Week 40, 2013 – Shars Tools

I fell a bit behind; I had these posts partially prepared but never posted.  I’m going to try and add at least a couple links and pictures later.

So I made an order from Shars Tools.  Shars is where I’ve gotten the majority of the tooling and instruments for my machine shop.  It’s basically the Made-in-China-dot-com of the machine tool world, and judging from the AOL and gmail mail addresses, I swear it’s run out of somebody’s house, and they don’t actually have any inventory, it just comes direct from China and they send it off to customers…it really wouldn’t surprise me in the least. But their prices are hard to beat, they’ve got one of the best selections, and their customer service is good and very responsive, especially considering it really does seem to be run by like ONE PERSON.

This time I picked up some handy bits and bobs, for instance, a set of telescoping gages, and a direct-reading ‘mechanical digital’ micrometer accurate to 0.0001″.  Very good tools for inspection.

I picked up some new inserts for the indexable tools for my lathe; since I can’t run it fast enough to reach the optimal cutting speeds for carbide inserts on aluminium I’d been meaning to get some aluminium-specific inserts…which are sort of hard to find for some reason.  I also picked up a matching indexable boring bar.  I wanted to get a pair of internal and external indexable threading tools with special thread-forming inserts, but they were like $30 each.  Need to do that though if I’m going to really do any serious fabrication on the lathe.  I also had my eye on this great grooving and profiling tool.  Profiling will be a big deal if I ever convert the lathe for CNC.

Also picked up an indexable dovetail mill for the milling machine.  I figured it didn’t cost that much more than the non-indexable version, so screw it. This way, any time it gets dull, I can just replace the cutting edges instead of buying a new cutter. Inserts are relatively cheap.

AmazonSupply

[Reposted from a May 2nd 2012 post from my old blog.  I plan to do a formal review in the future!]

Last week, I heard about a new site Amazon was launching called AmazonSupply.  Having just gotten an Amazon Prime membership, I jumped at the chance to see if it carried over to the new site. (It does! Gift card balances don’t though.)

Normally, I buy my raw materials and fasteners from McMaster-Carr, but the one downside is that I know I’m always facing a $10~30 shipping fee and I won’t even know what it is until days later when they actually bill me!  Because of that, I don’t order from them unless I have a comfortable surplus of cash.  It also means I try to consolidate my orders, to make the shipping worth it.

AmazonSupply doesn’t beat McMaster’s prices on most things, and they have nowhere near the selection…however, the items that are cheaper, I can afford to pick and choose, because my Amazon Prime membership gives me free 2-day shipping, and $3.99/item overnight!  It also means I can impulse buy materials, or grab things I need ASAP and have them in 1-2 days, guaranteed.  This is evidenced by the fact that in the week since I heard about the site, I’ve made 4 orders. (Mostly for stainless steel round stock.)

So, while they don’t replace McMaster– not by a long shot –they’re definitely on my list of regular suppliers now!

–Update!–

You CAN use Amazon.com giftcard balances on AmazonSupply, but there’s a catch; you have to find the item on AmazonSupply and then paste the ASIN into the Amazon.com searchbar, and you’ll be able to buy it through Amazon.com and use your giftcard balance.  How do accounts and Amazon Prime carry over, but not giftcard balances?

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