These knock off machines from certain countries are the fault of NAFTA. The original treaty required that stated that the product must meet the &*6000 standards. I don't remember the letters off hand. The had to do with quality control. If an American product was to be produced in a participating signees' country and they had an agreement with the original paten holder to reproduce them they had to meet original factory specs to within .0001 thousandth. A few would be tested from each run and when a certain percentage reached specs they could go into production. The first problems occurred in China. they would get one factory producing good products then open as many production facilities as the market could bare. A company I worked for was battling them over quality control on the production of auto replacement parts. they finally gave up and withdrew permission to manufacture. they did not stop manufacturing and lots of problems were born that day.
You are probably right but I thought Fred's reference to .0001 thousand was very interesting - I just can't believe how astonishingly bad the machining is on these vices in this day and age. Buy a nikon camera or Leica lenses or pull the covers off virtually anything and see where it is made. Maybe there just isn't enough money/volume sales for a half decent pac rim company to make them and its been left to these impostors to make the only alternative to top of the line ball vices - I dunno
It might be "interesting" but it's too garbled to take much from. I would bet that Fred was dealing with a specific contractual issue, where the American outsourcer wasn't being as diligent about inspecting the overseas production facilities as necessary. I would, however, be interested to learn how any treaty (NAFTA, NATO, etc.) plays into it. Anyways, back to vises...
There might be a market out there for "good, but not GRS good" block vises. But to be honest, it wouldn't be all that big (quality blocks don't need replacing) so the economies of scale aren't there.
As a thought experiment, I found the parts layout for the GRS "Standard" (link to manual), and thought about how I'd go about recreating it. The GRS ball is machined from stainless steel. The best bet would seem to be starting with round bar and machining out top and bottom "domes." (here's an example of a crazy person who did just that, but with scrap mild steel).
On onlinemetals.com, rough turned 17-4 stainless at 5" diameter will run you $300+ per foot. Figure that you can get away with 6" portions, call it $150. For an untouched hunk of metal. (mild steel doesn't look much better-- ~$130 for 6" of 8620).
Then you've got the various screws and holders and pins and off-the-shelf components (quality bearings are spendy). Add in fixed costs like tooling. Maybe you can pretend that labor is free. Then double your costs (at least) to get a retail price, and it won't take you long to be charging pretty close to the $500 that GRS gets.
Even if you could do it for, say, $350, how many takers would you get who can afford $350, but not an extra $150 to get the gold standard?
Boy you guys are on the ball, no pun,........I yai yai, YES I did say that on Aug 5th , in defense, the vice and graver machine were bought at the same time, I had never really used the vice till my EnSet arrived a few days ago, and I do still mean it..... no more Chinese knockoffs for me
what persuaded me buy it, I read on one of these graver forums, might have been this one? someone posted that the Chinese knockoff vice was GREAT!................
Or you can get a tall lipped tray fill it with BB’s and set your vise on top of the BB’s. and the whole stand will rotate with ease, it will also help to keep your work centered under your microscope. But be aware that even with a tall lipped tray your BB’s will still find their way onto the floor and make unforgiving sounds in the vacuum cleaner that will prompt the same unforgiving look from your spouse... “when mama aint happy no one is happy” unknow author but a very wise man.
Thanks DC, I found the problem, the top half pilot bearing is drilled crooked, spins very free when tension is backed off, but then it is so free as you might as well hold your piece in your hand, as soon as you apply pressure so you can grave and apply a little hand rotation it will be free then bind, I tried greasing the ball to stand contacts but then you lose you vertical axis......................on fleabay it goes, someone else need it more than I. arggggggg, I don't have any more doors to stop, and I won't buy a bigger house.