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Rigid MS1290LZ Informal Review

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  • Rigid MS1290LZ Informal Review

    This thread documents my experience this week with Rigid's MS1290LZ scms. My observations:

    Alighnment out of the box:

    Bevel - out by .5 degree and fence out .25 degrees. The good news is that it trues up dead on. The bevel angle adjustment is tedious to adjust precisely owing to the tension left on the slider assembly even with the set screws out. This tension combines with the weight of the slide assembly means that when enough force is used to move the slider assenbly it is prone to move to mych and go by the mark to hit the precise mark. The alignment setting did not change when the set screws where locked into place.

    I really like the simplicity of the fence setup. Everything aligns against the table. The fence is dead on 90 degrees from the table and dead on in alignment between right and left wings. Therefore adjusting the angle against the blade for 90 degrees is the only setting required for alignment. The unit is so square that you could probably align the fence to either side of the insert area instead of against the blade and still be very close to square.


    The slider mechanism is smooth but it has a problem - it changes height againt the table by a good 1/8' from front to back. I could not find an adjustment to overcome this alignment problem. So - if you want to rabbet a 1/4 inch deep cut you can make it work acceptably on a jointer prepared board by turning the board around and re-cutting it from the other side. Without a jointer this idea will likely be a disaster in progress. I personally just hate the idea of doing because changing sides on a workpiece is just not smart unless their is no other way even if the board has been through the jointer.

    Laser and Cut Accuracy:

    Laser and Cut after setup was extremely accurate in all setting. The cut is 1/32" to the right of the edge of the laser and about 3/64th from the center of the laser. 1/32" is very easy for me to see where to cut so I give the laser a thumbs up.

    Supplied Blade:

    The blade supplied has more wobble than I want in a miter saw - especially when it is used with the laser attachment. I experimented with the 100 tooth Rigid T3 12 inch blade and like it. This blade is $75.00 and adds a lot to the performance of the saw. The cuts are really gorgeous with the T3 blade.

    There are so many things that I like about this scms. The grip is comfortable and works well right or left handed. The setup for miter cuts is user friendly. The design of the unit is simple and promotes in my mind repeatability.

    Minor Irritations for me:

    1. Not being able to stick a four inch to 2 1/2 inch vac fitting into the back is also a minus for me personally. I had to make a little 2.5 foot flexible adapter hose to fit it. In normal use for me this is not a problem because my shop table uses a Rousseau 4500 Downdrafter System that is 4 inch.

    2. No positioning mechanism for precise movement of the slide assembly for the bevel setting.

    Major Irritations for me:

    1. The front to back change in blade height is extremely irritating to me because I build furniture and therefore like to have the ability for a fast rabbet on the scms. Also, while on this subject the adjustment mechanism for setting the height of the blade for rabet cuts is not as precise as I like - sloppy may be a better description of the setting. Sloppy setting and the very real change in height of the cut bottom are a real bummer for me.

    Bottom line is that this is a very good scms with one serious flaw. If I did not cut rabbets joints on the scms this saw would be near perfect for me. I like this saw a lot for straight, compound, bevel and miter cuts. The lifetime warranty is also a plus. However, I am a having a personal crisis because I cannot tolerate the design flaw that causes the rabbet depth changing from the front to the back of the cut. If I did not rabbet this would be a no brainer - the Rigid is otherwise a very commendable product. I went beyond the call of duty on alignment because I wanted this machine to work and feel bad about such a well thought out simple design having a serious flaw in just one important aspect.

  • #2
    Please Note -

    I did call the Rigid Tech Support Line and they did everything they could possibly do to help me through this problem with the front to back height of blade change. The only available setting that might impact the height of the blade above the table slightly is the slider gib adjustment found on page 17.

    The altered the bottom gib adjustments on the bottom to the max in terms of one being tight and the other being as high as possible in the direction I wanted which was down toward the table with the slide extented to the front while maintaining a consistently good slide action. I then adjusted the top gib adjustment for as snug as possible without binding the slide action.

    Then, of course, had to re-square the blade to the table. I did this with a Master Plate, a 5 inch machined block accutate within .5/1000 inch, and the 7 inch Incra Square guaranteed to 1/1000th of an inch along the entire blade. I like this method because the higher I go above the table the easier it is to see small alignment errors.

    The fence position was still dead on the mark after the gib adjustments. I would stil check if I changed the gib adjustments again.

    The end result is that the front to back rabbet is about 2/100th of an inch difference going front ot back on an 8 inch board.

    I am now a happy camper

    I am thinking of machining something that locks better than depth plate with the lockdown for this scms. Other than this irritating, but minor, thing we are good to cut here. Nice scms and the Ridgid T3 100 tooth blade is awesome in the MS1290LZ. The blade has a plus 5 degree hook and handles beautifully ---> no control issues when cutting.

    I was thinking about the Bosch 4412 or 5412 or the new Makita LS1214 if this did not pan out. I really like the design of a flat table as opposed to dealing with wings because there are fewer variables technically to deal with during alignment.

    [ 06-09-2005, 06:34 PM: Message edited by: Rodman ]


    • #3
      For a good side by side comparison of several brands of compound sliding miter saws go to:

      The author summed the MS 1290 lz as follows:

      "Comments: Not only is this a superbly designed saw, it's the price champion—the best combination of value and features. The engineers' forethought is clearly present in this tool: The laser blade locator is spot-on, the large deck is extra-
      stable, and I love the miter-adjustment handle. It has the largest miter and bevel capacity, too. It's got good start-up and seems to be among the toughest built. Even the hold-down is well-made and thoughtful."