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Evaluating a used BT3000

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  • Evaluating a used BT3000

    Hey all, I'm another newbie interested in the BT3000 as a first table saw. I'm mostly looking to Craigslist, which has some BT3000s, a pile of cheap Craftsman models (no BT3000-knockoffs that I can see), and the occasional Ridgid.

    There's a guy selling a BT3000 for $100. The serial says it was manufacturered in 1991. It seems superficially to be in good shape and doesn't appear to have been used much. The seller was given it as a trade, though, so he doesn't know the history. It does appear to have all the accessory parts.

    It had two problems. I'm not sure how important they are.

    1. The motor had a somewhat sharp, ragged overtone to it when we started the saw. I don't know if this is typical, or if the motor requires some sort of maintenance. The belts looked practically new.

    2. The blade has about 1/8" play in either direction when the saw is stopped. I could wiggle it fairly easily. Is this normal? If not, is it fixable? When the saw was running, the blade was noticeably out of true. I couldn't tell if the blade was warped or something more significant.

    Is this saw worth buying? Or should spend $200 and pick up one of these circa-2005ish Ridgids? Also, does BT3000 blade guard have a riving knife that goes up and down with the blade?


  • #2

    An article worth reading. I would likely be hesitant to purchase the one you are looking at but then upon close inspection it might be ok. Yes it should have a riving knife, at least it came with one from the factory.
    Donate to my Tour de Cure

    marK in WA and Ryobi Fanatic Association State President

    Head servant of the forum


    • #3
      I actually brought that article with me to evaluate the saw, to some annoyance of the seller. Unfortunately, it doesn't say much about whether I should worry about play in the blade.

      Is there a document with the various changes to the BT series over the years and a comparison with the various Sears BT-style models? I've requested the FAQ from another user, if indeed that appears inside.


      • #4
        Dumb question--did you check to see if the arbor nut is tight? Maybe the blade is just loose?

        I would offer $75 and see what he comes back with. You could sell the parts are recoup that fairly easily. Someone was on here just the other day looking for a sliding miter table assembly.


        • #5
          91 check the saw for shims present. Also check the surface the shims ride on, if not gouged or deeply scored it should be serviceable. Play can be adjusted out if all parts are present and in good shape. IF!
          Donate to my Tour de Cure

          marK in WA and Ryobi Fanatic Association State President

          Head servant of the forum


          • #6
            Assuming the arbor nut isn't loose...

            For the play, it could be:
            1: Missing one or both metal ring spacers/shims between the blade and the motor end of the arbor. You should see the following pieces:
            nut/stabilizer washer/blade/stabilizer washer/one spacer ring/other spacer ring/edge of arbor & structure of saw.
            These rings are beefy - one is roughly 3 or 4 mm wide, the other is roughly a centimeter wide. If they're missing the nut bottoms out on the threaded portion of the arbor before it tightens against the blade. Just get replacement spacers from somebody parting a saw or one of the vendors selling Ryobi parts - very simple fix!

            2: arbor support bearings shot. These are standard bearings so with a bit of mechanical work you can get to them and have them replaced. You may need the help of an automotive machine shop (many NAPA stores can do this type of work too) to push the old bearings off and especially to "press" the new bearings on without damaging them. Normally shops charge just a couple bucks per push/press and less if you buy the bearings from them. The bearings will have faint number+letter codes stamped into their sides or edges; use those to buy new ones. To see if this is the bug: with the saw unplugged and off, the throat plate removed, grab the blade and wiggle it. Eyeball the motor assembly at the same time; if it isn't wiggling with the blade but the arbor bolt does wiggle it's bearings. Or the metal plate that screws to the aluminum structure that clamps the bearings is loose - just two screws. If the motor wiggles too, it means the shim assembly is not adjusted properly. There are small set screws that adjust the clearance between the motor support brackets and the shims; when loose the whole assembly wiggles/wobbles on the vertical aluminum structure.

            3: shims loose as described above.

            4: if the large vertical aluminum structure (it actually pivots as you adjust the blade angle) wiggles, it means the supports at either end are loose. They're just small metal plates pinching round metal dowels at either end of this structure; the structure pivots on those dowels when you adjust the blade angle. So if loose the whole structure, motor, and blade wobbles. Just a few screws & metal dowel pins & small metal plates.

            If the bearings are loose, that could easily be the "motor noise" you experienced. BT3k saws run at higher RPMs than most other saws by the way so the noise they produce has a higher pitch whine to it.

            Last edited by mpc; 10-13-2011, 12:20 AM. Reason: typos in the "following pieces" list...


            • #7
              Thank you for that very comprehensive response, MPC. I'll see if I can reschedule with the seller to take a look at the saw again.