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  1. #1
    MinnSpin's Avatar
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    Where is it made?

    In follow-up to some of the "Buy American" responses received in a separate post titled "Hobby King Impact"- and relating to the big box companies such as Tower, Hobbico, etc - what do you suppose the percentage of products actually Made in America and then resold by these domestic houses might be? For that matter, what percentage of our hobby is made in the states?

    In all likelihood, everybody and especially the big names in the hobby import a large percentage of their finished products, with the only measure of separation being what the customer deems important and cost effective. Keep in mind, to be classed "Made In America" - well, you can read it here: http : // www. business. ftc. gov/documents/bus03-complying-made-usa-standard (intentionally spaced so as to comply with forum rules).

    Thank you for weighing in.
    Last edited by MinnSpin; 02-10-2014 at 06:23 PM.
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    Well I know that SIG and Great Planes are made in America, but some of the SIG ARFs and all of the Great Planes Electrifly planes use Chinese motors and ESC's in them. In fact all of the Electrifly stuff is probably made in China. FWIW, I don't care much for Rimfire motors, I had a couple of bad ones.

    Lets see,,,, Hangar 9 is made here and I like them.
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  3. #3
    Rob2160's Avatar
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    I have been in this Hobby for 35 years and my second radio was a Kraft Series 80, made in the USA and imported to Australia.

    It works fine 34 years later. If Kraft existed now I would still buy from them.

    I support local business where possible but if they don't produce what I want then I will buy elsewhere.

    My 2.4 GHz Futaba, JR and Spektrum radios are all made in Asian countries.

    I spent three weeks in Florida recently and have dozens of souvenirs from Disneyworld, Universal Studios and Kennedy Space Centre.

    Everything is made in China and it was impossible to find anything in those gift stores that was made in the USA, even the NASA rocket models.

    Walk into Best Buy and try to find a "Made in USA" label.

    Its the same in Australia. Buy a Boomerang or fluffy Kangaroo souvenir in Australia and it will have a "Made in China" tag.

    Even our iconic Holden is stopping all local car production by 2017. Local industry cannot compete with cheaper labour cost in other countries.

    My guess is less than 15% of all hobby items sold in Australia or the USA are actually produced locally.

    The APC props I bought from GRAVES RC have a "made in the USA" label. But everything else I got from that same store was from China.
    Last edited by Rob2160; 02-10-2014 at 09:08 PM.
    ..... frakkin cylons...

  4. #4
    TomCrump's Avatar
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    By bypassing Hobby King and buying from Tower, Hobby People, Horizon, etc, we, as Americans, keep percentage of the $$$ here, in the US.

    Most of our hobby products may be made elsewhere, but we can at least try to keep some of the profits here,.

    I would think those from other countries, like Rob. who posted above, would try to buy from home country importers, too.

    Supporting local job, therefore local people is important to all of us. There's more to it, than just trying to save a dollar.
    Tom C

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    Quote Originally Posted by topspin View Post
    Well I know that SIG and Great Planes are made in America, but some of the SIG ARFs and all of the Great Planes Electrifly planes use Chinese motors and ESC's in them. In fact all of the Electrifly stuff is probably made in China. FWIW, I don't care much for Rimfire motors, I had a couple of bad ones.

    Lets see,,,, Hangar 9 is made here and I like them.
    None of the above is USA made, at least none of the bigger ticket items. Great Planes may still make kits in the US, but everything else - overseas. Hangar 9? Not a chance. Sig being the exception with most of their products made here, except the ARFs.

    You can, for the most part, safely assume that anything you buy hobby related will be made in the countries with the lowest labor costs. There are very few exceptions.

    http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=976993

  6. #6
    SrTelemaster150's Avatar
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    I have no problem buying from countries that pay livable wages. Japan is one of them. they have a higer labor cost than us, probably because collective bargaining is a constitutional right. Germany, Canada, all of the Scandinavian countries & the UK fall into the high labor cost catagory.

    You aren't cutting your own throat when you support livable wages. Those people have descretionary $$$ to spend to support others making a living.

    That being said, it has come to a point where most of the ARFs are made in China or Vietnam so there isn't much choice. The new SIG Kadet Sr Sport ARF is made in Vietnam & I hear there are QC issues. I bought a World Models 1/5 J-3 Cub ARF (made in China) from Wingsmaker last year & the QC seems to be top notch..
    Last edited by SrTelemaster150; 02-11-2014 at 08:51 AM.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob2160 View Post
    I have been in this Hobby for 35 years and my second radio was a Kraft Series 80, made in the USA and imported to Australia.

    It works fine 34 years later. If Kraft existed now I would still buy from them.

    I support local business where possible but if they don't produce what I want then I will buy elsewhere.

    My 2.4 GHz Futaba, JR and Spektrum radios are all made in Asian countries.

    I spent three weeks in Florida recently and have dozens of souvenirs from Disneyworld, Universal Studios and Kennedy Space Centre.

    Everything is made in China and it was impossible to find anything in those gift stores that was made in the USA, even the NASA rocket models.

    Walk into Best Buy and try to find a "Made in USA" label.

    Its the same in Australia. Buy a Boomerang or fluffy Kangaroo souvenir in Australia and it will have a "Made in China" tag.

    Even our iconic Holden is stopping all local car production by 2017. Local industry cannot compete with cheaper labour cost in other countries.

    My guess is less than 15% of all hobby items sold in Australia or the USA are actually produced locally.

    The APC props I bought from GRAVES RC have a "made in the USA" label. But everything else I got from that same store was from China.

    I have heard that Australia makes more Australians than any other country.

    It is an embarrasment when we go to the Smithsonian museums here and all of the stuff in the gift shops is made in China. The only thing I could find in the Udvar Hazy Air and Space gift shop that was made in America were some Guillows models. Pretty sad.
    RC Aircraft/ Three Laws Safe.

  8. #8
    Rob2160's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspin View Post
    I have heard that Australia makes more Australians than any other country.

    It is an embarrasment when we go to the Smithsonian museums here and all of the stuff in the gift shops is made in China. The only thing I could find in the Udvar Hazy Air and Space gift shop that was made in America were some Guillows models. Pretty sad.
    Yes I agree, walking around Darling Harbour in Sydney the place is full of tourist gift shops. Everything is covered in the Aussie flag or the green and gold but all made in China.

    Not sure if Chinese made Boomerangs would come back. I think they made a song about it.

    http://youtu.be/_prtbj4MtDU
    Last edited by Rob2160; 02-11-2014 at 01:31 PM.
    ..... frakkin cylons...

  9. #9
    SrTelemaster150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob2160 View Post
    I'd never buy a Chinese made Boomerang, throw it once and it will never come back.
    I thought they just circled right to left instead of the "anglo/english" left to right.
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  10. #10
    RCU Forum Manager/Admin RCKen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspin View Post
    Well I know that SIG and Great Planes are made in America, but some of the SIG ARFs and all of the Great Planes Electrifly planes use Chinese motors and ESC's in them. In fact all of the Electrifly stuff is probably made in China. FWIW, I don't care much for Rimfire motors, I had a couple of bad ones.

    Lets see,,,, Hangar 9 is made here and I like them.
    Unfortunately this simply isn't case here. All of Great Planes' and Sig's ARF's are made in China. Now to be fair, both of these companies do still produce kits and THOSE are still produced 100% here in the US. But the larger part of their market with the ARF's comes from overseas.

    Ken
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by RCKen View Post
    Unfortunately this simply isn't case here. All of Great Planes' and Sig's ARF's are made in China. Now to be fair, both of these companies do still produce kits and THOSE are still produced 100% here in the US. But the larger part of their market with the ARF's comes from overseas.

    Ken

    Bummer. I have built two SIG kits since they started up again so I knew those were made here. I guess I assumed the ARF's were as well and we all know what happens when one assumes.
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  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob2160 View Post
    Yes I agree, walking around Darling Harbour in Sydney the place is full of tourist gift shops. Everything is covered in the Aussie flag or the green and gold but all made in China.

    Not sure if Chinese made Boomerangs would come back. I think they made a song about it.

    http://youtu.be/_prtbj4MtDU
    If it failed to come back I'm sure they won't give you a replacement either.....

    Speaking of songs isn't there an old one about a Redback Spider on the toilet seat? Are Redbacks really that bad??
    RC Aircraft/ Three Laws Safe.

  13. #13
    RCU Forum Manager/Admin RCKen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspin View Post
    Bummer. I have built two SIG kits since they started up again so I knew those were made here. I guess I assumed the ARF's were as well and we all know what happens when one assumes.
    I get this info directly from the "horse's mouth", so to speak. Personally, I don't know if there are any ARF's that are made in the US that I can think of. It's pretty sad to think of, but I doubt you could get American's to work for the amount of money that they get paid for making ARF's overseas.

    This brings up a conversation I had with Rocco at Aeroworks. We were discussing the quality of ARF's and why some that come from Asia are high quality and why some are very very cheap. He was very blunt and he said it was just like anywhere else in the world, you are going to get what you pay for. If you contract with a factory that is reputable and you pay for good quality then that is what you can going to get, but on the other hand if you don't pay for good quality you get junk.

    Ken
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  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by RCKen View Post
    I get this info directly from the "horse's mouth", so to speak. Personally, I don't know if there are any ARF's that are made in the US that I can think of. It's pretty sad to think of, but I doubt you could get American's to work for the amount of money that they get paid for making ARF's overseas.

    This brings up a conversation I had with Rocco at Aeroworks. We were discussing the quality of ARF's and why some that come from Asia are high quality and why some are very very cheap. He was very blunt and he said it was just like anywhere else in the world, you are going to get what you pay for. If you contract with a factory that is reputable and you pay for good quality then that is what you can going to get, but on the other hand if you don't pay for good quality you get junk.

    Ken
    That is so true and the reason I prefer kits over ARF's is because I take the time to do a quality build. But I also have bought some ARF's that were pretty good and a few that were not worth pouring gas on to burn them.
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  15. #15
    RCU Forum Manager/Admin RCKen's Avatar
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    What's really sad is how much damage is being done by sending the work over there. Fist off. Copyright protection. There is none. Look at QueQue. He was put out of business because the company that he choose to cut and assemble his planes decided that they would market them as well. Companies such as Hobbico contract with more reputable Asian companies that will honor the copyrights of their properties, but if they really decided that they wanted to steal their designs legally there is nothing that they could do to stop then.

    The other sad thing is now that China is starting to get a middle class and they are not the cheapest place to get work done. Some ARF's are now being manufactured in Vietnam such as Seagull because it's cheaper their than in China. Follow the money and that is where you will find out where planes are being made

    The sad thing with kits is the cost of balsa and the quality of balsa. It's a very hard commodity to get these days. I was talking with Mark Enderby from Balsa USA and he said our hobby isn't even a pimple on a blip on the butt of a flea in the balsa industry. We use so little balsa wood compared to world demand. Every time I see a windmill farm I scream because there is the huge demand driving up prices of balsa right now. Mark was telling me that one blade of one wind turbine uses a container and a half of balsa wood to build. Ok, before you ask how much that is Mark said that is enough wood to keep Balsa USA running for an entire YEAR!!!! And that is just ONE blade!!!!!

    Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now!!!!

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    I think nowadays we have:
    Designed in USA/Japan/Germany and made in China

    vs

    Copied and made in China.

    On the other hand it makes me happy companies like Dubro still have "Made in USA" products. It is definitely worth the extra dollar or two
    Last edited by falcon_56; 02-11-2014 at 03:23 PM.

  17. #17
    Rob2160's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspin View Post
    If it failed to come back I'm sure they won't give you a replacement either.....

    Speaking of songs isn't there an old one about a Redback Spider on the toilet seat? Are Redbacks really that bad??
    LOL. yes Slim Newton's classic. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=TjDAiq2-xeU

    Up until the late 60's you could still find houses without an internal toilet. The toilet was in an 'outhouse' and Red Back spiders loved to make webs there away from the weather.

    I remember seeing hundreds of Redback spiders over the years growing up near bush, but they won't bite unless you bother them.

    Not as common to see one these days.
    ..... frakkin cylons...

  18. #18
    lopflyers's Avatar
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    I think DA is still American
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspin View Post
    Well I know that SIG and Great Planes are made in America, but some of the SIG ARFs and all of the Great Planes Electrifly planes use Chinese motors and ESC's in them. In fact all of the Electrifly stuff is probably made in China. FWIW, I don't care much for Rimfire motors, I had a couple of bad ones.

    Lets see,,,, Hangar 9 is made here and I like them.
    None of them are made in America.......I purchased a Rocket Evo from Tower....."Made In China" stamped right on the box. Think about it folks, there are no balsa trees in North America, southeast Asia has them growing like weeds, where would it make sense to set up shop? Readily available raw materials and cheap labor, connect the dots!

  20. #20
    rgburrill's Avatar
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    The general reason behind everything going to Asia is political. Unfortunately, that can't be discussed here.

  21. #21
    erik valdez's Avatar
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    Du Bro Desert Aircraft J-tech Radiowave Likes Ziroli Keep looking, you'll find more than you think. Is it worth it? YES! I am sooo tired of hearing how wonderful someone's DLE is, I do have some planes built in China (pilot) but I still own some Areoworks kit built and Midweststuff.

  22. #22

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    I have asked this before and no one has come up with the answer, but I bet DA's ignition is imported and of course other components like carbs might be as well. There is not much of anything completely made in this country any longer.

  23. #23
    RCU Forum Manager/Admin RCKen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luchnia View Post
    I have asked this before and no one has come up with the answer, but I bet DA's ignition is imported and of course other components like carbs might be as well. There is not much of anything completely made in this country any longer.
    I have a DA-150 and even though the ignition module has a DA sticker on it I would imagine it's imported. I'm not stating for certain it is, but I'm just guessing that it is.

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  24. #24
    flyinwalenda's Avatar
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    Back to Sig for a minute. Their two new arfs are made by Seagull models in Vietnam. I saw the new Sbach at the local hobby store and looking at the box the artwork/pictures resembled the Seagull boxes. Looking closer "made in Vietnam" was in small print. Even so the Seagull models are decent quality for the price point. The Sig Sbach like other Seagull models is nicely made.
    Brian Ray

  25. #25
    MinnSpin's Avatar
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    Based on 25 years of manufacturing experience, I would lay 10:1 odds the big names in the hobby industry were some of the Pacific Rim first customers. When you consider an ARF, for example, what component costs the most? It's not the wood, glue or covering but the time and labor to assemble them. Corporate America, much like other industrialized nations is about money, profit and sustainability.

    From a technical standpoint, and as referenced in the OP, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) mandates the allowable percentage of foreign material present in products displaying "Made in America." To qualify this statement, a products final assembly or processing (including packaging) must be done in the U.S.

    As to where it's made, our government is quite sincere about stating the facts relative to a manufactured product's origin. They have to be in order to satisfy the numerous treaties and tariffs put in place by 42 presidents. Pacific Rim countries take great pride in their sand, investment and lost wax casting capabilities and low wage labor. That being said, and for example, it's highly unlikely you will find an engine (with a cast housing - whether aluminum or steel, ductile iron) completely manufactured in the USA, let alone an ARF.

    EDIT: An exception to my last sentence concerning engines - there was a Minnesota company that machined engine blocks from solid aluminum stock and bars.
    Last edited by MinnSpin; 02-12-2014 at 11:09 AM. Reason: Concise Reason
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