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Ridgid Radial Arm Saw Alignment Problem

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  • Ridgid Radial Arm Saw Alignment Problem

    I have a Ridgid RAS that is only about 3 months old. I'm just now using it to cut 45 degree miter cuts for door casing and trim for my basement. It does not seem to cut a 45 accurately. It is off by almost 2 degrees. The resulting fit is not desirable. In fact it looks awful.

    Using the owner's manual, I have started from scratch and made all the necessary re-adjustments. Checking them twice. Especially making sure the blade is square to the fence when at 90 degrees. It is. The fence is the wood stock that came with the unit. The only way I can get a nice 45 is if I manually place the bade at about 44 degrees on the scale indicator and lock the arm in this position. Again, I have re-aligned the blade many times with the same results. I have a compound miter saw that cuts a very nice 45.

    Am I asking too much from a radial arm saw? Should I not be expecting such accurate cuts from the saw? I paid $600 for it and I'm about ready to return the darn thing!

    Any help is appreciated.

  • #2
    Check you manual again. There should be something about adjusting the stops (for 45 degrees) and for adjusting the scale. On my saw, there was also an adjustment to tighten the arm's freeplay.


    • #3
      Thanks Dave. I will re-check the manual. I do remember the topic on adjusting the free play and this has already been adjusted. I did not see the section that covers 45 stops last night. But I will check it again.


      • #4
        There is alot of adjustments on the RAS, and all need to be fine tuned to operate well. One thing I noticed is that if the table top is not perfectly parallel with the travel of the bottom of the blade, this will tip you work slightly, and when cutting angles such as 45's, it will acutally do a slight compound miter, which will in turn not mate up correctly.

        I also checked for parelleism of the table top with blade travel at 45 as well as 90. 90 was dead on, but 45 was off about 2 degrees. There is few things I dislike, but MDF is at the top of the list. My MDF table top is soon to be replaced.

        But don't give up hope on the machine. It's a wonderful machine and will give you years of good service. It took me the better part of 2,8 hour days to completely fine tune mine. After 6 months, it's time to fine tune it again. Each time it gets better as you get to know the machine better and better, and learn what adjustments fix what problems.

        I have confidence your presistance will over come these minor problems, and take pride in your accomplishments. As I too had high frustrations when I first purchased the saw.
        John E. Adams<br /><a href=\"\" target=\"_blank\"></a>


        • #5
          Thanks John,

          I was just thinking that maybe the fence is not square to the blade. Or rather the table itself is not square top the table frame. This would in turn effect the fence.


          • #6
            As John said, there are a lot of adjustments, and you'll become familiar with all of them . It's just the nature of the beast. I haven't had my RAS for 15 years, but still remember the way to align it---just pure repetition. BTW---if you plan on doing a lot of miter cuts on small stock, you might consider building a miter frame where you hold the wood at the angle and keep the saw at 90 degrees. This might asure a better cut if you were doing this often.


            • #7
              Just to add to the comments, the adjustments in the manual are in a specific order, if you change one adjustment, you must recheck the rest following that alignment.

              Also leveling the table to the arm is the most important adjustment you make and has an effect on all the other alignments. Make sure you have taken care to do this properly.

              Finally if you have the 90º miter stop correctly set, the 45º should be correct. A check you should make, with the 90º index engaged and the miter lock unlocked, grasp the end of the arm and try to move it back and forth. If you have any play, check to see if it’s between the column and the column support or the arm and the column. If it’s between the column and the support, follow the alignment steps in the manual. If it’s between the arm and the column, drop me an email so we can talk further.