July 25, 2009

Proxxon & Micromark table saw adjustment

photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009

Another long technical posting, not much fun to read or lovely to view but you won't find the information on how to do this adjustment on a Proxxon FKS/E anywhere else on the internet so I think it is of value and so will others. This adjustment method also works for the Microlux Mini Tilt Arbor Table Saw sold by Micromark. These two are nearly identical saws made at the same factory in Japan.

If you are going to own a table saw you need to educate yourself on how they are adjusted for optimal cutting performance. This posting is about one of the critical adjustments needed. Please watch the videos below, it shows various ways you can check alignment. While it is a 10 inch table saw and the screws that adjust the blade to be parallel to the miter slot are in different locations than the Proxxon saw the concepts of the needed adjustments are identical. The author of the videos was kind enough to send me links to embed on my blog. Many thanks Marc, I have already been getting raves about your bandsaw video that was posted here a couple of days ago.
This spring I purchased a used Proxxon saw on which the blade did not line up parallel to the slot in the table top. The misalignment was severe enough I could not use the saw to accurately cut miniatures. Not every Proxxon saw has this problem, I have another one that is perfectly aligned. This lightly used saw is out of warranty and I am not inclined to send it to a repair shop for a problem I can fix myself so here is what I did to fix my saw. Why was it out of alignment? Not a clue, these things happen sometimes because castings can change shape after machining due to internal stresses or maybe the person who did the job messed it up.

Warning!!! Do not do these adjustments if you have a new table saw or if it is still under warranty. You will void your warranty. Take your saw back to the store or send it in for repair or replacement according to the instructions you were given at time of purchase.

Only attempt this adjustment if you are mechanically inclined and used to working with and repairing things and have the proper tools to do the job. Be very careful because you could break a metal casting or the plastic housing, you can cross thread the screws or ruin the circuit board.

The circuit board must be handled with extreme care. I am using my big table saw's steel top as a work surface. The big table saw is well grounded, I have it plugged in. As I work on removing and replacing the circuit board I touch the steel table saw top to discharge static electricity from my body.

The Proxxon saw must be unplugged at all times during this procedure. It is very easy to drop and loose tiny screws so work in an area where it will be easy to find them if they do get dropped. Keep the screws you remove in small plastic bags and label the bags so you know what part they are used on.

Tools:
You will need two cross tip (phillip) screw drivers, a #1 and a #2. The #2 should have a long thin shaft as you need to get into deep and narrow pockets to get to the screw.
You will need a 7mm metric wrench.
You will need the metric hex (Allen) wrench that installs your table saw blade.
You will also need a drill bit and drill motor, small pointed grinding stone and a rotary tool.

If you have checked with a scale, adjustable square, or dial indicator and found that your saw is out of alignment then you will have an hour or more of work to do to fix the problem.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009


My saw was out of parallel by .013" front to back as tested with a shim gauge set between the square and the saw blade. You can purchase shim gauge sets at automotive parts stores or hardware stores.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009


The first step is to remove the three #2 screws (yellow circles) and four #1 screws (blue circles) from the bottom of the saw as indicated in the photo. You won't yet be able to remove the shroud as there is still one more #2 screw located inside of the cover over the switch circuitry.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009

Very carefully lift the cover off the area over the switch, don't try to detach the wires, just set it to the side. (See photo below) Next pull up gently on the circuit board, it is not held in with any screws, it slip fits into a slot. Again don't try to detach any wire, just gently move it to the side. This is the most dangerous part of the job, you don't want to have to order a replacement switch or circuit board.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009


Remove the last screw that holds the plastic shroud on (photo below), the one that is hiding inside the electrical area just next to and below the circuit board. You won't be able to fully remove the cover until you reach between the shroud and the table top and release the catch on the quick release plug to the motor. Mine was white colored. There is a small clip on one side of the plug that will flex out to release the catch.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009

Set the shroud aside in a safe place where it won't get damaged.

There are four countersunk screws that hold the motor mounting casting to the table top. Those are where the adjustment to alignment takes place.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009


I found that these screw mounting holes were very accurately located and sized, there was no room to make any kind of adjustment from side to side. Great if the saw is aligned, horrid if it is not. I feel the designing engineers over constrained the saw by not allowing room for adjustments. Therefore I took a drill just slightly larger than the hole size already in the part and enlarged the holes so I could get some movement.

To enlarge the holes I had to remove the casting from the table saw.

Remove the four countersunk screws that hold the casting to the table top.

Next remove the two screws with nuts that fix the tilt function to the table. The nut requires a 7mm wrench. There is a small metal clip over that tilt rod. Be careful to note that the clip is bent in a slight V shape and has one clipped corner. You need to be sure you put it back exactly the same way when you reassemble this feature.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009

Remove the blade tilt and height raise knob and the angle indicator from the front of the saw casting. First unscrew the height adjuster, then the tilt lock knob, there is a washer under the tilt lock knob, unscrew the angle indicator. Pull the motor assembly out of the casting..
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009

photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009

Enlarge the four countersunk holes in the casting with a drill press or drill motor. I had my bracket set on a riser block on my drill press and enlarged the holes from the bottom side rather than the countersunk side.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009

Now reassemble the casting and tilt mechanism to the table top and put the tilt and blade lift knobs and indicator back on the front plate.

You will need to figure out which direction you need to pivot to line up the blade parallel to the miter slots. Watch that saw setup video and you will see exactly what I am talking about if you don't understand what I just wrote.

When you figure out which direction you are going to swivel you will find just enlarging the holes is not enough. The countersinks will realign the screws back to the original position if you don't make clearance room for the new position of the screw over to one side of the countersink. You can see me doing that with a pointed grinding stone in a Dremel motor in the photo below.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009
I wish that rather than countersinks they had counterbored for a flat bottomed recess and used socket cap screws. One of these days I will counterbore or I will put aluminum putty under the countersunk screw heads so they again have full bearing force. For now I have my fix besides I don't have a counterbore to fit so I can't do that just yet.

You might have to go back and forth between the saw top and the underside of the top adjusting screws and checking the alignment with the square. It took me several tries and a little more grinding of the sides of the countersink before I got near perfection. I started with a difference front and back edge of the blade of .013 thousandths and ended up with less than .001 thousandths. Of course my measuring tool, a square against the edge of a slot, is not actually that precise of an indicator but it is good enough to do this job. Perfection is relative, as long as you are getting good parts made it is good enough.

How much will your saw motor need to pivot on those adjustment screws is something you will have to find out for yourself.

Put the shroud back onto the saw carefully aligning the area around the front plate. Put back the screw that is inside the switch box and then carefully fit the circuit board back into the slot. The circuit board is tapered, narrow end goes into the slot first. Now put the cover back on the electrical and the remaining three screws that hold the shroud on. You are done, congrats!

Realizing that at some point in time I might need to make small adjustments to those four screws again I cut an access hole directly over the two screws I could not reach with the shroud in place. I will put a piece of duct tape over it so sawdust won't fall out of it. Now I don't have to take the saw apart again to make this adjustment should the saw get out of alignment.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2009

18 comments:

Debby said...

ahaa! Now here's something interresting. The adjustments that Mark is talking about (great video's! everyone with a tablesaw should watch those) are the ones that I'm familiar with. YouTube is also great for that reason.

fortunatly mine needed just little tweekes and's okay now(to certain extend ofcourse) but I threw the adjustable sliding guides that came with the saw away as they din't fit snug into the two slots. To much movement. I've made my own out of hardwood and they run thight now.

I also have found that the cast aluminium tabletop has a slite dimp in the centre. I geuss that's due to the weight of the motor pulling it down after assembley. But I use several large tabletop jigs so my work surface is dead flat.

It might that I don't get the most of this saw but Iam not sure if ther's anymore I can do.

Thanks for shearing!!

Karin Corbin said...

Too bad about the dip in the table top. I don't think it is caused by the motor weight. I have had 3 of these saws and all have had nice flat tops. More likely that the casting warped which is not unusual to have happen even on full sized saws.

I was helping Pete Boorum find some sources for runners that will fit snugly into those slots. Pete and Pam are going to be selling upgrade accessories for the Proxxon tilt arbor saw. He sent me a photo of his new fence last week.
http://smallerthanlife.com/

Debby said...

It's no surprice to me you know the people of that great online store. A few years ago I was realy in doubt wether to get their proac table or a proxxon. I loved all the accessories but for reasons of convenience (warranty etc) it became the proxxon.

The dip in the table is no more then a hairline, but it's there. To bad there are no pics of the available extra's as my englisch is unsufficent and makes me unsure to get an idea of what's on offer. I've made two slidingtables (one for mitres) and figured out a jig to make fingerjoints. But I love all the little extra's that comes with the Proac and what you can do with it!

Good to know that your friends have those in store for the proxxon too, maybe my birthday is a good reason to fulfill my desires haha

Karin Corbin said...

I know Pete and Pam through Small Stuff Digest. We have never met in person but we do share a mutual love for tools and jigs.

Anonymous said...

I have one of these MicroMark/Proxxon beasts and have contemplated a similar fix but haven't figured out a way to make the fix truly precision and adjustable. I'm a machinist/modelmaker and am considering the options. One option is to get one of Jim Byrnes table saws or build my own but I'd like to fix the one I have.

Jack Mc Kie
Freshwater Models
www.freshwatermodels.net

Anonymous said...

Karin,

I was thinking of buying one of these saws for model-making, but your comments me a bit concerned. I read another review by a fellow who had the same problem, and in the end (not knowing the fix) he bought another saw.

Would you recommend buying either brand of saw in light of the chance it might be flawed? I see Proxxon has a few models of their table saw for sale now, but I don't know if any has fixed this (potential) problem.

Paul

Karin Corbin said...

Paul,
I would not even hesitate to buy one if that was my budget. I think it is a very rare to get one that is crooked. If you do buy a new one and it has this problem return it as defective and have it replaced.

I do not have their latest model with the upgraded fence and features so I can't comment on it. Mostly those are sold in Europe and run on 240 volts, not the USA 110. Although I do have 220 in my workshop I still don't need one so I am unlikely to purchase that model.

Anonymous said...

Mahalo Karin for sharing your thoughts, ideas and advice here. Especially this detailed info on Proxxon tablesaw "adjustments".

After risking fingers making band inlay and puzzles on a 10" Bosch tablesaw for a while, I'm waffling between the Byrnes and the Proxxon FET. Despite the excellent modelers reviews for both, I haven't found much user feedback from folks that make a lots of identical small,compound angled parts. Thoughts?

Greg

Karin Corbin said...

Greg,

Byrnes makes a great precision saw. He has a sloped table for making beveled cuts but that won't work for making compound angled cuts so that gives you a short list. The Proxxon saw is good but it would not be my choice for small compound angled cuts as it is not truly a precisely controlled saw, way too may plastic pieces for that. I suggest you save your money and upgrade to a good quality, used, cabinet saw. With the housing market situation many small cabinet shops are shutting the doors and selling off their tools. Just be careful to not purchase one that is beat to death with abuse.

Anonymous said...

Aloha Karin,

Unfortunately we have a severe shortage of cabinet shops out here and they're hiring. Buying new and shipping here will be out of budget for a while.

Amazon shipped me a Proxxon FET that didn't survive the trip. But what I saw in the ( returned ) box made me wince. Far too much diecast metal and plastic. I've spent a few days modeling the Byrnes saw and various angle jigs/sleds but can't make it fit the tasks. As you pointed out, the table doesn't work for compound cuts. A hybridized Proxxon seems likely for the short term.

Karin Corbin said...

Greg,
The issue of keeping all of one's fingers intact has little to do with the saw being used. That is a function of the fixture used to hold the parts. Jigs and fixtures are the finger savers. In precision woodworking a quality saw is needed but more important is what is controlling the wood. Instead of using real fingers as clamps use sacrificial fingers.

I regularly browse the internet for images and videos of the ways people are clamping, work holding, small parts.

Control is everything and learning to design jigs and fixtures is basically a method of thinking about how you will apply pressure to the pieces to keep them in the correct position while moving them through the cutter.

Anonymous said...

Aloha Karin,

Quite true..From the stacks of tooling here, I appear to spend more time building fixtures than I do making things that leave. But a quality tool you can rely on usually saves time and effort. I guess I should go get a big jar for the saw money.

Karin Corbin said...

Greg,

small part holder to save your fingers
http://www.ncwoodworker.net/forums/general-woodworking/21548-shop-made-jig-small-parts-miter-gauge-clamp-pictures.html

Anonymous said...

Mahalo Karin,

I ordered a Kreg miter gage last week and this looks like the perfect accessory..
I also plan to make up one of these sleds ( http://www.instructables.com/id/Precision-Puzzlemaking-Primer----Volume-1/ ) when the CNC frees up. There has also beensome interesting work in the segmented bowl arena.

Karin Corbin said...

Anonymous ..Good choices, nice to have sacrificial finger holding. I was fortunate to learn about jigs and fixtures while working in manufacturing.

This is the miter fence I chose for my large table saw.
http://www.jessem.com/MAST-R-SLIDE.html

you can write to me directly if you like. Use my first and last name with no spaces and send to gmail

Simon said...

Wow ! Interesting ! This is something I should check on mine. Greetings from Antwerp !

Anonymous said...

I've just purchased the Proxxon FET table saw and have found the saw blade to be out of vertical by about 1 degree and no further adjustment is available. It doesn't sound much but it means that nothing can be cut square. Proxxon have said return the machine to the retailer but this will involve high carriage costs to me which is just wrong. I shall remonstrate with Proxxon over this. However, that aside, I have read several comments about the Micky Mouse quality of some of this equipment and I'm not sure that I want a replacement. These machines are expensive here in France (€350)

Has anyone else had this mechanical problem?

Barrie

Karin Corbin said...

Barrie,

I think you need not worry too much. This will be very easy to fix.
You will need to unscrew the threaded screw that you use to make the saw tilt adjustment and then the large locking nut. Now look at the front of your saw. There will be a small metal plate with a pointer on it. That plate has a slot in it for fine adjustment of tilt. That is what you move back and forth to adjust where the blade tilt is set to vertical. Should it not slide far enough to get the blade to 90 then use a small file on the edge of the edge of the metal. But I suspect it will move far enough to solve your issue. That plate is slotted to allow for making this adjustment.

So keep your saw and enjoy using it!