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Optimum products?

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Alan Ambrose18/10/2020 17:56:01
8 forum posts

Hi,

Anyone have any experience of the Optimum products?

**LINK**

These are appealing to me as: (a) Stefan Gotteswinter has one of their mills and I defer to him as a machinist and (b) they give guaranteed run-out specs and (c) their narrative says they run their own Chinese factory and do their own QC.

I saw some old threads here that suggested that Chester sold Optimum-sourced products, but I can't find any recent evidence to suggest that's true.

TIA, Alan

Ian B.18/10/2020 19:15:14
89 forum posts
2 photos

Hi Alan, I have just written a great long post of explanatio but this stupid smart phone lost it for me. However the factory you refer to is WEISS in an unpronouncable place in China. Like all factories you get in quality terms a level to which the importer is prepared to pay. I have had a bad experience with Chester detailed elsewhere I was recommended to Optimum products by an Australian contact. I now have two Weiss machines bought from Warco. A WM14 mill. A dream to use. One minor problem a judder developed but the machine comes with adjustable taper roller quill bearings and the merest tweak solved the issue. No problem since. The other machine is a WM180 lathe. Wreaks quality and after a clean and thorough lube it worked straight out of the box. Taper roller headstock bearings, hand scraped surfaces on critical surfaces. Yes I would recommend Weiss/Optimum products but look for a quality supplier.

Regards

Ian

Jeff Dayman18/10/2020 19:16:09
1913 forum posts
45 photos

Couple of years ago there was a guy in Australia , John as I recall, who bought an Optimum lathe. He struggled with many defects in it, including carriage jamming due to the leadscrew bushing hole at tailstock end being bored several mm out of position in the casting. A fellow Aussie forum member Hopper visited him and helped him get the lathe working far better. I don't recall whether it met expectations after all the fettling but I do recall it was a struggle. Unless Optimum have improved, I would choose another brand, based on John's experience as a beginner. Mr Gotteswinter can probably rectify anything arising on his mill, being a professional toolmaker. You may be able to as well, of course.

Mr Gotteswinter also bought his mill in Germany. It could be that Optimum take extra care or do extra QC and prep in their Chinese factory on their machines intended for the German (home country of brand) market.

Dick H18/10/2020 19:57:14
95 forum posts
1 photos

I´ve got one of their bandsaws, it works and you can get spares here. Else it looks like many other offerings. The first think it did was to eat the rubber tyres that drove the blade. Dick.

Bill Phinn18/10/2020 20:00:52
382 forum posts
70 photos
Posted by Ian B. on 18/10/2020 19:15:14:

However the factory you refer to is WEISS in an unpronouncable place in China.

Ian

I believe Weiss are based in Nanjing, formerly known in the English-speaking world as Nanking.

Surely not that unpronounceable either way.

Ian B.18/10/2020 20:20:09
89 forum posts
2 photos

Yes Bill, but when I traced the small machine export site it was something like YINGCIYIANG. I believe that the corporate headquarters is in Shanghai. When I did my first scan for the product a distributor in the Netherlands was active (18 months ago) and in Germany. It was alleged that the machines were built under German supervision/quality control.

I must admit that I was warned off the very basic machine. It had no power feed and had a winding handle at the tailstock end of the leadscrew.

But like I said it is a case of looking at the individual importer. The Chinese will build you a machine that is as good as a Dean Smith and Grace but you will pay a DSG price for it. I now know companies in the model engineering market that I wouldnt touch with a barge poleand there are others that I know I can order from who will give me a fair product for a fair price.

It is worth remembering a quotation from John Ruskin.

There is nothing in this world that some man cannot make cheaper and he who purchases on price alone is that man's fair prey.

Regards

Ian.

Lee Rogers18/10/2020 21:43:16
avatar
85 forum posts

I have a large bench pillar drill from Optimum. Can't fault it and I did look at a lot of the other offerings available elsewhere before choosing it. Too many that I looked at had a quill that waved about like twig in the wind , the Optimum is solid.

gerry madden18/10/2020 23:42:01
140 forum posts
55 photos

Lee, 'like a twig in the wind' ... It would be good if we could quantify such important things in a better way. Is there any chance you could slip a spring balance onto the the end of the spindle of your optimum and measure its load-deflection relative to the table in the X and Y directions ?

John MC19/10/2020 07:27:32
avatar
315 forum posts
38 photos

I have an Optimum drill grinder purchased new in preference to the near identical Warco product, purely on the grounds of cost.

Its been reliable and, importantly, accurate. I've since been able to closely compare with a Warco grinder, appears to be identical apart from colour and some differences in the switch gear.

On the basis of this I think I would give "Optimum" machinery serious consideration if I an ever in the market for workshop equipment.

John

dcosta19/10/2020 10:12:19
491 forum posts
207 photos

Hello,

This is a photo taken from an Optimum catalog that shows that, at least in 2015/2016 their factory was in Yangzhou.
If anyone is interested in the catalog (220 pages, 21MB), I can make it available for download.

I have had a BF20 milling machine from Optimum since 2008 and I am satisfied with it.

Dias Costa

fabrica_optimum.jpg

Edited By dcosta on 19/10/2020 10:14:10

Michael Gilligan19/10/2020 10:16:06
avatar
16611 forum posts
723 photos
Posted by gerry madden on 18/10/2020 23:42:01:

Lee, 'like a twig in the wind' ... It would be good if we could quantify such important things in a better way. Is there any chance you could slip a spring balance onto the the end of the spindle of your optimum and measure its load-deflection relative to the table in the X and Y directions ?

.

Presumably negligible ... given what Lee wrote

[quote]
Too many that I looked at had a quill that waved about like twig in the wind , the Optimum is solid.
[/quote]

MichaelG.
.

 

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 19/10/2020 10:25:29

Alan Ambrose19/10/2020 12:20:14
8 forum posts

>>> This is a photo taken from an Optimum catalog that shows that, at least in 2015/2016 their factory was in Yangzhou.

From my link above, the marketing puff on their website states:

"Production in Yangzhou / China

Since 2003, OPTIMUM Maschinen Germany GmbH has produced a large share of its metalworking machines in its own factory in Yangzhou China. The quality here is monitored by German quality management officers and production supervisors. The most important part of development, design and quality management takes place in Germany."

Which is an appealing narrative at least...

Alan Ambrose19/10/2020 12:21:24
8 forum posts

For those people who have purchased Optimum products - did you source from a UK supplier or direct from Germany?

Alan

John MC19/10/2020 12:34:44
avatar
315 forum posts
38 photos
Posted by Alan Ambrose on 19/10/2020 12:21:24:

For those people who have purchased Optimum products - did you source from a UK supplier or direct from Germany?

Alan

From Germany. I think there is (was?) a UK agent.

Ian B.19/10/2020 12:40:33
89 forum posts
2 photos

Hi Alan, I bought mine ,a WM180 lathe from Warco in Guilford. Earlier I had bought a Weiss small milling machine from Warco under Model number WM14. As I said very pleased with both and the lathe comes with a fair few extras. Dont bother with their online techie service by email, just give them a call and their guys will help no problem there and then.

I personnally would not consider Chester with the problems I have with conquest mini lathe. But I have heard good reports about Amadeal equivalent models.

Regards

Ian

mgnbuk19/10/2020 13:14:19
842 forum posts
61 photos

I think there is (was?) a UK agent.

Excel Machine Tools show Optimum machines in their catalogue.

Nigel B.

Cabinet Enforcer19/10/2020 13:42:52
93 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Alan Ambrose on 19/10/2020 12:20:14:

Which is an appealing narrative at least...

It's one version of the truth, another is that the machines are pretty much identical to the ones sold by many others and that you would be better served looking mainly at the reputation of the supplier rather than their machines. As above the UK agent is excel who are more into the small scale industrial stuff rather than hobby, so you won't find much experience here, also the optimum mills are priced quite high considering the similarity to other machines.

It used to be the case that (some) optimum mills were machined such that CNC conversion was easier, which would be one reason to look at them particularly, but it has been quite a while since I saw that claim and it would need to be verified it was still the case.

Bill Phinn19/10/2020 13:43:27
382 forum posts
70 photos

There's a slightly fuller introduction to Optimum/Toptech here:

http://www.toptechmachine.net/gs.asp?bigclassname=%B9%D8%D3%DA%CE%D2%C3%C7

SillyOldDuffer19/10/2020 13:45:31
Moderator
6437 forum posts
1419 photos

Posted by Alan Ambrose on 19/10/2020 12:20:14:...

"Production in Yangzhou / China

Since 2003, OPTIMUM Maschinen Germany GmbH has produced a large share of its metalworking machines in its own factory in Yangzhou China. The quality here is monitored by German quality management officers and production supervisors. The most important part of development, design and quality management takes place in Germany."

Which is an appealing narrative at least...

I don't think there's enough experience of Optimum products on the forum to give a view; more people need to buy them. The claimed advantages of German involvement could be real, or not.

I feel customer expectations are adrift when it comes to hobby machines. What we want is:

  1. Warranted accuracy
  2. Guaranteed no faults on delivery
  3. Rock bottom prices.

Unfortunately there's a head-on collision between rock bottom prices and technical perfection. If the customer really needs warranted accuracy and guaranteed out-of-the box operation, there's an easy answer. Cough up for a professional machine! Almost unknown for anyone in the hobby community to buy new professional kit because it's expensive. Instead we go for one of the hobby machines or look for a second-hand machine in good condition.

Hobby machines, I think, are made to a particular quality strategy. Rather than push costs up by filling the factory with inspectors and fitters, a certain error rate is accepted. Most machines are OK, some perfect, and a few are poor. It's cheaper to accept a certain number of machines will be customer rejects and simply replace them, than to apply a high-end quality process. This method isn't applied to professional equipment because rejects are enormously expensive. Nor does it work on highly competitive mass sales items like cars or smart phones.

There's a hint that some suppliers get the better machines while rejects end up cheap on the internet. Recognising it's an imperfect market, my purchasing decisions focus on 'who will simply replace' rather than 'can I avoid all risk of getting a dud'. It means buying from one of the UK suppliers. In practice, I've done OK - no more than minor fettling required.

Not sure it would be wise to buy directly from Germany at the moment. Bad enough shipping an unlucky machine back to Germany, even worse doing it if leaving the EU causes turbulence at the same time. Easier to deal with a UK stockist if the deal goes sour.

Main thing I regret about buying a mini-lathe was the time wasted dithering about who best to get it from. Now I think learning how to use the machine was far more important than it's shortcomings.

Dave

Alan Ambrose19/10/2020 15:12:18
8 forum posts

>>> There's a slightly fuller introduction to Optimum/Toptech here:

Well thanks for the link to TopTech / Yangzhou Euro Brother / Optimum (Yangzhou). That puts a slightly different shade on it. The 'German Engineers' branding thing sounds more like a little window dressing.

>>> machines are pretty much identical to the ones sold by many others

Yeah, that's what I thought, but another YouTube character, Blondihacks, suggested that a lot of the castings were common but often finished off by a bunch of different 'mom-and-pop' shops. So that, they may all look the same but not all be the same.

>>> I feel customer expectations are adrift when it comes to hobby machines ... Main thing I regret about buying a mini-lathe was the time wasted dithering about who best to get it from. Now I think learning how to use the machine was far more important than it's shortcomings.

Yes, well said.

Alan

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