Tuesday, August 19, 2014

HF 10" Industrial Table Saw Tuning Part 1

Best I could get without modification.
The Harbor Freight 10" 15 Amp Industrial Table Saw is cheap and should be pretty capable. However, it takes some modification to make it right.

When I moved into the apartment I needed a saw small enough and light enough to move between the patio and the apartment whenever I wanted to use it. I picked this saw up pretty cheap with coupons and such from Harbor Freight. It's item 69480. Note the label has changed, but the saw itself is the same.

Out of the box, the closest I could get the blade to 90 degrees to the table was 89.1. The stop adjustment was completely loose, so the saw wasn't binding there. I couldn't figure out why, so my Hitachi miter saw got the task of doing accurate work, and roughing out sheet is all I used the table saw for.

A few weeks ago I moved into a condo with a garage (YAY!!!) So yesterday I finally dove in to see what the actual problem was.

The screw that holds the pointer was protruding through the back enough that it caught on the opening for the blade adjustment handle!

Sorry for potato. But you can see the screw hitting the opening.

Now, I could have simply removed the indicator or ground down the screw. But looking at the stamped steel plate showed what looks like the outline of where it SHOULD have been cut. Somehow the factory was off by half an inch.

Out comes the Dremel! I ground the opening down nearly to the outline of where the hole should have been. It took about 30 minutes, but only because the stone I had was finer than I would like. But it did the job.

I made sure that I removed enough so I could adjust several degrees PAST 90. I prefer to use the stop screw to get me to 90 than some artificial limit. And it worked!

And 45* too!!

One problem solved!

On my wish list are two more issues:

  1. See if it's possible to cut the miter slots to 3/4" x 3/8" so I can use my Incra miter gauge.
  2. Stabilize or strengthen the rip fence. It's a flimsy piece of junk.
So while I can make this saw cut well, it's not a good saw. It fit my very specific needs for weight and space, but by no means can I recommend this saw for serious work. It's a typical jobsite saw with a direct drive noisy motor, flimsy materials, non standard miter gauge slots, and has the added bonus of poor quality control, being that it's from Harbor Freight.

It may end up being a sled-only saw for small items, or it may go in the dumpster when I get something a little more robust.

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