My decision to put a storage cabinet under the left hand table extension of my Model R4511 tablesaw necessitated the relocation of the Tilt Handwheel.
When I designed the cabinet, I made provision for this modification by including a blank panel in the front of the cabinet, centered on the Tilt Handwheel shaft. In the photo below, this panel is located on the right side of the lower drawer, which is actually the middle drawer of the cabinet.
The Tilt Handwheel shaft, 10mm in diameter with an 8mm threaded end, extends through a steel Cover Plate mounted on the side of the saw cabinet. The handwheel, which slip fits on the shaft, is a cast metal design which has a cross slot in the hub that engages a roll pin thru the shaft. A Bar Knob, with an internal metal insert, threads onto the shaft to prevent the handwheel from coming off and locks the handwheel against the Cover Plate to secure the blade tilt position.
With these existing design features to accommodate, I developed the following design criteria for the Tilt Handwheel relocation task.
• Low Cost
• Simple Configuration
• Use Available Components
• Accommodate Possible Shaft Misalignment
• Reduce or Eliminate Lubrication
• Retain Original Handwheel Attachment
• Be Contained within the Envelope of the Saw Table and Fence Rail
To aid in meeting these criteria, I decided to purchase three Ridgid Model R4511 replacement parts: Tilt Shaft, Roll Pin, and Cover Plate (actually called a Tilt Bracket on the Parts List).
The first design decision to be made was where to relocate the Tilt Handwheel. Two possibilities existed: Side Mounting, or Front Mounting. So let’s look at the Pros and Cons of each.
Side Mounting of the Tilt Handwheel would be the simplest method and require the least number of components. It should be relatively easy to extend the existing Tilt Shaft out through the face of the storage cabinet using the purchased replacement parts and a flange mounted bearing similar to the ones I used on the Flip-Top Planer/Sander project (http://lumberjocks.com/projects/53211) . The only challenge might be adapting the two shafts to one another – but that could be accomplished in a couple of different ways. The flange bearing could be mounted to the cabinet after installation and connection of the two shafts, thereby minimizing or eliminating any shaft alignment problem. The Tilt Handwheel, Bar Knob, and Cover Plate would be installed as in the original configuration. So essentially the Tilt Handwheel would simply be moved away from the saw cabinet by the depth of the storage cabinet but would still be located in the same position on the left side of the saw. At least I wouldn’t have to fumble under the table extension to reach the handwheel anymore!
With the Tilt Handwheel on the left side of the saw, as it was originally, I found it very awkward to operate. I am right handed, so to operate the handwheel comfortably, I had to stand on the left side of the saw – but this position prevented me from seeing the Tilt Position Indicator on the front panel of the saw. Also, in my small shop with limited floor space, the left end of the saw might be close to the face of my jointer, making access difficult.
If possible, I didn’t want the Tilt Handwheel and knob to extend out beyond the edge of the table extension. Also, the Tilt Handwheel would probably prevent opening some of the storage drawers. So that would mean that I would have to remove the handwheel when not in use – easily done by simply unscrewing the Bar Knob and slipping off the handwheel (which could be stored in one of the drawers). However, that might leave the end of the Tilt Shaft sticking out beyond the table edge. The Bar Knob could be replaced on the shaft.
Unless I added some sort of spacer to take the place of the handwheel, this might also eliminate locking the Tilt Shaft position with the Bar Knob. However, as the Tilt (and Elevation) features are worm gear driven, the mechanical advantage of such a mechanism is so high that I doubt any machine vibration would be great enough to change the shaft position.
Front Mounting of the Tilt Handwheel would eliminate the awkward left side operating position and allow clear visibility of the Tilt Position Iindicator on the front panel. The saw table and fence rail overhang the front of the cabinet by at least 10 inches, so there would be ample room to install and operate the Tilt Handwheel without projecting beyond the envelope of the saw and fence.
Front Mounting of the Tilt Handwheel would introduce more complexity into the installation and require more component parts. In addition, I would have to be creative and come up with a suitable Turn-the-Corner-Thingy in order to change the direction of the Tilt Shaft from side to front. That might require some serious head scratching and navel gazing…………!!
An Internet Search for Ideas
So the first thing I did was to turn to one of the greatest sources of woodworking information around – The LJ forum, of course!! A search turned up some interesting information from folks who have already addressed this problem.
I was able to find two discussions, one by fellow LJer, Kiefer, who posted an innovative solution he came up with using a right angle flexible hose to make the transition from the side to the front of his saw(http://lumberjocks.com/projects/46822) He was even more creative by developing a shop made pillow block and beautiful wooden handwheel! My solution probably won’t be nearly so elegant and photogenic! Good show, guy!!
The other solution, which I couldn’t find when I researched for this blog, although I remember seeing it here on LJ, I think, involved using a modified angle grinder to provide the direction change.
[Note to self: Write down the source when you are pirating other’s ideas and publishing them for the world to see so you can give them proper credit!]
This fellow is a machinist and was able to fabricate the modifications necessary to adapt his tilt shaft to the angle grinder head and the end of the armature shaft to his handwheel. Since he used the angle grinder as a housing for the angle drive, he also fabricated a metal bracket to secure the components. I am a woodworker, folks – my metal working equipment consists of a vise, hacksaw, some files, a hammer, and a drill press. Somehow I couldn’t see myself making such a nice modification of an angle grinder. I did however consider possibly using the angle head portion of that tool.
Tho both of these approaches were very innovative and seemed to meet the user’s requirements, I felt that they would take up more space than I had available or required fabrication operations I couldn’t accomplish. I sure appreciate folks’ willingness to share their ideas and solutions so freely with the woodworking community, tho. We all benefit greatly from their generosity, and as importantly, from the folks who make these forums like Lumberjocks available to us for free! Thanks to all!
I was unable to turn up any other folks who had made similar modifications.
Back to the Drawing Board
So after much deliberation, navel gazing, and weighing of the Pros and Cons, I decided to go with the Front Mounting option! (BTW, I discovered that the most productive navel gazing is done early in the morning aided by a good, strong cup of coffee in a lint-free environment….......... How delighted I was to find another use for my new air compressor………Cleaner than a whistle!………. )
So now it looks like the task at hand is to come up with a suitable Turn-the-Corner-Thingy that will fit in the space available and meet my design criteria. I looked around my shop and found that I had a lot of Thingys, but no suitable Turn-the-Corner-Thingys. And of course when I find one, I will have to figure out how I can use it!
Ah, there is obviously some more serious navel gazing to be done……….but fear not, I shall keep my air compressor handy so that my view will be unobstructed……….! I sense that a breakthrough is on the immediate horizon…..........
Hopefully, the next time we meet, we will have the answer to my Turn-the-Corner-Thingy quest and figure out how to put it all together. Stay tuned………………….
Please feel free to share any comments or constructive criticisms. All questions will be answered.
-- Paul, Auburn, WA