Hi all. In case you're interested in one of the bargain track saws, here's a review of mine. I've had it a week and have fussed around and adjusted it to get good performance. It took a few hours though, so I wouldn't consider these saws to be ready to go out of the box. With some work my saw is now performing beautifully.
At first blush, this isn't a bad set up. The track is a nice extrusion. Mine was straight and butted nicely with the extension with no noticeable bump when sliding over the connection. Since I got a post card from Grizzly saying that my accessory kit including the track connectors wouldn't be available for a month, I made my own. The Grizzly accessory kit naturally arrived the day after I made my connectors, so now I have plenty. Grizzly track has the ability to accept two connectors, making a pretty stable 110" track. The only bad thing about the track is the placement of the glide strips, which I'll get to in a bit.
The actual saw isn't terrible at all. I was expecting something more crude, so I was surprised at the fit and finish. I expect to get may years of use out of mine. There are some design and manufacturing flaws which will keep these saws from good performance. They're mostly all fixable though. Here's an overview:
1)The plunge action is a little stiff because of the heavy spring. This doesn't really affect use, but a lighter spring would give the plunge action a better feel.
2)There is a slight arbor wobble. I don't know if this matters, but my Porter Cable circular saw doesn't have any wobble
3)The depth adjuster doesn't move easily. I remedied this by removing the adjuster mechanism ( accessible from behind the blade) and sanding the parts for a better fit. Mine works great now.
4)The cutting performance with the stock blade is awful, at least with mine. The cut was labored and tear out was obvious. It might be OK for roughly breaking down sheet goods, but all of the cuts would have to re-done later with something better.
I ordered an Oshlun track saw blade to replace the original. It was about $22 and matches the green graphics on the saw. It made a world of difference, even though it looks almost identical to the stock blade. The saw cuts much more easily and tear out is very, very slight. After I wear out this blade, I'll probably get a nicer Freud blade. At this time though, I didn't want to invest a bunch into a saw that I wasn't sure about. In my opinion, this is a necessary upgrade to make one of these saws work properly.
5) The saw isn't stable on the track. There is about 1/8" of wobble side to side. If you take a look at the Grizzly track vs others, you'll see why. The Festool, Dewalt and Makita tracks all have their glide strips toward the outside edges of the saw plate. The Grizzly glide strips are in the middle, nowhere near the edges. They act as a fulcrum for the saw base. The glide strips are raised above the aluminum track, so a bit of pressure away from the center of the saw makes it tip in or out, ruining the cut. I have no idea why the track was built this way, but it makes the saw precarious and ruins the cut and user confidence. Fortunately, there's an easy fix.
I double taped ~ 1/8" hardwood shim to the left side of the saw plate, and a tape-thickness shim to the right. These are essentially outriggers that stabilize the base and keep it nice and square. I used iron-on melamine edge tape, but might try some sort of teflon tape if I had some. After adding the tape, the saw is plenty stable.
6) Dust collection is OK--much better than a circular saw. It could be better, though. A lot of stuff gets out ahead of the cut. I suppose it's the same on most track saws. I plan to make some Festool-style splinter guards for my saw, which should help contain the dust.
Overall I'm happy with the saw. I'm not happy that I had to modify it to get it to work properly. On the other hand, I can't remember buying many power tools that didn't have to be modified to work well. Anybody buying one of these had better plan to at least buy a better blade and shim the base.
As the ultimate test of the saw's ability to cut a crisp line, I crosscut some 3/4" Home Depot maple plywood scraps. The veneer on this stuff is microscopically thin and will tear out if you look at it wrong. I definitely am getting acceptable cuts, comparable to what I'd get on the tablesaw with a fine crosscut blade. I think that an upgrade to a specialty veneer/melamine blade would work even better. As it is, the quality of the cut is good enough for me.
Here are a couple of photos of everybody else's track vs the Grizzly. Note where the glide strips are located.