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Need help figuring out squaring Sawstop large sliding table

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Forum topic by Surfridge posted 01-29-2022 07:23 AM 867 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Surfridge

6 posts in 358 days


01-29-2022 07:23 AM

Topic tags/keywords: sawstop squaring large sliding table 5 cut method question

I just bought a new Sawstop PCS with the large sliding table. I have to break down a lot of sheet goods for cabinetry and wanted something more efficient than the track saw / table saw method I’ve been using for awhile.

I’ve set everything up. The fence side of the saw is cutting very nice, cuts are coming off straight and parallel.

The large sliding table is another story. I am struggling to get it square or even consistent. I have been using the 5 cut method which I have used before. Going through the process I have gotten results where the numbers show I’m only losing in the 10 thousands of an inch per inch cut. Which should be amazing. Except when I put a piece through the regular process of squaring… it’s not square. This process is cutting a straight line with the track saw, straight line against the fence for two parallel sides, straight side on the cross cut arm to square perpendicular side, that side back to the fence to rip a parallel edge… and it’s not square.

If I cut parallel sides on the fence side of the table saw and put one of those sides against the cross cut arm to square the perpendicular side… but this time stay on the crosscut slide and flip the board and also cut the opposite side (using the same straight reference edge against the fence) I get very perfect isosceles trapezoids… which are really sneaky because if you just check the diagonals they are equal distance. The give away is the top and bottom lengths are not the same and they always seems to be about 1/16” difference in length.

I have been working on this for days and I’m getting extremely frustrated. What could be happening where the 5 cut method gives a very good result but then cutting a new piece results in a isosceles trapezoid???

And if you want to check my math this is an actual result I got tonight that resulted in the trapezoid when testing a piece after:

(A) .5000 – (B) .4925 = .0075 / 4 = .001875 / (L) 35.625 = .00005263 error per inch

Is the 5 cut method not the right way to square the sliding table? Could something be misaligned on the sliding table that no matter what my adjustment is it throws off the cut?

I have gotten it square a few times but my other issue is the sliding table isn’t consistent and goes out of square VERY EASILY and I have to start all over. Am I expecting too much from the saw and sliding table? I’ve noticed a few other issues like the tape measure to the right of the blade has accuracy issues, at about the 30” mark the measurement ticks jump to almost 1/32” off where they should be which is annoying.


15 replies so far

View darthford's profile

darthford

833 posts in 3383 days


#1 posted 01-29-2022 02:53 PM

What kind of measuring tools are you using to setup the slider? Looking at the PCS sliding table this seems straight forward, adjust the slider parallel to the blade, adjust the miter fence to 90 degrees. I’d throw some dial indicators at that job. Maybe my precision Starrett 48” straight edge.

Now once dialed in if cuts are still inconsistent I’d look at rigidity e.g. is it possible the thing is flexing out of square under load. It’s not the most robust looking sliding table I ever saw.

View CL810's profile

CL810

4298 posts in 4447 days


#2 posted 01-29-2022 03:29 PM

Have you called Sawstop customer support? I doubt you are the only one to have had this problem.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

View Surfridge's profile

Surfridge

6 posts in 358 days


#3 posted 01-29-2022 05:36 PM

To initially set it square to the blade I have a 12” Starrett square which I know is too short to really have it square. That’s why I switch to doing the 5 cut method to confirm or adjust the whole arm to square.

I think today I’ll try the arm in the euro position and see what that does.

And true, I will call customer support monday. I called them once during assembly because the extension table isn’t flat… at all, so I couldn’t level it to the steel top. Their reply was – yup that happens but don’t worry about it and set it up the best you can.

I dunno, these little things I’m encountering are making me question the quality of the table saw and their attention to detail and accuracy. My 24 year old delta unisaw was extremely unsafe to use but she was accurate and I could trust the cut.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

2134 posts in 3776 days


#4 posted 01-29-2022 05:42 PM

If you’ve followed the proper steps of making sure the slider is parallel to the blade and the fence square to the blade and are still having issues, the culprit may be in the slider rails or the fence. If either component is not perfectly straight, square and parallel changes depending upon the position of the slider on its rails or the length of wood set against the fence.

We have an ancient Minimax slider and it needs to be checked for square constantly. That’s because the original fence was missing and we replaced it with a plywood fence which moves just enough with humidity to warp a tad. So we might get a square cut on a short board but a longer one might cut at 89.5 degrees.

-- See my work at http://altaredesign.com

View Ken Masco's profile

Ken Masco

947 posts in 4309 days


#5 posted 01-29-2022 05:42 PM

I hope there’s a good solution to this one. A buddy of mine has the same problem. After repeated attempts he stopped using the sliding table and started using an old Dubby. The sliding table looks nice, if it can be made to work properly.

-- Ken

View Loren's profile

Loren

11506 posts in 5107 days


#6 posted 01-29-2022 05:51 PM

Sliders are difficult to make well. I’ve read sour comments about the SS sliding table.

Are you sure you’re rotating the work correctly doing the 5 cut method? I did that once and I don’t remember how it went very well but it was frustrating until I figured it out.

View Ken Masco's profile

Ken Masco

947 posts in 4309 days


#7 posted 01-29-2022 06:35 PM

I hope there’s a good solution to this one. A buddy of mine has the same problem. After repeated attempts he stopped using the sliding table and started using an old Dubby. The sliding table looks nice, if it can be made to work properly.

-- Ken

View Surfridge's profile

Surfridge

6 posts in 358 days


#8 posted 01-30-2022 04:33 AM

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this. I was getting too frustrated to think clearly through the problem.

I have it square for now. Consistency is the next part to watch.

I took the approach of if its not working go back the the beginning. I checked all the connection points and I found the outer rail the table slides on slightly out of parallel with the blade. I took a long heavy piece of 2×3 steel tube and laid it against the blade and using the ruler method they go over in the guide I got it dead on.

Then went back to the 5 cut method using as large a piece of MDF that was practical for rotating. My thought being if your piece doesn’t go past the pivot point on the fence you’re checking square on too short of a section of the fence.

I got the numbers to a low error per inch and just to be safe I clamped blocks on the front and back side of the fence where you make angle adjustments. I noticed over the last few days that even with the fence tightened down securely it doesn’t take that hard of a bump to nudge it off its position. With a fence that long the tiniest shift on the far end will be significant on the blade end.

I believe the isosceles trapezoids came from the table pulling slightly to the left causing an angled cut… But as long as that pull to the left was consistent the 5 cut method still worked and the 5th cut was totally straight. Again that sneaky isosceles trapezoid is so good at mimicking squares and rectangles. I was getting accurate cuts, just for the wrong shape.

Now will it stay good as long as I keep the far end locked down. And on to the next problem, I think the fence to blade measurement drift is related to the extension table not being flat because that drift starts right about when the fence starts to hit the hump on the extension table.

Also how do people deal with the motor and blade arm being on the left side?? Every time you switch blades you lose accuracy on the right side tape measure.

View Surfridge's profile

Surfridge

6 posts in 358 days


#9 posted 02-03-2022 05:25 PM

Here’s an update…

Table went off again pretty quickly. I ended up called Sawstop and they were trying to be helpful but the guy said –
‘we don’t sell enough of these to be able to trouble shoot, all I can do is look at the manual.”. I guess everyone gets the small sliding table which they have lots of info on.

So back to figuring out. I went back and reset everything again; the bearings, sliding rails, sliding table, fence. Still nothing. It’s been driving me crazy, I’m questioning everything, are my squares square, am i using the calculator correctly, what day is it….

Then I did this (I have a photo not sure how to post it)... I clamped a piece of 2×3 steel tube, 1/8 wall thickness, to the full length fence and I am getting the longest run of consistent square cuts. I may have cracked it… basically the fence is too flimsy especially if you have it extended over the left table wing. It has just enough flex to throw things off particularly if the piece you’re cutting aren’t long enough to lay over a good portion of the fence. The sawstop guy did mention their sliding tables work better with no left table wing on the saw essentially bringing the support of the fence closer to the blade and less of the fence extended out without support… but not having the left side of the saw table is not an option for me and probably most people.

I am going to send this info to sawstop, maybe they can make some design changes or at least have a little information for future owners.

View Sylvain's profile

Sylvain

1675 posts in 3959 days


#10 posted 02-04-2022 10:04 AM

“but not having the left side of the saw table is not an option for me and probably most people.”

why?
On saws where the sliding table is not an add-on, there is no left side table.
It is another way to work: always using the sliding table. What would be the limitations?

If I look at the manufacturer Robland for instance, they only have sliding table saws with no left side table.
I guess it is much safer.

-- Sylvain, Brussels, Belgium, Europe - The more I learn, the more there is to learn (and that is nice)

View bigblockyeti's profile

bigblockyeti

8530 posts in 3180 days


#11 posted 02-04-2022 12:06 PM



I ended up called Sawstop and they were trying to be helpful but the guy said – we don t sell enough of these to be able to trouble shoot, all I can do is look at the manual.”.

- Surfridge

How much do they need to charge for the sliding table to actually care enough to be able to help their customers?

-- “I never in my life thought I would have to say this, but the proper role of government is not to fund the distribution of crack pipes,” Lauren Boebert

View PCDub's profile

PCDub

397 posts in 1703 days


#12 posted 02-04-2022 06:39 PM

(to post a photo, click the “img” button above the reply box and upload your photo)

View Surfridge's profile

Surfridge

6 posts in 358 days


#13 posted 02-05-2022 03:49 AM


“but not having the left side of the saw table is not an option for me and probably most people.”

why?
On saws where the sliding table is not an add-on, there is no left side table.
It is another way to work: always using the sliding table. What would be the limitations?

Good question. I haven’t heard of Robland but looked them up. One day I’ll have the space for a sliding panel saw like theirs with a separate table saw.

With the sawstop if you want to use the large sliding table without the left table wing you have to commit to it. You need to cut the front and back steel rails that mount to the table and cut down the steel tube the fence glides on. Which means if I decided to put the left wing back on I can’t, three important parts for it would now be too short. I have other reasons (I do some cuts with the regular fence to the left of the blade) but the fact that taking off the left wing is an irreversible setup is the main reason.

Here’s my fence setup (sorry I was looking at the photobucket link thinking that was for attaching an image.. it’s been a long week)

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

2391 posts in 1638 days


#14 posted 02-05-2022 07:58 PM



Here s an update…

Table went off again pretty quickly. I ended up called Sawstop and they were trying to be helpful but the guy said – we don t sell enough of these to be able to trouble shoot, all I can do is look at the manual.”. I guess everyone gets the small sliding table which they have lots of info on.

So back to figuring out. I went back and reset everything again; the bearings, sliding rails, sliding table, fence. Still nothing. It s been driving me crazy, I m questioning everything, are my squares square, am i using the calculator correctly, what day is it….

Then I did this (I have a photo not sure how to post it)... I clamped a piece of 2×3 steel tube, 1/8 wall thickness, to the full length fence and I am getting the longest run of consistent square cuts. I may have cracked it… basically the fence is too flimsy especially if you have it extended over the left table wing. It has just enough flex to throw things off particularly if the piece you re cutting aren t long enough to lay over a good portion of the fence. The sawstop guy did mention their sliding tables work better with no left table wing on the saw essentially bringing the support of the fence closer to the blade and less of the fence extended out without support… but not having the left side of the saw table is not an option for me and probably most people.

I am going to send this info to sawstop, maybe they can make some design changes or at least have a little information for future owners.

- Surfridge

I have the Excalibur slider which is very similar to the SS. I set it up with left wing on for various reasons. If I push the fence in the middle, it’s very accurate. Push on the end of fence and it’s off.

The fence is very light weight. I just make it a point to push in middle. With 8ft lengths it’s more comfortable anyway. I bought mine used for 300$. For what I paid, I’m pretty happy.

View CWWoodworking's profile

CWWoodworking

2391 posts in 1638 days


#15 posted 02-07-2022 08:38 PM

Thought I’d share some cuts with my slider. 18” miter across 1” thick Baltic birch. Pretty accurate. Done on a crappy 90s contractor saw.

I couldn’t measure any inaccuracies. 63” cabinet.

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