BT3100 Tablesaw Alignment Procedures

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These articles describe an alignment procedure for the Ryobi BT3100. They explain the principles of alignment, a tolerance, what effect any alignment error will have, and how to set the machine features to achieve proper alignment. The alignment devices built into the machine are somewhat crude but with care and by using good technique, the BT3100 can be aligned reasonably well.

An explanation of couple of basic principles are in order first. Due to the dangerous nature of some tools, alignments are normally performed in what is called a "Static" state.  A Static state is basically with the power off; the Dynamic state is with the machine powered and performing normal operations. It is quite possible to have some minor alignment difference between Static and Dynamic states but the principles involved are 100% the same between these situations. Initial alignments are done statically - because it is far safer to do so. The final verification is a dynamic event however.

Another principle to consider is basically knowing when to stop. Throughout the alignment process one would be measuring alignment in thousandths of an inch.  When dealing with measurements this small, at some point minor influences that woodworkers don't usually deal with start to become the dominant influence. An example of this is that the surface quality of the end of a screw can have an impact upon how reliably a feature can be moved (thus aligned). Pressure applied to one end of a fence as opposed to another as stock is pushed through the cut can make a small difference. The key is knowing when to stop and let well enough alone; otherwise alignment can become a futile exercise in trying to "guild the lily".

I do want to point out that the techniques described in these article are not the only ones that can be used.  They are however provable and widely accepted as the "best practices" for machine alignment.

Rip Fence Rails

Rip Fence

Sliding Miter Table

Crosscut Fence

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