Help please - tablesaw problem


I am having a problem with the alignment of my Delta contractor tablesaw and I hope somebody can help.
My saw has always been aligned almost perfectly using my TS Aligner Jr. and PALS hardware. I recently gave the saw a heavy workout using a bunch of Ipe and noticed no problems. However, after spending days cleaning out my shop and the saw from the bleeping annoying dust that Ipe generates, I find that my saw is tremendously out of alignment (like in the tenths instead of thousandths). In trying to adjust it, I find that I can not get it realigned. The rear trunnion gets all the way to the trunnion bolts and can go no further while still a bit away from alignment.
Based on how the blade comes up through my zero clearance insert, the front of the trunnion is in the same position as previously, but the back is still out of whack and rubs the insert. Previously the rear trunnion was close to centered on the bolts. Now even pushed all the way over it is not in alignment. I don't recall any serious whacks to the motor assembly or any other incidents that might have caused something to get knocked out of alignment.
In examining the arbor configuration, I can't see how the blade assembly could have shifted on the trunnion but I don't know for sure. Anybody have any idea what could have happened and how to fix it? Thoughts, suggestions?
Thanks, Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hi, Mark.
It's not clear from your description what's out of whack, and I can't see it from here, but there are detailed stories in print (e.g. Ian Kirby's t/s book) about the flexible linkage between trunnions in contractor saws. Resulting in suggestion like "set blade square to table & lock it there; make jigs for cutting non-90-deg angles."
Or, look to better portable or cabinet saw if you want to work all the angles.
HTH, John
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mark,
Not so uncommon problem as you may think. Barring any mechanical failures or parts wearing abnormally, it sounds like things simply have slipped alignment. I know you believe those PAL things are the greatest thing since sliced bread but I see them differently. They allow one to force an alignment so you don't have to correct the problem that caused you to use the PALs in the first place. I think what you're seeing is that something slipped now. Time to fix the problem instead of masking it.
I know you will not believe me when I say you can align that CS to dead-on accuracy, easily and in about 15 mins time - after you find and fix the problem. When I sold my CS, I demonstrated to the person that bought it, how easy it was to do an alignment without PALS, or using a mallet or a hammer and a chunk of 2x4 to finesse the assemblies into alignment.
I owned a Delta CS (36-445) broke a trunnion bolt and went thru several alignments getting it fixed. Found what the problem was by flipping the saw over, made a simple modification, some adjustments and aligned it. I then wrote several posts that included (then) unpublished alignment procedures from Delta. They are available on the Delta site now and tell you how to do a complete alignment check *plus* how to adjust the tie-bars. My added notes included the minor modifications I made to the front trunnion bolts ($3 replacements bolts) and some "How-To's" for fixing some of the typical problems that I noted and gotten tips from the Delta Customer Service dept.
You should be able to Google for "Delta CS Alignment" and get numerous hits. I made two rather long posts a few years back and they should still show up. If not, shout and I'll repost them - assuming I can find them again.
Bob S.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@eliminator.com says...

Thanks for the response and the info Bob. I did a search and had a bit of difficulty finding your post quickly but did find your old procedure reposted by Unisaw A100. I think that this will be a big help. I have always had poorer cuts on bevel cuts but never realized in might be my tie-bars. I also found the pdf file for your procedure on Delta's site which shows the diagrams as well.
I gather that you did some tweaking in addition to performing the procedure as listed. In your follow-up comments you mention lengthening the front trunnion bolts. Did you do any other tweaking? I seem to recall you commenting about filing the trunnion a bit.
You also mention turning the saw upside down. Any particular reason for doing this? With my table extension it would be fairly awkward and difficult to turn the machine over, so I'm wondering what your reason for doing it is and if it is particularly necessary.
Thanks again, Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mark,
Glad you found everything okay and are using the procedures from the Delta site also.
If the alignment procedures don't work and you find yourself having to resort to a hammer and a block of wood or using the PALS, then you have to ask yourself why? Obviously something is out of whack, need to find it and fix it right. That means flipping the TS over so you can work on it (so much easier), find out what the problems are and fix them.
It may be a one time PIA to remove the table but if you can't get that saw aligned without forcing it into submission, then it will be well worth your time. The modifications (bolt replacements) are explained and make it very easy to do the next alignment if ever needed. As I recall, it was a $3 fix, well worth not having skinned up knuckles and swearing at those front trunnion bolts. The mod makes the bolts easy to get to.
With the saw upside down and things loosened you can take find what's out of alignment and probably fix it with a file. The castings are not perfect and have burr's or other minor imperfections that can be cleaned up with a good 6" or 8" Bastard file or a sharpening stone to smooth and flatten the bosses. It's difficult to measure the height of each trunnion with the proper tools or a flat surface to use as a reference but luckily, doing the tie-bar alignment as per the procedures - makes that unnecessary.
Where the trunnions meet the top casting may require a bit of filing to smooth the lands but doing so is crucial. Be sure the trunnion boss and the spot it mates to on the top casting are free of any burrs and flat. In the procedures I also mention how to adjust the off-center nut that is used to adjust the amount of mesh for the gears on the blade height mechanism. With it upside down, you can now de-burr the 0 and 45 stops, set them precisely.
The big advantage of having the tablesaw turned upside down to work on it is that you can now see everything, get to it easier and learn how everything interacts during the alignment. That "seeing the big picture" will be an "Ah-Hah" moment. So when you need to make an adjustment next time, you'll understand what is happening with the whole assembly and stop wondering why something doesn't align.
After de-burring, filing several items flat, making the adjustments and cleaning and lubing everything, I could do an alignment by loosening the 4 trunnion bolts, slide the assembly around, snug up the bolts, make the adjustments and then tighten the bolts and everything stayed aligned. That saw was aligned in 15 minutes and was within the thickness of the line on my dial caliper (.0005) for tolerance - well beyond any tolerance you'll ever need on that saw.
The Delta procedures work as advertised and if they don't for you, then find the problem and fix it. Tearing it down and tinkering with everything will take one Saturday of your time - spent mostly on learning. Next alignment (right-side up) should only take about 15 mins and that's if you're slow. Best of all, no more beating on the trunnions or having things slip out of alignment while tightening down the bolts and you can sell the PALS on eBay !
Bob S.
says...

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@eliminator.com says...

<more useful stuff snipped>
Thanks for the additional info Bob. That should help me get this thing realigned.
-Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Bob, your info was what finally solved the problem for me. In fact, all I had to do was loosen and retighten the tie bars. Thanks, Denny

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
To Bob S. Please send the info to me . . Forgive the group post, I could not figure out what your e-mail address was . .. Thanks, Steve steve snipped-for-privacy@cox.net

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
says...

Steve, I was able to track down his info by searching Google as he suggested, so you might want to try that first. By the way, Bob's procedure was based on some documents he received from Delta, which are now posted on their website.
The URL is: http://www.deltawoodworking.com/index.asp?e 4&pF2
-Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
What model saw do you have? On the Contractor II, there is a spring clip on the right side of the arbor shaft (i.e. your right as you are facing the saw) that can come off. If it does, the arbor and blade can slide to the left. It happened to mine once a few years ago and I remember hearing of others with the same problem.
--

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
says...

No, it's a standard Delta model 36-426 (or 36-451), but I'll check for the spring clip while I'm under there.
Thanks, Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.