useless Screwfix electric tile-cutter chips tiles

Has anybody else got the 600W FERM electric tile saw cutter (180mm diamond blade) from Screwfix, and if they have, do they think its as craap as I do.
I bought the thing (50) hoping it would cut my nice new expensive ceramic wall tiles which cost 5 a go I was expecting it to 1) cut a straight square line 2) not break lots of tiles 3) give a nice clean professional looking cut edge ie. no chips
Unfortunately, although it doesnt break the tiles, they still end up as rubbish cos it consistently chips the final 2-3mm of the cut. Ive tried scoring the glaze with an old tile scorer (Ive just bought a new one incase the old one wasnt doing its job but havent tried it yet) Ive tried pushing tile through extremely slowly. The blade is a new 180mm diamond blade. Ive tried taping the tile edge with duct tape.
Has anybody had this problem and know the solution to it. Is it the tile cutter, blade, the wall tile (31cm * 41cm and 6mm thick portuguese red biscuit, the tile scorer, scoring technique)
Does anybody have any ideas why the tiles are chipping at the end of the cut. Do diamond blades vary greatly in quality so that cheap ones chip, and expensive ones dont.
I would have bought the Plasplugs compact electric cutter which has been recommended by others on this site, but its too small to cut my tiles. (ie distance form rip guide to blade) I didnt like the larger Plasplugs models either as the rip guides I looked at in B&Q were all wobbly. And buying from Screwfix catalogue is a bit of a lottery.
Steve
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SledgehammerSteve wrote:

The chipping sounds like an overheating problem. Might be a silly question but have you got enough water in the trough? I'm assuming yours is similar to mine although not screwfix. Also the fence must be absolutely parallel to the blade. I've been cutting clay roof tiles with mine but need to cut floor tiles soon so I hope it will work for those. Bob
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Bob Minchin wrote:

Another trick is to cut teh edges first, then reverse teh tile and cut back towards the notch.
However I must say I haven't had that problem, except either running dry, or cutting too fast, or not supporting both bits of tile as the cutter breaks through the last little bit.
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There is definitely enough water. I always top upto the overflow before cutting each tile, and more than plenty is getting splashed out (most of it on me)
Secondly, I dont like the idea of cutting the edges first as then I will have to join up 2 lines and Im sure they wont join up exactly - end result - a 3rd rate looking job at the end of it.
How do you support the edges - practically speaking. I was thinking of this myself. Perhaps pushing the tile I wish to cut through the blade and against the guide by pushing against a tile off cut first against the main tile. Then theres the problem of supporting the top edge and the small 45 degree mitre on the corner. Maybe I need to make a sort of matching template out of wood which fits into the tile. Seems a bit over the top though. Im sure the pros wouldnt do this. Isnt this similar to cutting the bullnose edge of kitchen worktops cleanly. Or general wordwork - where the last bit tends to blow out. I dont mind experimenting - but with tiles at 5 a go is anybody going to provide the funds for it. Ive already used up any old spare tiles I had on lining up the guide so that it cuts perfectly square. Yet another thing that this tile saw doesnt do easily and accurately.
Im taking the chipped tiles back to the place I bought them to see if the tiler there has seen this before and can help.
[Sorry if this reply seems out of sequence and a bit behind others that youve just read - the delay it takes Google to show a post can be annoying ]
Steve
[Why cant todays tools just do the job they were designed to do properly. Christ - is it too much to ask in this day and age that we cant engineer, manufacture and buy a dammed cutter that cuts in a straight line cleanly. Im really appalled by the standard of some of the rubbish Ive bought recently. Anybody thought of keeping a common list (maybe in the faq) of tool makes and models that readers can recommend, together with a list of lemons that you would never buy again. Then when any of us wants to buy a tool (eg tilecutter, jigsaw etc we can check this list first and at the very least not end up buying yet another lemon. Im sick of wasting time and money buying duff tools only to find out after using them how duff they really are.
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SledgehammerSteve wrote:

Surely, if the fence is any good, then cutting the edges first shouldn't stop them from joining up properly.
D
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David Hearn wrote:

well you would have to flip the tile over to make teh first cut.
Possibly scratching enamels.
I have never found a fence that really worked on any tile cutter of teh budget variety.

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The plasplugs one has a ribbed bed so it's easy to see if the guide isn't straight. And if it is, you get a perfectly square cut.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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On 30 Dec 2003 14:57:05 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (SledgehammerSteve) wrote:

Oh thanks!
I ordered one of these 2 days ago, should be delivered later today. I now have an uncomfortable feeling that my confidence in it has just plummeted..... ;)
PoP
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Don't you think you are safe with modern marketing laws then? I would have thought any problems you have would get sorted double quick by screwfix once they get this link. You don't have a problem and if you do it will solve the other bloke's.
By the way, where is that newsreader thread we had about different servers a few weeks back, I can't find it. I've had to use google too, the Mailgate server is getting switched off at night these days.
And how do I use Outlook Express? (I want to load my newsgtoups onto it so I can use Mozilla which won't work with AOL. Or am I going about this all wrong?)
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SledgehammerSteve wrote:

All of the rotary diamond blade tile cutters will chip the surface of the glaze to some extent. The harder the glaze, the worse is the problem. For my small Plasplugs one I got a finer blade in Topps which was for porcelain tiles. This is better but still not perfect. If you're cutting straight lines you'll get a better and quicker cut using a conventional slide cutter. Or arrange all your cuts so they are into corners and so to a large extent hidden.
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Found out why this is happening!
The tile needs to be on the table with the glazed good side facing DOWN. Ive been merrily making perfect cuts this afternoon. It still chips but its on the unseen underside- the top side is perfect. Really pleased - I was about to return the tile-cutter.
The daft thing is that I first searched the newsgroup archive when looking for a cutter and somebody else had a really similar problem a while back. One of the suggestions then was to place tile glazed side down which in that case made the chipping much worse. That made me do it glazed side up to start with. Unfortunately the instructions didnt mention any of this - (not really important I spect ???) The tile shop didnt have a clue and said glazed side up was fine - It should work ,was the best I could get. ALL credit goes to FERM and their technical support - who told me straight away. My apologises to FERM for my previous negative comments about your tile-cutters. The rip fence is still naff - but Ive yet to see any table saw with a decent one. And the main thing is that I can get it to cut perfect cuts now - MAGIC. I have to say though, your asking for trouble if instructions dont mention important details.
[Hope some future poor so_ finds this thread and saves himself some of the grief Ive just had]
Happy New Year lads Steve
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On 31 Dec 2003 10:19:37 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (SledgehammerSteve) wrote:

I concur with the instruction "manual" supplied with this tile cutter being naff. They might as well have provided a picture postcard of the White House or something for all the use it was.
The first obstacle I found was that the water tray unclips from underneath, and the clips are held with a small nut and bolt. No instruction anywhere to advise that you have to take the nut and bolt out of the clips - it didn't seem that obvious and someone who didn't know what they were up to could easily jemmy the clips off!
PoP
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (SledgehammerSteve) wrote:
Hello SledgehammerSteve

Ah, thanks for clearing this up. I bought the unbranded 35 Screwfix one which is awaiting a thousand tiles being delivered, so I was a tad nervous on reading your message.
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When I cut some tiles with a diamond tipped wheel I found it best to make a very shallow cut so that the blade just went thought the tile at the deepest point, rather than making a deep cut where maybe an inch of blade came through the bottom of the file.
The cutter I was using allowed me to adjust the cutting depth. Can you adjust the depth with the Screwfix, or achieve the same effect by resting the tile on something like a piece of plywood with a slot in it?
Michael Chare
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On 30 Dec 2003 14:57:05 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (SledgehammerSteve) wrote:

Mine arrived a short time ago. Having unpacked it here are my first thoughts.
For 49.99 I'm quite pleased with what was in the box. Okay, it's only a tile saw bench and aside from just plugging it in to give it a spin to make sure it works I haven't used it in anger yet - that comes next week when I use it for real.
Someone commented on this newsgroup last week that these tile saw benches don't come with a stainless bench. Mine looks stainless, but maybe its just highly polished. I'm sure I'll find out soon :)
I guess there's a bit of me saying "oo-err - you put a bath tub of water immediately underneath that 240v motor.....!". For my next purchase I'm going to buy me one of those RCD plugs to make sure I've got some protection..... ;)
I looked at the price of a spare diamond blade - 25 from Screwfix. So paying another 25 for the tile saw bench isn't in my mind that significant. Seems robust from my first look, and I'm not feeling all that disappointed at this stage. I'm glad I paid the extra tenner for this one - Screwfix do a cheaper one with a less powerful motor (450W I believe - the one I've bought is 600W).
I have previous good experience with Ferm tools BTW. I know some people tend to think "cheap and cheerful", but my take is that if I don't pay very much for a tool and it does the job I bought it for then I'm a happy camper. If it doesn't do the job then I haven't lost very much.
I'm sure I've just opened up another massive debate with that last comment - we have one of these debates every couple of weeks when someone mentions "Ferm" or "cheap" ;)
PoP
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wrote:

I've had the cheaper one for a while and can't fault it for the money. It's noisy, messy but it does the job, tiled my mum and dad's kitchen floor/walls, my dad's just done his bathroom and i'm just about finished half of mine.
The table isn't stainless as mine got rust on it after it's first outing but a quick rub over before you use it and it's ok.
Mark S.
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On 30 Dec 2003 14:57:05 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (SledgehammerSteve) wrote:

I finally got to use my shiny new FERM electric tile saw today (it's now not so shiny....).
Never used one of these before, but I was reasonably impressed. However I didn't realise I would get a shower at the same time as cutting the tiles :)
Although I've only done some minor cutting thus far there is no sign whatsoever of chipping on the tile surface - nice clean cut, and I've been cutting with the shiny side up. I would think therefore that chipping may be related to type or quality of tiles (the tiles I'm using are Focus DIY cheapies).
The one thing that concerns me is that after the tile has been cut it is suitably wet, and I understand that dampness should not be a feature of tiling when laying the adhesive. Is it necessary to wait until the tiles are dry?
PoP
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Hi PoP,
I've used a Plasplugs on for ages, it's a fair bit of work and is still going strong. It also has a guard over the wheel, you lift it up to set the cut then drop it down when you make the cut. All the water drips off the underside of the guard onto the tile, no splashing.
I wouldn't worry about letting the tile dry, shake the excess off and carry on. The amount of water absorbed into each tile is small and doesn't cause a problem. The instruction on the adhesive regarding damp is to ensure that you don't tile over an ongoing damp problem, or to make sure that freshly plastered surfaces have been given adequate time to dry.
Billp
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That's the one I've got and in practice the guide works ok, but needs to be kept clean on the gripping ends. I've rarely had problems with tiles chipping at the end of the cut. Are you pushing the tile through with even pressure on either side of the wheel? If you just push on the 'wanted' part, there's a good chance one or other will chip at the end - Plasplugs supply a thin notched 'pusher' for doing small cuts. But I've not found it critical to get the pressure exactly even.
Could be you've got some difficult tiles, but I've cut dozens of different ones with mine ok.
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