Okay WoodOwl fans. Here is the story about my brand new hardly used 500 lb Nova Galaxi DVR 1644 dreamboat lathe that quickly became a useless boat anchor in my Wood Owls shop. This is the first really expensive tool purchase I made for my shop in December of 2017. I already had a great @Rikon bandsaw, my wonderful King Arthur Merlins and Guinevere tools from @KATools, my @Flexcut carving tool sets for hand carving and a huge variety of saws and other tools for my craft. I had a Jet 1221 lathe that I used for about four years daily until the motor started to fail. Instead of replacing that motor, I decided I would buy a new, bigger, better lathe. Had I known that I would get a dud, and bad customer support I would have passed on any tools from @Teknatool International.
But, based on the features and size of wood I could turn, I thought this lathe would take my business to the next level. I decided to purchase the new Nova Galaxi DVR 1644 lathe from @Teknatool for my shop. Yay! Or so I thought.
After much research and looking at reviews, and more research, this seemed like my dream lathe. It had many safety features, a breaking system and was supposed to be solid and sturdy and I thought it would be an awesome addition to my business and work shop that would certainly last more than the four years I spent with my Jet lathe. I had plenty of really large Maple and Cherry burls and I was so excited I could actually turn something up to 29 inches across. Wow!!!! How excited I was. For about 4 minutes.
I was specifically looking for something that had extra safety features like this lathe is supposed to have as I have had open cranial brain surgery and was willing to pay more for a lathe that advertises as being one of the safest on the market. Even though I use a 3M hardhat with an attached fresh air intake and feel like I am walking on the moon while turning wood, I was really excited this lathe has all of the safety bells and whistles and is supposed to let you turn large platters, plates, shallow bowls.
The joke was on me
After about a $3000 investment for the lathe, the Nova chuck and several many extra jaw sets to go with, and 13 months later, I now have a 500 lb boat anchor in my wood shop and @Teknatool has not done anything to remedy this situation. Not only am I out the 3K initial investment, I paid another $178 to ship the headstock back to their shop for a replacement of bearings or spindle. To add to my loss, I have not been able to use this lathe in my small business and I have lost 13 months of income. My wood stock and bowl blanks have by now checked and cracked while awaiting @Teknatools to make this lathe right so I can turn again. More loss. I have started using my old Jet lathe again just to produce something, even with its worn out little motor it is such a smooth little trooper, with no wobble in the spindle. Below is a shot of the Nova lathe with marked movement of the spindle at the edge of the bearings.
Since I had to pay to ship the headstock back to Teknatools, ($178) I crafted a sturdy hefty crate for the trip from NY to FL. I wrapped my headstock in plastic and added all sorts of cush and foam to the crate to protect the tool I paid so much money for. I did my best to minimze damage in the trip. Teknatools technicians received the headstock with a wobble, they put a very small piece of wood on it and tell me “Lady……. there is nothing wrong with this lathe.” “it is within spec”. They even sent video’s of a small piece of wood on the lathe but not one of the technicians actually put a tool to the wood. If that spindle wobble is within spec, then their tools are not of the quality that I demand in my wood shop.
The whole headstock movement
Since @Tekanatool technicians decided there were not going to do anything to correct their within spec spindle wobble, they threw my $3000 headstock back into the crate I carefully crafted, thew a piece of foam in with it and sent it back. When I opened the crate, my heart sank. The lathe had very little protection and the spindle was pointed downwards in the box hitting against the side of the crate and its 2×4 base all the way back home. The headstock arrived chipped in two places, the headstock tightening knob on the side was bent to hell and the spindle was scratched as it repeatedly banged around its way back home. I was not only angry but even more disappointed in this companies blatant lack of consideration for the most important tool in my shop.
Customer Support None!
Quite the opposite of what is considered good solid support and service for any product these days. Teknatools did send me a new set of bearings after I begged for them. BUT I had to install them myself, into my chipped up headstock. No worries. I rebuilt a 1999 Jeep, I can replace a few bearings in a lathe. Easy Peasy. In fact. I requested they send me bearings before I shipped the headstock to them and they demanded their technicians look at it first at my expense. Boy if I had know what this whole fiasco was going to cost me……..
Since I am an actual seasoned woodturner, I know what it is like to work on a good lathe, like my $750 @Jet 1221 lathe, and I know what it feels like to work on a lathe that has a spindle wobble, like my @Teknatool Nova Galaxi DVR 1644 lathe. Even after I replaced the bearings, I still have the same spindle issue. No brainer now right? This is certainly not rocket science. In the YouTube below, watch me try to sand a soft easy piece of willow on this lathe. There is absolutely no way I can maintain 100% contact with a tool or paper on this lathe. This is not within spec. My spec’s anyway.
The @Teknatools Nova Galaxi 1644 lathe I bought has DVR technology and no belt. Direct drive. It could actually be a really fantastic lathe but I really wouldn’t know. After several conversations with the Customer Service Manager, she sent me a video and asked if I had seen it. It was a video of some guy turning wood on a lathe. What the hell? I don’t need instruction on how to turn wood. I need a lathe that lets me turn wood. Period.
Back to the 1644. That is another reason why I bought that lathe. I could essentially turn 16 inches over the bed, 29 inches off the side, and turn something 44 inches long. Let me ask you, if your lathe has a wobble in the spindle, would you want to put a 44 inch piece of wood on it? HELL NO! Can you imagine how dangerous that would be to turn with this lathe. I am unable to utilize this lathe to safely turn a piece of wood that is even 4 inches tall, let alone take advantage of the 44 inch capacity to make table legs and tall art. There is nothing 1644 about this lathe at all.
I am not going away @Teknatool customer support until you fix my lathe by sending me a new spindle or until you replace the whole headstock. You can continue to delete my support tickets as you have in the past, and then put them back. It is all okay because you can’t delete ME, or my email trail regarding the problems I have had with this lathe and with your inability to handle the spindle wobble. How can you think this has issue has been resolved if I still can’t use it in my business? Please help me to understand WHY you won’t fix a lathe that I consider unsafe.
While waiting for @Teknatools to make this problem right, I have been using my Jet lathe again, and will probably have to replace the motor so I can at least produce art and income after 13 months of not being able to use the new Nova Galaxi. 13 months of lost income, lost creativity, lost sales, lost connections, lost bowl blanks, and an increase in stress and a huge waste of time while I am emailing tech support, drafting long letters on my business website and trying to find what I can do to get my lathe fixed by the manufacturer. “What else do you want from us?” asked the Customer Service Manager. I want a lathe that works is my reply. I wanted it to be the @NovaGalaxiDVR 1644 but maybe their tools are just not safe enough for my shop and they really keep hoping that I will just go away? I wouldn’t know if the tool is as good as they claim as I have not been able to use it. There is nothing like having invested so much money into a tool that I sadly cannot use and have spent so much of my time trying to make it right. It could be a really good tool, but I will not have an unsafe tool in my wood shop. Period. I will not take the risk. Instead, I have a $3000 500 lb boat anchor taking up space in my work shop. And all that I really want to do is just turn wood, create art, and have an income.