First and foremost, I am happy with my R4512. Has enough power to blaze through the wood I feed it, was very simple to put together, to many Pro's, only 1 Con.
How It's Packed.
My Rails were damaged, typical. No worries, I called Ridgid.
After a few calls to sort out the rail issues, and how my Stamped Steel extensions were "crowned" (not flat) Tech Support told me the bad news....there are no parts available for this saw, they are still trying to build it.
Ok fair enough, this is where my reverse engineering and Rigging skills come in.
I asked Tech, what other models have a 1 piece rail system that will will fit?, I was told the R4511 wouldn't work, and after being put on hold for 5 minutes The wonderfully nice Tech Guy came back and said the TS3650 Rails were similar.
So I agreed to accept the TS3650 rail set, and would have to take the fence to as the rails are similar, but not exact
The Packages arrived fairly quick, 1 box for the rails, 1 box for the fence, and a replacement antikickback pawl to replace mine which did indeed break (small silver casting between black blades).
Originally Ridgid told me that I would also get all the hardware to, however since it went via UPS the box for the rails was damaged, infact the entire end was missing and the rails were sticking out. I told tech not to worry about it, I do have a hardware collection, I was not worried about it.
Installing the front rail was pretty straight forward, same as on the R4512.
The rear rail, well....that took some time.
First off, forget about using the 4 Allen head bolts, the 3650 rear rail is a T-Track based rail unit much like the front. That is both good, and bad.
So I took 4 bolts/nuts and basically figured out how to run the smaller diameter bolts through the larger holes in the cast iron top of the 4512, putting a nut on the other end.
Only issue....space. You dont have any. there was enough room between the trunnion and the casing of the saw to fit a box end wrench, with the nut in the wrench, then the task of slowly turning it 1mm at a time till it seats, move on as you have 3 more to go.
Once that was done I noticed that you really do have to watch just how high you set the rail, as you will never get anything from the miter track to slide out of the back, so lower that rail to an RCH below the Miter track.
The fence for the 3650 doesnt like loose rails, so you pretty much have to tighten it up, took me a little to figure some of the quirks out, but I got it so that there was a slight gap between the fence, and top.
However, even now after 2 weeks I am noticing that the rear of the fence is staring to rub a little, yes this system is designed for another saw with different hole placement, is that an issue?, nope.
And Im sure ill look into it more, or someone will pipe in an option, however what you cant do....
You cant take the plastic guide off the 4512 and put it on the 3650 fence, they dont match the rail, I tried.
What you might be able to do...
Apply a small strip of material to rear fence to "help" raise the back end of the fence up
Apply a small strip of plastic to the guide on the fence, say some cutting board material, use some super glue/etc, options a plenty.
Either way, my fence worked fine out of the box, its only after I did the new extensions that it started to rub again, so I can and will re-align the real rail again.
Anyway, The alignment issues I had prior to upgrading to the TS3650 rails have gone, every cut is a perfect cut. I do like the micro adjusting knob on the fence that the 4512 fence did not have.I have grown to love the sight for the ruler, nice that it "amplifies" the numbers, though on many occasion I can and will get the 1/4 mixed up with 1/2, or 1/2 and 3/4, so maybe it is time to lower the light down a little.
1 Piece rail
No worrying about sagging
Locking handle in my opinion much better.
36" to right of blade!
Micro adjuster ( I use it so much now)
Rail ruler is much higher quality than the 4512 model rail.
Not exactly an easy to do mod. You need to be patient. Its just...well drop the same nut 27 times, you will understand.
Cant use 3650 rails with 4512 fence, and vise versa
If you have to pay for this, it might be expensive.
Now, the Cast Iron extensions.
This is pretty straight forward. By far the one thing this saw needs, a full cast iron top. The difference in feel, in weight, and is adjusting, oh wait, I didnt have to adjust the new extensions, flat flat flat flat.
I guess it helps the edges of the CI ext's are indeed flat, unlike the Stamped Steel which are oddly shaped.
However this is a straight forward mod to the saw, I took a SS Ext off, took the CI Ext and laid both on a flat surface upside down. Clamped both together using a 90 deg aluminum straight edge, took a pencil and marked the 3 LARGE holes from the SS Ext. Clamped it in the Drill Press, used a 1/2" bit, and drilled 3 holes.
Now, I myself opted to place the "webbing" or I just call them "uselss holes" on the outside, or farther away from the blade. I am still going to take the 2 Ext off tomorrow and drill the 3 holes on the "proper" side so they can be flipped around if needed, or if someone gets really really anal about it.
However, I placed an Ext on a rolling cart that was 1/4" to low, so I shimmed the CI and rolled it to the edge.
Now if you decide to drill the holes like I did, keep in mind how incredibly close that bolt is going to be to supports, you have to put the bolt in all the way with no washers, and inch the top up to the 4512 and start the threads, get a few on, jump to the other side, back and forth, etc till they are in, then you can do the middle.
Reason being is the bolt head is to big and it will not go in properly if the EXT is up against the saw.
So, straight forward and in my opinion very easy to do. Holes were drilled in under 5 minutes. I even used a hand drill on one of the Ext's as not everyone has a drill press.
Just use a sharp bit, and I gave a squirt of lube once in awhile, just for the bit.
The Full Cast Iron Top this saw needed
Easy to do.
The CI Ext's are 12" wide vs the Steel being 10" wide.
Auto level, squares up, no tedious leveling and adjusting, bolt it up, perfect
No gap, or ledge, or drop off, or uneven surface going from main table to ext, unlike steel ext.
My wife didnt want to hang out while I did this.
So, if you feel that your R4512 deserves 1 piece rails, and you wanted Cast Iron extensions, then look no further than parts from the TS3650. I recommend the Cast Iron Ext's, however I do not know how they will line up with R4512 rear rails, as I installed them with TS3650 rails already on. That said, go for the CI upgrade.
As far as the fence/rails, again I have noticed a difference, difference in adjusting, staying calibrated, smooth flow, etc. I just think the 2 piece system needs to go.