Fix this machine… interwebs… and aren’t rules meant to be broken?

7 Apr

Not a couple days after posting on how to buy used tools I went out and purchased a used scroll saw.

And didn’t I go and break some of my own rules because I was too excited about the price being lower than anything I’d seen. It was a 20″ Dewalt scroll saw.

This is the exact model. Picture it more “used” though.

I did my research first, that went fine. I found out that Dewalt was what I wanted from reading reviews, and 20″ was sufficient for me. I saw that retail would be too costly, and opted for used. I was super excited  when I saw that one had turned up on my local classifieds website. No other dewalts had turned up. And it was a great price; $175 when it sells for around $500 retail. I couldn’t find much info on assessing scroll saws, so  I went in with the general idea of checking that it worked, the motor was fine, and that the cut line wasn’t misshapen by a blade that was off alignment.

Normally I go to see a potential tool with the assumption that it might be in bad shape and I shouldn’t get my hopes up. This time I was TOO excited. I didn’t insist on testing the tool, I was content with watching the owner do a test cut in front of me. I inspected the cut and thought, well the motor works, the cut is good, what else do I need to make a decision?! So I bought it. A direct quote from my blog post…” I also ALWAYS insist on testing the item. If the person doesn’t want me to touch it, or limits my time assessing it-that’s a red flag.”

I got home and plugged it in- excited to play around. When I turned up the speed above number 5 I started to hear a distinct clacking sound. I was upset. I thought ” oh &%#$ I’ve been had!”. I proceeded to get upset at myself for not following my own rules. Then I started to face the music and opened up the scroll saw to get down to fixing the problem. When I opened it up it wasn’t obvious what the problem was and how to solve it. No loose or errant parts.

So I turned to the internet as I often do in such times and I found the answer within 4 minutes! So I thought I would share it as it might help others!

Apparently this knocking, clacking or clicking is common on dewalt scroll saws and the solution takes 10minutes to implement. This is the link to the forum that had a posting on the topic, and this  is the link that ultimately has the answer. He also posted a parts diagram list here.

Turns out that if you remove the front assembly you gain access to the rods that propel the blade up and down like a sewing machine. The top rod simply is too short and is knocking into the housing on the up swing. To lengthen the rod you give it one full counter clockwise turn, replace the assembly and you’re done! The article says that you repeat the counter clockwise turn until it does work, but just the one turn worked for me.

Funny enough, I probably wouldn’t have bought the machine if I’d followed my usual ways and tested it myself and heard the clacking. I also would have missed out on a perfectly healthy machine at a good price as it turned out to be a simple fix. Sometimes things just work out! EXCEPT I missed an excellent bargaining point to bring the price down further.

Lesson to all you out there shopping for used tools– testing a machine/tool yourself, and taking your time assessing it no matter how excited you are really keeps you from getting the wool pulled over your eyes. People will try to trick you!

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