LumberJocks

Could have been so much better....

  • Advertise with us
Review by Nate L. posted 01-13-2015 09:03 AM 9029 views 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Could have been so much better.... No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I will start this review with an email that I sent to the Rikon Tech support team about a week ago.

“I have had my 70-220VSR lathe for about a month now. First let me say that the customer service has been great. The CS department has done what they need to do so far to take care of me. I originally ordered the lathe through Woodcraft. The lathe showed up in a timely fashion. After unboxing, I conducted a function check and noticed that the spindle was not spinning true. I removed the handle from the headstock to see if the handle had not been put on square. The spindle was still obviously spinning out of round even with the handle off. I called the CS department and after talking to a few different techs, I had a new lathe shipped out to me along with a new live center for the trouble. It arrived about a week later. I went through the same procedures with the new lathe and everything checked out. I boxed up the malfunctioning lathe and had it shipped back to Rikon via the same carrier that delivered the replacement lathe. When I started my first few projects on the lathe, I noticed that the chrome was peeling off the tailstock wheel and the faceplate on the variable speed box was also not secure. Neither of these were big issues and I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about either issue if it had not been for the previous issues. I called CS again and they were not aware of either issue being systemic. They did ship out a new wheel to replace the one that had the peeling issue. I received the wheel a few days later and put it aside to install later. Around Christmas, I received a bill from the carrier that delivered the replacement lathe and shipped the malfuntioning lathe back to Rikon. The bill was for return shipping and totaled around $450. I called Rikon CS again and was able to get it straightened out, it was just another ‘bump in the road’. That brings me to today. I was going through and cleaning and waxing the bed, banjo and tailstock and decided to install the new wheel. When I opened the box, I discovered that it was in fact the wheel for the head stock not the tailstock. Not a big issue since the wheel that is currently on the tailstock still functions fine. Just another minor nuisance. Finally while cleaning the banjo and the tailstock, I noticed a few places where paint had already chipped off (about .25” in diameter). All I have turned on the lathe so far is maybe a dozen pens, nothing big that would cause any kind of chipping. While none of these issues with the replacement lathe are major by any stretch, the combination of them has me a bit discouraged about my purchase. I purchased the lathe to replace a Turncrafter Power Commander that I have been using for a few years. I was expecting this lathe to be a good step up from the Turncrafter and in some ways it has been but with all the issues with the two Rikon lathes, the experience has been a bit of a disappointment. I am still hoping that things turn around. I have held off giving anyone feedback on the lathe until I have everything settled and working well as I don’t want to give an unfair opinion. On a positive note, the projects that I have completed on the lathe have turned out great and there are many positive things about the lathe that I do enjoy. The ease of the belt changes is great! Much better than the previous lathe. I have also made use of the reverse option while doing finishing sanding. The extra quill travel has also been great as I don’t have to reposition the tailstock while drilling on the lathe. I do want to be clear that I am not an angry customer who now won’t buy anything from Rikon. I believe that this has just been a Murphy’s Law experience if you will. The customer service that I have received thus far is enough to make me a repeat customer and is one of the reasons that I chose Rikon over a few other competitors.”

With the email out of the way, some of you may be asking, why 3 stars. As I stated in the beginning, I sent this email about a week ago and I have yet to receive a response. That in and of itself is quite irritating. As stated in the email, the customer service factor was a large part of the decision making and while their CS is good, it still seems to be lacking a bit. The lathe itself, without all the issues I have personally had with it, is great. It is a solid built machine. The spindle seems to run true on the machine I have now. The tailstock has a very smooth operation after cleaning it up. The same goes for the lathe bed. I am not a fan of the stock tool rest but that is not something I would consider a real factor as the tool rest is on par with tool rests on lathes in this price range. The measurement markings on the quill are somewhat faint, especially compared to the Turncrafter. That nuisance is offset by the extra quill travel which is great of drilling on the lathe. The tool rack to hold wrenches, centers etc is in a bit of an awkward position for a right handed person. I do not understand why they put it right behind the headstock. The lathe bed is machined a bit better than the Turncrafter and the tailstock slides true along the bed with almost no side to side play. Would I recommend this lathe? I am still on the fence with that. I will update this review after a few more months have passed.

-- Nate, Fredericksburg, VA, http://nateswoodshop.com




View Nate L.'s profile

Nate L.

119 posts in 2182 days



10 comments so far

View NormG's profile

NormG

6260 posts in 3173 days


#1 posted 01-15-2015 05:51 AM

Thank you for such a balanced review, hope they respond soon

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1411 days


#2 posted 01-27-2015 04:14 AM

I purchased one of these at the end of December from Woodcraft online. They are now in the process of shipping me my 3rd one after the last 2 arrived damaged. Thank goodness for friends who can watch over the packages for me during the day while UPS takes their sweet time to pick them up so that I can actually be at work. Since Woodcraft refused to expedite the replacement and shipped it the same way (stopping 10 times across the country, sometimes twice in the same state), I chose to have the original order refunded and reordered choosing 2nd day air to maybe (not holding my breath) improve the chances of the lathe making it in one piece. I also changed the address to a business address where the owners who are friends of mine were more than happy to help me in case I need to do a few more exchanges.

I am still waiting on this 3rd lathe to see if UPS can get things right this time, but from what I have seen the packaging is not done well enough to ensure that the lathe stays safe during transit halfway across the country. One drop on the wrong side of the box and the full weight of the lathe is going to come down on the headstock handwheel. To make matters worse, this lathe has a speed sensor in the headstock for the digital display that will get damaged if the headstock pulley shifts too far over from the lathe being dropped this way.

I’d recommend if at all possible to pick the lathe up locally. I have a feeling it is a great lathe provided it is handled properly in transit.

View Nate L.'s profile

Nate L.

119 posts in 2182 days


#3 posted 01-27-2015 07:07 AM

Thor: Let me know how that ends up working out for you. I am surprised that Woodcraft is actually working with you. I ordered mine through Woodcraft as well but they told me that I had to deal directly with Rikon. I still have not heard anything back from Rikon since sending the last email to them. I plan to call them this week to see what is going on. The good news is that the lathe still seems to function well. Hopefully the 3rd time is the charm for you.

Nate

-- Nate, Fredericksburg, VA, http://nateswoodshop.com

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1411 days


#4 posted 01-28-2015 03:38 AM

Thank you, Nate. I hope so too. I will definitely keep you updated- the lathe is supposed to arrive tomorrow and I will go pick it up after work.

Woodcraft has been hit and miss with their customer service. As of late it has been more miss but I’ll wait to see how they did with shipping this one before saying much more.

View Nate L.'s profile

Nate L.

119 posts in 2182 days


#5 posted 01-28-2015 04:16 AM

So, I just got a ‘Past Due’ invoice from the shipping company that delivered my replacement lathe as well as shipped the first one back. I have emails from Rikon stating that this was taken care of on 22 December 14, when I received the first invoice for shipping. I am not very happy to say the least. I plan on calling Rikon tomorrow to see if I can get this straightened out. I am most unhappy due to the fact that I chose Rikon in large part due to their good customer service.

-- Nate, Fredericksburg, VA, http://nateswoodshop.com

View NoThanks's profile

NoThanks

798 posts in 1698 days


#6 posted 01-28-2015 04:26 AM

I wouldn’t let it discourage you. Things like that sometimes slip through the cracks. Sounds like they have been pretty good dealing with you so far, they should take care of it.
Just think 6 months down the road, after this is behind you, you will be cranking out items on your lathe and loving it. Just got a few more hoops to jump through and it will be done.
I’m an optimist.

-- Because I'm gone, that's why!

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1411 days


#7 posted 01-29-2015 03:06 AM

I just picked up the replacement lathe that was delivered this afternoon. The good news is the spindle, bearings and speed sensor did not get damaged this time. The box still suffered some pretty significant damage, so much so that when I eased it down to open it up, the manual and a few other parts fell out on to the floor. This tells me that more than likely the damage was done during the delivery or at the local UPS hub here- otherwise I’d imagine the parts would be long gone by now. Keep in mind that this is the 2nd day air option which means it didn’t go through as much handling this time. The belt cover lid was misaligned and wouldn’t close properly. I thought that the plastic lid had been broken since that was the end of the box that had gotten damaged (the foam packing material was also broken around the headstock), but when I removed the lathe from the box it turned out that the metal hinge piece that screws to the headstock was bent. I straightened it and the cover now sits perfectly like it should.

I did a quick function check, and everything seems to be good except for the RPM readout. When I turn the lathe on, I get all 7 segments on each of the 4 digits of the RPM display to light up (meaning no burned out LEDS), but the RPM display with the lathe turning and the belt set to the fastest pulley setting reads “00”. When I turn the dial up and increase the spindle speed, I will see about 150. When I bring it back down it reads about 14 or 15. When the lathe is power cycled it goes back to being stuck at “00”. So, it looks like now there is a fault with the electronics which I am going to investigate with Rikon. Since the speed sensor looks to be ok and none of the plastic housings are cracked or broken I don’t think this has anything to do with shipping damage.

I’ll keep you guys updated on progress. I’m hoping that Rikon can just work out an exchange for the electronics and that I can keep the lathe itself, because after what I’ve been through to get one in decent shape I really don’t want to box this whole thing up and send it anywhere.

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1411 days


#8 posted 01-30-2015 01:45 AM

Update: I sent an e-mail to Rikon’s tech support last night and before I started work this morning I had a response back. The tech support rep thinks that the control box might be at fault and is going to ship one out to me ASAP. All I have to do is provide the serial number and my mailing address.

View thor2015's profile

thor2015

42 posts in 1411 days


#9 posted 02-05-2015 02:14 AM

Got the new control box installed, and the lathe is now functioning at 100%. The replacement control box came without the side cover (they are two separate parts in the diagram and the wires run through water tight connectors in the cover so it is easier when replacing the box to reuse the old cover if possible). When I removed the old control box, I noticed that one of the screw holes in the cover was cracked. The speed sensor also needed a minor adjustment and one of the adjustment screws that secures the sensor to the bracket would not tighten back up. I called Rikon this morning and while neither of the parts were in stock, the tech support rep I worked with on the control box issue said he would let me know when the cover and speed sensor became available and would take care of me. Overall I am very satisfied with Rikon’s customer service so far. I understand issues pop up now and again, but to take care of them with such minimal hassle speaks volumes to me.

View Nate L.'s profile

Nate L.

119 posts in 2182 days


#10 posted 02-06-2015 01:11 AM

Well, to update this thread, I finally called Rikon and asked about the email that I had sent in December. They were unsure why no one had responded but they would get a new tailstock wheel out to me. I also asked about the Past Due notice and he told me that he would get Customer Service on it right away. I did receive a copy of an email that they sent to the shipping company but no follow up to let me know that it was taken care of. I also received an email from their tech support saying that they were going to look into my email that I sent it December. I am not sure what that meant as it has been about two weeks since they sent that email and I have heard nothing from them. I had to email them a week later to find out that it had been resolved. While most everything seems to be resolved, I cannot say that I would recommend going with the lathe or Rikon for that matter. I feel that I, as a customer, had to do way to much leg work for a brand new piece of equipment. To contrast this, I bought a Laguna Fusion TS last year and I was a bit concerned about Laguna’s CS department after reading some very negative reviews. However, I have had nothing but outstanding CS from them even 6 months after buying the saw. They have been very accommodating and quick to resolve any issue that I have had.

-- Nate, Fredericksburg, VA, http://nateswoodshop.com

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com