|Review by PurpLev||posted 06-23-2009 06:02 PM||74595 views||13 times favorited||160 comments|
To be fair , I was waiting to write this review after I tackled the last (and only) issue I’ve had with this saw as to give a proper review of it’s operation, and not limited by any aspect of missing/malfunctioning parts out-of-the-box. my ‘limitation’ was that the fence had a slight disposition issue once locked all the way down (was fine if locked half way – it would stay put and stay on the mark – but if the lock handle was pushed further, it would skew the fence ever so slightly – not a show stopper, but a nuisance) -more about that later.
I got this saw after becoming familiar with it while researching a SteelCity saw identical to this one (35920) at a higher cost, a lower finish, and tacky marketing by SC that put me off of that one.
I was never impressed by Ridgid tools, but after reading a lot of great reviews on their cast iron table saws, figured they are worth consideration – I’m glad I did.
Stats from manufacturer: 1.5 Hp, Left Tilt table saw, 110v (can be rewired to 220v) 13Amp (6Amp on 220v).
This saw is heavy at ~430 lbs, luckily I had it delivered, but otherwise it would require at least a strong helping hand to load/unload this thing. Since the trunnion are mounted to the base, I took off the table top, and motor cover while unpacking to relieve some of the weight off of the machine while assembling it all together – this was very helpful. It comes very well packed in a steel framed cage.
Assembly of the mobile base is somewhat more difficult than it should as the user manual is a bit vague about it, but using the companion parts exploded views helps a lot – also, the markings on the screws bags refers to those views and not to the user manuals figures.
Install the dust hood BEFORE you put the wheels on the base, otherwise you won’t be able to slide it in (manual states the opposite)
assembly of the granite wings is a breeze as there are 2 assistance bars for each wing that hold it in place while you adjust it to the table and bolt it down. I left the lag bolts loose while leveling the wings as I heard other’s had their top chip when they aligned the wings while having the bolts somewhat tightened. no chips, or cracks on mine.
The belt seems better quality than your regular v-belt. this one is a micro v-belt (?) at ~1/2” wide, it has 6 grooves that fit 6 slots in the pulleys for better traction and fit. I wasn’t able to find any “high-quality” replacement for this belt yet, but as this one seems to be good, maybe I shouldn’t worry about it as of yet (it has reinforcement strings like higher quality belts, but as I’m not a belt expert, I can’t really tell how good this one is – time will tell)
While assembling – all pieces from the body frame, to the table top, and the screws, and mobile base seem to be of good quality and finish. no burrs on edges, and everything fits well.
Tuning and Runouts
I finally went and got some feeler gauges, since I figured if there is anything unacceptable – now would be the time to find it out and work a replacement if needed.
Arbor runout was less than 0.001”, I cannot refer to the blade runout out of the box, as I took the table top off for assembly, but aligning the blade to the T-slot was a breeze – unlock 4 screws holding the granite top, align to blade, and re-tighten. done deal. Fence had a hollow in the middle (blade area) of ~0.005” – nothing that can’t be fixed with shims and a fence face. Granite top mostly dead flat, with a low spot of ~0.001” on the left edge (left of the left miter slot) and a low spot of ~0.004” on the right edge (right of the right miter slot) – I was hoping the granite would be this “perfect” material and surface, but I guess the imperfections are within margin and are acceptable (?).
2 set screws that are adjusted from above the table to set the 90 and 45 degree stops – easy to set, but I’d still check with a square when I’m changing angles, as you can never truly rely on stops of that sort, and cranks that can push just a hair bit more.
aligning the wings to the table top was fairly easy, there are 4 set screws under each wing to raise/lower that part of the wing. once the wing is aligned, lock it to the table top with 3 bolts. easy enough. make sure while you’re aligning the wings to keep some distance between the wings and the main table top as changing the angles when they butt against one another will put sheer force on the granite and might chip it off (as happened to someone else). After aligning the wings – there is ~0.000” between the wing and table top – can’t ask for more than that.
Aligning the fence was easy as on any other T-square type fences – there are 2 set screws to skew the fence slightly to the left or right. as I mentioned earlier – I did notice a bit of a shallow spot in the middle of the fence = not ideal, but something that can be remedied with a fence face – which would be a good thing to add either way (I guess thats why they have those faces on the B-Type fences). I actually added Phenolic face frames to mine.
This saw is equipped with a 3/4 fully enclosed cabinet with an angled bottom that slides into a 4” dust port, there is minimal dust that comes out of it, and while connected to a Jet 1100DC there is still dust that is left in the cabinet sides – where not in direct path of the DC air flow. Also there is little dust that escapes the bottom of the cabinet (and accumulates on the mobile base). I assume this is a general issue with table saws as looking at the construction and air flow – there really is little that can be done to fix that except reducing the size of the actual cabinet, and it’s openings – which will make access to the motor and trunnion a PITA, so with that respect, I find the DC to be more than enough.
The saw comes out of the box with a riving knife blade guard assembly as a one-piece. my previous saw was the Bosch which had a modular blade guard that mounts on top of the riving knife (which can also be setup to be full height or low profile knife), in comparison with that later, I find the one piece guard somewhat bulky, and unfriendly. there was no low-profile knife with the saw, and so far Ridgid doesn’t provide one as an accessory. I have made a low profile knife out of aluminum plate which works great. just make sure you use stock material that is thinner than your blade if you choose to make this yourself. installing and releasing the splitter/riving knife is really quick and easy with a turn of a large plastic nut.
First thing to do was to make some fence faces, I chose to use phenolic material (see my blog) and while at it, I also did a set of 6 zero clearance inserts. While setting up the fence faces, and shimming the middle bolt, I’m able to align the fence with the blade continually from start to finish and eliminate that hollow in the middle of the steel fence bar. Zero clearance inserts are a must in my opinion both for safety, and better quality cuts, and should be done on any saw you have regardless.
I Also buffed the table top with some Johnson’s paste wax, and the surface is glass smooth – pretty amazing.
Pet Peeves, and future upgrade ideas:
1. Motor cover screws – these are philips screws. would be nice to have finger screws, or some other fast-action release mechanism – I’ll probably fabricate something for that in the future.
2. Fence shifts just so slightly when locked – I’ll position the fence spot on, but once I lock it down, it’ll shift slightly toward the blade. I found the problem to be related to the metal wing on the left side of my fence – it was skewed downwards – causing the plastic cap to contact the rail on it’s top part – and locking the fence in a set angle, but if you pushed the handle lower – it would “straighten” the skewed wing+cap, and although the fence would still be just as locked – it would shift a tab bit to the left, throwing it off it’s mark. – FIX – I used pliers and bent the skewed metal wing back to being parallel to the fences’ body – now the entire left cap contacts the rail when locked all at once, and the fence stays ON THE MARK from beginning to end of locking procedure. FANTASTIC!
3. The Fence rails are made of 2 parts that are connected with a plastic coupler – makes it easier to pack this system in a smaller box, but operation wise it leaves a lot to be desired. the 2 rails needs to be perfectly aligned for the fence to operate ‘perfectly’ otherwise the fence contacts each half of the rail differently when the fence is positioned close to the blade (so that half of it is over each of the rail parts). either need to perfectly align the halfs, or completely replace them with a 1 piece 2”x2” square tube (1/8” thick material). another thing that can be upgraded are the angle irons that hold the fence rails – with longer thicker material that can also support an extension table (router table and the likes). I’ll probably do that next.
The on-off switch is conveniently positioned on the left side of the fence, and is much easier to use than my older (and portable) Bosch 4100, I can find it blindly, and is very easy to bump against to turn the saw off
The saw hums nicely, and cuts through the wood smoothly and easily without much effort (where my older portable would start calling in the troops for more power) the hum stays a constant hum. The table top is glass smooth and is a pleasure to pass material on top of. The table top is large, and the distance in front of the blade is much larger than I had been used to which is a blessing. (I always wished I had “just a little more” room before the blade).
Vibration is somewhat minimal – I do not have vast experience with table saws to compare it to other saws in this category, but with it’s massive weight and granite top, it does seem to be in good control. I was able to pass the nickel-test on it, and while the nickel DID jump a little when I started the saw, it did stay in place long after the saw was running, and even after shutting the saw off. mind you – my garage floor is NOT level nor is it continuous – which would add to vibrations – but I don’t have any complaints so far.
The Fence moves smoothly across the table (runs on back rail with a glide UHMW bolt) and locks firmly in place. after fixing the nuisance issue I had with the fence shifting while being locked down – I am now very pleased with this fence.
Herc-U-Lift mobile base is phenomenal! glides smoothly on the floor, and once locked this thing is rock solid. I like the fact that when it’s set to motion – it rides on 4 swivel wheels as opposed to 3, or 2, or 1 (with the rest of the wheel being non-swivel) and when its lowered to the ground, NONE of the wheels is in contact with the ground as they are ALL retracted upwards, and the base sits on 4 legs.
The control wheels are large, and turn smoothly up/down left/right and lock sound in place with a lock in the center of each wheel.
No, It’s not a 3HP Work horse perhaps – but this is all (and maybe more) the saw I need, I’m very very pleased with it. not to mention that this is the lowest cost saw in this class, yet it comes with the riving knife (well, this is a requirement of all new models, but as today there are only a few NEW models in the market) a granite top (you could argue this way or the other, both cast and granite have their strengths and weaknesses, its all a matter of which weakness you’d rather cry about), cabinet mounted trunnion, built in mobile base, decent Dust control, a good fence (after you tune it) and so far – the power to handle what I need. I like the idea that it can be converted to run on 220V as well if I ever choose to go that route.
Another thing to consider which played a big part in my decision was the warranty – Ridgid has a lifetime warranty to the original owner of their powertools, now this is hard to beat. so far Ridgid has proved to have a very helpful and prompt customer service, which is a good thing.
If anyone wants a PDF version of the user manual, I have it scanned and uploaded here:
-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.