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How to Adjust Cabinet Saw Trunnions to Align a Blade

7754 Views 19 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  klawman
Can someone point me to instructions on adjusting the trunnions on a cabinet style table saw; specifically a Rigid R4511 granite top if possible?

The reason is I just cannot get the blade parallel to the mitre gauge groove by simply loosening the for table bolts. I previoulsly thought the blade was brought into parallel when I enlarged the bolt holes in the cabinet top with a file, but later discovered with a TS-Aligner Jr. that the back of the blade was still out to the right by .023" and the holes as enalarged wouldn't allow me to set things any better than .018".

I backed the 90 degree stop screw way out.

Rather than enolarging the holes, it has been suggested that the trunnions may have moved and it would be best to move them to where blade alignment can be accomplished by moving the top.

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Wow, I'm not sure if what you're suggesting is even possible.

How old is the saw? If you genuinely can't get any closer than that it sounds like a manufacturing defect to me.
6 months old. As the top was taken off to lighten the beast so my kids and I moved it into my garage, I don't know if it was set correctly from the factory.
I've owned two saws with cabinet mounted trunnions. To adjust, I just loosen the four bolts in each corner that hold the top in place and adjust the top until the miter slot is parallel with the blade. Tighten them a little at a time so you don't change the adjustment.

Some tops have shims between the cabinet and the top….did you notice any under your top?
Yep., kknottscott. There are 3 Two were in one spot and 1 in the other. They fell off when the top was removed and I am not sure where they are supposed to be located. When I called the company about the problem, a woman sent me some more shims. I thought that they are to set the trunion plane for beveled cuts. Do you think I should expermiment with them in different positions to see if they affect alignment when the blade is vertical?

Had to spend some time helping my daughter paint her room, but removed the shims and am now going to see if the blade lines up when vertical.

PS: I think you once once gave mesome help on what kind of blade I should choose. I just ordered a thin kerf 40 Tooth WW2, but won't install it until I get this figured out.
Blade advice I've definitely been known to offer….unfortunately, I've never played with the shims so can't offer any insights.

(nice blade BTW…)
I tried removing the shims and align the top to the vertical blade. Still getting a meaurement from the right mitre groove to the back of blade of .020" postive to the rear of blade. To correct I tap the rear of the top to the right, but that causes the front of the top to move to the left, as if it is rotating on something. Later this evening I will remove the blade to get a peek between the top and the whatever to see if anythintg is hitting. The 90 degree stop screw is removed.
Might be blind leading the blind, but I thought the shims were to allow you to adjust it so that the blade would be parallel to the miter slot both at 90 degrees, and when the blade is tilted to 45 degrees. This site has tons of info, though you have to register, for free, to see it. He covers shims under the section on trunnion adjustment.
Just to cover all bases, be sure you loosened the bolt to the top and not the trunnion itself. They were close together on my former 22124 hybrid.
Purplev had a great writeup of the assembly here:

DaveWoodWork wrote a pretty technical process for aligning the top to the blade and the importance of shims for bevel cuts. I tried shimming the top according to his instructions but couldn't get it any closer than using the shims the way the came on the saw. I had read of the shims before taking the top off so watched closely which corner they came from.

It's easier to align the top if the wings aren't attached. Then again there are some reports of cracking the top/wings during attachment.
barryvabeach: As far as I know, you are right and those shims have nothing to do with the 90 degree alignment. Still, to simplify I removed them, which seemed like it couldn't hurt given that I don't know if I even put them back in the right postion. Once I align the top to a 90 degree blade, I will tackle aligning the top to a 45 degree blade.

knotscott: I am only dealing with the table top bolts, which are completley different from the trunnion bolts on the Rigid r4511. Thanks for the suggestion, though. Fact is that when I first tackled setting this beast up, I began loosening one of the trunnion bolts thining it was what another section of the set up instructions was talking about.

jcwalleye: I am familiar with purplev's write up and it is outstanding. It cleared up most of the mysteries left by the terrible instructions. Had I only seen it sooner. I originally did the alignment without the wings attached. When I discovered the other day how far it was still off, I tried aligning the saw with the wings and everything attached. I then tore it down to where the wings are off too see if it was easier to align. No difference, but there is likely less chance of damaging a wing.

At this point I am going to remove the blade to get a peek between the bottom of the table and the top of the trunnion mechanism. If nothing is obvious, I will drop by my HD. A few months ago, they were going to send a guy out to pick it up if I would help them load it on a truck. I opted to file out the holes as I didn't know if I wanted the same guys that set up there display saws using power tools on my saw. Maybe I will ask if they are still willing to give it a try. I would only want them to allign the top and, if needed, the trunnions.

Bad Idea?
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How did the saw seem to cut before you got your dial indicator?

Were you having a problem with your cuts? Burning, pinching, etc. ?

I have thought about getting a dail indicator and may do so for the day I have to change jointer blades, but for my R4511 I squared up with ruler, combination square, and then adjusted fence to have a slight relief at the rear and was good to go.

If your alignment is causing problems and are too tough to be easily fixed, take it to a Ridgid service center not HD and let them either fix it or replace the top. It's a little hassle, but since you have the saw broken down anyway its not that tough to move without the top on it.

I did this for mine when my elevation gear had an issue, and they got the parts and replaced everything in that gear system, cleaned and lubed the saw and had it done within a week.

I called the service center first and told them my problem and they contacted Ridgid and took care of the paperwork for the warranty repair.
One other thing; I was at the limit of how far I could move my top without reaming the bolt hole larger, when I called it close enough. I recall others saying they had to drill the hole larger to get their top aligned. Would a 1/16" or 3/32" larger hole allow you to align it.

Also, there is a sequence to aligning the top. First comes the mitre slot to the blade at 90. Then the mitre slot to the blade at 45. The difficulty is that any changes you make to align at 45 is likely to throw your alignment at 90 off. So after you make a change at 45, realign with the blade at 90 and then see how your 45 alignment is. I found it somewhat frustrating and think I ended up within .002 at 90 degrees but off by .012 when the blade was at 45 degrees.

Also, my fence had noticable indentions, .01 or bigger where the holes were punched out. I shimmed a piece of UHMW plastic with playing cards and got it fairly straight.

Good luck and I think you will really like the saw when you get it dialed in.
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I had previously filed bolt holes out and thought it was aligned well enough, but I couldn't really tell how well until I got the TS-Aligner. Today I meticulously studied the bolt hole pattern and what was off.

I even had my artist daughter to a rubbing with the top removed of bolt holes in the top of the cabinet, which I pinned to the garage wall. I then placed push pins in the bolt holes so I could visualize what was going on. I then saw that much of the material I had removed earlier with a file did little or know good, but I was able to immediately pinpoint where metal had to be removed. II think I took material off the wrong side of the hole. Probably as I had trouble visulaizing what needed to be done from looking under the top. This way I mapped it out from the top, as though I could look through granite.)

This time I used my dremel and a small sanding drum. Oh'Mike knows how I love that Dremel.

I still unable to align it with the bolts loose but in. Perhaps I was supposed to remove three and losen the pivot screw. Anyway, I took all 4 bolts out and saw that I may just be able to align the blade if the top was tapped a bit towards the front of the saw. I gave it a final wack and it is dead parallel, but it isn't clear that one of the screws can be inserted withhout removing a tad of material. (The only one that wasn't enlarged).

When I got to that point, I stopped for the night. I wanted to shut down on a high note and am pretty certain I will have it tomorrow. If I do, I will post. Hopefully this will help somebody else. I do love the saw.

This was done with an inexpensive pirranha plywood blade I had for some time. It was flatter than my stock Rigid blade by .004" (.009" vs. .012") but the change didn't seem to make a difference.

As for my fence, it is similar to yours. At least it locks down without dispacement and I was able to adjust it to where the rear is .001 to the right of its front.
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I didn't notice your post ealier, Cato. I did call One World Technologies and spoke w a tek, today. They were pretty certain that the problem wasn't that the trunnion had moved. As my blade is warped, with a difference of .012" from the highest to the lowest spot, they were concerned that it may be affecting the alignment and asked me to remeasure with a new blade since I should receive one in a few days as it was already on order.

If I still cannot bring the top within tolerance of being parallel to the blade, they said that they would have the trunnion gone over. Problem is that acceptable tolerance to One World is .018". Isn't that a bit much?

As noted in the above reply to jcwalleye (Joe), it looks as though I will be able to do much better and set it to within the tolerance of the cheap dial meter (.001").

The other item I want to check with the ts-aligner jr is how well I aligned the surfaces of the top to the wings. That and I am interested in seeing how true the granite was surfaced.

I looked at the video clip of truing a jointer and it looks pretty straight forward.

If you are interested in getting a TS-Alligner Jr, I think it is well worth the money but place your order early and be patient. I had to wait 3 months for mine.
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Wow, an ordeal to be sure. I count myself lucky that I had enough play to align my top, or what I think is aligned. I may not want to know any different, unless I were to get unacceptable cuts.

Now that I am jointing and planing my stock it could be that any alignment errors will be more obvious. If so I might have to get one of those DI units.

Good luck today, sounds like you will finally get it where you want it. Remember to tighten opposing bolts in sequence like you would on a tire to keep it from shifting. Not too tight on any one of them at first to settle the top in.
Thanks, Cato. I think I am getting it. I noticed I didn't answer your question about whetner I was getting unacceptable cuts. They were much better than what I was getting on my old Sears bench top saw and I thought it great. My neighbor for whom I ripped some pieces thought it was fantastic, but what does he or I know! I thought I was having to go a bit slow when ripping 1X redwood and it seemed too easy to pick up some blade marks or a bit of burning. This turned out to be with a fence heeling .012" to the right on the back and a blade heeling .020" in the same direction. The net effect would have been that the fence was heeling left towards the blade by .008". I can barely wait to see what the beast does when trued properly and a new WWII blade. The warp of the stock Ridgid blade measures .012".

Given you investiment in all that sophisticated machinery, you should really get your money's worth out of an aligner/di. ONce in a blue moon you can find a used one on EBay.
Same saw, same exact problem. Short simple solution for me was just to enlarge the bolt holes a bit more. I did mess with the trunnion mounts and really just went back to stock for this measurement. I couldn't get that last little bit just like your having trouble with. Just enlarge the hole a bit more. It WILL work. The shims are only for 45deg. alignment. Don't worry about that at all until you get the 90deg. alignment right. It really is quite easy once you get proper clearance for the top to move about. I really wasn't having any problem with the cuts it just ticked me off I couldn't get it perfect. Once I enlarged the holes some more it went easily. HTH. Overall I don't suppose I took 1/16" off of any one side of a hole. I just filled the hole in the direction I needed it to go.
Ingjr, Just stopped playing with the beast for the day (no I didn't spend the whole day wrstling with the orange monster, just four hours of it but I NOW HAVE IT ADJUSTED TO WHERE THE BLADE HEELS AWAY FROM THE FENCE ONE THOUSANDTH OF AN INCH!!!!!!

I would have taken the time to work out that last 1/1000". but I may as well wait and do the final aduustment with the new blade.

In the final analysis, I am confident that the problem was with the factory assembly. Perhaps a comgbination of several little things all being off just enough so that the saw barely fell within tolerance. Per One World Technnology that is .018" for blade parrellism to the mitre groove. With a lot of work, mine would adjust to .016". That may be good enough for the factory but not for me.

I had thought that I originally filed out the top bolt mounting holes enough, but I took a little bit more off with my dremel grinding stone. Still, it was off the same amount (.018 to .020) though it appeared that I was able to positon the table properly with the threaded holes over the enlarged holes in the cabinet. If your saw wasn't off by as much as mine, you wouldn't encounter the problem that was holding me back.

Two of the heavy allen head bolt washers/slugs were preventing the rear of the top from being postitioned far enough to the right of the blade. The left rear washer was hitting the side of the cabinet and the right rear was striking the inner wall of the square cabinet tube along the left side of the saw. I ground about 1/16" of a side of each washer and KABOOM.

What a bitch. Thanks for all the help and moral support.
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Got the new blade, a Woodworker II. Blade runnout on it measures left .001" to right .003". Not sure if that is within tolerance for the blade. Arbor runnout is less than .001" I did note that the arbor hole was very snug and will call Forrest and ask if that is normal or if I should sand it out just a tad.

Still playing with the O degree alignment. Took just a bit off of one hole and filed a bit off of one bolt washer and it looks like I may have got it. Will know better in the morning when I see what happens when I snug it up.

Next it's on to pick up some brass shim material for $3.95 and then tackle alignment to the 45 degree beveled blade.
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