Bolt fell off my table saw motor..... should I put it back on?

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Forum topic by misterjon posted 01-04-2010 04:31 AM 3784 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 3242 days

01-04-2010 04:31 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw motor

This may sound like a stupid question…. and I think it might actually be a stupid question.

First off, here is the table saw in question… I got from a guy who was offering it for free on craigslist. He said he chose me out of dozens of emails about the ad because I was the only one that said “thank you” for offering it for free.

It is an old craftsman. I am trying to turn it into a competent saw, but I do not have alot of experience. As you can see, I added a home made fence out of extruded aluminum—inspired by this article I found:
I am very pleased with how the fence turned out, and I still have many more improvements in the works. (like some zero tolerance inserts, an mdf fence face, clean and wax the table, learn how to do a general tune up and bade alignment, enclose the bottom for dust collection….)

Here is my current issue… The previous owner said that sometimes the belt would slip off the motor but otherwise it was a reliable tool. Since it was free, I didn’t ask alot of questions. Soon after I started using the saw, however, I tried making some cuts which required me raising the blade pretty high…. and when I attempted to make the cuts, the belt and the little pulley attached to the motor shaft both fell off the shaft. (the pulley went flying across the room) When I did a little investigation, I found the reason for the problem…

(sorry for the horribly dark pictures) In the upper right hand corner of the pic, you can see the motor bracket, with a curved channel, and a hole where a bolt used to be. The motor bracket would pivot around this bolt as the blade was raised up. As you can (hopefully) make out in the pic, the area on the bracket directly under where the bolt used to sit is deeper than the rest of the channel. When the blade was raised, the motor would raise along with it, and the bolt would glide along the radius of the channel until it reached the “step-up” part of the channel, where it would effectively stop the motor from raising. Any additional blade height was now accomplished by…. stretching the belt!—and you can now guess why the belt would go flying off as soon as the blade hit the wood.

here is a close up of the area around the bolt… I am guessing that due to the weight and vibration of the motor, the bolt ground away the area underneath it over time, and created the “step-up” in the channel where it would get hung up whenever the blade was raised.

I hadn’t decided how to solve the problem. Then, one day, I looked and the bolt had fallen out on its own accord! I have been using it like that for weeks now. The benefit is that the belt does not go flying off when I raise the blade. On the other hand, I assume the bolt was there for a reason and I don’t want to be unsafe.

SO! Should I just say “problem solved” and keep using it as is… or is there a good reason I put the bolt back on??

Thank!!! —jon

12 replies so far

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3354 days

#1 posted 01-04-2010 04:39 AM

From what I can tell that bolt looks to secure the motor mount bracket and/or allow belt tension adjustment….also it appears that your drive belt is turned inside out.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View knotscott's profile


8140 posts in 3551 days

#2 posted 01-04-2010 04:46 AM

I can help with the pics:

Is it possible that the belt is inside out? I’d think the cogs would go on the inside to help with grip.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 3354 days

#3 posted 01-04-2010 04:57 AM

I also see that your pulley is missing it’s keeper. This will cause the shaft to move but not the pulley.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View patron's profile


13635 posts in 3517 days

#4 posted 01-04-2010 05:03 AM

looks like the belt is inside out , as stated .
if the pivot pin on the bracket is tight and has clips to keep it from jumping out ,
it might be ok till you find all the parts to do it up right .
just keep your eye on it !
and do get a set screw in that pulley , and align it with a straight edge to the saw pulley before tightening it .and get a better belt , maybe a segmented one from rockler .
this one has probably seen better days .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View 459fitter's profile


30 posts in 3241 days

#5 posted 01-04-2010 05:10 AM

Jon, looks like you got a good fixer upper. Sometimes I think they are alot of work, but when you get it the way you want it, it is worth every ounce of effort you put into it. I recently purchased a planer that I know absolutely nothing about, but it was cheap, so I am willing to learn. On to your problem. The bolt is important in the sense that it is what keeps the motor pulley in alignment with the saw pulley. if they are not lined up correctly you may get a lot of vibration at the blade. That in turn will lead to bearing failure and poor cuts. I can’t quite tell from the pictures, but you may be able to grind out the bottom of the slot so that it is uniform down it’s entire length, maybe with a Dremel. As for the bolt you could replace it with an Axle bolt with a bronze bushing, the bronze is softer than the steel and the wear will be on the bushing, instead of the steel bracket. You should be able to find the bolts at your local hardware store. Another problem I see with you saw is the pulley on the motor is shot. There should be a key in the square groove on the motor that prevents the pulley from spinning on the motor shaft. Hopefully the shaft is not to damaged. You can find the replacement pulley at or maybe a local HVAC supply house. Also check the condition of the bearings on the saw and motor, There should only be a little “play” or slop in the shaft on the motor. The shaft on the saw blade should be fairly tight. If there is movement in the saw blade shaft it will definitely lead to cutting problems. Good news is the saw is old and parts are replaceable. You may have to do some hunting around to find them. Good luck.

Your saw may not be a Diamond in the rough, but you can still polish it up and turn it into a gem.

-- Andy ---- Missoula, MT

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1568 posts in 3741 days

#6 posted 01-04-2010 05:24 AM

Yes put the bolt on, it has a function (I believe it is a guide) and you don’t want it all to come apart in use. The pulley looks to be missing the key (the slot on the pulley and the shaft need to line up. You can pick one up at the local harware store, just take your pulley with you. Take your belt with you and replace it as well.

Also try to find the model and serial number then go here:, you should be able to download a manual for the table saw which will help immensely with understanding your saw and with setting it up.

Looks to be a gem of a saw…...older Craftsman.

Oh yea, Welcome to Lumberjocks!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View patron's profile


13635 posts in 3517 days

#7 posted 01-04-2010 05:32 AM

great call guys ,
i missed the missing key !
and thanks timbo ,
i was looking for that site for the manual/parts .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Gary's profile


9377 posts in 3608 days

#8 posted 01-04-2010 06:03 AM

yup to what everyone else said….Welcome to LJ’s

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View thiel's profile


392 posts in 3468 days

#9 posted 01-04-2010 06:43 AM

I had this saw and the belt and pulley also fell off (the arbor end) occasionally. Wasn’t the belt or bolt, it was a worn out key on the arbor pulley. My instructions below are for the arbor pulley, but it’s exactly the same thing on the motor pulley end, and it looks like you’ve got some trouble there in the picture…

Pull out the arbor pulley (if it hasn’t fallen out already!) and you’ll see a little deally-o that works with a set screw. It’s possible the set screw is missing, or it’s possible that the matching part (the key) on the arbor shaft is missing. Either way, you’re in the hunt and with a couple spare parts you should be in business. :-)

Good luck! It will be a great saw once it’s tuned up!

-- Laziness minus Apathy equals Efficiency

View misterjon's profile


5 posts in 3242 days

#10 posted 01-05-2010 12:36 AM

Wow, thanks for all the helpful responses! It looks like I have some part-hunting to do….

View bsherman's profile


76 posts in 3703 days

#11 posted 01-05-2010 04:23 AM

If I’m seeing what I think… The belt is tensioned by the weight of the motor and that bolt is just there to keep the motor from flopping all the way down if the belt comes loose. I have the opposite problem on my ridgid ts 3600 where my bolt will tighten itself occasionally and then when I lower the blade, the belt slips off. Move your blade up and down and see if the motor position changes.

-- Brian

View Karson's profile


35140 posts in 4576 days

#12 posted 01-06-2010 06:26 AM

I saw the missing key problem but others have mentioned that earlier.

I hope that everything gets up and running fine.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia †

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