How long is the slow boat from China?

I ordered a small CNC router on Ebay on 16 June believing it to be in Edinburgh so it would arrive in 3 to 4 days max. I was told it was dispatched on 18 June. It still has not arrived and I presume it is actually coming from China. First it was going to be with me after 16 to 18 days and the most recent advice was tomorrow at the latest. Of course it might come tomorrow, but I won't be surprised if it doesn't.

What is a reasonable length of time for something coming all the way from China to the UK? Or, put another way, when should I give up and just order another one from a reliable supplier and start the process to get my money back?


Our Ebay slow boats from China, to central Canada, take 1.5 to 2 months.

However, I am convinced that customs is 2 Weeks of that.

Only had 2 out of ~50 orders that did not arrive.

How long is the slow boat from China?

These days they're about 400 meters long.

There are the two orders that weren’t delivered last year.

Did the eBay seller have a table at the end of the eBay page for that item, showing expected delivery times?

Tom… :slight_smile:

Did the eBay seller have a table at the end of the eBay page for that item, showing expected delivery times?

Unfortunately I did not keep a copy but I originally thought it was 2 days delivery - which would have been appropriate for an item in Edinburgh. However the confirmation email said it was due on 02 July and it is possible I made a mistake. Then on 3 July I was told it would be here at latest in 13 days - which is tomorrow.

And I am having it delivered "click and collect" to an Argos store and their system shows it due on 20 June.

The seller has responded to all my messages but has not actually provided any useful information. I'm half inclined to think the parcel is lost and he is just hoping it will turn up so he doesn't have to refund my money.


Google "Panamax dimensions"

Google "Panamax dimensions"

I deliberately wrote a title to allow scope for the pranksters to have some fun.

However it is a serious question - can you help with your experience of the time deliveries take?


The latest from my Ebay "supplier" is that I will have my router "soon". And still no explanation for the delay.

For all I know that means "never". And if it is "never" I want to order another one from a reliable supplier. But I don't want to order another one and then find myself with two of them if I am being unreasonably impatient.

I have the impression that lots of Forum members have bought stuff from China and I would love to get some idea about how much time I should allow before concluding that my router is not going to arrive.


The first time that I ordered a 3D printer I waited for a month then contacted the seller. They said that it was in California and should be here soon. The shipment had no tracking from my end. Two more weeks and I contacted the seller again. Tracking said still in CA. They refunded my money and I promised to contact them to return it if it ever arrived. It never did. I ended up getting a better printer for less money, so it did eventually work out.

I would say to give it a bit more time and if it still doesn't make it, get a refund.

I ordered some op-amp chips from China on ebay, and they took a week to get here. I ordered a hundred 3D glasses, and they also took a week. I ordered some children's toy trucks, and they took 3 weeks, as was stated in the ad. I ordered a leather camera case, and it never arrived, the company apologized and refunded no questions.

I haven't had the shipping run-around. I imagine if I did I would lose patience right away, and cancel after the initial shipping period had passed.

Oh, and I regularly order from DFRobot. I get stuff from them in days. I suspect they have a warehouse in the States.

I got tired waiting so I ordered another mini router (from an Amazon supplier) on Wednesday and it arrived yesterday less than 24 hours later.

Now comes the fun of getting a refund for the first one.


Almost given up on EBay and am pretty much exclusive AliExpress buyer now.
Money held in ESCROW seems to bring about quicker deliveries than EBay and more reliable too.
Add to that the cost savings which can be up to a third over EBay.

Don't know why it took me so long to make the switch.

Amazon if just waaay to over priced for me so it has to be pretty special or a dire rush if I use them.


Almost given up on EBay and am pretty much exclusive AliExpress buyer now.

That's fine if you are happy to buy from China.

In this case I deliberately chose to buy something that was advertised as already in the UK.



Once you have the hang of it start making spare parts for it as the 3D printed parts are exceptionally bad at failing.
Made my spares with hardwood as it meant I could often use the tools to hand and also used the machine to make all the pilot holes and shaping of the part etc.

Depending on the spindle you got with it you might want to think of an upgrade as a lot of them come with cheap spindles that have a lot of both lateral and vertical drift which wears them out quickly unless you are prepared to stick to super fine cuts and even then it will probably fry itself.

If it GRBL based check it has 1.1F (easy upgrade if it hasn't) and make a BACKUP of the params before you do that...Make a backup anyway even if you don't upgrade.


Thanks. Nice clock.

Just curious, what software did you use to create the design?


I play with various software.

Use “micrografx” very old and abandon-ware to do any picture edits / overlays etc. Originally bought that waaaaay back but it still runs fine on newer windows machines.

ACDSEE to do the crops and some other minor work.

There are a few open source programs that will get you from picture to G-CODE but I am moving away from them in favour of ARTCAM (now also abandoned for no real reason)

If I am using the laser I use LASERGRBL which is open source and exceptionally easy to use with pics !

And for the actual grunt work both CLASSIC and PLATFORM UGS. (allows me to use two instances that way)

The clock was 3 pics. First was the gears which I tidied up a lot first and added the recess border. Then I took a suitable clock face ICON and modified it to what I felt suited the gear background. Overlay that to get a final pic. Then checked the final and made any tweaks.

The graphic work is whatever you are most comfortable with to be honest but just be prepared to get to know it a little more than you might have done in the past. I am always jumping back into the help files LOL.


PS hardwood skids are a fantastic source of material to reclaim. Although not short of wood where I am.

PPS. Although JPG’s are fine to work with you can swap PNG and BMP’s to vectors a little nicer I find. That’s of course if you want to go down the vector rabbit hole.

Hi Robin,
The first thing you need to do is set it up, take out backlash/whatever. I'm guessing it's a relatively light weight bit of kit, suited to engraving relatively large sheet material, as opposed to milling out blocks of steel, possibly with toothed belt/wire drive mechanism. Anyway, cut out a circle (round hole) then cut a disk that is just a loose fit, say 0,5mm smaller diameter. Put disc inside hole, rotate, hold up to light, is it circular, or sort of 4 sided fifty pence shape? If not circular, then you need to adjust the backlash, either mechanically, or in software settings. Learn the rudiments of G-code, then you can directly code in simple shapes - e.g. for cutting panel holes, whatever. Wrt software, for free, look for f-engrave, and also deskproto has a useful free version. I could recommend others, but try those. Most cam software will take in dxf files, and produce g-code, but dxf is tricky - too many versions.

Best wishes,


Agree with Ray about DXF files best off to ignore unless you truly have experience handling them.
Also used F-Engrave and it is a nice bit of free software to get your hands on to play with.

Nice tip on the backlash BTW. (karma)

If its a KIT then do not forget to PRE-LOAD the bearings with something like EP2 grease or a lithium grease.
They only have a protective barrier oil on when shipped.

Be Nice to have a pic or link to what Robin has to be able to offer a few more tips.