Another Little Task I Get To Look Forward To

One I have been putting off for a long time now.

The machining finish on most of the parts on these Cheap Chinesium Mini Lathes, Mini Mills, Vises and literally everything else they mass produce is, how do I put this?


Some of the supposedly “Machined” surfaces look like someone ran a rusty chain saw down them and called it good.

I’m not even joking.

That is supposed to be a finished sliding machined surface?

I went and dug out the POS Harbor Freight cross sliding vise I bought several years ago to take that picture to make my point.

One of these boat anchors,

Take my advice and DO NOT EVER get one of these, even if someone is trying to GIVE it away.

Run the other way as fast as you can.

OK, so that is kind of an extreme example, yes it is just a vise but it is advertised as being a fairly precision piece of equipment and it is garbage.

Back to the Mini Lathe, it also has some fairly horrible machining with very similar surface finishes on it in some places.

Which is why I had to lap in the cross slide to the bed.

Well now I get to do that with the compound slides.

Another really crappy bit of work they throw at these things are the Gibs for adjusting the tightness of the moving parts.

Almost all of them are bent and many of them have to locating holes the adjusting screws are supposed to fit into misaligned, badly.

That little diamond shaped piece jammed into the corner of the two moving parts is called a Gib.

Those are supposed to be straight, flat and have very smooth surfaces so the moving parts can slide past each other smoothly. A little oil helps greatly but if they are bent or twisted you get tight spots.

Here is the finish on my Cross slide after a couple years of very light use, the Compound slide is attached to that circular piece underneath and both pieces need work.

Look closely and you can see the uneven wear already.

It almost looks like the thing is bowed and all of the wear is going on in the middle with almost none out at the ends.

Some of that is normal, most isn’t.

So here is a fairly short video that shows exactly what is needed and why.

11 thoughts on “Another Little Task I Get To Look Forward To

  1. The lack of quality workmanship hangs around longer than the happiness of the low price. Lots of time to get it right, but I guess it’s what you get when you buy something for a dollar ninety-eight…


  2. These products are the attitude of the CCP, and Chinese *in general*, to westerners writ large. It’s what they really think of us, not just as a market, but as people as a whole. Their contempt and overt racism is staggering, yet we dumb round eyes keep lapping it up and throwing our money at them.


  3. Dammit Phil. I have that exact boat anchor so I laughed. It does what I need it to so no big deal. Have a good week.


    • They can make very high quality stuff, if you want to pay for it.
      These Mini Lathes, Mini Mills etc., are pretty near the bottom of the barrel but that is the only way these machines are affordable for the average working stiff. They are basically a barely functional pre assembled kit. They will work as is out of the box to a certain point but it’s up to the buyer to finish them out to make them actually useful machines.
      Once you acquire one, the sky is pretty much the limit, as demonstrated by the guy who made 32 or 33 Youtube videos documenting his process of tearing it down completely, hand lapping EVERYTHING, and then going through the process of turning it into a real CNC Mini Lathe, complete with the sheet metal enclosure,dedicated laptop work station and all.


  4. That thing’s gonna be slippery as snot on a brass doorknob when you’re done with it, Phil!

    The ChiComs can build very good stuff when they want to. I’ve got some chinesium “Big Binoculars” that were made in one of their dotmil factories, and they’re very good for the price.


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