Delta Cruzer Miter Saw with Custom Zero Clearance Insert

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Project by gauntlet21 posted 11-11-2018 05:11 PM 2622 views 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

One of the only drawbacks on my new 12” Delta Cruzer Miter Saw is that the large gap between the stock wings of the “throat plate”.

Link to OEM throat plate:

Considering that the saw is very new, there aren’t any players in the game that manufacture aftermarket zero clearance inserts for this exact saw. I took it upon myself to accept the challenge and I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. I’m going to be making more of these as I now have the perfect fit. I haven’t even made the first cut through it! I made the insert out of a piece of poplar that I reclaimed from a pallet. I do not like the yellow hue of poplar but the board was the perfect size to trim down, it obviously cuts well, and it was very thin to begin with. Just a few extra passes through the planer and the 0.215” height requirement was obtained.

As I mentioned, the color of the poplar wood was not pleasing to my eye. I decided white would be a great color as it would pop with the blue of the Delta saw and the cut line would be very easy to see. I had a laser line marker on the saw but when I was perfecting the trueness of the saw, I switched back to the original bushing and blade washer. I also cleaned the blade that I had installed and I was able to get my circumferential deviation down from 0.008” to 0.002” throughout a single revolution of the blade. I don’t know if the aftermarket bushing and the laser marker contributed but my saw couldn’t cut any more square so I’m leaving it as is.

Another drawback to the stock throat plate that I didn’t mention but, am certain anyone with a miter saw encounters frequently is, all of the debris and small cutoff pieces that build up in the bottom reservoir beneath the throat plate. This new design should eliminate a large portion if not all of that issue. Once I plunge the blade through this new custom throat plate for the first time, I’ll have a perfect reference line to align my workpiece to making the laser marker next to useless. I already made a zero clearance fence for this miter saw and that certainly helped with the chip out/blowout of the boards along the back edge. One drawback to the zero clearance fence, however, is a reduction in effective dust removal. I think what I may try doing is, if I only need to keep the left side of the workpiece that I am about to cut, I’ll keep the left fence slid tight to the blade but open the right side of the fence so that the vacuum can pull the dust through.

I was tired of “googling” for a Delta Cruzer Zero Clearance Insert but was intimidated by the circular edge closest to the saw arms. I don’t own a bandsaw or scroll saw but was able to use some rudimentary geometry and figure out the radius of that circle and transposed it to the workpiece. I also had to deal with the rounded edges of the furthest section from the saw but had some magnetic spacers that are rounded off the same shape. One trick I haven’t seen yet that worked incredibly well was, after I removed the majority of the excess stock around the curved sections of the throat plate using a jigsaw, I actually used my hand plane and shooting board to form the half circle and other rounded sections. Because the shooting board removes such small amounts of material, I was able to take a cut, rotate the board slightly to expose more of the curve, take another cut, and keep doing that until it was almost perfectly circular. I finished it off with about 10 pulls against a piece of sandpaper and the intimidation melted away.

This was a very simple project in hindsight but going into it, I wasn’t certain it would turn out well. I knew that I could have left out the rounded sections as they’re not even included in the cutting path but now I know I can perform that kind of task should another project with this requirement arise down the road.

Thanks for looking,


2 comments so far

View retired_guru's profile


838 posts in 2160 days

#1 posted 11-12-2018 04:20 PM

Looks great, Dan. I have a recently purchased a Kobalt 10” that has the same notoriously large hole throat plate. I have to leave a set of forceps near the saw to fish out the bits that fall in and some I can’t get to without unbolting the saw and lifting it off the table. PITA. These are designed to be portable, with the contractor in mind. I’ve been thinking about looking for an HDPE option—the right thickness, or close to it, shimming underneath at the mounting screw locations. I’ll have to remove mine to see what I’m up against. Your setup looks good, though. Thanks for sharing.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

View gauntlet21's profile


69 posts in 1011 days

#2 posted 11-12-2018 10:05 PM

Thanks for the comment! If you happen to have a thickness planer, that is going to be your best opportunity to match the thickness. Depending on the thickness that would make a perfect fit for the throat plate, it may be difficult to find an HDPE. Now that I have this one copy, I’m going to remove it and set up my router table to just make more and more copies with various pieces of wood that I have lying around. Then just a quick pass through the thickness planer and voila, I’m just a few screw holes drilled out from having another one, and another one, and another one. For some reason, I did this with my table saw but purchased the first one that was an exact fit. I’ve got about 4 that don’t have a saw mark in them yet but I’m sure down the road they’ll eventually come in handy. The process took me less time than I initially thought it might. You’d be surprised once you get working on it how few steps are actually involved. It makes a big difference too so take a crack at it if you’ve got an empty project list (none of us have empty project lists but if you’re between projects maybe give it a shot). Thanks again.


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