Tool Review: QEP Brutus Tile Saw - Model 61024

Upon assembling it, I found one mis-welded wheel support, on the base frame , but QEP didn't hesitate to replaced the frame, quickly. This issue was d iscovered late Friday, a week ago, so I had to wait until Monday to report the problem to QEP, then wait for the replacement part, which arrived this Thursday.
After 3 hours of use, my overall impression of this saw, so for, is Grade C . Twenty yrs ago, I used an $80 7" tile saw, to cut tile for my sister's flooring, so that's my only comparative example for grading this saw. From what I recall, that 7" tile saw would get a grade of B+, at least. I don' t recall its make, but I think she still has it... and never used since.
QEP's saw: The fence, on/for the work table is held in place by one *screw and tighten ing this screw is not precise. The fence moves out of alignment when the screw is tightened. This may not be an issue with most tile/stone cutting, but for a $400 saw, IMO, a 10" long fence should not be 1/8" - 3/16" out o f alignment, when tightened to the work surface, to the work table's front rail.
*This screw tightens directly against a cast aluminum front rail of the wor k table. I suspect, over time, the screw will make a depression (dent) or depressions (dents), at the various locations, along the front rail, such t hat future settings will not be totally accurate. I may be wrong about this proffered issue.
The water tray, under the saw, is huge, maybe 10 gallons capacity, and is a s wide and as long as the frame support (about 16" W X 32" L X 4" deep)). This is way too much volume. Maybe this volume acts as a ballast support, thought the whole saw unit is about 100 lbs and is pretty steady, for the w ork I'm doing. The highest point of the water pump intake is about 1/4" be low the water level. The slightest amount of use "allows" for the water pu mp intake to start catching air, then the pump fails to pump water. During use, the silt buildup, from the brick I'm cutting, seems to work its way u nder the pump, raising it above the water, hence, the pump doesn't pump the water any longer. The water tray needs to be deeper. I put a 5 gal. buck et next to the saw and submerged the water pump in the bucket, allowing for only fresh water to cycle through the pump. *There were several reference s, in the instruction manual, about cleaning the pump and water lines, shou ld they become clogged with silt. Within the first half hour of use, I had to disassemble and clean the pump, twice, for it to continue to pump corre ctly.
There is a 1" wide space between the blade guard and the motor. The arbor shaft is visible, here. As the arbor spins, it catches water and flings it , sprays it, toward the operator. My whole front stomach and waist area wa s soaked, in a short time of use. I initially was cutting half the thickne ss of the brick, then flip the brick to cut the other half. In order to cu t only half a brick thickness, I raised the blade, hence the water was spla shing higher, nearer my chest and chin. I lowered the blade, hence cutting 3-1/4" thick, so the water sprayed at a lower area, on my stomach and wais t. This water spraying is very much not desirable, especially the amount t hat is sprayed. Being drenched, this way, is not desirable, at all.... whi ch leads to my most important and significant complaint, so for.
Despite my complaining, so for, the saw works very well. After 3 hours of use, I started feeling a tingling electrical shock at the on/off switch. I hadn't had that shocking up to that time. I shut the saw off. In the ins tructions, there were several references to possible electrical shock, if t he power supply grounding was not properly wired. The instructions repeate dly mentioned to make sure the electrical supply was properly grounded. I don't think my wiring is improperly grounded. I will change to another out let on a different circuit, and see if that makes a difference.
The saw was plugged into the same outlet as my jointer and I've never had a n issue with electrical shock on the jointer. The jointer has a Baldor mot or. There's no tag/plate/ID on the tile saw motor. I am not knowledgeable of motors, if this is something of relevance. I see in the below link, Ti leGuyTodd comments of a "Liberry" article, but I haven't look at it, to see if there's any mention of different motor brands being relevant to my prob lem. http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?tB711
I don't know if the "arbor" water spraying has anything to do with this ele ctrical issue. The motor area (and everything else) became wet, from the s praying and from other normal wet-working. If my power source is wired inc orrectly, I would assume I would have had this problem all along, and not a fter 3 hours of use. I am not happy, at all, with this development. Again, I will change to another electrical outlet and see what happens.
If anyone has any comments or suggestions, about this electrical issue, fee l free to speak. I've cut about 70 brick (pavers) and would like to finish . I need to cut about 150 more.
I'm not pleased with this latest problem (hence, delay of the job), I've ha d, with this saw. If this electrical problem is not with my outlets, then, for this $400 saw, I would give it a grade of F.
Sonny
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Over here, an appliance or power tool that used water would never pass the approvals process without a fully water resistant switch. Most manufacturers use a flexible rubber cover over a rocker switch.
************************************************************* If you are getting a shock off the switch cease using the saw immediately, its unsafe. *************************************************************
It probably is related to water being sprayed everywhere by the shaft, but a sane design would have a flinger disk on the shaft within the guard or other precautions to stop water travelling along the shaft towards the motor. Maybe some shield or seal is missing?
--
Ian Malcolm. London, ENGLAND. (NEWSGROUP REPLY PREFERRED)
ianm[at]the[dash]malcolms[dot]freeserve[dot]co[dot]uk
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On 10/4/2014 8:22 AM, Ian Malcolm wrote:

The saw needs to be grounded. Very likely there is corrosion or such if it is a three wire unit. If the green wire isn't connected it needs to be screwed to the frame.
In the field, the extension cord or the wall plug isn't grounded.
I have instructions on my generator to locally ground into the ground a stake and tie a point on the frame to the rod. That could be done on any and all saws as a safety and backup safety item.
Martin
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A GFI breaker should be used in a wet application such as tile saw and cutting with water. Tingling is definitely not a GFI fault receptacle. Wet feet and or grounded with saw will cause this issue. Wet motor......wet switch.....wet body..... The water tray sounds odd.
I suggested the Chicago Electric.....Harbor Freight tool. They look similar although none of the problems were encountered. The fence was perfect even for cutting small tile and brick. The water pump was in a corral so to speak, that allowed the solids not to interfere with the pump motor. The large volume was great since cutting paver stones created lots of debris. All the pump, and motor parts were water proofed, and there was a spray shield so the operator did not get wet.... Oh well.... get a good circuit, stay dry or wear dry boots...finish cutting..... move on. john
"Sonny" wrote in message
Upon assembling it, I found one mis-welded wheel support, on the base frame, but QEP didn't hesitate to replaced the frame, quickly. This issue was discovered late Friday, a week ago, so I had to wait until Monday to report the problem to QEP, then wait for the replacement part, which arrived this Thursday.
After 3 hours of use, my overall impression of this saw, so for, is Grade C. Twenty yrs ago, I used an $80 7" tile saw, to cut tile for my sister's flooring, so that's my only comparative example for grading this saw. From what I recall, that 7" tile saw would get a grade of B+, at least. I don't recall its make, but I think she still has it... and never used since.
QEP's saw: The fence, on/for the work table is held in place by one *screw and tightening this screw is not precise. The fence moves out of alignment when the screw is tightened. This may not be an issue with most tile/stone cutting, but for a $400 saw, IMO, a 10" long fence should not be 1/8" - 3/16" out of alignment, when tightened to the work surface, to the work table's front rail.
*This screw tightens directly against a cast aluminum front rail of the work table. I suspect, over time, the screw will make a depression (dent) or depressions (dents), at the various locations, along the front rail, such that future settings will not be totally accurate. I may be wrong about this proffered issue.
The water tray, under the saw, is huge, maybe 10 gallons capacity, and is as wide and as long as the frame support (about 16" W X 32" L X 4" deep)). This is way too much volume. Maybe this volume acts as a ballast support, thought the whole saw unit is about 100 lbs and is pretty steady, for the work I'm doing. The highest point of the water pump intake is about 1/4" below the water level. The slightest amount of use "allows" for the water pump intake to start catching air, then the pump fails to pump water. During use, the silt buildup, from the brick I'm cutting, seems to work its way under the pump, raising it above the water, hence, the pump doesn't pump the water any longer. The water tray needs to be deeper. I put a 5 gal. bucket next to the saw and submerged the water pump in the bucket, allowing for only fresh water to cycle through the pump. *There were several references, in the instruction manual, about cleaning the pump and water lines, should they become clogged with silt. Within the first half hour of use, I had to disassemble and clean the pump, twice, for it to continue to pump correctly.
There is a 1" wide space between the blade guard and the motor. The arbor shaft is visible, here. As the arbor spins, it catches water and flings it, sprays it, toward the operator. My whole front stomach and waist area was soaked, in a short time of use. I initially was cutting half the thickness of the brick, then flip the brick to cut the other half. In order to cut only half a brick thickness, I raised the blade, hence the water was splashing higher, nearer my chest and chin. I lowered the blade, hence cutting 3-1/4" thick, so the water sprayed at a lower area, on my stomach and waist. This water spraying is very much not desirable, especially the amount that is sprayed. Being drenched, this way, is not desirable, at all.... which leads to my most important and significant complaint, so for.
Despite my complaining, so for, the saw works very well. After 3 hours of use, I started feeling a tingling electrical shock at the on/off switch. I hadn't had that shocking up to that time. I shut the saw off. In the instructions, there were several references to possible electrical shock, if the power supply grounding was not properly wired. The instructions repeatedly mentioned to make sure the electrical supply was properly grounded. I don't think my wiring is improperly grounded. I will change to another outlet on a different circuit, and see if that makes a difference.
The saw was plugged into the same outlet as my jointer and I've never had an issue with electrical shock on the jointer. The jointer has a Baldor motor. There's no tag/plate/ID on the tile saw motor. I am not knowledgeable of motors, if this is something of relevance. I see in the below link, TileGuyTodd comments of a "Liberry" article, but I haven't look at it, to see if there's any mention of different motor brands being relevant to my problem. http://www.johnbridge.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?tB711
I don't know if the "arbor" water spraying has anything to do with this electrical issue. The motor area (and everything else) became wet, from the spraying and from other normal wet-working. If my power source is wired incorrectly, I would assume I would have had this problem all along, and not after 3 hours of use. I am not happy, at all, with this development. Again, I will change to another electrical outlet and see what happens.
If anyone has any comments or suggestions, about this electrical issue, feel free to speak. I've cut about 70 brick (pavers) and would like to finish. I need to cut about 150 more.
I'm not pleased with this latest problem (hence, delay of the job), I've had, with this saw. If this electrical problem is not with my outlets, then, for this $400 saw, I would give it a grade of F.
Sonny
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On Saturday, October 4, 2014 9:35:51 AM UTC-5, jloomis wrote:

About 2-1/2 hours ago, I loosened the switch plate and opened the box it's attached to. Wires and other parts were wet. That whole box is on top of the motor; it tilts back, a little, and water had pooled along the back low er corner. There's a 3/4" hole in the floor of the box, where wires go to the motor. I have no idea if water went down that hole.
Weather is windy and dry, so all seems to have dried okay, by now. I reasse mbled and wrapped the box, etal., in plastic. I fabricated a simple shield , to prevent the spraying from the arbor. I'll give it a try in a moment. Surely, QEP is aware of this excess spraying. I read a few reviews wher e this issue is mentioned, but there were no comments about resulting elect ric shock/tingling.
I don't want to have to go through these hurdles every time I want to use t his saw. I probably should have bought the HF saw, as others had suggested . I'll contact QEP and see what they have to offer as remedy.
Sonny
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Sorry it is not up to snuff, I'm sure that is disappointing.

The bucket is a pretty standard remedy, how did dirty water get into it? The dirty water should be going in the tray, keep the tary drain open, replenish fresh water inbucket as needed (or let a hose tickle into it constantly).

Can you relocate the tubing so that the entering water trickles low onto the blade or onto the piece being cut at or just forward of the blade edge?

No thoughts about that other than to say it should not be, with or without a GFCI circuit.

For $400, I'd give it an F- right now. ______________________________________
FWIW, my experiences with tile saws. All were/are used mostly to cut Saltillo tile which produces even more slurry than your bricks.
Saw #1, 1998 A PlasPlugs table saw type, 4" blade. It worked fine for me, cut a lot, needed to put on a new blade. It was impossible to do so: the blade was held on the arbor with a nut but there was no way to hold the arbor to take off the nut. Hold the blade, arbor still spins. I called PlasPlugs, the lady said,"Just take off the nut". I explained why I couldn't,she didn't get it. I junked the saw. (Over priced at $150).
Saw #2, 1998 7" sliding table saw from Harbor Freight. It worked fine but Saltillo creates so much slurry that the rails got so gunked up it was close to impossible to slide the table. Stored it for years, gave it to a contractor friend a couple of years ago, he just did a bath with it, loves it. Fairly priced at a bit over $100.
Saw #3, 1999 7" bridge saw from Harbor Freight. Unlike their current bridge saws, there was no water pump. There was a long but narrow steel tray bolted under the steel table for water and the blade tip ran in that. The tray required frequent water replenishment, I just kept a jug of water handy.
On the negative side, the water tray was a nuisance to take off and clean; the steel table and frame was highly disposed to rust.
On the positive side, it didn't sling water at me; away from me, lots but none at me. It worked well and I'd still be using it if the motor bearings hadn't given out after 14 years. Fairly priced at $99.
Saw #4, Spring 2014 Another 7" bridge saw from Harbor Freight. They have two, I have the cheaper...$185+- less a 25% coupon. This one is essentially a reworked and larger version of saw #3 but the table is aluminum, large plastic tray under with water pump.
The water pump throws out considerable water but on the blade, not me. I would prefer less water as Saltillo soaks up water like a sponge and needs to be dry before I can use it. I have taken to sealing the tile before cutting which helps a lot but the bottom still soaks up considerable.
It has a decent fence, stainless steel IIRC, but it is shorter than I would like and there is no stop for repetitive cuts. There was no decent stop on saw #3 either but it was easy to rig a new fence and make a stop. I could do the same on this one but it would be harder and since I have relatively little to do I may not bother. All in all it is a decent saw. If it had a longer fence and stop I'd give it an A+; as is maybe A- or B+.
--

dadiOH
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*snip*

*snip*
I saw an interesting method for loosening arbor nuts when looking at getting a RAS. Put a wrench on the nut, then give the blade a spin and let the wrench hit a solid object. The momentum and sudden stop would loosen the nut.
It might be worth a try if you get into a similar situation.
Puckdropper
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Sonny wrote:
A good description of a total piece of crap.
Time for a refund and a different unit.
Lew
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On Saturday, October 4, 2014 8:55:54 PM UTC-5, Lew Hodgett wrote:

For a $400 saw, I'd expect a much better design of some features, in that, there are very simple fixes to some of its lacking features. If these feat ures were improved, and I not have to make those adjustments/fixes, then th e saw's grade would be B to B+, at least. Once I "fixed" the immediate lac king features, I was very satisfied with the saw, as a whole.
Any operator/owner should not have to deal with an unsealed saw, should not have to make their own modifications, as I've done. This is an obvious an d serious deficiency, as per design. The company/manufacturer, IMO, is awa re of this, if they've done any kind of testing of the product.
Some of the reviews, on Ian's link, is not quite fair, as per my experience . 1) The table to blade alignment is an easy fix/adjustment.... loosen a bolt , align them, then tighten the bolt. It was my fence that is out of alignm ent, by about 1/8", because of the single screw tightener. I slipped a pie ce of sheet metal between the fence face and the table rail, on one side, a nd this readjusted the fence alignment into good enough ~90 degree alignmen t.... after all, the brick surfaces aren't perfectly flat and have 90 degre e corners. 2) Rollers, for the table mounting, run along a shaft. The roller's housin g has a grease zerk, to easily keep it running/rolling smooth. I greased i t during assembly and after I finished my cutting. Maybe those complaining reviewers need to learn how to use a grease gun and learn maintenance upke ep. Greasing that roller housing should be as with any other regularly sch eduled cleanup/maintenance/servicing of one's tools, *immediately after usi ng it. 3) As for as motor bearings, I'll need to check that out more carefully. W ith the arbor shaft exposed, as it is, maybe the shaft is not sealed, very well, at the motor housing. Slurry may be able to wick/creep into the mot or bearing area, yet, over extended use, without cleaning it after use, may be relevant to that bearing problem. With my limited use, I don't have a good reply to this issue.
I made a shield for the arbor shaft "spraying", with a 2X4 piece of sheet m etal, and it worked very well. I taped a piece of plastic wrap over the swi tch box and that worked well. I plugged the saw into a GFI outlet. I was able to finish cutting my remaining (~150) brick. Over all, I am pleased w ith the saw, even though I had to modify some initial features. Now that I know its deficiencies, my next job won't be nearly as problematic, if at a ll.
-The saw seems to have enough power. -The functions of the sliding table was fine.... normal, IMO. -The 24" run-space, for large tile cutting, made for an extended reach, for me, for cutting the brick and, after several hours, my back was aching, t hough I took a few breaks. *At 62 yrs old, reaching to tie my shoes does t he same thing, at times. -There were no further issues with the water pump, after I submerged it in a 5 gal. bucket, rather than into the saw's water tray. -The supplied blade may be cheap, as per some reviewers, but it worked well for me and there is minimum wear, as for as I can tell. -I would be hesitant to loan this saw to anyone of limited skill, experienc e. They won't know its deficiencies, or nuances of, as I have learned them . I wouldn't trust that they, on their own (without my explaining some thi ngs in detail), would have the common sense about problem solving (possible problem solving), with a tool as this. Kinna like, when you get to know y our individual tools, only you know how to properly and safely handle them . Does this make sense? .... but I (generally) never loan my (major) tool s.
Though I am, over all, fairly satisfied with this saw, for my brick cutting , if QEP offers a refund, I would likely accept the refund and buy a less e xpensive DIYer's (HF?) saw. If they don't offer a refund, I think I still have a pretty good reliable saw, that will be appropriate for me, for a goo d long time. A DIYer's saw should not cost $400 and have the problems/issu es, I have experienced, though I have been able to "fix" its deficiencies. I should be reimbursed for my "repair work" on this saw... which equates t o the saw's cost should be $100 less, if an owner has to make improvements/ modifications, from the get-go.
Sonny
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There are some good large photos here: <http://www.amazonsupply.com/qep-61024-24-inch-professional- folding/dp/B001V5IXIO> and the manufacturer's page with manual and parts list with exploded view is: <http://www.qep.com/products.php?c=1&sub &prod=7>
Grounding the frame wont make it safe, in fact it may make it even more dangerous. When operating it, you usually have one hand on the table and one on the handle. Reach for the switch with the hand you had on the handle while your other hand is on the grounded table and if its wet, you will get a shock straight accross the chest. Running it from a RCD protected socket or extension lead should at least stop it killing anyone but it will trip out whenever the control box gets damp.
Its fairly obvious from the pictures and Sonny's followup post:

that the switch and control box is not sealed against water ingress. To be fit for purpose, the control box and motor assembly needs at least an IP64 rating but from the evidence presented I doubt it even meets IP52. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_Code>
If you read the reviews on Amazon.com: <(Amazon.com product link shortened) Folding/dp/B001V5IXIO> you will see that most of the serious users think its a P.O.S. e.g.: 3 out of 3 saws owned by one reviewer have had failed bearings and its cheaper to buy a new motor assembly than get warrenty service (probably due to shipping costs)
From Sonny's experiance, I'd judge it as a *DANGEROUS* P.O.S. and recommend immediate rejection and return.
If you have one, and cant return it, if possible scrap it, otherwise: * *DONT* let the control box get wet at all * *ALWAYS* use a RCD protected extension lead or adapter with it * *ALWAYS* wear heavy rubber gloves and rubber boots while using it * *NEVER* let a family member, employee or friend use it!
--
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ianm[at]the[dash]malcolms[dot]freeserve[dot]co[dot]uk
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Consider an inexpensive chop saw, a diamond blade, a connection to a hose with a needle valve and short length of 1/4" soft copper tube, to direct water to the blade right before it contacts the brick. The water keeps the dust down, and saves the bearings. Only a small amount of water is needed, so electricity should not be an issue, but always use a ground fault interrupter with water and electricity.
I have used this system before to cut several hundred bricks at a 22 1/2 degree angle for mitered corners. Still use the saw as my primary cutoff saw.
Jim in NC
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

--------------------------------------------------- "Sonny" wrote:
For a $400 saw, I'd expect a much better design of some features, in that, there are very simple fixes to some of its lacking features. If these features were improved, and I not have to make those adjustments/fixes, then the saw's grade would be B to B+, at least. Once I "fixed" the immediate lacking features, I was very satisfied with the saw, as a whole. ------------------------------------------------- Precisley the point.
As long as you are willing to accept crap, there is no incentive for the manufacturer to make any improvements, especially if they cost money.
Lew
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"Puckdropper" <puckdropper(at)yahoo(dot)com> wrote in message

NOW you tell me :)
--

dadiOH
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"Puckdropper" wrote:

-------------------------------------- "dadiOH" wrote:

------------------------------------------ Yep it works.
BTW, the longer the wrench the better.
On a contractor's saw, grab the belt and pull it.
Lew
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