Trouble Aligning Delta Table Saw - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 26 Old 02-15-2020, 05:29 PM Thread Starter
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Trouble Aligning Delta Table Saw

I have a 10" Delta contractor's saw (model 34-444) that I'm trying to get the blade aligned on and am running into some trouble. It's pretty far out of true: from the right miter slot I'm measuring the outfeed as ~45 thou closer than the infeed. That's about 3/64!



The thing I am butting my head up against is that I am able to get the front/infeed to measure pretty close to true by loosening the trunnion screws and tapping the table top with a mallet: but when I tighten the screws up again the act of tightening them pushes the top right back where it was.


(I am trying to adjust the front because I already adjusted the back, and there isn't any further for it to move. That's how out of alignment it is. So effectively the back got pushed away from miter slot, and now the front needs to get pushed toward the miter slot.)


I am measuring from the same spot on the blade. There is a bit of wobble when I rotate the blade around, but not much: about 0.005".


At this point I'm thinking I need to do a more complete break down of the saw, something like detailed at https://woodgears.ca/delta_saw/alignment.html. But I'd really like to avoid that if it isn't necessary, and I'm also worried that this much of a misalignment could be a larger problem with the arbor or something else I'd need to think about. So before I take on the larger project of moving the very heavy table top I'm posting this in the hopes somebody will have some clever tips :). Any input on how to best approach this successfully is definitely appreciated, thanks!
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post #2 of 26 Old 02-15-2020, 05:49 PM
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First of all......

Use the longest steel scale you own, 12" or 18" or even 24" next to the blade's plane, no teeth touching it at full height. Use strong rare earth magnets to hold it in place on the table. Now you can measure to the right side slot at each end of the scale who's length makes the measurement much more accurate. You can use a tri-square with the body into the slot and the blade reaching to the left and just kissing the scale. A feeler gauge will tell you when you are close. OR you can use a vernier caliper with the depth bar.

https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f27/...er-slot-11185/







Backing up a bit ...loosen the trunnion bolts front and rear to see which way they are allowed to move by the bolt shoulders. Try to center it by shifting to the right and left finding the center of the allowed movement. Now, remove any washers under the bolts one at a time and replace them with new star washers. This is what's making the trunnions settle back in the same place each time, the washers are probably bent.

Once the trunnions are centered, accurate measuring can begin as stated above. Snug the centermost bolt first, the remeasure. Then snug the others, and remeasure. That should get you as accurate as needed for woodworking.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-15-2020 at 06:13 PM.
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post #3 of 26 Old 02-15-2020, 06:28 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply! I realize now I should have given more details on how I'm currently measuring: I was erring on the side of brevity to focus on where I was struggling rather than being overly long winded about everything I have done, but I can see that I erred too far and more context will probably help. My apologies.



I'm currently measuring the distance with a dial indicator in a jig: picture attached. I believe I've made the jig accurately enough for my current purposes: it has play of about 0.005" within the miter slot, but by holding it steady against one edge of the miter slot I think it's pretty accurate. I also believe it's accurate because I also measured the blade alignment using a combination square (though without the addition of a straight edge) when I made the little jig for the indicator & came up with 3/64" that way, so the two approaches have agreed. Do you think the using a straight edge with the combination square will be more accurate than the setup I have with the dial indicator?


I will spend some time next trying to get all the trunnions centered, that's a good suggestion, thanks. One odd thing: there are no washers on the trunnion bolts. I presume I should put some on as part of this process since they'll prevent the alignment from shifting once I can get it adjusted properly?
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post #4 of 26 Old 02-15-2020, 06:51 PM
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Why use a straight edge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wfleming View Post
Thanks for the reply! I realize now I should have given more details on how I'm currently measuring: I was erring on the side of brevity to focus on where I was struggling rather than being overly long winded about everything I have done, but I can see that I erred too far and more context will probably help. My apologies.

I'm currently measuring the distance with a dial indicator in a jig: picture attached. I believe I've made the jig accurately enough for my current purposes: it has play of about 0.005" within the miter slot, but by holding it steady against one edge of the miter slot I think it's pretty accurate. I also believe it's accurate because I also measured the blade alignment using a combination square (though without the addition of a straight edge) when I made the little jig for the indicator & came up with 3/64" that way, so the two approaches have agreed. Do you think the using a straight edge with the combination square will be more accurate than the setup I have with the dial indicator?


I will spend some time next trying to get all the trunnions centered, that's a good suggestion, thanks. One odd thing: there are no washers on the trunnion bolts. I presume I should put some on as part of this process since they'll prevent the alignment from shifting once I can get it adjusted properly?

The only portion of the exposed blade you can measure is about 8" long. Now use a 24" scale and you have multiplied that length by 3 times, much more accurate. Accuracy is relative however. Typically there is some runout in the combination of blade and arbor. By simply rotating the blade 90 degrees while holding the arbor still, then measuring the runout at each 90 degree position, you may find it's "sweet spot" where it's less.


The trunnion bosses may not be perfectly flat, just rough castings. This allows them to "self locate" rather than precisely position when the bolts are snugged up. As particular as this process is, you would think manufacturers would give the bosses more attention.

Some saws do use star washers, others not. Mine don't have them but they are from the late 1980's so I can't vouch for newer saws.
They will certainly bite in and make the trunnions secure IF you do choose to use them. Personally, I don't think they are necessary unless the bosses are very uneven.

One tip I have after having done this process many times, is to tip the saw on it's back allowing access to the trunnion bolts while also measuring the slot to blade or scale on the top side. On a contractor type saw, you would remove the motor and mounting bracket. I haven't owned one of those in many years. Mine are direct drive, with the motors within the cabinet, but I still tip them on their backs for adjustments. I'm too old to be crawling around underneath making adjustments, and then getting up and testing my results, back and forth.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-15-2020 at 09:31 PM.
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post #5 of 26 Old 02-16-2020, 12:22 PM
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I picked up a Delta 34-444 table saw and cleaned it up for my son because he is remaking his first house. To solve the problem that you are having I bought a PALS kit

https://www.amazon.com/LINE-INDUSTRI.../dp/B0036B0V22

I also needed to enlarge a couple of the holes a bit to be able to get the alignment that I wanted. Do a google search for "PALS table saw" and you will find the manual as well as several sources for these. I just posted a link to one of them.

You will find that the 34-444 is a pretty good and accurate table saw, once you get everything adjusted correctly. My son's saw turned out to be every bit as accurate as my Unisaw, and he is quite happy with it. It's biggest design failure is that there is absolutely no control for the saw dust. It goes everywhere. A bag is available that hangs under the saw to catch what falls straight down, but it does little to stop it from flying. There is also a plastic cover with a 4" hose connection that you can attach to the under side of the saw, but with the back wide open, it doesn't completely solve the problem either.

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post #6 of 26 Old 02-16-2020, 01:17 PM
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using the dial indicator on the same flat area of a tooth is the best method.
if the blade has any run out - and almost every blade does - laying a long rule alongside the blade introduces a magnified error at the ends.
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post #7 of 26 Old 02-16-2020, 02:01 PM
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Yep, that's the reason for it .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCT2 View Post
using the dial indicator on the same flat area of a tooth is the best method.
if the blade has any run out - and almost every blade does - laying a long rule alongside the blade introduces a magnified error at the ends.

By magnifying the "error", by increasing the length of the plane of the blade, you will get a more accurate result. If there is "error" then that would be good to know. You can also rotate the blade 90 degrees and see what the results are for each 90 degrees position .......

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #8 of 26 Old 02-16-2020, 06:32 PM
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you don't understand the effect of run out on a blade.

assume you have a saw where by mystical unseen methods the axle is absolutely 90 degrees perfect to the miter slot.
mount a saw blade with 0.010 total run out, lay a long rule on it and the rule may not be parallel to the miter slot.
depends on where you put it on the blade circumference.



of course, you could use the dial micrometer to look for two perfectly planar spots at 180' degrees apart - but since you have the dial micrometer out and handy, you could just turn the blade to measure the same spot front and back to within 0.0005 inches.

which should be plenty accurate for those who feel an alignment of +/- 1/16th is entirely suitable.
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post #9 of 26 Old 02-16-2020, 07:25 PM
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I respect your opinion and your approach.

If you want to, or need to measure out to 0.005", then be my guest. I feel that's way too much "accuracy" for woodworking. Not every one has a dial indicator, even though you can get one for $20.00 at the H-F store, I looked at some today. I own about 3 or 4 of them from digital, to dial to old the school read between the line types, but I choose not to use one to adjust the blade to miter slot relationship. I've used a tri-square for many years and get perfectly fine results. No binding, no smoking, no burning on my rip cuts. I do use the proper blades for each type of cuts, rip and crosscut so that makes a big difference.

As far as blade runout, when the blade is spinning at 4500 RPMs the kerf is what it is. It may or may not be the "dimension" stated on the blade by the manufacturer. What matters is that you make your cuts based on the kerf your saw makes. You can tell by crosscutting a scrap and scribing either side of the kerf on the table top or if your saw has a kerf index use that, OR you can start a very small kerf and adjust your workpiece to cut to the mark.


The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #10 of 26 Old 02-16-2020, 10:12 PM
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It doesn't matter what other tools or measuring devices you have, do this first and your problems will go away. Go to some place that sells garage door hardware. (I don't remember seeing these in either my local Lowes or Home Depot. I got mine from Ace hardware.) Purchase some hardened washers. Replace the washers on the saw with the hardened ones.

The reason is that sometimes the washers develop a warp as they are tightened. Once the washer is warped or develops a burr you will not be able to align.

You'll probably pay $10 or $15 for enough washers to do the job but the grief that you will avoid is worth a $zillion.
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post #11 of 26 Old 02-17-2020, 10:11 AM
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How timely this post is. I logged on today to ask about this same issue. I have a Delta 36-725 10" contractor saw. I have only used the miter gauge a few times since owning this saw. I noticed yesterday that the distance from the leading teeth on the blade is less than the trailing edge. After reading these posts, should I be concerned? There is about 1/64" difference and maybe my OCD has got me overly concerned. Thanks for your help.
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post #12 of 26 Old 02-17-2020, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoThankyou View Post
It doesn't matter what other tools or measuring devices you have, do this first and your problems will go away. Go to some place that sells garage door hardware. (I don't remember seeing these in either my local Lowes or Home Depot. I got mine from Ace hardware.) Purchase some hardened washers. Replace the washers on the saw with the hardened ones.

The reason is that sometimes the washers develop a warp as they are tightened. Once the washer is warped or develops a burr you will not be able to align.

You'll probably pay $10 or $15 for enough washers to do the job but the grief that you will avoid is worth a $zillion.
I forgot that I did this too. There are higher grade hardened washers available, just like bolts. Lowes and Home Depot even sell them, but they will be in the specialty hardware section, in the drawers in quantities of 1 or 2 sealed in plastic bags. They are usually not plain silver color either. The ones that I bought had a tan/gold finish. I replaced all of the washers on the bolts that hold the trunnions of my son's saw, as well as buying the PALS kit.

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post #13 of 26 Old 02-17-2020, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomCT2 View Post
using the dial indicator on the same flat area of a tooth is the best method.
if the blade has any run out - and almost every blade does - laying a long rule alongside the blade introduces a magnified error at the ends.
agree with this. the issue with using the blade and straight edge is that it does not account for a bent blade.

And, try loosening all 4 bolts at the same time.
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post #14 of 26 Old 02-17-2020, 12:47 PM
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Bent blades?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TimPa View Post
agree with this. the issue with using the blade and straight edge is that it does not account for a bent blade.

And, try loosening all 4 bolts at the same time.
https://www.amazon.com/Freud-FREUD-1...1&sr=8-2-fkmr0


Bent blades belong in the trash. To align a table saw, use an alignment disc,which has no teeth, is precision ground and be done with it. It's a once in a dog's life ordeal so d it the correct way. Bent blades can be hammered flat by a professional sharpening service WD Quinn, a member here, does them:



The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #15 of 26 Old 02-17-2020, 01:04 PM
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You don't need a disk to align the saw, a length of flat iron with a 5/8" hole drilled in it works just fine, measure it at one end of opening then flip it over to opposite end, which is actually no different than measuring from the same tooth on a saw blade.

This is not "rocket surgery" and there is no need for sensitive measuring devices, just a good sense of touch and patience.

If you can find hardened washers use them, otherwise buy new ordinary washers they will be fine the first time they are used, just don't use the original washers.

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post #16 of 26 Old 02-17-2020, 04:03 PM
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Yep, you don't "need" an alignment/sanding disc ......

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankC View Post
You don't need a disk to align the saw, a length of flat iron with a 5/8" hole drilled in it works just fine, measure it at one end of opening then flip it over to opposite end, which is actually no different than measuring from the same tooth on a saw blade.

This is not "rocket surgery" and there is no need for sensitive measuring devices, just a good sense of touch and patience.

If you can find hardened washers use them, otherwise buy new ordinary washers they will be fine the first time they are used, just don't use the original washers.

They are nice to have regardless, since they can be used for accurate sanding of miters using a miter gauge as well as aligning the table saw blade. They are NOT cheap, but that's because they are precision ground I think to 0.002", but I won't swear to that number. Somehow I ended up with two of them over the years.

Those older members may remember niki who was a wealth of information. He posted this in this thread I started:
https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f27/...er-slot-11185/
Hi Woodnthings

I also use this method....but, as the others said, it's "almost"....

By extending the blade line to 24" (in my case 30") and checking the distances at the ends of the straight edge, you can minimize the error (misalignment)....well, instead of measuring the error (misalignment) over the 8"~9" of the blade, you are multiplying it a lot by checking the error over 24"...

You can see one example here
http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15608

And another example here
http://www.ukworkshop.co.uk/forums/v...502&highlight=

Please note that in both cases, I'm lifting the straight edge off the table (to cancel any drag or binding) and, I'm using a caliper for better accuracy......and I think that if you get some 0.002"~0.004" on the 24", you are good to go...on 8"~9" of the blade, you'll get much less...

I call the above adjustment/test "Static Check"...

After I finish the "Static Check", I like to fine tune (or fine test) the blade using the "Dynamic Check"...yes, yes with the blade running at full speed...with the "Dynamic Check", all the Arbor run-out and the blade run out (and every blade has a run-out) are already "Included"...you can see it here
http://www.ridgidforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=20188

By the way, all the checks/tests should be done with the blade a "Full High" position....correct me if I'm wrong but, on the pictures, your blade doesn't look to me at "Full high"...

Regards
niki

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #17 of 26 Old 02-17-2020, 04:37 PM
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"As far as blade run out, when the blade is spinning at 4500 RPMs the kerf is what it is. It may or may not be the "dimension" stated on the blade by the manufacturer."


yes - and if you blow it by laying a long longer longest straight edge, at an angle to the arbor due to blade run out, the longer the straight edge the bigger the "false" error is indicated at the ends - and you will make the misalignment worse - the wider the kerf becomes, and the harder the saw works.


there are few blades that do not have a run out after even moderate use. a couple thou run out, that small angle extended out 18-24" becomes 1/16th, or more.
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post #18 of 26 Old 02-17-2020, 04:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gm hops View Post
How timely this post is. I logged on today to ask about this same issue. I have a Delta 36-725 10" contractor saw. I have only used the miter gauge a few times since owning this saw. I noticed yesterday that the distance from the leading teeth on the blade is less than the trailing edge. After reading these posts, should I be concerned? There is about 1/64" difference and maybe my OCD has got me overly concerned. Thanks for your help.

1/64 = 0.0156
I have the same saw and I've tweeked mine down to 0.003" with the rear teeth a smidge to the left, on purpose (see below)



does it matter? if you're chopping up 2x4's, no.


using the miter gauge on the left side, and the back of the blade is closer, you're apt to get 'tear out' on the top surface, since the rear teeth are moving up thru the cut.
similar issues if using on the right - whether the tear out is on the "good" side of the work piece depends on which direction the blade is heeled/cocked and which side the miter gauge is on.

there is no single answer to "does it matter" - because if matters only if it is a problem for you, others don't count.


you'll see the tear out on plywood and anything with a thin veneer - like big box white shelving - the plastic veneer chips off very easily. I try to manage my cuts on that kind of stuff so the waste piece gets any tear out/chipping . . .
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post #19 of 26 Old 02-18-2020, 09:12 PM
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Thanks Tom, I like when my OCD is justified. It seems I should first check the blade is true. Then work on making the saw true. How did you make those last minuscule adjustments? Tanks!
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post #20 of 26 Old 02-18-2020, 10:14 PM
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If blade run out really matters then ....

No need to check a random "marked" tooth for the alignment, because you may just get the worst case scenario. Better to check the plane of the blade for runout first and find the position where's it's minimal, OR use a calibration disc where the runout is less than most blades.... maybe?

What if the runout is in the arbor itself, not the blade or calibration disc? Now what to do?
https://www.youtube.com/results?sear...able+saw+arbor



It seems like the rabbit hole has more than one exit. At some point you just have to go with the best you can and call that good, then see how it performs. Your random tooth may have been the "sweet spot" for that combination of elements, who knows? Regardless, an interesting discussion without anyone getting ticked off.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 02-18-2020 at 10:18 PM.
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