Hacking a Porter Cable Scroll Saw

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Hacking a Porter Cable Scroll Saw

Make blade changes faster and easier for a couple dollars and 20 minutes in the shop

By Bob Duncan

The partially free-floating blade clamps on the Porter Cable scroll saw make it a challenge to change blades. But with a few tools and basic hardware, you can make them stay where you want them. I replace the roll pin that’s originally on the saw with a machine screw, washers, and a nut, with an extra washer used as a spacer alongside the blade clamp. Scroll down for a complete video of the process.

Step 1: Remove the roll pins that hold the heads in place. While it’s possible to use a pin press, or rig one with a drill bit, clamp, and block of wood, I knew I’d need to drill the holes out slightly to accommodate a common machine screw, so I drilled the pin out. I found a 9/64″ (3.6mm) bit worked best. After you drill for a bit, it will drive the pin out the other side, so I grabbed it with a pair of pliers to remove it completely. Then, drill the hole the rest of the way through. The process is the same for the top and bottom blade clamps.

Step 2: Refine the blade clamp. These clamps are made from cast aluminum, and I found some irregularities from the casting process in the top part that fits into the saw arm. Use a block wrapped in sandpaper or a file to smooth this surface.

Step 3: Position the washer alongside the blade clamp. Reinsert the two into the slot in the saw arm and align the holes. Not every washer is the same thickness, so pick through a couple to find the one that fits the best. I had to sand a thicker washer down slightly to get a tight fit. I use the same 9/64″ (3.6mm) drill bit to help align the holes.

Step 4: Insert the machine screw through a washer. Then, feed it through the holes in the saw arm and blade clamp. Add a washer and nut to the other side. Tighten the nut enough that it won’t loosen easily, but not so tight that you break the aluminum saw arm. Repeat Steps 2 to 4 for the bottom clamp.

Materials & Tools

• Machine screw with nuts, #6-32: 1-1/4″ long
• Flat washer, #6: 3 each
• Extra #6-32 nut, lock washer, or threadlocker
• Sandpaper

• Drill with bit: 9/64″ (3.6mm)-dia. twist
• File
• Screwdriver
• Wrench

For more great projects like this, check out Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts magazine.