Ridgid R4512 Blade Shift/Alignment Problem - Potential Fix

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Forum topic by GrizzlyBagWorks posted 01-18-2014 09:56 AM 15715 views 2 times favorited 39 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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91 posts in 1586 days

01-18-2014 09:56 AM

Hey guys, so I’m super new to woodworking and recently picked up a Ridgid R4512. I love the saw but have found that my machine has the all too common “blade alignment while raising/lowering” problem. My particular saw moves .015” to the right when the blade is locked into position after being raised and then goes back to .000” after it’s lowered/locked. I’ve read that other people have even greater movement.

Anyway, as far as I know there is no published fix out there for how to address the blade alignment problem on the Ridgid R4512. I think I might have a potential fix but like I said, I’m totally new to these tools so I might be barking up the wrong tree. I haven’t tried anything yet and don’t know if it’s even a good idea. I’m hoping to get some feedback from some more experienced woodworkers.

Potential Fix
The blade shifts seems to be caused by a gap between the trunnion (?) and the gear assembly that is attached to the motor. The greater the gap, the greater the movement. My thinking is that if you turn the machine upside down, remove the motor bracket from the trunnion and then place some washers or shims between the motor bracket and the bolted on gear you can zero that gap out and eliminate the play.

I’ve made a video showing the problem along with an example of how a shim inserted in between the trunnion and the gear impact the blade shift:

What do you guys think? Something worth pursuing?

39 replies so far

View Blurrytree's profile


65 posts in 1590 days

#1 posted 01-18-2014 03:32 PM

Grizzly, I found your post! :)

I have saw pals coming shortly and am going to modify them to fit my “new” r4512 and also try your idea.

Even when I got the blade zeroed at some heights it still shifted at others (about 0.005”) and at 45 degrees was a total mess. I suspect the pals will allow me to get it aligned faster and easier but think your idea will help and perhaps eliminate this.

Do you think that there is any relation between the blade tilted to 45 and extra shifting?

I will report back shortly

Have you looked into this further?


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91 posts in 1586 days

#2 posted 01-18-2014 04:09 PM

So I’m starting to think that this “fix” is only really treating the symptom of the problem and not actually addressing the actual cause.

I spent a little more time yesterday looking at the whole assembly and testing it at various angles. When I tilt the blade the gap widens even further. The razor blade that fit snugly in the gap at 0 degrees doesn’t even fill the gap at around 20 degrees blade tilt. Once the blade is tilted to 45* the gap is even wider. This accounts for why I was able to “align” my blade at 0 degress but was .020” off on the rear when the blade was at 45. So… something is loose or not fitting together properly.

The offending part appears to be the front guide assembly on the trunnion. Either it was cast/machine improperly or the front guide is bolt on table top askew. When the blade is at 45 degrees I can grab the motor and pull it back towards the rear of the machine, see the gap close and then see the entire front trunnion shift in on that slide.

I’m returning my saw this weekend. If they have a “good one” I’ll take another gamble on it but if not I’m getting a refund and will consider the Grizzly Hybrid which is unfortunately double the price I paid, or look into the new Delta at Lowes.

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65 posts in 1590 days

#3 posted 01-18-2014 04:17 PM

You are probably right. I would not pay full price for another one even if it is good (which I don’t think exists)

After hearing what you describe I am probably going to tune my saw at 90 degrees and leave it at that. Losing the tilt option kinda sucks but still gives me far more functionality in my workshop (of having no tablesaw).

Thanks for the info!

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65 posts in 1590 days

#4 posted 01-18-2014 06:34 PM

Hey Grizzly, I took the trunnions off and the motor out etc… And looked at it more closely.

I am by no means an expert but it looks as if this is a design flaw for all of these saws. I am not questioning those who have it perfectly tuned but I just can’t see how.

I set it on a few angles to view the gap with different strain from the motors weight. The gap where you stuck the razor does not function as a guide at all to keep it aligned and from what I can tell is because there is not much reinforcing it to pull it closed. (More at the front)

So our next best bet is to provide outward pressure such as a shim etc. like you are. I was looking after my kids and trying to do this so I will look closer when I am less distracted. I am thinking that if that gap is reinforced close to the extreme end then it should fix a lot of this but I just can’t see how to best do that.

I even contemplated tapping a hole and rigging up some guide bolts that can be adjusted but that seems too experimental. It looks like if we can make a few points of contact (or at least the rear, but I saw some play in the front too) then it should hold tighter… But this just seems crazy.

Here is a pic showing how much of a gap is there and that there is really nothing keeping it together…

Above, you can see the gap

Above, here is the lip I was considering adding some adjustment bolts but am not even going to try that

View GrizzlyBagWorks's profile


91 posts in 1586 days

#5 posted 01-19-2014 02:22 AM

Alright so, I went today to return my old saw to HD. They took it back without question and gave me another one, new in box. When I got home and opened the box I was shocked to see that the gap between the gear and the trunnion was huge, like 1/4”. I thought I just brought home a worse off model. I was pretty bummed.

Turns out this one is a “good one”. Arbor runout on my first was .0015”, this one is .0005”. No more noticeable wobble on the blade. The blade shift on my last one was .015” at 0 degrees—this one is averaging .003-.005—much improved. Blade maintains alignment at 45 degrees (.005” off away from fence) whereas the other one was .020”.

Back to the issue of the “fix”.

I don’t think the gear is actually supposed to ride against the trunnion like I initially thought. I think when I shimmed it out with the razor blade all I did was take up some of the play that was in the front trunnion sliding guide.

I’d be curious to see images of that gear area from people with “good” R4512s. My suspicion is that they have a gap but it’s more like 1/4” and is consistently spaced across the whole area. The gap on the defective models is much narrower because the front of the trunnion assembly is “loose” and it’s sagging. AND since the its loose in the front and basically pivoting from that area that would explain why the rear moves more than the front.

Goodluck on yours JK! Hopefully you can shim it and at atleast decrease the shifting at 0*.

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2737 posts in 2572 days

#6 posted 01-19-2014 03:27 AM

.005” is on the high side of blade alignment error. I was taught to aim for .003” or lower when aligning.

The 4512 needs a factory recall.

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

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383 posts in 1712 days

#7 posted 01-19-2014 03:30 AM

I really want to get a new saw and considered the Ridgid, but after hearing of these problems, I called the Ridgid support line and they said they aren’t even selling anymore saws, Jointers or planers! They said the ones the store have are the only ones available.
I just bought a Grizzly 14” anniversary band saw and really like it. I guess I’ll just have to look into the Grizzly and spend more money. Don’t know which one I’ll get, but it won’t be a Ridgid. Have to wait till spring, but I don’t think the price will change that much.

-- Steve: Franklin, WI

View GrizzlyBagWorks's profile


91 posts in 1586 days

#8 posted 01-19-2014 03:43 AM

Sorry, I should have clarified. When the blade is raised the rear shifts to the right anywhere from .003” to .005”. If I release the “tension” off the hand wheel then the blade goes back to .000”. After adjusting the trunnions I have the blade square to basically .001”, consistent at all heights. If I forget to release the tension then I’m only .003-5” out, which I’m okay with, especially considering I got rid of the .006” runout that was caused by the old arbor.

Ultimately I got out the door on this saw for $440 after tax using a HF 25% off coupon. At that price I’ll take the .003-5” “shift” and just try and remember to back the blade off after raising. If I forget it’s only .005” max. Guys with perfectly aligned saws but with as little as .0015” arbor runout, will get a worse cut, so it’s acceptable to me.

That said, you’re right Nitewalker, they really should recall these things—way too many reported problems. I ALMOST just returned it and bought the Grizzly hybrid but I’ve only been woodworking for 7 weeks and couldn’t justify a $1,000. If I get serious about the craft then I’ll sell the Ridgid and purchase a SawStop.

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65 posts in 1590 days

#9 posted 01-19-2014 02:48 PM

Thanks for all the updates :)

View canuckMKD's profile


21 posts in 1780 days

#10 posted 03-25-2014 11:56 PM

I’ve been considering this saw now for about 2 years, but as I read more and more reviews I slowly started to change my mind. There isn’t many options out there, the closest one is the porter cable saw & that one has the scary “plastic elevation gear”. I went to the local home depot close to me and they have 3 of them in stock, one is a display model, and the two in boxes have EM1332 and EM1242 respectively. I messed around with the floor model, raised and lowered the arbor and I could see with my naked eye, the arbor shift as it was raised! No dial indicator needed…. needless to say i am very disappointed, now that Ive seen this issue for myself. This completely shatters any hope of getting this saw, now I am for sure going to wait and get the grizzly.

View GrizzlyBagWorks's profile


91 posts in 1586 days

#11 posted 03-26-2014 12:45 AM

Have you considered the new Delta that’s at Lowes? I saw one in person and it looks pretty good to me. Might be an option.

Your comment prompted me to go check my saw alignment to see if it was still good. Looks like the rear has shift .01” to the left, so I’m going to realign the trunnions later this evening. I’m still getting a pretty consistent ~.005” blade shift but I’m okay with it for now.

What I really want is a vintage Delta Unisaw with a BORK riving knife. I’ve been watching Craigslist but most people want $650-1100 for some saws in some really rough shape. I’m keeping my eye out though.

Goodluck to you!

View lateralus819's profile


2241 posts in 1885 days

#12 posted 03-26-2014 01:00 AM

I bought one of these, had some $ from our wedding and wife agreed to let me buy one. Get it loaded into our small car, bar myself, and get it home. Damn thing had the alignment issue. I ended up waiting it out an a member here remembered i needed a saw and i went to check his out. Ended up with a like new Grizzly 1023 3hp for $600. All i had to do was change the belts and bearings in the motor/arbor..

Just gotta keep an eye out.

Killer saw for a good price.

View canuckMKD's profile


21 posts in 1780 days

#13 posted 03-26-2014 01:05 AM

I looked at that delta model on the website but I have yet to go see one in person. I live in canada and those aren’t here yet in our lowes. They still have just the porter cable one here…. Another option for me is to take a short drive across the border into Detroit and go to lowes over there BUT our dollar is falling and now every US dollar is 1.14 for me… plus I have to pay our dumbass government 13% import tax on top of the 6% michigan tax when I import it back across, so that makes it less worth it…..

I will wait a bit and see if it shows up here, but im sure they will mark it up substantially as they do with everything if its $600 there, it will be $700 here.

View NormG's profile


6111 posts in 2999 days

#14 posted 03-26-2014 01:14 AM

Glad to hear you have been successful in getting a good saw

I assisted a friend of mine who picked up a Steel City 39950C from a local Lowes, that had been returned. The manager said they had had it in the back since just after the first of the year. He wanted to get rid of it and he offered to let it go for $300, my friend took it. The saw was put together for the most part. So, a truck was rented with a lift gate to take it home. The Miter gauge was jammed in the Miter slot, some hardware was missing, the extension table were not flat to the table. We determined that the piece of index card tapped on the back of the saw with the writing on it was actually the serial number. He was able to locate some instructions online, get the missing/incorrect parts and took it apart, then back together again. Saw runs very nicely, tables are one flat surface and it took about 45 minutes to get the blade square to the table and then the fence included.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View WoodenRhyno's profile


2 posts in 1516 days

#15 posted 03-28-2014 07:29 AM

Thanks for the possible solution.

I have the same saw.

But, remember what “the Thousandths of an inch, that are measured” actually are…

.007” equals an average notebook paper thickness.
.003” equals the average human error in setting up an accurate way to measure.

.000X” (a ten-thousandth of an inch) is F’in ridiculous and only critical of Exotic Alloys and Extreme heat Situations.

Neither of those will happen in the Average Joe’s garage or shop.

A lot of people don’t know what the Data translates to, “Real” Life.

The r4512 is a good, affordable saw….. don’t let 2 sheets of notebook paper (.014”) scare ya.

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