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The tragedy of Ryobi tool ownership

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Initial post: Jun 9, 2012 1:02:23 AM PDT
So I have this Ryobi table saw called the BT3000 wood cutting system. Bought about 15 years ago, it looked real neat on the home depot floor and it did cut wood but after about 3 years I got sick of all the little plastic parts just cracking and breaking in my hand and GAVE it to a friend and bought a Dewalt jobsite table saw (#744).
Years went by and the Dewalt worked so well I didn't give it a thought. Times got hard and I wasn't using the table saw much and sold it for $300, (I'd only paid $375 for it 10 years earlier but it looked new)
My friend wasn't using the BT3000 much so when I had a need for it he said hey you can have it back. Almost thrilled to have a table saw again I took it home, repainted the base and cabinet, made a better miter slot assembly, mounted my router in the table module, figured I'd have a nice compromise. Then I used it.
This saw has not really been used much but all the little parts are like, just touch them and they fall to pieces. Currently I need a "rip fence roller end" and some collar piece that tightens the tilt function on the blade. Sears (who also sold this under the craftsman name) used to have these parts but ran dry on them. A guy on ebay has the larger roller holder assembly for $28, the actual part that's broken sold for $4 when Sears had it.

The whole saw is rendered unusable for want of pennies worth of plastic and aluminum.

The gist of all this is this was a pretty innovative and useful power tool when it was new. Ryobi seems to do this a lot, have a good design but execute it with extremely shoddy materials and saving a few cents here and there with the worst hardware they can find.

I could buy the $28 roller holder and search for the $10 -20 collar but I know I will use it twice and two other parts will fall to dust in my hands. The saw sits before me, I have not given up on it but can't think of any tool I've owned that has been such a masochistic exercise.

Good money after bad. If you are considering purchasing any Ryobi tool, just keep this experience in mind.
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Posted on Jun 26, 2012 12:52:12 PM PDT
edfan says:
Here's my suggestion: start MAKING those parts. If it's just cheapo plastic, why not cast replicas? Maybe you could even do it in metal. Or, with a bit more trouble, make a drawing and have it cast in ABS by one of the online shops that do that type of 3D printing?

The biggest headache with the BT3000 is probably the shims and there are a couple of home-made solutions to that. Find the BT3000 user group online. They're not all that friendly but they have some inside info that's better than Ryobi itself has been willing to share.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 27, 2012 5:46:36 PM PDT
R. Kowalski says:
Good idea to make parts, but a good tool will not require you to "make repair parts". I purchased a Craftsman table saw with a cast iron bed 20 years ago for about $500. Never had a single problem with it & it gets a lot of use. That is money well spent.

Posted on Jun 27, 2012 9:36:23 PM PDT
Jim Mangrum says:
You clearly don't understand either the capabilities or the limitations of that saw. It ain't cast iron, so you can't treat it like cast iron. However, it is a precision woodworking tool and treated properly will last for decades. I have a later variation of the saw that is still sold by Sears - the 21829.

This is THE source for information on the saw, as well as an awesome general woodworking forum:

Posted on Jun 28, 2012 8:26:39 AM PDT
Optomechanic says:
Wow, do you guys have any idea how much rapid prototype plastic parts cost: more than the saw is worth. There is no such thing as "inexpensive" plastic until you get into very high production numbers. Cheap, yes, inexpensive, no. Casting would not be any better. Casting resin is $50 to $100 per gallon, and to make anything useful you really need to know what you are doing. What you've seen on TV about "usable" tools made via rapid prototyping for low cost is all fiction. I use these services on a regular basis and it's big money, not little. Sorry.

Posted on Jun 28, 2012 9:12:13 AM PDT
muzakologist says:
What about body putty for cars, would that work for casting?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2012 12:25:07 PM PDT
edfan says:
Willis, in my neck of the woods, it would cost perhaps $10 in materials plus whatever a guy who owns a 3D printer wants for his services. Frankly, I'm starting to think of 3D printer networks as the next big mass market movement. Forget megacorp greed. This country used to be known as the home of Yankee ingenuity. We should remember that. In his shoes, I'd try to find a local person with, say, a jewelry spin caster or a computer engineering student with access to 3D printing or maybe a machinist student.

There are ways - you have to THINK about this problem, not just fend off the solution to someone else. Trying can't hurt any more than losing the tool's use and that's the situation.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2012 12:26:31 PM PDT
edfan says:
You never heard of LEGOS? How cheap is that? I've paid less than $3/lb at the local swap meet. Find a guy with a cheapo Chinese lathe. Or Foredom tool. Or a fricking DREMEL. I mean seriously.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2012 12:49:44 PM PDT
edfan says:
John, I've been thinking about your problem with the Ryobi saw and realized I had a similar problem with Ridgid power tools the last few years. Things that were designed in an innovative way seem to die on the vine for lack of after-sale support in various ways. Manufacturing has taken such a dismal turn, tool brands feel a lot less reliable than they used to. Spending more does NOT in any way guarantee a good tool. Old names are bought up by fast buck artists who strip the company's assets and install short term planners. In a fairly short time, we're buying tools that fail many times more than they used to.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2012 1:03:34 PM PDT
edfan says:
Kowalski, the equivalent expense today would be around $819 and there are a few saws around that can do the same job for nearly that price. Maybe. But I'd rather buy used old iron, all things considered. If you even want to keep a table saw around. Tools like rail-guided saws are cheaper to set up and just about as handy, if you study it a bit.

The design of table saws hasn't changed a lot in the USA in the last 50 years. The concept should be questioned.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 28, 2012 1:40:10 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 28, 2012 1:47:39 PM PDT
OldAmazonian says:
"Old names are bought up by fast buck artists who strip the company's assets and install short term planners. In a fairly short time, we're buying tools that fail many times more than they used to."

Techtronic Industries Company Limited, Techtronic or TTI, is one of the world's leading manufacturing and trading companies in electrical and electronic products. Its products include Milwaukee, AEG power tools, and Ryobi power tools and accessories, Ryobi and Homelite outdoor products, and Hoover, Dirt Devil and Vax floor care appliances. It was established in 1985 and it is headquartered in Hong Kong.

Seems to me the great tragedy is the great sellout of American labor in pursuit of campaign contributions and votes.

Posted on Jun 30, 2012 6:27:23 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 30, 2012 6:29:53 AM PDT
Well as it turns out I found the roller guide WAS still available through Sears but I had to cross reference several similar models to find one that listed that part number. (the BT3000's parts list still shows it unavailable) I got that and the shaft collar last week for $15 shipped but true to my prediction once I installed them I noticed the tilt control still doesn't function right because many of the teeth have broken off the rack. I can tilt it and get it locked into place but several other parts feel about ready to break off in my hand. Is aluminum casting supposed to get brittle and disintegrate through simply time? I know heat and vibration aren't good but that really hasn't happened here.
As to suggestions about making that roller end well I was about to do that but it's a fairly complex piece (I had previously fixed it using JB weld and a steel plate on the side and top, as the plastic further deteriorated that fell apart). One thing I did do was make a place to hang that fence on the side of the saw when it's not being used, what broke the roller end long ago was dropping the fence on concrete and it hit. right. on the end.
This saw's already got some mods, including a non factory paint job, a solid oak miter slide, my router is mounted with a convenient on off switch on the top, and a few other extras.
So for the time being I have a table saw again. I'm going to be looking for some "old iron" the next time (or at least plastic and aluminum as good as DeWalt uses) and steer clear of anything that includes "system" in its title.
Less gimmicks and better workmanship. I mean hey, it's a motor spinning a blade on a flat surface with a piece at a 90 degree angle to keep the work fed straight. How hard can this be?

Posted on Jun 30, 2012 8:32:54 AM PDT
edfan says:
John, plastic deteriorates from simple exposure to oxygen! I wouldn't expect aluminum to do that but it does oxidize at some level. Weird if it's crumbling like plastic though.

The BT3000 has a cult following, I think someone turned you on to their web site earlier in this thread. I have a BT300 that needs The Shims Thing (easy but messy, laborious fix) and I've got a BT3100 sitting, ready to donate parts. I'm looking for a replacement saw but literally don't much care for anything I'm seeing. I was spoiled by my Festool phase, I think. Except for ripping long skinny boards, I'm not sure I want a table saw much any more. My Festools "walked away," as they say, and I'm thinking I might try the Eureka Zone track system. Except that also seems to have some problems. It's always a red flag when One Guy owns the whole thing. If he gets a cold, the system dies. Still, I don't want a panel saw and will use some significant sized timbers in my next project so I'm thinking how to go about things. A track saw might be the best solution. Sure is cheaper, safer and easier to store.

Posted on Jun 30, 2012 6:16:31 PM PDT
Bad Grandpa says:
My advice, have a yard sale and get rid of the Ryobi. Then go buy yourself a real saw.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2012 7:38:07 PM PDT
Yeah I noticed this "cult following" thing about a year ago and saw some web sites on this. It's not without its charms, for one thing that sliding miter table thing was pretty good for cutting larger angled pieces- until most of the plastic guides broke off and it got hopelessly sloppy. I also think the modular aluminum rails are pretty neat, you can increase your rip width as high as 30" and the whole thing comes apart for transport or storage, which every owner undoubtedly appreciated when the happy day came to take it to the county dump.
Out of curiosity I went to Eurekazone and checked that EZ track system, looks pretty weird but I'm sure once one got the hang of it it would have some use. I use my saw mainly for building speaker enclosures, table saw is what works best. (though last year did a lot of ripping skinny long pieces of wood strangely enough)
So does anyone really use that anti-kickback pawl contraption? I won't go near the thing, I always figured they added it just to give us something to throw away. Kickback is something that only happens when you're doing stupid **** and while I have been guilty of that a few times I also knew enough to be standing next to, not behind, the blade. (once tried to inset bevel the edge of a cabinet door with the piece on end, which was already sketchy since you have material across the top of the blade, so I was on the side of the saw. I realized I'd missed a spot so decided to go backwards and hit it. Shot the work across the yard)

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2012 7:47:24 PM PDT
Wow, not sure what to make of that condescending lead in comment but nothing in my post even suggests what I've been doing with it, only that the thing is constantly falling apart with far less than normal use. I certainly haven't abused it and if there is something one can do with cast iron they can't do with this saw it sure ain't using it to cut wood. So no I haven't been using this "precision wood cutting system" as an anvil in a blacksmith shop.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2012 9:22:36 PM PDT
OldAmazonian says:
Plastic degrades with time; some sorts of plastic degrade much quicker than others. Pure aluminum shouldn't corrode and crumble, but some cheap aluminum alloys used in making appliance parts do just that, and do it more quickly in damp environments. Don't know what materials Ryobi uses in that saw, but my super-simple, bare-bones li'l Makita 2703 hasn't suffered such defects, nor have any of several other Makita electric tools in my shop.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 10, 2012 4:42:24 AM PDT
Agree 100%. I'm near the beach and the castings are cheap. Oxidation could be a factor too.
And I LOVE Makita tools, here is a partial list of all I have/still own(in random order):
At least 4 cordless drills. 2 still are in service with nimh batteries 10 years old!
cordless rt angle drill,
cordless impact driver,
corded hi speed production drill,
corded 4" right angle grinder,
wood plane,
sliding compound miter saw,
orbital sander,
cordless blower (AWESOME tool for anything)
12v florescent work light
cordless circular trim saw (3 3/8")
cordless circular saw (6 1/2"?)
probably a couple of others I'm forgetting. They rock!
Even the ones where the batteries died and were too costly IMO to merit replacing them, I took the pods apart and JB welded the contacts back in with a 6-8 ft wire lead soldered to them and I run them off my truck's 12v electrical system (using 2 conductor trailer plugs)
9.6v, 12v, and 14.4 v are all perfectly happy with 12v.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 6:10:07 AM PDT
DisplacedMic says:
Ryobi products have been a nightmare for me as well... the latest is my ryobi weed-wacker. terrible cam, terrible tubing, leaks oil, runs like crap.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 6:44:24 AM PDT
Bad Grandpa says:
I have found when it comes to buying tools, it always works out better if I spend a little more and get the higher quality one that I feel good about every time I use it instead of the cheaper, under performing choice that either breaks or just won't do the job. You will forget about the extra money you spent but the crappy tool will haunt you forever.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 7:23:14 AM PDT
DisplacedMic says:
yep. it's funny you posted this because i just posted something almost identical in another thread. As I get older I am learning that there are certain things you can/should skimp on and others that you just shouldn't.

i have cheap hammers, expensive sockets. that sort of thing.

the Ryobi purchase came before i learned that lesson. or maybe i should say contributed to it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 8:33:07 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 11, 2012 8:34:39 AM PDT
edfan says:
Ferguson, I've heard the "pay a little more" idea all my life and it needs updating. It's not just "a little more" any more. At EVERY level, tools are worse than they used to be, say, 30 years ago. You used to see Good, Better, Best with price ranges like, "$30 for Good Enough, $40 for Better and $55 for Best." Now, it's more like, "$20 for Might Not Work Even Once, $40 - $55 for Fixable Under Warranty, and $295 for Usually Works Every Time For a Few Years Unless the Company's Sold for Billions and Old Stuff Disappears From the Corporate History and You'll Never Get Parts For It."

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 9:29:05 AM PDT
DisplacedMic says:
that's also true...

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 11, 2012 9:39:47 AM PDT
Bad Grandpa says:
I agree with the issue of tool quality, but you have to consider the technology that some of today's tools use. The majority of my work today is done with cordless tools. The only real reason I need to run an ext. cord anymore is for the miter saw and iKick boombox, most everything else is battery powered.

As far as that Ryobi table saw, I have one in my shed that I bought a few years ago. I replaced it because I got tired of people stopping and watching me use it and saying things like "I saw a guy cut three of his fingers off with one of those." That saw just felt dangerous to me. I replaced it with the smallest DeWalt table saw and it's like night and day.

Posted on Jul 11, 2012 10:28:24 AM PDT
havaiisteve says:
Power tools are going the way of electronics. As the price drops, its just cheaper to replace than repair. Manufactures don't want the cost of maintaining parts and service centers. When was the last time you took a TV in for repair? It's just not worth it. I just finished renovating a bathroom and kitchen. I'm on my third dremel moto took, had to replace the ryobi drill once and the ryobi battery charger once. I now buy most of my tools on Craig's list...use them for the project and then sell them again on Craigs list. I bought a tile wet saw for $25 on Craig's list...and sold if for $30 when I was done. I just done expect power tools to last long anymore
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Discussion in:  Home Improvement forum
Participants:  12
Total posts:  32
Initial post:  Jun 9, 2012
Latest post:  Jul 14, 2012

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