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Grizzly Track Saw Modifications (Shop Fox and Scheppach as well)

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Forum topic by jmartel posted 09-29-2015 05:36 AM 3677 views 4 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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jmartel

6565 posts in 1610 days


09-29-2015 05:36 AM

Topic tags/keywords: track saw track saw circular saw grizzly festool

At the moment, the Grizzly/Shop Fox/Scheppach track saws are the cheapest on the market. That of course comes with some drawbacks. They don’t perform as good as a Festool, for instance. If you read reviews, such as the one from the Wood Whisperer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcfiKe1PkXU , you will find a pattern that the saw rocks on the track a bit, has a bit more tearout on the offcut side of the piece, and doesn’t have as effective of dust collection. That being said, it is still significantly better than a circular saw on a homemade guide.

I used the saw as-is for the entertainment center that I finished up over the summer (in my projects), and I can definitely say that I agree with the points that were made in the above video.

To overcome those deficiencies, I made a few modifications to my saw.

I made a plywood “shoe” for the front of the saw similar to the Festool’s anti-splinter guard. Basically, it is a piece of 3/4” plywood that is attached through 2 machine screws. I drilled and tapped a couple holes in the aluminum guard to hold this in place. On the bottom is a piece of 1/4” plywood that is a sacrificial insert to create zero clearance. The plywood does not extend inboard of the saw blade so as to not interfere with the rubber anti-splinter guard on the track.

The shoe serves 2 purposes. This fixes tearout on the offcut piece, as well as prevents the saw from rocking. This shoe rides on the plywood which supports the saw.

To also help with tearout, I got rid of the crappy stock blade and replaced it with a $50 Freud Diablo one (stock one is pictured). Just as with all of Grizzly’s tools, you only receive a low quality blade with your machine and should replace it with something nicer right off the bat. I did a couple projects with the stock blade as I didn’t want to wait for the aftermarket one to come in. The stock one worked ok, but only if I did a scoring cut through the top veneer first before doing a full depth of cut.

The saw also did not have as effective of dust collection, so in order to fix this, I made a clear lexan cover for the hole in the guard that allows changing of the blade. This was also drilled and tapped into the aluminum guard. The bolts for this needed to be trimmed down to only roughly 1/4-3/8” long so as to not interfere with the blade.

I also added a small triangular section on the shoe on the very front side to prevent the dust from escaping forward during cutting. This is where the majority of the dust goes.

One final note on dust collection. This saw uses a 35mm dust port. Many people have posted that they cannot find a suitable fitting and take up the slack with electrical tape. Grizzly has decided to follow in Bosch and Festools footsteps and use the 35mm port instead of a standard size. Why? Who knows. But the only adapter that I could find to allow a 2 1/2” hose to connect to it is the Bosch VAC020.

In this photo, you can see the extent of the dust that is left over after modifications. This was taken immediately after a cut. No repositioning, no blowing dust away, etc. You can also see the small triangle on the front of the shoe as I was describing. You can see that there is no dust leftover on the sheet of plywood after cutting. Without the modifications, there would be roughly a small cup of dust. When I made a cut and forgot to turn on my shop vac, the dust went everywhere. I would say that it is pretty effective.

And this is the extent of the tearout. Almost nothing.

I still need to modify the spring so as to have less force required for plunging, as well as adding a blade depth lock for changing blades, however I am pretty happy overall. I also waxed the entire top surface of the track and the bottom of the saw to make it easier to slide (similar to a Planer bed, hand plane, saw plate, table saw top, etc). Forgot to do the plywood shoe base, but I will do that before the next time it is used.

For those who are wondering about how the cost stacks up:

Grizzly Track Saw Master Pack (saw, accessory kit, 1 55” rail) is $245
Scraps of plywood for shoe free
Scrap of Lexan free (or a $5 for a small piece from a home store)
Drill bit and tap $6
Hardware to attach shoe and clear blade cover $2
New Freud Blade (Freud LU79R006M20) $54
Bosch VAC020 Adapter $6

Total price is under $320 and I spent about an hour doing everything.

The Festool TS 55 is $640. Twice as much.

The Dewalt is $470 with the 59” track

The Makita is $415 with 55” Guide Rail

On top of this, I’m not sure about the quality of the stock blades in the Dewalt or Makita. So you may have to add the cost of a new blade into those as well.

It’s not going to be quite as perfect as the Festool. But it’s also going to be half the price. There’s just nothing else that I think the saw is missing now that would justify spending twice as much. You can get cuts just as good as a table saw off of this, which will save you time from having to re-trim and square everything up.

Before the next project I use it on, I will make parallel guides and a dead on square crosscut guide for it to make setup even easier.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.


10 replies so far

View naugled's profile

naugled

21 posts in 2313 days


#1 posted 09-29-2015 07:18 PM

That’s a great summary of modifications. Sounds and looks like it is well with the trouble.

View jonah's profile

jonah

687 posts in 2759 days


#2 posted 09-30-2015 04:14 AM

Looking forward to seeing your future modifications.

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5764 posts in 946 days


#3 posted 09-30-2015 04:43 AM

Nice. Thinking about getting one myself.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2322 posts in 1757 days


#4 posted 09-30-2015 12:31 PM

Nice – I keep thinking about getting one but the big money stops me. I’ll probably keep waiting though until Harbor Freight has one for 99 bucks. But I wonder how many mods that would take to make usable…

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

1371 posts in 1490 days


#5 posted 11-30-2015 06:38 AM

2 months later… how are the modifications holding up? I have to do the same to my Grizzly. Actually have found everything stock working out 100% (dust collection is iffy…. but eh).

-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6565 posts in 1610 days


#6 posted 11-30-2015 06:45 AM

Perfectly. Works great. Zero dust, little to no chipout. Only chipout I get now is on crosscuts of super crappy chinese shop grade plywood. Ripping there are none, even on the crappy stuff.

Well worth the hour or so investment to do.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

1371 posts in 1490 days


#7 posted 11-30-2015 06:49 AM

Can you take a second picture of that forward shoe from a different angle?

-- Yes, my profile picture is of a Carpenter Bee! The name is derived from the Ancient Greek "wood-cutter"

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6565 posts in 1610 days


#8 posted 11-30-2015 07:18 AM



In the last photo you can see that the lower portion of the shoe doesn’t take up the entire kerf width of the blade, so it won’t interfere with the rubber anti-splinter strip on the track.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View jfdonohoe's profile

jfdonohoe

1 post in 210 days


#9 posted 05-07-2016 12:08 AM

Have you replaced the spring yet?

Strangely, Im having a heck of a time finding one that looks like it would fit (3/4”/20mm OD, 5”/130mm Free Length).

Has anyone else here replaced the spring? If so, you have a link to a resource?

Thanks!

View jmartel's profile

jmartel

6565 posts in 1610 days


#10 posted 05-07-2016 12:15 AM

I never replaced the spring. Since I don’t use sheet goods that often, it hasn’t been a high priority.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

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