Wieder Labs?

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Andrew Huot
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Wieder Labs?

Post by Andrew Huot » Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:33 pm

I'm a high school sophomore and spent this past summer earning money for my Fusor project. After 3 months I had enough, and spent over $700 on vacuum components from "www.wiederlabs.com". I ordered them in August and they still havent been shipped. I know the head of the company, Scott Wieder, is also part of our Forum. Any advice? Has anyone else had a bad experience with them?

Thanks!
Andrew Huot

Tyler Christensen
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Re: Wieder Labs?

Post by Tyler Christensen » Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:38 pm

Have you tried contacting the company? May have better luck than asking on a public forum.

skidevil7
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Re: Wieder Labs?

Post by skidevil7 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 6:26 pm

I also think contacting Scott would do you better than addressing the general public. I've exchanged a few emails with him and ordered a chamber from him. It took a couple weeks to ship but I was pleased with the cost and quality.

kernd
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Re: Wieder Labs?

Post by kernd » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:35 am

I agree with others that contacting him directly would be the best thing to do.

But I do have an experience to share. I'll keep the following to just the facts.

On September 29th, I placed an order for a chamber and accessories. The order total came to just shy of $3,000 which I charged to my credit card. I received an automated email confirming the order.

Many days go by and I received no further communication. The order status on the website merely displayed "processing".

On October 13th, I sent an email, to which I received a prompt reply from Scott. They were waiting on stock for some components and anticipated shipping on October 29th.

October 29th passes with no communication.

On November 7th, I send an email checking on progress. No response.
On November 12th, beginning to get quite concerned, I send another email indicating I really needed some communication and I would have to contact the credit card company otherwise. (By this point I'm wondering if I'm being scammed).

I receive a response to the email of the 12th and it is indicated that the chamber is almost done and will ship Thursday (November 15th).

November 15th passes with no communication.

Finally on the 23rd I contact my credit card provider to indicate the situation (coming up on 60 days at this point, which is the end of their liability protection). I still want the chamber, but am extremely concerned and feel I need some help. I email Scott to inform him I've opened the claim.

I receive an email from him that the chamber is boxed and ready to ship, but because I contacted the credit card company he will cancel the order and sell it on ebay instead!!!!

Frustrating.

RobertTubbs
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Re: Wieder Labs?

Post by RobertTubbs » Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:47 am

Concern has already been raised about the (shoddy) quality and workmanship of Wieder products, obvious and inexcusable faults for an extraordinary price...

Andrew & David's experience further my opinion that we're dealing with an unscrupulous third party seller pandering to uninformed newcomers in a small hobby that is suddenly in the spotlight and looking to make a buck.

I advise to all those considering Weider to instead take 1/10 of that money and go to eBay's Business and Industrial section - the surplus there is usually TIG/Electron-Beam welded and leak-tested university throwaways perfectly suited for Fusor work at ten cents on the dollar.

I rest my case,
RT

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Richard Hull
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Re: Wieder Labs?

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:43 pm

Some few here have the money on hand to throw at the fusor construction issues which, to many, seem daunting.

I will not advise one way or the other, but part of the thrill in this biz is to craft the thing with one's own hands.....To see the bits and pieces come together in several parcels purchased on the cheap or scrounged from some pile of junk in a university or business that is willing to lend a hand.

Part of it all can be the thrill of learning new life skills in many connected mechanical and electronics disciplines, sacrificing a lot of time instead of money.

I will admit that in spite of all the above, if I had $10,000 to spare, I would have Lesker cobble the puppy up for me. In retrospect, I'm glad I didn't though.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Jim Kovalchick
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Re: Wieder Labs?

Post by Jim Kovalchick » Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:54 pm

I couldn't agree with Richard more on this one. As the chief scrounger and financier for my son's fusor project I can tell you that my preference was to save the money for his tuition versus going top shelf for his high school science fair project. Personally, I think he learned more from the hodge podge of used parts scrounged from my dumpster at work, from ebay, and from gracious donations than he could have from simply writing a parts list for a top shelf vacuum supplier and handing them a check.

Some stuff I did buy new, but most was not. After all, my son wasn't shooting to generate a paper for publishing in PNAS. Though I'm pretty darn proud that he was able to coax neuterons out of a machine with a vacuum chamber made from a Kitchenaid mixer bowl.

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Richard Hull
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Re: Wieder Labs?

Post by Richard Hull » Tue Nov 27, 2012 3:03 pm

Jim's missive is sage. If one is willing to trade time, (lots of it), for money then it can, indeed, be shown that where there is a will, there can be found a way to succeed.

Sure, some money must be spent, but the art comes in limiting the amount through determination and the application of many skills, yet to be learned.

Richard Hull
Progress may have been a good thing once, but it just went on too long. - Yogi Berra
Fusion is the energy of the future....and it always will be
Retired now...Doing only what I want and not what I should...every day is a saturday.

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Chris Bradley
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Re: Wieder Labs?

Post by Chris Bradley » Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:52 pm

It does not sound like healthy customer-relations on Scott's behalf. If as you say he stated he'd ship on 15th, then he broke his contract.

If he has sense, and because you sound keen, he should take the opportunity to offer to ship to you what you ordered, with payment to complete on your satisfaction or return.

But it is possible he has just been bogged down with other suppliers letting him down and he felt in the middle of a grinder. I've had even worse communications from some folks (!) but, needs must, you leave them alone and eventually they deliver. But with $3k at stake, you had to do what you did.

That being said, with the other comments, the episode might actually save you money - I have spend a half of that filling 3 lots of 6'x3' shelving with all manner of vac and HV stuff whilst picking up ebay 'bargains' 'just-in-case'. I say 'bargains' because, for sure, if you pay peanuts sometimes you get kit that the monkey's have been playing with! But then other times you can get a bargain.

You will be amazed at how the kit you buy ends up getting used! Just buy stuff, and figure the rest later. Inventive types will use what's around them, and sometimes the end result ends up better than what you might have planned for yourself!!! 'Go with the flow', so to speak... I think you might find the journey is more interesting and ultimately more rewarding [than hoping for a particular outcome that might end in an anticlimax!].

kernd
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Re: Wieder Labs?

Post by kernd » Tue Nov 27, 2012 6:08 pm

I completely agree as well... with (much) time and a bit of luck you can cobble together everything that you need to build a fusor.

My first lived in a 5-way cross: download_thread.php?bn=fusor_images&thread=1245820846

I learned scrounging, cobbling and tinkering as a kid, spending the summers hanging out in my grandfather's garage learning electronics. First by pulling apart defunct TVs, later by building things up from the parts.

Now a few years on, I have a fairly extensive lab outfitted by years of careful acquisition. One of the biggest successes: a working mass spectrometer, bought in pieces over many years and fixed over the period of a year. And to make that happy requires a 1x10^-7 torr vacuum... which was a great challenge to accomplish in an amateur setting. This required another scrounge - two past their prime Leybold turbomolecular pumps and (a year later) a controller to run them.

Eventually though, at least for me, I found that working full time, running a business on the side, and participating in numerous other hobbies left little time for my physics experiments. I have some great ideas, but was planning to spend my time constructing ion guns and other devices, not making modifications to my lathe and other machine tools so that I could construct a 10" sphere with CF ports.

Looks like that's what I'll be doing... I have a welder (MIG though, not TIG). But because I'm planning to use the chamber for more than just a fusor, and at pressures much lower on occasion, I do not doubt that materials, tooling and my mistakes will add up to more than the purchase price of that chamber. And of course it takes away a bunch of time from what I want to be working on!
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