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  • 3650 stiffness revisited

    On vacation I had the opportunity to visit some HD in other states than Florida where I live.

    As many of you know my major complaint about the 3650 is the flex in the legs. While in a Home Depot in PA. I checked their 3650. The legs had no flex. I examined the saw and could not notice any real difference but the flex was gone. I have seen this saw in about 15 different stores and this was the first with stiff legs. Far stiffer any any 3650 I have ever seen.

    I suspect Ridgid has changed the legs on the later models or something. I wonder if the Florida stores were shipped earlier models that exhibited this trait and now later production machines have been changed.

    I took some measurements and a pretty good look I will compare it to the 3650 here in Florida and see if I can find the change.

    The saw was setup perfectly and frankly it was very impressive as was the rest of the Ridgid display. Far better than any I have seen in Florida.
    Rev Ed

  • #2
    wonder what the serial number is on the ones you saw that had less flex in the legs. Maybe we could narrow it down based on the serial numbers as to if/when a change occured.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by RevEd:
      I suspect Ridgid has changed the legs on the later models or something.
      I suspect that you've finally found a HD that actually has an employee that knows how to assemble something. I've seen too many posts from owners claiming that the 3650 is very stable when set-up properly to believe there is really a major design flaw in the legs.
      Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

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      • #4
        I was just at my local HD and took a good look at the TS3650. It had some issues, but they were with the lift not being assembled correctly. Looking at the thing, I really can't see that it would flex. But since it wasn't sitting flat on the floor I can't be sure.

        [ 05-28-2004, 01:23 PM: Message edited by: jaslfan ]

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Badger Dave:
          </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by RevEd:
          I suspect Ridgid has changed the legs on the later models or something.
          I suspect that you've finally found a HD that actually has an employee that knows how to assemble something. I've seen too many posts from owners claiming that the 3650 is very stable when set-up properly to believe there is really a major design flaw in the legs. </font>[/QUOTE]I think your wrong on this. I have visited a lot of HD stores at least 15 in Florida, 2 Ga. 1 South Carolina and 1 in Ohio and 1 in PA. I know many 3650's weren't put together worth a darn but I did find a some that were correct with all nuts tight and they still flex.

          I know one HD manager ordered the tool corral guy to completely go over a 3650 to remove the flex after I pointed it out. I know the tool corral guy. He is an expert woodworker and dedicated guy. He bet me he could remove all the flex. He was wrong. He went over the machine checking everything but the legs still flexed.

          On the 3650 I saw in Pa the legs were noticeably stiffer.

          I have to believe the difference is in manufacturing. I also know the Florida HD had about the first 3650's out.
          Rev Ed

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          • #6
            You could be right. All it would take is probably 1 step up in gauge of steel used and it would make a remarkable difference.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Bob D.:
              wonder what the serial number is on the ones you saw that had less flex in the legs. Maybe we could narrow it down based on the serial numbers as to if/when a change occured.
              I wish I had done that. I will call my father in law and see if I can talk him into checking the number for me.

              I was REALLY impressed with the 3650 I saw in Pa. If I could be sure I could buy one as good as that one I probably would buy one. The fit and finish was excellent, the mitre gauge was tight in the slot and herculift was tight and worked like a charm.

              I was almost tempted to buy it there and haul it back to Florida.
              Rev Ed

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by jaslfan:
                You could be right. All it would take is probably 1 step up in gauge of steel used and it would make a remarkable difference.
                That would help I agree, but I think the location of the bolts which attach the legs to the saw 'cabinet' need to be farther apart. I have looked at my TS3650 (bought in Dec. 03) and watched the gap between the top of the legs and the bottom of the cabinet widen as I give a slight push to the front of the saw. I have thought of trying to srooect this and think I will try adding some clamps in this area to see if additional bolting or different bolt spacing would make a difference.

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                • #9
                  Anyone remember the pic of a 3650 that Ridgid posted a while back that had the mystery panels? Do you suppose those were an early prototype of a fix for the legs that never reached the consumer? Perhaps they found a simpler less expensive solution....I know lots of folks here have had some easy clever ideas.

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                  • #10
                    I agree that the mysterious side panels are what is needed, and my experiments over the past couple hours prove it. I am sure others have done something similar, but I don't recall and names off hand, so I don't claim to have 'invented' this fix.

                    I took a couple pieces of cross bracing I had laying around from a metal shelving unit which I disassembled this week and is going to the dump. These just happened to be close enough in length to the diagonal from rear bolt on the horizontal leg braces on the saw legs to one of the bolts which attach the legs to the bottom of the saw base (that's what they call the assembly that contains the saw and CI table in the manual). Look in the manual on page 20, in Assembly section titled "mounting your saw'. In the detail drawing showing the orientation of the bolts when attaching the legs, this is where I attached one end of my brace (at the front of the saw under the flange nut). The other end is attached at the same place as the back end of the leg brace after inverting the leg brace). I had enough extra thread to get the brace and the 1" square washer under the nut and still have full thread engagement on the nut. There is no extra thread, and I usually like to see one or two threads beyond the nut, but thre is enough. I may get a pound of Grade 5 or 8 5/16 x 1" bolts next time I go my favorite hardware source, they are only $1/Lb there so might as well get a whole pound.

                    I drilled the holes to 5/16" to match the OD of the bolts and installed the braces. The holes were carefully laid out to match the C-C distance of the two bolts I was using, no slop or play in the holes or their spacing. I removed the leg braces (that's the piece of angle which runs front to back about 12" above the floor) and inverted them. I had to do this to allow the diagonal brace I was adding to fit, otherside it would not clear the short leg of the angle. I think it makes little or now difference as far as strength or stability to the saw how these are installed, it does create another space to collect sawdust however. Anyway, I installed the two braces and tightened all the bolts as tight as I dare w/o snapping one. I also backed up the flange nuts supplied with the saw with some 5/16 x 1" square washers. Then I went over every bolt on the saw and the legs and made sure they were all tight.

                    Result: 300% improvement, barely noticable flex in the legs now. You would really have to push very hard to make these legs flex at all. The only way it could be better is if the ssaw were anchored to the floor with Hilti bolts

                    I am going to replace my test bracing with some .010" aluminum sheets cut to fit between the legs on each side of the saw. This test have proven to me that the elusive side panels which were shown on the Ridgid web site for a few days and mysteriously vanished are sorely needed, and I am not going to wait for Ridgid to offer them as a retrofit or an accessory, I am going to fabricate my own and be done with it.

                    If I were to wait for Ridgid to come out with them I would be dead in my grave first. They are too slow to react and too worried that everyone will want a set for the saw they just purchased in the past few months to bring them out. They won't appear until the next 'new' model hits the street, but who knows how long that will be from now. If they do I hope that they will fit existing saws.

                    Long story short, get yourself 2 pieces of some aluminum or steel flatbar about 1/8 x 3/4 x 24" long and make a couple braces for yourself, you won't be sorry for the hour or two spent adding this fix to your 3650.

                    Ultmately, I would like to build a cabinet, remove the legs from the 3650, and mount the saw on a custom cabinet that would give much greater suport and offer some storage space as well as built-in dust collection with a 4" DC port. I think that one of the woodworking mags had something like this in a recent issue, anybody see that article?

                    Back in June of 2003 the Ridgid site said this about their tools;

                    "RIDGID®Woodworking Power Tools are built with a commitment to superior quality. Professional and serious woodworkers will appreciate RIDGID® Power Tools for their sturdiness, quiet operation, and features such as heavy duty Emerson motors which provide outstanding power and durability."

                    I guess the sturdiness and quality Emerson motors fell by the wayside when they farmed out manufacture of these tool to TTI.

                    [ 05-28-2004, 05:54 PM: Message edited by: Bob D. ]

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                    • #11
                      I used my dial indicator to measure the flex at the legs before and after adding the diagonal braces.

                      Before: &gt;0.030"
                      After: &lt;0.002"

                      Here's a photo of how I set up the dial indicator along with photos of the braces showing where I attached them;







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                      • #12
                        That looks really good.
                        I might suggest a couple of other options.
                        You could put a brace from the lower location to the upper bolt on the same plane, with that you could even use 2 braces and cross them.
                        Another thought would be put another bolt in the lower horizontal brace above the existing bolt. There seems to be enough room. This would not allow the twisting that the single bolt would.
                        It really doesn't seem like it should take much to shore this thing up, and you have to wonder why OWT dosen't do it. JMO

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                        • #13
                          "...You could put a brace from the lower location to the upper bolt on the same plane,..."

                          I thought about that, and it was my original intention to put two braces, but this only braces the legs to each other, with the upper end bolted to the saw base, they are tied together and much stiffer. These old braces from a metal shelving unit are only to try out the bracing concept. As I said, I am going to make some panels similar to those used on the front and back from some .010" aluminum sheet that I have on hand. I would use something thinner if I didn't already have this material on hand.

                          This is a time when I wish my bandsaw could cut metal at a reduced blade speed, wish I bought that speed reducer kit Craftsman had for my 12" bandsaw when I bought it years ago. Will have ot make do with the sabre saw or take it over to my buddy's place and get them cut with his plasma cutter.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the great photos and for the leg-stiffening techique. I finally purchased a 3650 and will be building it today (Memorial Day).

                            BTW... To all you Vets... Thanks very much for what you've done. Memorial Day means so much more to me than just a day to throw steaks on the grill.

                            One thing I would like to say about the use of aluminum sheets or bars to stiffen things up... I would make every attempt to use steel since there is a little known problem that occurs with 'dissimilar metals' known as electrolysis. If any moisture (such as from high humidity) contacts the union of steel and aluminum, this process can start and the result will be corrosion. I don't claim to be an expert in this area, but others in my past working life (from body shop mechanics to airframe mechanics to bridge builders) have told me this is a known problem. Fortunately the solution is simple... keep steel to steel, aluminum to aluminum, etc. Maybe if someone else is more knowledgable about this they can correct me, but this would be a good thing to keep in mind while you are modifying your TS3650 legs.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Badger Dave:
                              </font><blockquote>quote:</font><hr />Originally posted by RevEd:
                              I suspect Ridgid has changed the legs on the later models or something.
                              I suspect that you've finally found a HD that actually has an employee that knows how to assemble something. I've seen too many posts from owners claiming that the 3650 is very stable when set-up properly to believe there is really a major design flaw in the legs. </font>[/QUOTE]Badger Dave do you really think others would go to all the trouble of designing leg bracing we see in this thread if there wasn't a problem.

                              Something has to be happening for some to find their 3650's needing bracing and others claiming theirs don't. I think it is more than assembly problems. After running into a 3650 that did not flex I believe some 3650's were shipped with weak legs and the problem has since been corrected. I also think Ridgid owes it to the early owners to ship them new legs.
                              Rev Ed

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