I've never bought directly from Shars via their catalog, but I did purchase
a fairly expensive item from them via one of their Ebay auctions (they go by
the Ebay ID: discount_machine). Their communication, service, delivery
speed, and product were all excellent, so I *would* recommend them.
As for their "branded" economy 5C collets, they are most likely of Chinese
origin and similar in quality to other Chinese-made "import" collets. That
means they're probably fine for most hobby applications, and perhaps even a
fair number of commercial/professional applications. According to a Shars
2005/2006 catalog I have, their 5C collets are stated to be accurate to
If you need assurances of higher precision than that, yet can't afford
Lyndex or Royal, then you might want to consider Bison 5C collets which are
guaranteed to 0.0004" TIR. Bison tools are manufactured in Poland and I find
them to be of very high quality. Perhaps not at the level of some premium
American brands, but certainly much higher than most Chinese, or even
Taiwanese, tooling. KBC Tools sells Bison 5C collets in inch and metric
sizes. Unfortunately, the prices have recently increased on these to $11.13
each (versus $17.55 each for Lyndex metric 5C collets).
I've ordered tooling several times from Shars and the only
problem I had was due to a misprint in their catalog about the
part # of some carbide inserts. I put their 100 series QC
toolpost on my Atlas 12x36 lathe and it's about typical for
Chinese gear. I haven't seen anything bad from them and intend to
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