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Zero Clearance Inserts - Worth It ?

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  • Zero Clearance Inserts - Worth It ?

    Are these really worth the $12.99, and if so how do they help?

  • #2
    Wouldn't be without them and you can make your own for less than $1.00 each, depending on how you value your scrap. The four set screws are the biggest expense and many people use masking tape instead.

    gator

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    • #3
      To elaborate on the second part of your question. When you're cross cutting a short piece off the end of a board (say less than 1/2") the Z/C insert prevents the end from falling below the table and wedging against the blade, or worse getting thrown back at you. When ripping a narrow strip, the strip won't drop down, re-contact the blade and get recut, or catch on the back of the insert opening. The other folks on this forum have much more knowledge and could provide more reasons than I can.

      I think I read earlier that you have a TS3650, if so the zero clearance you mention at $ 12.99 may not fit your saw without alteration. I talked to Ridgid customer service and although I didn't ask about the Z/C insert, the dado insert isn't shipping yet. They just set up the part number AC1040 and priced it at $31.80 plus shipping! I belive the same is true on the Z/C. I'll just make my own when the temp gets above 10 degrees around here.

      [ 01-31-2004, 11:00 AM: Message edited by: idle hands ]

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      • #4
        You can make ZCI's for dado set-ups also at the same nominal price. Don't know how they get away with selling the things.

        gator

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        • #5
          It's worth adding, for those who might be considering making their own zero clearance insert(s) for dados or blades, that it's a good idea to clamp the uncut insert piece down before (slowly) raising the blade. Some instructions say you can use your fence and a couple of shims, but unless you're very careful about placement this can be risky. Better is to play it safe and use a couple pieces of 2x scrap and clamps. Also, depending on your choice of material, you can add masking tape to the surface of the piece to limit tearout. Inserts can be made for all the common dado widths you might use and your regular blade.

          You can use your original plate as a guide and make a perfect insert by trimming a rough cut blank with a flush trim bit on your router.

          A question might come up on whether to make the end stop that the 3650 ts plate has. It might not be necessary, but I included a piece of metal stock screwed to the underside in a dado cut. Works perfectly.

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          • #6
            Don't buy the Ridgid inserts, they are weak and tend to sag in the middle. Some people make their own, but on Ridgdi saws, they are a little harder than with others because of the different machining sizes. I picked up a nice blue phenolic one at Rockler for $14 a few weeks ago. Nice and solid too.

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            • #7
              Just like to add that ZC inserts help prevent tearout as well as adding to safety. They give support to the bottom wood fiber so that it gets a shearing cut rather then snapping off.

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              • #8
                Zero clearance inserts are absolutely worth it but the Ridgid ones are a waste of money. Buy aftermarket ones from Rockler or Woodcraft.

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                • #9
                  Does the craftman insert fit the 3612?
                  http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/showdet...id=407&catid=7

                  - J

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                  • #10
                    A good way to test that would be to take your 3612 insert to sears and see if it fits their saw

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jip:
                      Does the craftman insert fit the 3612?
                      http://www.rockler.com/ecom7/showdet...id=407&catid=7

                      - J
                      I have seen one installed so they do have one that works but he said it was hard to find.

                      FWIT - I had an older Craftsman benchtop from '80s that I used for years as secondary site saw and they had inserts in beginning. Near the late '90's they no longer did - unless it was a SO thing. CS sent me 2 - both wrong even tho they had been given model # both times. "This supercedes that" .... we all know that drill. I'd not waste my time if not in stock - just make one.

                      Only reason I wanted "factory" unit was mine was so thin I had to plane down veneer to less than 1/8" to get fit - real pain for what it was. They always caught splinters and broke so it was constant battle. Last Craftsman tool I bought too. Very frustrated.

                      This one is thick and easy to duplicate like most are - just make up 3 or 4 for future blade changes too and you are all set
                      \"NowhereMan, are you listenin\', do you know what you\'re missin\', NowhereMan....\" Fab Four

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                      • #12
                        You can make your own insert using a pattern bit in your router table (I hope you have one.) You can router the the edge on the router table also. Then leaving the bit set the same height set your fence so you can route a groove the same depth centered on where the blade slot will be. This will allow the insert to set down over the retracted blade enough that you can move the fence over the right edge to help hold the insert down as you bring the blade up through the insert. This will give you a 1/2" insert with a thin edge to match the ledge on your saw.

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                        • #13
                          Is there any need to have ZCI for a 45 degree angle?

                          I am fixen (Texas Slang) to make some for my dado and 1/8 kerf blade as well as my thin kerf also.

                          Just wondering if I need one for angle?

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                          • #14
                            You can always benifit from a ZCI, there's less tearout and you have lessened the chance of a small scrap from falling into the hole and making a roundtrip. Basically the same benifits as a 90 degree cut.
                            Marcus

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                            • #15
                              I use ZCI any time I'm making a cut. I've made up several for the various angles I use. The more the angle, the more you have to cut out on the backside to get it started on the blade and into the saw table. I also keep several "blanks" in case I need to make up a new angle.

                              Couple of years ago I had a small piece of wood come back at me, hit me in the snot, and almost took me to my knees. Bleeding like a stuck hog I stumbled into the house, scared the devil out of my two girls home from college. I ended up getting 5 stitches in my nose. My oldest daughter made me promise not to disfigure myself anymore until after her wedding, which was coming up within a couple of months after this little fiasco.

                              I'm sure if I would have had a ZCI on it wouldn't have happened. Every since then, I'm a firm believer in ZCI. Don't ever run the orange beast without them.

                              Woodrat

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