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Is the 520 Pro Fence and Table System Upgrade worth it?

#257831 by runamuk13 » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:02 am

I currently have the 510 table and fence.

The 520 Pro Fence and Table System Upgrade does not replace the table. It just replaces the round pipe rails with extruded rails, the fence, and a few other parts and pieces.

Link to Upgrade webpage - https://www.shopsmith.com/ownersite/cat ... ofence.htm

I can't say the 510 fence gives me any real problems. It works ok, not great but it is square the blade and table. Seems to work fine. But I've never tried the 520 Pro Fence.

I have used a friends table saw with a Biesemeyer fence and it was very nice. Is the 520 Pro Fence on par with high-end aftermarket table saw fences?

The 510 table upgrade was a huge step-up from the smaller 500 table, but I'm not sure the 520 Fence Upgrade is worth the $520.

Tell me why you think the Fence Upgrade is worth it.

(Does anybody else think that Shopsmith prices their stuff way to high?)
Last edited by runamuk13 on Sat Mar 09, 2019 2:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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runamuk13 wrote:I currently have the 510 table and fence.

The 520 Pro Fence and Table System Upgrade does not replace the table. It just replaces the round pipe rails with extruded rails, the fence, and a few other parts and pieces.

Link to Upgrade webpage - https://www.shopsmith.com/ownersite/cat ... ofence.htm

I can't say the 510 fence gives me any real problems. It works ok, not great but it is square the blade and table. Seems to work fine. But I've never tried the 520 Pro Fence.

I have used a friends table saw with a Biesemeyer fence and it was very nice. Is the Pro Fence on par with the Biesemeyer fence?

The 510 table upgrade was a huge step-up from the smaller 500 table, but I'm not sure the 520 Fence Upgrade is worth the $520.

Tell me why you think the Fence Upgrade is worth it.

(Does anybody else think that Shopsmith prices their stuff way to high?)

I upgraded from the 510 to the 520 table/fence system. I have to say that I love it and wouldn't trade it. I don't have a lot of experience with Biesemeyer fences other than Shopsmith, but I believe the 520 is the closest you will get to the rock solid stability of one. I have been trying to convince my Dad to do the upgrade on his Shopsmith, but he is very happy on the 510 fence. So, I guess it really just depends on the person. One of the gripes that I always had with the 510 fence was that it seemed like I always had to measure on the front and back side of the blade and carefully clamp the fence to try to get an accurate cut. Of course, this was before I saw this Doug Reid tip (YouTube video below - excellent tip). Perhaps if I had seen/known this before I might have been 90% happy with my 510 fence system. Also, I have cut some large lumber (4x4 posts) on my Shopsmith in the past and the heft of large lumber, I never felt like my 510 fence was rock solid and didn't move. However, with the 520 fence it is rock solid when I clamp the fence down unlock my 510 before it.

As for Shopsmith pricing, that is a sore spot, but at the same time I am so glad they are still supporting this tool after so many years. They send out email flyers once a week with sale specials, so if you are patient, hopefully eventually they cycle through and offer the tool you want on sale which helps a lot. Unfortunately the 520 fence upgrade went on sale back on the week of January 24th, 2019, so you missed it. Sorry about that, but it was only a 10% off, which just covers taxes, but better than nothing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8puBVjCvqv8&fbclid=IwAR3WSktzhq1qOB-g1KACgZBela2TrKnAHtth2LFjxtYvEdqt1qMjcnAbcx4
Last edited by RFGuy on Sat Mar 09, 2019 5:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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📶RF Guy

Mark V 520 (Bought New '98) | 4" jointer | 6" beltsander | 12" planer | bandsaw | router table | speed reducer | univ. tool rest
Porter Cable 12" Compound Miter Saw | Rikon 8" Low Speed Bench Grinder w/CBN wheels | Jessem Clear-Cut TS™ Stock Guides
Festool (Emerald): DF 500 Q | RO 150 FEQ | OF 1400 EQ | TS 55 REQ | CT 26 E
DC3300 | Shopvac w/ClearVue CV06 Mini Cyclone | JDS AirTech 2000 | Sundstrom PAPR | Dylos DC1100 Pro particulate monitor

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The Pro Fence is huskier and a bit more easily aligned (to parallel) but I would challenge anyone to prove that it is a more accurate.

The Doug Reid tip is something I learned way back in a Sawdust Session or maybe at a Traveling Academy Session and it works equally well with either fence system. In fact, it just might be applicable to any T fence.

I sure do miss the Traveling Academy Sessions. I hold out hope that Shopsmith will eventually bring them back. Sharing ones work shop experiences with a small group for three days, led by an experienced instructor, was an excellent way to learn.

---

"Making Sawdust Safely"
Dusty
Sent from my Dell XPS using Firefox.

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Re: Is the 520 Pro Fence and Table System Upgrade worth it?

#257835 by thunderbirdbat » Sat Mar 09, 2019 1:10 pm

I would suggest trying the 520 fence before purchasing. That way you could make your own determination as to whether you think it is worth the cost. Where are you located? Maybe someone near you has a 520 that you can see and feel the fence on or go to a demo near you to check it out. I upgraded my fence system to the 520 shortly after it came out. IIRC, the upgrade was a gift from my husband. I do not have the magnetic ruler on mine but that is fine. My son had the 510 fence system on the used SS that he bought. He had problems with his fence not staying aligned properly, internal to the fence. His would shift while locked down during a series of cuts. I offered him my old SS 510 fence to use when he came home for a couple of weeks. He used my SS with the 520 fence on it while he was here. After he returned home, he purchased the upgrade at the next demo he went to. Why exactly he decided to upgrade he will have to wade in on.

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Brenda

1998 510 upgraded to a 520, upgraded to power pro with double tilt and lift assist.
1998 bandsaw
2016 beltsander
jointer
overarm pin router

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Each person here will have their own personal experience with the fence systems. For me I got a used 510 and always had issues with the fence but that could have something to do with the previous owner. The machine was pretty much a basket case but the price was right.

At the time I had just upgraded my 500 to a 520 and after using the 520 I felt the 510 was a step down to the point that I spent the money to upgrade it to a 520.

For me the rankings would be 520 at the top, then the 500 and then the 510 at the bottom. Again perhaps this isn't fair.

I know a lot of people here have and like the 510, I'm just not one of them.

Ed

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{Knight of the Shopsmith} [Hero's don't wear capes, they wear dog tags]

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reible wrote:Each person here will have their own personal experience with the fence systems. For me I got a used 510 and always had issues with the fence but that could have something to do with the previous owner. The machine was pretty much a basket case but the price was right.

At the time I had just upgraded my 500 to a 520 and after using the 520 I felt the 510 was a step down to the point that I spent the money to upgrade it to a 520.

For me the rankings would be 520 at the top, then the 500 and then the 510 at the bottom. Again perhaps this isn't fair.

I know a lot of people here have and like the 510, I'm just not one of them.

Ed

Ed,

This was my experience as well. I was NEVER happy with my 510 fence, but I lived with it and made the best of it. This was a LONG time ago and after upgrading to the 520, I never went back and tried to figure out what was wrong with mine. Was it a bad batch from the factory or was there an adjustment that I didn't know to do back then? Maybe, I don't know. All I know is that out of the box, my 520 upgrade worked 1000% better than my original 510 fence that I bought new with my Shopsmith. I have seen prior posts regarding the fence systems comparing 510 to 520 and I have the comparison of my 510->520 fence compared to my Dad's experience on his 510 fence. He is very happy on his 510 and I can't convince him to upgrade to the 520 so I stopped trying. My guess is he has one of the "better" 510 fences because mine was never adequate for my needs. If I ever get another Shopsmith one day, I can dig out my 510 fence and test on it and see if I can figure out if the problem was me, or the fence. From my experience, the 520 is a worthy upgrade on the Shopsmith, even though they want an arm and a leg for this particular upgrade.

---

📶RF Guy

Mark V 520 (Bought New '98) | 4" jointer | 6" beltsander | 12" planer | bandsaw | router table | speed reducer | univ. tool rest
Porter Cable 12" Compound Miter Saw | Rikon 8" Low Speed Bench Grinder w/CBN wheels | Jessem Clear-Cut TS™ Stock Guides
Festool (Emerald): DF 500 Q | RO 150 FEQ | OF 1400 EQ | TS 55 REQ | CT 26 E
DC3300 | Shopvac w/ClearVue CV06 Mini Cyclone | JDS AirTech 2000 | Sundstrom PAPR | Dylos DC1100 Pro particulate monitor

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Re: Is the 520 Pro Fence and Table System Upgrade worth it?

#257845 by reubenjames » Sat Mar 09, 2019 11:36 pm

I agree with the comments above, it's preference. My 510 never worked that well for me, so I found the upgrade to be well worth it, despite the price being a hard pill to swallow.

Then again, most things I want in life cost more than what I would prefer to pay.

Sent from my Moto G (5) Plus using Tapatalk

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Alec S.
1985 Mark V upgraded to 520 and Power Pro (SN 000527)
1983 Mark V Shop Deputy (SN 163487)
1982 Mark V headstock (SN 122265)
1949 (?) 10 ER in transition to dedicated drill press (SN 18677)
11" Band Saw (Aluminum Table System upgrade) (SN 34026)
4" Jointer (SN 02-18-98)
6" Belt Sander (SN 19012)
18" Jig Saw (SN 17407)
20" Scroll Saw (SN 010593)
12" Thickness Planer (SN 10406)
Strip Sander (SN pending)
DC3300 Dust Collector (SN 102088)

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Re: Is the 520 Pro Fence and Table System Upgrade worth it?

#257855 by moggymatt » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:24 pm

I went from a 500 to a 520, skipped the 510 and it was a tremendous improvement all around. At the moment, if I had a need to get another Shopsmith, I'd pass on any used until another 520 showed up in the region so all the 520 specific anncilories would stay relevant. I'm starting to get tired of needing this for the 500 and the same thing but different for the 520, like the arbors or blade guards.

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Paul B

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Re: Is the 520 Pro Fence and Table System Upgrade worth it?

#257874 by Ed in Tampa » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:09 am

reible wrote:Each person here will have their own personal experience with the fence systems. For me I got a used 510 and always had issues with the fence but that could have something to do with the previous owner. The machine was pretty much a basket case but the price was right.

At the time I had just upgraded my 500 to a 520 and after using the 520 I felt the 510 was a step down to the point that I spent the money to upgrade it to a 520.

For me the rankings would be 520 at the top, then the 500 and then the 510 at the bottom. Again perhaps this isn't fair.

I know a lot of people here have and like the 510, I'm just not one of them.

Ed



I totally agree and I will go a step further, to me the 510 was Poorly planned, poorly designed and Poorly executed. The 510 almost turned me against Shopsmith I hated the upgrade.
However the 520 is terrific! To me the ranking should be 520. 500. with the 510 not even mentioned. As far as fences my personal opinion is a correctly aligned Shopsmith fence that is properly installed and used is about as accurate as any fence on the market. I will say I like how the 510 fence was tightened better that the 520. But to me that was the only good thing I can say about the 510 upgrade.

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Ed, you have made this comparison and negative evaluation of the 510 several times BUT you never quantify what you really liked or disliked about the 510 when compared to the 500.

You then make these negative comments about the 520 "fence" when compared to the 510 "fence". Why are you convinced that the fence is what you dislike about the 510. Maybe your dislike was really the rail system.

Now...to be honest with you about whatever you might answer, I already know I will disagree. Why? Because I have and use both on a regular basis. I have real time personal experience using both and while I do have preferences I find them both to be functional and equally accurate if used with their differences in mind. While different, they are both "T" fences.

The inaccuracies that might result with the 510 fence are eliminated if you take care to properly lock the fence in position against the rails.

---

"Making Sawdust Safely"
Dusty
Sent from my Dell XPS using Firefox.

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