Is a Motorized Sliding Table Saw Fence Worth It?

Cabinetmakers describe the benefits of upgrading the fence on a slider. June 15, 2009

I need to buy a sliding table saw. Any advice would be helpful. Is the motorized fence worth the extra money? What kind of make and model would you recommend?

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor E:
Motorized fence is worth the money. You'll spend a lot of time walking around the slider to re-set it, plus with digital readout for the fence you get accurate repeat rips. When you take a look at the cost spread over its lifetime, it doesn't cost much. You'll recoup it in productivity gains. You might also want to look at digital crosscut fences also if that last little bit of accuracy is important to you. If money isn't an object, then it's Martin first, Altendorf second. Many others are very pleased with the Tiger rip fence retrofitted to their sliders.

From contributor J:
I would say that a motorized tilt is more important than a motorized fence, but both would be the ideal situation.

From contributor Z:
I have a Casolin Astra Digit and added the tiger rip fence. It was installed in two hours and is priceless in my opinion. It will pay for itself very quickly in time saved, accuracy and safety.

From contributor L:
I'd go for the motorized fence. Too much time spent walking around the slider! I don't tilt the blade nearly as often as I move the fence. I'd also get digital stops on the cross fence, they don't need to be powered.

From contributor Z:
I have the digital crosscut displays on my cross cut fence, but they have never kept accurate. I sent them back to Accurate Technologies for checkup and reinstalled them, but they still do not function well. Anyone else have this problem?

From contributor E:
Sorry to hear that they don't hold their tolerance. Since Accurate has checked them and say they're good, could it be a mechanical problem and the crosscut arm isn't going back to its original position?

From contributor Z:
My sliderís crosscut arm is not a movable one. There is a magnetic tape system that the flipstops and digital device registers to as it is being moved back and forth.

From contributor K:
We have an Accurate Technologies scale on our wide belt. We had trouble with it holding to a datum - it would jump to a random number. Turning it off and on would recover the datum, usually. I finally grounded the device case to the machine, and the machine frame to a ground rod, and that seems to have alleviated the problem, although the display will still "stick" while the table is moving, then catch up.

From contributor C:
We have an Altendorf slider at our shop with a motorized fence and let me tell you, this has to be the best piece of equipment we have. The rip fence is unbelievably accurate (to .001" and I check this with digital calipers). The only problem I have with it is having to adjust it regularly. I change out the scoring blade about every 2-3 weeks depending on usage. After adjusting the scoring blade, I check/adjust squareness on the crosscut fence using the five cut method and digital calipers. Then I check the rip fence for accuracy but that almost never needs re-calibration. The digital readout on the crosscut fence is awesome too. You can set the miter to within +/- .01 degrees and have been able to produce extremely accurate compound miters as the bevel is also CNC. I couldn't tell you the model right off, but I can tell you with a little maintenance, this saw is more accurate than our CNC router.