Another reason why not to by a clone (of anything)

  • I've recently seen one or two posts from disgruntled purchasers who have complained about the cost of genuine Duet boards vs cheap Chinese boards. Or they have complained about what they consider to be poor instructions on the Duet Wiki. Or indeed both.

    So I thought I'd just share this little gem. I've recently ordered a manual milling machine and I need to but a vice for it. Many of these things seem to originate in China and the instructions seem to lose something in translation. Here are the instructions for one such vice, quoted verbatim including spelling and punctuation.............



    1. This product is main attachments to precision milling grinders be machines.

    2. When active mouth of the tongs level migration. Above it half sphere can have vertical downward pressure, therefore the clamp work piece cannot surface the boat.

    3. The mouth of the tongs opens the opening to be possible to act according to four direction changes.

    II Uses and Maintains

    1. advert: Middle has an adjuster bolt in active mouth of the tongs behind, uses in eliminating the nut with pliers body between gap. enable between both to have correct connection, if connects too tightly, on the active mouth of the tongs half sphere can shift. too loose, guide screw and nut concentric, the guide screw passes time is difficult.

    2. In the transportation of the operation, forbid strictly the rap and the collision, otherwise the precision in unable to guarantee.

    3. In order to guarantee the operation is nimble, all active parts need to be lubricated frequently."

    .......end of quote

    Now if they can mangle the instructions so badly for a simple thing such as a machine vice, think of the mayhem that they could cause with instructions for something like a Duet board.

    This is of course a light hearted post - the clone makers don't have to provide instructions - the Duet team have invested all the time and effort and done that for them.

    PS. Best of luck to any non-native English speakers who try to translate the above quoted instructions.

  • Reading those instructions made my head hurt.

  • But a 6" Kurt will run ya $574.95, 🙂

  • And there are the physical build issues.....
    I purchased a set of 10 smooth idle pulleys to replace the cheap Chinese ones on my printer and ended up leaving the original ones on because they were better quality.
    My concern is that the UK market is flooded with cheap Chinese rip-offs.

  • As you mention vices, my cheap Chinese grinding vice is far surperior in build quality to the fancy Made in Germany low profile vice. Support and documentation were about the same for the two, non existing. I later purchased some Kress collets and nuts from the same company, again issues with tolerances and no support.

    The nuts were described as (similar for collets)

    Kress spare part / service part number: 21208
    Made in Germany quality – no China Import.

    But they were still clones, albeit German made clones, however inferior despite costing almost the same as the real deal.

    So I'll agree that if you expect quality and support don't buy clones, but I'd say that regardless of the origin. I've had far better experiences with eBay and AliExpress than that particular German company, but my expectations are definitively lower for eBay and AliExpress.

  • On the other hand, for the enthusiast who is able to fix and improve cheap Chinesium can offer access to stuff that would normally be out of reach.

    I'm currently trying to make surface plates and will practice scraping so I can buy a Chinesium mini lathe and re-build it, and fill the voids with epoxy granite. If I make sure to get a brushless spinde and metal gears I think that will take 6 months extra and cost me whats left of my hair, but its also the only way short of winning the lottery I will ever own a functional lathe, short of building it from scratch.

  • Is it ironic that while having fun with these attempts at translation we ourselves are having trouble with our vises having vices?



  • Yep! My Wife once got a really cheap clone 7" tablet (back when they were still expensive).

    The instructions were so bad she literally had tears in her eyes and must have laughed non-stop for 10 mins. I can still get here going in 2 seconds by mentioning it!

    It's a lot less funny when it's something complex that you really need the instructions for, especially if safety instructions are vital ...

    Sometimes it's just not worth it to go Chinesium, other times you just don't have a choice and the product you get is literally the same or better. Youse pays yer moneys and youse takes yer chances.

  • Based on my experience many of the Chine products are very low quality. I purchased some time ago linear motion guide rails. The bearings were randomly stacking, had to fill with epoxy the ball channels and re-drill them again.
    @bearer, I bought for myself MyFord lathe, it has lots of issues, including the axis need grinding, but although that some responded that parts for this model are not manufactured from more than 60 years, there are many parts available on eBay, including beds. There are some videos on YouTube how to recycle MyFord, install stepper motors etc.
    From German tools my favorite brand is Metabo. But it seems lately most of the German companies use Chinese parts etc. Still when I go to flea markets, garage sales, search private ads … always look for old European made tools – such quality can not be found in “modern” products.

  • Clone duet boards weigh ~10% less than real. Probably skimping on the copper pour.

  • @wesc said in Another reason why not to by a clone (of anything):

    Clone duet boards weigh ~10% less than real. Probably skimping on the copper pour.

    Copper pour? As in ground planes?

  • @bearer The Duet has a large ground plane that acts as heat sinking for the board.

  • administrators

    Genuine Duets have 2oz copper thickness top and bottom, to help with carrying high currents and heat sinking the stepper drivers and MOSFETs. The standard copper thickness for PCBs is 1oz.

  • I'm on the fence with regard the posatives and negatives of cloners and their overall effect on the open source community.

    Quality costs regardless of the geographic origin and crap parts can originate from the UK. Likewise I've previously got stuck in a rut of using uk community favorite suppliers only to find out they couldn't for example guarantee whether I was getting a motor coupler that had axial grub bolts or an offset pinch bolt - it depended on what their supplier sent them! A proportion of the stock these guys were reselling apeared to be just aliexpress etc imports.

    The threat of cloners does help reduce the likelyhood of profiteering where people are charging needlessly high costs for a product. Equally it encourages constant evolution in order to stay ahead of the cloners and strict quality control of their suppliers which is not possible for single unit purchasers.

    Ebay is flooded with micro importers and I'd suggest many of these would struggle to furnish you with a legitimate CE certificate or simple disappear if there was an accident that the Heath and Safety executive decided to investigate. The manufacturers outside the EU block can't be sued. So in these cases there's little insentive to ensure the machines are safe, and not filled with carconegenic or environmentally hazardous materials. What this does is make it difficult for UK suppliers who are thourogh and complete to compete with these imports.

    As a community I think we have embraced the cheap import machines too much with too little time spent giving them a hard time on their weaknesses. This has made it near impossible to make a business of offering mid range printer kits, and entry level is impossible because that is now assumed to be £200 ish rather than £500.

    On an equal measure some of us from the self built printer comunity profit from leaving machines running overnight and unattended that are built cheaper than they should be with minimal to no reliable safetys and then charge unsustainable prices that are a low multiplier of material cost alone. This making it equally dufficult to run a sustainable turnover printing business.

    My thoughts are rapidly becoming political now but essentially I fear we are engaging ourselves in a race to the bottom. Imports should be allowable as should cloners but companies like ebay should step in to ensure basic quality, saftey, and accountability standards are met. It's impossible for single buyers to do that. With that in place you'll most likely find that a large chunk of the cost difference dusappears.

  • @doctrucker, Quite agree with your position about eBay like companies. Currently the British authorities are working on this matter. But what I could understand from their responses is that those companies are not willing to do this. In most of the cases they say, that they are “global” companies and the customer should comply with their rules, rather than the opposite.

    My suggestion is when a consumer has problems with a product to contact the consumer protection organizations. They do not do anything in most of the cases regarding Asian suppliers, but as one lawyer stated, the complains are logged. Based on the number of complains latter a political decision can be made etc. Speaking about the consumer protection, I also experience issues and read lots of complaints on this and other forums about problems with RRF firmware, Duet boards etc. Those issues seems in some cases not properly addressed, developers like @dc42, @chrishamm … do not respond etc. Although some people on this forum found my communication to sound “nasty”, I would like guys to assure you that the EU consumer protection organizations regarding companies located in EU could be quite effective. Go fix your products or you going to be forced to do this etc.

    Lastly, if a customer purchased fake, counterfeit products, let say a board that the seller claimed to be a Duet board, but it is a clone. I recommend you contact the local police or Interpol. Based on my experience, Interpol can be very effective regarding such matters.

  • I think it boils down to CE marking being left to business to look after themselves and until an accident has happened being trusted to have done the work.

    Doing it properly it would cost me in the order of £100-200 per standard (maybe six or eight of them) to give me an idea of what I can do to prove compliance with the appropriate regulations and have to documentation in place to support a self issued CE certificate. Ontop of that collecting certificates of incorperation for all my components to prove they are not made with toxins and carconegens would take a monumental effort and rule out many aliexpress and ebay like cheap purchases pushing my priduct cost up. But less scrupulous could collects a few CE certificates from known brands, copy them and make a decent effort at the build making sure wiring CSAs and colours are correct, fusing and shielding present and they may never have to produce the documentation.

    I think the only way to address this is random spot checks and product audits on CE certification documentation funded by heafty fines and partly by upper tier corperation taxes.

  • @fcwilt said in Another reason why not to by a clone (of anything):

    Is it ironic that while having fun with these attempts at translation we ourselves are having trouble with our vises having vices?



    Only American English vises can have vices. British English vices can indeed have vices. ☺

    Out of curiosity, are there any German words with the same spelling that can have completely different meanings?

  • @deckingman said in Another reason why not to by a clone (of anything):

    Out of curiosity, are there any German words with the same spelling that can have completely different meanings?

    Of course there are many. Like the german word Gericht means both Meal and Court of Law.

    The Biggest problem i had was with Speed and Velocity. They both translate to the same word in german.

  • Ah, going from 70um to 35um makes sense to save, sounded more like putting work into reducing the area of a ground plane which didn't seem to make a whole lot of sense. 70um does indeed drive up the cost.

  • @veti said in Another reason why not to by a clone (of anything):

    Of course there are many. Like the german word Gericht means both Meal and Court of Law.

    The Biggest problem i had was with Speed and Velocity. They both translate to the same word in german.

    Well they mean almost exactly the same thing in English and one is often used in place of another. The only difference is that velocity is a vector so it's the speed (or rate of change of position) in one direction. Whereas speed can be applied to circular motion where the direction is constantly changing, or indeed anything that can happen in a period of time. So velocity is a type of speed and is always measured in m/s. Whereas speed can be m/s but can also be revolutions per minute for something that is revolving, or words per minute for typing of talking. Anything that can happen in a unit of time can have speed but only linear motion can have velocity. Is there no German equivalent?

    Edit. Actually, it gets a bit more complicated than that because it is possible to have angular velocity but I need more Caffeine before we get into that..☺

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