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Which is better? Rockwell 12/14 or Powermatic 3000 table saw?

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Forum topic by Cord posted 07-14-2019 03:49 PM 504 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Cord

8 posts in 68 days


07-14-2019 03:49 PM

Currently have both in my shop. The Rockwell is in very good condition. Still has the original fence, no T square and I put a shark guard on it. I’d like to put the Incra fence on it and really don’t need the hard to find square. The saw has a 3hp 3ph motor that I’m powering with a VFD. Saw runs out true, smooth and quiet. Using the 12/14 has shown the 3hp motor has enough power for the jobs I’m pushing through it.

The Powermatic is rough and will take some reconditioning to get up to my standards. Has the factory fence but the rule is gone and the guides need to be replaced. The guard that came with the saw is crap and will need to be replaced. The motor cover melted so that needs to be replaced as well. Thankfully this is a current model saw so the parts should be available. The motor is 7.5hp 3ph which will require a big, expensive VFD to run. I believe this is a Taiwanese saw with its black and gold color scheme.

Both saws have the same top size and both can run a 14” blade. The top sizes are identical between the saws. The riving knife on the PM is better than the Sharkguard retrofit knife. I think they’re both comparable for lack of dust collection. I believe the PM, once cleaned up will be worth more than the 12/14.

I paid $600 for the 12/14, couple of hundred to ship it and another couple hundred for the guard. The PM? Well, I got that one for free. My wife spotted in the corner at her work and kept her eye on it. They were cleaning house and it was slated for the dumpster. She was quick to raise her hand and 2hrs later it was in the back of my truck.

So, if you kept one saw, which would it be?


12 replies so far

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439 posts in 827 days


#1 posted 07-14-2019 04:16 PM

Awesome Cord , I would go with the Powermatic for a few reasons.

1. The PM is heavier saw. Sell the Rockwell it is complete and running, you will get top price for it.
2. Take part of the money for the Rockwell and replace the motor on the PM with a 5HP and VFD or single phase 3 HP if that is enough for you. If the cover was melted the old motor may have been overheated anyway.
3. The PM is newer and parts are still available so you can fit it out the way you want.
4. Since you got the PM for free, you will end up with the a newer heavier saw, done up the way you want, and probably still make a profit on the sale of the Rockwell.

Edit: Just make sure you finish the PM to a point where your happy with it, before you sell the Rockwell, ha ha.

If your concerned about fitting a smaller motor, I believe this saw was also available with a 5HP single phase motor which may still be available.

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Fred Hargis

5647 posts in 2948 days


#2 posted 07-14-2019 06:59 PM

Just a comment: I didn’t think any of the PM 66 saws came from Taiwan.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Cord

8 posts in 68 days


#3 posted 07-14-2019 11:46 PM

I wish it was a 66. Alas, it’s a 3000.

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Fred Hargis

5647 posts in 2948 days


#4 posted 07-15-2019 11:42 AM

Sorry, didn’t read closely enough (again). Given the descriptions, I think I’d keep the 12/14. The PM is most definitely overpowered for any hobbyist, and maybe even for some pro shops. A replacement motor (which is what I would do if I kept it) would add considerable cost. But truth be told, I wish I was saddled by such problems every now and then!

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Cord

8 posts in 68 days


#5 posted 07-15-2019 01:09 PM

I was looking at the motor the other day and it won’t be possible to change it. The motor doesn’t have the traditional foot mount, instead it’s face mounted.

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MrUnix

7451 posts in 2654 days


#6 posted 07-15-2019 01:14 PM

I paid $600 for the 12/14, couple of hundred to ship it and another couple hundred for the guard. The PM? Well, I got that one for free. My wife spotted in the corner at her work and kept her eye on it. They were cleaning house and it was slated for the dumpster. She was quick to raise her hand and 2hrs later it was in the back of my truck.

So, if you kept one saw, which would it be?
- Cord

I’d sell the PM to recover the cost of the 12/14. A 7.5hp PM3000 in rough shape is going to be a money pit, and serious overkill for anything I or most anybody other than a production shop would need. YMMV.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

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BobHall

65 posts in 1740 days


#7 posted 07-15-2019 02:03 PM

Even in equal condition, I’d prefer the 12/14. So given the PM has problems I’d maybe try to part it out. It’s hard, at least in my neck of the woods, to sell equipment if it’s not in top condition. And you could quickly spend the entire value of the PM in fixing it up.

-- Bob "jack of all trades, master of none"

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Cord

8 posts in 68 days


#8 posted 07-15-2019 02:50 PM

I might have undersold the condition of the PM. Cosmetically, it’s very dirty, but I’m pretty sure it’ll shine up nicely. The motor powered up smooth and silent. Functionally, the major items are there which is the good news here’s my shopping list at the moment:

Motor cover (they were using the saw to cut phenolic material, the hot dust settled in the cover and burned out the plastic)
replace one fence T nut
replace fence locking handle
replace the throat plate & leveling screws (due to wear)
install a new fence scale & rule

Here’s my to-do list:
Clean exterior of saw
Verify contactor is good (not in good cosmetic condition, tried to start the motor by powering the start switch with a VFD, but it would only buzz. Not convinced this indicates the contactor is actually bad)
Determine what is needed to restore the factory guard
Clean up the UHMW guides on the fence

I figure that once I get through that list I’ll have invested around $550 in the saw and it’ll be worth around $2,500 on ebay. Not a basket case by any means.

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439 posts in 827 days


#9 posted 07-15-2019 03:03 PM

I don’t see the cost of refurbishing the PM all that high, unless PM really kills you on a few replacement parts, like the motor and replacement motor cover. The motor mounting and rotation part (Part No. PM 2000B-256) are the same part number for both the PM 2000 and the PM 3000, that means the motors available for the 2000 will also mount on the 3000. 3 HP, single phase, or 5 HP single phase or 3 phase are available.

If the old motor was burned out, saw bearings may need replacement, bearings are not expensive. PM may kill you on the plastic motor cover. Its a very nice upgrade to the design, but they ruined it for profit, by going with cheap plastic instead of stamped steel. Beyond that it is mostly cosmetic and elbow grease.

The Rockwell is a very desirable saw but you will forever be prisoner to the fact that if a major drive part wears out or breaks, you may not be able to source replacement parts. The 2000 and 3000 PM saws are PM’s current saws and parts and a slew of accessories will be available for many years to come.

There are other benefits to the PM saw that you are probably aware of, like the 4” DC connection directly to the blade and motor mounting assembly and built in riving knife as well as a top rated fence. IMHO

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Cord

8 posts in 68 days


#10 posted 07-15-2019 08:25 PM

The blade dust collection must be an upgrade on the B models as this one only has cabinet collection.

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Fred Hargis

5647 posts in 2948 days


#11 posted 07-17-2019 10:40 AM

Cord, what did you decide to keep?

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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Cord

8 posts in 68 days


#12 posted 07-17-2019 12:44 PM

Really no decision at this time. I will say that I have a preference for 12/14. Partially because it’s an older saw and I generally have a preference for older tools. I also have a distaste for overseas tools. Partially because of some ingrained biases, partially because of some negative experiences with low quality green branded tools. I know that with my 12/14, a coarse rip blade and a feeder running in high/high with a 80% overdrive on the VFD, I can feed a 2.5” rough sawn pine board through without slowing the motor. I’m thinking that’s enough power for my needs and thus 7.5hp is serious overkill. I think the deciding factor will be how well the 3000 cleans up and if I like it over the Rockwell unit.

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