Bad motor replaced with completely seized one.

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Review by lashing posted 11-10-2010 01:00 AM 6652 views 0 times favorited 28 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Bad motor replaced with completely seized one. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This has been nothing but a $700 paperweight.

The Sandflee is an expensive unit compared to the model the inventor in Canada sells. However its made of steel and looks more of a real shop fixture. So I bought it.

The build looked good out of the box. Very simple metal box. What they do not tell you is you really need to mount this to a bench. The unit is not something you could move on and off the bench as the motor to box connection is not solid. They call it the “portable 18” drum sander”. I built a dedicated bench with wheels for it and gave it its own little corner of the shop. This was a big mistake as the motor lasted about 45 minutes. I sanded a few pieces messing with table to get it level and then tried to flatten a mahogany guitar body I glued up. It was pretty flat already I just wanted to clean it up. The motor seized in the middle of it. Not totally but just ground to a halt and slowly chugged thru. Of course this is no way to get even surface results.

Seems the motor is not strong enough to take any downward pressure at all. This is bad. If I cannot push a 4 lb 13” wide piece of mahogany thru than we have problems. By push I mean push it accross the table not downwards. Just the weight of the wood was all it tool to stall the motor. The whole point of buying the 18” version was to sand flat wide pieces. Why offer an 18” unti that cannot do a 13” W by 18” long guitar body? That’s not exactly stressing dimension.

I also bought the keyless chuck the offer for the side. I attached a sand mop just like Sand Flee does in their web demos and tried sanding some trim. It bogged right down. Geez … this motor is weak.

I set the unit up to factory spec. Lowered the table just to the point it will catch a piece of scrap and push it back. We’re talking a few thousands. So the unit is incapable of taking a few thousandths without stalling midway.

I contacted RJR who makes the Sandflee and they said they had motor problems and will replace it. Fine. 2 weeks later a motor is on the way. I had to email a few times to get the fire burning on that action. When it arrives I plug it in and guess what? Seized motor. Thanks so much for sending a dead motor to replace the faulty one.

What a waste of my time. For the premium price tag I expect a working machine but that appears too much to ask.

This is probably the worst tool purchase in recent time for my shop. It’s now the shop joke as space it at a premium and here is this shinny metal “bench” with no purpose that cost more than its neighbor, the OSS we use daily. Bumping into the non working machine to use the working one is a daily reminder. Of course breaking out the $99 random orbit to do panels while starring at the useless $700 Sandflee is another frustration.

I liked the idea and was willing pay the price for the premium steel unit but I didn’t receive anything premium. For its price you think I’d get a working motor. Nope. Then at least they would check the replacement right? Nope. Just send a motor someone else likely returned. C’mon guys, seriously.

I really wanted to like this tool. But pathetic is all I can say.

View lashing's profile


111 posts in 3588 days

28 comments so far

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 4985 days

#1 posted 11-10-2010 04:47 AM

Wow. I’ve always thought these things seemed overpriced… I just assumed they must be really high quality. So much for assumptions, right?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View twokidsnosleep's profile


1130 posts in 3741 days

#2 posted 11-10-2010 06:50 AM

Holy smokes that sounds bad.
Will they not take the POS back??
If not, how about a little home engineering and get a more powerful motor rigged in??

-- Scott "Some days you are the big dog, some days you are the fire hydrant"

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 3728 days

#3 posted 11-10-2010 10:06 AM

wow, when you pay that much for such a simple machine, you would expect it to be top quality.

View lashing's profile


111 posts in 3588 days

#4 posted 11-10-2010 05:26 PM

Got a call from Sand Flee this morning. They say they will get me another motor that someone actualy checks first.

It is a big dissapointment so far and I just want to get the thing running properly. I have use for the sander so if they can get me running that would be wonderfull.

They had Baldor send me the current dead motor direct. Baldor has been getting a bad rap in recent years and I can see why. Still – geez.

View EEngineer's profile


1125 posts in 4380 days

#5 posted 11-10-2010 06:30 PM

According to their site, that should be a 1/3 HP motor. That should be plenty of power for this application.

However, it looks as though they have the motor hooked up to directly drive the sanding drum. I think 1750 RPM is a little fast for sanding. Maybe a 3:1 speed reduction (and a 3X torque increase) would make this a better machine.

I think this is just poor design (as well as crappy components).

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View lashing's profile


111 posts in 3588 days

#6 posted 11-11-2010 10:32 PM

After promising to give me a clear answer on exactly what was going to happen by end of day yesterday … I still havent heard from them. Thats the way it went the first time around too. I’ll have to chase them again to get motor number 3.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3690 days

#7 posted 11-12-2010 01:36 AM

I’m sorry to hear you’re having a bad time with sand flee. I have a 9” that I bought at Woodcrafters and it’s been a good useful tool. I use it on small boxes and some molding.
Good luck I hope they fix it to your satisfaction.

-- Life is good.

View lashing's profile


111 posts in 3588 days

#8 posted 11-12-2010 04:27 PM

Another update

This is getting to be one big clown and pony show. Since I didnt hear from RJR Studios when I was supposed to I email them a reminder.

I get a response this morning. Now they want me to send both defective motors to Baldor and at some point Baldor will replace one for my machine.

It would appear the motor may simply not have the torque for its purpose. The second motor sent to replace it was dOA and they want a third crack on their terms. All of this is thru Baldor directly not RJR. I didnt buy a Baldor motor though – I bought a Sand-Flee. How is it my problem when they have a bad supplier? Yet they make it my problem to try and wrangle a working motor from the supplier they chose. WOW – thats hard to believe isnt it? Looks like the Sand Flee warranty is not what they advertise.

I cant beleive it myself yet its happening to me.

All I did was buy an expensive tool to use for its purpose. Somehow I become the QC of the company.

View TheDane's profile


5822 posts in 4430 days

#9 posted 11-13-2010 05:43 PM

This is stunning … there is no excuse for this poor customer service.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View ducky911's profile


237 posts in 3556 days

#10 posted 11-13-2010 11:44 PM

You must be misstaken here is their promise. Oh boy it looks so beleavable…send the whole thing back..gee i been thinking of getting one of these

At the end of the day, if we are not making a difference in the lives of our customers, we are falling short of our ultimate goal; we strive to provide the best customer service possible.

To access our online customer service, please click one of the links to the right. If you find that your customer service request cannot be answered online, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thanks again to all of the customers out there.

Safe Woodworking,

Stephen C. Raffo
R.J.R. Studios, LLC


View lashing's profile


111 posts in 3588 days

#11 posted 11-14-2010 01:25 AM

Stephen Raffo is who I have been dealing with all along.

Total jerk? No. In fact he said he would make it right. But isnt making it right. Rather he keeps passing the buck to Baldor and is not taking responsibilty. He’s still in salesman mode when now is the time to stop talking and just take care of business. He talks way more than listens. This is after all very simple and if he stopped talking and just thought for a minute it would be solved by now.

As a customer I expect only one thing. Take a motor from inventory, test it, see it is working then send it to me. Do not trust Baldor to do it, do not expect the customer to do it. YOU do it.

I once tried to offer an affordable line of guitars. This put me in a simular position Sand Flee is in now. I had suppliers CNC’ing parts. I got some bad parts from them and it cost me dearly. I stopped offering a mass produced line and made good to customers. I worked a year for free but I got each person a hand made replacement at my expense. I learned my lesson and understand Sand Flee may indeed be getting screwed by their supplier quality wise. But thats not the customers problem.

View lashing's profile


111 posts in 3588 days

#12 posted 11-16-2010 04:06 AM

The final entry in this saga. Sandflee is full of BS. They are not honoring the warranty. They give me the choice of dealing with Baldor directly. They will not test a new motor and send me one. Instead they insist I do the legwork with THEIR supplier. The end.

View TheGravedigger's profile


963 posts in 4791 days

#13 posted 11-18-2010 01:59 AM

Well, that settles it for me. I had thought about one of those, but not anymore.

-- Robert - Visit my woodworking blog:

View bvdon's profile


502 posts in 3782 days

#14 posted 01-08-2011 10:39 AM

I was looking at one of these… just now doing the research. Thanks for the heads up… staying clear of this company.

View Manitario's profile


2816 posts in 3650 days

#15 posted 01-26-2011 11:42 PM

wow, what a total POS both from customer service and the actual product. I saw this product for the first time today and thought that it looked like a really great product, a good alternative to a large drum sander which I have no room for. I was even in the process of trying to figure out where I could put it. Thankfully now I’ll be spared the hassle you went through.

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

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