Shopping for a Slider

Comparing and contrasting two makes of sliding table saw, with comments about the fine points of user-friendliness. February 2, 2011

I am trying to decide on which sliding table saw I should buy. I have a budget of about $10,000 and have narrowed my search down to two machines. I am cutting two-sided melamine and will be cutting 30 - 40 sheets of 49" x 97" per week, a clean cut on both sides is a minimum. My shop only has single phase power and space is limited, approx. 1000 square foot shop.

The two machines I am looking at are; a new SCM Technomax SC4W with a 8' 6" slider, with single phase electrics and belt driven scoring blade vs. a used Casadei EMA KS3, approximately one year old with about 150 hours use, 10' 6" slider and a separate scoring blade motor. It is a three phase machine but comes with a phase converter, it appears to be in really good shape, they put it in storage after getting a CNC. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor U:
I am unfamiliar with your second choice, but I bought a new Technomax s315 8.5' slider about six months ago and love it. It holds square very nicely, is smooth, and I have had zero problems with it after running it about 19 hours a week. It is a great saw and good quality. It was brand new delivered for just over $10,000. I hope that helps.

From contributor F:
Nice Altendorfs always pop up for under $10k in the classifieds here. A phase converter can be bought for about $500.

From the original questioner:
I am located in St. John's Newfoundland, Canada. Used sliding panel saws are a rare item in this area, which has led me to these two choices. I can also get a new Cantek machine for about the same price, but I'm not really sure of the quality of these either.

From contributor F:
I didnít realize your location. Iím just north of Toronto, so while my selection of used equipment is a little better, itís not great. Anyways, I bought the Technomax new about four years ago. I have the same saw. If I were to do it over again, I would look for a bigger used saw such as an Altendorf, SCM, etc as they can be had a couple years old for the same money. I do really like my saw, but I do have some complaints about it. Not really familiar with the Casadei, but maybe these things will give you something to look for.

Look really good and hard at the crosscut fence. If I have to remove the fence, I have to reset the scale so the flip stops are accurate. There is a little hard stop so you apparently donít have to do this, but the hard stop moves on its own and is not easy to adjust.

Eccentric pin to adjust for crosscut fence square. Basically itís a pain to adjust for square. Pins that hold crosscut fence in place are sloppy. They are not really sloppy, but enough to annoy me. Itís just one more thing making setting up the fence square difficult. Now I donít have to remove the fence very often, and once itís on, it does stay square and accurate to length. It takes about five to ten minutes to set the length and double check its square so itís really not that big of a deal. Itís just not as nice as doing nothing.

The fence needs to come off to cut miters. The outrigger table has the eccentric pin for square at the far end and a slot in the middle for using the miter scale. You need to remove the handle from the end and then move it to the middle to cut the miter. Basically, my complaints with the saw are cutting miters is a pain.

I would seriously go look at the Casadei. See how difficult it is to adjust to cut a miter, how to adjust fence (both crosscut and rip) for square, how to adjust flipstop and rip fence scales, and how repeatable the fence is when you move it from square to miter back to square again. Both are solid saws and you are unlikely to have a problem with either. The choice should come down to all the little features that will make everyday use easier.

From contributor F:
I forgot to mention, you say itís an 8'6" saw. You want to grab a tape measure and see it you have at least 98" from the crosscut fence to the back of the blade. I donít remember if my saw is considered an 8'6" or a 9', but mine does clear the back of the blade. When I was shopping, I went and looked at the Felder saws and I remember the sales guy pointing out to me that their 8'6" wouldnít clear the back of the blade and you needed to get their 9' carriage to clear the blade.

Iím pretty sure the 8'6" on the Technomax works fine (I think itís what mine is) but this is just something for you to verify. If I recall correctly, the 8'6" was the carriage length on the Felder while the 8'6" was the capacity on the Technomax. Anyways, just make sure you can rip a 97" long sheet with lots of room.

From the original questioner:
I appreciate the tips and the things to look for. I'm starting to lean towards the Casadei, there's obviously a reason that saw is 16K new vs. 9k or so for the Technomax. It would be great to hear from someone who has a Casadei.

From contributor P:
Another vote for a used Altendorf and a phase converter. I went this route in 2001 after ten years of limping along with less-expensive sliders. It's been great. I spent about $8k plus $1500 for a large (20 hp.) converter that also runs a lot of other gear. The frustration and time-wasting aspects of an inaccurate slider are real motivation-killers, not to mention the time and money wasted in buying, reselling, and changing out when you decide to upgrade to a better saw. Take it from someone whoís been there. You'll want a phase converter eventually, and having three phase really broadens your equipment choices. A full-size (10' or so) slider will fit fine in a 1000 sf shop. That's exactly what I've got. Sure, 99% of my cutting is 8' panels, but now and then the 10' panel or a batch of 10' lumber that needs straight-lining comes along. Meanwhile, it's a great spot for the clipboard.

From the original questioner:
I probably won't find an Altendorph on the island here, but good advice on the quality of any machine. Glad to hear that it fits in the shop ok. I'm getting rid of my old radial arm, my 8' stroke sander and my 12 - 14" general, so that will clear some space. Oh how I hate to part with machines.

From contributor Z:
We have six Technomax/SCM machines in our shop including a Technomax eight foot slider. Great machines and service support. Casadei is good too, however I think you will get better parts/service out of the SCM brands. They have been pretty good to us.

From the original questioner:
To contributor Z: are all the saws used as scoring saws, and are they all belt driven? How do you find the belt drive scoring units for accuracy and adjustment?

From contributor F:
It doesnít make any difference if the scorer is belt driven or direct drive in terms of accuracy. All that a direct drive one does is provide a dedicated motor, so you donít use any horsepower from the main blade to turn the scorer. That being said, the Technomax has more than enough power to run through sheets of 3/4".

From contributor C:
I would highly recommend an SCMI 350 or such. Call for parts availability on the Casadei. I had an EMA and parts were available. Whatever you buy just make sure all parts are there get some training on it. You need spare blades and make sure you get some spare bearing for the scoring and main blades. A double sided hi- atb is a great blade for when the scoring goes out. We have three Royce's and just love them. At a 1000 square feet have you considered a vertical panel saw? A slider is an absolute space hog.