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Please help - suspected Sawstop PCS alignment issues

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Forum topic by Jeff Mazur posted 03-09-2018 01:43 PM 3943 views 1 time favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jeff Mazur

117 posts in 1452 days


03-09-2018 01:43 PM

Topic tags/keywords: sawstop table saw zero-clearance insert question

Hi, all. I’ve got a PCS175 and have an issue with the alignment of the blade with the factory-supplied insert’s slot, AND with the slots in Infinity’s third-party insert made for my saw. I’m wondering if anyone else out there with my model of the saw has experienced this and what they’ve done about it; and for those who have a PCS175 that did NOT have this misalignment (which I believe cannot be fixed by any adjustment described in the manual), could one of you take some measurements for me on your perfectly aligned PCS175? (I’ll describe which measurements at the end.)

Right out of the box, the center of the blade aligned with the left edge of the pre-cut slot in Sawstop’s supplied insert, thus obstructing the raising of the blade. When I called Sawstop I got what seemed to be a cock-and-bull story about misalignment occurring somehow during shipping, and that I should just pop the blade through just as if I were initializing one of their zero-clearance inserts. This got me started, and I figured, OK, if I need zero clearance I’ll get their blanks. When I saw how much they charge for the darn things, I had second thoughts. So I ordered Infinity’s insert, the aluminum one that fits the table opening and accepts inexpensive MDF and melamine blanks in the part where the zero-clearance cut is made. Perfect, I thought.

Without going into excessive details, their product does not work with my particular saw either. The blade and riving knife are too close to the edge of the insert board and thus this cannot be used when tilting the arbor for a bevel cut.

This prompted me to contact Sawstop, and when I explained what was going on, they offered me a free zero-clearance blank. That’s nice, but you need more than one of those, and I also want to get to the bottom of this because I know there must be others out there who have had this problem, a problem that Sawstop seems to want to sweep under the rug, because they did not seem at all concerned that they have at least one saw out in the wild that is not matching design specs (and it’s clear to me, by virtue of the misalignment in the Infinity Cutting Tools insert, that it was not just the Sawstop insert that was out of whack.) I suspect there’s something wrong about where the trunnion is mounted relative to the table; the mounting of the table itself; or possibly the manufacture of the table (table opening cut a wee bit to the right of where it should have been cut – the faulty positioning of my blade relative to the opening appears to be a good blade-width off. A good trim carpenter won’t like this kind of error, a woodworker with any self-respect won’t tolerate it; in the world of manufacturing machines it’s simply not tolerable, in my opinion. We’re not talking a “thou’”, or even ten, but better than a hundred, almost an eighth of an inch.

The other consequence that I had not anticipated is that the blade being closer to the left edge than (I allege) it should be, is that it’s even tougher to reach in and adjust the alignment of the riving knife holder (anyone who’s made this adjustment and doesn’t have child’s hands knows what I’m talking about.)

So could some folks with a “perfectly aligned” PCS175 please measure the distance from the left edge of the blade plate to the left edge of the table opening? I want to know that I’m not crazy, and that my saw is indeed out of spec. I would ask Sawstop (and I’m sure they might provide some information when they see this posting) but their actions thusfar make me believe that they may continue to be in denial about this issue. And does anyone know of a way to adjust this (other than shimming the blade out, which does nothing for the position of the blade-guard/riving knife, which may or may not be adjustable that far.)

Thanks in advance, and sorry for being so long-winded. As for Sawstop, they make a fabulous product, but I do believe that a few bad apples snuck out the door somehow, and want to know for sure where I stand.

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.


38 replies so far

View BoardButcherer's profile

BoardButcherer

144 posts in 243 days


#1 posted 03-09-2018 02:32 PM

There’s a few things that can shift during shipping to knock it out of alignment.

First thing that comes to mind based upon your description of the blade not being centered in the slot is the table. It’s a simple thing to adjust it, but hard to get accurate. You just have to loosen 4 bolts on the bottom and shift it around. I would recommend checking your center alignment with a 4’ T square at the least, and preferably a micrometer. Ideally you will only be doing this one time for as long as you own the saw.

View johnstoneb's profile

johnstoneb

3014 posts in 2321 days


#2 posted 03-09-2018 02:42 PM

Have you tried moving the table to center the blade in the slot then aligning the blade to the miter slot?

-- Bruce, Boise, ID

View Jeff Mazur's profile

Jeff Mazur

117 posts in 1452 days


#3 posted 03-09-2018 02:55 PM

@BoardButcherer, johnstoneb:

It seems that the rather straightforward arrangement you describe is not present on the SawStop. I know what you’re talking about, as I’ve seen people (like Marc Spag’ with his Powermatic) make such an adjustment on YouTube videos. Instead, the only table adjustment I see is for the purpose of aligning the blade with the miter slots, and is accomplished through a pair of screws that, in essence, allow me to pivot the table clockwise or counterclockwise up to a degree or two. A brilliant improvement on the usual table mounts you find on most saws, but of no help here. I’ll have another look, and know that I appreciate your advice, thanks.

ps – Just wondering – does either of you own a SawStop?

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.

View BoardButcherer's profile

BoardButcherer

144 posts in 243 days


#4 posted 03-09-2018 03:06 PM



@BoardButcherer, johnstoneb:

It seems that the rather straightforward arrangement you describe is not present on the SawStop. I know what you re talking about, as I ve seen people (like Marc Spag with his Powermatic) make such an adjustment on YouTube videos. Instead, the only table adjustment I see is for the purpose of aligning the blade with the miter slots, and is accomplished through a pair of screws that, in essence, allow me to pivot the table clockwise or counterclockwise up to a degree or two. A brilliant improvement on the usual table mounts you find on most saws, but of no help here. I ll have another look, and know that I appreciate your advice, thanks.

- Jeff Mazur

We’re not talking about adjustments, we’re referring to the mounting bolts. Usually there is enough “slop” in those holes to allow you to make up the amount you’re talking about. A hard knock during shipping could have easily slid the table to the far side of them.

You’ll find them on the four corners of the cabinet underneath the table.

View HarveyM's profile

HarveyM

106 posts in 2171 days


#5 posted 03-09-2018 03:11 PM

Jeff-
I measured the left hand table blade hole to the table edge and the sawblade tooth(left hand side) to the table edge, front and back. From that I get 39 mm or 1.535 inches from the the left hand of the blade to the left hand of the table hole. This is on an ‘adequently aligned’ PCS 3hp.

-- Just a Duffer

View Jeff Mazur's profile

Jeff Mazur

117 posts in 1452 days


#6 posted 03-09-2018 03:21 PM


@BoardButcherer, johnstoneb:

It seems that the rather straightforward arrangement you describe is not present on the SawStop. I know what you re talking about, as I ve seen people (like Marc Spag with his Powermatic) make such an adjustment on YouTube videos. Instead, the only table adjustment I see is for the purpose of aligning the blade with the miter slots, and is accomplished through a pair of screws that, in essence, allow me to pivot the table clockwise or counterclockwise up to a degree or two. A brilliant improvement on the usual table mounts you find on most saws, but of no help here. I ll have another look, and know that I appreciate your advice, thanks.

- Jeff Mazur

We re not talking about adjustments, we re referring to the mounting bolts. Usually there is enough “slop” in those holes to allow you to make up the amount you re talking about. A hard knock during shipping could have easily slid the table to the far side of them.

You ll find them on the four corners of the cabinet underneath the table.

- BoardButcherer

Gotcha – thanks for clarifying!

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.

View Jeff Mazur's profile

Jeff Mazur

117 posts in 1452 days


#7 posted 03-09-2018 04:01 PM


Jeff-
I measured the left hand table blade hole to the table edge and the sawblade tooth(left hand side) to the table edge, front and back. From that I get 39 mm or 1.535 inches from the the left hand of the blade to the left hand of the table hole. This is on an adequently aligned PCS 3hp.

- HarveyM

Sounds about right. I get 1.494 inches, measuring directly with my digital caliper, indicating .04” difference. With a little error in the right (wrong?) direction (you took two longer measurements, probably not with a caliper), the discrepancy between our gaps could easily reach .1” or more. Thank you!

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

6949 posts in 2347 days


#8 posted 03-09-2018 04:14 PM

All table saws – from the cheap portable plastic things to industrial 14” and larger machines, have a way to align the blade to the miter slots (and hence, the insert). They may differ in method, but the application is the same. And even with identical saws, the ‘measurements’ can differ. Just align your saw as needed and call it a day. It’s not really an issue IMO.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View RDan's profile

RDan

80 posts in 2472 days


#9 posted 03-10-2018 02:15 AM

I have the PCS 3HP and the Infinity insert. I have different inserts for each of my blades. So I think your table is off, like others have said. You might look at laminate flooring to put a bevel on to fit the the slot. I measured it and seems to be the same thickness. I can get some measurements of mine on Sunday if you still need them. Dan

View Sunstealer73's profile

Sunstealer73

169 posts in 2241 days


#10 posted 03-10-2018 03:47 AM

Mine is 1 5/8 from the side of the blade/splitter to the edge of the insert hole. I measured from the flat part of the blade, not the tooth.

View Jeff Mazur's profile

Jeff Mazur

117 posts in 1452 days


#11 posted 03-10-2018 12:03 PM

CONCLUSIONS:

- First, warmest thanks to the participants who’ve helped with suggestions and measurements.

- The table is definitely not where it should be relative to the blade.

- If there is a way to fix this, it involves more than loosening mounting bolts and giving the top a rap with a dead-blow hammer, because the table is linked to the base with a pivot pin (unique to SawStop, AFAIK), which facilitates easy parallelism adjustment but preventing sliding of the table strictly sideways or front-to-back/back-to-front.

- I’m chagrined at not being able to use Infinity’s very elegant and cost-effective ZCI solution, but the fix is beyond what I’m willing to do to facilitate that. I’ll just make my own cheesy inserts to save myself from SawStop’s crazy $39-each ZCI expense since I’m going to need a half dozen, at least (various dado, thin-kerf, bevel scenarios.)

- In my opinion, SawStop’s been a little dodgy about this positioning inconsistency, and I suspect a few saws that weren’t quite right (or not packed securely) got out the door. One support rep slipped and admitted he gets 2 or 3 very agitated calls about this each week, and I’m taking this to indicate that they have a quality issue that they’ve decided is cheaper to stonewall people about rather than invest in getting at the heart of the problem.

- Beyond this one quirk, it’s a great saw IMO.

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5097 posts in 2642 days


#12 posted 03-10-2018 12:07 PM

Your response from SS CS is very disappointing. In the past my experience along with others (that I’ve read) has been nothing but great, and they’ve been more than helpful. I hope your experience doesn’t signal a change in their CS due to the new ownership. I also hope you can find a fix for the position, please keep us posted if that happens. I have the Infinity insert and really like (ICS model).

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Jeff Mazur's profile

Jeff Mazur

117 posts in 1452 days


#13 posted 03-10-2018 12:27 PM



Your response from SS CS is very disappointing. In the past my experience along with others (that I ve read) has been nothing but great, and they ve been more than helpful. I hope your experience doesn t signal a change in their CS due to the new ownership. I also hope you can find a fix for the position, please keep us posted if that happens. I have the Infinity insert and really like (ICS model).

- Fred Hargis

I’ve found them to be helpful in most cases as well. But in this case, I keep hearing ludicrous explanations about why things are the way they are with respect to this aspect of the saw, and it really has me questioning their integrity on the topic. Things like “table got jarred out of whack in shipping”, which makes no sense at all because the parallelism was within a hair of perfect right out of the box. Or that the “insert shifted in transit somehow” which is really crazy, because except for the locking handle there are no moving parts, and the thing is quite snug in the table opening. And another guy insisted that the adjustment I need to make is not only possible, but is outlined in the manual. It’s not. I think he needs some additional training.

The problem that I’m facing is not a show-stopper for a SawStop saw owner, because it seems that one CAN use the saw correctly with all blades and cutting angles and have zero-clearance when using SawStop’s expensive solution. I just think that instead of BS’ing me it would be a nice gesture if they offered me (and others who got the slightly hinky saws) the option to buy their ZCIs at their net cost – not free, just at a reduced price that doesn’t cost SawStop anything. I’d be perfectly happy with that.

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.

View mrg's profile

mrg

828 posts in 3148 days


#14 posted 03-10-2018 12:42 PM

just looked at the manual, I see the pivot pin you mention. The pin goes into a plate that looks like it ha two bolts going through. Loosen the two bolts and you should be able to get the table to move left or right a little.

Maybe if you post a photo the group may see the issue. Also the insert has some adjustment, did you check that?

-- mrg

View Jeff Mazur's profile

Jeff Mazur

117 posts in 1452 days


#15 posted 03-10-2018 03:13 PM


just looked at the manual, I see the pivot pin you mention. The pin goes into a plate that looks like it ha two bolts going through. Loosen the two bolts and you should be able to get the table to move left or right a little.

Maybe if you post a photo the group may see the issue. Also the insert has some adjustment, did you check that?

- mrg

I think you’re onto something here – I hadn’t noticed that the plate for the pivot pin looks movable with relative ease – and I do believe, from what I’m seeing, that if I loosen all four bolts, and the two large knurled set screws holding the pivot pin’s plate, AND the two parallelism adjustment screws on the other side, that the table will indeed be free to move, hopefully by enough to make the desired correction.

SawStop should revise their assembly instructions to mention to check if this adjustment is needed, EARLY ON in the process, before the wings, extension, rails, and legs are on. Because to do this after the saw is all assembled, the right way – avoiding having to use a sledge hammer just to slide the table over a skosh – would be to remove that stuff so that the only thing that needs to be moved is the main table, which is relatively light and could be shimmied over a little with just a small dead-blow or rubber mallet.

Not sure I’m up for all this – I may still opt for fabricating wooden inserts when needed – but I thank you for what I believe is the solution.

-- Woodworking is a beautiful, physical, cerebral, and noble art.

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