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delta P20 saw speed control

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  • delta P20 saw speed control

    From the imput of the experts i am going to purchase a Delta P20 scroll saw. The P20 does not have a speed control, it has a stepped pully system. is this a concern???? how much do you really have to change cutting speeds? i have read that several people have the P20 but do not mention the speed changing issue, is this only on the newer model?? or are they all that way?

    Speed control or not???


  • #2
    Not too much help, but while you're waiting for answers...

    In the videos at Rick H's site (, there is a video review of the P-20 in which he demonstrates a speed change. Really not much slower than turning a knob.

    There are good things about NOT having VS, depending on your scrolling projects. A non-VS saw will deliver more power through the range, and cost less to fix.

    Every so often that I do cutting that requires accuracy to thousandths of an inch, I appreciate VS (I had my eye on a P-20 but wound up with an RBI). Most times it doesn't matter.



    • #3
      It is a six speed saw from pulley to pulley straight in line. It can however be cross pullyed to about 40 different speeds although I don't know anyone at all that uses that feature . . I cannot imagine anyone needing more than 6 speeds. Speed changing takes mere seconds on a P-20. It is not a V belt as some "assume" it might be but have never seen one. It is a round yellow stretchy neoprene belt and the pulleys are rounded over. Thus the cross pullying is possible with no harm to the belt or pulleys. We do not hear of worn out belts on P-20 saws. Mine has thousands of hours of use on the original belt and I don't even stock a back up belt because the original looks in very good shape. If I ever need one I can rely on Delta's nationwide network of excellent service depots to get one from.
      Most P-20 owners agree that VS hardware on some saws is a marketing gimmick and costs a lot to replace when they go bad and they do go bad occasionally regardless of the make or model that has them. Then some would be lost without their VS on their saw . It's a matter of personal preference.
      I use one speed (1400) for about 95 % of my cutting on my P-20 but once or twice a year I will select a slower speed for something extremely delicate in thin wood. On the other hand I know some scrollers that run their VS saws wide open at top speed for everything because they feel it cuts better that way. So they have paid for a VS "feature" that they never use.
      Every time you change speed on a saw there is a bit of a learning curve to get used to that speed. Perhaps that is why some scrollers prefer to get used to doing more things with less speeds. Works for me.

      Here are the additional speeds possible that I was referring to.

      Position 1 refers to far left belt
      position when facing the saw.
      Delta P-20 Scrollsaw SPEEDS
      Belt Position 1 2 3 4 5 6
      Motor Pulley Dia. (in) 2.648 2.45 2.207 2.013 1.379 0.869
      Assume the motor Driven Pulley Dia. (in) 2.284 2.486 2.719 2.894 3.4 3.748
      turns at 1725 RPM

      Speed 2000 1700 1400 1200 700 400


      Driven Pully Position 1 2 3 4 5 6
      1 2000 1837 1680 1578 1343 1219
      Motor 2 1850 1700 1554 1460 1243 1128
      Pully Position
      3 1667 1531 1400 1316 1120 1016
      4 1520 1397 1277 1200 1021 926
      5 1041 957 875 822 700 635
      6 656 603 551 518 441 400
      Last edited by William Young (SE BC); 01-03-2007, 11:05 AM.

      The task ahead of us is never as great as the power behind us

      Delta P-20 Scroll Saw, 14" x 43" Craftex Wood Lathe and Jet 10" Mini Lathe .


      • #4
        I really think it's all in what you get used to. If this is your first saw, then you will probably have no problem with the pulley/belt system.

        I started out with a VS saw and when I was looking to upgrade, that was a feature I wanted. Not saying I couldn't live without it, but my choices came down to the Delta P-20 and the Dewalt 788. I had used the Delta Q3 a bit, which was the predecessor to the P-20. I loved it and it had VS, so I was a bit disappointed that the P-20 didn't. So, I ended up with the DeWalt. I'm happy with my saw, but occasionally wonder if I'd make the same decision today. I sometimes change speeds during a cut, so the VS is really nice for me, but the P-20 has a lot of other really good things going for it. I don't think you will miss the VS.
        Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter. Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."


        • #5
          I received a Craftsman as a gift a few years ago. It had a variable speed control, but after replacing the control board the second time, I decided to upgrade. So I bought a P-20 several months ago and love it. Most of my projects don't require me to change speeds so I don't miss the variable speed knob. I went with the P-20 after comparing the specs with comparably priced saws. Also, the feedback I got from everyone on this forum convinced me I was making the right choice. I does only take seconds to change the speed as the belt is easily rolled to the next set of pulleys.

          I never thought of cross-pulleying (is that a word?) the belt. It's a good idea, William. I don't think I'll ever have a need for it but it does extend the speed control quite a bit.

          Good luck with your purchase.

          Dan H

          I would rather be friendly to a stranger than be a stranger to my friends.


          • #6
            David, I have had my P-20 for 3 years and probably have changed the speed not more that 5 or 6 times.
            Mick, - Delta P-20

            A smile is a small curve that straightens everything out.


            • #7
              David, I've had a P-20 for about three years and at first I didn't like the belt drive but now it is no problem. I change speeds sometimes, it is easy to do.
              Go for it, if that is the saw you want.

              Delta P-20 & Q-3

              I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me!


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