I have a cheap, old (but, until recently, serviceable) belt-drive, table-top table saw, Skil 10" model 3400.

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Last week while cutting a 2x4, the blade stopped but the motor kept going. I finished up with a hand-held circular saw and let the table saw cool down. When I came back to it, I looked it over. The blade is still firmly attached to the shaft. The nuts are secure and if I manually move the blade, the shaft turns. When I turn it on, the blade turns (though it seems to lag the motor a bit) but when it makes contact with wood, it stops. There's a weird, rhythmic ying-ying-ying noise when it is running. I have some weak intuition that a bearing failed.

Any thoughts on further diagnosing -- or, better yet, repairing -- my saw? Or should just hit Craig's List looking for a replacement?

  • Posting the make and model might get you more accurate answers.
    – Tester101
    Aug 2, 2014 at 14:54
  • Have you read through the documentation?
    – Tester101
    Aug 2, 2014 at 14:55
  • It's a 10" Skil, model 3400. I have no documentation. I might find something online, I guess. Aug 2, 2014 at 17:03
  • Did I find and include the right model and photo?
    – wallyk
    Aug 2, 2014 at 17:30
  • Mine is a table-top (that is, no bench built in) and it's silver not red but certainly very close. Aug 2, 2014 at 18:51

4 Answers 4


At this point I would take it apart. It's already broke you have nothing to lose. I had an older Delta saw that had a gearbox fail. The parts were more than I paid for the saw. It may not be a total loss though. Some of the older models had a router mount cast into the table. It was useless as a saw but made a dandy router table.

  • First, definitely a Model 3400. I took it part far enough to see that the gear housing is full of metal filings. The teeth of the gears appear to be intact and when I slide the gear back in, turning the shaft seems to turn the motor without the slippage I saw before. I may clean out the housing, grease it up, put it together and see what happens. It's a start... Aug 30, 2014 at 23:40
  • I cleaned it out and greased it up. If anything, it sounds worse. Now that I'm no this trail, I realize it sounds like the next stage of the gears aren't meshing. I got this free and parts would likely cost more than a second-hand saw of comparable quality. Sep 9, 2014 at 0:08

Guessing, admittedly:

If the motor turns and the blade doesn't move, something is slipping between the two that shouldn't.

Direct-drive saw means no belt. There has to be some kind of linkage between the motor and the drive shaft unless the latter is built into the former (possible but unlikely). It sounds like that connection has come loose.

So I'd suggest checking back along the drive shaft toward the motor for anything that looks like a connection, and see if there's a setscrew; if so, tighten that. Depending on what's going on, you may need to rotate the two pieces relative to each other to get the setscrew to line up with a flat for best hold.

  • Problem might be as simple as a loose nut on the motor shaft that lets the blade spin freely. The blade will still spin up because it's in contact with the shaft, but will have no power other than the momentum of the blade itself because it's not firmly attached to the motor. May 8, 2016 at 13:39

Direct drive does not always mean what it says. Some of these so-called direct drive motors have a belt drive inside the casing.

  • Please explain how having a belt-drive table saw might cause the OP's problem. Thanks!
    – Niall C.
    May 13, 2016 at 20:11

This is an old thread, but I'll respond anyway. You've probably stripped the key in the output gear. Take it to a machine shop, press it off and replace the key.

  • No gears in sight. Tightening the belt was all it needed. Sep 9, 2018 at 17:32
  • @ChrisNelson, if it is a belt drive, calling it direct drive in the question will lead to answers appropriate to a direct drive machine. Since the question is still attracting answers, it might be worth clarifying the terminology in the question.
    – fixer1234
    Sep 9, 2018 at 18:07

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