Makita Table Saw Rip Arm Adjustment for Truing Timber

Introduction: Makita Table Saw Rip Arm Adjustment for Truing Timber

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Makita MLT 100
this instructable will show you how to adjust the rip saw arm to within one sheet of paper of being level and square to the saw blade.

I am an avid and Accuracy is everything to me

tools needed:
alen key

Step 1: Adjust the Table Saw Blade

The first step must be to ensure the table saw blade is square to the table.

unplug the power to the power saw.
raise the table saw blade all the way up.
next to the power button, behind the blade riser handle is the locking leaver, rotate it clock wise 180 degrees.
place your square flat against the steel sable saw bed / base, ensure it is clean and free from sawdust and debris or this will affect your outcome.

Gently place the ruler section of your square against the blade, while watching the space between the blade and square; slowly rock the WHEEL behind the blade raising handle clock wise and anti clockwise until there is no light passing between the blade and the square.
Once you are happy there is no light flip the leaver anticlockwise 180 degrees, locking the blade in place.

now you have locked it in place, Check it once again for square

Step 2: Inspecting for Defects

Undo both the Allen key screws holding the adjustment carrage to the cast aluminum sliding Mechanism
undo both black knobs holding the actual rip saw arm.

Inspect all parts for defects. Replace parts where necessary.

Step 3: Secure the Rip Arm to the Adjustment Block

Secure the rip arm to the adjustment block

you can’t adjust the arm if it has unnecessary movement in it, tighten them securely.
I would even recommend using lock tight 401 or equivalent
tightening these two knobs is very orquad due to the closeness they are situated to each other.

I found my pliers were too small and I could not find my multi grips.
While unconventional, using a g clamp over the knobs did the job.

Step 4: Adjustment Time

Slide the entire arm over to the blade securing the locking leaver to the table. Within 4mm should be fine for now because
there is 5 mm of adjustment in the Allen key adjustment system.

With the Allen key adjustment screws loose, place the rip arm against the saw blade and secured with a two G clamps.
Check with a square the rip arm to the table base. If it is not square, check the blade again. if the blade is still square then your arm is bent.
If both are square that’s fantastic.

with the blade and fence arm square un do the locking arm on the fence and slide it left towards the blade. push the aluminum adjustment block left until both alien screws are hard up against the right hand side of the slot they sit in.
if you can’t align both, get as close as you can.

Be aware, Tightening up your Allen screws will move the rip arm. You will need to ensure the locking arm of the fence arm is undone.
Tighten the Allen screws up until there is slight resistance.
Check with a square on the rip arm and ensure it has not moved.

From here on, every 1/8 of a turn of the Allen key we are going to check with the square the blade and rip arm. in addition keep moving the locking leaver of the rip arm into locked and open position, this is a good thing at the minute, we don’t want to twist the arm from the Aluminum
cast lock arm. Locking and unlocking will make it move freely into position without moving the arm.,
I also found that if there was dust or shavings in the track the aluminum slider sits in it will change the square of the rip arm.
I also noted if the rip arm is not completely flat against the saw bed it will move out of square vertically, that’s equally as bad.

Ensure everything is done slowly to prevent movement, check everything as you go.
Finally question what every movement or step is doing to the rip arm.

Once you are happy with everything, undo both g clamps. If nothing moves check both distances on each end of the saw blade with a sheet of paper.
If there is space on one end but not the other give the adjustment block a light tap until both sheets are under equal pressure.

If after several attempts you can’t get it even, undo the Allen keys and remove the g clamps.

Restart the process with the sheets already in place; take more time aligning the arm with the Allen keys screws.
Even try moving the locking mechanism of the arm to the saw table to the right a mm or 2.

To confirm this process works after I was happy I had a true 90 degree arm to the blade, I undid all parts and started once again.
Repeating the process gave the same outcome within several minutes.

I added lock tight to everything once it was in place, while I know it is meant to go in the nut I did not want to do it a third time. yes i over did that too. lol

you can now cut with confidence

I hope you enjoyed this ible.

with advice from Pfred2 I will adjust my arm so it secures on both ends.
cheers Pfred2

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    10 years ago on Introduction

    This is a nice article, and is more practical than the typical technique shown in woodworking magazines or books requiring the use of a dial gauge, magnetic block base etc. I have a cabinet saw which is a bit bigger than the Makita, but the alignment technique shown should work with it just as well. I'm going to try it.

    One caveat, however. To prevent the dread of kickback it may be better to align the fence a bit away from the blade at its far end, rather than to try to align the fence perfectly parallel to the blade. I.e., as you face the saw blade from the front of the saw, it may be safer to align the fence just a teeny-weeny bit to the northeast, and most certainly not to the northwest, of the theoretically north-centered blade. (Kickback refers to the saw blade, which is turning toward the operator at close to 100 mph, catching with its teeth the cutoff piece between the blade and the fence and hurling it back toward the operator with great force.)

    The idea is that: (1) no matter how hard you try you probably won’t align the fence perfectly parallel with the blade; (2) the fence is probably not perfectly straight along its entire length anyway; and (3) once the wood being cut gets beyond the blade it doesn’t matter if the fence is too much to the northeast, since the material is already cut, but that if the fence is perfectly parallel or canted to the northwest, it may induce kickback, depending on the condition of the material, humidity etc.

    I hope I explained this clearly enough. I used to carefully align the whole length of my fence with shims so that it was just perfectly aligned to the blade all along its length, only to watch is get out of alignment with use and with the seasons. An experienced woodworking professional at a Woodcraft seminar told me not to try to be such a perfectionist, but rather to just try to avoid kickback via the above suggestions.

    Another good idea is to make or use a splitter just beyond the blade, or other devices, to reduce the chance of kickback, which is really a serious risk for injury if the fence is really misaligned to the northwest, or if the material being cut is under a lot of internal stress that may be released when cut. I believe newer table saws in the U.S. are required to have a riving knife, which works like a splitter does on older saws, but more effectively, to prevent the wood being cut from closing up on the blade leading to kickback.

    If you read all this, and can understand my meanderings, you’re a better man than I, Gunga Din. ;)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hello, very interesting information. I have an MLT-100 also and have been facing issues getting that fence perfectly tuned. I will apply your advice. A video of the procedure could have been really nice addition.

    I've published 2 instructables that could interest you too on the MLT-100.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    You're making me look at all of my Makita tools funny now you know that? I used to think they were good stuff! Every tool company has its strengths though. With Makita I believe it is with balanced motor armatures. I have a corded drill of theirs I really like. It is a Model # 6402 It's a nice drill!

    I've heard good stuff about Makita's sidewinder circular saws too. I have a Milwaukee and a Porter Cable, but I wouldn't look down at a Makita saw.