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Miter Slot and Fence Tolerances?

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  • Miter Slot and Fence Tolerances?

    I recently purchased an R4511 on clearance from HD and have been attempting to align everything. I have found a couple of issues that concern me:
    1. The width of the right-hand miter slot increases by about .007" toward the back of the table so the miter (or alignment gauge base) does not fit evenly throughout its range.
    2. The fence has about a .006" bow to the right. (Using a dial indicator to measure variance from the left hand miter slot reads .000" at the front and the back and .006" in the middle. About the same from the RH slot, compensating for the variation in slot width.)

    HD is transferring in from another store a new R4511 from which we intend to swap out the granite (all 3 pieces, but that's another story, below) and the fence. I want to check the new pieces before I haul them home. Does anyone know what are acceptable tolerances for these, and what else should I check before swapping the pieces?

    The original saw top developed cracks on the L and R hand extensions where the center bolt tightens down. Flaws (veins) in the granite are visible at those points, and I don't think I put excessive torque on the nuts. Also, one of the slots on the RH extension was not perpendicular to the edge so the front edge of the extension would not line up with the front edge of the main table, throwing the fence rail out of alignment.

    Some other issues I have already dealt with:
    1. The splitter bracket was misaligned so the edge of the splitter virutally touched the blade. I had to drill out 3 of the 4 the holes on the iron clamp to allow it to shift enough for adequate clearance.
    2. The splitter was badly out of alignment with the plane of the blade. I was able to bring that into alignment by loosening the 2 cap bolts.
    3. Like others, I found that the screws holding the plastic motor access door closed are a PITA. I removed those and put an adhesive backed 1/2" magnetic strip the full length of the cover. We'll see how it works in actual practice when I finally get this thing up and running.

    Thanks in advance for any ideas or suggestions!

  • #2
    Re: Miter Slot and Fence Tolerances?

    The most accurate method in using your miter gauge is to pick one side or the other of the miter slot to reference from.

    Find which edge of the miter slot is the straightest from end to end. Use that edge when aligning the table top to your blade and the fence. Then when using your miter gauge, always put pressure on it to keep it against your good (reference) edge.

    This practice will provide you the most accurate/repeatable use. (Even for those whose slots are more accurate than what you describe.)

    Not knowing the procedure used by the manufacturer to cut the slots, is next to impossbile to give you an acceptable tolerance. That said, if using a machine tool to cut them I would think that they should have no problem keeping the slots parallel within +/- .003.


    • #3
      Re: Miter Slot and Fence Tolerances?

      Originally posted by tomapple View Post

      Not knowing the procedure used by the manufacturer to cut the slots, is next to impossbile to give you an acceptable tolerance. That said, if using a machine tool to cut them I would think that they should have no problem keeping the slots parallel within +/- .003.
      Thanks, tomapple,

      The left slot is right-on as near as I can tell with my digital caliper (<.001), so I know they can do a lot better than they did on the right slot. I want to check out the replacement as much as I can in the store before hauling it home. Any thoughts on amount of acceptable lateral curvature for the fence?


      • #4
        Re: Miter Slot and Fence Tolerances?

        If you plan on putting a face or faces on the fence supplied with the saw (as most users do), any curvature can be easily remedied by shimming between the face and the fence bar.


        • #5
          Re: Miter Slot and Fence Tolerances?

          I'm having a few matters I have to address with my R4511 as well. While it is not exactly what I was expecting, for the price point I think my expectations were unreasonable.

          Home Depot and Ridgid have both stood behind the product so I haven't any legitimate concerns about either.

          The issues you are sharing brings up a more general concern. Obviously the manufacturing facilities are capable of producing a complex tool. It seems that where they stumble is in quality control, or to put not to fine of a point on it, shipping a product that falls far to short of a consumers reasonable expectation of usability.

          Less expensive materials, design shortcuts and fewer features are reasonable compromises for a table saw. But the manufacturer must not be allowed to lose sight of the fact that accuracy is a fundamental requirement to the table saw. It is not negotiable. Aside from preventing the user from making accurate and repeatable cuts, failure to adhere to acceptable tolerances can create an unsafe tool.

          Perhaps a mitigating factor in Ridgid discontinuing this saw has not been so much the cost of shipping, mediating and resolving issues directly related to QC, but that their manufacturing options are extremely limited. So rather than keep selling units with imperfections and tarnish their reputation, pull the plug on this model, dissolve their relationship with the manufacturer and move on. Cut their losses and hope people will forget.

          IMO, it was the best move Ridgid could make. there was no good move, just the lesser of two evils.

          Even though I got in on the liquidation wave (I was unaware of the discontinued status), at this juncture I have few regrets even though I am struggling with correcting some QC related matters.