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Lessons Learned #1: Jet Riser Kit on a Porter-Cable Bandsaw

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Blog entry by GeBeWubya posted 01-31-2013 06:33 AM 1787 reads 1 time favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Lessons Learned series Part 2: A New Way to Get Hurt »

I just installed a Jet riser kit on my PCB330BS bandsaw. It can be done, but I recommend you look for a better fit.

When I opened the box and looked at the parts, everything looked good. The riser block and blade guard were painted white, but what difference did that make. The blade guide post appeared to be the right size and shape, so “Let’s get started!”

I figured I could get started with the disassembly, and get a friend to come help with the removal and replacement of the upper arm, so after reading the instructions, I grabbed a phillips screwdriver, and began removing parts. I had to remove the lower door to get to one of the screws holding the plate that covers the connecting bolt between the lower casing and the upper arm, but otherwise things seemed straightforward. De-tension and remove the blade, take off the blade guards, remove the cover plates, unwire the switch (after marking the terminals and respective wires), and remove the upper blade guides from the post. Naturally I couldn’t resist fitting the new blade guard onto the blade guide block, which led to the discovery that the guide needed a notch cut out to fit around the thrust bearing lock screw. A couple of holes on the drill press, and a few minutes with a file, and no one could tell the guide wasn’t born with the notch.

I knew from the instructions and from the stories of folks that have done this job before, to watch out for the spring and ball detent on the blade guide post, so I carefully followed the directions and loosened the setscrew, but did not remove it, put the new post on top of the old one… and noticed the the first surprise. The Jet post was drilled for a cotter pin at the top of the post while the PC had a snap ring. No problem, I can file a grove around the post and use the snap ring (after a trip to Lowe’s for snap ring pliers, of course).

Groove filed, snap ring moved, I set the new post on top to push the old one through, and next surprise, the new post is about 1/32 thicker than the old one. After a little head scratching, I decided that if I sanded the coat of paint off the new post, it should fit. Sure enough, the sanded post started into the hole in the upper arm, but took several trips back to the sandpaper to get it to slide all the way smoothly. During one test fit, the famous ball and spring detent, did its usual trick and a session of find-the-quarter-inch-ball-on-the-shop-floor followed. Fortunately, with the post in place, the ball, spring and setscrew can be replaced from the outside so no harm done.

I had guessed from studying the saw’s exploded diagram and the pictures of the jet casting, that the alignment holes would not match up, but until I could get the upper arm off, I couldn’t be sure. A close examination of the upper arm and the upper back cover suggested that I might be able to build a platform on the table that would support the upper arm, so I piled 2 4×4s and a couple of pieces of the packing foam on the saw table under the upper arm. What would it hurt if I just loosened the connecting bolt to see if everything was stable?

If you knew me well, you would be expecting the next step to be a disastrous crash, but for once things actually worked as I intended. I was able to remove the bolt and set the upper arm onto the floor. It’s not as heavy as I had expected, so that process went smoothly.

As I predicted the holes and posts on the saw and the riser did not match, so I carefully made a paper template of the saw’s pins, transferred the pin position to the bottom of the riser, and drilled. I think the gnomes must have moved one of my marks, because as you should by now expect, the drilled holes didn’t match the pins. After a few choice words and several trips to the drill press, I ended up with a nice quarter inch hole in one corner and a bomb crater in the other, but the riser would now sit on the lower arm, albieit with a little rotational slop. At this point, I made the executive decision that the upper arm could be fastened to the riser without alignment pins, so I ground off the pins on the top of the riser, built a 6 inch taller platform on the table and balanced the upper arm in place. The new long connecting bolt dropped smoothly into place, the washer and nut went on and I snugged up the bolt so nothing could fall. So far so good. As I tried to cinch up the bolt, the riser and upper arm began to slide around out of alignment. I used a couple of 2×4 scraps and a bunch of clamps to hold the riser and upper arm in alignment with the lower arm, and tightened the connecting bolt.

The upper and lower wheels turned out to be in good coplanar alignment, so I thought I was almost done. (You know better, right?)

When I tried to put the guide block assembly on the bottom of the post, I found that the coat of paint I removed from the post was not enough to make the block fit. The easy solution seemed to be to enlarge the hole in the block a little. Hand sanding didn’t do it. Even finding a sanding drum that would almost fit in the hole, and reaming the hole on the drill press, I couldn’t get the hole enlarged enough (the drum would bind, and the torque of the drill press would tighten the nut on the sanding drum that expands the rubber drum to hold the sanding sleeve in place, and the cylindrical drum would turn into a barrel shape and bind in the hole.) Eventually I sacrificed a forstner bit to ream out the hole.

When I tried to fit the rear blade guard into place, I discovered another difference between the Jet and the PC. The Jet casting has a round hole at the top and an elliptical one at the bottom, and the lower round post on the PC wouldn’t fit. Back to the drill press and more abuse to the poor forstner bit.

I put all the pieces back together and discovered that the lower door wouldn’t close. Examination revealed that the rear blade guard’s elliptical hole had a pair of tabs along side that prevented the PC bolt and washer from seating properly. A session at the grinder flattened the washer so it would fit.

In summary: the Jet Kit can be used on the PC, but it does not work well or install easily.

-- (- |: \,/



2 comments so far

View greg48's profile

greg48

281 posts in 1414 days


#1 posted 01-31-2013 04:47 PM

Thanx for the post. I don’t need to walk that path as you already have.

-- Greg, No. Cal.

View GeBeWubya's profile

GeBeWubya

47 posts in 692 days


#2 posted 01-31-2013 05:01 PM

Greg,

I heard (after the Jet kit was already modified and unreturnable) that PC has a riser kit for the PCB330BS, but I have not confirmed that. Actually, I don’t want to know that I went through all that for nothing.

On the other hand, I’m retired, my time is my own, I learned a lot about working with cast iron, and had a good time solving the problems as they came up, so it’s not a total loss.

-- (- |: \,/

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