I am posting to share my experience in selection and set up of the
Powermatic 1791216K PWBS-14CS Bandsaw because there was not much info to be
found when I was researching. I spent a lot of time (as you probably have)
choosing which saw to buy and I hope the information helps you in making
your decision (or setting up your saw).
I bought the bandsaw and riser in February 2006. It was a good decision for
me and I am going to tell you why.
I choose the PM because of the features:
Larger 1 1/2 HP motor Same hp as the Delta X5
Larger table: 15 x 15 tiltable table with 5x15 fixed wing
Flat Poly Belt ( not a V Belt but a flat belt w/ Ribs- Quieter, Less
Carter Quick Blade Tension Release
Roller Bearing Guides
Frame mounted gooseneck light fixture
Cast Iron Wheels (not aluminum)
Cast Iron Table Trunnion
Chip Blower (small compressor on motor)
Included fence and miter gauge
At the time of purchase, the PM cost about the same as Delta X5 (The Delta
X5 weighs in at 280 lbs compared to PM at 208 lbs. I would guess that the
extra weight is in the frame- a Plus for Delta).
Powermatic is on my short list because of the well-known-to-the-manufacturer
problem of the riser block not fitting correctly and requiring the purchaser
to do apendectomy in the field, and the sleep I lost before installing it.
PM should be ashamed and the parties involved in the chain of decisions
resulting in the problem should be reprimanded, IMHO. More on that later.
Arrival of the saw.: The saw arrived in three boxes, on a pallet. The saw
itself was in one box, the base in other and a small box with the riser kit.
Saw was very well packaged. Wheels were pretty flat and true. Tables were
very flat as well. Saw aligned very well and easily passed the nickel test
(for 20 mins) in the end. Here is how it went:
First, a short discussion on the riser block. I read on amazon about having
to cut off the guide pins on one end of the block. That has proven to be to
be correct. Before setting up the saw, I called PowerMatic and asked and
they confirmed that the block would probably not be aligned correctly. The
tech actually told me " go ahead and try it the way it is, maybe you'll get
lucky". He also said that the pins should be able to be pulled out with vise
grips. He said to cut off both the pins in the riser and the pins in the
base. That is not necessary. I recommend to NOT cut pins on the base- only
cut the ones on the riser. To keep from loosing your ball bearing when you
install the new guide post, DO NOT REMOVE THE OLD ONE. Simply line up the
new post on the TOP of the old post and "push" the old post through.
The pins will not pull out. The pins could not be pulled out with normal
shop tools like bench vises and monster vise grips. I cut them off the riser
with a hacksaw and ground the stubs flush as another user advised. After
aligning the saw, sure enough, the riser was just a little cock-eyed. But no
major big deal. The saw did align well.
To keep from loosing your ball bearing when you install the new guide post
supplied with the riser kit, DO NOT REMOVE THE OLD ONE. Simply line up the
new post on the TOP of the old post and "push" the old post through.
Assembly and alignment summary: Assembly was pretty straightforward. The
base is heavy duty, single piece, open bottom, welded with door already
assembled. Motor was pre-mounted. The riser instructions call for a 26mm
socket (I used a crescent) and a 15/16" wrench. The 15/16 called out was not
quite the exact size needed, but I used it anyway- it worked. You might want
to double-check the nut and the bolt head sizes against your wrenches before
starting to install the saw with riser.
Some data on Saw Serial Number 05125833;
With blade tensioned:
Runout on the front face of top wheel: .008 " total (+/- .004)
Runout on outside circumference of top wheel: 005" total (+/- .0025)
Runout on the front face of bottom wheel: .006 " total (+/- .003)
Runout on outside circumference of bottom wheel: .003" total (+/- .0015)
Suspect it might have been closer if I had smoothed the finish (paint)
End result, the wheels aligned within .005" top to bottom and top outside
edge to opposite bottom edge. I used a .005 (paper) feeler gauge and when
finished, .005 was a no-go fit everywhere, indicating a better than .005
alignment. To obtain this, I did have to use the blade tracking adjustment
to parallel the two wheels, and I did it with the blade tensioned. And it
did take some time.
Motor mounting/ belt tension:. The manual suggests pulling the motor
downward to tighten the belt. That did not go so swift. However, because the
way the motor mounts, you can move the motor forward and backward using the
bottom welded bracket, which will tighten and loosen the belt. This is
likely the motor mounting design-intent- but the manual did not describe it
this way (but that's the way I adjusted belt tension and it- worked great).
You will see when you set up your saw. Pulley alignment was straight
forward- cut the $hit out of my finger on the razor sharp key-way slot on
the motor shaft. Its filed not-so sharp now.
Mounting the table; Instructions not so swift. Pretty straight forward with
a few SNAFUs in the manual:
First, Step 16 is missing a step (mounting the fixed table): installing the
thick, black painted, metal plate to the saw frame using the spacers
provided: DON'T GO TO THE HARDWARE STORE AND BUY WASHERS to install the
black powder coated plate to the saw frame (p.14 #16 ...through the
spacers). The parts assembly breakdown does not show washers, because if you
use them, the table will not fit on the mount.
You will have to align the non-tilting part of the table to the tilting
part. You have to do this AFTER the tilting table 90 degree stop is set
(table adjust 90 degrees to the blade). If you follow the instructions, you
will have to level the fixed table twice, like I did, and it took a long
time the first time.
Leveling the table:
The tilting table should be adjusted exactly 90 degrees to the blade first
(using the stop). Next, level the fixed table to the tilting table. The
design for leveling the fixed table is pretty good. I will say this- move
from screw to screw gradually getting closer and closer to level. When you
start to tighten down the socket head cap screws (start with them loose), do
it gradually and keep moving from screw to screw, adjusting as you are
tightening the cap screws. When you think you are done, and you finally
tighten the jam-nut on the hex adjustment screw, do it gradually. You will
still be making allowance/ adjustments as the jam nut is tightened- if you
are using a very long very straight edge (I used a 9848 HH 48" Johnson) you
can see the effect of tightening the jam nuts. Its only a few .001" s but it
will change the alignment if you are not compensating for it with the
adjustment screw as you tighten.
Table Flatness: Using a .004" feeler, the feeler would "go" at only one
small area of the table. Using .008" was a no-go. At no point on the
surface, corner to corner, front to back etc. could I pass the .008 shim
under the big Johnson. So based on the paper shim, the PM table is flat to
better than .008". The big Johnson has some tolerance too- I did not include
the Johnson tolerance.
I probably spent around 8 hours on adjustment and leveling of the wheels,
motor, table and guide system. The machine would not pass the nickel test
when I tried it about the middle of the process. I found out near the end,
with everything tight and aligned, that tightening the trunnion lock knobs
very tight eliminated almost all vibration. After assembly, after every
thing was level and tight, and the saw was on level concrete, with a
tensioned saw blade, the saw passed the nickel test with flying colors. I
ran 2 nickels for 20 minutes before shutting it down. I couldn't even see
them move. Saw is very quiet when fully assembled.
Alignment of the roller guides was easy, however, the bottom of the blade
guard was interfering with the guide assembly, so I ground about 1/16" off
the bottom of the blade guard. When the guide post is moved to a higher
position, the blade guides need to be rejusted. According to the Bandsaw
Books, the guide post grove, used to maintain alignment when raising or
lowering the post, is not perfectly straight. Hummmm..that and possibly a
few other things- like the casting is a few .001" s off. Its only changes
about 1/16" so I wont complain.
The PM blades were shelved and a Timberwolf, ordered from Suffolk Machinery
Corp. was installed (http://www.suffolkmachinery.com/ ). I believe Suffolk
has a running special for first time buyers- buy 3 get 4th free- see the web
site. Blade change was simple enough.
Great saw, great features, shabby instructions. I made a good decision when
I bought this saw, although I was not so sure during the assembly and
The saw with the TW blades cut wood like it was butter. I've only cut one
piece so far- I plan on re-sawing some 8" thk Black Walnut logs soon. My
first cut was a heart, from cedar, for my wife.
Saint Charles County, MO