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Soba rotary table

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Bill Phinn12/03/2019 17:40:12
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Posted by Vic on 12/03/2019 15:51:30:

As a matter of interest, Vertex are based in Taiwan and rightly or wrongly Taiwanese stuff is reckoned by some to be superior to Chinese products.

I'd say the generalisation is justified, Vic.

The manufacturing environment in the two regions is fundamentally different. Probably the most elusive yet important factor is the political situation in each region, and the degree to which this allows fair competition (healthy for innovation and quality assurance) in private enterprise to prevail.

Going back to Soba, I've got a three inch rotary table of theirs that I bought ten years ago, and it's been fine for what I've wanted to do with it. Maybe Soba's manufacturing standards were better ten years ago or maybe I'm just not a sophisticated enough user (yet) to have discovered its limitations..

Ketan Swali12/03/2019 18:13:04
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Neil L,

Welcome to the forum. By now you have many responses to consider. It would be great if you could share your thoughts on what has been posted so far.

As has been suggested, there are several qualities linked to price and purpose of use. As a trader/importer (ARC), I have been interested in this particular subject and I have been following the development of the brands mentioned for rotary tables, for over a decade. I would like to add a little clarity to some of the points raised:

Indian - Soba - used to sub-contract to one place for a long time. About 8 months to a year ago, they moved the manufacturing to another place. Most of the other Indian suppliers/exporters purchase from one particular maker, mainly due to price. The quality is based on Q.C. post manufacture, by the seller - (not the manufacturer). Depending on the seller, the rejection rate at source (at Exporters workshop pre-export) is variable.

Vertex - Taiwan - at one time, their HV6 was made in Mainland China by a particular manufacturer (factory A) which has a great 'technical' reputation and consistency. However, to the best of my knowledge, Vertex moved away from them around five years ago, mainly due to price. Since then there are only rumours about which factory they now subcontract to. One factory told me that they buy semi-finished from them and then finish off in Taiwan. I am un-sure if this is true.

Then, there are two more factories in Mainland China - factory B & C, cheaper than factory A. Below is my current understanding of quality vs. price:

China factory A: Highest quality and highest price.

Vertex : Quality 'maybe' similar to or marginally higher than China factory B & C, and price close to factory A.

China Factory B & C: Quality definitely not as good as factory A, but close or similar to Vertex, but price nearly 50% of factory A, and definitely cheaper than Vertex.

Soba : Quality/consistency uncertain at present, definitely not the same as Chinese factory A, and maybe close to Chinese factory B & C, but still I am not 100% sure . Price 'probably' 60% cheaper than Chinese factory A.

Rest Indian exports mainly from one Indian manufacturer: based on QC, quality close to or equal to Soba. Price 70% cheaper than China factory A.

I have been 'pondering' this subject of rotary tables since 2004. Although I know about the quality and the pricing from these makers over this time, I have found it difficult to making a decision about what to add to our range, from the above qualities/makers (excluding Vertex or Soba). If this decision was just based on quality, I would add China factory A product to my range without a second thought. But their price is nearly 3 x higher than the lowest - Indian, and nearly 2 x higher than the other Chinese offering.

Ketan at ARC.

Ketan Swali12/03/2019 18:27:34
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Posted by Bill Phinn on 12/03/2019 17:40:12:

Going back to Soba, I've got a three inch rotary table of theirs that I bought ten years ago, and it's been fine for what I've wanted to do with it. Maybe Soba's manufacturing standards were better ten years ago or maybe I'm just not a sophisticated enough user (yet) to have discovered its limitations..

Ten years ago, the sub-contractor Soba was using was still considered to be 'new' at making such tables. The QC took place in Sobas' warehouse. What happened to the rejected stuff in old days is different to what happens to it now.

Nowadays, a good percentage of the reject ends up on eBay by kids traders who buy two and three pieces at a time from the manufacturer. These kids traders don't know the first thing about the stuff they sell.! However, reading their feedback posted on eBay, the posts are variable from excellent through to negative.

As mentioned earlier, Soba moved away from the sub-contractor it used to use earlier. Soba has a good working relationship with Chronos and some others. ARC works with a limited number of Indian manufacturers other than SOBA. For rotary tables, ARC has yet to make a decision for sourcing these type of rotary tables be they from India or Mainland China.

Ketan at ARC.

JasonB12/03/2019 18:49:22
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At about 56seconds into that linked video he sums it up quite welldevil

Ron Laden12/03/2019 20:00:25
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I have heard the term "rivet counters" is there such a thing as "micron chasers"..devil

Ian Skeldon 212/03/2019 20:14:12
489 forum posts
41 photos

I don't think I will ever have to worry that a shaft or bearing face is one hundredth of a millimeter out, and if I did I am really sure I don't have the time, equipment or skill to improve it, so maybe that vertex would be a good item for me to buy.

Ketan, do you sell Vertex?

Ian

Howard Lewis12/03/2019 20:23:28
3766 forum posts
3 photos

Ketan,

You have cheered me up, a lot. I was beginning to worry about my elderly Vertex HV6. Having always used mine in "Plug and play" mode, (Ignorance is bliss); began thinking "Should I have checked for, or noticed, any of these problems"? And then you came along and said that the old ones were probably made in a better factory than the more recent ones.

As in so many things, we tend to get what we pay for, you don't get a Rolls Royce for a Reliant price!

Really, the question becomes "Is it fit for purpose?, and "Is it value for money?" If the answer to both is "Yes" then end of discussion. Use it, subject to its known limitations. If the answer is "No" then action of some sort needs to be taken; either to modify / improve the object until the answer becomes "Yes" or to dispose of the thing, in a way which is controlled by your ethics and your budget. (Sell, "as seen", "faults declared", or in silence, or scrap. )

I use an elderly (from new ) RF25 Mill/Drill. It weighs about 150 Kg and does not have the features or rigidity of a 2 ton Cinncinatti vertical mill. I could not afford such a machine, or have the space for it, and would not use all its capabilities.

So, I make the best of what I can afford and can accomodate, recognising the limitations that are self imposed

Howard.

Edited By Howard Lewis on 12/03/2019 20:24:26

Michael Gilligan12/03/2019 21:59:11
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Posted by Ron Laden on 12/03/2019 20:00:25:

I have heard the term "rivet counters" is there such a thing as "micron chasers"..devil

.

Well ... Roderick Jenkins used it in a post here in 2016, so I suppose there must be.

https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=120217

But the real question is:

Is it intended as a term of abuse? ... and if so: Why?

MichaelG.

 

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 12/03/2019 21:59:40

Bill Phinn12/03/2019 22:43:41
385 forum posts
70 photos
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 12/03/2019 21:59:11:
Posted by Ron Laden on 12/03/2019 20:00:25:

I have heard the term "rivet counters" is there such a thing as "micron chasers"..devil

.

But the real question is:

Is it intended as a term of abuse? ... and if so: Why?

MichaelG.

I'd say it's legitimately pejorative when chasing microns means aiming for a level of precision that is considerably in excess of what is required for the satisfactory functioning, or satisfactory appearance, of the item being made.

On the other hand, though speaking pejoratively in these circumstances has reason on its side, it fails to take account of the potentially high levels of satisfaction experienced by some people when they aim for and achieve a higher level of precision than is strictly necessary for reasons of form or function; achieving such satisfaction might be rightly considered an end in itself.

And then there are circumstances, which perhaps few home machinists meet with in real life, in which very high levels of precision definitely are called for and to achieve which you may well have no alternative but to chase microns.

Michael Gilligan13/03/2019 00:23:57
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Thanks for the intelligent reply, Bill

To elaborate a little: The difficulty I have is that people seem to be biased towards their own 'scale' of working, and are blind to the interests of others.

If you are cutting a 1 metre length of Steel bar, I doubt if many here would consider +/- 1mm an unrealistically tight tolerance; likewise a 100mm rod dimensioned to +/- 0.1mm is unlikely to raise eyebrows.

As it happens, I am interested in smaller things ... so I need to work to similar proportions: If the item is only 1mm long, why should I not expect to need to work to +/- 1 micron ? < et seq. >

Tonight I was examining some red Blood Cells ... typically about 7.2 micron diameter and a couple of microns thick.

The focus mechanisms on several of my microscopes have scale divisions of 1micron [and some of these are older than me] ... This is not some impossible flight of fancy, it is a basic mechanical device, doing its necessary job.

To do useful image stacking on those cells, I expect to shift the focus in steps of half a micron or less.

Yes 'chasing microns' when working at the metre scale, or the 100mm scale might be considered unrealistic; but it is not, of itself, something to be ridiculed or disbelieved.

MichaelG.

Paul Kemp13/03/2019 01:17:23
580 forum posts
18 photos

Michael,

I have absolutely no problem striving for accuracy and precision where it is necessary for the function of the output of the job. Certainly accuracy and precision in carrying out work is a mark of professionalism and craftsmanship and something I was taught in my apprenticeship. However I was also taught in subsequent years that tight tolerances cost money in the real world, may require a completely different machining process to achieve such as final precision grinding to gaurantee size and finish. It is also true as stated that some people derive satisfaction and pleasure purely by making something to the nearest 10th of a thou.

What often galls me though is the opposite attitude to the one you present where you suggest people are unable to appreciate scale of activities and the need for tight tolerances, that opposite being the people who indulge this activity commenting on the value, suitability, fitness for purpose of various machines and tooling from that perspective. The plain fact is outside micro biology and other fine engineering tasks like watchmaking is the steam engine fraternity, IC engine fraternity, motorcycle restorers and repairers and general back yard shed tinkerers who can turn out perfectly adequate jobs working to the nearest thou and be equally proud of them too.

It seems to me sometimes on this forum especially where outrage or surprise is expressed because there is half a thou play in say a rotary table that to an extent that attitude is encouraged and bred by the micro brigade sowing the seeds. A fair proportion of people and probably an increasing proportion in the future do not come from a background where they can recognise what is an appropriate tolerance to apply to a task and often the advice given on here errs on the finer side of the fine line!

We all have our own interests and reasons for doing what we do and come from different backgrounds with different levels of experience. It strikes me from several recent posts that perhaps all sides need to be a little more tolerant and have a slightly wider perspective.

Paul.

Hopper13/03/2019 02:55:54
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 13/03/2019 00:23:57:

Thanks for the intelligent reply, Bill

...

Tonight I was examining some red Blood Cells ... typically about 7.2 micron diameter...

So we're counting tenths of a micron now. cheeky

Michael Gilligan13/03/2019 07:08:06
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Posted by Hopper on 13/03/2019 02:55:54:
Posted by Michael Gilligan on 13/03/2019 00:23:57:

Thanks for the intelligent reply, Bill

...

Tonight I was examining some red Blood Cells ... typically about 7.2 micron diameter...

So we're counting tenths of a micron now. cheeky

.

Yes, Hopper ... and also [if appropriate] 'what follows'

That's why I wrote:

As it happens, I am interested in smaller things ... so I need to work to similar proportions: If the item is only 1mm long, why should I not expect to need to work to +/- 1 micron ? < et seq. >

MichaelG.

.

P.S. You may be amused to know that the mean volume of a red Blood Cell is commonly expressed in femto litres, and that the typical healthy cell is then in the range 80-100 [so yes, it's often 'manageable proportions' that guide our choice of 'units of measurement']

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mean_corpuscular_volume

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Femtolitre

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 13/03/2019 07:40:30

Michael Gilligan13/03/2019 07:20:36
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Posted by Paul Kemp on 13/03/2019 01:17:23:

We all have our own interests and reasons for doing what we do and come from different backgrounds with different levels of experience. It strikes me from several recent posts that perhaps all sides need to be a little more tolerant and have a slightly wider perspective.

.

Amen to that, Paul yes

A forum like this should be a good place to share knowledge and experience, for the common good.

MichaelG.

JasonB13/03/2019 07:31:09
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I think Bill and certainly Paul have summed things up very well, there is a place for very fine work but if you don't know what the person asking needs giving an abrupt answer can be confusing.

To say "I would not want it" or "It's C**p" without qualifying that you work to the nth degree will make that person think their tool is no good and should go back. Conversly to say what can be done on a similar or the same tool particularly with first hand experience of using one will give them the option to decide if it will be OK for their particular use or if it needs to go back as they think they need something more accurate.

J

Michael Gilligan13/03/2019 08:01:41
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Posted by JasonB on 13/03/2019 07:31:09:

I think Bill and certainly Paul have summed things up very well, there is a place for very fine work but if you don't know what the person asking needs giving an abrupt answer can be confusing.

To say "I would not want it" or "It's C**p" without qualifying that you work to the nth degree will make that person think their tool is no good and should go back.

.

In my defence, Jason ...

My statement was [or so I thought] clearly qualified by the words following "But:"

and I never suggested that it should go back ... Quite the opposite: I even quoted John Stevenson's mantra !!

If that was not sufficient clarity for Neil Lawton: I apologise unreservedly.

The fact remains that I wouldn't want the table in question, but that's not to say it would not suit his purpose.

MichaelG.

Ron Laden13/03/2019 08:46:53
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2019 forum posts
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 12/03/2019 21:59:11:
Posted by Ron Laden on 12/03/2019 20:00:25:

I have heard the term "rivet counters" is there such a thing as "micron chasers"..devil

.

Well ... Roderick Jenkins used it in a post here in 2016, so I suppose there must be.

**LINK**

But the real question is:

Is it intended as a term of abuse? ... and if so: Why?

MichaelG.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 12/03/2019 21:59:40

Michael,

Not intended as a term of abuse at all I was just been a bit naughty and I understand any person wanting the very best tooling even when they probably never work to the tolerances the tooling is capable of. Knowing that they have tooling cable of that level of accuracy is what interests them and gives them pleasure, thats fine with me.

I dont know what level Neil is looking for but I suspect he was surprised to find the error he did, his table may be absolutely fine for his type of work, maybe not, he doesnt say.

Ron

Andrew Evans13/03/2019 09:05:18
329 forum posts
8 photos

If one wanted to purchase a new, high quality, small rotary table what are the options?

geoff walker 113/03/2019 09:23:31
435 forum posts
166 photos

Or... Just accept it for what it is, a cheaply made bit of kit to provide an economical solution to the masses with a standard of accuracy commensurate with its cost. OP didn't state why he had bought it and what it's intended use is. If it's for the usual back yard engineering jobs like steam engines then bolt it on your machine and get using it. If it's for instrument making which requires extreme precision and formal calibration of the final product make sure your shop is kept at 20 degrees at all times, your measurement tools are only of the highest quality properly calibrated and buy a decent one. What else can be said? Seem to be a lot of people here chasing elusive microns where a couple of thou or in some cases 1/64" is perfectly adequate. Life and hence time allotted to us is finite so spend it getting on with the project and not chasing accuracy you don't really need! If you do need it don't buy your kit from purveyors of leisure grade equipment.

Paul.

I have read all of this thread with interest but particularly liked this post from Paul. Sums up My attitude!!

I bought this small rotary table from GDR some months ago and despite it having numerous faults it's ok for me and the standards I need to set when making my models. I've had to modify and improvise to make it usable but as I have said before it was "cheap as chips".

On accuracy this table is 7.5 degrees out over a full 360 degree rotation of the table. The hand wheel dial is indexed with 7.5 degrees and the hand wheel rotates exactly 47 times for one rotation of the table, should of course be 48.

I get round this by using the scale on the circumference of the table. For say 92 degrees I advance 90 degrees and then add 2 degrees from the hand wheel dial. that's accurate enough for me and the work I do

20180905_143457 (2).jpg

Cheers Geoff

Douglas Johnston13/03/2019 09:48:52
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It is always very interesting to read Ketan's comments about various manufacturers/sellers as he has first hand knowledge about the subject. So much has been said about poor Chinese quality, much of it probably unjustified, so it is good to know some of the background to the price/quality issue. A brand name like Vertex can give the average person the idea that they are the manufacturer, whereas they are simply a buyer from some factory, and as the price goes up they can simply switch to a cheaper source.

I bought my Vertex rotary table about twenty years ago and it appears very well made. It may well have come out of factory A, but I have no way of knowing and it makes the whole buying game a bit of a lottery. If ARC were to buy from factory A, as we would all like, how many people would pay the higher price? I can well understand why Ketan has been thinking about this for so long. Perhaps the only answer is for companies like ARC to supply a cheap model and a more expensive one with a clear description about the quality of each, but then again this might not make commercial sense.

Doug

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