Krik is generous here when he suggests that part of the problem with this falling-apart saw came from his use. No, that's not it. The manufacturer should test its products against any potential customer use. Either that or send out a company representative to show each customer the proper use of the saw.
I just bought a Ryobi Expand-it pole saw extension trimmer, which is similar in price but relies on the user's motor assembly. This device does not have any plastic parts and stays firmly attached to the motor head. The chain does need sharpening after an afternoon's work, but that is expected.
My point is that you get what you pay for, and it makes sense to inspect the item and read reviews before purchase. A quality pole saw including gas motor generally runs in the $700 range, so to expect similar performance for under a hundred is pretty optimistic.
I really am happy the saw even in its modified form. Having been a practicing mechanical engineer for 30 years now, nearly all that time I have strived to incorporate the principles of DFMA. So it is interesting to see when the tradeoffs start to compromise a product at the boundaries of the requirements. For instance on this particular design, using 2 to 4 screws at each end would have dramatically increased the joint strength, both from the screw shear strength and the added stiffness of the elimination of the integral leaf spring in the plastic base (probably would have simplified the injection mold tool design too). Since it required assembly out the box anyway, the assembly labor could be pushed off to the consumer.
I have bought Ryobi equipment for over 20 years now, The first was a gas powered string trimmer, it lasted 10 years and I was delighted with it, but the next three I bought were successively less good due to many changes to reduce the cost of producing the product at the expense of usability and durability.
It turns out that on a whole lot of occasions that DFMA mantra results in products that are very inferior in a number of areas. Just as you commented, using screws instead of snap together would have been much stronger and a lot more durable. But it would have ben less convenient for the user, which a lot of folks use a tool like that once or twice and then never again.
Possibly adding the clamping screws and even using some of that really good adhesive would hold it together. But it would not be able to come apart, so that might be a problem.
I need to come up with a similar setup to trim dead branches about 35 feet up, with no simple way to get close to them. I should see what this one you have costs in my local store.
Good point, Savaden. While price can be an indicator, it can still be misleading. Also, the used price of a product can distort the notion of price comparison. Perhaps the best advice is your suggestion to check reviews of the product.
Had a similar problem with a grass trimmer with a brush-cutter head. The blade kicked back enough to rotate and ultimately break the handle detent. It was probably my fault for expecting the brush cutter to work as advertised. Don't believe everything you read!
notorbaca, the product testing is done by the customers. Tools like the one described are designed to be used once and then put away, and left alone until the battery fails from old age.
A potential repair would be to add screws to hold the saw unit in place, or better yet some serious glue sucyh as "black max" from Locktite, at least I think that they make it. NOT superglue, but one that remains a bit pliable. That would keep it together.
On a slightly related matter, I have for many winters carried a kid's snowshovel in my car (along with a serious steel shovel for diggoing out of snowdriftes, etc.). The kid's snowshovel has a plastic (more or less non-scratch on the paint) shovel blade on a short (maybe 24 inch) wooden dowel handle and a D-shaped plastic handle. This is a far better tool for getting large amounts of snow off my hood, windshield and roof, etc. after a storm than the usual ice scrapers and snow-brushes.
However, the handle and the shovel blade are held onto the wooden dowel with one or two staples - definitely low-cost design. I don't think that's adequate even for little kids "helping" daddy with the snow shoveling, but for sure, it doesn't hack it when one is scraping snow and ice off the roof of a car. The simple solution is a couple of pan-head sheet-metal screws at each end of the shovel. I suppose that if the manufacturer built them with the screws, they would cost half again as they do, but still....
Having been in the OEM Battery Tool Charger business for 7 years, I have learned a lot about different power tool brands reliability, (primarily Drill Motors or drills if you must). Ryobi was in the middle as far as reliability is concerned. My first choices include Skil-Bosch, Milwaukee Electric or Porter-Cable, not necessarily in that order. Do Not even get me started on Black and Decker.
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