... I can not believe people are OK with this ...
... I can not believe people are OK with this ...
I didn't read through in detail, but just looks like a thread on various combo machines. What specifically is wrong with it?
AHA! Page 2! Sorry, bout that.
Last edited by John Dow; 03-11-2007 at 03:17 PM.
Well, I can understand your point, but I think the standards for ethical behavior in manufacturing may be different than in art and architecture. As long as they don't infringe on a patent.....
I guess that since we're all pretty used to seeing 'cloned' cabinet saws, bandsaws, jointers, planers, etc., we've become immune to the look-alike aspect of most brands of tools.
tearing apart a competitor's product for evaluation - or outright copying - has been going on in many different industries for decades - the automobile industry comes immediately to mind - and will continue for decades (centuries!) to come. If this evaluation/comparison/cloning is legal, without patent infringement, AND results in an equal or better quality product (and preferably at a more affordable price), then what is the problem?
Competition for the market, and outright imitation and/or improvement of existing products has long been a staple of American - and now world - industry.
Of course, that's just my opinion... I could be wrong.
I think the term - 'not re-inventing the wheel' applies here.
No one who sets out to build a complex machine, be it a woodworking tool, a car, an airplane or a computer starts with a blank piece of paper. They look at earlier designs, note the features that work (and those that could do with improvement) and hopefully build a better unit.
Schools and universities etc actually assist this process, they teach the knowledge thats already been learnt. Wheels, electric motors, transistors, aerodynamics... all things that have already been invented by someone else.
I would be very wary of buying a machine that had been invented in a 'vacumn'. It would be a real prototype and the chances of it working properly would be pretty small.
Paul, if I'm reading correctly what you wrote on that thread, I think the issue (to some extent) is that you are looking at a manufactured item through an architect's eyes.
When Hammer/MM/Felder/whoever designs a machine, the design is not the product, the machine is the product.
But when you design a building, the design is the product.
Different game, different rules.
Where are we going? And what am I doing in this handbasket?
While I agree with Paul in theory, I also know this goes on day in and day out (had to get my own cliché in here). My main thought on this is that if they were infringing on proprietary design, it would be patented, and therefore a lawsuit would quickly follow. That Shiraz Balolia would put this information in writing on a public forum, tells me that there is not patent problem in doing this backward engineering. It's not like an intellectual work, it's new way of putting two old style machines together to use common parts. NOW, if Grizzley were to copy the unit exactly, and paint it the same color and market it, yes that would be a definite problem. Heck even a different color but the exact same item, would be a problem. But taking it apart to see what works well, and what doesn't, and incorporating those ideas into your own version is never going to get you on trouble.
All this brings up a question, who invented the first electric powered jointer? planer? who put the two items together for the first time? I don't know the answers to these questions. My guess is it wasn't Mini Max. As much as I love their equipment and would love to have a shop full of it, they could be a guilty as Grizzly. Jim.
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I probably shouldn't weigh into this, because it's a slightly controversial topic, but when has that ever stopped me before...
I have stated to Shiraz in that past that I'm not impressed because a company can manufacture similar machines in China for the cheapest price, and that I'm not jumping on the bandwagon to buy boatloads on machinery from any company doing so.
I don't own a lot of chinese machines, and in fact, I only have 1 that I will keep, and a newer Craftsman (Orion made) jointer I will sell. The one machine I have is a Jet 18X bandsaw, which I'm happy with for the time being, that being until I can find a nice old Yates-American snowflake to own someday...but in the meantime, I can't fit that in my current shop and will stick with the Jet. I have more American machinery than chinese, but the chinese stuff I have (Jet) is ok. WHM did buy PowerMatic, and Jet design is similar to PowerMatic, I felt it was the honest way to develop machines overseas. Interesting that Delta came back onshore, so I heard...I guess the Orion deal didn't work out too well for them...
I have to say I'm with Paul on this subject, and don't find anything innovating about the way these companies go to the extent of copying thier competition. It's the companies that come up with their own designs that really innovate. There is a grey area when design theft runs rabid, and I don't expect that company will worry about that, they are after all in China to get the least expensive workers, to get the cheapest price, to sell you the least expensive machine that will be marketed and touted as being as good as their competition who sells for more. It seems very much like buying a hamburger from the McDonalds $1 menu and expecting it to be gourmet, or even expecting the people that sell it to speak english, or care about the product to make it look like a hamburger. For those that do eat regularly at these fast food joints and feel they win, more power to them. Speaking english is not a requirement at most fast food resturaunts, just like insuring that all threads are assembled properly without cross-threading them on a machine built in China.
So, do companies manufacturing in China innovate? Well, if you call taking manufacturing overseas and having a lot of your product damaged in shippment because it is packed so poorly, and the quality of craftsmanship to be less because you paid a Chinese worker $0.25/hr to assemble your machines, I guess that's innovating. In many cases the machine can and will be fine, roll the dice. You can feel comfort as the seller will make it good even if you the customer need to wait a month or more for things to be fixed, that happens a lot. Many of those people are fine with that to save $0.25 on their next purchase.
It is amazing how many people buy machines purely on cost, and believe they will get the same product, saving themself a lot of money.
Companies manufacturing in China seem to often capitolize on the hobbyist who wants the best in machinery, but knows they can't afford or won't spend the $$$s it costs for a quality product. Those people will probably not use the machine enough to matter, and will be happy with their chinese machines, and quite honestly I fall into this category for the most part, except I look deeper than the paint and will pay extra for true quality and innovation. I don't consider myself to be the typical hobbyist woodworker in that sense, but that's were the mass market is in woodworking. I have a Jet 18X and I'm kinda-sorta-happy about it as a stop gap to a real band saw.
I have no problem with other folks buying and using China built machines, that is their choice. Many people own them and produce great results with them, that is what woodworking is about. For those that find satisfaction in doing that, I have no qualms with them and encourage them to continue doing as they have been. Just don't expect all to feel that such cloned products are innovative or do anything except bring a machine to the U.S. at a cheaper price, in most cases because they have not had to test properly, can pollute the environment in China where they manufacture at, and hire workers for much less because they don't need to meet any requirements and regulations on workers to cover for workers compensation, unemployment, social security, or other taxes implied in the U.S. to operate as they wood in a third world country. And all of this so that some cheap customers can save a quarter on their next purchase and feel happy about it. The customers are partially to blame here, and many won't mind that companies who develop and manufacture their product in China. I try not to patronize them as I don't know enough about their process, and from the outside it doesn't look kosher. I am a big advocate of onshoring, and bringing work back to the U.S., and hiring people that care about the work they do.
EDIT: FWIW, I bought a pair of Red Wing boots about 6 months ago, do you know that Red Wing is one of the ONLY manufacture of quality boots that are still made in the U.S.? Even Red Wing has an import line to compete with the competition, on price point.
Last edited by Alan DuBoff; 03-11-2007 at 10:09 PM.
People can and will get very heated on this topic.
There is one company that is very popular who charges a very high shipping rate. And then they add more for the lift gate and even more for a residential delivery.
Eight times out of ten, the crate arrives totally crushed and the machine is dented, broken and or scratched up. I have even seen threads (Not on this Forum) on several occasions where the machine simply wasn't finished being assembled. Wires not connected deep in the machine, loose adjustment bolts in hidden and dangerous areas etc.
The buyer has to call for the parts, wait for them and do the repairs themselves. Six months down the road you hear about oil leaks, burnt out motors etc. This company has directions "IN IT'S MANUALS" that explain how to shim and force a poor excuse for a cast iron wing to fit the equipment. If you try to send the bowed wing back they will tell you they are all like that and you might get one that is worse.
All of this is "Accepted!" They will tell you: They have great customer service and will take care of you.
I ask in a thread one time (Not on this Forum) why people put up with the poor packing and faulty machinery. That thread ended up 12 pages long with everyone slam- dunking me and I was labeled a tool snob. The general consensus was that if they insisted on better packing or quality control, the prices would go up. I was told in no uncertain terms that this was just the way things were and to live with it.
Well, My Father taught me that if you get a good tool in the first place, it would end up paying for itself. You most certainly get what you pay for. Whether it is copying, cloning, low or hi quality line, whatever. NO one out there today is in business to save the consumer money. If you have three table saws with all the same features sitting side by side and one of them is $500 less than the other two, corners have been cut! It's as simple as that.
I love my country, never think otherwise. I spent 25 years in the military. However, people are always saying "Buy American." How does one do that? We have the capability to produce the very best equipment in the world. They choose to farm it out to make more profit and feed us crap. I will be the first in line to buy a "Made In The USA" quality product. They just keep getting more and more difficult to find.