Taiwanese society (and many other southeast Asian societies) depends on the humble motor scooter for personal transportation. The scooters crowd the city streets in massive waves of noise and exhaust. Hence there is a need for small scale repair, and machining services that are specifically designed to cater to these smaller vehicles. The 3-in-1 machine tool fits very well into this environment because most motor scooter engine machining operations (cylinder heads, bearing/crank work, and boring operations) can be performed on these machines. So the 3-in-1 is a very good fit
"Social Conditions Drive Cost"
We all want high quality tools, but then we get a bit nauseous when we have to pay for that quality. In my humble opinion (and keeping in mind Pete's infamous quote) the mainland Chinese tools are a very good bargain for us hobby machinists who don't have to make a living with the darn thing.
Thirty-five years ago we were debating the quality of Japanese tools which at the time had the same reputation as today's Chinese machines. Twenty-five years ago it was Taiwanese tools, and now it's the mainland Chinese products. Fact is cheap tools come from places where there is cheap labor. As these labor pools develop into traditional middle class dominated societies, labor rates go up, prices go up, and the next cheap labor pool gets tapped. Who knows, in a couple of years we'll probably be debating the quality of Bangladeshi, Indonesian, or Vietnamese machine tools.
With the HF44142, I knew what I was buying -- I received a descent tool with enough versatility and power to match my limited machining skills, and without breaking my budget. I can take the extra time to properly set it up, and since I don't use it every day to make a living, I can accept it's shortcomings.
BTW -- what's up with that awful looking maroon HF paint scheme. Most all of their low-end machine tools are attired in this color and it is truly ugly. The sister model from Grizzly (G9729) looks much more refined dressed in that green livery.
- - - HF if you're listening how about a nice shade of blue, or fire-engine red !!! - - -
Update: HF must have heard all our complaining about the color scheme, because the new models are painted in a fresh new "sporty" black and gray livery .
A real nice fellow, Harold Hadaller from Florida kindly submitted the following picture of his brand new HF44142.
Check it out --