Making your own zero tolerance TS inserts

Do you make zero-tolerance inserts for your table saw? I've found one link that basically says:
1. Use double-side tape to stick your existing insert to a piece of MDF 2. Use a flush cut router bit to run around and cut out new insert. 3. Clamp into your table saw and raise the blade to cut the slot.
What about leveling set screws? Does anyone worry about going that far? If so how do you put them in?
I'd appreciate any tips.
Bob
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Yep.
Step 1a. Cut the blank roughly to shape but about 1/16" oversize with the bandsaw.

Step 2a. Attach a pin, washer, stop block, or something at the rear of the insert, to catch the underside of the table to prevent the blade from lifting the insert clear of the throat and throwing it at you.

Nope, won't work. On most saws, you can't lower the blade far enough to get a piece of 1/2" MDF into the throat. Step 3 is to mount a smaller blade (e.g. 8" dado cutter on a 10" saw), then raise the dado blade to remove enough of the bottom of the insert that you can fit it into the throat with the full-size blade installed. Then install the full-size blade, clamp something over the insert plate to hold it down, and raise the blade through the insert.

I used levelling screws. They're easy to put in: just drill holes in the insert at the appropriate spots, countersink them, and run the screws in. MDF is soft enough that an ordinary machine screw will cut its own threads easily. No need for a tap. I used 8-32 x 1/2" flat-head Phillips machine screws.
-- Regards, Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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On Tue, 28 Oct 2003 21:35:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) scribbled

There are two alternatives to the smaller blade: rout a slot on the underside, or even better, as suggested by WoodButcher in a thread back in May (quoting from his post):
-Another way is to use double sided tape and position the -new insert on top of the existing one. Hold everything down -with a 2x4 clamped across the tabletop, apply power and -raise the blade. I find this easier than futzing around with -the other methods, but go with whatever works best for you.

I agree. Less screwing around (no pun originally intended) than using bits of paper and tape. I made inserts out of lexan (polycarbonate) scraps and used hex-head set screws for levelling, 3/8" or 7/16" long. I did tap the holes.
Luigi Replace "no" with "yk" twice in reply address for real email address
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Bob,
I have an older Craftsman TS in which the insert inset is rabbeted. I do what you describe, then use a pattern to rabbet out the necessary areas. I simply use multiple plies of vinyl electrical tape to level out the insert. I also countersink a hole in the front for the mounting screw, and drill in a dowel insert in the back to lock the insert in the table. I route out a slot in the bottom of the insert (w/o going through the insert), set it into the TS and then raise the blade to cut the final slot. BTW, I use scrap lumber core plywood for my inserts.
Jeff

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I just made an insert for my molding cutter. I used poplar. Traced the outline from one of the Delta inserts. planed the wood flat, ran it thru the thickness planer to the exact thickness. cut it to shape and used my bench belt sander to get it just right. put it on the TS and slowly raised the molding cutter (held it down with the fence on one side and a board on the other). sanded it smooth, 2 coats of waxed shellac. next day waxed it with SC Johnson's paste wax. couldn't be better if I bought it at the store.
and I adjusted ONE corner with 2 layers of 3m blue masking tape (underneath of course!)
Bob Davis wrote:

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0a - Trace the outline of the insert on your stock. 0b - Rough cut the stock with a bandsaw, about an 1/8" outside of the line

1a - I used 1/2" Baltic Birch. Since it's actually a smidge under 1/2", it ended up solving another problem.

For my Jet Supersaw - the 1/2" BB ended up being perfect! Didn't need leveling screws.
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I don't get that fancy. I can make an insert in less than ten minutes.
Take a piece of stock, a 1/16 or so less than needed, or plane it down.
Trace the original insert, cut it on the bandsaw, and make a couple trips to the belt sander until it fits tight, but easy to take out. Cut an additional v notch to get a finger in to take it out.
Drill the pilot holes (interference) for some small screws, long enough to stick out the back a small amount, and then countersink overly deep so the screw can go in an extra 1/8th or so.
Put the screws in, so the head is slightly above the surface of the insert. Take it to the bench grinder, and grind off the screws flush with the back side.
Go install it with the blade down, put the fence over the insert, and raise the blade through the table.
Done. 10 minutes. Pretty does not count. Function does. I have a whole stack of them.
--
Jim in NC



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"Bob Davis" writes:

Yes.
I've used plywood, sheet plastic, most anything that was handy.

A pattern bit (bearing above cutter) also does a good job.

Think duct tape shims if you need them.
HTH
--
Lew

S/A: Challenge, The Bullet Proof Boat, (Under Construction in the Southland)
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Thanks to all for your replies. I was inspired by the creative variations and especially the recommendation to insert some sort of stop block to lock the insert into the table. Great idea! That was one of my primary worries - making something that I end up eating when the saw threw it at me.
Bob
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I always put leveling screws in a zero clearance insert. Tapped holes in wood work very well for 1/4in and larger taps. The wood does not cut as cleanly as metal, so there is more friction in turning the screw. But for leveling screws, the additional friction is good. They don't vibrate out of alignment.
Bob Davis wrote:

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