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  • Ridgid TS3650 Review

    After much study, my choice of a new table saw came down to the Ridgid TS-3650 or the Delta 36-979. It was a tough choice but I decided on the Ridgid. The Delta is pretty much the same old Delta contractor's saw that's been around forever, with a few interesting twists. The 36-979 is sold without a fence at all - perfect if you (like me) have a good fence like a Biesemeyer. The Delta has also mirrored the trunnions so that the blade left-tilts, which I personally think feels a bit better and safer (some don't agree... either tilt makes the same cuts). The carriage assembly is the same old Delta design... a front and rear trunnion-mounted carriage with two heavy steel rods connecting the front and back section. I had read that this design was prone to getting damaged such that the blade alignment gets out of wack and can't be adjusted. This in fact happened to my old saw and is the primary reason I needed a new one!

    So.... enter the Ridgid. The design is NOT a Delta clone. The carriage is a cast one-piece design (i.e., no rods connecting the front ofthe carriage to the rear trunnion section). I suppose that with the motor hanging out the back, it is still susceptible to damage from the unintended hard wack. Well, this is not supposed to happen but after years of weekend warrior use getting moved every time it's used.... hey, it's bound to happen. I have to think the Ridgid design is better in this respect than the Delta.

    Another nice feature that lead to the choice of the Ridgid is the 36" rip capacity. Most of the cabinets I build have ply panels that are 34-1/2 inches. Most contractor saw fences (including my old one) go from 24 to 30". The extra long rails offered on many saws like Delta are great, but not practical really for the average home user - with those rails, the saw gets HUGE and tough to store in the garage. So, you end up with the standard rails, and cutting cabinet panels (carefully) with a straightedge and skilsaw. Seems pretty sad to have a table saw and still have to make finish cuts with a skilsaw.... but we've all done it. Thus, the 36 inch rip capacity of the Ridgid seems like a great idea - and it is! A real timesaver. Now I just rough cut the panel out of the plywood sheet with the skilsaw freehand to a pencil line and do the finish cut on the tablesaw. Huge improvement!!!

    Unfortunately, the Ridgid fence, while great in design concept and capacity, is not nearly as rugged as something like a Biesmeyer. The first time those aluminum rails take a good bump while moving the saw, or some other "garage goods" hit them.... well, I suspect they will be pretty much done for. A good fence like a Bies is heavy steel and essentially indestructible... which is a good thing. Over the course of many years, bad things happen. Even so, as long as one treats the Ridgid fence gently, it works smoothly and well. I've been using it and it's great. I'll probably take it off and mount the Bies for general use, re-installing it only when I need that wonderful 36" rip capacity.

    Overall, the Ridgid saw runs very well and cuts true and clean. My Systimatic blades leave a better finish on this saw than they did on my old saw, which probably means there is less play in the mechanism. I did take a couple of cuts with the factory supplied blade and, even though some have said it isn't good, I thought it was a fine combo blade. If you already have blades you like, great - but I wouldn't change the factory blade before giving it a try. It was cutting fine for me. Spend your extra money on a good stack dado set and new throat plate for dado-ing. That will be more important to you!

    On the negative side, the bevel stops are mushy. All contractors saws seem to have lousy, mushy stops at 0 and 45 degrees. Ridgid made the stops adjustable via screws in the table top - which is MUCH easier. But the stops are so mushy that I end up using the machinist's square to check them every time. Ridgid engineers.... you should fix that!

    A cool feature is the cam-operated rear trunnion adjustment. Even though you don't typically have to make blade parallellism adjustments very frequently.... the old Delta style adjustment is a nightmare and sure to be very frustrating. Basically, you have to loosen the front and rear trunnions, knock, wedge, pry or otherwise coerce the blade to where you want it, and then hope like heck it stays there when you tighten the bolts. Which it won't. And those front bolts are tough to get to. On the Ridgid, the have provided a neat lever-operated cam to adjust the rear trunnion. THe front trunnion bolts are still tough to get to, but you can leave everything snug and use the cam to get the blade into alignment.... and it stays! Ridgid's is a much better system.

    The HercuLift retractable caster gizmo works well enough. But, honestly, it is a rickety contraption and should have been better designed. The pivot points for the mechanism rely on sloppy-fitting bolts that aren't fully tightened....the nuts are nylocks to keep the whole thing together.... sorry, but this is just poor. It wouldn't have taken much to make the design a lot better. In general, I have problems with the design... it just isn't elegant. But, I also have to admit that it DOES work. On the other hand, this is an area where the Delta saw wins hands-down. The Delta mobility system may not actually roll any better, but it is a much cleaner and more rugged design than Ridgid's Rube Goldberg design.

    Some have complained about the saw's legs. I have used this quite a bit for big panels and honestly the leg stiffness hasn't been a problem in any way. If the front-to-back stiffness bugs you (again, it just isn't that bad) rivet or bolt on some angle iron cross diagonals or better yet, add some 16 guage sheet metal shear panels. To me, it's not a problem at all just the way it comes.

    Ridgid really should rewrite the manual. The assembly instructions are very good, except that there are a lot of different bolt types and lengths used. The bolts are all in two blister packs and each is fully identified on the packaging. But the instruction manual only tells you which one you should use a few times - the rest of the time you're on your own. Also, the bolts are a mix of mostly SAE sizes with a few metrics thrown in... this is not a good idea. One or the other, please. Have metric and SAE size wrenches on hand.... you will find that some of the SAE size hardware actually works better with metric size wrenches -- which I've seen a few times now with imported products. But in my view, this isn't a good idea, either.

    Overall, the TS3650 is a good product. I like it, am glad for choosing it, and would get it again. I think the fence isn't near rugged enough, but I think the carriage may be more rugged than the Delta. You can always get a better fence! The Ridgid cuts very well and seems, except for the fence and the caster thingy, like it should last. Accuracy is very good and the adjustments on mine haven't drifted at all.

    I'm sure the Delta is a fine machine, too. Whatever you choose, be careful and have fun!

    -Andy
    Last edited by Andy_M; 11-27-2007, 12:31 PM.

  • #2
    Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

    I just got this saw but am having trouble getting the belt to stay on. It appears to be aligned correctly but when I turn it on it makes a noise like it is hitting something and the blade moves to the edge of both pulleys. Any ideas?

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

      That's a great review Andy! I really enjoy reading a review that includes analytical insights from an engineering perspective, data packed observations, and opinions with basis. So many reviews are based solely on emotion...."I love my wife, I love my saw!"....me too, but that's irrelevant to every one else! You're analysis is spot in IMHO, though I'll admit to being a blade snob! Thanks for your effort.

      My Biese fence had a 30" rip capacity, but I was able to easily slide the front tube over 10" without moving the angle bracket, and I now have 40" capacity. It requires remounting the switch and the tape, but is a fairly straight forward mod.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

        Originally posted by daleeubanks View Post
        I just got this saw but am having trouble getting the belt to stay on. It appears to be aligned correctly but when I turn it on it makes a noise like it is hitting something and the blade moves to the edge of both pulleys. Any ideas?
        Make sure you have the belt guard installed correctly, not rotated too far one direction or the other. It should clear the belt on the bottom by about 1/2" the the blade in the full down position, and by about the same amount on top with it full up. If you installed it with the blade in the full down position, it is possible to have it rotated 1/3 turn too far clockwise, and vice versa if the blade was full up.

        If that isn't it, I would check to make sure the pulley set screws are secure to the shafts (motor and trunnion).

        Another possibility is that you have the belt tension set incorrectly, and the motor is either causing a slack belt when full down, or is bottoming out the spring on the motor mount plate when full up. Ensure the motor mount plate freely rotates through the full arc, and with the motor full up, still has a little play where you can squeeze the belts together and the motor moves.

        Hope this helps.

        Go
        Practicing at practical wood working

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

          hi everyone i just wanted to tell you i was looking at the ts3650 yesterday and fell in love with it ,but i wasn't sure if i would get it.i started searching the web and found this forum,and i just want to say thanks,because of andy m's review i will be picking up my new saw on tuesday..awsome review & just so happens the delta was runner up.now who wants a craftsman 10" saw...lol

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

            Hi everyone - I just thought I'd add my two cents to the review thread. I had previously owned a cheapo TaskForce 10" tablesaw for woodworking. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on a tool that I wasn't sure I'd use much, but I discovered that I was using it more than I thought I would (I'm a bit of a hand tool snob lol).

            Thanks to this forum and all the glowing reviews of the 3650 I took the plunge and bought the saw this weekend thanks to the HD 20% off Ridgid tools sale.

            In one word, this saw is *amazing*. It's 100 times better than the TaskForce (of course) and only required small adjustments out of the box. The rip fence was parallel, the miter slots were square. The only adjustments I made were the preset angle stops on the miter gauge, the 0 and 45 degree stops on the tilt mechanism (off by about 1 degree), and a very minor adjustment of the arbor to put the blade parallel to the miter slots.

            For an amateur woodworker all the tweaks were simple and painless to make. The one thing I wish the saw had was a quick release blade cover. When ripping thin strips, I keep the splitter installed but have to remove the blade cover. Having to undo a bolt and lock nut isn't the hardest thing in the world to perform, but an easier option would've been nice. I'll probably just end up installing a wingnut instead of the lock nut. Not really worth complaining about but I mention it since there is *nothing* else I don't like about this saw.

            Just this weekend I made a 4 drawer tool chest with splined miter joints and edge banding. All the cuts were dead on and accurate. I just can't say enough about this saw! If anyone is in doubt about the worth of this saw don't be. It's fantastic and deserves every ounce of praise it receives.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

              Great reviews

              Just bought, and assembled new 3650. The only complaint is the amount of styrofoam used in the packaging. Real pain breaking this stuff to fit into garbage bags.

              This stuff is not environment friendly.....!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

                Originally posted by JohnSyl View Post
                Great reviews

                Just bought, and assembled new 3650. The only complaint is the amount of styrofoam used in the packaging. Real pain breaking this stuff to fit into garbage bags.

                This stuff is not environment friendly.....!
                It is a good packing material, and for a durable good like a 3650 it doesn't bother me. How unfriendly it is also depends on how your locality gets rid of it. Where I am things are waste to energy, and it does burn well.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

                  I am considering buying this model, but I heard that now these are made by Ryobi? Is this true?
                  Thanks
                  Paul

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

                    Originally posted by ptvegas View Post
                    I am considering buying this model, but I heard that now these are made by Ryobi? Is this true?
                    Thanks
                    Paul
                    Pretty much true. Emerson still owns the Ridgid name, but TTI/Ryobi has made the saw in Asia for Emerson since the 3650 was introduced....roughly 2004 IIRC.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

                      Hiya, can anyone help me please sorry this isn't a review.

                      I have been reading your posts about the Ridgid TS3650 and really want to buy one but I live in the UK and have no idea where I'd get one from. I have looked at the home depo but they don't seem to sell to the people in the UK. If anyone has any ideas I'd be very grateful.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

                        I DO NOT LIKE THIS SAW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                        I just bought this new Ridgid saw and after using it for three days, i find that I hate it. I am a professional Hardwood Flooring Installer and I use my saw EVERY day. I have just replaced my Bosch table saw with this one and it is a poor replacement.
                        My Issues:
                        This fence is bad. It was what attracted my attention in the first place, but that was a mistake. It is too heavy, it FLEXES when it is locked down, by day 2 it was showing SIGNIFICANT run-out and there is no easy place to stick it when not needed. The latches hold it securely during transport, but they are too hard to use quickly and I keep pinching my thumb between it and the table because of the motion used to remove it. Also, what's with the crappy hex head bolts exposed on the face of it????? The fence latch area thingy should also present a parallel line to the front edge of the fence to facilitate plunge cuts, not this weird angle it has. The only thing I did like is the micro adjustable thumb wheel thing but by day 3 it no longer seemed to be getting any traction, it was just skidding under my thumb. The fence also lacks any robustness: the little low-friction plastic guides the serve to keep it square to the table are TINY with little bendy tabs sticking out. How long before these are broken???? In my life, i give it about a week. (Beware the posts discussing fence issues and customer service posted elsewhere here, my fence didn't seem to be un-square,not visually anyways, but that flex i see has me worried)

                        the table ain't great neither: I do a lot a free hand cuts and I find that the handle(?) thing formed into the left side of the table edge throws me off, causing these cuts to wobble( i know... no free hand cuts allowed) Never the less, I do alot of 'em and this feature doesn't help.

                        The throat plate needs a screw driver to remove a screw to allow me to change the blade! One more thing to go find.... My Bosch has a pressure clip and in 4 years this has never proven to be an issue, safety or otherwise, except as a convenience.

                        In the same vein: two (TWO!) wrenches are required to change the blade. I took it for granted that most manufacturers had a built in shaft holder which would then only require one wrench. A small thing but.....

                        In the past, the good quality cabinet saws I have worked with all had a t-slot miter gauge. I thought that my Bosch table saw was lacking in this because it doesn't have the T slot. That was a misperception. I find that the ability to drop the mitre gauge into the slot anywhere along its length is a very convenient feature. So my first thought at seeing the Ridgid's T- slot mitre was that it was a benefit but this hasn't proven to be the case. Also, it catches on the pull back when the T comes back into the rear opening of the slot. another small annoyance.

                        Mitre storage on this saw is also an issue for me. Again, storage is secure during storage but impossible to access easily or quickly during the course of work. So I find it poking out with just the tip of the gauge jammed onto the clip waiting to fall out (onto my hardwood floor like as not.)(never mind who wants to drop their mitre gauge in the first place)

                        wow, this could go on for ever........... a quick list of deficiencies or design flaws i see:

                        -Cant' operate switch very easily, got to find a little hole to stick my finger into. Should be a large paddle. I don't want my eyes to be on the switch when i turn it on, i want my eyes looking at the table top.
                        -Tape measure won't lost long. Is it actually just wrapped and held with a spring?
                        -what's with the large wing thingys (i guess they're called the fence rail)sticking past the sides across front edge of the table? Not used to seeing two of 'em. Without the left one, I could quickly put my fence onto the stand for quick storage. I'd rather sacrifice the cut width on the left than have that rail stick out so far on both sides.
                        -Don't like the hole in the middle of the table where the latch for table width adjustment is. My saw often does double duty as a work surface and I find this hole annoying.
                        -no indicator marks were accurately set. I had to change the bevel degree markings to 0
                        -Too big to fit well into my truck. This set up is huge!

                        In It's favour:
                        It's a pretty colour.
                        I like the Vehicle it comes with. Operates smoothly, wheels well and fits width-wise through most doorways.
                        motor seems strong (but not smooth) It has developed a weird ( and scary) "thunk" at start up occasionally though.

                        Do not buy this saw as a work horse. Good for Joe Homeowner ( except for the fence issues), maybe..... but not for the professional.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

                          I have had a TS3560 for a few weeks now and I love the saw. The only thing I found to be a pain is the bolts that they send in the blister packs. They are supposed to be standard size and they are mostly metric. I have follow the instructions on how to adjust the blade and the rip fence. I thought it was a little out from the factory, It was a 1/16 out not bad at all. I use a Freud blade and a ZCI and it cuts very well. Over all it is a good table saw for a Home owner or for the Wood working hobbiest.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Follow-up - a year later

                            Thought it might be interesting to touch base a year after posting the review on my saw. I've noticed that lots of reviews are written while the owner is still on the "honeymoon" period, so it could be useful to see how things are going after the new has worn off.

                            In this case, I've used this saw quite a bit and have to say that it has performed very well and proven to be a good choice. I'm still using the factory fence and am VERY pleased to report that I have only had to adjust its parallelism to the blade once - and that was because it accidentally gave the fence a hard whack while wrestling a large sheet of ply. The basic blade settings have not drifted at all -- it's still dead on relative to the miter slot. I still find the mushy bevel stops to be unsatisfying. I picked up a Beall Tilt-Box gizmo and that seems to speed up setting the blade to zero or 45. I read the negative comments from "wdwrx" above... I tend to be pretty picky and demanding of my tools, but just haven't found any problems with the fence. Not sure he has the same saw...

                            While I really like my Biesemeyer fence I have to say that the Ridgid rig is very good and produces dead-accurate cuts. It's definitely a precision system. And the miter gage storage? I dunno, I just reach down and grab it.... doesn't seem like any sort of issue to me, with all due respect.

                            I mentioned in the original review that I wasn't wild about the caster system. Well, it still seems kind of rickety to me, but after a year of moving it around my garage shop and running over all kinds of wood bits, , it still works fine. I did have to snug up a few bolts. My previous saw was sitting on a Shop Fox mobile base which was a poor design. In comparison, the Ridgid works 10 times better.

                            Motor is fine, belt is fine, trunnion is fine - all still runs like it did the first day, which is to say, perfectly.

                            The round support bar that runs between the front and rear fence rails has come loose twice. No big deal, it starts rattling when it gets loose and stops rattling after you snug it up.

                            I did change the power cord. I often do this on mobile tools - I get a 25 foot heavy duty 12 gage extension cord, cut off the socket end, and installed it in place of the factory cord. It gives me a bit more reach, which I find to be really convenient. I can now put the saw out in the driveway if the mood strikes. If you do this, make sure to use a heavy cord. If you cheap out on the cord, the voltage drop due to the cord will cause the motor pain (in other words, shorten its life).

                            In short, a year later, this table saw has proven to be an outstanding performer. Jet has a neat hybrid saw in this price range that has the motor under the stand and has much better dust collection than you can get with a contractor-type saw. So that one might be worth a look. But overall I'm really happy with the Ridgid. It does its job, reliably and accurately.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Ridgid TS3650 Review

                              Good post Andy. I have had similar experience and have the same feelings about it that you have after almost 3 years of use. wdwrx's post, particular his description of the hand hold on the table edge and the fence clips for transport, make me think he has the 2400, not the 3650.

                              Go
                              Practicing at practical wood working

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