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An observation about bearings

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Janderso

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#1
Let’s face it, with the internet, you don’t need to leave your shop to buy most things.
We have so many choices.
I purchased some bearings for the wheels on the vintage Delta band saw I recently refurbished. They were an Amazon top choice, paid $21 for the two. They were an “Asian” origin product.
I wasn’t too impressed with the feel of them but installed them anyway.
I am building an old Rockwell 6X48 belt sander and decided to try McMaster Carr for the bearings.
Night and day!
Smooth as oiled glass. The price was about 15% more.
Lesson learned. 3C1E7980-6E43-4707-8E24-194F946B4091.jpeg
 

Downunder Bob

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#2
I would never use an asian bearing where it really mattered.
 

jwmelvin

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#3
Japan makes some excellent bearings. But there are many counterfeit ones trading on the names of good brands. I’ve bought counterfeit SKF bearings on eBay and might not have noticed if I didn’t compare the box and bearing to a real one.
 

JimDawson

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#4
I used to buy some bearings online from a discount vendor. I bought a set of bearings for the drive system in my mill head (not spindle bearings), turns out that was a mistake. I don't know if the bearings were OK or not, they felt OK but a little stiff, but after running for about a year my head started getting a bit noisy again. When I tore it down for a belt change, I found that one of the bearings had spun in the bore thus destroying the bore. It turned out that the grease they used looked like a mixture of used crankcase oil and tar. The grease literally locked the bearing up at low temperatures.

Now I only buy bearings from my local bearing house or McMaster. It turns out that the same bearing numbers from the local bearing house are only a couple bucks more than the online discount vendor.

Lesson learned :)
 

mmcmdl

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#5
SKFs are produced right up the road in Hanover Pa. ( for now ) . They will be heading south real soon as the diminishment of coal has hurt them . Their ring and seal group down in Baltimore will relocate to the Pa plant . ( And they are hiring BIG TIME ! ) Google Kaydon for more information .
 

jwmelvin

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#6
SKF is a Swedish company and produces bearings all over the world. Some—the Honda rear hub-bearing assembly I was buying—are produced in Japan. NTN is another quality brand from Japan. It is certainly possible that one brand offers different quality levels in different markets.
 

Janderso

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#7
SKF is the brand I purchased from McMaster.
Maybe I didn't make that clear.
The Asian brand was
QJZ2K
 

mmcmdl

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#8
They are world wide . I rode by the bearing plant when I was considering working for the ring and seal division . Didn't go into the plant . I went down to Kaydon 3 times and toured the place but decided I didn't want to travel I95 any longer . I worked at a plant 2 miles north of them and didn't want the added traffic hassles . They had some top notch equipment there and they were buying more in anticipation of their move up to Hanover Pa . Last I heard , they were still looking for machinists and maintenance techs and were offering large incentives . I'm just too far away from the plant or it may have been worthwhile .
 

GunsOfNavarone

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#9
The Japanese besrings like Nachi are among the best...prior to that i was all about VBX. Chinese i just wouldnt gamble. It seems like its the first thing to go in these Chinese lathe/mills many of us have.
 

markba633csi

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#10
Nachi are good. The Chinese brand HCH seems to be good, time will tell
 

westerner

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#11
decided to try McMaster Carr for the bearings.
Night and day!
I know this subject has come up many times here, but I still gotta say- Brands are not always listed in the McMaster catalog, but we buy alot of stuff from them, and have NEVER been disappointed. Prices are certainly not the lowest, but shipping times and customer service are absolutely the very best I have seen. Quality of parts has never been suspect, and always exceeds the stuff from more traditional/local sources.
 

Firstram

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#12
I know this subject has come up many times here, but I still gotta say- Brands are not always listed in the McMaster catalog, but we buy alot of stuff from them, and have NEVER been disappointed. Prices are certainly not the lowest, but shipping times and customer service are absolutely the very best I have seen. Quality of parts has never been suspect, and always exceeds the stuff from more traditional/local sources.
I second that motion! We order from McMaster every day, the higher price is offset by the time we save not searching multible vendors. Customer service is 2nd to none!
 

Downunder Bob

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#13
Japan makes some excellent bearings. But there are many counterfeit ones trading on the names of good brands. I’ve bought counterfeit SKF bearings on eBay and might not have noticed if I didn’t compare the box and bearing to a real one.

Yes very true, Japan has made high quality bearings for quite a long time, I believe Taiwan and S Korea also make some in a few of the popular sizes, but for any application that is important I'd stick to German, American and Japanese made bearings. About 25 years ago I worked on a JApanese built ship, and every thing on board was made in Japan, generally we had no problem with bearings. A couple of times when we tried to improve the life of a particular bearing, we tried both American and German mad same number etc and found little or no difference
 

Downwindtracker2

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#14
Changing bearings is a millwright's bread and butter. One of the millwright I worked with told a story about the last place he worked, the buyer had gotten a deal on Korean bearings. His work load went way up. Something like 1/3 the life of brand name. With management like that no wonder Safeway sold out in Canada.
 

NortonDommi

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#15
You get what you pay for and if a cheap bearing will do the job then cheap it is. If you want top quality it will be reflected in the price. All top quality bearings regardless of place of manufacture will have accreditation and independent test results available. These days it does not pay to get hung up about country of manufacture. Japan, Germany, Britain, Taiwan, America all good if well known brands. India make some excellent products with first class metallurgy but like China you get what you pay for. Russian stuff is a mixed bag.
Even major brand name bearings sometimes need help, popping the seals on sealed bearings and filling with a really good grease is worth while and cheap bearings can be made a lot better and longer lasting with good lube.
 
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