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Contractor saw - Blade Alignment Issue

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Forum topic by Rmckee47 posted 552 days ago 874 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rmckee47

22 posts in 583 days


552 days ago

I recently bought a General 50-185 contractor saw in great shape except that the owner had discarded the splitter. After ordering a splitter and blade guard from General, I tuned the fence and ran a board through. The kickback was so violent it turned my homemade feather board into Popsicle sticks. My first test was to measure whether the blade was running true and variance was less than .002.

However the blade was .082 out of alignment front to back with the miter slot. I loosened the trunnion bracket bolts – first three bolts and then all four and found that .082 was as good as it got. Then I filed the bolt holes in the rear trunnion bracket, ultimately getting a reading of .040, still far from acceptable.

I’m not sure at this point whether to a) keep expanding the bolt holes on the rear trunnion bracket, b) extract the front trunnion bracket and expand its bolt holes in the opposite direction, c) order new trunnion brackets, or something else entirely. The tech service person at General is on vacation, so no help there for the time being.


12 replies so far

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1178 days


#1 posted 552 days ago

The problems you’re having are why I despise table mounted trunnion saws.
I had similar issues. It took a combination of opening up the trunion holes a bit and completely undoing all 4 trunnion bolts to shift the entire poorly designed mess to a point where I could align it.
I’m less than a month from a new saw and it will not be another contractor saw.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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DIYaholic

12946 posts in 1276 days


#2 posted 552 days ago

Doesn’t sound like too much metal is being removed. As long as there is enough metal remaining on the rear trunnion holes, I’d continue in that direction.

Alignment is a slow, monotenous process. Don’t let it frustrate you! Take a break, then attack it again!!!

Good Luck!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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History

395 posts in 583 days


#3 posted 552 days ago

Wonders what Contractor’s table saw that NiteWalker owns.

View IrreverentJack's profile

IrreverentJack

724 posts in 1444 days


#4 posted 552 days ago

I have PALS on my saws. If they fit your General they’ll save $20 in time. Lock your trunnions (tilt) before you loosen the trunnion bolts – don’t ask how long it took for me to learn that. -Jack

View ajosephg's profile

ajosephg

1840 posts in 2162 days


#5 posted 552 days ago

Try using hardened washers between the trunnions and mounting bolts. Regular washers can deform into the trunnion slots and keep them from being adjusted away from their original set point.

Also recommend buying or making a set of Pals http://www.in-lineindustries.com/saw_pals.html

-- Joe

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NiteWalker

2709 posts in 1178 days


#6 posted 552 days ago

Sawsucker, it’s a delta 36-980, the last contractor saw they made.
It’s served me well for about 5-6 years, but it’s shortcomings are getting me to the breaking point. Aside from the alignment issues (it’s within .0015 blade to miter slot now), the switch works when it wants to, 90* crosscuts are merely a suggestion to this saw regardless of alignment there (even with a new blade) and at lower heights, there’s a lot of vibration. It’s time to retire her and get a cabinet saw.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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History

395 posts in 583 days


#7 posted 552 days ago

NiteWalker I’ve had a Delta 34-444 Contractor’s saw since I bought it new in 1995 and I don’t have the issues that your having. The pulleys are inline, and I’m using a link belt, there is no vibration. For crosscuts I almost allways use a miter saw, which I think is the more appropriate machine for the job.

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

885 posts in 2215 days


#8 posted 552 days ago

I have an old 113 Craftsman saw, no PALs. Now, this saw is not particularly noted for its ease of adjustment (quite the opposite!) but it took only a few hours of fiddling (first and only time I have done this, so there was a learning curve) to get it within a coupla of thousandths. I check it periodically and it has stayed that way for 4.5 years now.

As DIYaholic said, it is a slow, monotonous process. That is probably why so few saws are actually aligned well. But once it is aligned and locked down, it seems to stay. Take your time, do it right – the benefit is considerable.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Rmckee47's profile

Rmckee47

22 posts in 583 days


#9 posted 552 days ago

Thanks very much for your suggestions. It sounds like the approach I was taking of lengthening the bolt holes in the trunnion brackets was correct, though I was far from sure of that while filing away at them. By the way, I had ordered PALS last week and they are out for delivery by UPS today. However, PALS can only help if the brackets can move, which I think means the bolt holes still come first.

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DIYaholic

12946 posts in 1276 days


#10 posted 552 days ago

Yep, if the trunnions won’t/can’t move the PALS won’t do it!!!
I got PALS on my C’man 113 TS. Makes alignment a snap! Well, easier at least!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

View Rmckee47's profile

Rmckee47

22 posts in 583 days


#11 posted 550 days ago

Thanks to your good advice, the arrival of my PALS and lots of filing my blade is within .002 of alignment with the miter. As a few people noted, it is a slow monotonous process. I was aiming to be dead on, but concluded I might be dead first.

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DIYaholic

12946 posts in 1276 days


#12 posted 550 days ago

Glad it worrked out for you!!!

Now, might you have a spare 1HP or 1-1/2HP motor for my C’man 113 TS??? Lol.

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

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