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Thread: Lathe Chucks: We don't make them anymore.

  1. #41
    Pete F is online now Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    Again, while Poland may be cheaper to do business in as compared to the USA, or, certainly Germany, it is orders of magnitude more expensive on every level than mainland China.

    I would argue that, as opposed to the common wisdom that we lost jobs due to low chinese wages, it is actually much more complicated as to why you can barely find a US made chuck.
    You make very good points, I believe many are mistaken in believing profitable manufacturing will always only be possible in the lowest cost base, if that were true European auto and general manufacturing would have been dead years ago. I feel much of it is as a result of the insular perspective held within the US. There's a concurrent thread running on metrification where I'm also trying to convince people of the importance of globalisation and positioning yourselves to serve a world market instead of just a domestic one, because in many cases the domestic one is all but gone. I've never heard of some of the chuck manufacturers you mention here, but you can bet I've heard of TOS and Bison, even Rohm. Many times when I've been in the US I've handed out my business card and been asked what the "+61" was in front of my telephone number, I explained the "+" is an internationally recognised way of indicating an international number, you do whatever your local phone company requires to initiate intentional dialling, and the "61" was the country code. As I'm saying this I can see their eyes glaze over and they will start looking at me like I have 2 heads; it was clear they'd never called a number outside the US before, and had no idea how they'd go about it if they wanted to. These weren't idiots I was dealing with either, it's just they had never been exposed to this before. Conversely many times I've tried to source things from the US and you'd think they were taking a call from Osama bin Laden himself! They had no interest in going through the process of shipping internationally as it all just seemed too difficult. It's a big world out there with lots of money in it, hopefully more small and mid size US companies will get that message and hook in to it!

    In marketing products it's all about differentiating yourself from competitors. The Asians, in particular Chinese, differentiate themselves on cost. But if you try that without a significant cost advantage you're dead, dead 10 times over. The Europeans recognised that years ago and went down the quality path, it tends to fit the local culture and is profitable; pretty much my whole workshop is equipped with European tools, in particular German, so don't underestimate the market for those who demand quality and will pay for it. The Chinese, as mentioned differentiate on cost, they build crap and don't really care as long as you buy it, and lots of it. Here in Australia we tend to differentiate by servicing niches, too small for the Asians to be bothered with. Quite where the US will settle in to manufacturing wise will be interesting to see, because it's certainly in the process of a radical shake up, but I suspect it will along the lines of innovation. The Chinese are particularly lousy at doing this, they will copy something but almost never develop something new.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete F View Post
    You make very good points, I believe many are mistaken in believing profitable manufacturing will always only be possible in the lowest cost base, if that were true European auto and general manufacturing would have been dead years ago. I feel much of it is as a result of the insular perspective held within the US. There's a concurrent thread running on metrification where I'm also trying to convince people of the importance of globalisation and positioning yourselves to serve a world market instead of just a domestic one, because in many cases the domestic one is all but gone. I've never heard of some of the chuck manufacturers you mention here, but you can bet I've heard of TOS and Bison, even Rohm. Many times when I've been in the US I've handed out my business card and been asked what the "+61" was in front of my telephone number, I explained the "+" is an internationally recognised way of indicating an international number, you do whatever your local phone company requires to initiate intentional dialling, and the "61" was the country code. As I'm saying this I can see their eyes glaze over and they will start looking at me like I have 2 heads; it was clear they'd never called a number outside the US before, and had no idea how they'd go about it if they wanted to. These weren't idiots I was dealing with either, it's just they had never been exposed to this before. Conversely many times I've tried to source things from the US and you'd think they were taking a call from Osama bin Laden himself! They had no interest in going through the process of shipping internationally as it all just seemed too difficult. It's a big world out there with lots of money in it, hopefully more small and mid size US companies will get that message and hook in to it!

    In marketing products it's all about differentiating yourself from competitors. The Asians, in particular Chinese, differentiate themselves on cost. But if you try that without a significant cost advantage you're dead, dead 10 times over. The Europeans recognised that years ago and went down the quality path, it tends to fit the local culture and is profitable; pretty much my whole workshop is equipped with European tools, in particular German, so don't underestimate the market for those who demand quality and will pay for it. The Chinese, as mentioned differentiate on cost, they build crap and don't really care as long as you buy it, and lots of it. Here in Australia we tend to differentiate by servicing niches, too small for the Asians to be bothered with. Quite where the US will settle in to manufacturing wise will be interesting to see, because it's certainly in the process of a radical shake up, but I suspect it will along the lines of innovation. The Chinese are particularly lousy at doing this, they will copy something but almost never develop something new.
    Some US companies are fantastic thoough, their level of service surpasses anything we have in Australia (I suppose that aint hard to do tho')
    Maritool is a perfect example, I have tools from him quicker than I can get them from Melbourne.

  3. #43
    Pete F is online now Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by TonyOW31 View Post
    Some US companies are fantastic thoough, their level of service surpasses anything we have in Australia (I suppose that aint hard to do tho')
    Maritool is a perfect example, I have tools from him quicker than I can get them from Melbourne.
    You got that right, it's one reason I buy so much from the US. Sadly at the end of the day that's more the service/retail end and not manufacturing per se; quite often the products I buy are actually Chinese, purchased through a US retailer, then sent back out here ... not sure what doing a lap of the world does for global efficiency

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    I once took a class (in the US) with a man from Thailand that owned his own business there. Part of the class's benefits was a one-time order through a dealer-direct wholesaler next to the school. The guy from Thailand practically bought the farm!! We all asked, "What are you doing buying all these Japanese, Chinese, Taiwanese items here?" He responded, "It is less expensive to buy retail even in the States than to buy wholesale in Thailand." Crazy, that kind of stuff, but I absolutely believe it.

  5. #45
    Pete F is online now Titanium
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    Arthur, this will rock you then. I go up to Hong Kong quite often, which is quite a good place to get Chinese (and other country of origin) tooling on basically western terms ie you can walk in to a shop in the Reclamation Street area rather than screwing around directly with suppliers scattered about in China itself. It's not unusual to be able to buy cheaper instead from someone like Enco and have it flown out to Australia, particularly when freight is amortised over numerous parts in the same package. Obviously you need to know your prices, but it certainly often occurs. Instead I use the opportunity to buy European tooling from Hong Kong, sadly there are a lot of fakes so not only do you need to know prices but must be able to distinguish the real McCoy from counterfeit items. Unfortunately there is absolutely no shame in China in taking a company's product, reproducing a crap facsimile of it, then trying to flog it off to punters as the real deal, so you need to be extremely careful when paying a premium for a "reputable brand".

  6. #46
    Pete F is online now Titanium
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    Default Gibraltar Products

    Can anyone tell me where the Gibraltar chucks are made? I've search the net and, unless their main line of work is drum kits, I'm coming up with nothing on "Gilbraltar Products" as marked on their logo.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete F View Post
    Can anyone tell me where the Gibraltar chucks are made? I've search the net and, unless their main line of work is drum kits, I'm coming up with nothing on "Gilbraltar Products" as marked on their logo.
    If it is from MSC or ENCO, then it is one of MSC's house brands. There used to be a Gibraltar website a couple of years ago. At that time I did a whios search of the address and it came back as an MSC Industrial server.

    I bought a Gibraltar clamping kit from Enco and paid about 20% less than the price for the equivilent Teco set. The box that the set was in still had the shipping label on it from where it was originally shipped from Teco to MSC. The step blocks said made in the USA and looked Made in the USA, but the oxide finish of the studs looked suspiciously Chinese. It may be an economy set of mixed components put together by Teco for MSC/Enco, or it may just be a re-labeled Teco set. I've never seen the Teco set to know if it is the same.

    The chuck is most likely a re-labeled name brand. MSC can probably tell you the country of origin. They did on items I inquired about in the past.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baxtool View Post
    MSC can probably tell you the country of origin. They did on items I inquired about in the past.
    Yep!

    MSC is more than happy to tell you the country of origin on the items they carry. That's how I found out where the new Buck chucks are made - a day before Buck Chuck returned my call.

  9. #49
    Gary E is offline Diamond
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    Why would you guys care where the chuck or any other item comes from? You didn t care where the lathe came from, and as a result of that the US lathe builders went out of biz...
    Cincinnati?... GONE
    LeBlond ??... GONE... ok so the JAPS bougth them... and not to get the regal line of toys
    Lodge?? GONE
    W&S ? GONE
    American Tool ?? GONE
    Who's left?? NO ONE... so why would you expect chuck builders to not see the writing that YOU WROTE ON THE WALL saying... WE WANT CHEEEP FOREIGN CRAP ????

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary E View Post
    Why would you guys care where the chuck or any other item comes from? You didn t care where the lathe came from, and as a result of that the US lathe builders went out of biz...
    Because this is the lathe that chuck is going on:


  11. #51
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    QUOTE....
    I'd venture to say there are two types of machine tool buyers:

    1) Purchasing departments at large corporations.

    2) End-users who will actually run the machines.

    Purchasing departments care only about the cost. They're all lathes right? So why shouldn't they pick the cheapest one? They don't know anything about them, other than what the brochure says and most of that they probably don't understand.

    End-users on the other hand, like us, actually have to run the machines. We care about things like accuracy, build quality, ease-of-use, servicing, etc.

    I'd venture to say that it was partly the fault of the purchasing departments of major US manufacturers that led to the destruction of American machine tool manufacturing. Plus, we just don't make anything here anymore and well-built machine tools have a long service life. Much longer than say, an automobile. "

    Ok...so you have a machine from when Frank Wyle owned ATI... that makes it 40 or so yrs old?? Did you buy it new?

    Since it is that old, why not spend the money to have the chuck rebuilt... should be a machine tool rebuilder in the mid west able to do that...

    As of who buys what...
    I sold for ATI and sold many CNC lathes, most to small corps and a few to very large companies that had purchasing agents and also manufacturing engineers that knew what "the BEEF" looked like and they bought them....

    Only one time that I can recall did I ever sell a machine to a purchasing agent... I had dropped off a catalog of the American Radial drill some time ago to this very large company.. and they called and wanted to talk about it... so off I went, they wanted a HUGE Radial... After asking ATI for a quote on this... ATI said... umm...we just sold our column grinder, so,, sorry, cant build one.... Ok... Now I have to find a machine... I did, I found a 10 ft arm radial made in Germany that was not represented by anyone in my teritory, and that's what I sold them... it was bought sight unseen by a PA and probably the only time I ever sold anything to a PA.

    As for the little mom and pop shops?... they buy the foreign stuff, it's cheeper... and you know it. They are THROW AWAY lathes... you also know that.

  12. #52
    Ron of Va is offline Aluminum
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    FYI
    If you buy your chuck at Enco, use promo code WBRFD, save 20% on orders over $99. Offer expires 6/18/2010

  13. #53
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    Gary E

    You will (I hope) live long enough to yearn for the days when "foreign stuff", which I presume is code for China/India, was (sometimes) THROW AWAY.


    Japan was synonymous with junk when I was a kid. Mori Seiki, anybody? Care to run a Jacobs against a Yukiwa?

    Then it was Korea. as in Whacheon (baton pass from Mori). Throwaway?
    Please put them in the dumpster gently and call me collect.

    My take is this: People should buy on quality, appropriate for the job they need to do. Regardless of source.

    I agree that nobody should ever have bought the cheapest, crappiest Chinese/Indian stuff, unless they had only to use it once, outdoors and in the dark. That would have nipped that market segment in the bud. And people who needed quality and durability should have bought US whenever that made long-term sense. Undoubtedly that would have greatly helped.

    And when it didn't make sense, I think it would be commendable to have expressed any nationalistic feelings by holding the US machine-builders' feet to the fire, and not just slinking off to buy any old thing, especially not on price alone.

    I hardly think that people needing the services of a Monarch or a Cincy ever settled for a Grizzly or Jet, though.
    Do you have a problem with them buying Okuma or DMG, and what might that be?

    If you have worked out some coherent exit strategy, a hundred years hence, from the terminal decline inevitable when people persist in parochial support of local industry for purely sentimental reasons, you could make a fortune as a travelling consultant.

    (However you would have to invent a time machine, methinks, because no present or future government is likely to be that myopic)

    I agree with you that people buying "like accountants rather than machinists" was instrumental (but by no means the sole factor) in driving many purveyors of quality machine tools out of business in the US.
    But I would submit that things would be as bad for the US now, and worse in the future, if they'd bought "like machinists (with a company Amex gold card and no oversight of their decisions) rather than accountants".

    What this tells me is that accountants need oversight from people with the soul and intellect of a machinist, but not the stubborn mule-headedness etc etc... (substitute steely-eyed, brutally honest, warts and all self-assessment here).

    To illuminate the 'not sole factor' qualifier, I think it's intriguing that quality manual machine tools and chucks are still made in high-wage European countries, and I don't think any trade protection which may endure is a differentiating factor from the US.

    And if the US ever declines to become a niche supplier like we always have been, (and I shudder to contemplate the prospect...)I can tell you it's VERY useful - in fact, it's a survival imperative - to be able to source highly affordable production plant to make product for those niches .... niches which by definition are not big enough to attract the attention of the manufacturing juggernaut nations of the future.
    TheOldCar likes this.

  14. #54
    Pete F is online now Titanium
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baxtool View Post
    If it is from MSC or ENCO, then it is one of MSC's house brands. There used to be a Gibraltar website a couple of years ago. At that time I did a whios search of the address and it came back as an MSC Industrial server.

    I bought a Gibraltar clamping kit from Enco and paid about 20% less than the price for the equivilent Teco set. The box that the set was in still had the shipping label on it from where it was originally shipped from Teco to MSC. The step blocks said made in the USA and looked Made in the USA, but the oxide finish of the studs looked suspiciously Chinese. It may be an economy set of mixed components put together by Teco for MSC/Enco, or it may just be a re-labeled Teco set. I've never seen the Teco set to know if it is the same.

    The chuck is most likely a re-labeled name brand. MSC can probably tell you the country of origin. They did on items I inquired about in the past.
    Aaaaah thanks for that, it would explain why I couldn't find out anything about them. Yes, it was Enco. No I won't now bother, I can get a "no brand" here cheaper locally if that's what I was after. Worth a try anyway so thanks again.

    I agree with Troup, when I was a kid "Made in Japan" was defacto for "junk", "oh you don't want that, it's made in Japan!". How times change. Incidentally in Australia the country of origin must be clearly marked on goods and foods, and there are strict protocols as to what constitutes "made", not saying it's a good/bad thing, just interesting given the difficulties it sometimes seems for you to determine the same thing.

    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary E View Post
    Ok...so you have a machine from when Frank Wyle owned ATI... that makes it 40 or so yrs old?? Did you buy it new?
    I wasn't alive in 1970, or 1980 for that matter. Uncle Sam bought it new, stamped an anchor on it's data plate and presumably put it on an aircraft carrier or submarine tender. I got it after Uncle Sam was done slathering it with Machine Gray paint.

    Since it is that old, why not spend the money to have the chuck rebuilt... should be a machine tool rebuilder in the mid west able to do that...
    I'd rebuild it myself if I had a chuck to rebuild. Currently mounted is a 12 Cushman 4-jaw which is in excellent condition. However, I wanted to add an adjust-true scroll chuck to the tooling cabinet.

    As of who buys what...
    I sold for ATI and sold many CNC lathes, most to small corps and a few to very large companies that had purchasing agents and also manufacturing engineers that knew what "the BEEF" looked like and they bought them....

    Only one time that I can recall did I ever sell a machine to a purchasing agent... I had dropped off a catalog of the American Radial drill some time ago to this very large company.. and they called and wanted to talk about it... so off I went, they wanted a HUGE Radial... After asking ATI for a quote on this... ATI said... umm...we just sold our column grinder, so,, sorry, cant build one.... Ok... Now I have to find a machine... I did, I found a 10 ft arm radial made in Germany that was not represented by anyone in my teritory, and that's what I sold them... it was bought sight unseen by a PA and probably the only time I ever sold anything to a PA.

    As for the little mom and pop shops?... they buy the foreign stuff, it's cheeper... and you know it. They are THROW AWAY lathes... you also know that.
    Interesting info RE: purchasing agents, Gary.

    Fundamentally, I'm not denying what you're saying. If we, as Americans, weren't buying the Chinese shit, it wouldn't be sold here. Which is why I started this thread. Not only to let people who care know that Buck Chuck is no longer a US-made product, but hopefully to steer a little business towards what may very well be the only remaining lathe chuck manufacturer in the US.

    My only point was to indicate that not all of us are like that. I avoid throw-away junk whenever possible, which is why I have a Pacemaker and why I'm almost finished rebuilding a 1947 Do-All saw. I could have bought two or three new Chinese saws for the amount of time and materials I have into the rebuild. Instead, I have a newly rebuilt American-made band saw which should comfortably last another 60 years.

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