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Fletcher 3000 issue

cannon1

Grumbler in Training
Hello,
I have an issue with my Fletcher 3000 which has recently emerged. When Cutting a 32x40 piece of foam board lengthwise, say into 16x40 lengths, I'm discovering as much of a 1/2 inch variance from the top to the bottom. Even though it's lined up at 16" at the bottom, it appears the cut is actually starting at 15.5 approx, and moving to the right to end at 16". Matboard appears to be cutting correctly. Wondering if it could be a dull blade, it seems a huge variance, with the result of my having to razor off one edge all the time recently. I hadn't really given it alot of attention until it was in my face with these bad '16 inch' lengths. Any idea?
 
888

wpfay

Angry Badger
A couple thoughts:
The bed may be out of square. (Something that should be checked regularly as they do go out from use. Instructions in Manual available on line at Fletcher's web site)
The materials you are cutting aren't square to begin with. I've never head of that much out, but stuff happens.
The clamp needs a replacement cork pad to grip the materials better.
If you suspect the blade, best to change it. We go through at least one per week on both 7000's. It could be dull, and it also might not be seated properly which would make the blade pull one way or the other.
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
Sounds like it needs to be squared. The manual covers this.
 

framah

PFG, Picture Framing God
I seriously doubt that it is out of square... and.. why? you ask??

Well... because the OP said right there in her post, that the mat boards cut correctly. If it was out of square, then everything would be wonky.

How about the glass? When you cut glass, does that come out right?

If it is only the FC, then my diagnosis points to a VERY dull blade. Blades are cheap. Change them often.

The burs on the dull blade are grabbing and dragging the FC along with it instead of cutting thru it.
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
1/2" variance is a bit much for a dull blade but you might be right. In any case, squaring should be checked.

If I ever let a blade go long enough that it gets dull (almost never), it will tear the foam core rather than cut it.
 

cannon1

Grumbler in Training
Thank you all your input. Well the new blade didn't fix it...and it really didn't appear to be out of square (much). I checked the glass I had cut the day
before worriedly and it was OK. What we discovered produced a correct cut was increasing increasing the pressure with the brass pressure screw. Apparently when I backed it out again after cutting the glass, it was too much and caused it to be 'lazy'. It's amazing to me how much it wanted to pull that foamboard to produce that bad cut. BTW, I've never clamped foamboard when cutting it before...is that something advisable?
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
BTW, I've never clamped foamboard when cutting it before...is that something advisable?
Always clamp foam and mats. Never clamp glass.
 

cannon1

Grumbler in Training
Now I just can't get straight/accurate cuts on foamboard. If I try to cut a 32x40 piece of foamboard in half, instead of two 16 inch pieces, I get one that's 15.5 at the top and 16.33 or so at the bottom. the blade immediately pulls to the right from the top down. Mats are OK....though everything involving the mat blade has become more efforty....to pull it down, whether a new blade or not, it's taking more strength than I ever recall. Pretty exasperated by this....going on the past month I reckon. Having to hand trim the excess foamboard off the edges of every last piece. With a new blade it's always gone through foamboard like butter, relatively speaking. So it's not a blade or squaring issue. It seems to be fighting something....any idea?
 

wpfay

Angry Badger
Have you ever replaced the white nylon sleeves between the frame of the cutter head and the double bar track. If they are worn they might allow the head to travel off of parallel to the bars, and that would cause the blade to pull. F/T makes a tune up kit that provides these sleeves and various springs and other wearing items.
Is the head riding freely up and down the track when not engaged? Is there any looseness in the head frame on the track, or anywhere else in the head?
Other thoughts include either the rotating multi blade holder or the mat blade itself are not getting properly seated before use.
 

cannon1

Grumbler in Training
Hello, Thank you for your ideas. I haven't replaced the white nylon bushings, but I had been considering them as a possible suspect. The head does move freely up and down when not engaged but as I mentioned when using the mat blade, it definitley requires more effort to cut through anything. I also noticed today the cutting turret loosens up, and also the blade flies off sometimes. I replaced the turret with a new one a couple weeks ago because I wasn't convinced the seat for the blade was still intact...but that didn't handle it. The blade is well seated. Nothing seems unusually loose in the head assembly. I'm babying now to get what I need from it to meet production needs. I did contact F/T through their support page, but nothing yet. I don't have any experience with those white bushings to know what specifically they'd produce if worn.. I bought this new about 17 years ago and have used it probably 3 months out of the year since, and no more than an hour or so at that on a day. The blade definitely want to move slightly out on a trajectory, like an arc.
 

Paul Cascio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Most likely, the machine needs to be squared, but that is very unusual. Once it's mounted and squared, it usually doesn't move, but that's likely what happened. Be aware that both sides of the FT3000 have an independent adjusting cam.

Before you make any adjustmen, check that the board or glass you are cutting is not resting on a chunk of glass. Usually it would only account for a smaller deviation, but anything is possible. I recommend keeping a 1-inch paint brush attached to the machine with a string. Use it to sweep away the occasional glass chips.

As others have noted, clamp matboard and foamboard (but not glass),before cutting. Engage the clamp slowly; doing it too aggressively can cause the board to jump. If the clamps seem to be slipping, attach a strip of thin, peel and stick, 1-inch wide, foam door gasket, available at Home Depot. Works great. BTW, a dull blade can sometimes cause a board to move too.

Finally, check the yellow measuring tapes, they have been known to slide a bit. I place a piece of sticky tape at each end to prevent movement.

The FT 3000 is arguably the most reliable piece of framing equipment ever manufactured, so once you get this problem resolved, chances are it will provide you with years of reliable service.
 
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Frances M.

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
I felt like a big dummy after finding the solution for my problem. My mat and foam boards were cutting crookedly, even feeling like they were pushing away from the blade. Did the bushings, even changed the head. Turns out that the blades weren't being set right when being changed - they have to fit over the raised rounded piece behind the screw so that they are flat against the blade holder. We were rushing through blade changes and not realizing that the blade was not set to be flush. Doh!
 

wpfay

Angry Badger
One last thing...have you checked the foam core that is giving you the fits for squareness out of the box. I have had that issue before, but never to that degree.
Please let us know what solution you come up with.
 

cannon1

Grumbler in Training
I haven't checked the board itself, mainly because I'm not doing anything different there and have gone through multiple boxes on this latest. The arcing/pull of the blade at the top and the extra resistence in the mat cutting head makes me wonder if that would be squaring...to be that far out? I will let you know what I find...I need to get through this season and I'll be freed up to do whatever it takes...Thank you for your thoughts and help....
 

Lafontsee

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
If you are getting pulling from the blade when cutting FC, try doing it in a couple of passes. It may be that the clamp isn't holding tight enough and is allowing the board to slip and pull as it cuts. Use the thumb lever to hold the blade back on the first pass so it only cuts through the face paper. Then you can cut the rest of the way through.

James
 

cannon1

Grumbler in Training
Thank you, worth trying in the meantime...blade definitely wants to start to the left, then move into the straight line with foamboard.
 
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