I saw some Enco Mic's for sale on craigslist and was wondering if they were decent. Its an Enco 0-12 set model number 604-00. The 0-1 is missing, no big deal, i have a 0-1 starrett i bought for 20 bucks, the 1-2 and 2-3 are Mitutoyo, and the rest are Enco, all have carbide faces and are measured in 1/10,000 scale, and it comes with all standards. He wants 225 for all of them. Good Deal?
Depends on country of origin. Here is my experience with Enco mikes:
I bought a cheap set of Enco mikes 0-4 for $80 IIRC to get my nephew off to a start. I figured better than nothing. Turned out to be great tools. Their feel and ease of use was excepllent. I sent them off to a cal lab that owed me a favor. They ran them through their mill and pronounced them equal to Starrett and Mitutoyo in fit ad finish, calibration etc. What they couldn't tell me is the metallurgy of the thread and nut, an all-impotant wear point. You can't Rc test a mike spindle without damaging it.
They were Polish made. I bought a set of 0-6 and in a week sold them to a friend of mine who had to have them. Then I bought the 0-12 set (always wanted a box set). A few years later I went to work for an outfit that had bought multiple sets of Chinese made mikes with painted stamped steel frames. I was skeptical but they turned out to be damn good mikes for any price. The final adjustment on these Chinese origin mikes was wretched. Once they were gone over, cleaned, oiled, carefully set and zeroed, they passed the anvil and spindle parallelism test and all other tests I could come up with. The remaining question mark was the metallurgy: how durable was the measuring thread and nut?
On those two cases Enco cheapo mikes were acceptable under FED SPEC GGG-C-105C and its ISO equivalent. So they comply and while their features, fit, and finish were comparable to Sarrett and Mitutoyo they still are under the cloud of "dubious import" It boils down to low price set against your gambler's instincts. $225 for a mixed bag two of which are name brands? Mmmm maybe.
How bad do you need the sizes you don't have now? For $205 you can buy Enco's 0-6 micrometer set in a wood box #600-0007. 0.0001" vernier, carbide faces, standards, and ratchet stop. You pays your money and takes your chance.
If you order them, ask about country of origin and their approval/return policy. Probably Chinese but you never know. Won't cost anything to look except tie up a couple hundred bucks for a few weeks.
I do not hink i would buy anything other than Mitutoyo or starrett personally.
-If you are just making stuff for yourself by all means go for the enco stuff
-If you are doing work professionally, and they are calibrated, with certs, you are probably fine
When i walk in to evaluate a new shop I always ask for calibration certificates, and want to glance at their micrometers. most of the time I bring a few of my own standards to check them out with. If i see enco mics and no certs, I would probably mot use the shop. My reasoning is that the most important part of manufacturing even more than making the parts right is the ability to measure them correctly, if you can not measure it, you can not make it. And a bunch of chinese crap is not a good gage to the persons commitment to dimensions.
It might be worth mentioning that cheaper Asian imports such as Enco, Or Chuan or whatever, are essentially unserviceable. Drop one and it will be out of parallel. Get a quote to lap it back in and the quote will be more than the mike cost new. Not only, but parts are unobtainable. Smart enough to throw the broken ones in a box under your desk for future cannibalization? NOT! Parts from a four year old Enco will not fit a contemporary Enco. In fact I recall one case where a supplier bought 5 new 0-1 inch Enco mikes and got two distinct variations in physical details and two colors of paint on the frames- which did not align with the detail differences... and all under the same ordering number.
Unless you are a 'starving artist' among machinists, stay away from such junk. All you are doing is feeding the trade deficit if you buy them.
Two people; two entirely different experiences. Like I said check country of origin. The Polish made mikes I bought were well made and have served me well for about 12 years now. The Chinese mikes I referenced did well in a commercial shop for several years to my knowledge and they were as sensitive to performance/quality as any shop I've been in.
Originally Posted by ed.hopson
Are you sure you're not buying into commonly held industrial Jingoism: "If its Cinese its automatically junk" then citing other people's horror stories as though they were your own? Don't get your feathers ruffled. I've done it myself. Many times otherwise knowledgeable people accept plausible nonsense they wish to believe true without first filtering the info through technical skepticism. In rhetoric the fallacy called "ad hominum" but here referring to country that is NOT the US.
There is surely junk machine tools and machist equipment imported from Asia. My point is it's not ALL junk. To be fair it has to be accepted or rejected on its objective merits not because "some guy told me..."
This is a common problem from those who have had good experiences with cheap imported products.
Originally Posted by Forrest Addy
It's certainly possible to find individual examples that are quite good, perhaps the best such product you've ever seen.
But there's no quality control. Whatever comes off the assembly line goes in a box and out the door. The next sample might be excellent, or not.
Couple this with the fact that most products are single-run. Each production run differs from its predecessor, making it impossible to maintain any kind of product history.
A good example is the comment above about several different styles provided under the same catalog number.
The first question to ask when considering any product is whether or not repair parts are available.
If a company makes a quality product it will provide repair parts.
One warning sign is the warranty policy. If it provides "free replacement", that means that no repair facilities or parts exist.
Another red flag is if warranty support is provided through the seller rather than directly from the manufacturer.
Poland has a long history of making good machine tools. Some other countries do not.
Reputations are earned... over time.
I'm not buying into anything- I simply know my stuff. A word about my credentials may be in order. I have 38 years in Quality Assurance, having handled the range of duties from receipt inspection to tooling inspection to gage calibration. From 1985-1993 ! was a top-of-scale dimensional metrology technician working hands-on in the house metrology lab for an aerospce firm in San Diego. Since then I have been the calibration coordinator defacto or by title at every employer since.
Originally Posted by Forrest Addy
I can calibrate just about anything to procedure and I can write a procedure where there is none. I can diagnose and repair almost any analog gage, and I know where to send them if I can't. In short, I'm "The Beef". No brag, just fact.
Yep... I have to agree with litlerob.
Originally Posted by litlerob
Every participant has personal experience and knowledge that may benefit others.
Pontification doesn't work, regardless of the source.
Nobody has been appointed "authority of the day" on any subject.
The best candidate I can think of would be Forrest Addy. He and I don't always agree, but he sure knows his stuff, and is happy to share his expertise.
I suppose I should rebut. However things have gone far enough. There's no need to excalate rancor.
I will go this far: one give credit where credit is due. Even a blind hog finds an acorn and even the loathesome Asians can make good tools. The "good" should be differentiated from the "bad" (if your're comitted to valued logic). That's only fair.
Anyone entertaining the idea of purchasing tools should shop carefully. Even Starett puts out a lemon once in a great while. If you can accept a bit shorter life and are willing to accept a little risk, he should consider loawer cost import tools PROVIDED he shops carefully.
I have to agree that asking if I'm sure I'm not buying into other peoples horror stories is no threat, but to suggest my experience is not my own, IE hearsay; certainly seems like a 'who-are-you' question to me. A question that seemed worthy of a pretty definitive response. I wasn't trying to lord it over anybody, I was just trying to answer that perceived question!
Originally Posted by Forrest Addy
Now I'm not into cyberspace, I admit; and I never was politically correct- something that used to be seen as an asset in my line of work. So am I just in the wrong place? How might I have better responded? Because- again, I clearly don't understand something important here. << real questions- input please!>>
I get it that you guys know your stuff and I was and still am glad to find a venue where all of our collective experiences can be shared freely. I hope to continue to visit and learn and share here.
Thanks in advance, Ed H
Last edited by The real Leigh; 04-26-2012 at 12:15 PM.
Reason: quote syntax corrected
Originally Posted by ed.hopson
That is kind of the point, you haven't been here long enough to know what is being asked or by who. But making the blanketed statement "I am the Beef" is implying that it ends with you, that there is nothing above you. Had you been here a while you would know that Forrest Addy was not threatening you, just asking a simple question.
Originally Posted by ed.hopson
You are not in the wrong place, P.C. is not a big deal here IMO. But once you have read 100,000 posts or so, know the ground work, then as I have said in a different thread; You'll learn where the break-room is, where the bathroom is, where the shop is, where the front office is and where Q.C. is. It's just kind of to see a person with less then 25 posts say something so uuuggghhh? Obtuse?
Originally Posted by ed.hopson
Welcome to the forum.
Now Girls... Calm down.
Ok here is what I do when I want a name brand mic. for cheap. Go to a big city pawn shop. Pick out the very worst part of town. The location where any one with sense wouldn't go. Sense no respectable machinist would shop there and the crackheads don't use mics. They can often be had for $10.00 each. I did pay a premium for a 11 to 12 inch Lufkin it was $15. Don't expect to get the standards. They must use them for stiring dope.
While I am nobody special, nor do I have any impressive credentials to throw around, I do own a set of enco mics 7-12 recently bought at a garage sale. They were too cheap to pass up. A certificate of accuracy was in each box dated 1992. They are Chaun Brand, steel frame, and most are still in wrapping. The fit and finish seem nice but not as nice as my mitutoyo digital mics. While they should be fine for anything I will make in my home shop, I would personally not bet them against a multi-thousand dollar part, nor would haul them in a professional shop.
This is a pretty good idea. I laughed when I read it. And I imagine the crackheads are the ones bringing the mics in to sell. They just didn't have the sense to steal the standards along with the mics.
Originally Posted by 47nomad
NOw my two cents about Enco mics- Enco brand everything is always import, and for them it seems like import is almost always china. Application is almost always the bottom line, what is it being used for, how good does it need to be? In my own experience, admittedly rather little it may be, machining tools suffer from the law of diminishing return moreso than almost any other product I can name. That is to say you can spend 5 dollars on a horrible product, 8 dollars on a good product, 15 on a really good product, and 30 on a product that it slightly better than the 15 dollar product. for example, my first set of personal OD mics was a set of Fowler 0-6. And I didn't really need them, I had ready access to a set of shop Mitutoyos, I just wanted my own. For when I did need my own set, like when I got a better job. And they served me very well for many many years and made me lots and NOT lots of money at times haha. Were they as good as the shops Mitutoyos? No. Were they as hefty and as silky smooth as the starretts I have now? Hell no. Was I able to hold half thou tolerances on them and get accurate, repeatable measurements without any head scratchin? Yep. For years. And that whole 0-6 set cost me leass than any TWO of the Starretts.
In another example, two of my co workers both have import mics. The first has had a 0-12 set for probably about ten years, have probably been handled, ahem, roughly by this particular guy.These mics are pretty solid, they appear to be a stamped frame, have a typical ribbing along the body with a lip around the outside edge where the dies met up, but the metal is smooth and the paint is a baked enamel. The anvils are peculiarly small and the thimbles seem very large but they are ratchet stopped, carbide faced and locknutted.The threads feel clumsy and rather, well, horrible, but Ill be damned if I don;t get REASONABLY close reading with them, like, within .0002-.0003. The second guy is a pretty sharp guy, came from a couple of shops in Mexico where the company supplied EVERYTHING and now he has to buy his own stuff, and since he had to basically start from scratch these were the best he could afford. Looking through the tool catalogues he found one set tHAt Was 0-12 for like 200 and another set that was 0-12 with a pair of 12 inch calipers for the same price. So he ordered those. When they arrived the box was cracked, and when we opened the lid the standards were strewn all over the place. Later that day he called me over to his machine and he was laughing. He was checking th OD of the part he was running and he wanted me to double check his reading. So I measured it and got the same reading but it just felt WRONG. He said "look" and as he checked it I watched and was amazed as only the outmost edge of the anvile touched the part! And when I say the edge, I mean the EDGE. As in, there was light showing between the frame side of the anvil and the part. Then he showed me the other ones. On some the frames were visibly bent, the anvils drilled in line with the spindle but obivously biased towards one side of the frame. Others had rather large blowholes from the casting process. It is clear there was MINIMAL if any de burring done before they were painted with whatever lead based paint they use on the McDonalds toys. The thing that made my co worker laugh the hardest was that it looked like one of the standards had an end that got overlooked during chamfering and it looks like someone chamfered it by hand on a pedestal grinder. I am NOT making this stuff up. And I have to applaud my cowrokers good sense of humor because if I had spent my money and THIS is what came my way I am not sure I would be laughing. I sure laughed along with him though!
But even the crappy cheap ones DO measure to a standard, and with caution, good parts CAN be made with them. Sometimes we tend to forget, I think, that part of measurement is technique, and the best and most expensive tool is useless in the hands of a jack@$$. Just like good parts can be made with junk. For some applications, I think chinese stuff is as close to high dollar stuff in terms of quality that I am willing to pay for. Personally, my OD mics are not a part of my tool box I want to save money on, but to each his own.
Again, it really just comes down to application. Be careful, shop around. I think Leigh made a good point about the absence of chinese QC, whihc is something I have often thought myself, and especially about the conditions of warranties and who provides them, which is something I have failed to consider. For my dollar though, you never know what you'll need again someday; sometimes its worth the investment to get something you will WANT to use again later.
"But there's no quality control. Whatever comes off the assembly line goes in a box and out the door."
Originally Posted by The real Leigh
I beg to differ. Granted I haven't seen many companies in China but the ones I know and have seen have excellent QC. We'll always end up with the fact if the price is unusually low then it probably won't be first class regardless of who makes it or where. There's always a reason for a low price.
I am not saying imported tools are automatically bad, but I cannot see the humor in defending the products of countries and economies with which us or our brothers in this industry compete.