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Seeking recommendations on non-Chinese 1/8" solid parallel set

Mazinger

Plastic
Joined
May 26, 2022
Make your own.
I DO have parallels that I am dead certain were made in the US. I MADE THEM.
I think making your own parallels is probably worthwhile, and I'd like to do it at some point. I'm still very green at this point, and time is an issue. I really need to tool up so I can hit the ground running. I've already got several projects to grind for class and others to make on the mill. There's just not enough time to make both my mill projects and other grinding projects wait while I fab my own parallels.

I'm definitely going to buy my first set of parallels, but it might be the last set I buy. Might not be a bad thing if I grind my own after that once I've built the chops, especially if the market for parallels remains as dismal as it seems to be right now.
 

Mazinger

Plastic
Joined
May 26, 2022
One brand that they list that I am fairly certain is made in the US is Suburban Tools. But have a stiff drink,sit down, and fasten your seat belt before you look at the price.
I had stumbled across Suburban Tool already. Obviously it's very nice stuff, but besides the high cost, they only offer them in 1/4" thickness. Might be something to have down the road, but for now I want to stick with what my instructors specify, which is 1/8".

Really the price per pair isn't too crazy (only slightly crazy). As of this writing, MSC wants $1630 for the set of 22. A set of 10 at the same price per pair would be about $740. Thinner parallels tend to be less expensive for whatever reason. If Suburban did make 1/8" sets of 10 pairs, I wonder if the price might approach the $500 range. A decent amount of people might go for that.
 

Mazinger

Plastic
Joined
May 26, 2022
The OP does raise a good point
How come I cannot buy a, I dunno $400 set of 1/8 by X USA made parallels.
I don't need $40 ones, but $2000 seems a bit much, I mean, I am going to drill a hole in one soon enough
The B&S are China, bought some 2 years ago.
This is exactly what I've been asking myself lately. It's really got me sore that Mitutoyo doesn't make parallels. I feel like they could crank out a really nice set at a reasonable price if they wanted to.

Thanks for the scoop on the B&S. Kind of a bummer to hear, but as of now, I haven't found a single set in 1/8" thickness that's positively not made in PRC. Closest I've seen so far is "Taiwan OR China". I might just end up getting the B&S if China is literally the only option. At least the specs on that set are good. Initially I thought that Taiwan would be my last resort, but now it's looking like it would be a godsend!
 

Big B

Diamond
Joined
Jun 26, 2009
Location
Michigan, USA
You probably can't buy the steel to make your own for what the Chinese ones cost. Can I ask why you are so set against the Chinese ones?

I made my own set over 40 years ago when I was an apprentice and we were expected to do that kind of "government work". But mine are 1/4" thick. I needed some 1/8" ones when I started working for myself and bought a set. Probably imported. They got the job done for me and still do so that's all that matters now.
 

Mazinger

Plastic
Joined
May 26, 2022
What is your budget?
Good question. I didn't want to declare a cap up front before I thoroughly surveyed the landscape.

At first, after seeing a lot of $50 to $150 Chinese sets, I told myself that I'd happily plunk down $250 for a USA set. I was so naive back then (like 3 days ago).

Haven't found a USA set yet at any price. As of now, the nicest set I've seen is from B&S, which appears to be made in China, and can be had for a hair over $300, maybe a few more hairs after shipping.
So now I'm thinking I'd be willing to drop $400, but I'm not even sure a USA set exists. Might still be willing to drop that for a set from another region. I'm still hoping that someone will tip me off on where to find that unicorn.
 

Mazinger

Plastic
Joined
May 26, 2022
RE: I'm a Tool & Die noob on the hunt for the tools and equipment required for my Tool & Die courses.

It would be interesting to know what tools are on that list. Here is one course list: ..and it is a pretty good list.
That's my school, actually.

There is a more recent list on paper that was handed out to us, but I'm sure it's not too different from the one at the link you posted.
 

triumph406

Titanium
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Location
ca
Good question. I didn't want to declare a cap up front before I thoroughly surveyed the landscape.

At first, after seeing a lot of $50 to $150 Chinese sets, I told myself that I'd happily plunk down $250 for a USA set. I was so naive back then (like 3 days ago).

Haven't found a USA set yet at any price. As of now, the nicest set I've seen is from B&S, which appears to be made in China, and can be had for a hair over $300, maybe a few more hairs after shipping.
So now I'm thinking I'd be willing to drop $400, but I'm not even sure a USA set exists. Might still be willing to drop that for a set from another region. I'm still hoping that someone will tip me off on where to find that unicorn.

I have several sets of these parallels from ebay $30.69+$7.75, had them for a few years, so might not be the same manufacturer


as for being parrallel and correct height there right on the money, so they get mixed up with all the other foreign and domestic parrallels.

Unfortuantly some aren't flat which is annoying.

Buy the cheap parrallels and spend the money on something more important
 

car2

Stainless
Joined
Sep 19, 2009
Location
Apex, NC
Not to hijack the thread, but why doesn't anyone make parallels in 1/16" thickness; these would very often be just the right thickness, while the 1/32 ones are not flat, and a pain to work with; I wouldn't care if the 1/16 were not perfectly flat. .
 

IninefingersI

Aluminum
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Location
Doo Dah, Kansas
Good question. I didn't want to declare a cap up front before I thoroughly surveyed the landscape.

At first, after seeing a lot of $50 to $150 Chinese sets, I told myself that I'd happily plunk down $250 for a USA set. I was so naive back then (like 3 days ago).

Haven't found a USA set yet at any price. As of now, the nicest set I've seen is from B&S, which appears to be made in China, and can be had for a hair over $300, maybe a few more hairs after shipping.
So now I'm thinking I'd be willing to drop $400, but I'm not even sure a USA set exists. Might still be willing to drop that for a set from another region. I'm still hoping that someone will tip me off on where to find that unicorn.
Sorry, fella, but if you are willing to drop $400 on a set of parallels just because of where they come from, you are an idiot. I have never once seen you question quality. Just origin. Stupid. Taiwanese is even the bottom of the line for you and they make some of the best shit out there.

If you are dedicated to living your life without Chinese products, you are going to spend it with one of your dick skinners wrapped around a hammer and a chisel in the other.
 
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dazz

Stainless
Joined
Aug 20, 2006
Location
New Zealand
Hi
I think you should consider your needs rather than your wants. If you or your milling machine is, for any reason, not capable of achieving sub-thou tolerances, there is no point in spending $$$$$ on a set of parallels with errors measured in Angstroms. If you don't do work that requires fine tolerances, you don't need super high quality parallels.

I don't have a set of parallels but I manage OK without them. I use some pieces of key-steel, shimmed with roll-your-own cigarette paper. It is inefficient and time consuming but it works. For me it means parallels are highly desirable, but not essential.
I base tool buying decisions on the capability they add. I don't care where they come from. A tool that will allow me to do something I can't currently do, will take priority over a tool that is better than what I have.
 

gustafson

Diamond
Joined
Sep 4, 2002
Location
People's Republic
People keep missing the OPs point.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to buy American made, or having a preference that way.
When I started out, I usually bought what I could afford
Now I tend to think I would like a little nicer.
Or at least have the option
hey if a grand is the only USA made option, well, maybe that is too much.

But the real problem with many imports[tools toasters etc] is that we are really not getting the advantage of the low cost products.
Like those B&S parallels[that I bought] we are paying 300 bucks for 50 dollars worth of goods. You telling me you cannot make 300 dollar parallel sets in this country?
 

memphisjed

Stainless
Joined
Jan 21, 2019
Location
Memphis
People keep missing the OPs point.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to buy American made, or having a preference that way.
When I started out, I usually bought what I could afford
Now I tend to think I would like a little nicer.
Or at least have the option
hey if a grand is the only USA made option, well, maybe that is too much.

But the real problem with many imports[tools toasters etc] is that we are really not getting the advantage of the low cost products.
Like those B&S parallels[that I bought] we are paying 300 bucks for 50 dollars worth of goods. You telling me you cannot make 300 dollar parallel sets in this country?
50 would be hard to do. 200 like the Accurate ones seems more than profitable. B+S et al can make about the same profit at 300 here or there - but it is so much easier to just not have machines, employees, qc and walk with the same profit. Maybe the market is really small, I noticed PEC does not make a set... I prefer them over most when possible. They have a nice feel.
 

specfab

Titanium
Joined
May 28, 2005
Location
AZ
In reviewing McMaster's offering (1 set at 10 pairs in 1/8" thick, $157), the product detail states "P.R.C., Taiwan, or the United States". I have sometimes been able to get more definition on product source currently in stock by calling McMaster and asking about that.
 

rons

Diamond
Joined
Mar 5, 2009
Location
California, USA
Beware of India. My boring head came with a complimentary pack of shanks with carbide tips. One broke. Another doesn't fit into the Criterion.
The one that doesn't fit was put into my lathe (cutter inside collet). Spun and hit with paper (400/600). Still doesn't fit.
 

boslab

Titanium
Joined
Jan 6, 2007
Location
wales.uk
Have a look on vintage machinery.com, he’s selling a bucket load of really quite good tooling at the moment, I know your looking parallels but ex controlled Lockheed Martin imperial kit cheap is an chance not to miss, Keith Rucker is the guy, I’m sure you’ve seen his videos, he may be able to hook you up with some B&S parallels.
Mine were Chinese, I took them into work and re ground them on the old Jones and shipman no4, they came out great, good exercise too.
Mark
 

EPAIII

Diamond
Joined
Nov 23, 2003
Location
Beaumont, TX, USA
Perhaps I was not precise enough in my description. Yes, I did make the parallels myself. But absolutely no milling or grinding work was needed.

From McMaster Carr, a very good supplier (IMHO anyway) I purchased several lengths of

Flat Ground Stock

in various sizes. Then I walked over to my saw and cut several lengths from each of them: 1", 2", 4", and 6" long. I cut two of each length so I had matched pairs.

Their flat ground stock does not vary by much along a single piece. It is easily within 0.0001" in both of the shorter dimensions. The lengths are not matched and do not matter.

As I cut them, I marked the ones that came from the same pieces of stock with file notches at the intersection of a common side and an end. So I know which parallels came from the same length of stock. And, in the case of square stock, I know that the marks are on the SAME side: this is because the square ones did not match as well across the two pairs of sides.

I got a number of parallels. I got very high accuracy. I got a reasonable price. I did NOT invest much time: my saw could be started and ignored until the cut was finished. I did other things. And, as you wish, they are 100% made in the US. I did all the QC. I checked the stock's dimensions before using it. I checked them after cutting them. Accurate, quick and easy to make, reasonably priced; what more can I say.

The one thing mentioned above that I did not get was hardened parallels. I will be the only one using them and if, when I am 110 years old, they get a bit worn, I can always order some more flat ground stock. Oh, and I did not get a nice wood or plastic case. I just keep them in a couple of my plastic bin drawers.

Frankly I do not know how anybody can justify the price that Suburban Tools is asking. I am sure they put a lot of effort into them and can probably show you how they arrived at that price. But still, ..... All I can think of is GSA. And they probably get a contract price, not the list price.



I think making your own parallels is probably worthwhile, and I'd like to do it at some point. I'm still very green at this point, and time is an issue. I really need to tool up so I can hit the ground running. I've already got several projects to grind for class and others to make on the mill. There's just not enough time to make both my mill projects and other grinding projects wait while I fab my own parallels.

I'm definitely going to buy my first set of parallels, but it might be the last set I buy. Might not be a bad thing if I grind my own after that once I've built the chops, especially if the market for parallels remains as dismal as it seems to be right now.
 








 
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