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Two piece fence rail on the R4511

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  • Two piece fence rail on the R4511

    In the complete assembly process of the R4511, I found that aligning fence was the most frustrating for me. Much of the trouble arose from the two piece rail. In my set up, the rails do not want to line up properly. The right rail sat little below the left one, but it was enough that when you move the fence, you can feel the bump when UHMW bolts go over the gap. After adding some shims last night, I was able to minimize the gap.

    I also suspect that the two rails are not horizontally aligned either. The reason I say this is because when the fence is riding both the rails, there appears to be a larger gap between the gray lockdown pads and the rear face of the rails. Adjusting the set screws any deeper doesn't work because it causes the fence to bind up when I move it to far left. Because of the plastic coupler that is in between the two rails prevents horizontally offsetting the two rails.

    It is also possible that the angle bracket on which the rails sit is not flat either. To check that, I would have to remove the rails. I am hesitant to do that now because I just managed to set up the thing to a reasonable accuracy level after several hours of trial and error. Taking it apart means I will have to go thru it again. Right now, I just want to cut some wood The fence stays locked down, it doesn't move when locking down. It appears to be pretty well aligned to the miter slot. While there are some high and low spots on the fence face, I am guessing I can minimize those by adding some auxiliary faces with shims. I have already learned that positioning the fence is more accurate if I slide it while pulling it towards me so that the pads ride on the rails.

    But, in the near future, I would like to improve on the fence. It's a nice saw and with some work, the fence can be improved quite a bit. I am guessing replacing the two rails with a single long rail will be a big help. While I have it off, I will also make sure the angle bracket is flat.

    Thought I share this with you. If you have any recommendations or comments, please feel free to share.

  • #2
    Re: Two piece fence rail on the R4511

    I want to make sure I'm understanding you, but I'll try to address this and see if we can figure it out. First, the 2 piece front rail. I do think taking it apart may be necessary, 'cause if it ain't right, nothing else will be either. Start w/ the front angle iron mounted to the table and make sure it is straight and parallel w/ the table (a 4' level should do the trick), and tighten well. W/ that complete, loosely mount the 2 pieces of the front rail and get them aligned w/ each other and parallel w/ the table as well, once again, I used a 4' level to accomplish this. be sure you check the alignment of the 2 rail pieces on top and on the front of the rail, and shim if necessary (I would hope it wouldn't be, but it might). Tighten all of the screws (I moved from the center out as you would w/ a torque pattern, but I'm a bit neurotic). Once these are complete, then we can move on to the fence.

    The gray pads under the allen screws on the fence serve as both glides and adjustment for squaring the fence. I would suggest adjusting them so that when the handle is loose, but resting near horizontal, these are slightly off of the front rail. This will make it easy to move the fence side to side (it will be a bit sloppy), yet give you a firm lock when the handle is down, but also not to the point that the handle is so tight when locked that it can deform the front rail. For a quick and dirty alignment, use the miter slots. I was able to get w/ in 0.010 of perfect using this method, then used the micrometer to get it dead on. I agree w/ other here that perfectly square seems to work well. One other thing to watch for, is that the fence may not be perfectly flat, as mine was 0.007 low in the center, which I fixed w/ some tape underneath my fence faces (homemade uhmw).

    I hope this answers the question you were asking, and it was helpful. If I've missed the mark, let me know. I do think a one piece rail would be a great change to the saw, but I haven't ventured that far yet (others here have IIRC).


    • #3
      Re: Two piece fence rail on the R4511

      Thanks for the suggestions, mandmj. I already had to shim the right rail on the bottom to level it with the left rail. I will eventually take the rails and support off, make sure the table extensions are perfectly lined up. But, first I will do some trial rip cuts and see what the results looks like.


      • #4
        Re: Two piece fence rail on the R4511

        I had troubles with the alignment of my fence as well. The fence was lined up when it was on the right piece of the 2 piece rail, but was misaligned when on the left. To solve this, I loosened all of the screws holding the rail to the angle bracket, clamped the fence to both of the rail pieces at the same time. Theoretically, if the fence is straight, this should line up the left and right piece with each other. With the fence clamped in place, I then tightened all of the screws. You will need to align the fence again since the rails have probably shifted, but this solved my fence alignment problem for me.