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Optimum products?

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Samsaranda19/10/2020 15:42:19
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I think that in some cases purchasers are dazzled by the mention of German origins in respect of engineering products, not all German products are “excellent quality”. Mercedes Benz cars historically have a far from faultless record in respect of manufacturing defects, they certainly do not top the reliability polls in car magazines, neither do BMW. I think that the mythical German quality is just that, a myth, they are consistently beaten by the quality of Japanese products and now increasingly South Korean, two countries where quality systems have become almost a religion. In respect of machinery for model makers we need to live with reality that at the price we pay for our machines then they will be a little rough round the edges and need some basic fettling and adjustment/rectification to get them working how we want them to, this is all relative to the price we are actually paying for the product.
Dave W

Ian B.19/10/2020 15:47:09
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Interesting how what is a minority brand here in the UK has generated such interest. However before direct comparisons are made with mini lathe of conventional thinking, please just look a little deeper. I have the Chester Conquest mini lathe of 14inches max nominal between centres. My WM180 Warco/Optimum machine is nominally 12inches max between centres although it has the 4 inch mandrel flange as against the 3 inch of the Conquest yet the WM180 is 20kilos heavier. A significant proportion of that is in the bed casting. Pretty much all Optimum castings are the same for this size of machine. It is really a basic prerequisite of any machine that stiffness is a much needed criteria. That comes from mass in the bed casting.

As a direct comparison with industrial machines, the bed casting of my now long sold Colchester Bantam Eagle of 20inches between centres weighed when stripped 1020lbs or some 499 kilos. When sold after 25 years as an old friend it was as true as the day it was originally built in 1965.

Regards

Ian.

Edited By Ian B. on 19/10/2020 15:48:57

Bill Phinn19/10/2020 16:33:55
382 forum posts
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Posted by Alan Ambrose on 19/10/2020 15:12:18:

>>> 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.

Alan

I'm not quite sure what different shade you're seeing, Alan, or where the window dressing is. The information about "production in Yangzhou" on the optimum-machines.com webpage you linked to in your opening post is corroborated by the content of the Toptech "about us" page.

It looks like Optimum have invested quite heavily in the Yangzhou plant and have European personnel onsite [full-time?] assisting with production.

Vic19/10/2020 16:57:31
2642 forum posts
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Posted by Samsaranda on 19/10/2020 15:42:19:

I think that in some cases purchasers are dazzled by the mention of German origins in respect of engineering products, not all German products are “excellent quality”. Mercedes Benz cars historically have a far from faultless record in respect of manufacturing defects, they certainly do not top the reliability polls in car magazines, neither do BMW. I think that the mythical German quality is just that, a myth, they are consistently beaten by the quality of Japanese products and now increasingly South Korean, two countries where quality systems have become almost a religion. In respect of machinery for model makers we need to live with reality that at the price we pay for our machines then they will be a little rough round the edges and need some basic fettling and adjustment/rectification to get them working how we want them to, this is all relative to the price we are actually paying for the product.
Dave W

I have to agree. Japanese and Korean cars always come at the top of the reliability stats. In fact Audi came 38th out of 39 makes in 2013. BMW and Mercedes normally appear down in the bottom 25% whilst VW are just below the half way mark. I believe the chairman of Mercedes apologised to customers for their poor reliability some time ago. Apparently even Mercedes main dealers can’t fix electrical problems on some fairly recent models. I also read some time ago that it takes twice as many workers in a VW car plant to produce a car as it does in a Honda plant, perhaps that’s the problem? laugh

Alan Ambrose19/10/2020 17:44:06
8 forum posts

>>> I'm not quite sure what different shade you're seeing

Well I might have just read it wrong...but...

On **LINK** 'Optimum Mashinen - Germany' the text reads, to me at least, as a German company that's running its own factory in China with the important stuff done by Germans , viz: 'The most important part of development, design and quality management takes place in Germany.' Interestingly though if you select a category, you're routed to www.stuermer-machines.com 'Stürmer Maschinen GmbH' - which actually lists a number of brands including Optimum. It goes on to say:

"In 1992, Kilian Stürmer, accompanied by a partner, also founded the OPTIMUM Maschinen Germany GmbH. Goal of these company foundations is to influence the product range, production and quality as well as the equipment of the machines directly. In Germany, OPTIMUM products are sold through a nationwide network of specialist retailers and in Europe through general importers who in turn supply the respective national retailers."

On the TopTech website, it says:

"Optimum (Yangzhou) Machinery Co., Ltd., a member of Yangzhou Euro Group, a German-China joint venture between Yangzhou Eurostar Machine Tool Factory and Optimum Maschinen Germany GmbH, was established in year 2003, located in Touqiao town, and covers an area of 34,000 square meters with 10,000 square meters of building space.

The company has more than 120 employees where 10 are technicians, 2 senior technical staff, and 3 German engineers ... All the products made by the company are jointly designed by Chinese and German engineers..."

That it, it says it's a joint venture, and there are actually only 3 German engineers on-site out of 120 employees.

Maybe they're just different PR slants on the same general vibe. Well, three cheers to them and I can't imagine UK machine-tool distributors having some actual employees on the ground in a Chinese joint venture - and JV suggests investment too. But apologies in advance if I'm underestimating some British companies. Maybe the devil is in the detail.

Alan

gerry madden19/10/2020 20:09:21
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Posted by Michael Gilligan on 19/10/2020 10:16:06:

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

...."negligible" I'm not sure what that is either Michael !

Perhaps if we all started measuring these things we could begin to sort out the sheep from the goats. Perhaps Ketan, a dedicated and progressive supplier if ever there was one, can start the ball rolling on his product range ?

Gerry

Michael Gilligan19/10/2020 20:25:59
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Posted by gerry madden on 19/10/2020 20:09:21:

[…]

...."negligible" I'm not sure what that is either Michael !

.

Dictionary definition: so small or unimportant as to be not worth considering; insignificant.

Clearly a matter of personal judgement, but I think that was Lee’s general impression.

MichaelG.

JasonB19/10/2020 20:31:15
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Posted by gerry madden on 19/10/2020 20:09:21:

Perhaps if we all started measuring these things we could begin to sort out the sheep from the goats. Perhaps Ketan, a dedicated and progressive supplier if ever there was one, can start the ball rolling on his product range ?

Gerry

ARC don't sell bench drills so I don't think he will have any to measure

gerry madden20/10/2020 00:22:46
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Apologies, were we talking only about bench drills ? The original thread was about Optimum products in general which includes mills lathes etc

gerry madden20/10/2020 00:55:15
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Posted by Ian B. on 19/10/2020 15:47:09:

......It is really a basic prerequisite of any machine that stiffness is a much needed criteria. That comes from mass in the bed casting......

Regards

Ian.

Edited By Ian B. on 19/10/2020 15:48:57

Ian B's comment above is correct but I would add that how/where that metal is placed is equally important. Good machine manufacturers should have the benefit FEA these days and should be able look at the structural stiffness of their designs and identify deflection 'hotspots'. This should allow them to move the metal to where its most effective and create a more efficient structure for no extra money.

More and more machines come with geometric inspection documents for flatness, straightness etc. We like this don't we ?!" It really wouldn't be a significant jump for the makers to put a mandrill in the spindle and do a two or three load~deflection checks too. In fact, they wouldn't need to do this to every machine they assemble. Its not going to change unless the structure changes. So a measurement of the prototype would be fine.

Gerry

Bill Pudney20/10/2020 01:41:49
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In 1964 when I was at tech school in the early stages of my apprenticeship, one of the lecturers was talking about basic machine design. On of the things he said remains with me today, "....there are three criteria for good machine design.....RIGIDITY, RIGIDITY and RIGIDITY". Try saying it three times, quickly.

Another thing, talking about the myth of European car manufacture.  I once knew a Senior Engineer (i.e. an ENGINEER not a technician), who said "If you want a new car and you don't buy a Subaru, Toyota, Honda or a Mazda, you are either bonkers, or you just want an ego extension"

cheers

Bill

Edited By Bill Pudney on 20/10/2020 01:47:26

Michael Gilligan20/10/2020 08:12:57
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Posted by Bill Pudney on 20/10/2020 01:41:49:

In 1964 when I was at tech school in the early stages of my apprenticeship, one of the lecturers was talking about basic machine design. On of the things he said remains with me today, "....there are three criteria for good machine design.....RIGIDITY, RIGIDITY and RIGIDITY". Try saying it three times, quickly.

[…]

.

Although, in practical reality, the more relevant word might be STIFFNESS

Please see my posts here: **LINK**

https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=107544&p=2

MichaelG.

.

Edit: ...  noting [of course] that, in some circumstances, the difference between RIGID and VERY STIFF might be considered negligible.

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 20/10/2020 08:25:11

Lathejack20/10/2020 21:53:38
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As well as Optimum there was also another Chinese/German brand called Quantum. The Optimum and Quantum hobby lathes that I looked at some years ago were good but didn't appear to be particularly better in terms of the machining and fit of parts. The equivalent Chinese machines from the main UK branded suppliers are just as good, allowing for the odd lemon of course, which you can get from any brand of Chinese made hobby machine tool. A Chinese made SwissTec 10X22 lathe I also examined was certainly not any higher quality.

I can recall a conversation I had several years ago with a UK supplier of Chinese lathes and mills. He told me that on one of his visits to the factory in China he asked the owner if he could have his own inspector there, the factory owner put his arm around him and replied " Of course, you can have as many of your own inspectors here as you like, but we will corrupt them"

 

 

Edited By Lathejack on 20/10/2020 21:55:28

Edited By Lathejack on 20/10/2020 21:56:10

Bill Pudney20/10/2020 22:41:23
469 forum posts
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MichaelG wrote "Although, in practical reality, the more relevant word might be STIFFNESS

Please see my posts here: **LINK**

https://www.model-engineer.co.uk/forums/postings.asp?th=107544&p=2

MichaelG.

Edit: ... noting [of course] that, in some circumstances, the difference between RIGID and VERY STIFF might be considered negligible."

Thanks for that MichaelG. I was aware of the small difference between Rigidity and Stiffness, but as I was quoting it seemed reasonable to quote accurately.

cheers

bp

Ian B.21/10/2020 07:57:55
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A very broad spectrum of opinion has been expressed on this thread. And rightly so. I am sure Alan ( our OP) has a lot to go on. However in light of his basic question how many of the posters here have ACTUALLY had experience of Weiss products and various badged and liveried versions and have actually bought and used them?

All Chinese product has its problems and horror stories. I know horror stories from long standing fellow hobbyists about the much vaunted and very overpriced Myford product.

I have never owned any Myford product, never intend to do so. And this is the first comment I have made about them because I have no personal direct experience.

Regards

Ian

Ian B.21/10/2020 08:04:07
90 forum posts
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Oh and I notice from an earlier post I wa not quite definitive in my comparisons. Hence:

Chester Conquest 14" between centres weight 42 kilos.

Warco/Weiss WM180 12" between centres weight 63 kilos

Colchester Bantam 20" between centres weight 499kilos

(Latter partially stripped for moving house twice).

Hope that clarifies the stark reality and differences.

Regards

Ian.

Tony Pratt 121/10/2020 08:31:41
1265 forum posts
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I had a Super 7 for 45 plus years, lovely m/c but 'limited' now with my son. Now got a Warco 290v [is that a Weiss?], cost £3300, it's build quality is as rough as a Badgers a**e but it is such a capable m/c, I threw the crappy gear train away & fitted an electronic lead screw, what a bonus!

The new Myford super 7 ['British engineering at its best'] is the wrong side of £10 k without tooling, I hope for that price it really is made in Britain?

The choice is yours dear reader, but if I was looking right now the Boxfords look value for money.

Tony

Michael Gilligan21/10/2020 10:00:28
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Posted by Ian B. on 21/10/2020 07:57:55:

[…]


... how many of the posters here have ACTUALLY had experience of Weiss products and various badged and liveried versions and have actually bought and used them?

All Chinese product has its problems and horror stories. I know horror stories from long standing fellow hobbyists about the much vaunted and very overpriced Myford product.

I have never owned any Myford product, never intend to do so. And this is the first comment I have made about them because I have no personal direct experience.

.

I am outwith that set Ian, and have therefore made no comment about the actual machines

I have merely responded other posters’ comments about technical assessment and design.

I do however, wonder how you can justify suddenly declaring Myfords to be ‘very overpriced’

[ ‘though I would consider any further discussion of that point as inappropriate to this thread ]

MichaelG.

Ian B.21/10/2020 11:30:18
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Sorry you feel that way Michael. However that comment is the first I have ever made about Myford. It is definitely NOT sudden and is a strongly held opinion dating back over 40 years. And perhaps it is worth looking into the full history of "Myford" and seeing where that design originated. I was very surprised to learn and quite recently too.

I have made my points as a REAL user of the product enquired about by the OP courteously but there are those who have no experience whatsoever of the actual product prepared to comment on "traders puff" alone.

Sad people. On that note I will walk away gracefully and keep my knowledge to myself and let others learn the hard way like I have had to.

Edited By Ian B. on 21/10/2020 11:31:54

Alan Ambrose21/10/2020 13:07:15
8 forum posts

Well, before we get too deep into, brand wars

Thanks everyone for your thoughts & knowledge. The info re which factories / what happens in China etc are interesting. The discussion helped my understanding and changed my mind about a few things. Given I have a little mill that has been CNCed, my leaning atm is to buy a smallish lathe to get to get to grips with and then convert to CNC and then buy a bigger lathe and miil as manual machines. Yeah probably Warco and/or Optimum.

Alan

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