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Rosch22

TSC 441 Clone from China

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Hi there,

I've a very nasty chinese salesgirl from Alibaba on my back, who really wants to sell a TSC 441 Clone to me.

The problem is that her offer is very good and transport is cheap. She works for a big manufacturer, so I'm really tempted to go for it.

If there wouldn't be that little tentative voice sitting on my shoulder, whispering to me that this chinese girl will not only take my money but also my peace of soul and send me a 441 clone, which was found last year in a corner when cleaning up the workshop, looking for a new stupid owner, who has the money and passions to get it sewing straight.

Anybody out there who went through this and can still sleep ? HELP !!!!

Kindest regards to all leatherman

Roland

 

 

 

 

 

441_specs.jpg

Edited by Rosch22

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Most of the "clone" sewing machines are made in China, some different brands are even made in the same factory.  That being said, what is sold in China isn't necessarily identical to what is shipped to the US.  In addition you lose out on service and technical help.  If it were me I would probably purchase one of the Cowboy or Cobra machines from a local supplier.  Despite what some on this site might claim about "made in China" these machines have an appreciative and loyal following and you have only to read the comments to se why.

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You will be buying directly from a manufacturer in China. This makes you the dealer for the purpose of repairs. Pray the machine works properly and doesn't break down and need parts.

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5 minutes ago, sbrownn said:

If it were me I would probably purchase one of the Cowboy or Cobra machines from a local supplier.

That is good advice in most cases, but not this one. Ours is an international forum. The O.P. lives in Germany and probably has no local Cowboy or Cobra dealer. He may be able to find a Hightex dealer though and they are the parent company of Cowboy brand.

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39 minutes ago, Wizcrafts said:

That is good advice in most cases, but not this one. Ours is an international forum. The O.P. lives in Germany and probably has no local Cowboy or Cobra dealer. He may be able to find a Hightex dealer though and they are the parent company of Cowboy brand.

That works too.  

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In case you will order it - keep in mind you have to pay import taxes and then 19% Einfuhrumsatzsteuer on top. If the machine goes with DHL standard you probably have to make a trip to your local customs office (which is maybe close to you or maybe 100km away - check that on Zoll.de or call them) to provide your payment details. If they ship with DHL Express or UPS you most likely have to pay your duties on delivery at your door. DHL Express and UPS (or other forwarding companies) may charge some fees as well for handling your package (meaning doing the customs work).

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You should at least ask for a quote with DDP shipping. That is “Door to Door Paid”. Which includes all shipping,import duties,customs costs and local transport to your location.  We have purchased manufacturing items from China and alway specify DDP.  Watch out for DDU “door to door,unpaid”. Shipping ,transport you pay all customs ect,that can bite you.

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1 hour ago, Wizcrafts said:

That is good advice in most cases, but not this one. Ours is an international forum. The O.P. lives in Germany and probably has no local Cowboy or Cobra dealer. He may be able to find a Hightex dealer though and they are the parent company of Cowboy brand.

Sieck sells them, I believe, and there is at least one other German dealer of Cowboy in Germany, the name of which eludes me.

@Rosch22

FWIW I was not impressed with the build quality of either of the two Chinese made sewing machines I've owned (not counting the infamous/ubiquitous manual patcher) but many people love theirs. I also occasionally buy non-sewing machines direct from China, and I usually have to factor in a bit of fettling and/or upgrading before I consider it safe or effective to use, usually dangerous electrics. Not a statistically significant sample I appreciate. However I think it important to remember that the Chinese built machines sold by reputable local dealers have often been specced, and often setup and QCed by the dealer themselves so comparing factory-direct machines and dealer-bought is a little bit apples-and-oranges.

I think that one of our members from New Zealand bought a 441 clone direct from the factory and wrote about his experience. Could be worth a look.

What satisfaction/protection guarantees are on offer from Alibaba, and how low of a price are we talking? Can you afford to gamble that amlunt (plus fees and taxes) on buying a pig in a poke? You may end up with a perfect machine, you may get a Juki shaped boat anchor and a suddenly very quiet sales agent.

 

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There are clones and then there are clones. While they might all seem the same on the surface there could be some variation in quality of parts and how they're assembled.  It would also want to be very cheap, imo, because as mentioned the hidden costs can be a killer! I went down the path of looking at importing one directly (to Australia, and we're not that far from China) but by the time I had looked at all the other costs there were no savings to be made. I contacted numerous companies and while there were a couple of follow up queries from some there was no "pestering".

Unless you can get a delivered quote, as previously mentioned, I would be cautious.

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Hi leathermen,

Thank You very much for Your all times good arguments. You all look very well for my wellbeing.

I like very much the expression of "Juki shaped boat anchor" !!! ;))))))

We have some guys here selling those machines, but I don't feel comfortable with any of them.

Its sort of swimming with the sharks.

A 441 with stand and a normal cheap clutch motor no extras takes 2.400 EUR plus shipment, which is quiet a piece if compared with the prices in the US.

If You like a 1Phase Motor (servo) with a speed reducer instead, we talk about 3.000 EUR plus shipment. A COBRA takes more than 3.500 EUR plus shipment.

The chinese head only deal would be 1.200 EUR (saving on EUR $ exchange) door to door all inklusive. No further taxes or duties are charged. That is checked.

Thats why I was thinking about it in the first place !!

 

 

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I’ve purchased a new Chinese industrial machine from a brand that doesn’t provide after sale support or even parts to the US.     It was a great deal if you don’t mind troubleshooting and adjusting your shiny new toy.

When people warn that you are on your own to sort out issues this is not a small task.   Common adjustments can be figured out from the manuals of similar machines, but you should assume there are fit and finish issues, both functional and cosmetic, that nobody has written about.   I had 3 or 4 linkages that had clearance issues that required some grinding.   A few of these originally prevented proper adjustments at the factory, so fixing the binding was only fixing one symptom and half the problem.

One linkage would bind no matter what - eventually it was tracked down to a tight bushing after 4 hours of disassembling testing and reassembling linkages.   Working on a machine that’s new to you is three or four times as slow since no matter what you don’t want to miss adjust something and add a new problem.

Finally there are some functions that just don’t work.  The built in bobbin winder was such a poorly made mess that there was no way it could be modified to function properly.

Knowing what I know now, I would still buy a no name Chinese machine, but only if it  was 1/4 the price of a better quality clone.   With careful bargain shopping I can eventually find a name brand machine in great shape for half of new price, so buying an inferior quality new machine that requires many hours of troubleshooting and adjustment is not worth much.

I know someone who purchased a 441 clone that needed significant work and they didn’t realize the complexity of what was required.   They paid 1/2 new price and if they were lucky, eventually fixed it for $500, but if a shop had to go through it that would cost well over $1000.

With these kinds of choices I assume there is a 25% chance you’ll get a great deal on a well running machine, a 50% chance of having to spend a great deal of time and still saving some money, and a 25% chance you’ll get a lemon and by the time it sews correctly you’ll have as much invested in it that you saved nothing and have an inferior machine that has less resale.

Good luck - be sure to let us know how it turns out!

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3 hours ago, Rosch22 said:

No further taxes or duties are charged. That is checked.

Who said that - the Chinese seller? ;) Thats quite unlikely but could be possible if they ship to a EU based distribution warehouse run by the Chinese (or whom ever) and they do the import custom work and pay the duties (which is prepaid in one or another way by the seller) and from there they ship to your address but I honestly would not expect that!

In worst case If you (as an importer) do not have a receipt showing that you or someone else paid the import duties + VAT for this shipment then it could be Zollhinterziehung / Steuerbetrug (not kidding). And saying "but the sellers said so" does not prevent you. 

Make sure you have your self informed in terms of "Wertgrenzen". AFAIK you have to make an electronic import declaration for goods above 1000€.

So be careful!

 

Edited by Constabulary

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I think the last two posts have summed things up pretty well. Rosch22, that price is certainly very good (too good?) and I can see why you're interested but I think I would be very cautious about the offer. I honestly don't see how they could deliver a head unit to your door in Germany at that price.

So I think you should do it, then we'll all know if it's a real deal.:)

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Just thought I'd give my two cents worth, I bought a Chinese clone three years ago. I was looking for a cylinder arm and a 441 was the best value around €1100 at the time, the nice sales girl convinced me to upgrade to a 205-470  Adler clone as it was supposed to be able to handle heavier material,  this came to about €1650 +€50 for delivery to nearest port, Dublin for me. I went with this thinking I could get Adler parts if need be. Paid my money and sweated wondering if my money was gone, will the instructions be in Chinese etc.etc.   I was assigned Jane on watsapp who asked did I want a drop down edge guide or bolt on, needle position up or down. Couple of weeks later I got a picture of a wooden box and note saying your machine is ready for transport. I started to feel better when I got a bill of laiding of a ship and date of arrival into Dublin.  Got a guy to clear it through customs paid vat%23 and duty and warehouse handling a couple of hundred. So I get to the warehouse with my jeep- seats folded down. The guy brings this box out 6' high x 4'x2' I should have brought the horse trailer. It was all set up stitched off, unfortunately I had to take it apart. When I got home and set it up again it was threaded and leather stitched in it. Plugged it in and it has never given trouble- touch wood!.

 

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On 3/14/2021 at 7:55 PM, Constabulary said:

Who said that - the Chinese seller? ;) Thats quite unlikely but could be possible if they ship to a EU based distribution warehouse run by the Chinese (or whom ever) and they do the import custom work and pay the duties (which is prepaid in one or another way by the seller) and from there they ship to your address but I honestly would not expect that!

In worst case If you (as an importer) do not have a receipt showing that you or someone else paid the import duties + VAT for this shipment then it could be Zollhinterziehung / Steuerbetrug (not kidding). And saying "but the sellers said so" does not prevent you. 

Make sure you have your self informed in terms of "Wertgrenzen". AFAIK you have to make an electronic import declaration for goods above 1000€.

So be careful!

Dear Constabulary,

I thank You for looking so well after me, but the world isn't so difficult as You see it. At least facts tell the truth.

For sure I would have my own agent, who will take over the shipment as soon as it is on european land. Salestaxes are also no problem, because that will be charged directly by customs as the import taxes will be, which are just 3,7% for industrial sewing machines (in my case about 45 EUR). Nobody will take me to jail for this amount of money ;))?

@DRY

Thank You for Your report. That was the sort of information, I was looking for.

 

Every year just Germany imports goods, machinery, tools etc. for 77 BILLIONS EUR from China. If they would sell shit, those numbers would be different. 

I thank You all for Your posts and for me I will take a long walk and think about all that. It's great and a privilege to have You guys around to chat about those things.

 

 

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If a small back street garage could buy all the component's of  industrial sewing machine in China, market them and sell them, why does not a US or European company do the same. lets face it selling industrial machines is quite a hard challenge at the best of companies, so although you might, and I say might be able to get the component's, its would be the cost of marketing and selling that would cost far more than making up a few machine to sell

I would imagine, but do not know for sure, that there are only a few very large manufacturers in China of industrial sewing machines, all of whom sell badged up machines to any company who wants to buy them, they will also make adjustments to machine designs to any company who orders enough to make it worth while changing the production lines

The future of the large machine makers relies on quality control just the same as any other company in any country for its long term survival

The main problem is unquestionable, Service for machines and spare parts availability, this is not the Far Easts area of expertise, and local expertise in this area is worth paying a lot of money for, though not always appreciated

 

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30 minutes ago, chrisash said:

The main problem is unquestionable, Service for machines and spare parts availability, this is not the Far Easts area of expertise, and local expertise in this area is worth paying a lot of money for, though not always appreciated

Puuh....my school english is too lousy to catch up in full what You wrote. Or is it Your PC ??;)) Can You say it in other words please ?

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in the end the decision is yours - we just shared our thoughts.

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18 hours ago, Rosch22 said:
18 hours ago, chrisash said:

The main problem is unquestionable, Service for machines and spare parts availability, this is not the Far Easts area of expertise, and local expertise in this area is worth paying a lot of money for, though not always appreciated

Puuh....my school english is too lousy to catch up in full what You wrote. Or is it Your PC ??;)) Can You say it in other words please ?

I think what chrisash is trying to say is that the Eastern countries like China, are not know for providing service, parts, or expertise. You should be prepared to provide/obtain those on your own. So, it may be worthwhile to spend the extra money and buy a machine locally as you will get those with a local dealer.  I think we are all eager to know what you decide to do.  If you import the machine, keep us posted as we would all like to hear how the process goes, and the condition of the machine when it arrives. Oh, and photos are always most welcome.

Good Luck.

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On 3/16/2021 at 1:29 AM, chrisash said:

I would imagine, but do not know for sure, that there are only a few very large manufacturers in China of industrial sewing machines, all of whom sell badged up machines to any company who wants to buy them, they will also make adjustments to machine designs to any company who orders enough to make it worth while changing the production lines

Here’s a list of Chinese companies - I’m not sure how complete it is, but there are a lot of ‘em.

https://www.made-in-china.com/manufacturers/industrial-sewing-machine.html

In the USA a Thomasnet search showed something like 107 manufactures.   Most of which are industrial products not suitable for our kind of sewing, but it’s impressive.

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On 3/14/2021 at 9:04 AM, Matt S said:

I think that one of our members from New Zealand bought a 441 clone direct from the factory and wrote about his experience. Could be worth a look.

That was me :)

If you don’t need the machine in a specific timeframe, and you’re comfortable with setting it up from scratch assuming it’s never been even vaguely adjusted, it might be worth it. I’m not a professional machinist or mechanic, but I’d stripped and rebuilt machines before I got mine. It still took me the thick end of 6 months to get it sewing properly. I value that as a learning experience now but it was a struggle at the time.

Mine came from Hightex (CowBoy’s parent company) so I figured it wasn’t quite as much of a crapshoot as buying a random brand one. That said, someone else had done the same thing and had to completely dismantle the machine, flush machining debris out of the head and grind on a few parts before reassembling the whole thing from scratch before it would sew. 

With the resources available on here I could probably do that with a 441 today, but now that there’s a dealer in NZ who offer support etc. I’d be mad to and the next CowBoy machine I buy will be from the dealer.

Not all machines are made equal, and not all factories making the same models do equally good jobs. I’ve got four Chinese clone machines from different factories and the Highlead is streets ahead of the others in terms of quality. The CowBoy/Hightex isn’t bad (except for the paint job which looks like they did zero surface prep beforehand). The Mercury is Ok but nothing to write home about and the rando brand one sews, but is not at all well finished and is kinda roughly cast. Fortunately it doesn’t get used much these days.

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