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Thread: Contractor Saw Tune Up

  1. #1
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    Dec 2006
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    Contractor Saw Tune Up

    So I got my PALS alignment kit and installed it tonight. (Note to self, don't follow directions!) The instructions did not say to tighten up the first post installed so when I went to install the second post the trunnion was way off! That's not why I posted....

    I'm going to use a piece of 1x3 scrap in place of the blade. Like John White illustrates in his book Care and Repair of Shop Machines. The question is should I remove the drive belt so the arbor will run free? I've always left it on since the motor can add some weight and pull the trunnion ever so slightly.

  2. #2
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    Definitly leave the motor/belt under tension while adjusting.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  3. #3
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    Glenn - Thanks. I was playing around with the measurements tonight. So far I'm about .004 off. That's with the blade on and rotating the belt to move the blade.

    I'll play around with the adjustments tomorrow. John White also recommends to clamp the trunnion to the arbor unit. I can do that for the back but the front is out of reach. I'm not sure if I need to if I don't loosen the bolts too much.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Gabbay View Post
    John White also recommends to clamp the trunnion to the arbor unit. I can do that for the back but the front is out of reach. I'm not sure if I need to if I don't loosen the bolts too much.
    I did not bother with clamps. As you say, this is very clumsy. When I had my contractor and PALs I would leave one center bolt snug (my trunnions had 5 bolts) and loosen the rest enough to allow movement. Your trunnions may only have four bolts so just pick a non-PALs corner to leave snug.

    It is a little weird trying to decide how loose is loose enough on the bolts you are not using as a pivot since the weight of the trunnion and motor make them seem tight just due to gravity. I found that from a "tight" position, loosening 1/4 to 1/3 of a turn was about right.

    Then it was just a matter of adjusting the PALs, tightening the bolts a bit and checking. Loosen 1/4 to 1/3 of a turn and adjust a little more if required and so on. Be patient and take your time. Once complete, you may never have to do this again ;-)
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
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    Progress update

    I spent about an hour this morning adjusting the trunnions and miter gauge. When I finished adjusting the trunnions, it was off by only .0005". Then after doing a series of test cuts, the trunnion appears to have settled/moved to .002".

    My miter cuts are almost perfect with maybe .001" or less gap over a 6" wide board. I guess this is good enough.... I won't be working on the space shuttle, oh well.

    I've tightened the trunnion bolts so I guess I'll keep an eye on the measurements to see if there is any more movement.

    Just curious, does anyone tighten the trunnion bolts to a certain torque or just very tight?

  6. #6
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    RETIRED(!) in Austintown, Ohio
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    On my last contractors saw - Powermatic 63 - I found that the trunnions would shift out of alignment a few thou every time I tilted the blade beyond about 30. Very frustrating to have to realign after every bevel cut! At least the PALs made the realignment easier...

    I finally sold that saw and got a Shop Fox cabinet saw, which has been trouble free for the past five-plus years.
    Jim D.
    Adapt, Improvise, Overcome!

  7. #7
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    Jim - Exactly what I wanted to hear -- buy a cabinet saw!

    That is on the short list for tools. The problem is the home improvement projects trump the tool list. But maybe when I start on the kitchen cabinets I could justify a couple of grand for a cabinet saw.

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