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The Ridgid R3210 is a very tough, value-packed saw that will last decades or more.
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Ridgid 7 ¼", Worm Drive Circular Saw

Extremely tough, powerful and accurate

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   Worm drive circular saws were designed to be tough, powerful and long lasting. The Ridgid R3210, 7 ¼" worm drive circular saw lives up to those tenets and more. Whether you are a contractor or woodworker, the capabilities of the Ridgid R3210, combined with it's remarkable durability could make this the last circular saw you ever have to buy.

Initial Impressions

   The Ridgid R3210 looks tough from every angle. The fit and finish of the individual components is first rate as is the assembly. Though lightweight magnesium is used extensively, the thickness of all the materials used demonstrates Ridgid's intent to make this a very durable tool.
   Even the shoe plate is formed from thick aluminum. If you bend this shoe plate I can only hope someone gets the number of the truck that just hit you!

A strong 15-amp motor is a solid, ventilated housing supplies plenty of power.
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Power

   The Ridgid R3210 is driven by a stout 15-amp motor, housed in a tough magnesium case. Because the motor is oriented lengthwise rather than across the saw, it looks smaller than you might expect. Any doubt about power is erased when the Ridgid R3210 is cutting wood.
   To keep the motor operating at it's full potential, user serviceable brushes are housed under tough retainers that keep them stable and secure until you want to take them out.

Worm Drive

The heavy-duty gear housing is finned for maximum cooling. The button is the shaft lock for changing blades.
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   Applying the substantial power of the 15-amp motor through a worm gear drive increases the torque delivered to the blade substantially over direct-drive saws with equally sized motors. A hint to how much power is the diamond blade mount, necessary to resist slipping.
   Precision design and machining of the gears makes the worm drive operate very smoothly. Mounting the gear system in a tough, rigid case keeps it smooth for years. That case also has a removable plug that allows the user to insert the (included) dipstick to check the oil level.
   Bathing the worm drive in oil is necessary to prevent wear and loss of power due to friction. Running in oil also prolongs the life of the gear substantially.

Blade Changing

The substantial power available makes the diamond drive and heavy fasteners necessary.
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   With gobs of power being applied to the blade, the hardware that retains it has to be tough. Ridgid includes a 24-tooth, carbide-tipped Freud Diablo, diamond drive, 7 ¼" blade with the R3210 to get you started.
   The most high tech part of the blade system is the push-button spindle lock. After that, the heavy Allen bolt, (wrench included, stored on-board) washers and diamond-shaped drive boss are simple, dependable and bulletproof.

Hanging On – and Up

   The Ridgid R3210 has large, comfortable grips to help maintain control and accuracy. The rear pistol-grip handle has a guarded trigger and rubber insert that reduces vibration and provides a slip resistant grip. The front loop-style handle also has the rubber covering.
   The placement of the handles gives the user a good feel of balance and control of the saw while making cuts or lining it up for the next one.
   A heavy-duty, fold-down hangar is attached to the right side, used to hang the saw on rafters or other suitable surfaces. Though obviously meant for the construction trades, I have found this hangar useful in the shop when open bench space is not within reach.

Angle and Depth Controls

The bevel and depth scales are easy to read. The brackets they are printed on are also very tough.
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   The Ridgid R3210 has maximum cutting capacities of 2 3/8" at 90-degrees, 1 ¾" at 45-degrees and 1 9/16" at 51.5-degrees. Large, cam-lock levers with rubber coated handles controlling depth and bevel functions make it easy to release, set and secure those functions even with gloves on.
   The numerals on the depth and bevel scales are clear, large and easy to read. The bevel function has a button that positively engages a detent at 51.5-degrees.
   The bracketry for the depth and bevel functions is made from heavy steel to resist bending and insure a long, accurate life with little maintenance.

Cool Shoe

   The heavy-duty aluminum shoe does more than stabilize the Ridgid R3210. It has cut line indicators for 0 and 45-degree cuts and a full-length cut line indicator (0-degree cuts) that helps prevent wandering on long cuts.
   The front edge of the shoe has an inch scale, centered on the 0-degree notch that makes placing a cut accurately with minimal layout far easier. The left side of the shoe has another inch scale that begins at the leading edge of the blade, indicating how long of a cut is being made.

Trick Cord

The lighted end of the cord turns out to be a handy thing to have! The cord also comes with a nice velcro-style strap for coiling it up when not in use.
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   The heavy duty power cord is not a big surprise on a tool designed for heavy, long-term use. However, the lighted plug at its end seemed like an unnecessary bauble. Then, during testing the saw failed to start when the trigger was pulled. While wondering if it had blown up, that lighted plug came to mind. Sure enough, it wasn't lighted. After reconnecting the extension cord to the wall socket the plug was once again glowing happily and the saw worked just fine.

In The Shop

The Ridgid R3210 handles very easily, making clean accurate cuts the norm.
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   After installing the blade, the shoe was checked to be sure it was parallel to the blade, which it was. The blade to shoe alignment was also measured at 0 and 45-degrees to check the bevel scales. Adjustable stops are provided to easily make corrections as necessary but the Ridgid R3210 tested was correct right out of the box. I also used the included dipstick to check the "crankcase" oil and found that to be properly filled.
   The high-torque generated by the Ridgid R3210 is evident from the first cut made with it. Straight or bevel cuts are made effortlessly even in not-quite-dry 2X6 material. The Freud blade certainly helps but there is no doubt that the Ridgid R3210 has lots of power available.
   Also surprising was how smooth this saw is in operation. I expected a little more vibration considering the amount of power worm gears generate at the blade but not so. The worm gears work very smoothly and quietly.

The handles are nicely shaped, easy to hold and comfortable with gloves on.
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   Cuts were made at several of the bevel markings and found to be very precise. The depth of cut scale indicating the amount of blade exposed below the shoe is equally accurate and very handy when cutting too deeply can be a problem.
   The rather narrow shape of a worm drive saw took surprising little time to get used to. Before long I was making accurate cuts with confidence, even long rips using only a snapped chalk line for guidance.
   At 15 lbs, the Ridgid R3210 is not light but it does not feel heavy in use. The weight distribution along with the size and position of the handles make the Ridgid R3210 surprisingly easy to control and comfortable to use.

Conclusions

   If power, accuracy and durability are important, take a look at the Ridgid R3210. With a street price of $169.99 (12-11-2004) is a good value that gets even better when you consider that it will keep on performing for many years, especially in a woodworking shop.
   

See the Ridgid R3210 at your local Home Depot or on line at www.homedepot.com.

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