I had posted previously about the second consideration for tool truck vendors — Mac Tools in this case. I need a set of 12-point, universal, SAE sockets for a Powerplant course I’ll be starting next term.
I had noticed that Mac Tools had updated their inventory* and indicated that they were taking orders for those sockets. So I ordered them.
I received an instant (automated) order confirmation.
Days passed. The days turned into weeks. Heard nothing. No tracking number. No charge to my card. Nothing.
So I contacted Mac Tools and ensured that it was canceled so I could resume my search.
Then I returned to Genius Tools and noted that its site, too (at the time), definitely indicated it was in stock. Click. Purchase. Confirm. Multiple automatic emails (order confirmation and such). Charge to my card.
And it arrived in a few days.
*Mac Tools, when acknowledging the request to cancel the order, said, “SMU72TRA is still on back order…” Wait. What? You said it was out of stock, so I postponed. Then you said it was in stock. So I ordered. Now it’s out of stock? Hmmm… something fishy in their application of web technologies.
I had previously admonished the use of Tool-Truck vendors.
I had remarked:
As a student or just starting out, do not buy the ‘best’ tool that can be had nor anything from some mobile tool [truck] purveyor.
Instead, buy the cheapest thing you can find that meets the actual needs you have right now. Not needs you think you’re going to have in the future. Learn to use it appropriately. Care for it. When it breaks or wears out, if repair isn’t plausible, then look for the best tool that in your learned and gained experience will meet your specific needs.
I’d have thought that there would be many plausible inexpensive options. Sure, the list specified “Genius Tools” and a specific product number. One could go over to the site and read all about it, but also see that it said “Out of stock” and to call some specific telephone number.
Okay, so let’s see where else we can find something comparable in the $35 – $50 range. Sure, metric sets were available.
Yet virtually nothing in US-aviation is metric. SAE only.
Oh, look — here’s a 3/8″ drive set of 12-point universal SAE sockets. Might be helpful. Maybe. But they’ll be taller and may not fit into tight space.
The list does specify 1/4″ drive… and as time progressed, it seems that they were extraordinarily rare. And over the months that I had waited and tried repeatedly, I wasn’t getting any response from Genius Tools.
I said I wouldn’t do it… but, let’s go look at Snap-On… hmm… $296. And Mac Tools? $310.
That’s more expensive than the $40 that Genius Tools had promoted the product at. About $263 more! But it’s becoming increasingly evident that it was extraordinarily unlikely — bordering on myth.
What’s Your Value?
Then there’s the question of how much one’s time is worth. How much has it cost in the perhaps 40 hours that I’d expended to save that $263?
It seems I’ve already spent about $263 of my time in tracking down something cheaper. Do the math and it works out to $6.58 per hour.
Looks that the Mac Tools offering is less expensive and includes a 11/32″ socket as well, so, ready to drop coin on it… son of a…
Awaiting a response from Mac Tools, or I’ll ring them when I’m done with chores.
Update: I looked over the Genius Tools page this morning while hammering out this post. On their product page, they now include a promising Add to Cart button. Quite a step up from the previously-used “Out of stock, call this number” note. So, I eagerly click it and…
I see what you did there. No doubt you were getting inundated with calls looking to purchase it, but instead you’ve removed the contact number to request it.
Obviously, we’ll only have just begun the third quarter when we return from spring break in a week or so. But, as we received several weeks ago the tools list for the fourth and fifth quarters, it’s something to start preparing for over the term… oh, and you have the summer quarter to prepare for it as well.
Here’s the list with a few links to specific recommendations and suitable alternatives.
Required Tools for Airframe II
ARCFT 235, 236, 237, 238
All of these tools are required by the second week of Airframe II Quarter! Students starting out of sequence must have all tools from General and Airframe I lists also! As always, consult your instructor for clarification if you are unclear about a tool description.
As we’ve done this a few times, I’m just going to provide some links to the search results for plausible vendors that we’d used before: Amazon, Harbor Freight, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and the recommended vendor if one was given.
I’m not seeking out the various tool suppliers that may have been mentioned by the instructors because many may not (or don’t) have a search mechanism, a web presence, or both. You can certainly have a look at them and consider your own value of the time you spend on it.
Snap Ring Plier set (ATS E100-022 or equal). 1 set
You’ll need snap ring pliers to both expand snap rings and compress.
1/4″ 12 Point universal joint socket set 5/16″ through 9/16″ (Genius US-206S or equal). 1 set
These sockets are rather difficult to track down. You can find them in several places, but they’re quite expensive — $220-ish. I think it’s quite unreasonable. Genius Tools has them listed for about $40 for the specific recommended item number. But they’re back ordered. Honestly, I’d rather pick them up for $40 than nearly six times as much.
All these tools are required by the second week Powerplant Quarter! Students starting out of sequence must have all tools from general and airframe list also! As always, consult your instructor for clarification if you are unclear about a tool description.
**Note: Some students may be starting the program out of typical sequence order, if they have not had a specific General Class that they would have made one of the required tools consult the Powerplant instructor prior to starting the Powerplant Quarter for guidance. For students who do complete these projects during General take care to assemble them to the highest quality, to prevent having to open purchase them due to inaccuracy.