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First Look: DeWalt's New 12-in. Sliding Compound Miter Saw

comments (7) June 2nd, 2011 in Blogs
JFink Justin Fink, Senior Editor

Meet the DWS780, DeWalts new 12-in. sliding compound miter saw
XPS - No lasers, just a shadow
Meet the DWS780, DeWalts new 12-in. sliding compound miter sawClick To Enlarge

Meet the DWS780, DeWalt's new 12-in. sliding compound miter saw

From Black & Decker University, Towson, MD – Yesterday DeWalt launched their new 12-in. sliding compound miter saw. The new tool, model DWS780, is a replacement for the DW718 we reviewed as part of a larger roundup in 2008. So, to put the new tool in perspective, let’s see what’s changed from the old model to the new:

A change in some specs

  • Weight – 56 lbs. (3 lbs. heavier)
  • Horizontal cross cut capacity – 13 3/4-in. (Same)
  • Vertical cross cut capacity – 6 3/4-in. (*1/4-in. better)
  • Crown capacity (in nested position) – 7 1/2-in. (**7/8-in. better)
  • 75% Dust Collection (not stated on earlier model, but as a point of reference the Milwaukee 6950-20, a competitive saw with excellent dust collection, also claims 75% collection)
  • $600 (Not fair to compare with launch price of old model)

*Note: The DeWalt literature claims an increase in vertical crosscut capacity, from the old 6 1/2-in. to a better 6 3/4-in., but in use we quickly found that this isn’t 100% accurate. When the miter table is set to the left, say for a 45 degree cut, the armature that moves the blade guard gets hung up on the top edge of the piece being cut. It will leave a dent in the wood of, you guessed it, about 1/4-in. – the same amount by which the new saw is said to have increased.
**Note: Crown of this size, 7 1/2-in., can be handled by the saw blade, but could barely fit onto the table when in the nested position. To be done safely, a sub-table and fence would be a must.

First Impressions

As part of the launch event, I had a chance to take the new saw for a spin, and a few things stood out during just my short time with the tool.

  • The first change is the inclusion of an accessory that DeWalt launched a few years back. Rather than a laser to mark the cutline, DeWalt is relying on an accessory called XPS (Crosscut Positioning System), which shines a light from above the blade, which casts a shadow onto the material being cut to match the width of the blade. It takes a bit of getting used to, especially with blades that have wide/set teeth (yes, the shadow is precise enough to make that matter) but it’s a pretty intuitive concept. The nice thing is that the light doesn’t need batteries, and the shadow it casts will never need to be adjusted for abuse or different blades.
  • In use, it was noticeable that the motor had no soft-start, and the slide mechanism was somewhat stiff and jerky; almost gritty. I was hoping it was just an early model we were playing with, but I tried several different versions of the same tool, and confirmed that they were production models. The stiff action was noticeable in any sliding cut, but enough to be a bit anxiety inducing on more complicated cuts like compound bevels with the stock flat on the table.

That’s all I’ll say on this saw for now, but if you have any questions about specific features, post below. I’ll do my best to fill in any blanks for everybody.

What’s on the agenda for today? Hand tools, hammers, and the new line of 18v cordless tools.

posted in: Blogs, saws, miter saws
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Comments (7)

NightSky7 NightSky7 writes: "the slide mechanism was somewhat stiff and jerky; almost gritty." tried this model on Display in a store and noted this very characteristic still exists. Right next to it was a 10" 'Rigid' MS255SR --much nicer feel, almost similar features, but mixed reviews on Home depot site.

Posted: 12:35 am on November 30th

GaryW GaryW writes: My 708 lasted flawlessly for 15 years under almost daily heavy use, until a month ago. Armature is shot, and bearings showing some wear. Slide and accuracy was still good. Now I must have it rebuilt by Dewalt - to the tune of $300, or get a new machine. Friend just replaced his equally old, but sloppy Hitachi with a DW718, but I noticed right away some of his new tool's shortcomings. I'm tempted to spend on a rebuild. Festool too expensive.
Posted: 1:42 pm on April 22nd

ZH53 ZH53 writes: I sold my old makita 10" slider and bought the 718. what a joke that was. the dust collector was a farce . dust buildup on slides wouldn't make full cut. took saw back and bought a new 10" makita slider. no more problems in 3 years. thanks for your time.
Posted: 3:02 pm on June 7th

jgowrie jgowrie writes: I use the DW717 10" SCMS and recommend it. But, it does seem Dewalt has had a fair amount of criticism over the 12" SCMS and you would think that, by now, they would have addressed it... Seems like everyone else is innovating and Dewalt is just resting on past designs, flawed or not.
Posted: 11:26 am on June 6th

WOODPRO4U WOODPRO4U writes: I have the older 708 and it is better than the 718 and this new version dws780. Why try to change things to try to cheapen the saws and they fail to give a quality saw!
Posted: 9:20 am on June 6th

Steadfast Steadfast writes: I have to agree. I have the old 718. The rear fence is not even perpendicular to the table and there is no way to adjust it. The dust collection intake caught on something and got mangled by the blade in the first month. This saw needed an overhaul not a new box and number.
Posted: 5:14 pm on June 5th

milwaukee milwaukee writes: It is the same as the old 718! They should bring back the older 708! The rail diameter is small (1-1/16") versus the 1-3/8" standard. This causes tremendous head slop. The dust collection is better, but not great. I hope dewalt fixes these issues, but i doubt it. There is not enough NEW to make me buy it over the older 718 (which sucks period). I own the festool kapex ks 120 (i know - expensive), but that is a tool. If festool is too much, get the Milwaukee 12 inch slider. It is better.


From, Mr. Too Technical for Everything
Posted: 4:49 pm on June 3rd

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