New Craftsman RAS report

My old PowrKraft RAS bit the big one about a month ago, after 32 years.
So, having RAS experience and not buying into the normal RAS trashing, I went in search of a new RAS I could afford.
One of the defining parameters was wall hung cabinets over the RAS location against a wall. This led me away from the Delta which has the heighth adjustment crank on top of the column.
The only others in my price range were the Ridgid and the Craftsman. Upon close examination of both, they appear to be the same basic saw: the frames are identical, the column supports are identical, the columns are identical. The differences appear to be in the sheet metal and plastic trim, and some differences in the adjustment and locking lever locations on the motor head as well as different blade guard mechanisms.
On initial inspection in the showrooms, the Ridgid was set up very solidly and testing of arm and head movement was negligible. OTOH, the Craftsman had some play in the arm and head, apparently due to poor setup as both saws appeared to be identical in the parts that determine this. Despite this, the Craftsman has two features that were very desirable: Lasertrack, a laser line up outer blade washer thingie, and Control Cut, a variable speed motor controlled cable at the column head which attaches to the motor head and will only allow the motor to travel towards the operator when the motor trigger is engaged and at a controlled speed.
The Craftsman RAS weighs in at 204 lbs in the box. After initial setup according to the well written Craftsman manual (except for a missing Control Cut speed table), and a further super tuning using the Jon Eakes RAS book. The Craftsman is anything but a Crapsman. It is absolutely repeatable on returns from miter and bevel changes. The control cut feature isn't really required with the motor head wheels adjusted properly, but it does absolutely stop any climbing problems that can happen when crosscutting with a RAS. I set the saw up for 240V operation. The control Cut motor has a seperate cord and runs at 120V. The motor does seem to brake when turned off, but is takes 5 seconds or so to stop.
I do miss the high speed aux spindle on my old PowrKraft, but all in all, the Craftsman RAS is an accurate and repeatable saw when set up and adjusted properly. It's also very quiet compared to my old PowrKraft. I'm guessing the Ridgid is just as accurate and repeatable when set up properly. I hope the Craftsman also lasts 32 years; it's unlikely I will.
--
-Doug


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Climbing is only a problem for me when I pull carelessly. I wouldn't want to be restricted from fast pulls in thin material.
Do you have a negative hook blade? It doesn't stop climbing, but reduces the tendency. Wilson

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On Sun, 07 Mar 2004 18:57:04 +0000, Wilson wrote:

That's why the variable speed control is nice. The Control Cut cable can be removed from the motor head if desired, but there is really no need AFAICT. The Control Cut cable will return the motor head to the column when the handle is released.

The saw comes with a 40 tooth negative hook angle carbide tipped blade. I made some test cuts prior to using the Control Cut cable, and there was no tendency for climbing. The eccentric rollers on the head should be adjusted with enough tension so that the moter takes a definite pull and does not roll on its own, but not so much that there is any binding or that you have to pull hard.
--
-Doug


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