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  • New TS-3660 with fence problem

    First, I want to thank all those who contribute to these forums - the detailed information is extremely valuable - including the occasional problem/concern/etc that some have run into. This is going to be a bit long, but the details are important to me.

    I've been mulling over buying my first "real" table saw for quite some time now, and finally decided to pick up the Ridgid 3660 during the recent Home Depot sale - seemed like a bargain at $449.

    Everything went very well, until after assembly, when I was making some final adjustments to make sure everything was aligned properly, and noticed a relatively minor problem with the fence. I didn't think it would be a big issue to get a replacement, so I put in a support request from the Ridgid site. Their response has turned this into a much bigger issue, and made me question the value of the lifetime warranty if this is what they consider acceptable service.

    The problem: My fence is noticeably thicker at the top than at the bottom. The difference is relatively small over the short vertical face of the fence (about 1/64" or .015"), but it's definitely noticeable by visual inspection, and is consistent from the front of the fence to the back. I honestly can't think of too many ways this could happen, since it's a pretty solid block of aluminum, but it's definitely there, and is clearly not on the 2 floor model saws I've checked.

    The result is that it's impossible to set the face of the fence perpendicular to the table top. This probably won't be a problem for most rip cuts, but a taller fence will amplify the error, and I imagine it will be even more noticeable if I'm cutting tenons or other cuts that will rest on the face of the fence.

    Ridgid stated in their response that this amount of error is "well within" the tolerances for a saw, and included a reminder that this is a wood working power tool, implying that accuracy within 1/64" or 1/32" is not necessary when working with wood.

    I then asked what the tolerances were for this, and was told .026" - almost 1/32" on the fence alone, and with an auxiliary fence face added that's twice as tall, the error doubles to 1/16". I'm an absolute amateur at woodworking, but whenever I'm working on a project, I make every effort to keep the accuracy as high as possible, for as long as possible through the process. Errors tend to accumulate, starting off with an error of 1/16" won't leave much room for error on demanding cuts, and I'm sure there will be plenty of errors while I learn the craft.

    If I can't get Ridgid to send out a replacement, I'll probably have to return the saw, after having sunk at least 6 hours into assembly, cleaning, waxing, aligning, etc. Ridgid effectively said as much in their 2nd response - that I could take advantage of the 90 day return window. I can't believe that company policy is to tell customers to return the product and go somewhere else, especially for an obviously defective, inexpensive to replace component.

    Either way they're going to get a whole saw returned instead of just swapping a fence, and after I've already had to return a poorly built MSUV, will likely not be buying another Ridgid product anytime soon if I have to lug this 300 lb thing back to the store.

    So, what are your thoughts? Has anyone else seen this with an aluminum fence? Any suggestions for how to get it replaced?

    I appreciate any advice or suggestions - it's been a frustrating experience so far, but I'm hoping to find a way get things turned around and starting on some projects.

  • #2
    Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

    I've heard of some fence issues here or there....more with broken handles, or warped along the face, but not vertically like you described. That sounds like really lousy service...if you're not so put off that you no longer want the saw, I'd try the local store before dragging the whole saw back. I'd tell them the whole story that you just posted here...maybe they'll swap the fence as opposed to accepting a whole return.

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

      Originally posted by hewood View Post
      I've heard of some fence issues here or there....more with broken handles, or warped along the face, but not vertically like you described.
      Yeah, I've searched all over the place, here and around the rest of the web - found a couple posts from people who couldn't get the fence face 90 degrees to the table, but they didn't mention it being on both sides of the fence, so theirs could have just been assembled a little crooked.

      I took all the hardware off the fence to see if it was twisted from compression, but that didn't make a difference - and I don't know if it would even be possible to tighten the adjusting rod enough to stretch and warp the entire fence like this.

      Originally posted by hewood View Post
      That sounds like really lousy service...if you're not so put off that you no longer want the saw, I'd try the local store before dragging the whole saw back.
      Thanks - that's probably something I should try, or go back to watching craigslist for a used Delta/Grizzly/General/etc. - they seem to turn up pretty regularly around here, I just figured for $450 I could buy new and know what I was getting - so much for that theory. The floor model at the store I bought it from had a pretty banged up fence - couple big dings/scratches on the face, etc - but even with that it was still not screwed up like mine.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

        No updates from Ridgid support, so it looks like it's going back to Home Depot this weekend. I'm not about to spend $500 on an important tool and then have to beg and plead for straight, properly manufactured parts.

        I'm at this point, but I decided to take a couple pictures before I box up the loose parts and send it packing. I guess I'll just write off the time spent on assembly, cleaning, waxing, and aligning as practice for the next one.

        The difference in width at the top and bottom is about 1/64" on each side, and the fence is only 2 3/4" high - good enough for a wood working tool , or so says Ridgid. In fact, according to their tolerances it could be almost double that (.026"), and still pass their QA tests with flying colors.

        I'll have to try this strategy next time I go to Home Depot - when they object to my paying $546 for a $550 saw, I can just say that an error of $4.00 is well within the tolerances for this wallet, which is after all only a paper currency storage device. What's one or two percent between friends, right?




        Comment


        • #5
          Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

          Wow something like that would make me pretty upset and cause me to never buy ridgid again. I would say that's pretty bad customer service. Unfortunately there's nothing you can do but return the saw. But before you do I would listen to their advice and take full advantage of their 90 day return policy. Use the saw for 80 days, get a feel for it so you'll really know if it's the right saw for you. This way when you return it it assures they won't try to sell your returned saw as a new saw to someone else. I've heard some HD's have been known to do this.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

            The pic looks even worse than described....much worse. It's pretty obvious there's a problem. At this point I'd be taking names and telling them their boss will be made aware of their non-response, and his/her boss, and so on until it's fixed...or would return it completely and tell them the return could have been avoided if they were willing to honor the warranty. I think you deserve a shiny new Ridgid Titanium 50T combo blade for your troubles!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

              Don't be fooled by the photos. The gray part of the fence is a "casting". All cast parts have a "draft angle" to their sides so that they can come out of the molds when cooled. The standard draft angle is 3 degrees on a side. We design and produce cast, and molded, parts at work and I usually use 3 degrees on them. Never less then 2 degrees on "soft" parts. Most of what you see is probably just the draft angle. If you set a "precision ground right angle gage" on the cast iron table you can check the surface of the fence for trueness with feeler gages. The precision angles are 90 degrees +/- a couple arc-seconds. Just put my TS3660 together too. If I get a chance I'll measure mine this weekend.

              Mark

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              • #8
                Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

                hi ho, hi ho, its off to the garage i go to check the fence on my ts2412. good catch and great photo of problem.
                there's a solution to every problem.....you just have to be willing to find it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

                  The fence on my 3612 looks to have the same thickness issue as the one pictured in robindone's photo. I just measured the angle of the fence face to the saws table top with my Wixey angle gauge and it measured a perfect 90° on both sides of the fence. Looks like Mark51 may have provided the correct answer. It looks like the fence has a problem but in reality it doesn't, at least mine doesn't that is.
                  Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

                    Originally posted by Mark51 View Post
                    If you set a "precision ground right angle gage" on the cast iron table you can check the surface of the fence for trueness with feeler gages. The precision angles are 90 degrees +/- a couple arc-seconds.
                    Mark - thanks for the suggestion. I haven't actually measured the cast handle yet, but the obvious visual difference wasn't the initial cause of my concern - a combination square set on the table was. Though the draft angle could in theory make it look worse, like hewood mentioned above, I don't think that's what's happening here. On the very beat up floor model fence I checked the draft angle wasn't noticeable, and the fence was fine when I measured it.

                    I'm just getting into woodworking, so have recently started to appreciate the importance of accurate measuring tools. I try to measure with more precision than I think I'll need, since I'm prone to rookie mistakes, and my tools and materials aren't always top-of-the-line. After discovering this problem, I added a 4" engineers square and a dial indicator to my toolbox, to go with my inexpensive vernier calipers and feeler gauges.

                    I used the square and feeler gauges to arrive at the numbers in my original post (about .015"). Vernier calipers showed about 1/64" difference, but I wanted to confirm. The engineer's square also shows that the top of the fence is a bit concave (in a line perpendicular to the blade) - I was actually expecting the opposite here, thinking that if the fence got compressed at the bottom somehow during packing or shipping, that may have bowed the top.

                    Originally posted by Mark51 View Post
                    Just put my TS3660 together too. If I get a chance I'll measure mine this weekend.
                    If you do, please let us know what you find - I'm pretty much done with Ridgid at this point, but if it happened to mine there must be others out there, and they should know that Ridgid is claiming .026" as an acceptable tolerance. It's obviously noticeable over such a short distance, and on something important like the fence will eventually impact someone's workpiece or safety.

                    The box mine came in didn't have an major damage, just a small tear along a bottom edge, and the styrofoam wasn't damaged under the tear. Any ideas on how a piece of aluminum this solid would get bent like this?

                    FINER9998 - thanks for measuring - let us know what you find.

                    So, obviously excluding the 3660, does anyone have any recommendations for a beginners saw? I liked just about everything the Ridgid had to offer (cast iron table/extensions, ran off a standard power outlet, mobile base, etc.) I'm watching craigslist for local deals - I just missed a nice General contractor model and also an old Delta cabinet saw, but I'm sure more will pop up this weekend.

                    The Lowes near me is selling the Delta 36-979 for $449, and a T2 fence for $150. With my $50 of $500 coupon, I'd be out the door for $550. The fence looks good and solid, the table and extensions are cast iron. The main differences from what I can tell are that the Delta has a 4" dust collection port (almost a negative for me, since the 3660 hooks up to my existing Ridgid shopvac ), and the 3660 has a better belt (the Delta has a standard v-belt).

                    They also had a Hitachi hybrid, but I don't think the reviews have been as good for it as for the 3660. Any other suggestions are welcome - there's a Woodcraft up the road that carries Powermatic, Steel City, and Jet, but they all seem to be a bit more than I was hoping to spend. I'd like to stay under $600, but could probably bump that up a bit for a real good bargain.

                    Thanks for all the responses so far. Good to know I'm not just being too picky.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

                      Originally posted by BadgerDave View Post
                      The fence on my 3612 looks to have the same thickness issue as the one pictured in robindone's photo. I just measured the angle of the fence face to the saws table top with my Wixey angle gauge and it measured a perfect 90° on both sides of the fence. Looks like Mark51 may have provided the correct answer. It looks like the fence has a problem but in reality it doesn't, at least mine doesn't that is.
                      That's definitely interesting - thanks for measuring. I'll have to measure my cast handle tonight. I don't have a Wixey, but I'll check with an accurate square and feeler gauges. The 3650 and 3660 have the same fence part number. Is the 3612 the same too?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

                        As a last resort you could buy a new saw, swap fences, and return the old one as defective. Saves you the trouble of lugging 300 lbs around. The local Lowes (Paterson, NJ) had the Delta and fence for 15% off after the April sale. The manager said it was possibly some kind of closeout on that model.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

                          Originally posted by tchads View Post
                          As a last resort you could buy a new saw, swap fences, and return the old one as defective. Saves you the trouble of lugging 300 lbs around.
                          I was definitely contemplating doing that - buy a new saw, push it out the door on a cart, swap fences, and push it right back in the other door to return it. But the lame response from support made me reconsider my initial decision to go with the Ridgid altogether.

                          Originally posted by tchads View Post
                          The local Lowes (Paterson, NJ) had the Delta and fence for 15% off after the April sale. The manager said it was possibly some kind of closeout on that model.
                          Hmm - I may have to stop at the other Lowes on the way home and see if maybe they have that too. I didn't see it at the first Lowes I was at, but they seem to suck at keeping their signage up to date.

                          Thanks for the input.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

                            Originally posted by robindone View Post
                            .......... The 3650 and 3660 have the same fence part number. Is the 3612 the same too?
                            To the best of my knowledge, the fence on the 3612, 3650 and the 3660 are identical. IIRC, the last time Ridgid made any changes to the fence was when they upgraded the 2424 with the 3612.
                            Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: New TS-3660 with fence problem

                              Hi.
                              I had just finished putting my saw together and had not thought about the vertical, the left or main face is OK I guess ( Machinist by trade, not to happy with any day light). But the right side is way out I would say by at least .025 to every square that I have on hand, 3 of them. I am going to bring my micrometers home on Monday and get a reading (had been planing on adding a router extension so will need to use that face) I did not expect it to be perfect but as a machinist this is way out and QC should have spotted this, maybe they do not place any importance on the vertical squareness from the table? I do for the same reasons as robindone, Thanks for the heads up on this. O no hope I do not have to disassemble and return.
                              I just checked my 6 or so year old Delta bench top with a tin fence and it is dead nuts true on both faces.
                              Forrey.

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