How Good Is The Wixey WR700 Really...
How good is the Wixey WR700 really? Well, IMHO it is, like the Incra LS TS positioner, more accurate than 90% of what is really needed in woodworking, or is it?
My friend, Dick Willis got me going on this addition to my TS after he installed one on his and his son's TS. Thank you Dick.
In case the reader is not familiar with the Wixey WR700, is a means to have a digital read out on a table saw to display the distance between the blade and the fence.
As anybody that has read my first thread on my installation of this addition to my saw you will recall that the purpose for this addition was that is so easy to see compared to the cursor and scale on the Incra LS system that already resides on my TS.
Again, those member that know me also know that I'm a stickler for accuracy, far more so than is necessary for woodworker and I have ligitamently been called on it several times and only now am beginning to understand their comments to me about it.
Well, let's get on to the Wixey. First of all, the instructions about how to use the tool once it has been installed is to just set the fence so that it barely kisses the blade, and then just press zero on the unit. Keep in mind that the devise works with the same technology as does a does a dial calipber with DRO.
Well, due to my intense interest in accuracy I immediately thought that this was a rather crude way to calibrate the device in light of the term "just kissing the blade". Now let me be very clear, this approach is indeed completely adequate for the purpose that the tool is designed for. I'm talking about my personal quirk about accuracy.
I said earlier that the way that the instructions tell how to zero the Wixey, IMHO is crude and then implied that the procedure is fine, but it is still less than the potential accuracy of the tool. The Wixey can with some messing around be set more precisely than what is described in the instructions, but this additional adjustment is not really needed, I want anybody reading this to understand that I know this.
Due to the fact that I already have the Incra LS system to use to calibate the Wixey I took advantanage of it just because.
First of all I carefully calibrate the Incra. This is done by doing what is suggested to do with the Wixey. Then after doing that I set the scale on the Incra to say for example, three inches and make a cut. Then measure the width of the cut and the odds are that it will be several thousandth off of the desired setting and again I emphasize that this slight error is not a big deal, but it is not as close as what can be set. So what you do is after determining the error in the cut, add or subtract it from the intial setting with the micro adjustment on the carriage of the Incra. Then reset the magnetic strip on the carriage that has the scale on it so that, in this example, reads at the cursor exactly three inches. I
may have to do this drill two or three times to get the calibration so that no matter where I set the scale on the Incra scale the resulting cut will be no more than plus or minus about .004".
This error is not due to any error in the tool, but is due to variation in the way the material is fed into the blade, density of the wood, blade flutter etc.
Once the Incra is calibrated as described above, you set the scale on the Incra to zero which is far more accurate that is that of just setting the fence so that it barely kisses the blade. With the scale now set on zero, press the button on the Wixey to zero it, now both systems will be in sync.
To test this I would make a setting of the distance between the blade and the fence using the Wixey by itself. After making the setting I would then and only then check the setting of the scale on the Incra scale. In every instance the two were perfectly still in sync right to the thousandth of an inch.
One other feature of the set up described above is that my six inch dial caliper is limited to six inches, now I have a dial caliper that will read out to 30" which is far more accurate than my tape measure and so easy to see. Again, far more accurate than is needed, but I like it and it atisfies my "accuracy quirk", the one that I didn't know that I had until getting on this forum and being told politely about it.
Keep in mind that when I first got interested in woodworking I read about the Incra LS system and because it is capable of very fine accuracy, I was led to believe that such accuracy was a desirable and needed for fine woodworking. The accuracy of the tool is indeed needed for the joinery work that can be done with it, but not for everything.
I certainly am happy with the WR700 that Barry Wixey has made available to woodworkers.
I do need to explain that I only set it up on my saw for 30" of travel, but it can be installed with up to 60" of travel if desired.