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

Sharps1874

Cast Iron
Joined
Oct 10, 2002
Location
Boalsburg, PA USA
The OP strikes me as a no-nonsense fellow with a sense of personal responsibility and the big picture. I suspect he will be a good hire for some outfit. Far from being a "idiot" as someone suggested, he is doing what many of us do in other ways and at least sometimes.

We used to have three well-stocked hardware stores in my town. We now have just one. Home Depot and Lowe's arrived some years ago, and of course Amazon is everywhere with its free shipping if you have a membership (which we do). The loss of those two hardware stores has been huge in terms of personal service, convenience, and access to low-volume merchandise. I'll pay a premium to support our last hardware store. Not ANY amount, of course, but I'll make a contribution to help them stay in business. It's nice to have them around.

Some people will pay a little extra to support domestic businesses, some will pay more, and some won't pay any. Anyone in the last group has no right to complain about the loss of manufacturing jobs in the US. I think this young man understands that.
 

Superbowl

Cast Iron
Joined
Feb 12, 2020
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.


Because few people want them. There is always a huge market for mass produced goods made "good enough." There is also a market for when price is no object and perfection is necessary. The middle market is where manufactores die. For example if most cheap Chinese are within .0005 and the Suburban one is dead nuts, where is the market for in between?
 

Newman109

Diamond
Joined
Sep 4, 2006
Location
Sacramento County, California, USA California
I have a set of parallels that I bought some 25 years ago when I got into machining to support my then motorcycle racing habit. I recall that I got them from ENCO long before they were swallowed up by MSC and disappeared from the market.
I couldn't tell you where they were made except to say that the red plastic box in which they came looks suspiciously like the ones in the MSC catalog shown above. :rolleyes5:
Oh yeah. They work OK for my needs.
 

EPAIII

Diamond
Joined
Nov 23, 2003
Location
Beaumont, TX, USA
I agree, it IS a good point. And this IS a "Manufacturing" forum. I peeked, that word is in the title. So, would anybody here (US shops) want to produce a new product? A set of 1/8" thick parallels by 1/16" increments going from perhaps 0.250" to 1.500" high for a target price of $400, including shipping (at least to the 50 states). They should be hardened and have a tolerance of +/-0.0002 which would be guaranteed (free replacement warranty) for at least a year (to ensure the heat treatment was done properly). In other words, no warping allowed. That tolerance should apply to sets made over the years as well, in case a customer needs additional, matching parallels. A wood or plastic box should be included.

It sounds like a money maker to me. I am throwing down the gauntlet. This is an opportunity for your shop to make more money. Any takers? If not, please tell us why. And "my shop is too busy" does not count. If this is doable, you can always hire another machinist and buy a (another) milling machine and/or surface grinder.

I ask for explanations as to why your shop can not do this because I suspect those answers would be a lot more informative than any of the discussion already present in this thread.



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.
 

dian

Titanium
Joined
Feb 22, 2010
Location
ch
is there a u.s. standard for parallels? over here its seems to be IT5 (iso 286-1).

without knowing the tolerance the above discussion doesnt make sence. im not sure if we are talking about parallels or gage blocks. 5µ over 200 mm is IT1. then you want them not to bent? why? they will, but sideways. and you want to stack them up and mix with other sets? no way.

if you buy ground stuff the price approximately doubles with each class. lets say some sliding bushings. H6 is common. H4 is rare and expensive. i havent seen any lower than that. thats gage territory.

(oh, and btw, concerning "imports": in todays global economy its a futile undertaking. can you be sure the steel in u.s. made is not chinese? the nickel in it might be russian. where did the grit it was ground with come from? did you know there is a high probapility of having the same molecule in a glass of water taken at home and a year later in another place of the world? so the water it was hardened with will be to some extent chinese as well.)
 
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AdamC

Cast Iron
Joined
Jun 16, 2011
Location
SE PA
Did I miss the post recommending ebay or fb marketplace? I have several sets of homemade parallels 3” and 6” long I’ve picked up for pennies. They are easy to inspect. I cant think of the downside.

Thin parallels are nice. So are the super fat starretts. I don’t think your instructor would care what you show up to school with.

FWIW, I have a bunch of parallel sets as I’ve written, but I only use a couple. You need a pair that is close to the height of your vice jaws, a set half as tall as your vises jaw and maybe one or 2 in between. I can’t think of any reason to have many more than that.
 

MilGunsmith

Stainless
Joined
Mar 6, 2006
Location
Sandyston, NJ
We were required to make our parallels and V-blocks as Toolmaker Apprentices. My Dad also made his back in 1950 when he was an apprentice, the 1/4" ones have an I-beam cross section with holes in the web. He said that was to make the tool box lighter to move from bench to bench, They only had their wooden boxes and no rolling carts like we use today.
 

Mike1974

Diamond
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Location
Tampa area
We were required to make our parallels and V-blocks as Toolmaker Apprentices. My Dad also made his back in 1950 when he was an apprentice, the 1/4" ones have an I-beam cross section with holes in the web. He said that was to make the tool box lighter to move from bench to bench, They only had their wooden boxes and no rolling carts like we use today.
made these in my apprenticeship. flat/parallel/matched less than .0005" after almost 30 years!
20220601_085402.jpg
 

Mazinger

Plastic
Joined
May 26, 2022
Have a look on vintage machinery.com, he’s selling a bucket load of really quite good tooling at the moment...
I checked it out, but the stuff went fast and he was already sold out by the time I watched the video he posted. I emailed him anyway just to see if he has any leads. Hopefully he'll reply with good news.
 

Mike1974

Diamond
Joined
Nov 5, 2014
Location
Tampa area
Grinding hard thin flat parallels is a good learning event, not uncommon for an apprentice to grind them to a nice radius (bow)..
Ya it's good practice to try and get them flat. Especially if you have a grinder with no coolant... it's a learning experience, and a GOOD one
 

p-moon

Aluminum
Joined
Apr 2, 2005
Location
indiana
On the subject of Chinese tooling, buy it, check it, tune it up as needed. On the subject of parallels in increments of 1/8", Why? I made them in .100 increments and they were WAY more useful than the 1/8" ones. You should too, probably need the practice. Had to go collect them from other guys in the shop every time I wanted to use them..... On the subject of them curling up when grinding, I always milled shallow pockets in each side so there was way less area to grind. Kept them cool.
 

Mazinger

Plastic
Joined
May 26, 2022
To follow up on the Accurate Manufactured Products Group parallels mentioned earlier in the thread...
I called them and the lady said they are made in China, but the plastic cases are made in America, hence the conflicting COO information found across the internet.

I ended up buying a set on facebook marketplace from a total stranger and had him ship them to me. The package arrived and it didn't contain a brick or scraps of 2x4, so that was cool. It's an old set of Japanese origin. They're very lightly used and two of the pairs were still in their factory wrap. I checked a couple at random and they were parallel within two tenths. It was $70 including shipping, so I'm pretty happy with my purchase, but still kinda sad that there's no domestic option these days.
 








 
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