General 650 setup HOWTO

I recently took delivery of my General 650 (left hand tilt) cabinet saw. This is one fine piece of machinery. However, the documentation is criminal, and I've seen that some people have been drilling their tabletops to get the fence rails attached. This is not necessary, at least with the combination of parts I received. The saw, with table, legs and rails is called the Millenium Edition.
1. Through instructions in garbage. 2. Look in long square tube for bag of hardware ;) Beware iron filings also stored in the tube. (You can discard the filings)
3. Start with front rail. Locate a small chisel mark about 2' from the left of the rail. Line this up with the LEFT side of the blade (NOT the RIGHT side as the instructions say). Now, 4 bolt holes in the table should be visible through the holes in the fence. 2 of the holes are 3/8 tapped, but alas, General only provided two 3/8 machine screws, and we need them for the back rail. Bolt on with 1/4-20 hex bolts. You can now use the nice "L" tool that General supplies, but don't worry if the rail sits a bit low. Mine is 1/16th too low, and it works just fine.
4. Install the back rail in a similar fashion, using two 3/8" slot head bolts. These are the oddest looking bolts I've every seen and the heads are too big for the countersunk (sp?) holes in the rails, but again, it seems to be non-critical.
5. Do NOT install the square tube yet, or you will have to remove it later ;) (Some of us are too impatient.)
6. Install the table between the rails. I took 2 pieces of scrap 3/4" MDF, 4"wide and about 4' long, with good straight edges. Clamp these, on edge running down the saw, and clamp the table to them as well. This will hold the table temporarily so that it is flush with the top of the cast iron saw wings. Use a caliper to ensure the top of the table is not going up, or down in relation to the bars. (This part is obvious I guess).
Next, drill 1/4" holes, 4 in the front and 4 in the back using the holes provided on the front and back rails. Use 1/4-20 bolts, large washers, lock washers, and nuts on the 2 holes closest the saw (on each side). Install the legs on the other two holes, again with 1/4-20 bolts, lock washers and nuts. (but no large washers). Tighten it up.
7. Now install the square tube. There are about 6, or 7 holes drilled in the bottom of the tube and horizontal part of the front rail. These should all line up. Use stubby bolts (not sure of size, but General includes them), correct wrench is 7/16 I believe.
8. Put on the rip fence to the right of the blade. Push it till it is just in contact with the blade, and adjust the plastic measuring gauge until it reads 0.
9. Play around with the rip fence alignment if you want. Play around with the mitre fence alignment if you want. Both of mine were perfect (or at least orders of magnitude better than my old, 30+ years Rockwell contractor saw.) I'll probably spend more time tuning it in the days ahead.
10. There was one large piece of scrap metal also shipped with the saw, carefully machined and weighing about 30 lbs. This can be attached to the rear of the machine somehow I believe. I hope mine doesn't rust too much sitting in the corner. How can General ship a useless piece of crap like their blade guard when there are better, removable aftermarket solutions. ARE YOU GUYS ASLEEP UP THERE? DORMER VOUS?
Overall, the installation, once I threw out the instructions was simple and intuitive.
In general, this is about the nicest tool I have ever used. When I removed the motor (recommended if you are moving it into your basement as it lightens the saw by quite a bit) the trunnions and bearings spin effortlessly. It is so smooth, the inertia of the mechanism keeps going after you stop moving the cranks. When the motor and V-belts are installed, things are 'heavier' but this is a joy to use. Everything was shimmed and accurate right out of the box. I can't test runout but the wood I cut was smooth and square. The motor clunks solidly before it spins up. Power to spare.
(Oh, yeah, you might want to check all wiring before powering up. When I removed the motor, one of the crimp on connectors, on L1, came off in my hands! Nice way to start a fire)
The fit and finish of my machine are far above King, Jet, and others. The powder coat paint is very tough, and beautiful. The case is solid and dust collection looks good. This truly is the Cadillac of table saws.
DEAR GENERAL, IF YOU ARE LISTENING-     It is often the little details that make the difference in customer satisfaction. Your machine is first rate, but you are missing the details. Spend some $$ and re-write your documentation. Hire a professional, don't do it yourself. ( I challenge the president of General to read the English instructions and try to follow them. They are the worst crap I have ever seen. You should be ashamed) Get a consistent bolt package with all Robertson head bolts. You go to the trouble of drilling and tapping 3/8 holes in the table, then you don't use them. You send a set of rails with extra holes drilled in it on your 'Cadillac' model saw. You need to re-design and modernize your blade guard. The table you include does not match your own specifications and should be made of MDF, with Arborite and a hardwood frame, NOT particle board with vinyl. This will peel, chip and absorb moisture. The locking knobs on the cranks look like they may have been 'cost reduced', instead of more durable bakelite (not sure about that). You could probably save cost and offer a better product if you replaced your mitre gauge with an 'indexed' type model which locks in every 5deg. (See Get your QC guys to check all wiring.
Anyway, hope this helps someone and prevents them from needlessly drilling their tabletop.
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I believe the piece you refer to will screw into the rear trunnion (through the opening at the back of the saw), and can then be set and adjusted to support the rear of the splitter/guard.
But once (it doesn't take long) you realize the splitter/guard is a PITA, and serves you better in a drawer somewhere, then this 30lb piece reverts to your original claim of being useless, and can be removed from the saw and placed in the same drawer.
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