box brand said machines tool made in Taiwan.

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                      • #12
                        I've had pretty good luck with purchases lately so won't jinx it but here's an OT example of what I faced at Christmas.

                        Wanting to get an under counter CD/Radio for my wife, I picked up a GE Spacemaker. It advertises "automatic time set". To me, this means that it picks up an NIST reference time signal from Fort Collins, CO. NOPE, "automatic time set" means that you slide a 4 position slide switch for the time zone and then set the clock. A front panel button can now be used to "automatically" set the time for daylight savings time

                        The thing plays two CDs then shuts down in the middle of a third. CD is clean, problem then repeats on others of various vintage, all clean and "proper".

                        Back to the store the POS goes for a cash refund ... I don't want to see another if the first couldn't handle the ride.

                        Sony's equivalent has a crappy, small LCD that is difficult to see and when you change from FM to AM (or weather or CD), you have to hold an up/down volume button for about a half minute to span an adequate volume range ... yet the stinkin cook timer has a KNOB for data entry! Ok, look on ebay and these things are coming out the woodwork as refurbs ... a bad sign in my book (I know, some are simply returns but some suck).

                        Looked at other brands, multiple DOAs, CD players which crap out after days or a month or two, etc. etc.

                        I'm left with no where to go to buy a dependable product. I feel like we're headed this way in other product areas too.

                        The old Sears catalog GOOD, BETTER, BEST has turned into BAD, WORSE and UTTER POS.

                        FYI on Fowler, his daughter (AFAIK) now operates New England Brass with her husband Bob and are very fine people to deal with. Some of my older Fowler stuff is from Japan but I have no newer items.

                        Den

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                        • #13
                          Few days I got a surface plate comming and an Enco brand height gauge. Come to think about it, I should of check ebay first for a really good height guage, DOH!
                          Oh btw this months free shipping code on all orders over 50$ at enco is....
                          FCNUFS

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                          • #14
                            I just tossed my last ENCO flyer... any chance that free shipping code works in Alaska?

                            Wishful thinking, I know...

                            Last time I was about to order a surface plate and a press- tool cost was like $160, shipping cost was $175.

                            Doc.
                            Doc's Machine. (Probably not what you expect.)

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                            • #15
                              I bet it works for Alaska

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