Any experience with Microlux table saw?

Discussion in 'Camera Building, Repairs & Modification' started by Steve Goldstein, Aug 28, 2007.

  1. Steve Goldstein

    Steve Goldstein Subscriber

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    I'm considering purchasing this small table saw (sold in the US by Micro-Mark) for my "Let's build a 7x17 camera" project. Does anyone have any experience with this model, positive or negative? I know the small size would be limiting relative to something I could buy at Lowe's or Home Depot, but I believe it would meet my needs as I don't see serious carpentry or cabinet-making in my future. This unit is also attractive since I'm rather space-limited, and it'll be easier to hide from the wife. :smile:

    Thanks!
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Isn't a precise wooden camera by definition serious wood working? :confused: Unless HD in the US sells higher quality stuff in it's shops then they do in Canada I'm not even sure the machines you see in Home Depot are that fine.

    I'm not saying it's not going to work but a lot of these machines are aimed at carpentry. Modern carpentry isn't exactly a wooden camera. How many perfectly square walls are being built these days?
     
  3. Steve Goldstein

    Steve Goldstein Subscriber

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    Point taken. I guess what I was trying to say was that I don't anticipate the need to rip 4x8 sheets of plywood into little strips, so a smaller table saw aimed at the model-making community might be adequate, and I'm trying to validate that assumption before laying out the $$$.
     
  4. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I have one at work and it is great for small pieces of wood or styrene. It would not be adequate for ripping 3/4 inch hardwood, though. It is really a fun thing to use, but it really is not adequate for what you will need.
     
  5. freygr

    freygr Member

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    Yes I have to agree with you, it doesn't have a big old 3/4 horse GE motor. But the accuracy is due to the table saw fence! A good fence will give you the repeatable cuts.

    The wood you will be buying will be 15/16 inch thick from a vendor like "CrossCut Hardwoods" and you will need a good saw blade, not the 32 tooth cheapie but a 60 tooth or greater finishing cut carbide saw blade and that is not cheap, my wife always asks me why I need the $70.00 saw blade, it saves time, ie: much less sanding. Even with my old 3/4 horse motor I've had to wait for the motor to cool down the thermo protection and yes that old motor pops the 20 amp fuses with out a problem if the saw gets binded up in the hardwood.
     
  6. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    Taunton press has published tests of 10 inch job site saws with numbers for blade run out, and actual performance. I don't remember if was in Fine Woodworking or Fine Home Building though.
    Freygr makes a good point that the blade and how well the saw is tuned matters more for its accuracy than the market it's sold in.

    FWIW, construction doesn't have to be sloppy or inaccurate. Recently I was doing some volunteer work framing walls at a facility owned by a major timber frame builder. Their walls are accurate to 1/16 inch.
     
  7. Greg_E

    Greg_E Member

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  8. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    I would highly recommend a Dremel table saw. It has far less of the limitations the MicroMark has. It is easy to find blades, it has lots of power and it is about the same footprint.

    I used one for many years repairing and building cameras, they are excellent saws with a tilting arbor.

    Look on ebay or craigslist.
     
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Barry,
    They're not available new any longer & I've been looking for a replacement. Dremel doesn't support It & gave me a 1/4" X 10 1/2" size. Projector recorder belt corp didn't have it. Do you have any suggestions?
     
  10. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    one more thing....

    If you do get a "standard" table saw, spend the time to properly tune it to get the fence parallel to the blade. I had to actually remachine the casting on my table saw (Taiwanese Powermatic) to get it tuned properly, but now it works perfectly. The other item to consider is the blade. The best I've seen is the Forrest blade....it is not cheap, but it is the best. I'd take a cheap, well tuned saw with a good blade ahead of a good, poorly tuned saw with the stock blade any time.
     
  11. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    Hi John:

    I am assuming you are talking about the belt? I replaced the goofy flat belt pulleys on mine with toothed timing belt pulleys and used a timing belt for years which never was able to slip. You can get timing belts and pulleys from:

    http://www.robotmarketplace.com/marketplace_timing.html

    They are cheap and they work great!
     
  12. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    All table saws need to be tuned, as Marks story of a top of the line Powermatic saw shows. My 500 pound cabinetmakers saw also required some tuning to get it close to perfect. The Forrest Woodworker II blade is good. I recommend an Amana or SystiMatic blade, but for a blade that costs less than $200 the Forrest is probably the best available.
     
  13. freygr

    freygr Member

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    Just remember there are cheaper blades that are just as good, you will have to find them, and also it depends on the size of your saw ( some older hobbie saws took 7 1/2 inch saw blades but the standard table saw usually takes 10 inch blades, cabinet makers and construction saw can be found in 12 inch and larger ). I had one off my saw blades sharpened and now it's better that it was new.
     
  14. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    Awesome! What blades are cheaper that work "just as good"? Please tell us what to look for.

    Most older table saws were 8 inch not 7 1/4. 7 1/4 is a portable hand held circular saw size not a table saw size. Nobody makes 7 1/2 inch blades as far as I know.
     
  15. freygr

    freygr Member

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    It was late at night and I did mean 7 1/4 saw blade. Unluckily for users of blades larger than 10 inches there is not much of choice. But for the users of saws that use 10 inch blades we do have some great and not so costly choices.

    After years of wood working (hobby) I've have these few facts. If the saw blade does not sing, that is run smoothly with out any side to side movement (no vibrations and no run out), you have a junk blade return it if it's new. You will get a smoother cut with more teeth but there is a point of diminishing returns (depth of cut and if it is a rip). Also use thin Kerf saw blades it does make a difference in waste if you going to cut many small parts out of a large piece of wood. Another benefit is that it takes less power to make the cut.

    I have three Ridgid 10" saw blades (2 - 50 tooth combination and 90 tooth combination) and one Hitachi 40 tooth combination. Both brands are laser cut and just sing (no vibration just the sound of the teeth cutting the air is all you heard) All cut the wood smooth. I have the 90 tooth on the compound miter saw and the cuts are glass smooth. The Ridgid cost me about $70.00 USA for the 90 tooth and the 50 tooth's where in the $50.00 range, the Hitachi was the cheapest at $32.00. I have two DEWALT saw blades, they are on my junk blade pile, they do make nice tools but not nice saw blades (too much run out) OK for framing not good for cabinet making.

    I have about a dozen other saw blades but most of them I got when I got the saw. Most will just sit there not being used as they are not carbide blades. But the carbide blades that are there do not sing, and they also don't cut smooth either. I use them if I have to cut metals or junk wood that may have steel in it (nails or screws).
     
  16. barryjyoung

    barryjyoung Member

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    Hi:

    Yeah, we tried Rigid blades, and Freud. The Forrest, SystiMatic and Amana are much better. Thank you though.
     
  17. freygr

    freygr Member

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    There are a few other things about saw blades, use. Granted some blades don't last as long, but the requirement between a hobby use and a production shop are very different. In a production shop you need long lasting blades. I know of very few light users of table saws which would be able to justify a $300 saw blade.

    Like I have two Rigid saw blades, one is better that the other when both were new. For light users the less costly blades can preform for months like the $300 saw blade do to the fact of the amount of use. Most users (non-production) will not see the difference. for a very long time.
     
  18. Histandard

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    Steve.

    Well I have had lots of experience with Microlux table saws, Dremel table saws and saws in general. Let me start by saying the Dremel is at the bottom of the food chain.
    It uses a stamped tin trunion unit (the part that controls the tilt and the up/down blade movement). These units are still available used on EBay for $50-$250. If you find a used one be ready to spend a lot of time making it worth your investment.

    Now, the Microlux. The two that I have owned have served me well. But be prepared to spend $400 for a new one and whatever the market will bear for a used one. Watch out for the used ones because the variable speed control is light duty and is known to burn out. I have one right now with a smoked motor. This is a $100 small DC motor if you get lucky enough to find a new one.

    Last but not least. Go onto Craigslist.org and look for a VERY OLD Sears cast iron table saw. I am talking the type form 40-50 yeas ago. They in fact are not a lot larger than a modlers saw but built like a tank. I just picked one up for $40 and it has a cast iron table about 12" by 17". This is a belt drive unit and this one had a nice ball bearing 1/2 HP motor on it.

    Almost everyone on the post is right, you MUST align the blade to the table fist, The nice part about the old Sears table saw is the rear of the trunion unit is pinned (not movable) and the front portion is adjustable via 2 bolts. This allows you to make the table top perfectly parrellel with the saw blade. After this is done you can tinker with the table stops. Meaning the stop adjustment for a perfect 90 degree and at the far end the stop for a perfect 45 degree.

    I hope all of this helps you make an informed decision. I find the $40 Sears saw a much better performer and more accurate than any modelers saw. Blades are available and this particular saw uses a standard 7 1/2" blade. This type blade is available from the bottom of the line Lowes and Home Depot specials all the way up to the Forest line.
     
  19. Steve Goldstein

    Steve Goldstein Subscriber

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    Thanks for resurrecting this thread, and for the tip on old Craftsman saws. I'll have a look around for one of those.

    I did ultimately find a good-condition Dremel for cheap, with all the bits and pieces. After a little alignment, which wasn't too difficult and appears to be stable, it has met my limited needs so far, but it's clear that I'll need something better for a planned project.