DELTA CONTRACTOR SAW ON-OFF SWITCH REPLACEMENT – PRECISION SCRAPBOX REPLACEMENT
Replace my current table saw (TS) switch with a safer, more convenient switch mechanism.
My saw has (had) the stock toggle switch mounted on the cabinet that was hard to find, occasionally required a look, right behing the saw blade, and definitely dangerous. I almost bought a couple of switches I saw at Rockler, Woodcraft, etc on the internet. But they didn’t grab me. They all seemed to appear less robust than what I wanted, and less versatile. In my searches for switches…...... people kept writing about, and making, switches that could be turned off more readily. Nobody talked about turning the saw on much. All the easy turn off solutions seemed less than robust, and occasionally raised my eyebrow, but I bet they all worked pretty well. So I was looking at spending money on a switch that was a little clumsy to turn on, and that I would most likely have to modify, to make a facile turn off.
So I procrastinated.
And as I was finishing my bench top downdraft table, and thinking about that dangerous and irksome toggle switch, I realized what I wanted was an easy turn on and turn off switch with a push-pull action. And the immediate next idea was that, well, that’s a toggle effect. So I thought about that toggle switch that is on the saw. And I said to myself, I bet I can make a mechanism that uses the toggle switch.
And then I saw it in my brain, the general idea, I had it pictured. So I started designing on Sketchup, and simultaneously posted in my first part of this series:
“So I am going to try it. Use the old switch. Throw down the gauntlet. Basically free.
I am going to make a first class switch for my Delta Contractor’s Saw out of scrap……........
Boy am I going to be red-faced if this fails……...............it will then become another one of my workshop antics……...(-:”
Well I am riding high, the switch is now in use, needs some finish, a couple of sawdust control side boards, but it is functional……….and it is exactly what I wanted.
As noted above, I used the original toggle switch, and only junk box and scrap materials. Screws and such I of course have in abundance. I did not make a single purchase. I may use some new red paint on it but I am straying away from that thought.
See Part #1 of this series for electrical modifications, confined to lengthening cords, and replacing the plug.
All scrap and left overs:
Scrap oak and birch ply, ½” and ¾”
1 foot or less of 1” OD aluminum tubing
1 foor or less of 7/8” hardwood dowel
Miscellaneous screws, both wood and machine.
A couple of ¼” carriage bolts, wing nuts, and washers.
A piece of ¾” salvage baseboard solid oak… ¾” ply would be fine
A washer with a hole just slightly larger than the toggle switch handle top.
A piece of angle iron, that I hacksawed to length, and then drilled holes in.
That’s it. Out of pocket money … none.
Crosscut saw, I used my radial arm saw.
And the usual menagerie of hand tools, power drills, drivers, sanders, etc.
Ok, here I am going to waffle. I will describe how I did it, but no Sketchup pictures, unless someone else wants to build it too. More about that later.
I designed most of this in Sketchup, with plenty of small mods as I went along. Measurements were difficult and had to be precise. It’s a mechanical device, not a piece of furniture.
FUNCTION AS INTENDED:
Robust, abuse withstanding: both the mechanism and the mounting sytem
Short crisp throw
Pull to start the saw, a defined and deliberate motion required, for safety.
Push to stop the saw, with a surface that can be leg actuated, with tactile feedback, and short throw. Must be able to actuate from the usual sawing stance to the left of the blade, or straight on as with a sled.
The switch mechanism is to be a 6” wide by 4” high plate of wood the can be pulled to start the saw, or hit with the thigh or hand to stop, without looking for either function.
FUNCTION AS ACHIEVED:
Exactly as intended.
NOTE THAT I INTEND TO FINISH THE SWITCH MECHANISM WITH WATCO, AND THE SWITCH PLATE ITSELF WITH PAINT, MOST LIKELY. THERE WILL BE SIDE BOARDS FOR DUST CONTROL TO THE MECHANISM.
This is a perspective of the switch installed on the saw, I do not have the cords routed properly yet:
A view of the mechanism off of the saw, only two wing nuts had to be removed to enable removal. The position of the switch is somewhat adjustable back and forth, but I suspect I will use it at the most rearward position of the mount.
This gives a better view of the mount. Angle iron, machine screws to an oak vertical dadoed into the plywood horizontal with reinforcement.
A view of the off position, note the front switch plate is even with the horizontal piece just above it.
A view of the on position, pulled forward. Total travel is 7/16”. It makes a solid “kerchunk” when it moves (-:
Even with only the top board, the plate cannot apply significant rotary movement to the switch because of the top board, and rotary stops on the forward bearing. The forward travel is limited by the piece of aluminum at the end of the dowel, and backward travel (off motion) drives a screw in the dowel into the wood framework only if the force is excessive. Therefore, the switch is protected. This is important since the amount of force that can be applied to the switch plate is much greater than can be applied to the switch handle itself.
THE SWITCH IN USE—————————- FABULOUS!!!
This works better than I had hoped. The on function is easy, with a large surface to be pulled forward without any thought of looking, from the bottom ….KERCHUNK. The off function is unbelieveable, just raise my heel and move my knee slightly forward and it is off…...KERCHUNK. Both in my usual off to the side position out of line of the saw blade, or directly behind the blade. It is right there. And no tendency to turn off unintentionally, you only have to raise the heel to bend the knee to hit the switch…..the travel is only 7/16”.
After trying it twice, I didn’t even think of turning it off with my hand, that would be too much motion.
I don’t think any switch I could have bought could hold a candle to it…......I like it a lot.
PLANS AND SKETCHUP
If someone expresses interest here in comments I will make precise plans with measurements and Sketchup views.
This should be an easy weekender to duplicate. The modification for different users will be the mount to the saw, this may require a different size vertical member on the mount, but this would be a no brainer. Very adaptable to any saw, I suspect. But I will only do the work if someone is interested. Don’t feel bashful, if you want to do it, just let me know, I like to show off…..........(-:
-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska