Buying a Mini Late in China

I'm going to be in China for a couple of weeks and was thinking about buying
a mini-lathe, something like the Harbor Freight 7X10. Anyone ever done this?
Suggestions of what to look for or avoid?
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I don't know about buying one there, but I wonder if you'd find ones with 120 volt motors that easily over there.
And, unless you've got some angel (or employer) picking up your freight bill for you, I'd check out the transportation cost of getting a one 100 pound package (and, the crating costs.) back home, not to mention possible US customs fees. Those costs are likely to bust any purchase price savings on what you can buy here for under $400 when they're on sale.
And, you may get unlucky and happen to buy one there which suffers some kind of infant mortality. HF will help you out, but whoya gonna call in China?
Just my .02,
Reply to
Jeff Wisnia
Well the units there are probably 220V 50Hz, so you'd have to convert it for NA use. It won't be UL approved in case of an electrical fire. Shipping might be a bitch for warranty. All things considered, might be a better idea to go to HF. My 2 cents worth anyway..
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A more practical problem might be actually finding a place to buy them. You'd probably have to have some expert help (more expert perhaps than your concierge). I scoured the multitude of industrial supply and hardware shops around Boundary street in HK a few years ago without seeing a single lathe (lots of chain hoists, hydraulics, cutoff saws and other "close, but no cigar" stuff. Probably some kind of industrial supply shop in the outskirts of a decent-sized industrial city. If you're having it sea-shipped back, you might want to go for a bigger one or buy several items just because the overhead costs will dominate anyhow, or get the smaller one from HF instead (at $3xx including shipping, it's pretty cheap).
Check out the free luggage allowance, though, some are pretty generous (2 checked bags of up to 70lbs each on Cathay, provided part of your trip goes to the US or Canada). If you're like me, you don't have much other luggage (I tend to leave with just a carry-on). Watch the per-bag limit with a lathe- but maybe it could be taken apart a bit. It'll be 240V 50Hz with a funny plug, but it should work okay on 240V 60Hz in most cases. A bit inconvenient if you want to just plug it into 120V. I'm not sure I'd bother- things like calipers might be a better deal and much lighter per $ with no power source issues.
Best regards, Spehro Pefhany
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Spehro Pefhany
I doubt you will find them readilly available there. I could be wrong.
My understanding is that these and their ilk are produced by the various companies co-ordinated by a government agency in order to produce export goods.
In any case, I don't expect you could beat the North American prices, as you will not be buying in container load quantities.
Cheers Trevor Jones
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Trevor Jones
I spent about 6 months in Hong Kong about 10 years ago. If things are the same now as then, the best buys seemed to be for silk and jewelry and the worst for high tech stuff like PCs, though software was dirt cheap so long as you didn't mind getting it on cheap floppies. Optics were also the same price or more expensive as here in the US. I'd expect that buying a 7x10 lathe there would not be a good idea. They do have some interesting machine shops set up in little cubby-hole type stalls in the shopping districts, though. You might find an intereesting old US lathe at one of those. It would be a hoot to bring back an old SB.
Reply to
Mike Henry

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