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My review of the Ridgid EB4424 Oscillating Spindle Sander

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Review by coloradotrout posted 07-22-2015 01:32 AM 19734 views 1 time favorited 46 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My review of the Ridgid EB4424 Oscillating Spindle Sander No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Hi, after much deliberation, and reading and rereading the FWW review, I bought the EB4424, Ridgid Oscillating Spindle Sander.

8/4/15 Update:
I returned #2. I then took a combo square off the display and applied it to the display unit sander. Much flatter table, and much more coplaner tables (tiltable table relative to fixed), and near perfect perpendicular table to spindle. All I can suggest is the older models were machined with much tighter tolerances. In my opinion the latest FWW article is mistaken. The older review may have been true, but either FWW got an older model sander this time around, or Ridgid swapped out production shortly after the review. I can see where those of you with the higher quality machine could rate it a 5. But my 3 is generous for what’s currently on the shelves.

7/24/15 Update:
I returned the unit, and bought a 2nd one. It is more or less the same; certainly no better. All the same issues below apply. I have not powered it on yet, but the tilt-able table is not flat—with the same sort of crown near the spindle. If the tilt-able table is set perpendicular to the spindle, than it is not co-planer with the fixed table. Running a straightedge across the tiltable table, it extends above the fixed table with a gap of about 1/16”. That constitutes significant wobble for a piece one would sand where you transfered the center of gravity from the tiltable table to the fixed table (e.g. sanding the inside of a bandsaw box).

While I was at the store, I looked at the “display model”. It’s a different beast. First, the rollers on the belt sander assembly are METAL vs plastic on the one in the box. The belt assembly is all metal, whereas the boxed one has plastic in various places including the tab that positions the small roller into the cutout in the table. Second, the table has a more polished finish than the rough painted one in the box. The display model – clearly older – generally has a better fit and finish look and feel about it. I just about grabbed an associate and asked if I could buy the display (though clearly lacking various parts). This is one of those times I kick myself for not buying this until when FWW reviewed it the first time a few years ago.

It reminds me when I bought a Ridgid 6” random orbit sander 10 years or so back when it was made by the German company, Metabo. It was a $110 sander. I bought two in fact once I learned it was likely to be later manufactured in China. I believe that did happen a few years later.

I think #2 is going back to the store. I may try again in a few months. Maybe enough returns come in that they get the message. If you have an older one, I think you have much better quality unit.

Here are my observations:

1) The tilt-able table is not flat, and not coplaner with the fixed portion of the table (where the spindle protrudes). Mine has a hump in the 3” flat area (the area nearest the spindle on the tilt-able table). The very edges of that area are flat, but as you come inwards toward the center, the hump is very pronounced. You can feel it with your hand and if you put a 3” long straightedge (engineers square) on the table, there’s a hump that allows stock to rock toward and away from the spindle at least 1/32”. If your stock is 5 or 6 inches it may not matter, but for 3-inch or smaller stock it is going to be impossible to sand perpendicular to the stock. If you align the adjustable table to be perpendicular to the spindle, then the adjustable table is not coplaner with the fixed table. If you keep most of the stock on the tiltable table, then that may not be a problem, but if you move the stock and reference off the fixed table (e.g. inside sanding) , the spindle will no longer be perpendicular to the stock. Also for sanding thin stock, 1/8” up to maybe 1/2” this may not be a big issue, but as you sand over 1” thick, edges will start to get out of perpendicular by a noticeable amount. I was sanding a 3” high bandsaw box, and had to flip the box over periodically to minimize uneven sanding. This was not a precision operation, but it clearly indicated that if it needed to be, I would have been in trouble.

1a) I initially setup the tilt-able table to be nearly co-planer with the fixed table. That turned out to be a problem, as the tilt-able table was then way off from perpendicular to the spindle. I decided it was more important to be perpendicular to the spindle, so re-adjusted the tilt-able table. For the best accuracy you may want to just remove the little indexing part from under the tilt lock knob. Just get out an engineers square or digital protractor to set your angles. Most of the time I would think having the stock perpendicular to the spindle would be more desirable. Again, from (1) above, that hump in the tilt-able table will cause major issues on stock under 5” wide or when referencing from the fixed table.

2) The onboard storage of “everything” is awesome. A big plus especially with the inserts, washers, etc. (but there might be a better way.. see #4)

3) The belt sander assembly is lightweight. The rollers are plastic, and in fact, the 3” roller on mine has a small nub from the mfg process. It would be easy to sand off, except it oscillates! A little hand filing should resolve. I doubt the platen is all that flat. Again, the belt sanding accessory is handy, but only light duty. My jointer and crosscut sled will not get any less use.

4) The little orange plastic insert for use with the spindles is warped like crazy. It is lightweight plastic and warped 1/4”. The leveling feet are of no use, as it wobbles no matter what. A 1/4” aluminum or hardwood plate would be much better. Mill a plate for each spindle size and forget the inserts and wobbly plastic plate. You might be able to get away with only 2 plates—one for the 1” and under spindles and one for the 1-1/2” and above spindles. Another idea—just make an entire top overlay, maybe from 1/2” mdf. Again, a couple may be sufficient. That would make the entire top perpendicular, though you’d need to shim it somehow and fasten it, and lose 1/2” of spindle height. Also, the adjusting screws on the plate have little to rest on. There is enough side to side play in mine that the adjusting screws slide off their contact points. This whole insert design needs more thought.

For me—I think I will try to get another one, or at least a replacement tilt-able table and hope to get a much flatter piece of cast aluminum. That would help a lot. With that, then I’d be tempted to shim up a 1/2” mdf overlay top to get a near perpendicular top a full 360 degrees around the spindle. All of this assumes the spindle runout is a few thou, otherwise I’m chasing after pots of gold near those elusive rainbows. As-is,the sander is functional, and at 199 + tax, quite a bargain. But there are some major shortcomings for those who want or need precision.

Thanks for reading. If you have one of these sanders and simple don’t see the issues I have, I’d love to hear from you. I have read there are various QC issues, so maybe I just happened to get one.




View coloradotrout's profile

coloradotrout

61 posts in 1669 days



46 comments so far

View Dabcan's profile

Dabcan

255 posts in 2337 days


#1 posted 07-22-2015 02:32 AM

I have one of these and while it took some fidgeting at the beginning, I didn’t have the same problems as you. Mine is about 10 years old, so could have been manufactured to different standards or even another factory or country. If you’re not happy with it I would definitely take it back and see if you just got a lemon.

Only issues with mine are dust collection (there are some clever work arounds if you search the site), and the top knob has lost most of it’s rubber, but considering the use I think that’s acceptable.

-- @craftcollectif , http://www.craftcollective.ca, https://www.etsy.com/shop/craftcollective?

View Hawaiilad's profile

Hawaiilad

3048 posts in 2687 days


#2 posted 07-22-2015 07:46 AM

I really think you should return your sander if you have not had it long. I also have one (about 4 years old) and I like it allot. I have never had any of the problems you have had. I think your unit should not have left the factory in the first place. I build allot of Band saw boxes and it gets used allot. I do wish the sanding sleeves were longer but if I only have to turn the box over once in awhile,. I can live with that. And the little knob on mine is also starting to loose rubber…I wonder if they have those as replacement parts

-- Larry in Hawaii,

View AaronK's profile

AaronK

1465 posts in 3130 days


#3 posted 07-22-2015 10:56 AM

I have one and, while i haven’t measured the table, is nowhere near out of flat as yours. I’d also recommend returning it.

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2731 posts in 3098 days


#4 posted 07-22-2015 11:11 AM

I have had one for about 5 years. No problems with it. You got a lemon… get another if you can.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View wncguy's profile

wncguy

334 posts in 1978 days


#5 posted 07-22-2015 12:11 PM

I’ve had mine for about 3 years… motor went out & had to be replaced (no cost to me, but time missing it) after about 1 year . When they replaced the motor they also changed the belt assembly to one that has metal rollers to go with the new motor. My original unit had plastic rollers.

So you may have received a old model before the up grades…?

Either way, I agree you should return it.
I really like mine & would buy another one.

-- Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

2507 posts in 1654 days


#6 posted 07-22-2015 03:52 PM

Mine is not as far out as yours. However, I have made some jigs and flat surface jigs to make things better. For the price I think it is a very good buy. If I was going to use it heavily, I would get a heavier duty more expensive one. But for my use it is good and I have had it for over two years.

View wncguy's profile

wncguy

334 posts in 1978 days


#7 posted 07-22-2015 03:59 PM

I neglected to say that you can get the replacement knobs for the belt assembly… I had pretty much chewed up mine, so ordered 2 so I’ll have an extra when I screw up again, or lose one.

-- Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad

View philba's profile

philba

96 posts in 1038 days


#8 posted 07-22-2015 04:16 PM

I bought one about 8 weeks ago so we probably have the same manufacturing rev of it. I don’t have the same issues with mine so it makes sense to return it for another. I agree that it’s not the most heavy weight piece of kit but given that it was 200 clams (with $40 off for signing up for an HD card), I can’t complain too much about that. Also, I agree that the DC is most charitably described as “weak”. However, it does what it’s supposed to do.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5271 posts in 2479 days


#9 posted 07-22-2015 05:00 PM

The first one I got years ago was a lemon too. However I returned it to the store, who replaced it no questions asked. The replacement has been going strong, and I just don’t think I could be without that oscillating belt sander in my shop. It is one useful tool.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View coloradotrout's profile

coloradotrout

61 posts in 1669 days


#10 posted 07-22-2015 05:10 PM

Thanks, somewhere another person noted the tilt-table being out of flat. And for me it’s right at the spindle. I did measure spindle runout with a dial indicator and rotating by hand. +/- 1 thou—so quite good. I will update my review, but I did just measure the “rock” back and forth on the table. Across that 3” area in front of the spindle I can easily slip in my .024 feeler guage. So it’s not 1/16, but 1/32 is fair.

View bigJohninvegas's profile

bigJohninvegas

300 posts in 1128 days


#11 posted 07-22-2015 10:24 PM

I have had this sander about two years. Only issues for me so far is dust collection.
I agree with other post. You got a lemon, take it back and try again. Hopefully ridgid has not recently
changed the manufacturing, and you get a good one.

-- John

View REL's profile

REL

67 posts in 3323 days


#12 posted 07-22-2015 11:56 PM

Saw your sander post and then looked at the star rating and couldn’t believe it wasn’t given 5 stars. Take yours back. My is about four or five yrs. old couldn’t be without it . I love mine.

-- REL, North Jersey

View CO_Goose's profile

CO_Goose

134 posts in 1457 days


#13 posted 07-23-2015 02:52 AM

CO_Trout, I had the same problem, only worse. I ended up returning two units back to Home Depot because I could not get the tilting table square to the sanding belt. The issue the two had were that the tilting table was not flat, so there was no way to get it square to the belt. If the table was set flat at the hinge point, then the far side of the table was about 1/8” lower. I am sorry to hear that you also had an issue with this sander. When I returned the sanders to the store I told them that they were defective, and explained what was wrong. It seems like Colorado got a shipment with quality issues. I hope that they can get these built better since I would like to get one before the fall building season.

Mike

-- Just making sawdust

View coloradotrout's profile

coloradotrout

61 posts in 1669 days


#14 posted 07-23-2015 06:58 PM

I’m in NE Kansas. Got this one at the Topeka Home Depot. The two big issues for me are:
1) tilt-table is not flat. I cannot judge icoplaner with the fixed table w/o a flat table.
2) the plastic insert around the spindle is not even close to flat and the adjusting screws will never sit well on their resting points.

RE: 1—hopefully another will fix this issue. It says to call Ridgid first.
RE: 2—maybe another can remedy this, but if I can get a flat table, I may just cut a 1/4” mdf top overlay to fit for a couple spindle sizes.

With a flat table I’d raise this to a 5-star.

View coloradotrout's profile

coloradotrout

61 posts in 1669 days


#15 posted 07-23-2015 08:21 PM

I called Ridgid. They said return to Home Depot. I will return and try another. I may just take my straightedge to the store with me and check the table before lugging home.

The one I have has plastic rollers on the belt unit. Is that what you have?

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