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RBI G4 vs. Eclipse

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  • RBI G4 vs. Eclipse

    OK, to start I am not trying to start a feud here. Everyone has their favorites but I really need some help making this decision before I plunk out the better part of a paycheck on a saw.

    OK, disclaimer done. As it turns out I have gotten my father hooked on scrolling (a good thing) and given him my saw (a good thing?). He was using a really old Delta 16" and everytime I saw him he would just fuss and fuss over how much that little saw bothered him. So today I ran down to his house and dropped off my very old RBI 220-3. Needless to say he was excited and I get to buy a new toy! (Definately a good thing) Anyway, history not withstanding, I can't make up my mind on the new saw to buy. I have pretty much narrowed the field to the new RBI G4 and the Eclipse. I've read all I can find on both of these and I find there is good and bad in both. Deeper throat on the RBI is compelling but all of the issues I've read about them having is disturbing. Perfectly vertical stroke and near non existant vibration on the Eclipse is exciting but is it that much better than the G4? I've read that deflection on the RBI's new saw is .005 in. which I'm sure I can live with and if it compares to my 18 year old saw for vibration then that's a non issue as well.

    After reading my own comments I can see my own slant towards the RBI but would still like input. I love the idea of American made which I believe both are but am a bit concerned by the apparent size of the Eclipse company. The website is less than awe inspiring and there is far less information on these than I can find on the RBI's. Any info is appreciated guys.

    Thanks,

    Ron

  • #2
    Ron,

    What things have you read that disturb you about the G4? I have a G4 and love it. I've not found any problems with it.

    I don't know about eclipse, but I know that RBI has a video you can get for free on thier machine.

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey Grizz,

      I've read that there were alot of folks that had issues with the blade clamps when this saw came out, RBI was made aware of it and had an improved clamp on the drawing board but I can find no info on that. The other issue that I read about is something to do with the table. You could square the blade to the table but if you were cutting a large piece you still had to tilt the table like 2 degrees to get a square cut. Kinda sounded like the outside edge of the table wasn't exactly parrallel to the center. I only read about that one once so it was probably an isolated incident. I guess the problem I have is that these folks that get on the net to fuss about all their problems rarely come back to post if and what the resolution may have been. I have heard that RBI's responses have been somewhat slower of late than seems to be the norm with them. Lastly I've also read that at slower speeds that the G4 is in fact nearly vibration free but once you get it above about 1/2 to 2/3 speed it trys to walk away on you. I find this kinda hard to believe but it was posted by multiple people. Now, most of the posts I found were dated from around the time the saw was newly released so a lot, or maybe all, of these issues may have been resolved but as stated earlier nobody wants to come back and tell how or what was done to fix their problems.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Ron,

        Go to SAW online or click on this URL and you can see what they have to say about the G-4.
        http://www.saw-online.com/phpbb/view...er=asc&start=0
        I was at a wood working show, they had the G-4 there but they demonstrated the older one. Funny.

        Mike M
        SD Mike

        Comment


        • #5
          Couple things I have heard regarding some info posted above.

          .005 back to front movement on G4 is practically impossible on a parallel arm saw which the G4 is so I take that with a grain of salt.

          Excessive vibration at higher speeds was mentiond. It is my understanding that that is a normal problem on way too many RBI's but apparently there are some that dont have that problem so that is a chance you would have to take. Of course if you want a saw that would be suitable for you when just using slower speeds this may not be a problem at all.

          From what I have been able to gather so far is that the Eclipse would be a MUCH better choice of the two in question.
          Sparky

          Comment


          • #6
            I will stay out of this because I am not familar with the eclipse but own 2 RBI a 220 and a 226 Hawks. Never have I had a problem with blade holders vibration run full tilt even though I do not use that because I find 3/4 way is fast enough for me. You can check my photo album and see what kind of work that saw produces. All things were cut on either one of them or a Hegner 18" Good Luck in shoping.
            John T.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks so much for all the input guys! I have made a decision and to be honest it isn't really based on the saw, well it sorta is but not completely. I called RBI up and basically asked them some questions about the G4 and the reported issues. They readily admitied to the early design flaw in the blade clamps, which has been corrected, but they had not heard of any vibration issues. I was told it was obvious that if it was vibrating it was from improper setup. OK, I buy that statement although it seemed a bit defensive to me. I then asked why I should choose RBI over the Eclipse. Well I got about three uhh uhh uhh's and was told that I needed tools to change the blades and it had so much casting on it that they were apparently trying to minimize vibration with weight. Nevermind the fact that it's cast aluminum and only weighs 90lbs, a little more than the G4 but not a whole lot. Then I was asked where I lived and he started writing up the order...well, I stated I still had some research to do and would call them back once I made up my mind.

              Now, I know that sounds as if I am being derogatory to RBI and I honestly don't mean to. That is simply what happened and I'm sure my current opinion has colored my writing style somewhat.

              Then I call Eclipse and to be honest expected to get a recording as I assume that this is a really small mom and pop operation, which really makes me nervous with an investment of this style. Lo and bohold Ernie Mellon himself answers the phone. What more could I ask for, the designer of the saw in question himself. I explained my situation and asked very similar questions. I asked about the casting (where I found out about the aluminum and the fact that it's for rigidity, not weight) and the tool needed to change the blade. Seems that because of the stroke length if he were to incorporate a knob on the lower holder then you would only get 5-10 degrees of tilt to the right out of the table. He said it was a compromise he had to make in order to make what he considered the right kind of scroll saw. He also told me of the issues he encountered while making the saw and supply issues. He was so upfront about everything that I felt that honesty was not a sometime job with Ernie, it's a lifestyle. He did not belittle the G4, in fact he stated that he liked it more than the older RBI's, said they had made many nice improvements. Basically Ernie made me feel as if I had known him forever, he is not a salesman (Sorry Ernie), but he is as nice a person as I've ever met and shows absolute conviction when it comes to his saw.

              Now it sounds as if I am glorifying the Eclipse, I am, you'll see why momentarily.

              Next Ernie asks where I live and I wrongly assume he is starting to see dollar signs and is writing up that ticket. I told him where I am and he started locating folks in my area that have Eclipse's and giving me their phone numbers. WHAT??? OK, I've dealt with alot of manufacturers but never have I, on a retail scale, had one give me references with phone numbers! He gave me 3 names in my area, only one really close, and one other fellow whom he knew had experience with both saws. I will not name any names as to who I called but they are names most would recognize from the magazine. Both, as I kinda expected, had glowing reports of the Eclipse. Both had prior experiance with the RBI and liked it albeit not as much as the Eclipse. What I didn't expect was the fella down in my neck of the woods to invite me over right then to try his out. Well quick like the ever popular jack-a-lope I hopped in the truck and motored over. He gave me the grand tour of the saw and let me drive. Man, granted I haven't used the G4 but if it even comes close then both of these are miracle saws compared to what I am used to. The saw is comfortable, easy to use, silent, absolutely vibration free (balance a penny on it and cut...it didn't fall over), and the so called liability of having to use a tool to change the blade is not a liability. Even not having ever done it before it was a breeze and quick as can be. Setting tension is a snap and i really like the little built in lamp. Norm was an amazing fellow and really showed off the saw and his talent.

              So, bottom line, I think I will buy the Eclipse. Like I said earlier, it's not a decision based entirely on the merits of the tool. I still haven't used a G4 but don't see how it can be any better, equivilant, maybe, better, I don't think so. Ernie and his friends treated me far better than the folks over at RBI, to them I was a sale only, to Ernie, I was a hobbiest in need of assistance first, and I'm sure a sale after that. There are some negative vibes floating around out there about RBI right now and there choice of advertising that the G4 has perfectly vertical blade movement, it doesn't, and there are also a few concerns over the current state of their customer service. I have experienced that personally twice and still feel like a number. I still think the RBI is an absolutely awesome saw but I think I'm leaning the other way for all my Benjamin's. BTW, for anyone who is curious, the Eclipse is more expensive than the RBI by about 400-500 bucks, but at this level of purchase I don't want to doubt myself a year down the road.

              Once again, thanks for all the input guys and sorry for the extremely lengthy post. Oh yea, one last thing, Norm also got me hooked on the Flying Dutchman blades, I tried his and mine (Olsen) and there is really no comparison. ...and Mike, Norm from Memphis says to tell ya high and he'll see you at the picnic.

              Ron

              Comment


              • #8
                Hi Ron,

                That was a very nice explanation. Did Ernie tell you that he is coming also to Branson? I'm sure you have no need to ever buy an other saw, or your wife once one also.

                Mike M
                SD Mike

                Comment


                • #9
                  LOL Mike, My wife isn't into it yet...yet. One thing I failed to mention is that the Eclipse is wife proof, has a key in the back to turn it off! Naa, If she would give it a shot I'd love to get her out there, time will tell. After all that explanation I gave, I really can't recall if Ernie said he'd be there or not. He recommended that I go, but I don't remember if he said he was going to be there. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, my wife and I are taking a cruise to Mexico shorthly after the picnic and I don't think I'll be able to make it. I am going to try though!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Good for you on the choice and like you said you can't go wrong with either as well as the Hegner, the Dewalt 788 or the Delta P20. All top quality saws. Now make some sawdust. By the way did you ask him how many he has sold. and how many RBI has sold.
                    John T.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As a matter of fact I did ask that question, RBI said they couldn't tell me for sure but it was in the thousands. Ernie said he had around 150 running around everywhere from Alaska to Hawaii(he's crating that one now for shipping). That was a concern for me as well, there are a lot more RBI's out there so perhaps the ratio of issues to actual units is the same. You know what they say about pleasing all the people right!

                      I would love to make some sawdust but the saw is probably a month out, withdrawl is gonna be painful. Perhaps I'll start to work on one of my little cars again.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi John,

                        About your question: "By the way did you ask him how many he has sold. and how many RBI has sold".
                        I would think that RBI has made saws for many more years before Ernie started making the Eclipse.

                        Mike M
                        SD Mike

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Mike and others wondering why I asked that question is he went into this long explanation of the saw he chose and mentioned the problems you are talking about a saw not just the Q4, that has been proven for many many years and when he brings up problems of the past you are talking about many more units out there. Ernie makes a very good saw but don't sell RBI down the river. Everyone has their favorites and yes mine is RBI and will stand behind it 100%. The Q4 has had problems out of the box but you get that with any new product that comes along but they are working it out. I am sure Ernie has had his also but there are not enough out there to have people compare. All I am saying. I hate when this question comes up over and over and over again. If you go to any scrollsawing forum you see this question and it does not come down to who makes a better saw. I mentioned the top saws and they all are just a matter of little different things but they do not make a saw better or worse.

                          I guess I should have followed my instinct and stayed out of this but for some dumb reason thinking I can help I jump on this question. My humblest oppologies to all for my rant and from now on I swear I will not speak on what is a better saw I promise and this goes for any site that I am involved with. If I have offended anyone please except my oppologies.
                          John T.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            So JT...do you drive a Ford or a Chevy....Just kidding.


                            Actually, I'm really impressed with this thread. I know it's an emotionally charged subject, but I really feel that everyone handled themselves with decorum. People described their experience, their feelings and didn't knock anyone elses! Sharing experiences like this are what the forum is about! No one is here to say--use this and only this. We're here to say "hey, I tried A and B happened...has this happened to anyone else!"

                            So I guess what I'm saying is I'm proud of the contributers to the forum!

                            Bob
                            www.GrobetUSA.com

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Bob

                              2 Chevys
                              John T.

                              Comment

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