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General BS forum I guess anything is fair game in here. Just watch the subject matter doesn't get carried away too much.

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Old 09-05-2020, 12:24 PM   #1
Chinese sellers on Ebay

So I am in the market for a small lathe to replace an even smaller Emco-Maier Compact 5 lathe that I have had for years now. I don't want anything that is heavier than Connie and myself can handle, which does limit me quite a bit, but I think I found one that will work. And from what I have been reading, the best thing to do with these Chinesium lathes is to treat them like they are just a kit, and take them apart immediately and clean them up, check alignments, polish contact areas, and perhaps even just go ahead and replace the spindle bearings. So taking the lathe apart will make it even easier to move it where I want it, part by part. So that will make that 165 lb lathe a whole lot easier to deal with. Which is a WHOLE lot better than when I was looking at a lathe a few years ago that weighed 550 lbs.

Anyway, there are about a dozen sellers on Ebay selling this particular lathe I have my eye on. All of them are showing 1 or 2 of them in stock at a warehouse in California. I had some questions I wanted answered, so I just cut and pasted my questions to all of them, figuring I would see what answers I got, and perhaps judge who best to buy from based on the quickness, implied accuracy, and thoroughness of the responses. And I could compare the answers to see if there were any discrepancies. Or at least I thought so, anyway.

Well, answers came in from seven of them, all right around the same time. Roughly between 4:00am and 5:30 am. One outlier did come in around 10:30pm. All of them had exactly the same answers, to the letter. And from the time frame of the responses, obviously the answers came from likely a single seller in China. Interesting to note that Ebay changed their ad listings to say "Item location" now, and nothing at all about where the actual seller resides. But I guess Ebay finds the income from Chinese sellers hard to resist, and the Chinese sellers KNOW that lots of people will filter out sellers (or where the item is located) from China.

I checked on the buyer feedback for all of the sellers, and they are pretty much the same. Biggest complaint seemed to be from buyers who bought something, but the seller could not deliver. Well, heck, that is easy to understand. Someone or someones are creating multiple accounts all selling the same item(s) at the same warehouse in California. So the first one to get the order gets to ship it, and too bad for the other accounts that might sell the same thing before the Ebay ad can be removed.

Honestly, I hate like hell to give China my business, but some things just are not available from anywhere else. And even then, I'm not sure if China is still shipping to the USA with this coronavirus thing and the cold war atmosphere that seems to be now in place. Even places here in the USA selling lathes are really just importing from China themselves and rebranding and reselling them. Heck, I used to buy Craftsman brand from Sears almost exclusively until I started seeing "Made in China" on all their tools, and seeing the identical items at Harbor Freight at a fraction of the price Sears was selling them. It's difficult to come up with a good reason to have any sort of brand loyalty when you see that happening, I guess.

Anyway, still pondering on the lathe, but know I can't wait too long, because apparently there really are only one or two of them available in the USA right now. And who knows when another shipment might come in? The reason I never got that 550 lb lathe mentioned above was because it was on backorder from China for quite a few months before I started getting nervous about my money being in the hands of the seller for so long. So I cancelled out of the deal. For all I knew the guy wasn't getting any inventory out of China, and would just evaporate on me without notice.

So yeah, I'm a tool-a-holic. I find a use for a lathe once every other blue moon or so, but heck, when you find you have that need, it sure is handy to have available. And the price of this thing is VERY reasonable, even if it has to be considered as a kit. I have heard a lot of people recommending buying a used USA made lathe instead of buying the Chinesium lathes, but heck, have you seen how BIG and HEAVY some of those things are? I really don't need, much less want, something that big, even if there was any way possible for me to be able to move such a thing. So compromises are in order, I believe. It's not like I have never had to do THAT before!
Old 09-05-2020, 04:40 PM   #2
I get order's from China all the time and they are still shipping. Never been ripped off but I buy from companies I know are legit and not from Chinese Ebay sellers.
Old 09-05-2020, 05:20 PM   #3
Randall Turner
If you pull the trigger you'll have to let us know how it goes. I've purchased a handful of things from chinese sellers over the years, all because it was my only option for what I was looking for. Most have turned out fine, a couple were total junk and a couple others never showed, but thats the way it goes it seems.
Old 09-05-2020, 06:20 PM   #4
I've ordered merchandise from China, when I ordered on Ebay all went well. I ordered something from Amazon and it was months and poor communication before I got my stuff.
Old 09-05-2020, 08:22 PM   #5
Oh, don't get me wrong, I have purchased plenty of stuff from China, whether the seller admitted it was coming from China or not. The largest and most complex item I ever got was a milling machine I bought many moons ago. I used it specifically to make water dishes out of PVC end caps to provide water for the baby snakes in deli cups.

Certainly overkill for the job, but when the dust settled after selling a bunch of those water dishes, I had a free milling machine out of the deal.

I have no idea how this will go. This is apparently a rather new model lathe being sold, so finding replacement parts in the USA may be real dicey. Some things may be direct replacements from similar models already long imported within the USA, but I won't know till I try to find them. Some things are specific to the particular specs of the lathe, such as the "swing over bed"and chuck mounting method. If I want what they call a "spider" for the back of the spindle so I can mount long rods through the spindle hole without it dangerously whipping around our of balance, are there generic ones I can fabricate for that lathe?

One thing I noticed about this tooling stuff is that the most common thing people do with a home machine shop is to make and modify parts for their own tools. I guess that is a big part of the "hobby" aspect of this stuff.

So that is what concerns me. I guess as long as the basic machine is solid and doesn't have any "brick wall" problems, it won't be a problem if the seller evaporates once he has my money and the machine has been signed as being delivered. Things like the spindle being way out of alignment, or the bed twisted out of being true.

So we'll see, I suppose. Still got a few things I want to check on. Seems to be "metric" lathes and "imperial" lathes, and I'm sure this one is a "metric". Need to see whether that will be a problem one way or another for me. Not that my needs are all that great and all that stringent, I guess.
Old 09-13-2020, 05:46 PM   #6
Well, all of the Ebay ads for the lathe I was interested in had a "Make Offer" option, so what I did was to make an offer knocking off $150 from the price to each and every one of them. One of them counter offered with a mere $20 off, and the rest declined (pretty much the same wording in all of those declines). Seemed pretty likely there is really only one seller involved. So I pulled the trigger on the "one" who gave me at least a token discount.

But then the guy notifies me that since delivery is to a residential address, I have to pay $150 more for the lift gate service. Hmm, the ad said "free shipping", and that would certainly not be "free". I declined, telling him that I always meet those large deliveries at the local Walmart parking lot, and transfer the box into the bed of Connie's pickup truck. I thought for certain the guy would tell me that is their "company policy so go pound sand" or something, but surprisingly he agreed to drop that charge, and even offered to pay for the lift gate service anyway. Hmm. Makes me wonder just how cheaply made this lathe is and what the profit margin they are working with is like? Well, it's not like I am going to be putting this thing through any heavy use, so what the heck.

But in any event, the order was placed, and I was surprised to see that instead of coming out of California like the Ebay ad said, it was shipped out of Philadelphia. And via UPS Freight. It is in Dothan Alabama right now, and UPS is telling me that they don't have a freight depot in Tallahassee. Now they do have a depot there, and I can see Google Map images of trucks all over the place, so I'm not sure what is going on. I thought that if they could just hold it at the depot, we would be able to drive up there whenever it seems convenient and have them use a forklift to put the box into the bed of the pickup truck for us. Seems that this would be easier than trying to manhandle 180 lbs from the bed of the 18 wheeler to the pickup truck bed. And one real wrinkle right now is TS (soon to become hurricane) Sally. Good chance of heavy rain all this week. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that UPS Freight says they don't come down to Crawfordville more than one a week or so, but they do go to Tallahassee every day. So I'm not sure what we are going to be able to work out. I sure as heck don't want to take delivery of that box in heavy rain. Too much chance of Connie or myself slipping on rain slicked surfaces climbing in and out of the bed of her truck. Not worth breaking a neck over.

So we will see. In any event, when I do get it into the garage, I am going to give it a thorough inspection to see if there are any flaws that would mean having to reject the lathe completely. I read on another forum about some guy getting a similar lathe that had a cracked bed. Another guy had casting flaws in some areas, but they weren't actually show stoppers. Some other guy was complaining about seven thousandths runout at the chuck, but I'm not sure my needs will have that mattering all that much to me. I'll be doing all this inspection stuff right in the bed of Connie's truck, so it won't be too tough packing it back up to send it back, if it comes to that. And I will also be doing the cleaning and disassembly, if it passes cursory muster, from the truck bed too. That way Connie can help me carry the lathe over to the other building piecemeal, which should be a LOT easier to do than the entire assembled unit.

I've got the Compact 5 lathe off of the worktable in the work room where the new lathe will be going, and into the garage now. And preparing the worktable for the bigger lathe so it will be ready when it is ready to be moved. I am going to bolt down another layer of plyboard, and reinforce the legs on one side of the table. It should be just fine, as is, but I like overkill.
Old 09-13-2020, 07:56 PM   #7
Well, I wish you luck with it. We use an older South Bend Heavy 10 lathe that we bought used ten years ago, and it's a workhorse. Someone will likely be using it to thread barrels long after I'm dead.
Old 09-14-2020, 08:06 PM   #8
Originally Posted by bcr229 View Post
Well, I wish you luck with it. We use an older South Bend Heavy 10 lathe that we bought used ten years ago, and it's a workhorse. Someone will likely be using it to thread barrels long after I'm dead.
Yeah, that is a nice lathe. But at 4 times what the one I am getting weighs, it was too much for me to be trying to manhandle.

Actually, this lathe I am getting will probably be the last time I purchase anything that has to be moved by muscle power that weighs more than I do.

With age comes weeniness, I suppose.

Anyway, talked with the UPS dispatch today and the truck will be down here sometime tomorrow afternoon. They said if it is raining too hard to make delivery, they can reschedule for another day. So just going to play it by ear.
Old 09-15-2020, 01:19 AM   #9
I just checked the Ebay ad that I bought the lathe off of, and it looks like the seller is now sold out of them. When I bought mine (the second one he listed), he suddenly showed up with a third unit, but that doesn't show now. Showing 0 available/2 sold. Coincidentally enough, ALL of the sellers selling the identical unit are now sold out as well.

I guess I am just naive about this Chinese method of marketing, but why would a seller create multiple accounts just to sell the same identical items? Particularly when there is a limited amount of stock available? Wouldn't that raise red flags with Ebay when suddenly a bunch of people selling a particular product suddenly show ZERO in stock without having reported a sale through them?

But I guess it is hard for Ebay to resist the Chinese throwing money at them hand over fist. Have you noticed that it is getting rather difficult to even find genuine USA sellers on Ebay lately? And those that you do find are merely Amazon resellers.

Speaking of which, I have bought several items online that wound up being delivered by Amazon. What puzzles me is that I do check the prices, and invariably the prices I got on Ebay were cheaper, sometimes MUCH cheaper, than the same identical item was selling for on Amazon. Yet Amazon shipped the product to me. Not sure how that works at all.

Personally I prefer to not do business with Amazon, but the way things are headed, it may very well become nearly impossible to buy something online that is not coming from either Amazon or China.

One place the Ebay resellers cannot seem to undersell is Harbor Freight. If you are looking for something that Harbor Freight sells, ALWAYS check there first. You will often find the item on HF much cheaper than what Ebay is selling them for.
Old 09-29-2020, 12:40 PM   #10
Well, this didn't go very well. That lathe I got was a real piece of crap. Literally everything I checked has something wrong with it.

Started out when I moved the carriage and saw a ground off section of the front wayslide.

Sooooo, I told the seller to take this piece of junk back and give me my money back. So that is what is going on right now. I've got the lathe still in the back of Connie's truck with the crate on it, but not sealed up till I get notice of a truck being on the way to pick it up. Often these Chinese sellers will try to wear you down by asking for photos and videos, so I don't want to seal it up and then have the guy ask for one more photo. I already inundated him with photos and videos, but heck, you never know.

A strange thing that happened in early AM hours of Monday was that the guy sent me a prepaid return label via email. Odd thing was that it was via USPS. USPS will not accept a package heavier than 70 lbs, which I am sure the guy knew. I immediately sent the guy an email asking him what was going on.

Interestingly enough, Ebay stated that if the seller didn't receive the return within a specified time, they would possibly cancel my claim. And, of course, there is no way to reach anyone at Ebay via email, so to cover my butt, I took some small tools that came with the lathe, put them in a padded envelope, slapped on that return label and ran it to the post office that day.

Not long after I got back from the post office the seller sent me a reply telling me to ignore that return label. Yeah, right.... I can see where this was headed.

So I am supposed to call a number in Anaheim, California today to arrange with someone to have truck pickup arranged. Will be interesting to see where that leads.

Well, so much for that idea. Now that my appetite has been whetted for a larger lathe, do I look around for something with a quality brand name attached? Of course it will cost a lot more money, and certainly be a lot heavier. This one on Ebay looked like it could have been a real gem with real decent specs, yet light enough to be easily managed. Darn shame it turned out to be garbage. I guess I could go as heavy as 500 lbs before I'm getting WAY out of my comfort zone. I have a Harbor Freight shop crane that at the longest extension is rated for 1,000 lbs, so that should do the job of lifting something weighing 500 lbs out of the bed of Connie's truck without any trouble. But that means that the lathe would have to go into the garage, as there is no way to manage this thing weighing that much to get it into the work room in the old reptile building. Even disassembled, the bed is surely going to way a substantial portion of that 500 lbs.

But before I can do anything, I've got to get that basket case of a lathe out of Connie's truck.

Ah well, par for the course, I guess.

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