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TS3650 Rail Adjustment Blues

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  • TS3650 Rail Adjustment Blues

    I'm a total newbie when it comes to table saws and just recently purchased a TS3650. I'm in the process of assembling it, but cannot get the front and back rails set to the right level such that (quoted from the manual) "8 pages of the owner's manual fit in between the table top and rip fence" (I'm guessing that 8 pages of the owner's manual correspond to about 1/64"). Furthermore, ignoring the specified distance, I cannot even get the rails high/low enough to one another such that the distance of the rip fence to the table top remains constant between the front and back of the table.

    Is this a problem? Were you able to get it right with yours?

  • #2
    The important point is that the rails are level when mounted. The "8 pages" adjustment is for the fence so that it slides smoothly along the rails and doesn't get hung up on the saws top. The rails don't have to be exactly parallel with each other. They do have some vertical adjustment to them but the important thing is that the fence locks down at both the front and rear rails. If your rails are level and do lock at both the front and rear you should be good to go.
    Last edited by BadgerDave; 05-30-2006, 08:19 AM.
    I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


    • #3
      I would add that in addition to vertical adjustment and the importance of both the front and rear locking down on the fence, you will also want to be carefull that the rear rail is set flush with or lower than the table top. If not then anything you run down the T-tracks of the table will catch on the rails and may not allow you to slide all the way through.

      EDIT: Thanks to TOD for pointing out my mistake. I did error above and should say that the rails need to be flush or below the mitre slots!
      Last edited by wwsmith; 05-30-2006, 12:43 PM.
      Still enjoying all 10 fingers!


      • #4
        Thanks for your replies, gentlemen. This answers three questions I've had: a) "Does the rip fence have to have a distance of exactly 8 pages from the table top or is the '8 pages distance' simply a rough guideline?" (=> no, and yes to the "or" question), b) "Is it correct, that the rip fence's distance from the table top should be constant between the front and back of the table?" (=> yes) and c) "Can either rail be above the miter slot?" (=> no).

        Meanwhile, I also received a response from Ridgid's tech support, who suggest that my extension tables might be off. This is a good point and if this were the case, I can see, that I would certainly have problems with the rails. This doesn't seem to be my problem, but I'll try mounting the rails on the square-head screws from the main table only (i.e., remove the square-head screws from the extension tables). This should allow me to see if the extension tables are the cause of the problem. Otherwise, they suggest to bring the product back to the dealer or take it to a service center, neither of which sounds appealing to me...


        • #5
          Before you do any returning, ensure your extensions are flush with the main top. After that, as long as your fence slides the entire rail length without hitting, and locks securely, you are good to go. If you add an auxiliary face to the fence, make sure it is high enough that the fence slides without dragging.
          Practicing at practical wood working


          • #6
            Update and more questions...

            I changed the bolts and mounted the fence on only the two outer bolts of the main table... to no avail, the rip fence still comes out ~3mm above the table at the front rail's lowest possible position and ~1mm above the table at the back rail's highest possible position without interfering with the miter slots. Thus, I have excluded that the extension tabels and square-head bolts are the source of the problem.

            It sounds like some of you are saying that the fence doesn't necessarily have to be perfectly parallel to the table top, but in this case, won't you run into problems with some jigs that you attach to the rip fence? If that's not the case then I should indeed be good to go. The fence does lock properly. It's somewhat cumbersome to slide though -- unless I grab it with two hands, it tends to bind making it squeak and hard to move. Is this another problem or is this normal, especially considering that it's still new and the plastic the fence slides on isn't quite worn in yet?

            Can you confirm whether the rip fence on your TS3650 is parallel to the table (i.e., the distance between the table and the rip fence remains constant from the top to the back of the table)? Does yours slide smoothly when moved with one hand?

            Thank you!
            Last edited by mesame; 07-05-2006, 05:02 PM.


            • #7
              Try waxing the rails, that should make it easier to slide the fence back and forth.
              I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


              • #8
                That fence should slide sweetly!

                Just so you'll know, when this fence is set up properly, it is a beautiful thing. Mine slides so sweetly that I can give it a nudge to move it out of my way and it slides -- no, make that glides -- like it was on rollers.

                OK, now the rest of the story. I did have a time getting it as low to the table as I like, which would be the 8-pages measurement (or less). But it was about 1/16" off the table at the front and a tiny bit closer at the rear, and that was the best I could do. Since it worked as well as it did that way, I installed some UHMW 1/2" thick sheets to the sides and cut them so that they miss the table by less than 1/32" -- all the way across. I installed the UHMW with flat-head screws into 1/4-20 nuts, which slide into the grooves on the fence like it was designed that way. Maybe it was!

                Anyway, don't stop fiddling with it until it glides silently and effortlessly across the table!

                And to all you guys ready to give up on Ridgid because of the sleazy way HD presents this terrific product, do your own research (like here on this forum) and then go buy the tool at HD without asking anyone about anything. You will soon get over the bummer of dealing with HD, and you'll end up with some good equipment at a great price.

                Unanswered Questions
                are far less dangerous
                than Unquestioned Answers.


                • #9
                  For now I decided to ignore the difference in height [of the rip fence in relation to the table top] between the front and back rail as there was really nothing I could do to get it right. When the fence is locked, it comes down a little bit, thus reducing the gap (according to latest measurements) towards the back rail to 1mm (~1/32+") and 2.5mm (~3/32+") towards the front rail. This should enable me to rip all but the thinnest sheet goods without a problem.

                  As a last resort, I considered replacing the square head bolts [for mounting the rails] with ones featuring the same size head but smaller stud (=the threaded part of the bolt) diameter, to give me a greater adjustment range. But in a world of millions of fasteners and few, if any authoritative & searchable databases on fasteners (does anyone know one?), finding such bolts seems very difficult if not impossible. Another alternative along the same lines would be to bore the holes in the tables a little larger, but given the type of metal, I wouldn't expect this to be as easy as it sounds and it'd void the warranty...

                  Waxing the rails makes the fence slide nice a smooth, even with only one hand -- thanks for pointing that out everyone!

                  So other than the residual and pretty minor gap between the fence and table, the saw works beautifully and I'm greatly looking forward to mastering it and beginning new projects with it!

                  hiloguy, can you explain your solution to get the fence/rails adjusted in greater detail? I'm not quite following where you attached the UHMW (=Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene?) sheets and how that fixed the problem.

                  Thanks everyone for your help! I'm glad I joined this forum!
                  Last edited by mesame; 07-05-2006, 06:06 PM.