|Review by brtech||posted 01-13-2014 08:14 PM||4094 views||0 times favorited||6 comments|
- ColliBeck Sawstop Throat Plate (Infinity Tools 100-335)
- Brand: ColliBeck | Category: Tablesaw Accessories
This insert is made by ColliBeck and available direct (via Ebay) or through Infinity. I purchased it from Infinity. The basic idea here is that it’s a CNC machined plate with a replaceable wooden insert. You can swap inserts in a minute or two, and either make your own, or buy them from Infinity. I have the newer version, which doesn’t use parts from the original Sawstop throat plate.
The plate is a beast. Heavy, nicely machined, nicely anodized aluminum.
The inserts that come with it, or available from Infinity, come in two versions, and you get one of each with the plate. One version is designed to be used with the blade guard, and has a slot for the guard that is open all the way to the back of the insert. The other is designed to be used with the riving knife, and has an opening that fits the riving knife but is not open all the way back. The inserts fit into a sliding dovetail opening in the plate which retains the insert pretty well, but apparently not well enough for the blade guard version, because there are now two small wood screws that are used to hold the open arms of the insert in place. No big deal, but you have to remove and insert those screws to change inserts.
The plate has openings to allow you to adjust the saw’s leveling screws that are on the back of the saw. It has T slots that capture the screws. This means that you have to change the settings of the screws to level the plate, and that means that you can’t swap the Sawstop plate back in without resetting those screws. Probably not an issue – I think I’m gonna like this plate enough that I won’t go back to the factory plate. There are also leveling screws at the back that are in the plate. They work well. In addition there are two snubbing screws on the sides of the plate to take up any side to side wobble. I was easily able to level the plate and have it quite stable in the slot.
You cut the saw slot like any other ZCI – put an insert in with the blade all the way down, put the fence over it slightly to hold it down (although the sliding dovetail holds the insert in quite well all by itself) and raise the blade slowly to cut the slot. Works fine and I have a very tight ZCI for my main combo blade. The closed back inserts looks even easier to set up, and when I next have to use my Dado blade set, I’ll cut the slots for them on the insert.
So, there is a problem. On the blade guard, there are a set of short anti-kickback pawls. There are also a longer pair, but you usually hook those under a clip when changing things under the hood. The small ones are always down. Now, I don’t know about you, but I always change the blade with the arbor all the way down. Dunno why, but that’s the way I do it. Turns out, that won’t work on this design. The size of the slot for the blade guard is wide enough on the left side for the pawls to drop down in the insert slot. But on the right side, the opening in the insert is pretty close to the guard plate itself, and the pawls don’t drop down. The slot on the factory plate is much wider and the pawls drop down on both sides. If you raise the blade up high enough that the pawls, in their lowered state, are above the top of the table a bit, the plate slides in real nice. If you have it all the way down, you can’t get the plate into the top without holding up the right pawl. I’ll have to retrain myself to raise the blade to change it. The side of the slot is cut at an angle, so the blade tilt works, but it looks to me like I could cut the slot wider and everything would work.
I have not tried making my own inserts yet. It doesn’t look very hard – mill a board to the right thickness, cut the sliding dovetail edges with the blade tilted, cut the blade guard slot with the TS or a router and trim the back to match the curve of the plate. It will be a whole lot easier than cutting my own full size inserts, which actually turns into a bit of work—I have built one, and even if you do, they don’t fit or work as well as the factory plate or this one.
The other thing is that the factory plate has a hook mechanism that holds the front of the plate down. The back is held down by T-slots for the adjustment screws, and the front has a hook activated by a bail that drops down to the front edge of the opening in the top. The first version of the ColliBeck plate reused that mechanism – you had to take apart your factory plate to get the parts. This version has no hook, it just depends on the weight of the plate and the side snubber screws to friction fit the plate down in the front. That’s just not as good. It DOES feel solidly in there, and there is no way to get the plate to raise up by pushing down anywhere, but it’s not a positive lock. I knew that going in to the purchase.
I didn’t know if my insert was machined incorrectly or I was doing something wrong, so I called Infinity technical support. I got called back by the shop foreman who went out into their shop where they have a SS and walked through the problem with me on the phone. Turns out he always changes his blades with the arbor up, so he never noticed. I appreciated the level of support Infinity provided me.
So, I give it 4 stars. I think they could make the slot wider, especially given that they have the screws in the bottom supporting the remaining wood, but I’m still happy with my purchase and expect many years of service from this plate.