I was wondering if perhaps the Ridge Tool Co was letting some of its equipment be manufactured with less design supervision by outside jobbers. The quality I have come to depend on over the years seems to have been set aside for convenience or something.
There, Having started with a really elegant substitute for unprintable, let me ask Who decided that the brush retainers on the motor for the 16gal wet-dry vac should be in a PVC jacket? Was it the same guy who decided the entire motor/blower should be a single part?
If you keep the thing running for a while, the motor heats up enough to soften the PVC and cause the brushes to slip out of alignment. Since it's a fairly powerful little motor it has enough RPM to start chipping the brushes if they are not true
and this allows the arc to get a little bigger, which melts the pvc all to heck and by the time you notice the smell, you are also getting smoke.
I was delighted with the power of the thing and using it to suck sawdust, grit and assorted stop from around the work areas and decided to thke it out to blow leaves. Whoee! I don't like doing some jobs but this actually was a joy to use. I spent a while humming to myself and thinking really wonderful thoughts about Ridgid and all the years that have given me nothing but efficient, reliable tools when I thought someone fired a shot from nearby, and the blower started vibrating and bucking. I shut it off and took it back inside. The second I did, the smoke reahed me from the housing and I recognized the smell of graphite and ozone immediately. I wondered how the brushes could possibly have worn down that quickly and opened it up. Chunks of the brushes fell out of the fan as I took the cover off.
This seemed like a trivial issue since I have a source for almost every brush size and shape and am pretty good at repolishing them if they are defective.(sometimes they are cracked or have faultlines caused in manufacturing)
I have never seen brushes that had shattered quite like these before but the polished up pretty nicely with only 40%+/- loss of material.
While polishing them to the shape of the motor I had time to wonder why both brushes were missing big triangular chunks. Only misalignment could cause that kind of damage. Thinking the mounts had come loose I opened the motor up anf discovered that the reason they had lost true was because they were mounted in PVC that had melted enough to let the spring slip. I had time to admire the design of the housing in general and if it had been made of alloy it would have been awe inspiring. Nothing truly new, although the design of the retainer mount is very nice. Just good clean design. Ease of repair and replacement was written all over it. This is where the nightmare begins. Nobody in my area services the darn things. The vendor laughed when I asked about parts. Finding brushes for it was no big deal but trying to find replacement retainers was impossible locally. I finaly downloaded a parts list for the motor and discovered that the motor is a single part. I have tools that I think of as disposable, and yet, I somehow could not bring myself to believe that I was going to have to replace the entire motor on a new machine simply because the brush retainers were specified by someone who hadn't considered the possibility of plastic in close proximity to a heat source getting soft. So here I am wondering if perhaps I really should have gone with a more expensive Shopvac with a less efficient motor. So I'm steamed because I figured why send it out to have it fixed if it's going to take twenty minutes tops to get it back up and running. Silly me
Sorry to vent but I had higher expectations from a company that has never sold me a bad piece of equipment before.