Tool ReReview - Refurb Delta Unisaw - Part Three

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OK - Even smaller chunks. Absolutely no humor or 'editorializing'. You guys could suck the fun from a clandestine affaire de coeur.
Part Two exited with the final assembly of the extension tables.
This is the end result of working with the tables and extension for 2 days to get them evened out. There are two pictures because one didn't cover it all, I'm too lazy to take any more. The diagonal arrows point out the diagonal clearances on the main table. Don't take these too seriously, as the hump around the throat aggravates the diagonal measurements beyond what they probably are in reality.
http://www.thevideodoc.com/Images/UniSaw21.jpg
http://www.thevideodoc.com/Images/UniSaw22.jpg
Not nearly as flat as the first table, but at this point, I'm weary of messing with and returning inconsistent product. I may stone it out and polish it myself, I may decide to swap it out and polish whatever I get THIS time - who knows. Since part of the reason for upgrading the saw was to attain additional accuracy for lutherie and segmented vessels, as well as furniture, I'll just have to wait and see how this works out.
Almost no shimming was needed to get the two extension tables coplanear with the saw top. A wispy strip of .002" teflon was all that was needed. I have never seen a set 'that' close out of the box.
The other reason for upgrading was noise. This saw has a tremendous advantage over my old saw. While running, a pleasant hum and the particular whine of the selected blade is all you hear. Except, that is, when starting the saw with a blade mounted - especially a dado.
A disconcerting concert of vibrations accompanies power-on. A preliminary examination of it's source reveals that there is significant play in the trunnions radiused channels which the arbor assembly/cross support rotates in. You can actually grab the motor and deflect the assembly 3/8" or so. This motion, combined with a large EM field that causes the cabinet to shudder, makes for a less than eloquent start-up voice. This was a surprise. There doesn't seem to be a gib or other adjustment method to eliminate/reduce this excessive movement, but I haven't got the 'Delta Maintenance" book or a printed parts view to confirm this. I saw nothing in the PDF. Where do I get one, Frank?
The accessories were all in new packaging. They look new as well.
This is the fence. The acquisition of Beisemeyer by Delta doesn't seem to have improved the breed. This photo is a collage of the points detailed below.
http://www.thevideodoc.com/Images/UniSaw24.jpg
The pre-applied measuring tape had a bubble in it - which affected, slightly, accuracy past the bubble. I carefully peeled the tape off and re-applied it to eliminate this. (Center).
Some kind of problem befell the tape after assembly, and the end was broken off. Others I have seen did not exhibit this phenomenon, and it appears that this was done while handling or packing the product into the box. Adhesive remains where the missing part of the tape used to be. It was not in the box, and looks as though someone tried to trim the end (and poorly I might add.) (Top Right)
The plastic T-molding that wraps the plywood fence face, more so on the left side (the one you actually USE), is not centered. It leaves exposed plywood on one side, and hangs over the fence face on the other. (Both Bottom)
The clear plastic (acrylic?) hairline has a distortion around the line itself. I 'think' it may have been intended to be a magnifier, but it looks more like the plastic distorted when scribing the line, or in the mold itself. It's rather odd.
The rails were painted and straight, but the slides on the rear end of the fence only leave .015" clearance between the fence face bottom edge and the table - slightly more on the right face. I had to modify the table's mounting holes slightly in order to get the fence to slide across the surface without slamming into the joints in the top.
This is a picture of the infamous binding arbor wrench. You can see the angle at which the business end of the wrench is at in relation to the arbor. It is bound on the table top. The blade height is 2 1/4". The cure is to lessen the severity of the bend in the shank. No comments on this are desired at this point. There it is.
http://www.thevideodoc.com/Images/UniSaw23.jpg
And finally, as mentioned in the previous post, the chipped blade and pitted table wing that was caused by the installer leaving the blade raised too far before packing for shipment. It was a nice blade...
http://www.thevideodoc.com/Images/UniSaw25.jpg
But the biggest problem of all, and the one I am really distraught over, is that none of my jigs will fit this saw. (Yes, I realized this would be necessary, but the monumental nature of this task was ignored by me until I piled them all up in one place... Arrgghh.) Splined miter jigs, box jigs, panel jigs, crosscut jigs.... :-o
That's it for today.
Greg G.
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I'm not sure there is one. I certainly don't have one. Maybe Tech Service but you probably have to be an established authorized service station to get one.
I think you are talking about the fit of the trunions to the trunion brackets? if so, there is no adjustment. no gibs. I don't remember what the design clearance is but I have one open (top off) now and I can get a .002" feeler gage on one side only between the two, and I have nothing small enough to get between the top (trunion) and the bottom (bracket). Add the backlash from the two worm gears and their respective rack segments, which should be minimal and the motor and arbor bracket(s) shaft to bore(s) clearance which should be minimal and that is all you have to allow movement.
You talked about tearing the saw completely down, if you do make sure that you clamp the assembly tightly, silmultaneously on both sides before you torque the trunion bracket bolts down.
The start up thump (noise) is annoying (but not disfunctional) and seems to be universal with these lightened, high starting torque motors. experimentation with capacitors can improve but will degrade the run power. electronic soft start circuit is possible but judged too expensive for a standard saw. Maybe a good after market accessory business to get into,Greg.
I watched an ultra slow mo movie of the inside of the cabinet on startup. It amazed at what can deflect on startup and with a nice resonant cabinet to amplify. And doesn't happen every time. I'm told the randomness has to do with the phase angle(?) created by the stopping orientation between the rotor and the field. EE's jump in at any time for correction or elaboration.

???, missed what you had before. what is problem, miter slot size difference or spacing difference?

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Frank Boettcher said:

I guess I'm used to automotive and electronic manuals, where there is a spec for almost everything. It's not a complicated machine, but knowing the design limits would be interesting, and something to aim for in blueprinting. Experience is a usable substitute, however.

I haven't precisely measured the clearances, and it could be any or a combination of the above. Due to the distance of the motor from the offending components, whatever motion IS there is accentuated.

I never tighten anything down on cast-iron without an alternating, graduated sequence - seen to many failures from guys running down a bolt with an air tool. With a steel floating sleeve cylinder in a cast-iron block with an aluminum head - you have to _very_careful with your torque sequences. ;-) I'm just paranoid that way....
Don't know if I'll go ALL the way down, just far enough to make it tight. Got any torque specs on the fasteners?

Yeah, didn't figure it was harming anything, but it does take away from the stable aura of the thing.
Thought very briefly about it, and it may be possible to modify or add a few components to the existing switch to allow for a softer start-up. All you need is to get a few revs going before full power-on. But this would most likely blow UL/CSA all to h#$l. ;-)
The cost of getting either mods, or accessory boxes approved for commercial sales would be fairly expensive.

Cool. Like to see that. Those light rotor motors start-up so quickly, it puts a fair shock on other connected components. Kinda like dropping the clutch at five grand. <g> A cheap(?) fix would have been to install a clutch mech, but then you've got another part to maintain/wear out. Electronics is another way to go - probably even cheaper.

It's a Delta. I'm too embarrassed to mention the model, but if I told you that is has a ~8" arbor shaft, riding in dual ball-bearings, and is gilmer belt driven, I think you could figure it out.
I tweaked the mech and the fence to get more accuracy, but wrapping the arbor to hold dado's was a real PITA. Built a 4" dust collector and at one point, had a ducted shroud around the blade - but I got tired of fishing that darned arbor nut out of it...
Delta's replacement jackshaft motors were so sorry, I rebuilt the old motor twice. Appeared to me that the darned armatures cores weren't impregnated well enough to quell high RPM vibration of the windings and abrasion of the insulation resulted in failure. Delta provided one armature and I rewound the other. But overall, it's been a pretty good saw compared to others in it's price range. Due to the length of the arbor shaft, and the large std bearings, it ran very true. But that noise... ;-)
Anyway, the slot spacing is different, and the fence a different height/width. I have door panel and miter spline jigs that ride the fence, and a variety of miter slot jigs for box joint cutting and such. And of course, I put slides on both slots, not that it would matter because the distance from the blade is different on both.
Took a lot of time making them 'perfect'. and I hate to lose them. So, it's back to ground zero.. ugghh...
Thanks, Frank,
Greg G.
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Funny you should mention that.
Does anyone else get the impression that Greg is like the guy who just bought the V8 Mustang and is expecting Formula 1?
-Steve
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C & S said:

Reporting facts does not imply expectations.
A more apt analogy, however, might be buying a Corvette and getting a Fiat X-19. Both are fun, but the attention to detail makes a difference. :-p
Greg G.
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C & S wrote:

Yep.
I sure hope he never buys anything I build. I'm sure it wouldn't pass muster. I bet Powermatic is glad he bought Delta.
I bought a reconditioned Unisaw a couple of years ago. Noticed some of the same imperfections he mentioned. Figured that's part of what I traded off when I paid approximately half the price of a new Powermatic. I sure didn't let it take away the enjoyment I get every time I run a board across it. I have no idea how flat my top is. But I'm sure it's flatter than any board in my shop. It cuts wood like a dream. That's what I bought it for.
DonkeyHody "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again---and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore." - Mark Twain
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DonkeyHody said:

But now that I think about it, it's more like buying a Corvette and _getting_ a Mustang. (And I currently own three Ford products.)
Unisaws are marketed as premiere products, not Kiddy Cars.

Don't worry, I won't be buying anything of yours - comfortable now? And I certainly wouldn't review handicrafts publicly. But a one-off handcrafted piece can hardly be held to the same standards that are applied to a mass-produced power tool.
For years I've heard the mantra "UniSaw, UniSaw", as if nothing else could compare to the end-all and be-all of cabinet saws. But like all things contrived by the mind and hands of man, it, too, has it's shortcomings and it's share of design compromises. Only fools blind themselves to truth - and in doing so, adore the Emperor's new cloths.
Should I pander to the Sacred Cow crowd and croon over it's feigned magnificence? (I've sure heard enough of that for the past 6 years..) Might as well go read a tainted magazine review. Why it's so hard for you guys to comprehend the word "Review" is beyond me.

Again, I am simply reporting what I've found for those who don't have the ability to see one for themselves. There are numerous contenders in the same price range as even a refurb Unisaw, and I am simply reporting the results of an in depth examination. I would do the same, and have, for numerous other tools. The difference is, not one single person has ever claimed that a previous report was tainted by sour grapes, or implied a personal vendetta. Sacred Cow indeed.
I am glad that you are happy with your purchase, and I hope your twobufour dog and bird houses look spiffy at the craft fair. <g> As for the declaration of "flatter than any board in my shop", well... 2x4 veneer cores are not known for their precision. <g>
As I have previously pointed out, precision is a criteria for me - and was a reason for upgrading. A piece of quartersawn hard oak surfaced on the jointer (which is also Delta, BTW) is flatter than a tolerance of .032" - and yes, for more than a week. Exposed glue lines and wavering joints you can get from $300 Ryobi table saw. I never claimed it was a POS, I never inferred that it had no inherent value, I am simply pointing out it's feet of clay. So shoot the messenger. Hell, I haven't even provided a closing summary.
Since competition out there in the real world is stiff, management would also do well to take these matters under advisement - seeking remedies for the warts that DO exist to prevent their products from paling in the light of more aggressive and efficient competitors. And since this saw is essentially a NEW saw with a few scratches, sold with NEW accessories, it's status as a refurb is somewhat irrelevant. Scratches, chipped blades, and other stupid mishandling defects are par for the course.
And since your experience essentially mirrors my findings, why are you even reading this? Why do you feel the need to assault a report that you generally admit purveys valid information?
This is tantamount to: My High School is better than Your High School. Fords are better than Chevy's. My Dad can whip your Dad. My Bush is a twit, your Bush is a dullard.
Trolls? Sock Puppets? Have I hit a raw nerve of insecurity? (Rhetorical questions - no need to reply.) <g>
Greg G.
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Greg G. wrote:

I'm not blind to its compromises. I just always assumed they would be there and I don't let them detract from my enjoyment of the tool, since they don't detract from my use of the tool.

Did I imply that? I meant to imply merely that you are too hard to please.

I think the nerve that was struck was yours.
DonkeyHody "Even an old blind hog finds an acorn every now and then."
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DonkeyHody said:

A disclosure of fact is not an expression of disappointment. Some of my favorite machines also possessed their share of blemishes. While I may regret the labor needed to polish over some of them, at least I/they/you know what to expect.

Some previous respondents have implied as much. Critical? Possibly, but I also try to be an educated consumer. I've seen some pretty sorry stuff wrapped in shiny boxes and hype. I'm really not trying to rag on it. It's sitting out there isn't it? But there is some pretty stiff competition out there as well.
And I've been on the receiving end of some pretty venomous spew over the years while representing various manufacturers. My all time favorite is "Do you know who I am? How dare you deliver this <product> to my home when it doesn't even match my drapes..." (From the wife of an elected official.) Money/Celib Status hardly ever equates to Common Sense.

You could be right to some degree. Having my motivations misunderstood is somewhat exasperating.
Not trying to rattle your rivets, Dude! Saw On!
Greg G.
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If you check the archives for this newsgroup, you will find them replete with reviews of various tools and plenty of comments about the reviews since the ng was started. Products are designed to "expectations" if you think about it and if they don't meet the users criteria, then what is one to do? Informing the manufacturer is one way but in today's business environment, one person trying to get Delta's attention just doesn't appear to work. But telling a group of people (here for instance) can influence others buying decisions - which it definitely does - and that will get their attention eventually.
If you were satisfied with your purchase and the tolerances and fit and finish you noted are fine with you, then that is all that matters - for you and Delta met your expectations. When I was looking at purchasing a cabinet saw, I certainly relied on a lot of the info I was reading here. At the time, Delta was having quality problems and it showed. I compared a Jet and a Uni side-by-side and was able to see what others were finding and reporting about their purchase. Did I get a better tablesaw for my effort? Hard to say but what I did avoid were the quality issues prevalent at the time.
Appears to me that Greg's posts are simply showing that Delta is still having quality issues because of an apparent lack of Quality Control or the lack of an ability to maintain consistent quality. Hopefully somebody at Delta is reading this group and will take the time to look into why things went wrong and take steps to correct them. But that person has to have the means and influence within the company to bring change about or we continue down the same old path that marketing dictates the level of quality and until you have their full attention - you'll get what they feel they can get by with - not what you expect for your hard-earned dollars.
I place more stock in what users say here about a product than any magazine review. After awhile, you read some of what the magazine authors write and you have to wonder if they were even in the same room with the product they're reviewing. And consider, when is the last time you read a tool review that even suggested you should be looking at something else? Heaven forbid - an honest thought being conveyed about a product and that's probably the last tool review he'll ever do for that magazine.
So this forum allows for comments that can't/won't be said in a magazine article. Fact is - you have to read between the lines in either medium and draw your own conclusions as to the worthiness of the information. This has been a well balanced review when you consider that we have an experienced user relating his findings on one hand and on the other, an ex-Delta manager filling in the blanks on both the technical and some of the reasons of why things may have gone wrong.
You won't find this kind of dialog in any woodworking magazine and jabs and pointy-sticks aside, it's been an informative thread. But if it bothers you, simply pass on reading it - it really is that simple.
Bob S.

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magazine
and
I have to agree with you on this. By the very nature of the magazines wanting to stay in business and trying to increase their stock at the same time, they have an unspoken bias to give a good review in most cases. Giving too many bad reviews will directly affect the willingness of tool manufacturers to provide them with new products for evaluation. That's not to say that all magazines adhere to this bias, but I feel that most of them do.
As well, most magazines reviews test a product to see if it does what it's supposed to do. There isn't the time or effort put into the long term usage that the professional or home owner would subject a tool to. From my experience with tools, most times I've found something wrong with a tool, it's been by accident, not because I was looking to find something wrong. That usually only happens with repeated usage of a tool, not a one or two times evaluation.
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BobS said:

And the varying degrees of acceptance in what variations are acceptable. For some, a Yugo is fine, for others, it's a Mercedes.
<snip>

Bob, you're sooo special. Doing anything next Saturday? <g>
I generally try to keep the pointy-sticks in the back of the closet, but I have found myself sharpening them up a bit as of late...
It could be the rising din of what was once a calm and respectable forum is affecting the tone of all respondents. - myself included. And I've noticed far more flailing of pointy-sticks as the choir of voices multiplies. Ain't progress great?
Thanks, (I think...)
Greg G.
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Gentlemen, It was not my intention to deny Greg his forum. I simply felt the need to point out (perhaps needlessly) that many of the imperfections he found are too slight to hinder performance.
Most of us dumb country boys ain't got enough learning to know how much of all these fancy measurements is tolerable afore it starts hurtin the outcome. Somebody not as smart as y'all might read all your fancy writin and come to the conclusion that a Unisaur ain't worth a flip. I just wanted 'em to know I'm mighty happy with mine, and maybe Ole Greg is just a bit too persnickity.
Now you guys go on with your fun. I just ain't got time for no long winded arguments. Christmas is comin, and there's a craft show this weekend. Lots O bird houses to make, not to mention them boxes that say "Taters" an "Onions" on 'em. I gotta quit peckin on this thing and make some sawdust.
DonkeyHody "Every man is my superior in that I can learn from him." - Thomas Carlyle
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Oh, and by the way. I forgot to say, ifn I called Greg any ugly names or waved any pointy sticks at him I'm sorry.
DonkeyHody "If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?"
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DonkeyHody said:

It's cool, Dude. <g>

A question I've pondered myself...
Greg G.
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That may be, but Greg gives us enough information so that we can decide if it's important or not.
Let's face it. Some reviews are terrible. Remarks liek "I have a XYZ saw, and it's great" are nearly useless. I'd much rather have Greg's over-detailed review.
I'd love to get his feedback on some of the other saws out there, like the one I bought. My warranty will run out, and I'd like to make sure I find all of the problems before this happens.
With that in mind, I'm going to order a TS Aligner Jr today, and get the 45 angle bonus block.
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writes:

Actually no. I may have missed it but no actual wood has been sawn as yet. The bottom line is: does it perform?.
I don't wish Greg to stop posting, or to change the character of his posts. I just like to reserve the right to jab a pointy stick now and then if he gets too anal.
(nothing personal)
-Steve
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If you want to know how it cuts wood, wait for Part Seven. <g>
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Stephen M said:

It has cut wood, I just haven't gotten that part. Geeze, if I give away the ending, no one will buy the book.

Uhh... using the words pointy-stick, jab, and anal in the same sentence is a bit unnerving.

You get around my anal with that stick and it will be. <g>
Greg G.
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a sore spot...eh?

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