Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 24 Old 07-19-2010, 05:56 PM Thread Starter
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Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1

Excalibur model EX-30 from General International in review.
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_4985.jpg
The following write up is a review of the Excalibur, model EX-30 scroll saw from General International. For all intents and purposes, a review is nothing more than one person’s opinion of a product and I personally do not put much faith in them. Variations in personal preferences and different perceptions as to what may, or may not be problems with the product make reviews something which can be misleading. The following review has been derived from performing several tests and logging over twenty hours of cutting on the EX-30 scroll saw.
In The Beginning.
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5198.jpg
When the saw was first delivered to my home, the very first thing that I noticed was the sheer size and weight of the sturdy cardboard box that it came packaged in. This saw is not one that can be hoisted around on your shoulder. The EX-30 weighs in at 114 pounds. That’s a lot of saw and the weight of this machine is an asset to its overall performance. Once the box was opened, the care and attention that was taken in packaging this product carefully was evident. With the box closed, there was no way that this saw was going to be bumped around. Bolted to a plywood base and held down by sturdy uprights and large Styrofoam blocks, the chances of this saw being bumped or knocked out of alignment was pretty slim. I know that packaging may not be very high on your list of importance when it comes to tool purchases, but a poorly packaged tool can very easily become a damaged one and there was no chance of that in the case of the EX-30.
Stand Your Ground
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5199.jpg
The optional stand that is available for the EX-30 is a standard, no bells and whistles angle iron stand that easily and solidly bolts together. All hardware was present and accounted for and once bolted together, the stand was pleasingly sturdy. The legs of the stand are adjustable my means of four separate height positions and are equipped with predrilled holes to accept the leveling feet, which are supplied with the saw. This makes leveling the machine easy for those of us who don’t have a perfectly level shop floor. Within minutes of placing the saw in my work area, I was able to level it and remove any wobble or rocking of the stand caused by an uneven floor. Although this stand is a pretty basic one, it serves its purpose perfectly. It provides a more than adequate and sturdy support for a heavy machine. The assembly “instructions” for the stand were quite vague but with a little common sense and some normal level motor skills, I was able to assemble the stand with no problems.
The Tests-“now turn your head and cough”
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5201.jpg
I am someone who appreciates accuracy and although it is not always evident in my typing skills, I demand it in my tool gauges. With that being said, the angle gauge on the EX-30 was the first thing that I tested. Most scroll saws have a tilting table that will tilt either left, right or both with varying degrees up to 45. The EX-30’s table does not tilt at all, but instead, the saw head tilts via a rack and pinion style mechanism. This mechanism was smooth moving and locked firmly in place when tightened. Adjustments were easily and quickly done. With the tilting head and constantly level work area, angle cutting was much easier than on a conventional scroll saw where you have to work on a slanted surface and half of your energy is devoted to keeping your piece on the table. The EX-30 also provides positive angle stops at 0, 22.5, 30 and 45 degrees left or right tilt. Without any calibration of the angle guide, I tested all of the positive angle stops for both the left and right tilt. When tested with a digital angle finder, all stop were accurate right from the box. Testing the zero degree was no different. It was perfectly square to the table, which was a nice change of pace from the norm.

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post #2 of 24 Old 07-19-2010, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Excalibur EX-30 scroll saw Part 2

The Tables Have Turned.
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_4984.jpg
One of the next things that I noticed about the EX-30 was the immense size of the worktable. Measuring in at a whopping 14”X32.5” and made of solid plate steel, this worktable constantly supported the largest and most delicate pieces with ease. Checking the table for flatness from end to end, corner-to-corner and side-to-side showed a work surface that was true and flat with no variances. During my initial cutting, I found the worktable to have quite a bit of friction and spinning a piece of stock on the blade was a little difficult but a quick coat of wax was all it took to alleviate this issue. I also found that the table on the EX-30 is easily marred when working. The spinning of the stock leaves very noticeable marks on the table, which is in no way a reflection of performance, or quality, as these marks are evident on every scroll saw that I have ever seen or worked on.
Wow, Nice Body.
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_4983.jpg
Most scroll saws on the market today are constructed almost entirely out of plastic, with very little metal. This is not the case for the EX-30. This unit is metal from end to end with the exception of power switches and adjustment knobs, which are made of a sturdy plastic. I have driven cars with less metal in them than this scroll saw. The amount of metal in this saw translates into a solid machine that has next to no vibration at any speed. Even at the top speed of 1550 SPM, vibration was practically non-existent. This proved to be a true asset when cutting intricate fretwork which would normally be broken on a cheaper saw.
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5202.jpg
The other nice body feature of the EX-30, is the built in blade storage slots provided. The EX-30 provides 16 slots for blade tubes, making your blades easily accessible during cutting. The blade tubes are not included with the saw, but they are readily available at your local woodworking store for a minimal cost. I picked up a package of ten tubes, with metal lids for less than $5.00. I thought that the blades would rattle and drive me insane, but due to the zero vibration of the EX-30, this was not an issue.

Straying Away From the Right Path.

When the EX-30 was first removed from the carton and set up, I found that the front to back movement of the blade during operation was very coarse. I didn’t feel that this was acceptable for a saw of this grade. A quick call to my General International tool representative, proved to be all that it took to correct this problem. The side-to-side path of the blade on the EX-30 is unvarying. It is true from the top of the stroke to the bottom of the stroke, but in the case of this test unit, the front to back stroke of the blade had a variance of almost one eighth of an inch. That translates into a very aggressive cut and it makes intricate work impossible. The nice thing about the EX-30 is that this stroke is fully adjustable and within a very short time span, I was able to calibrate the blade to a stroke that was true to within twenty, one thousandths of an inch. For those of you who are young enough to only speak metric that equals .51 millimeters. That is accuracy and smoothness that is unheard of in most scroll saws and it proved to be invaluable when cutting a delicate fretwork piece. If your style of cutting is one that requires a little more aggressive cutting action, the EX-30 can be adjusted to accommodate that.
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5204.jpg


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post #3 of 24 Old 07-19-2010, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Excalibur EX-30 scroll saw Part 3

Okay, Now This is Tense.
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5206.jpg
Let’s talk blade tension for a moment. During the cutting portion of my testing there were a couple of issues that arose concerning blade tension. I found that for the first little while, blades were breaking prematurely at the point of contact in the blade retainers. After approximately six demolished blades, I decided to investigate. I found that the setscrews that were opposite of the blade retaining thumbscrews were backing off, causing the blade to be cut off in the blade retainer when tightening. A quick trip to the local building supply store was all it took to acquire some thread lock. With a small application of the thread locking liquid and a few slight adjustments, and I was back in business with the blade retainers functioning correctly.
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5207.jpg
Another issue that arose during cutting was the EX-30’s method of acquiring blade tension. I found that the tensioning lever provided an excessive amount of friction on its metal counterpart. This translated into excessive pressure having to be exerted on the lever in order to obtain proper blade tension. It is my opinion, that the excessive pressure required to tension the blade would translate into a prematurely worn out or broken tensioning lever. Again, a little common sense and a small application of some white grease made the tensioning lever work smoothly and effortlessly with little to no pressure required to obtain blade tension.
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5208.jpg
The EX-30 also provides a fine-tuning tension knob at the rear of the saw. I found that after the initial setup of the machine, I didn’t require the use of the rear knob. I would think that this is a good thing seeing that the second knob is over 30” away from you. Adjustments would require you to stand up and turn the knob at every cut but don’t worry because this knob is for fine-tuning only and adjustments are not required after the initial setup. The front tension lever provides perfect tensioning of the blade every time. The nice feature about the rear knob is the ability to raise and lower the upper saw arm by one inch. If you were to start with your arm at a higher setting and cut a piece until the blade was dull, then lower the upper arm by one inch and readjust the blade in the lower retainer it would provide you with a fresh section of the blade to cut with. This potentially doubles the use that you would get out of each blade. The blade retainers are also equipped to accept sections of band saw blade so by raising the top arm to its maximum height and inserting a section of band saw blade, you can increase your cutting thickness from 2” to 3”.
Gentlemen, Start You Engines.
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5209.jpg
The motor on the EX-30 is a 1.3 amp 400-1550 SPM motor with a sturdy speed control knob conveniently located at the front of the saw with the power switch. The motor provides a great amount of torque and kept a constant speed with no stalling, regardless what size stock I tried to cut. Even on thicker hardwoods, the motor speed was constant.

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Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5210.jpg
The motor controls on the EX-30 are conveniently located at the front of the saw close to the operator. Both the power switch and speed controller are solid units and have a great, quality feel to them. The power switch has a built in clear dust cover, which is a nice touch to keep unwanted sawdust out of your electrical controls. The only issue with the controls of this saw is that there are no markings on the speed control. This is not a big deal for me, as I do a lot of my cutting by how the saw sounds and feels, but for some people, it would be nice to have some markings of speed on the control.
Raise Your Arms
Excalibur EX-30 Scroll Saw Part 1-img_5211.jpg
One of the nice features of the EX-30 is the raising top arm. I am no stranger to using a saw that is equipped with this feature. It is almost a necessity for doing fretwork. However, when you lift the top arm of the EX-30, it stays in place. This took a little while to get used to. After all, now I had to raise and lower the arm instead of letting gravity do the work for me. It only took a short while to get used to this and I found it to be a great function. Having the arm in the raised position, freed both hands for blade changes, work positioning, table waxing etc. Just like everything else on this saw, this function is adjustable as well. You can add or take away the tension that holds the arm in place. As for my personal preference, I like the arm when it stays put after I raise it.
Summary
In summary, this is by far the best saw that I have had the pleasure of working on. With calibration abilities and full adjustments of all gauges, this saw has a quality feel to it that is unmatched by any other that I have used. The motor is whisper quiet and powerful with no reduction in torque during tough cuts in thicker stock. The steel construction makes for a heavy machine with minimal vibration and a sturdiness that is immediately apparent. It has an extra large work surface, which provides full support of even the largest of scrolling projects. The on board dust blower is fully adjustable and provides the perfect amount of air flow to keep your cutting lines clear of dust without filling your shop with airborne dust particles. The tilting head and angle guides are accurate and easily adjustable with positive stops at popular angles. Working on this saw was a pleasure for me from start to finish and I look forward to continuing my work on the Excalibur.
An added bonus in this entire testing experience was the helpful advice and assistance that I receive from my local General International representative. A phone call was all that was required to get as much or as little assistance as I required. With a couple of in-home visits and several phone conversations, he made me feel comfortable with the tool and its operation. With good reason, this man stands behind his product and after working with the saw, I can understand why. A great big thank you goes out to him. He is a true professional in every sense of the word. If you are serious about getting into scrolling as a hobby, consider General International and the Excalibur EX-30 or EX-21 as an option. You will not be disappointed with this saw. I know that I’m not.

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post #5 of 24 Old 07-19-2010, 09:43 PM
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Hey Ken,
Nice review, very thorough. I have an excalibur that I bought at a tool show here about thirty years ago. It isn't as fancy as yours, and back then, you had to supply your own motor. I'm not even sure if my table tilts. I'll have to take a picture of it and post it. The saw cuts fine, like you noticed, no vibration. It was the smoothest saw at the show. I think I paid around $500.00 US for it way back then.
Mike Hawkins
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post #6 of 24 Old 07-19-2010, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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I would love to see a picture of that Mike. Thanks for the compliment on the review. I did the original in a microsoft word program and I got some pointers on setup from a certain members peppermill and tool handle tutorial. I won't mention any names, but I think his initials are Mike Hawkins.

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post #7 of 24 Old 07-21-2010, 02:31 PM
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Great review Kenbo, well done!! The photographs are particularly welcome since I'm what they call a "visual learner". I understand things better when I see them as they're being explained to me. I have an old Rockwell/Delta 24" scroll saw that uses thumb screws to hold the blades. This makes blade changing a chore sometimes. How about a pic or two on how you change blades on the Excalibur? I've always been happy with the 24" throat on my Delta. I bet that 32" throat is just awesome!
John
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post #8 of 24 Old 07-21-2010, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks John. The 30" is awesome. I am very happy with it thus far and have cut several (7) projects on it so far. Unbelievable piece of equipment. As far as photos for the blade installation, in the section entitled "Okay, Now this is Tense" there are some photos of the blade retainers. With the Excalibur, the blades are held with large thumbscrews which are very comfortable to use and hold the blade very securely. If you like, I will post a more clear photo, with labels. It's no trouble, that's just how I roll.
Ken

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post #9 of 24 Old 07-22-2010, 02:46 AM
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Kenbo nice review, your getting to be an expert on writing these things.
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post #10 of 24 Old 07-24-2010, 02:39 PM
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I took another look at your photos under "New this is tense" and I think I see how the blade attaches. I'm jealous of the large thumbscrews you have to work with. Much bigger and easier to manipulate than my Rockwell.
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post #11 of 24 Old 01-14-2012, 11:54 PM
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Nice Kenbo I love mine to got it for birthday in December i have tried them all

All Pictures Posted by Bigcouger are owned by Roy Millsaps an is not to be copied or used with advertisements without the written consent of said person. Pictures are here to help guide you in your woodworking abilities an to encourage you in your wood working hobbies, not to be copied
Thank you
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post #12 of 24 Old 03-02-2012, 07:13 PM
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Kenbo, I just read your review and what a great job you did. I have looked at your photo section and noticed that you had two (2) Dewalt scroll saws in your well layed out shop. Did you get rid of either one to make room for the new saw? I have a Dewalt I bought back in 1999.

Paul
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post #13 of 24 Old 03-02-2012, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pvechart View Post
Kenbo, I just read your review and what a great job you did. I have looked at your photo section and noticed that you had two (2) Dewalt scroll saws in your well layed out shop. Did you get rid of either one to make room for the new saw? I have a Dewalt I bought back in 1999.

Paul
I did get rid of one of the DeWalts Paul. The Excalibur now sits in its place. I still have one DeWalt left. My shop has seen many changes over the years and I guess, one of these days, I should take some updated photos of the shop.
Thanks for the kinds words.
Ken

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post #14 of 24 Old 04-30-2012, 12:28 PM
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Motor adjusting on Excalibur 21

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenbo View Post
Attachment 15873
The motor controls on the EX-30 are conveniently located at the front of the saw close to the operator. Both the power switch and speed controller are solid units and have a great, quality feel to them. The power switch has a built in clear dust cover, which is a nice touch to keep unwanted sawdust out of your electrical controls. The only issue with the controls of this saw is that there are no markings on the speed control. This is not a big deal for me, as I do a lot of my cutting by how the saw sounds and feels, but for some people, it would be nice to have some markings of speed on the control.
Raise Your Arms
Attachment 15874
One of the nice features of the EX-30 is the raising top arm. I am no stranger to using a saw that is equipped with this feature. It is almost a necessity for doing fretwork. However, when you lift the top arm of the EX-30, it stays in place. This took a little while to get used to. After all, now I had to raise and lower the arm instead of letting gravity do the work for me. It only took a short while to get used to this and I found it to be a great function. Having the arm in the raised position, freed both hands for blade changes, work positioning, table waxing etc. Just like everything else on this saw, this function is adjustable as well. You can add or take away the tension that holds the arm in place. As for my personal preference, I like the arm when it stays put after I raise it.
Summary
In summary, this is by far the best saw that I have had the pleasure of working on. With calibration abilities and full adjustments of all gauges, this saw has a quality feel to it that is unmatched by any other that I have used. The motor is whisper quiet and powerful with no reduction in torque during tough cuts in thicker stock. The steel construction makes for a heavy machine with minimal vibration and a sturdiness that is immediately apparent. It has an extra large work surface, which provides full support of even the largest of scrolling projects. The on board dust blower is fully adjustable and provides the perfect amount of air flow to keep your cutting lines clear of dust without filling your shop with airborne dust particles. The tilting head and angle guides are accurate and easily adjustable with positive stops at popular angles. Working on this saw was a pleasure for me from start to finish and I look forward to continuing my work on the Excalibur.
An added bonus in this entire testing experience was the helpful advice and assistance that I receive from my local General International representative. A phone call was all that was required to get as much or as little assistance as I required. With a couple of in-home visits and several phone conversations, he made me feel comfortable with the tool and its operation. With good reason, this man stands behind his product and after working with the saw, I can understand why. A great big thank you goes out to him. He is a true professional in every sense of the word. If you are serious about getting into scrolling as a hobby, consider General International and the Excalibur EX-30 or EX-21 as an option. You will not be disappointed with this saw. I know that I’m not.
Hi Kenbo
I have purchased a Excalibur 21
but I can´t losen my motor even if I have losen the 3 screws
on the motor.
What am I doing wrong ?
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post #15 of 24 Old 04-30-2012, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenbo View Post
Okay, Now This is Tense.
Attachment 15869
Let’s talk blade tension for a moment. During the cutting portion of my testing there were a couple of issues that arose concerning blade tension. I found that for the first little while, blades were breaking prematurely at the point of contact in the blade retainers. After approximately six demolished blades, I decided to investigate. I found that the setscrews that were opposite of the blade retaining thumbscrews were backing off, causing the blade to be cut off in the blade retainer when tightening. A quick trip to the local building supply store was all it took to acquire some thread lock. With a small application of the thread locking liquid and a few slight adjustments, and I was back in business with the blade retainers functioning correctly.
Attachment 15870
Another issue that arose during cutting was the EX-30’s method of acquiring blade tension. I found that the tensioning lever provided an excessive amount of friction on its metal counterpart. This translated into excessive pressure having to be exerted on the lever in order to obtain proper blade tension. It is my opinion, that the excessive pressure required to tension the blade would translate into a prematurely worn out or broken tensioning lever. Again, a little common sense and a small application of some white grease made the tensioning lever work smoothly and effortlessly with little to no pressure required to obtain blade tension.
Attachment 15871
The EX-30 also provides a fine-tuning tension knob at the rear of the saw. I found that after the initial setup of the machine, I didn’t require the use of the rear knob. I would think that this is a good thing seeing that the second knob is over 30” away from you. Adjustments would require you to stand up and turn the knob at every cut but don’t worry because this knob is for fine-tuning only and adjustments are not required after the initial setup. The front tension lever provides perfect tensioning of the blade every time. The nice feature about the rear knob is the ability to raise and lower the upper saw arm by one inch. If you were to start with your arm at a higher setting and cut a piece until the blade was dull, then lower the upper arm by one inch and readjust the blade in the lower retainer it would provide you with a fresh section of the blade to cut with. This potentially doubles the use that you would get out of each blade. The blade retainers are also equipped to accept sections of band saw blade so by raising the top arm to its maximum height and inserting a section of band saw blade, you can increase your cutting thickness from 2” to 3”.
Gentlemen, Start You Engines.
Attachment 15872
The motor on the EX-30 is a 1.3 amp 400-1550 SPM motor with a sturdy speed control knob conveniently located at the front of the saw with the power switch. The motor provides a great amount of torque and kept a constant speed with no stalling, regardless what size stock I tried to cut. Even on thicker hardwoods, the motor speed was constant.
Hi Kenbo
I have purchased a Excalibur 21
but I can´t losen my motor even if I have losen the 3 screws
on the motor.
What am I doing wrong ?
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post #16 of 24 Old 04-30-2012, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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If the saw is new, it may just need a little coaxing. Loosen all 3 allen screws that hold the motor to the housing. Make sure that you loosen them enough to give plenty of space between the motor and the body of the saw. You may just need to break the seal of the new machine.

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post #17 of 24 Old 05-01-2012, 09:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenbo View Post
If the saw is new, it may just need a little coaxing. Loosen all 3 allen screws that hold the motor to the housing. Make sure that you loosen them enough to give plenty of space between the motor and the body of the saw. You may just need to break the seal of the new machine.
Thank´s Kenbo
I got the motor free for adjustment but,
It seems that I cant get the back adjustment right
I´ve tried to turn the motor forward and revers but
the blade still moving to far back.
Is there any hint that I do not know of ?

Krille
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post #18 of 24 Old 05-01-2012, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Adjusting the front to back movement on this saw is a delicate procedure that has a lot of variables controlling it. You obviously know about rotating the motor. Adjust the back knob all the way down and try the saw. If there is too much front to back movement, release the tension and raise the arm very slightly and try again. Continue until you have a front to back movement that you are happy with. As far as turning the motor, be sure to only turn it in very small increments. There is no need for large movements. It is a matter of patience and slight adjustments. If you are persistant, you should have no problems getting the performance from the saw that you desire. If you are really have serious issues with the saw, I would contant G.I. and ask for their assistance. They are far better equipped to help you than I am. I am willing to help you out, but depending on how much of an issue you have, you might have a faulty unit or you may need further assistance in adjustment that I am not qualified to guide you through. Let me know how this works out for you.

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post #19 of 24 Old 05-02-2012, 12:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenbo View Post
Adjusting the front to back movement on this saw is a delicate procedure that has a lot of variables controlling it. You obviously know about rotating the motor. Adjust the back knob all the way down and try the saw. If there is too much front to back movement, release the tension and raise the arm very slightly and try again. Continue until you have a front to back movement that you are happy with. As far as turning the motor, be sure to only turn it in very small increments. There is no need for large movements. It is a matter of patience and slight adjustments. If you are persistant, you should have no problems getting the performance from the saw that you desire. If you are really have serious issues with the saw, I would contant G.I. and ask for their assistance. They are far better equipped to help you than I am. I am willing to help you out, but depending on how much of an issue you have, you might have a faulty unit or you may need further assistance in adjustment that I am not qualified to guide you through. Let me know how this works out for you.
Hi Kenbo
I managed to rotate the motor, so for now it´s pretty good.
But now I got another problem.
When I turn the speedknob up to approx.80 % of max
where I normaly use for sawing
the saw vibrating very much
I have attached it with bolt to a fretsaw stand.
and it´s flat on the floor.
Do you have any hints about this ?

Krille
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post #20 of 24 Old 05-03-2012, 07:29 AM Thread Starter
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I have mine on a regular scroll saw stands. There should be no vibrations. At this point in time, I would be contacting the manufacturer. I'm thinking at this point, that you may have a faulty unit. That saw is dead quiet and super smooth with little to no vibrations. I would definitely be getting a replacement unit and contacting G.I.
Let me know how this works out. I'm interested to see what they have to say.

There is a very fine line between a "hobby" and a "mental illness"
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