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More garbage from China

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Valhalla

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I have just bought (and immediately returned) a combined disc/belt sander from the axminster craft range. I bought a P/T about 10yrs ago and returned that immediately too. This was due to the fact that the castings were absolutely shocking and there were hideous weld spatters all over the framework. The casting for the base of the disc/belt sander was uneven with a gap of about 1/4" in one corner. There was an issue with the plate that covers the lower half of the disc sander and the mitre guage was plastic. Other castings had obviously been 'cleaned up' and were heavily scored and just painted over. All-in-all a horrible bit of kit.....and I never even plugged it in!!!! You would have thought that after 10yrs they would have got their act together and at least sorted out their QC......
 

Trevsf1

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It is not the Chinese manufacturer, they give the buyers the choice of what quality the build will be based on the price paid. These are submitted for qa to the buyer who will no doubt decide to shave a little off the price, and end result poor quality product
 

Daniel2

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Price and quality are forever in conflict with each other.
China are not to blame. They respond to a demand driven market.
Be prepared to pay a proper price, and you can have the quality, even
made in China.
 

Rorschach

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As others have said, if you are willing to pay for it you can have superb quality from China. Don't blame the Chinese for cheap tat.
 

Stevebod

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I have purchased items from China that have been fine, and other that I have had to return. I think Chinese manufacturing problems are similar to the early days of Japanese production, ie massive variability. However the Japanese eventually learned about the impact of variability within the production process and introduced quality control and continual improvement whereas the Chinese seem to be incapable of doing this, and the end sellerss don't seem to care.....sell enough, get some returns, sell some more....
 

Rorschach

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I have purchased items from China that have been fine, and other that I have had to return. I think Chinese manufacturing problems are similar to the early days of Japanese production, ie massive variability. However the Japanese eventually learned about the impact of variability within the production process and introduced quality control and continual improvement whereas the Chinese seem to be incapable of doing this, and the end sellerss don't seem to care.....sell enough, get some returns, sell some more....
Are you talking about variable quality on the same items or different items?
 

Phil Pascoe

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One that really peeed me off was an expensive Buck knife I bought in a sale in Auckland airport. I read the little leaflet about how smart I was to have purchased a genuine piece of American quality, tradition and design ............. then looked at the knife and saw "Made in China".
 

Doug71

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It has been mentioned many times in the past, the problem is the likes of Axminster and Rutlands seem happy to let their customers do the QC for them. They just keep sending out replacement items until the customer gets one they are happy with.

You hear people say it's great customer service when they get a replacement quickly but firms shouldn't be sending out the rubbish (often described as quality and precision) in the first place.
 

Rorschach

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It has been mentioned many times in the past, the problem is the likes of Axminster and Rutlands seem happy to let their customers do the QC for them. They just keep sending out replacement items until the customer gets one they are happy with.

You hear people say it's great customer service when they get a replacement quickly but firms shouldn't be sending out the rubbish (often described as quality and precision) in the first place.
I am inclined to agree with you there but I would add the caveat that there is a great deal of extreme view bias on the internet, you are more likely to see people singing the praises of great customer service and pointing out terrible products or terrible service. There is a massive lack of satisfactory views. This means we can form a skewed view of reality. It could well be that 99% of Axminster and Rutlands customers are happy with their product and think it represented good quality for the price they paid, if these people don't share their view though we thing that they are selling rubbish based on what we do see reported.

I own several pieces of tooling from Axminster and Rutlands and they are all fine. I think the quality is acceptable for the price paid. I have not felt the need to sing their praises too much, nor have the minor issues I have encountered spurred me to spread bad reports everywhere. I wonder if I am in the minority or the majority on this? I suspect the latter.
 

LJM

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I think the economics speak for themselves; Axminster and others continue to do good business, so it stands to reason that they sell enough of their machines that the cost of handling returns out weighs the costs of QAQC at source, and still allows them to profit.
 

shed9

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As pointed out already, it's just a function of sales cost and target market. If you buy a hobby class, low cost machine built to a price point with low cost labour then what is going to land on delivery is a hobby class, low cost machine built to a price point with low cost labour.

Always gets me when the usual suspects (albeit there seems to be less of them these days) throw contempt at those who buy products from the likes of Festool or Lie Nielsen, implying the buyer could get more for less with a cheaper brand. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the lower end of the tool spectrum, you just can't expect it to come with the service or expectations that come with the premium products is all. When you pay >£330 for a Lie Nielsen No 4, that cost includes paying decent wages to several layers of headcount that complete those quality checks who in turn make sure what goes out the door is something of value relative to the purchase cost. Equally when something doesn't meet that QC level, they take the hit, it never leaves the factory and is re-inserted into the manufacture process. That headcount also has rights, rights that mean they aren't guaranteed to be available eight hours a workday and they are appropriately trained with very mobile and very sort-after skills. The difference between low-end tooling and premium is more than the quality of materials and how they are put together, more often than not (and no, not exclusively) a premium brand typically values its employees as much as its customers. My point is, when you buy a premium brand you are buying and securing more than the end product itself.
The classic analogy is the makers who complain that their end customers don't want to pay what it costs to make their saleable product who then go on a tirade against tool manufacturers for not being cheaper or better.

That all said, I have to say the description given by the OP of the belt sander does sound like a horror show. I'd be inclined to contact Axi and ask them to assist. My experience of their customer support, pre and post sales (including during COVID) has been superb. I've always been assisted by people who take ownership of the query / problem. Love them or hate them, Axi serve a very real purpose in the woodworking community (amongst many others) and it would be detrimental to that if they weren't around.
 

Trevsf1

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Some years ago I worked for a company that originally had manufacturing in Japan, they became too expensive so we moved to China. Great range of products that fitted our needs but at varying quality levels. Some of the products we needed need not have been excellent quality as the end product would not stand the price point. We moved to South Korea, again prices rose over 16 months, so we moved to Vietnam. I have left the company now and hear they manufacture in Cambodia. Price diference - Japan $ 5.66 - Chinaa $4.40 = S.Korea $ 3.75. Now in Cambodia some 8 years later they are paying $ 3.60
 

CStanford

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Unfortunately either China built to specification, or didn't but the product was accepted anyway.
 

Spectric

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Price and quality are forever in conflict with each other.
Unless you have the volume, then you can get high quality and lower price but by volume I mean at least hundreds and not a couple. Once you mention large regular volumes under contract the prices fall but with woodworking machinery it is not a large sector and I would guess that a lot of it is produced as a sideline rather than being there main product. Think of quality as something you have to purchase, it will always add cost.
 
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So are we saying that in general, the public are happy to take any old rubbish? .. I mean that must be the case otherwise this would put the companies selling it out of business.

Whenever this stuff crops up, I always wonder how much they saved ...
 

pidgeonpost

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I'm probably being cynical, but if a seller ships a hobby-level tool to a hobby woodworker who happens to be an engineer by profession with a critical eye he may reject it if it's not up to snuff and return it.
If the seller refunds or replaces it might they not subsequently take a look at the returned item and think 'Fussy sod - nowt wrong with it, what do they expect for the money!' and ship the same item out to a different buyer who may be less critical?
Nah - couldn't happen could it.
 

Sandyn

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When I was working, in the last few years, I worked mainly with Chinese companies and really enjoyed working with them. They can manufacture amazing quality machined/cast pieces at really good prices in very short time scales. You have to make sure the spec is tied down. What I really liked was they really tried very hard to keep the customer happy and they are very pro active. It's a pity, because I always wanted to place the work locally. I did manage for some things, but the Chinese excel at lower cost, fast turn-round, quality parts.
Some of the people I worked with are now long term personal friends.
There is another side to stuff from China, there is a lot of low quality, non compliant stuff, but we all want things as cheap as possible.. If companies here are happy to accept rubbish and the public buy it, Chinese companies are happy to supply it. If you want quality stuff, they can supply that as well.
 

D_W

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There's a seldom discussed part of China that needs to be brought up, too, and that's hand made goods. I've got a soft spot for chinese made guitars. Not the kind that show up at (can't remember the name of the big UK guitar store - those are fast being displaced by indonesian guitars due to labor cost differences) for lowest price, but there are violin and archtop guitar makers in china that make a guitar *properly* rather than CNCing parts out or duplicarving them and then calling the tops "hand carved" as some of the large american manufacturers.

They make guitars the way they were made here 60 years ago, and the nuance of the guitars (the feel, they feel like they've been made by human hands and felt as they were made to make sure they'll feel good to human hands. The little defects are inconsequential defects of a good craftsman - the artifact of making things by hand - and the options to get true hand finishes - like varnish - are there without paying a $2k upcharge).

Thanks to the internet, we now have direct access to individual builders over there, too, and getting hand work (which is pretty much non-existent in the US) and the discretion of a life-long craftsman and supporting craft directly is possible. If that's not suitable, then the factory made guitars as described in the prior paragraph are made in a factory that is far more human than ours. Craftsmen sitting at benches making instruments without someone rushing them - like they'd have been made in michigan in 1960.
 

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