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Crap vee blocks and "Oxford Precision"?

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choochoo_baloo26/06/2017 01:52:05
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I was about to order a pair of vee blocks (the unbranded far eastern type from Arc) and then watched a video showing how a pair of supposedly ground precision vee blocks, of the same style as that sold by all the usual retailers were

(a) not ground on the vee surfaces

(b) not even parallel along the tops as measured with a clock gauge on a surface plate. They differed by ~8 thou over the pair!

What little optimism I had for using these import items has now gone out of the window.

Therefore the purpose of this post is twofold. 1) What experiences do others have of import workholding and jig tooling such as vee blocks

2) I was pleased to find a what appears to be a quality British vee block pair https://www.cromwell.co.uk/shop/measuring-and-test-equipment/vee-blocks-and-clamps-steel/40x50x40mm-workshop-vee-blocks-c-w-clamps/p/OXD3702300K but I cannot find any positive Google result for the company "Oxford Precision" (Leicester). I want to ascertain whether they are indeed made in Leicester, or if it's a crafty bit of branding when they are also imports - like with modern Jacob's chucks. Will phone Cromwell tomorrow for an answer in any case.

Thanks in advance.

NB: Here's a shot from a manual form "Oxford Precision" that does turn up in search results.

oxford precision

Edited By choochoo_baloo on 26/06/2017 01:52:27

Enough!26/06/2017 02:02:42
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Posted by choochoo_baloo on 26/06/2017 01:52:05:

I was about to order a pair of vee blocks (the unbranded far eastern type from Arc) and then watched a video showing how a pair of supposedly ground precision vee blocks, of the same style as that sold by all the usual retailers were

(a) not ground on the vee surfaces

(b) not even parallel along the tops as measured with a clock gauge on a surface plate. They differed by ~8 thou over the pair!

Sounds like no attempt had been made to finish them. Since it seems pretty pointless to try to sell a product line like that, I'd have to assume that one or more operations had been missed on this particular pair but they had got into the supply chain anyway.

Returning them to the vendor for exchange should have rectified the situation.

Chris Evans 626/06/2017 07:32:35
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I do not believe Ketan would send anything out from ARC like that. Phone him first and save some money. I bought "Eclipse" vee blocks over 50 years ago and had to grind them to get a matching pair, then had to make a second clamp as they where only supplied with one. They are still in use though.

JasonB26/06/2017 07:34:24
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My far eastern Vee blocks work fine for what I do, can't remember who they came from but probably Chronos or Tracy.

My ARC 1,2,3 and 10,20,40 blocks, ER and 5C blocks and quite a few other imported items all work for me. Maybe that was just a bad example in the video, did it say who made them or were they just £4 direct from China?

As the usual customers for the Oxford tooling will not be hobbiests but trade users they tend to have better things to do with their time than write google etc  reviews

What sort of things are you intending to make as that would help people say if something may or may not be suitable for your intended use?

Edited By JasonB on 26/06/2017 08:23:26

JasonB26/06/2017 08:35:23
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I assume this is the video you are talking about.

Interestingly looking through a couple of catalogues this type of Vee block tends to be shown with less accurate surfaces than the type you are looking at from Cromwell eg video type 0.0012" on teh vees but the cromwell type 0.0002" for expensive and 0.0005" for mid range

Muzzer26/06/2017 08:47:06
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What a silly, thoughtless post by the OP. You can indeed buy utter crap from "the far East" but you can also buy absolutely top notch stuff from there. Same with UK made stuff (if it really is UK made in the first place) - there is plenty locally made crap available too. Far better to sit back in your armchair and never spend a penny - that way you won't waste a penny either.

Why not buy based on reputation? That's how some retailers gain a loyal following, based on years of careful work, sourcing good quality parts and giving good customer service. If you've been on this forum for any time you will know that the retailer you mention consistently gets pretty good feedback.

Murray

Neil Wyatt26/06/2017 09:04:18
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A bit unfair on Arc, that is a common design of v-block made by innumerable sources so why associate it with them and not someone else? Especially as I can't see that style on the Arc website...

They are available in all sorts of grades. I have a pair (I think from Chronos) and they are ground on all surfaces and have proved perfectly satisfactory for my needs to date.

I also have a pair of the style with detachable clamps, they are very well finished but they are too small for most jobs.

Neil

Edited By Neil Wyatt on 26/06/2017 09:04:37

Neil Wyatt26/06/2017 09:10:20
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If you look carefully at the Cromwell site the tools are 'Oxford' brand, there's always a full stop before the 'precision'.

They appear to be made in India:

www.indiamart.com/proddetail/oxford-standard-vernier-calipers-11049518248.html

Neil

JasonB26/06/2017 09:16:51
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Video uploading of my "Crappy" far eastern vee blocksdevil

JasonB26/06/2017 09:36:55
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And here it is.

Now you must allow for the fact I'm measuring on a porcelain tile, using an ARC indicator stuck on an ARC 1-2-3 block and the item I am measuring is an ARC milling cutter. God knows what the cumalative effect of all these far easten imports will bequestion

There is a bit of parallax using the camera, actually doing the test without trying to video it I get 0.0003" which as I said seems perfectly acceptable for the steam and IC engines I build, maybe if you are trying to beat Neal to be the first forum member to the moon then you may feel you need want something better.

Tony Pratt 126/06/2017 10:05:15
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Does anyone really think you will get a decent set of vee blocks for $15?laugh

Tony

Ady126/06/2017 10:27:01
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At pig-in-a-poke prices I tend to buy one and if it's any good I buy more

Got three MT1 tailstock chucks this way, shockingly good quality at a tenner (a packet of smokes) a pop but you always take a risk if you don't go for the more expensive quality brands

Ady126/06/2017 10:44:05
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Part of the fun of ME for me is improving anything which falls short of expectations

You're basically starting with an almost complete build dropped onto your doorstep, which you improve plus you learn at the same time

If you want 100% satisfaction from a buy then you pay commercial business prices for out-of-the-box commercial expectations.

2 cents

MW26/06/2017 10:50:12
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I honestly believe the bad vee block video and they should never have said that it would be ground on all surfaces to within 0.001".

The roughness of the surface isn't an absolute indication if something has been ground or not, it may only point to how coarse the grit used to grind it was.

Also, how can he be sure that the pin he is resting on it is also as accurate? Is he not imposing an undue amount of leverage and tilting up one side of the pin using the indicator? 

His indicator holder should have a heavy base as well like steel or iron, in order to provide the most stability, rather than float around like a jelly on springs. 

Michael W

Edited By Michael-w on 26/06/2017 10:58:16

Ketan Swali26/06/2017 10:53:59
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Posted by choochoo_baloo on 26/06/2017 01:52:05:

I was about to order a pair of vee blocks (the unbranded far eastern type from Arc)

Hi,teeth 2

ARC has been selling Vee Blocks for nearly fifteen years now. During this period, the range has been modified, based on availability (certain manufacturers closing), and demand - from hobby and industrial users. All our Vee blocks are of Chinese origin, made is factories which I have visited, and who I am happy to work with. ARC has had zero returns for these products which I can recall, due to technical issues.

Yes, there is good and bad made in all places. So far, we believe that ARC has been lucky. We do supply these products to certain branches of a Leicester company mentioned on here. We also supply the largest size Vee blocks to a major blue chip engineering company based in Leicester. Although we do not provide any certification, this has not deterred such operations from buying from us.

I am unable to speak too much for Indian origin Vee blocks. It depends on were in India they are made. In my search, I found that the better product was made in Puna and the South of India, rather than the North. The engineering in Puna is geared around servicing the automotive industry based there. However, the pricing at the time I checked (about five years ago) was less competitive. With North Indian production, there is good, bad and ugly, depending on what the importers around the the world want to pay... based on what you want to pay.

Ketan at ARC.

JasonB26/06/2017 11:27:11
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It seems that "Oxford" is a trade name owned by Kennedy who just so happen to also trade as Cromwell Tools. So at best you will be getting Cromwell's own brand tooling made where the price point suits.

 

J

Edited By JasonB on 26/06/2017 11:37:18

MW26/06/2017 11:31:07
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Posted by JasonB on 26/06/2017 11:27:11:

It seems that "Oxford" is a trade name owned by Kennedy who just so happen to also trade as Cromwell Tools. So at best you will be getting Cromwell's own brand tooling made where the price point suits.

 

J

Why do factories of all places shuffle around with the branding?

I wouldn't call this the fault of the people who make the stuff, they probably aren't even aware of the people it goes to but the fault of the people representing them.

When I worked in some factories I barely knew a thing about where it ended up. Where I worked individual components were made from anything under 30mm downwards and these would often go to other factories who put the components into the assemblies. 

I made and inspected things for Cadburys (brass pins to push open moulds for chocolate Easter eggs) to F1 plastic armatures for coil windings, French telecommunications company plastic electrical connectors, aircraft connectors to PTFE grommets for the NHS to put into children's ears. but there were plenty where I had no clue as to what it actually did, that was none of my concern as far as the managers and sales teams would let me know.

I would also add that even in the most high tech facilities with rigorous inspection control, every item inspected if need be, mistakes still happen and bad stuff gets through. Having said that, we never disputed when mistakes were found.

Michael W

Edited By Michael-w on 26/06/2017 11:39:31

JasonB26/06/2017 11:39:46
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Posted by Michael-w on 26/06/2017 11:31:07:

Why do factories of all places shuffle around with the branding?.

Because it makes people think they are getting something better. Take Cromwell again, would you be more tempted to buy their Swiss-Tec brand over one called China-Tec?

Edited By JasonB on 26/06/2017 11:40:13

Ketan Swali26/06/2017 12:03:55
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Posted by JasonB on 26/06/2017 11:39:46:
Posted by Michael-w on 26/06/2017 11:31:07:

Why do factories of all places shuffle around with the branding?.

Because it makes people think they are getting something better. Take Cromwell again, would you be more tempted to buy their Swiss-Tec brand over one called China-Tec?

Edited By JasonB on 26/06/2017 11:40:13

SWISS+BURR™ - brand owned by Cromwell. Not made in China. If you look at the link, you can possibly figure out who made it for Cromwell. It isn't made in Switzerland. Extreamly popular in the Asian market - India and in China, due to the great marketing by Cromwells sales reps. in those countries.

Ketan at ARC.

Edited By Ketan Swali on 26/06/2017 12:05:07

Samsaranda26/06/2017 13:37:30
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We all love to buy wisely and hope to get a bargain price wise, but it eventually becomes apparent that no matter how we scour the marketplace we will usually only get a level of quality commensurate with the price that we pay, unfortunately "inspection grade" is not available unless we pay the right price for it.

Dave

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