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Craftex CX404 Damaged and DOA Out of the Box

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Review by Shaun posted 06-05-2017 05:33 AM 2126 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Craftex CX404 Damaged and DOA Out of the Box Craftex CX404 Damaged and DOA Out of the Box Craftex CX404 Damaged and DOA Out of the Box Click the pictures to enlarge them

Thanks to everyone for the advice on dust collection a few months back. I decided to start with a decent dust collector that could pull off > 800 CFM.

Being in Canada, we have limited options and sometimes it’s hard to choose a good piece of equipment. The equipment that everyone swears by might not be available in Canada or it might cost a mint to get it here. And it’s also noteworthy that even the most reputable company might produce a lemon from time to time.

Having looked through reviews, Craftex doesn’t necessarily have the best reputation from what I can gather. Reviews kept me from buying a Craftex lathe and a Craftex bandsaw. But when it came to dust collection, I wondered what could go wrong?

My lathing teacher has the lowest end Craftex dust collector with the canister top and it seemed to work well for him. His only advice was to buy the model up. So I went for it.

It didn’t work out so well for me today. Craftex’s customer service tomorrow will determine whether I return the product or let them take a shot at replacing it.

The instructions were very poor, describing washers that didn’t exist. It also didn’t specify which screws and washers were for which parts. After I sorted the parts, it was easy to figure out but think they could take a cue from IKEA on how they produce their manuals. It also didn’t say which way to orient the column that holds the impeller assembly so I got it wrong on my first try. Finally, it didn’t say which way to put in the gasket between the impeller assembly and the bag assembly.

The instructions were annoying but many of the reviews I’ve read on Craftex point to their instructions as being less than helpful. Okay, I knew that going in and was prepared for it.

I wish I could say everything else went well.

The first thing I got was a scratch from poorly finished metal on the base. The macro photo makes it look huge but it isn’t that bad. Bad enough to scratch but that’s livable. I figured I’d just take it off and seal the metal so it doesn’t rust.

The second thing was a paint bubble already showing rust on the base of the column that holds the impeller. I shouldn’t take a brand-new product out of the box to find rust on it.

The column also had a fairly sizeable scuff that was through the paint and showing bear metal. That will rust, given time.

But, okay. I can still seal that. After all, this dust collector was cheaper than a Rikon. For a few hundred bucks less, I can accept these things begrudgingly.

I put on the impeller assembly (includes the motor) and I noticed a big ding next to the switch. It looks like it took a hit.

Okay, one more thing to seal up so it doesn’t rust. It’s not enough to send it back, I thought, but I was pretty glad I didn’t jump on the Craftex lathe or bandsaw. This is just a dust collector.

Before assembling it further, I tried to spin the impeller by hand. It wouldn’t move more than an inch. I thought that was weird but maybe there was some kind of breaking mechanism in there for safety purposes. I plugged it in and switched it on. The impeller moved an inch, made a horrible bang sound and the motor stalled.

Okay, fine. I thought maybe some packing material got lodged in there. I removed the front plate from the impeller to inspect. I immediately noticed more cracked and broken powder coating, sure to eventually cause rust.

I couldn’t find anything obvious. Craftex supplied a couple of hex keys to remove the impeller but it was on there so tight it was impossible to move. I plugged it in and switched it on one more time. I seemed to notice that the scraping noise wasn’t coming from the impeller. It sounded like it was coming from the motor.

I turned it around to find this:

The back of the motor looks like it took a substantial hit. A REALLY bad hit. When I removed the dented cover to reveal the cooling blades in the back of the motor, now the impeller would spin freely.

In spinning the impeller, I noticed that the cooling fan itself was significantly off kilter. The following two photos show the impeller rotated 180 degrees apart. Looks like this hit damaged the fan as well.

I suspect that the culprit was the support rod for the bag assembly. It looks to be the right size and have the right scratches on it to have been the thing that damaged the motor.

After all, the support rod was just loose, floating around in there. It wasn’t secured or packed well. The worst part is, someone inspected it and verified it before it was shipped to me. It includes inspecting fit, finish and paint. That’s not impressive, considering the rusting from the burst bubble of paint/powder-coat.

I’m sure the worst of the damage could have happened in transit via the postal service. Busy Bee (the company that makes/supplies Craftex) is just a half-hour up the road but I often wonder if “Fragile” means “Use as Football” when it comes to the postal service. It looks like the box was crushed in some way.

Of course, that doesn’t excuse the manual or the numerous paint defects that will allow (and already have allowed) rust. And if the product was packed well, it could take a hit and I’d be writing a review of my working dust collector.

I also don’t think the hit to the motor caused the damage to the switch on the motor because the two parts are perpendicular to each other. I can’t see anything that would have caused the damage to the switch in transit.

1 star for the following reasons:

  • Inaccurate and lacking manual
  • Product already has rust (albeit minor) due to poor paint/powder-coating
  • Product will get more rust from damaged paint/powder-coating
  • Poor packaging
  • Product arrived non-functional

I hoped to spend an hour getting dust collection into my shop. Instead, I wasted 3 rare and precious shop hours where I could have been lathing. (I work 50 hours a week, have three kids and look after an aging parent. Time is in short supply.)

Tomorrow, I will see how Busy Bee responds. If they pull out some good customer service then maybe I’ll be writing a second review for a working Craftex CX404. Otherwise, I’ll be writing a review for a Rikon dust collector.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning




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Shaun

28 posts in 149 days



11 comments so far

View lepelerin's profile

lepelerin

485 posts in 2045 days


#1 posted 06-05-2017 12:38 PM

I wish you good luck dealing with BB. Let us know how it went.

View Shaun's profile

Shaun

28 posts in 149 days


#2 posted 06-05-2017 02:27 PM

UPDATE

I emailed customer service last night, outlining the damage (that may have happened in transit) as well as the numerous defects that were NOT due to transit. I sent all of the pictures posted above.

My request was simple: I wanted them to pay the return shipping and either send me a good unit or refund me. I told them if I absolutely had to, I could make it out to their location at some point. Their response was as follows:

”Sorry we do apologise for the inconvinence.Looks like the package was dropped in transit as it left here intact.Sure you can exchange the unit at the nearest Branch .Please let us if you are exchanging at Head Office in Concord or in Mississauga .”

I replied back to ask them about the other issues they didn’t address, such as the rust and damaged powder coating. I asked them if this was considered normal and acceptable for Craftex products. So far, I am awaiting that reply.

As I said, their customer service will determine if it’s a return or a replacement. Right now, I’m seriously leaning towards return.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

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Shaun

28 posts in 149 days


#3 posted 06-05-2017 02:52 PM

UPDATE 2

As mentioned, I questioned them further about the rust and damaged powder coating. I wanted to know if they considered this normal and acceptable. The response was, again, lack luster.

”We havent encountered any of the problems. As mentioned you can check out the new unit when you come for exchange .”

I can’t say I have a great desire to try another unit. If this is the attention to detail on packaging, paint and customer service, I’m nervous about the longevity of the unit itself. You know, the Craftex might be a great unit. And if I buy a Rikon for 50% more money, maybe it will be a dud. It’s all an odds game. But… my gut is telling me to take the Craftex back and go with the Rikon based on everything I’ve experienced.

It’s a pity. It feels like just another 10% effort on packaging and quality control, maybe another 20% effort on customer service and I’d be hanging onto the unit. Heck, maybe even considering taking my chances with other Craftex products.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

View ArtMann's profile

ArtMann

491 posts in 536 days


#4 posted 06-05-2017 07:45 PM

If you want guaranteed good equipment, then you need to go to a store that has it in stock. I am a little sympathetic with Craftex because I have seen a lot of other equipment that was damaged in shipment in a way that no reasonable amount of packaging would prevent.

View SteveMI's profile

SteveMI

1024 posts in 3014 days


#5 posted 06-06-2017 03:07 PM

It s a pity. It feels like just another 10% effort on packaging and quality control, maybe another 20% effort on customer service and I d be hanging onto the unit. Heck, maybe even considering taking my chances with other Craftex products.

This quote is very similar to what I have heard before; ”Statistically speaking, the cost of acquiring a new customer costs five to ten times more than retaining an existing one. Not only that, but repeat customers spend, on average, 67% more.”

So, yes it is a pity for any company with that kind of customer service. I know several people who have bought from Grizzly and had a problem right out of the box. The customer service attitude and speed in correcting the problems made the people happy and repeat customers of the brand.

Steve.

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2478 posts in 2603 days


#6 posted 06-06-2017 03:53 PM

Sorry about your issues with Craftex. Getting a new machine only to find it damaged or not in great condition is frustrating.

As an FYI, there are a lot of great online tool stores in Canada that you can order from, you don’t have to limit yourself to BusyBee or Craftex. I live in Sault Ste. Marie and there are no ww machinery stores within 800km, so all of my stuff is purchased online. A few that I’ve dealt with:
-Canadian Woodworker; I’ve dealt with them many times. Great service, online selection etc
-Atlas Machinery; same thing, great selection, easy to deal with.
-Ford Machinery; huge selection of used and refurbished machinery. Also a Powermatic dealer. I bought a new 20” Powermatic planer from them and a used 12” Minimax jointer.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View Mainiac Matt 's profile

Mainiac Matt

7012 posts in 2048 days


#7 posted 06-07-2017 09:53 PM

I work as a packaging engineer by day and have purchased dozens of machines, both for work and for my hobby, that were delivered by truck and can say emphatically that the Asian imports have notoriously poor protective packaging.

If you’re shipping LTL (less than truck load) you will have multiple trucks carry the item and it will be cross docked and loaded and unloaded several times. So you have to design packaging that can stand up to that type of handling.

Sorry to hear that Busy-Bee won’t pay to pick-up and redeliver. I guess I know who I won’t be doing business with.

-- Pine is fine, but Oak's no joke!

View NormG's profile

NormG

5810 posts in 2724 days


#8 posted 06-08-2017 03:41 AM

awful NEWS

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

View Shaun's profile

Shaun

28 posts in 149 days


#9 posted 06-10-2017 11:23 PM

UPDATE 3

I returned the dust collector today and got my money back. I told the guy at customer service that I would have done an exchange if they had agreed to pay my shipping but it became a return when they made me come into the store. He told me that it was their policy to pay for return shipping and he had no idea why I was told I had to bring it in.

So, it could have been an exchange with another review that could have been favourable. Instead, one guy allows my very poor review of it to stand.

I will note that Busy Bee’s customer service in the store was EXTREMELY friendly, helpful and accommodating. I had my 6-year-old daughter with me, complete with face paint from an event at her school. The staff swooned over her and loved her to bits. They even gave her a quarter to get jelly beans out of the crank machine.

Aside from that, I had one thing on back-order that wasn’t supposed to be in until the end of the month. One of the ladies went out to the warehouse and came back with it. Shipment just arrived yesterday and it would be a while before it made it into the system.

Given how friendly and helpful they were, it’s a shame things worked out the way they did. If the guy I was dealing with over email was half as helpful, they would have gotten a second shot. I don’t know that I will ever try Craftex again but I know I would buy from any of those great folks in the store front. From here on in, Busy Bee will be a place to buy glue, clamps and that sort of thing.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

2512 posts in 2234 days


#10 posted 06-14-2017 11:57 AM

The really sad thing for Craftex is that the person who wrote the emails probably is not monitered on email save for certain phrases and words that their system may or may not stop, and these “Gee, that’s too bad” emails are costing them customers every day.
If he was on the phone, it is not unusual for phone conversations to be recorded by customer service supervisors. Email, not so much…

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Shaun's profile

Shaun

28 posts in 149 days


#11 posted 06-20-2017 08:02 PM

UPDATE 4

After much debate and consideration, I ordered the (unfortunately more expensive) Rikon 60-150 1.5HP dust collector with the 60-905 canister. It’s going to cost me about 60% more. But it’s a bigger, hungrier collector. 1200 CFM instead of the 800 of the Craftex.

I’ll post a separate review of the Rikon once it arrives.

Laguna was another strong consideration because I also have access to these in Canada. Unfortunately, they have the little guy (1HP, 550CFM) and then the next step up is a monster for cost and size.

-- Shaun, Ontario, Total n00b at wood turning

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