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CJK
professor emeritus


Reged: 12/05/12

Loc: Northeast TN
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: Howie Glatter]
      #5647484 - 01/28/13 06:54 AM

Wow. I'm speechless. The level of workmanship is absolutely appalling, and the lack of integrity even more so.

I think it's a real service to the community that Dr. Hayes took the time to carefully document this and post it.

-- Chris


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Ed D
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 04/30/10

Loc: Sunny South Florida
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: CJK]
      #5647544 - 01/28/13 08:06 AM

I'm also speechless. There are plenty of ATM guys and gals here that do much better work with basic hand tools. I hope the author gets his money back, but I have a bad feeling he's been had.

Ed D


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PhilH
sage


Reged: 01/27/05

Loc: Long Island, NY
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: Ed D]
      #5647608 - 01/28/13 08:59 AM

If I might, let me pull an excerpt from my book Star Ware, which addresses problems with vendors. It might prove helpful here, or perhaps in a future situation.
==================================================
The vast majority of astronomical companies are owned and operated by a staff of competent, friendly people. They want happy customers (remember, a happy customer is a repeat customer) and guard their good reputations jealously. Most are willing to bend over backwards to see that a problem is resolved to the customer's satisfaction. But what can the consumer do if he or she is dissatisfied with a manufacturer or distributor?

Begin on the right foot. Before returning a defective piece of merchandise, always speak to the manufacturer first about the problem. Request instructions for the most expeditious way to return the item for replacement or refund. Conform to the directions precisely, but to protect yourself, always follow up the conversation with a letter. In it, repeat the nature of the problem as well as the desired outcome. Send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, and keep a copy for your records.

Allow the company a reasonable length of time to respond to your complaint, typically two to four weeks. If, after that time, a satisfactory resolution has not been reached, write to the company again and inquire as to the delay. State that you expect a response within a given period of time, say ten business days. Once again, send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, and keep a copy for your records. If there is still no response, call the company and find out the owner's name. Write to him or her directly, recounting all that has happened since the item was ordered.

By now, the predicament should have been resolved, but if it has not, then it's time to take action. The major astronomical periodicals do not have on-staff consumer advocates, yet they do take an active interest in consumer satisfaction with all who advertise in their magazines. Write to them with your complaint, being certain to send a copy to the president/owner of the offending company. In addition, send a copy of the letter to the Astronomical League. The League is also interested in customer satisfaction, and may offer assistance. If you suspect mail fraud, also contact your local postal inspector or complete Form 8165, Mail Fraud Complaint Questionnaire, which is available at all United States post offices. Return the completed form to the postmaster or mail it to the following address: Chief Postal Inspector; U.S. Postal Service; 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3021; Washington, DC, 20260-2100. You should also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580.

Most consumer advocates recommend charging all mail orders to a major credit card; do not use a check or money order, if possible. Using a credit card gives you certain powers that are not available any other way. On the back of every credit card's monthly statement, there are instructions that clearly describe steps to be taken in the event of a consumer problem. Usually, the card requires that the consumer describe in specific detail the exact nature of the problem and provide copies of all receipts and documentation. The charge will then be put in contest until the problem is resolved. If a charge is contested, the consumer is not responsible for any interest that may accrue as a result. When a final determination is made, either a credit will be issued to the charge account or the balance plus interest will be due.

Contesting a charge should be viewed as a last resort measure. Only put a charge in contest when a bona fide problem exists and the vendor refuses to cooperate. For instance, just because you decided that you don't like an item anymore is not reason enough to contest a charge, but poor quality or workmanship is. See the difference?


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Jeff Morgan
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 09/28/03

Loc: Prescott, AZ
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: Charlie Hein]
      #5648039 - 01/28/13 12:34 PM

Wretched. Absolutely wretched.

I get that many astro-businesses are small outgrowths from another business that provides the owner a liveable income. And I admire the entrepreneurs that market to our small hobby, in most cases it can only be a labor of love.

But this example would indicate Optic-Craft is not in the machining business with both feet, let alone the astronomy business.


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Glen A W
sage


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: WEST VIRGINIA USA
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: Jeff Morgan]
      #5648058 - 01/28/13 12:40 PM

I have no connection to the proprietor here. I just suspect that there is more to this, one way or another. I do not agree that this case is well-documented. We have one side of it and can make of it what we will. Clearly, the spur gear is damaged, but an offer to take care of that was made. Numerous inferences are made in the article as to the proprietor's state of mind and these are inappropriate and damaging to the writer's case.

If we knew the whole story here, there would be some other variable. Perhaps the proprietor is ill, or perhaps there was merely personality clash. There is always a chance that someone was out to rip someone off, but I am finding that very hard to believe. I, for one, simply would not care about whether a piece of flat metal was cut with a mill or by hand, so long as it functions. Others may certainly differ.

But before we condemn someone who has not had his say and who has served the astronomical community for many years, perhaps we ought to investigate a little more. I note that most "satisfied customers" listed on his web site were high-profile institutions, and that may give you a tip right there that he may not be operating with the mindset of cosmetically-concerned amateurs. Glen

Edited by Glen A W (01/28/13 12:43 PM)


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t.r.
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 02/14/08

Loc: Upstate NY
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5648106 - 01/28/13 12:57 PM

Well, that review about sums it up. Now OC has some damage control to perform and some PR to attend to...at least to ever have my interest as a potential customer, which I have been. " You've got some splaining to do Lucy"!!!

Even if Mr. Clinard is perhaps winding down operations, or busy with other things, a vendor must, must, must take care of their customers, this hobby is too small not to (word gets around). If he is ending the business, at least he should care about his legacy and reputation and not go out like this, with this stain if true.


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rockethead26
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 10/21/09

Loc: Arizona, USA
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5648504 - 01/28/13 03:32 PM

Quote:

I have no connection to the proprietor here. I just suspect that there is more to this, one way or another. I do not agree that this case is well-documented. We have one side of it and can make of it what we will. Clearly, the spur gear is damaged, but an offer to take care of that was made. Glen




Glen,

I saw a lot more issues documented in the accompanying photographs that a "damaged spur gear". Let's just say the case is well documented from the customer's standpoint.


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andysea
Pooh-Bah
*****

Reged: 09/03/10

Loc: Seattle, WA
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5648593 - 01/28/13 04:11 PM

This is interesting.
In my line of work, whenever there is fabrication involved we request the fabricator to produce what is called shop drawings. That is to make sure that the design intent described in the construction documents is well understood. This gives everyone the opportunity to agree on the actual drawings that the fabricator will build from. Typically the shop drawings are reviewed by the designer and approved- or corrected/rejected - in writing. This is done in such a way that everyone involved in the fabrication process has one original copy of the approved shop drawings. If the fabricator fails to produce shop drawings then it's their responsibility to match the original design and if something is not correctly executed then the fabricator will have to correct the issue.
In essence not producing shop drawings becomes a liability to the fabricator.

In this case the first thing to do would be check the part for conformance with the original construction documents.
It looks like specific tolerances were given for all the specific dimensions. Even just not meeting the requested tolerances would be sufficient reason to reject the part. Furthermore it appears that the original design has been altered during fabrication.

This is a good reminder for all of us to be cautious and make sure that the expectations are understood from the outset.
I am also wondering if there are specific metal fabrication standards that should be referenced when ordering custom parts.
Unfortunately not having any machining experience I don't know but I would think that there should be specific standards for the various grades of machining, tolerances etc...

Just my 2c

Andy


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nebultick
member
*****

Reged: 10/09/12

Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: Howie Glatter]
      #5649098 - 01/28/13 07:55 PM

those bearings on the shaft are just a rod end ball joints the cheap ones cost like $6.28 for 1/2" id. I've used the for car suspension parts. I'd expect something a little better for a precision telescope drive system. Maybe some CNC housings with high tolerance cartridge bearings.

All the stuff the screwed up too seems like the easiest things to get right. I mean I could have built that whole thing in my garage minus - the round piece the gear is attached too, and the black anodizing.


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jhayes_tucson
sage
*****

Reged: 08/26/12

Loc: Bend, OR
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: nebultick]
      #5649451 - 01/28/13 11:09 PM

Thanks for all of the ideas, comments, and suggestions. Let me simply add that there isn't much of a back story to tell about this incident and frankly, I'd be delighted if Mr. Clinard would respond to this review. Everything in it is true and the photos speak for themselves. Mr. Clinard may have delivered some good products in his day but IMHO, this sure isn't one of them. Smart manufacturers understand that customers can now more easily share their experiences, which makes a "take the money and run" way of doing business a more risky proposition. In the meantime, I've replaced the OCM drive with a new drive from Ed Byers and it is a work of art by comparison. Once I get some meaningful data I'll post a review of that drive. I'll be delighted if it works even half as good as it looks!
John


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herrointment
Post Laureate
*****

Reged: 03/12/11

Loc: North of Hwy. 64
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: jhayes_tucson]
      #5649566 - 01/29/13 12:30 AM

The blacksmith in the town I grew up in could build anything....but in 1964 his days were numbered.

Could be the same case here except our blacksmith didn't have a web site (or phone, or toilet or broom!).


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sniperpride
super member


Reged: 01/04/12

Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5649769 - 01/29/13 07:03 AM

Quote:

I note that most "satisfied customers" listed on his web site were high-profile institutions, and that may give you a tip right there that he may not be operating with the mindset of cosmetically-concerned amateurs. Glen



So for example, if someone produces parts for NASA. Wouldnt you expect them to have a reasonable quality control? I mean, NASA doesn't just hire anyone. If he produces things for high profile institutions and then gives an amateur something that looks like it was made in a high school,(no offense to young machinists) This is unacceptable.


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cheapersleeper
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 01/22/10

Loc: Sachse TX
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review [Re: sniperpride]
      #5649883 - 01/29/13 09:04 AM

I know little about design or fabrication but I can say one thing after looking at those pics: That does not look like a thousand dollar piece of equipment.

B


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bykhed
scholastic sledgehammer
*****

Reged: 10/22/07

Loc: Westminster, CO
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: cheapersleeper]
      #5650264 - 01/29/13 12:55 PM

Wow. Appalling. I have some some minor machining in my garage with a drill press and bench sander and much of my work looks better than this....thing. I have seen precision machining and this is far, far from anything a true professional would sell.

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cspell
journeyman


Reged: 05/14/11

Loc: NJ
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: bykhed]
      #5650652 - 01/29/13 04:09 PM

Now, what does a thousand dollar piece of equipment look like? Check out the stuff at real observatories- Lick if you are ever in the neighborhood and the reflector used on public viewing nights that the grad students assembled....

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johnnyha
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 11/12/06

Loc: Sherman Oaks, CA
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: cspell]
      #5650700 - 01/29/13 04:31 PM

For a couple hundred dollars more you can have this from a real machine shop.

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RogerRZ
Whatta you lookin' at?
*****

Reged: 01/09/06

Loc: West Collette, NB, Canada
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: johnnyha]
      #5650797 - 01/29/13 05:33 PM

Or anything from ADM, Moonlite, or Starlight Industries...

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City Kid
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 05/06/09

Loc: Northern Indiana
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5651200 - 01/29/13 09:27 PM

I am a machinist in a machine shop that manufactures fire fighting equipment. We throw away stuff that looks better than what the author was shipped. That is some of the worst machining I've seen. I've also had the opportunity to grade machining projects that students at Ivy Tech have made and I've never seen any work from any of the students that was that bad.

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Mister T.
super member


Reged: 09/15/09

Loc: Sun Prairie, Wisconsin
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review new [Re: RogerRZ]
      #5651212 - 01/29/13 09:32 PM

I have Opticraft drives here on a homebrewed (Novak) GEM. Age is unknown; I'd guess 1960s or 1970s vintage.

While some of it is a bit unorthodox, like the use of rod end bearings for the support of worm gear shafts, and some of the aluminum plate parts are a bit crudely done (ie, bandsawed), the finished product is CERTAINLY a lot better than that THING I saw here! I wouldn't call it high precision, but it's certainly BETTER.

It looks like Opticraft's standards have slipped some if he's shipping bricks like THIS.

Here's what I've got.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/42100982@N06/6218721928/in/set-72157627710339187

Edited by Mister T. (01/29/13 09:37 PM)


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johnlynch
member
*****

Reged: 02/08/09

Loc: virginia
Re: Optic Craft Machining Clock Drive Review *DELETED* new [Re: Howie Glatter]
      #5652825 - 01/30/13 05:28 PM

Post deleted by iceblaze

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