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Microlux Tilt Arbor Saw Problems


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I've had this saw for 10 or so years. It's always worked well, and still does-under certain conditions.

 

I've cut thin pieces before with an 80 tooth blade and a zero clearance insert. I want a smoother finish, so I bought a couple of 230 tooth blades (.020" and .025" thick) and some new inserts.

 

I cut the slot for the insert and notice a lot of "flash" around the slot-where the plastic insert has melted. I scrape it off till it's flush and try to cut a piece.

 

I'm cutting boxwood, about 3/16" thick by about .08-09" wide slabs (that's the plan at least). When I start to feed the boxwood into the blade, the motor bogs down a LOT, and the whole saw starts making grinding noises and shakes a lot. I take the plastic insert out and put in the standard Al one (I can't cut as thin, so they're about .125" wide slabs). Not a bit of trouble. I put the plastic insert back in, and it bogs down again and starts shaking again.

 

I've tried both the .020 and the .025 thick blades-no help. I've checked to make sure the arbor centers the thinner blades-it does with no runout or vibration. I've varied the speeds from slow to fast-again, no help. And I did install the blades with the cutting teeth facing the correct direction.

 

I've checked all the fasteners (fence, insert, arbor screw) and they're all tight.

 

I've gone thru 2 zero clearance inserts to see if there was a problem that the first one was causing, No help.

 

I couldn't find a web site or user group to ask this problem, which is why I've asked here.

 

Any thoughts? I'll try the 80 tooth blade again tomorrow and leave some additional material for finishing up-if it works.

 

Right now I'm stumped, so any advice would be appreciated.

 

Thanks,

 

Harvey

 

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I agree with Mark. It sounds like your insert is rubbing on the side of the blade. If I'm not mistaken, your blade has no set and you have a  true  'zero clearance' insert. Do what Mark said or sand the inside of the slot a little to give the blade a chance.

 

Alex

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I have the same saw, and as I learned from my father, I made my own zero clearance inserts from wood.  They are not difficult to make and are much cheaper than buying from Micro-Mark.  I have used them many times and have had none of your problems with the plastic inserts.

    

Dave

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Sorry for the late response. Mark and Alex, thank you! I've been away from the shop all day, but it does make sense. I'll widen the slot tonight and try again.

 

Dave, I thought about making my own inserts, but the thickness of the plate didn't seem to fit a standard plywood thickness. I could thin one out of hardwood, but my thickness sander isn't working. I was going to take them to a local plastics shop and have some made, but they moved. I finally got lazy and ordered them from MicroMark. I have made zero clearance inserts for my 10" table saw-they work well.

 

Thanks again for the help! I'll report back when I try later tonight.

 

Harvey

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The zero clearance insert for my Proxxon FET saw is 2.54mm thick, or 0.1". You might make a reasonable one by gluing together two sheets of plywood, one 0.8mm thick, the other 1.6mm. The remaining 0.1mm could be made up of a sheet of paper in between if you find the glue doesn't do that. At least that's what I am just about to try. If it doesn't work I'll let you know!

 

Tony

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Mark and Tony,

 

Thanks for those ideas. I can take part of the old insert and glue it to the bottom for stiffness.

 

Until you brought up the clearance issue, I was thinking the problem could be flexing of the plastic insert or flexing of the blade. The insert stiffening will help one of those worries.

 

Thanks again,

 

Harvey

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Well, that didn't work. . .

 

The zero clearance insert has about .06" clearance on each side of the blade. I cut up and old plastic insert to glue to the bottom to stiffen it up.

 

When I run my piece thru, the first .25" goes well, then the motor slows down, it starts to grind and I can see the blade wobble-even after I remove the workpiece. I turn the saw off, and the blade and arbor are tight. No movement in any direction. I checked runout again, and the blade is centered on the arbor. I checked that the blade is parallel to the fence-it is.

 

I'm perplexed. I was going to take the table off to look at the motor/arbor attachment, but the screw heads are stripping out.

 

I guess I'll go find another tool I can break. . . :angry:

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just a shot in the dark here, with it being a 230 tooth blade try putting it in the wrong way round as we know it, it will not do any harm if it doesn`t work. When i need a fine cut on my box wood strips i.e. no splintering i turn the blade the wrong way round and it works. (stops those little grabbing moments)

Edited by williamDB
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Mark,

 

I checked-yes the blade is parallel to the fence. I'll check again.

 

William,

 

It's not grabbing-the motor is loading up. But I may try flipping the blade around anyway.

 

Here's a thought-could I be overloading the motor? I haven't cut much boxwood on the saw before. It's mainly been basswood. I've been trying to make a long (>1") 3/16" deep cut in boxwood in one pass. I'm wondering if it would work better with multiple passes. I don't know about the Micro-Mark/Proxxon saw capabilities, but I do recall seeing that the Preac saws are underpowered.

 

I'd look into getting a Byrnes saw, but I can't justify it. Besides, I'd need to find a home for my current saw (and it does work-just not in the capacity I want right now)

 

I was going to take the table off to see if there was anything loose in the motor attachment to the table. Screws are too soft and too tight. I can't feel anything loose, so I'll have to assume it's okay.

 

I'll check the parallelism of the blade to fence again.

 

Thanks again for all the suggestions.

 

Harvey

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Mark,

 

I think you're right. I finally was able to cut the pieces. It took 3-4-5 passes to get them cut. Another thing I noticed when doing this. After the first couple of passes (the slot in the wood was fairly deep then) I noticed that, in trying to hold the workpiece against the fence, I was squeezing the blade. So I was very careful how much I pressed against the fence, and backed the work out whenever the motor bogged down.

 

I checked parallelism again-.004" out from one forward edge to aft edge of the blade. Is that enough to cause binding?

 

Thanks,

 

Harvey

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Thanks Mark. I think you've found the basic problem. I guess I need to think about how to solve this problem. Any place sells gage blocks in 1/32" increments?

 

But now we know the problem to address. And that's progress!!

 

Harvey

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Harvey,

 

I reread your problem and I know what you are referring to, however, there is no fix yet of which I know. If the blade does in fact have some clearance, then the insert is not the problem. I have the Proxxon saw which is the same as yours and I also have the Byrnes saw. If I am not mistaken, the cut is fine for a few inches or so then the blade deforms, vibrates, and cuts very rough ruining the cut. Stop and the blade runs true again so you push a little and repeat the process again. This does not happen with the Byrnes saw. You are not the only one with this problem with the Proxxon saw which, as I said, is essentially yours. I have even put stiffeners on the blade which helped but did not entirely eliminate the problem. I might add this happens only when ripping. The problem does not occur when crosscutting. I wish I had a mechanical explanation for what is happening but I think it has to do with the design of the blade more than the saw.

 

Soft wood like bass wood is not so much of a problem but I don't use bass wood much...mostly hard woods. The only thing I can recommend at this point is to try feeding the wood very slow, painfully slow. That does help somewhat.

 

Keep this discussion up until someone more knowledgeable has a correct answer of the 'why' if not a 'cure'.

 

I live in Southern California and know of a blade designer and maker of carbide blades. I think I will take the Proxxon blade to him and explain the problem. Maybe they will know the cause and make a blade for ripping which will be a cure. I will, of course, let you know the results. Just thought of this while typing. It might mean a little thicker blade and/or kerf but, hey, better to be able to make a good cut.

 

Alex

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Dave,

 

The MircroMark/Proxxon has a variable speed motor, and problem happens regardless of blade/motor speed.

 

Alex, thank you for your comments. I'm glad I'm not the only one with this problem. I always thought an underpowered saw would just slow down till the motor stalled. The blade flex is one of the things that has me confused. I thought I would see an improvement (reduction in blade flex) going from the .020 thick blade to the .025" thick blade, but it didn't make a difference. My old 80 tooth blade is .032" thick, and I didn't have problems with it before-but then, I wasn't cutting boxwood before.

 

As far as ripping vs. cross-cutting, what I've been doing with my cannon carriage sides is kind of a long cross cut (perpendicular to the grain as opposed to ripping parallel to the grain). But the end result is similar-a long cut thru a thick section without a lot of room for the dust to escape the blade. I thought cutting completely thru the piece would help this problem, since the sawdust would have more of an escape path.

 

I too would like to see someone with more understanding of this chime in. I'd like to know more about why Jim's saw doesn't have these problems.

 

Thanks again everybody!

 

Harvey

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Harvey,

 

How big are the teeth on that blade? I looked up the saw and if I got the right one it is a 3 1/4" diameter blade. At 230 teeth that looks like the teeth are almost the same depth as the blade thickness. I doubt that gives enough to clear the sawdust unless you are feeding very slow. Your blade deformation may be due to forces when the sawdust starts to bind the blade at its rim. I doubt you could cut anything over about 1/16" in a single pass with that blade.

 

Hoss

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Harvey,

 

What Huss said..... also I find that putting Pledge (furniture polish) on the blades helps also.  Along on the blades and tables of the scroll saw and the table saw. :)  The polish seems to keep the blade cleaner and clears the chips faster.  Before I started doing this, the blades would get gummed up really fast.

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Just an added note. My Proxxon exhibits the problem even with the Proxxon 32 tooth carbide blade which has a set of sorts ( teeth are wider than the blade and take a better 'bite' than your slitting blade).

 

I've discussed this problem on the Proxxon Yahoo Group. Others complain about this but no one has solved it. There is a mechanical solution...just have to find it. That is why I think I might get some results by going to the blade company I mentioned in my last post. I'll try to go this week.

 

Alex

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Hoss,

 

You're correct about the tooth height. I'll have to go slow and clear the blade more.

 

Mark,

 

I put wax on my big table saw before and it made a huge difference. I guess I figured that I hadn't used this saw very much and it wouldn't benefit. I'll give it a try. BTW, on my 10" table saw they recommend using Carnuba wax. I don't know if Pledge leaves a deposit on the wood or not (but it has a nice lemony scent :P ). They say carnuba won't.

 

Alex,

 

I haven't had this problem with either the 24 tooth or 80 tooth blade. But then I haven't tried cutting boxwood with them. Also, I didn't know that there was a Yahoo group for Proxxon saws. I'll be joining it soon.

 

Thanks again everybody!

 

Harvey

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Harvey,

 

I was stripping off 1/8" planks off 1/16" in walnut stock and I ran into this a couple times today with the 168 tooth blade.  It seems the feed speed is what does it.  Too fast and the motor "bucked" and tried to kick the wood back.  I suspect it's sawdust build up.  New blade and freshly waxed.... So, I grabbed piece of boxwood and piece of cherry. Too fast on the feed speed and it bucks.  I'm not feeding painfully slow, but the feed speed needs to be less than the 80-tooth blade.

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I fight constantly with this same dang saw and hate the thing.

 

If you buy a thicker slotting blade it may help. They are actualy jewlers slotting blades and available in many sizes and tooth numbers.. I get mine from MSC industrial supply for a great price and fast delivery.

 

I've also found the plastic inserts to get hot enough to melt slightly. I've made various plates. The blade deforming under RPM while cutting is a real issue with this saw. My saw is now sounding terminal after 4 years of use. I probably use it more often and harder than intended, but really.........

 

This saw has it's problems, not to mention the thickness sander they sell. I will never again buy machines fron this company, they were rude about helping with the thickness sander. I finally jusy modified it enough to make it get by.  I'll save up for a Byrnes unit of each. Right now I'm using a 6  inch slotting blade on my larger old saw. Does everything way better.

 

Von Stetina

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Thanks Von Stetina. One of the reasons I use the thinner blades is to cut down on waste due to the wide blade kerfs on my big saw. I have a 24tooth Carbide blade that I tried for a bit, but it ate too much wood. I also didn't notice any improvement between the .020" slitting blade and the .025"slitting blade. I may try my 80 tooth blade-it's .032" kerf and worked well before (but I wasn't cutting boxwood then).

 

I'll check with MSC to see what they have.

 

I probably shouldn't be so stingy when cutting the boxwood. I have a big box of pear and maple and cherry that I could use (and refill with no problems) but I really like the look of the boxwood.

 

I've thought about buying a Byrnes saw too. But I can't justify it (and I have a friend who will let me use his :D )

 

Yes, the plastic inserts melt. I have to cut away the melted plastic so I have a smooth cutting surface. I may make some up out of hardwood and plywood to stiffen the insert area. I glued 2 of the inserts together and it's still pretty soft.

 

Thanks for your comments and suggestions!

 

Harvey

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I'm still working out how best to use my Proxxon FET. I reckon the comment about it being underpowered is correct as I find it is very sensitive to the combination of thickness and density of wood. To get round it I slice the bigger blocks (25mm square)into blocks about 5 or 6mm square using the large cross-cut blade with the wide tungsten teeth -- this just seems to chew through anything without a problem. I then cut those blocks into smaller blocks using the 80 tooth 'super cut' blade which has a kerf of about 1mm, and it's only after that I use the slitting blades. I'm still learning, but so far this seems to work quite well for me with oak, apple and pear.

 

The other thing I do is to wipe wax from my Liberon wax stick over the blade and make sure it's clean. That seems to help quite a bit as others have already said.

 

The problem I still struggle with is working with the combination of locking the longitudinal stop and the guide with the scale markings. Once I lock the stop to the guide I find it a bit unpredictable when locking the stop to the table. This makes it fiddly to achieve an exact distance from the saw. Unfortunately the solution for another Proxxon saw using the Accuriser is not available for the FET. So if anyone can provide advice on this I'd be glad.

 

Tony

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