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Novakon Is Bad (or Evil) * Novakon Torus BedMills * Novakon Pulsar Review
September 8th, 2015
February 19, 2015
May 10, 2012 Novakon Torus Review and Update
More Victims continue to contact me. It is sad how brazen Khai, John and Novakon are. I recently received a call from a gentlemen from New York.
Places to Purchase CNC Products
WITH A REAL WARRANTY
I have Personal Positive Experience with the machines/companies below. You should investigate for yourself.
Additional Machines to Consider.
Pat O'banion helped me after Novakon Abandoned Me. I placed this ad to thank him. No PAYMENT was made of any kind. His company provided the Tech Support that Novakon would not, so this is my way of thanking him.
Buying a CNC Mill? Don’t get Conned or worse… NovaKON’d !!!
Ever feel cheated? Most machine tool companies are upstanding, well-meaning organizations. Some, however, are either unscrupulous or maybe just incompetent. I’ll tell you my story and you decide what you think.
I bought CNC equipment from two different companies. The first is a CNC Mill from NovaKON. And the rest are a CNC Mill and Lathe which I bought from Sherline (Maker of amazing and curiously small machines). I paid about the same amount to NovaKON and Sheri line for the equipment. But the difference in the products AND the two companies themselves is astounding. One Company is a dream and the other is a nightmare.
But don't believe me just yet. I’ll explain the two transactions and you judge for yourself.
The novaKON was shipped in giant boxes. Big boxes, big parts and no manual. Yep, no manual. Let me repeat that. I paid $5000+ for a CNC Milling machine... and it shipped without ANY MANUAL. Not a printed manual, not a manual on disk. Nope, nada, no manual. I had to call, several times, to get instructions on set up (and basically everything else).
The Sherline equipment came with a great manual. Everything you could want to know was in this easy to read and printed manual. You can read it at your desk, the machine or in the bathroom where all serious reading takes place. They're written so a mere human can read and understand them. Consequently, I assembled both Sherline tools, the CNC Mill and the CNC Lathe, without a problem.
My first task was to create plastic parts for NY Toy Fair prototypes. I designed the part in Solidworks, made blueprints and then created CNC G-Codes (codes that the Sherline reads and novaKON was supposed to).
But I was pressed for time. So even though I had $10,000+ of CNC equipment I decided to send the files to an SLA House. They make parts using an expensive process called Stereo-Lithography. When they called with the quote I nearly hit the floor. The quote was $2400 ($200 x 12 parts) and 3 weeks delivery. I didn’t have 3 weeks to wait. What was I to do?
Sherline to the rescue. I bought a piece of Delrin Rod from my friends and E&T Plastics. I setup the Sherline and in about 4 hours I had the parts completed. For a cool $20 and 4 hours of time… I had accurate good looking parts that were production durable! One Sherline CNC tool paid for itself with its first use. I’m outstandingly impressed by how well these machines perform every time I use them. Is it because they are made in America? I'd like to think so!
The Sherline products are easy to use, accurate and well made. So much so that I use them every chance I get.
What about the NovaKON? All the while I was enjoying my Sherline tools the NovaKON just sat there. Then I got a job that was too big for the Sherlines. I also found out it was even too big for the NovaKON. One NovaKON spec sheet misstated the machines cutting envelope. It said the machine was bigger than it was.
I was told this was a misprint. Did you ever notice how misprints are always against you? You never hear, “Oh, sorry Mr. Kaye, the machine is better than what we told you.” Noooo, that never happens to us consumers.
The problem was the NovaKON had a smaller cutting area than advertised. Not really cool. Its like telling you a car seats 6 and it really only seats 4. Was I mad? Yes, I was mad… but I was quite invested. I had the machine and they had my money.
They told me some of the documents are misprints but others had the correct dimensions. Deceptive marketing, incompetence or an honest mistake? Who knows.
I could fight but I had a job for a paying customer. And it was a pretty nice job. About $20,000-! I was seriously interested in making it work.
I setup the NovaKON just as I was instructed to do over the phone. But it just sat there like a bag of dumbbells. I had to call for every pieced of information because, remember, there is no manual. I kept calling NovaKON tech support.
I found myself speaking with a very nice tech person. He told me to check settings in the Mach3 control software. I did. We spend oodles of time trying many different settings. Nothing worked. Then I was told it is my computer. More specifically a bad Parallel port on the computer.
Great. Off to a computer store for a new parallel card. A hardware install and a few reboots later then I'm back on the phone calling Canada. Change settings, reboot, change setting reboot, etc... Ultimately, we determine the parallel port is fine. The mill is simply not working. Next they tell me my computer is bad.
Off to get another computer. I install the software and try again with a new computer. Still no luck. This goes on for days. Sometimes my phone calls to NovaKON get answered, sometimes they get voice mail, sometimes they get ignored.
Lots of long distance calls to Canada, none make the mill work.
I'm now told to "take the controller apart". It is a big and heavy box. It holds the machines brains and HIGH VOLTAGE electronics to run the mill. They WARN ME... "DO NOT TO TOUCH THE TRANSFORMER because it could KILL YOU!"
How nice is this? I buy a NovaKON mill and need to check my life insurance and Will before it will work. Once you buy a product should you really need to put your life on the line to get it working? I do as instructed.
Inside the controller I see a mess of cables. Not a well organized mess where you know people who were experienced and cared did the assembly. There are unconnected cables dangling everywhere. A broken ground wire (that is supposed to protect me if there is a short circuit). And not a single wire label in sight. Just a complete mess.
I persist and follow all their instructions. I pay for all the long distance phone charges. I keep moving ahead in the hopes I will find a solution.
This goes on for what seems like forever. And then I am told NovaKON would like to handle the problem after the Holidays. It is November 2009. (Yes, this article is being written in June 2010 and FYI the mill is still not working.) I agree to this because I see that they can’t get the mill working yet. And I want to work on my client's project. I try to borrow or rent mills. I am really out in the cold. And NovaKON is on holiday.
The holiday’s pass. The new year passes and it is quiet everywhere. Including my shop where my NovaKON still does not work. Many moons pass. I don’t hear from NovaKON. Busy wooing new customers? I think, "what about me? The guy who paid for the NovaKON mill that is not working?" Did they forget or do they just not care?
Apparently they did forget. So I call NovaKON and ask to speak to the president. He does not take calls. The sales manager, Khai, returns his calls. He tells me they want to help me. GREAT!
Back with tech support. We begin changing more settings, checking more cables and spending lots of time on the phone and inside the machine.
I begin to hear things like (this is true, I’m not making this up)…
“You have the old version of the machine.” (It's the same model they still sell.)
Finally, they ask me to send the “controller” back. It is heavy and packed in a wooden crate. I pay a small fortune to send it to them.
The "fixed" unit returns. Yeah? No! It DOES NOT WORK! I bounce between wanting to pull out my hair or that of a NovaKON representative. Again I'm calling Canada.
Again I am asked to take the “controller” apart. I’m careful because I like living. I think, "I don’t want to die from electrocution today. Maybe some other time over a more romantic situation but not here, not now."
I open the controller and discover several unconnected cables and one so tight it looks like a rubber band being pulled to its limits. I am told some cables are in the wrong place and I should move them. Why me? Shouldn’t I get a machine that works? Is it too much to ask that cables be in the right place it leaves the factory?
I work ,like a diligent assistant, doing each task the technician instructs me to. All the while I’m paying for long distance charges and spending my billable hours working to correct problems that clearly should have been fixed before the parts were shipped.
I am told to send photos of the "controller" taken apart AND to also take apart plates on the machine so they can see what is inside. Shouldn’t they know what is inside? Didn’t they make the machine?
At this point I have had enough. I send them a note asking them to fix the machine or refund my money and the cost of phone calls and shipping. If they can't deliver a machine they can get running it is their problem... not mine.
They tell me to upgrade the machine by sending them an additional ~$1500 plus shipping (another $650).
I can’t believe my ears. Why would I send them another $2150? Crazy. What happened to good old fashioned customer service? What happened to the customer is always right? What happened to simply shipping a working product?
A CNC mill is a big investment. It should be a machine you can depend on like my HAAS VF-2 was or my Techno-Isel Da Vinci or my Techno-Isel 4x4 or my Sherlines. These machines are designed to work hard and accept repairs like a professional boxer works with his ring Doctor. They are not disposable.
The HAAS, Techno-Isel and Sherline products all have smart technical staff that can answer questions and ship parts.
NovaKON can't even tell me what is in my machine and I have no manual so I don't know either? The worst part. The president does not take phone calls or return them. Based on my experience I can say I don't think they stand behind their products.
Thinking of buying a mill, buy from someone other than NovaKON.
I've personally had GREAT success with …
And I know people who love ShopBot
BUT RUN AWAY FROM NovaKON? RUN AWAY!!! RUN AWAY!!! Not only is it made in China, you cannot get it fixed (or in my case even running).
CALL me if you have any questions or would like updates. Or better still if you have any suggestions on how I can
1. Get the mill running or
2. Get my money back.
I'd love to hear from you.