Mitre Saw Mechanic – Zero Clearance Insert and Fence

Ok I’ve been sent a saw by Evolution. Evolution good, rage bad. Evolution is a company that puts a British flag on it’s boxed under some words about location specific design innovation. I don’t know if this is anything to be proud of?

I’m not sure what that innovation is, but if I notice something I will come back to you. I have to admit, I like the name of the company. It subliminally spreads the subversive idea of evolution to the American market, so I can’t fault them on that. But the saw is lacking in key places – well this saw is anyway.

When you get a new saw the first thing you want to do is check it for accuracy. I’m going to be using this engineers straight edge. I’m going to be using two engineers squares. I’m also going to use these feeler gauges, just to help me identify gaps. And I also have a bevel box.

I placed the straight edge against the table and checked how flat everything was. The rotating section of the saw is about 2mm higher than the outer-wings. This isn’t a good start because if material is clamped or held down it will lift and change the angle of the cut. Probably not a big problem for a Sunday DIY’er, but if you want to do something other than show off your masculinity to your wife, this is something we’ll have to fix. This is something which will have to be addressed. This is something that should be fixed. You’re not listening to me. I tried tightening a nut under the machine but that only clamped the pivoting mechanism, and the bed height stayed the same.

The fence can be adjusted to the blade, which is good but the angle from the face to the bed is off. You can see it leans forward at the top and the light bleed at the bottom.

That’s fully tightened, and that’s not square there. Not square there either. The movable section of the fence is also not flat with the lower section.

I can tell just with my finger that the top section must have been ground separately from this section here.

You can also adjust the zero position of the saw. This is a little complicated but the instructions are in the manual.

Anyway it suddenly clicked to me that I’ve been sent a free saw… god damnit. They can send me another one. I specifically mentioned the reasons why I wanted the saw replaced and well another box come.

It smells like perfume in here.

So this is the second one, I have another one there. This one had a few problems with it. The fence was learning forward at the top, and well they just weren’t lined up properly. This rotating piece here is about 2 or 3mm higher than the two wings, so when you put a piece of material on it you’re actually lifting the material up and potentially adding a few degrees to the 90 degree cut.

One, two, three.

I began checking the second machine. The fence was still leaning forward and this time the wing on the right hand side had a slight gap between the two sections. I think the guy who checks everything must have a dud-square. That is the same.

I forgot this stupid thing here and I had to open the box again.

You can see it’s really not even here. It’s a big gap there. I can get my finger nail in.

Oh come on.

Oh I can actually see a bit of pen mark there. I think they’ve actually cut this for me. It’s definitely a bit better but it’s not perfect. I mean really the top should have just been milled with the wings at the same time. Pen mark everywhere, and it’s sharp.

There’s some burrs under here. Let’s see what happens if I grind those down.

Maybe I should open the box up again and take the right hand side one off the old one. See if that fits a bit better. So that’s the one from the first one. Yeah that looks a lot better. This one’s going back. So the piece of material which is basically setting the fence square is is here and that section there. This has all been ground down to make space for the pivoting table. I stuck the fence to a piece of MDF using strong double sided tape. I also put a few screws down, and after setting the fence blade to 90 degrees I cut a wafer thin slice off the base. Ok i’m not worried about it being squared this way coz I can do that later. I’m just going to bolt these down so they’re tight, and then check. It’s definitely a lot better. Still a little bit of a gap there.

You can here it knocks on there. I’m not sure whether to try take this apart. What could go wrong? There could be ball bearings in here, springs, all sorts of things. Locking nut.

You can see they’ve definitely cut it.

It would be interesting to know if anyone else who had this saw or the previous model, whether they run their fingers around the side of the turning component – if there’s any burrs or they notice it’s been cut or ground?

It looks like someone gone at it with an angle grinder to be honest. I wished people signed their work.

This turns in a very simple way. You’ve got these plastic runners here. Yeah whoever levelled this to that did it with an angle grinder. I must admit I’m very impressed.

I don’t know what it is but every time I see the bottom of a mitre saw I think of star trek.

I decided I should continue modifying the saw and to try get it to perform as well as it can. To turn this from a rough and ready builders saw, into a precision carpenters one – great for cutting shelves.

I made my own zero clearance insert using some 9mm water resistant MDF that I had left over. 50mm so that’s 50mm. It’s quite a simple shape. They haven’t done anything unusual with this. It does taper off a little bit here but that could be the cast.  I cut this down to size and yes I know what you’re thinking. That’s a cute mitre saw you have on the floor there.

Ok I’ve just noticed something else. This section here isn’t clamping properly. You can see it’s really grinding the paint down. Anyway when I lock it down you can still pivot it. I’m going to try replace this and if that doesn’t work I’ll take that whole section off and put the other one on. I’m going to replace this now from the old one, and take that off the new one.

I am going to make and install a sacrificial zero clearance fence. I laminated two strips of MDF together using flat edges to clamp against.

I knock a few nails into the ends. To make sure that doesn’t slide around. I’m not going all the way down partly because the nails are longer but it also means I can see the and pull them out if I have too. Now the secrete to getting the piece nice and flat, is using some kind of flat edge to clamp your MDF against that. You could use our engineers straight edge like this or I’ve kept a few pieces of valchromat.

There are some mounting holes on the fence, so I think this is something the makers of this saw invite you to do. Along with the zero clearance insert the saw’s saving grace is you are not designed out of the object. The shapes are simple enough so you can make modifications and help this saw… evolve.

I think what I’m going to do is offset these a little bit so that after I’ve made the initial cuts I can keep bringing them forward if I need a clean edge.

I’ve trimmed off the glue squeeze out and mark the holes on the metal fence against the MDF.

I’ll drill those out and counter sink the surface here. Ok I’ve just counter sunk the holes. Washer goes in like that. Machine screw. Ok the final things to mention is the extraction is atrocious on this saw.

I’ve just noticed that the saw catches on the new fence when using the radial – but not when cutting straight down. I could take this off and trim another mm or two ff, or I could cut some angles. It’s quite off there. Aeee it’s bollks. Ok so I’ve just checked the pieces and they are all pretty consistent. 18.89 to 18.75 so that’s not too bad. What I should have done was put some pieces of the velchromat across this way to check if there was any twist when it was gluing. But I don’t think this was the problem. So what I’m going to do is shim this out so the wing nut at the back isn’t pushing this to far forward. So if I loosen it up. you can see there’s a flat edge here. You could tape something on, instead I’m going to use this piece of PTFE. It’s 0.25mm. I bought this stuff to shim out the CNC machine. It’s looking pretty banging at the moment. Anyway all I’m going to do is place that inside like this on the edge facing that way, and I’m going to slide that in and make sure that doesn’t move. I don’t think I’m going to need to do too much more. This end is good. This is not great there’s light bleed at the bottom. There’s the same for that. And that’s good as well more or less. So it seems square on these sections here but there’s a little bit of a gap when you get closer to the blade, and the problem is coming from this section here still. It’s leaning up a little bit which is causing the gap at the bottom of the square. You can see if I put a bit of weight on there this begins to close. If I clamp clamp this down that starts to close up.

If I pop into your mind from time to time and you start to miss me, why don’t you subscribe to my Instagram account where I upload sneaky pictures.

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