|Forum topic by jmartel||posted 09-29-2015 05:36 AM||3677 views||4 times favorited||10 replies|
09-29-2015 05:36 AM
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
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.