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I picked up this 12" Craftsman miter saw on Craigslist mainly because it was ridiculously cheap and I figured that the dual bevel may come in handy from time to time. It actually seems to be a pretty well built saw and the dust collection is very good for a miter saw IMO (has a 2 1/2" port) however it has the common problem of the fences not being on the same plane. I searched fixes to the problem and found that many people ended up cracking or breaking the center section. Then I remembered the Delta miter saw I used to have which had 2 separate fence halves so I thought why not just cut through the center section which would make it easy to line up the fences. Can anybody think of any structural/other issues this may cause?

Next is I have never owned a belt driven miter saw nor one with a laser however I find both have unexpected benefits...this saw is much quieter than any other I have used and the laser is actually proving quite useful for quick cuts. The problem here is after running the saw for a few minutes the belt starts to squeak however it appears to be in good condition and tensioned properly. Since a new belt costs more than I paid for the saw I figured I would just spray it with some automotive belt dressing. Anybody see any issues with doing this or have another solution?

Last one for now...after running the saw for just a short while I happened to touch the housing where the blade lock pin is and it was pretty warm. There doesn't seem to be any issue with the bearing(s) being loose/noisy while spinning the blade freehand without the belt connected so I'm just wondering if this is normal?

Thanks in advance for any comments/suggestions!





 

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Marv, I think the curved centre section is intended to be easier to align the fence - since both sides move at the same time.

I had also read about some of these fences not being in the same plane. I cannot see structural issues if you cut in two. The fence is rarely moved once aligned. It just means you need a straight edge to align and I expect you already have one.

I wonder if the belt is expanding when warm. The automotive belt dressing may help. It should not hurt. I expect the belt has teeth or splines for extra torque.

Looks like a small size of motor. Likely pulling decent amps. May have less cooling than a larger motor, which would result in a warmer housing. As long as it is warm and does not get too hot I would not worry.

Looks like a good CL find.
 

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I have the exact same one. And all the same issues. I intend to cut the fence in half this weekend if I have a few minutes.
 

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I have the exact same one. And all the same issues. I intend to cut the fence in half this weekend if I have a few minutes.
Thanks Ryan and please post your results/pics here after you cut yours!

Marv, I think the curved centre section is intended to be easier to align the fence - since both sides move at the same time.

I had also read about some of these fences not being in the same plane. I cannot see structural issues if you cut in two. The fence is rarely moved once aligned. It just means you need a straight edge to align and I expect you already have one.

I wonder if the belt is expanding when warm. The automotive belt dressing may help. It should not hurt. I expect the belt has teeth or splines for extra torque.

Looks like a small size of motor. Likely pulling decent amps. May have less cooling than a larger motor, which would result in a warmer housing. As long as it is warm and does not get too hot I would not worry.

Looks like a good CL find.
Thanks Dave! After applying some deductive reasoning to your statement wondering if the belt expanded when warm I realized you may have unknowingly figured out the answer to both issues...if the belt expands when its warm (which I suspect it does) it starts slipping which causes the squeak. This slipping also causes heat build up in the pulley which then transfers to the housing causing it to feel really warm to the touch. As soon as I have a few minutes I'm going to test this theory by checking the tension on the belt when cold and again after I use it for a while. If it does seem to lose tension when warm I'll either re-tension it while warm or spray a little belt dressing to see if that helps.
 

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If you don't want to cut the center section of the fence - Take it to an automotive machine shop (one that does cylinder head work) and have them resurface the entire assembly so that it is true and straight. :smile:

If you dont want to spend 20 or 30 bucks to have that done BUT you have a good flat surface that you can work on (like a piece of thick glass / granite or stone) You can use some contact adhesive to stick some sandpaper to and then resurface it yourself for next to nothing...

All you would need to do is to stick the paper to your flat surface and then slide the fence back and forth over it until it is 'true'. Should not take long at all unless it is seriously messed up.

If it were 'me' - I would put the finest paper I had on the edge sander at the shop and be done with it in less than 10 seconds... I would not bother cutting the thing in two pieces. :thumbsup:
 

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If you don't want to cut the center section of the fence - Take it to an automotive machine shop (one that does cylinder head work) and have them resurface the entire assembly so that it is true and straight. :smile:

If you dont want to spend 20 or 30 bucks to have that done BUT you have a good flat surface that you can work on (like a piece of thick glass / granite or stone) You can use some contact adhesive to stick some sandpaper to and then resurface it yourself for next to nothing...

All you would need to do is to stick the paper to your flat surface and then slide the fence back and forth over it until it is 'true'. Should not take long at all unless it is seriously messed up.

If it were 'me' - I would put the finest paper I had on the edge sander at the shop and be done with it in less than 10 seconds... I would not bother cutting the thing in two pieces. :thumbsup:
Thanks for the suggestions! I may try one of those however it is WAY off so I'll probably end up just cutting it!
 

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Thanks for the suggestions! I may try one of those however it is WAY off so I'll probably end up just cutting it!

You lose strength if you cut it AND you also have to true each fence to the other every time something happens that causes stress that 'may' cause one to move. (you can only go so tight with the crappy aluminum fences and saws we have currently - These are NOT cast iron tools that can be locked down permanently for the most part)

I constantly have to adjust the Hitachi fences on the chop saw at work because they are NOT bridged like yours is...

Try to cut a piece on a chopsaw with crappy fence alignment and see what I am talking about... Things kick around and in general, it is NOT the safest way to cut. The fences being 'properly aligned' and 'straight' helps provide safety and makes cutting everything easier.

There WILL be times when you go to cut a wide board and things bind up causing 'stress' on your fences. A 'one piece' fence is inherently 'stronger' than a 'two piece' fence and you will spend less time in the long run 'tweaking' them so that everything is true and correct if you have a 'true' 'one piece' fence.

Aluminum is 'weak' compared to what we used to have - This is WHY you have a one-piece fence on your saw... Think about the threads in your aluminum base and just how 'tightly' you can secure your fence before stripping threads out.

On the bright side: Aluminum is lightweight, does NOT rust, EASY to mill / machine, and strong enough to get the job done... :smile:
 

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Thanks for the suggestions! I may try one of those however it is WAY off so I'll probably end up just cutting it!
Another option would be to glue pieces of 1/2in thick wood or MDF to the fence and then sand this to be true. I hope the fence is not off by 1/2in. You would loose a small amount of cross cut capacity, but should not impact most uses of the tool.
 

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How far off?

i have an older Craftman chop saw but the fence looks like it is the same. I am able to make minor adjustments - I assume you have done that. Also, the lock on the left side, if too tight, can throw off the fence alignment a small amount.

This is a chop saw so a 1/32 off does not matter to me. For fine work, I use my old Craftman Radial saw for crass cuts.

I would not cut the fence - it weakens the saw and make it something that was not intended by the designers. I agree with others use shims or a new fence face that is in align.
 

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Another option would be to glue pieces of 1/2in thick wood or MDF to the fence and then sand this to be true. I hope the fence is not off by 1/2in. You would loose a small amount of cross cut capacity, but should not impact most uses of the tool.
Thanks again guys and points taken! I made a little clamping jig so I'll try to bend it back first and if that doesn't work I'll consider the other options.
 

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turned out to be a simple fix...

I guess I was under the impression the fence was a "strong" piece of material however that was not the case at all. After loosening the 2 mounting bolts on one side I found I could easily flex the fence so all I did was loosen the other side, aligned one side with the blade and tightened the bolts. Then I used my "clamping jig" (a piece of 8/4 material with a straight edge) to align both sides and tightened the other 2 bolts. Worked like a champ! :smile:

 
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