|Project by Tim Dahn||posted 01-21-2010 12:36 AM||10530 views||20 times favorited||17 comments|
The big weak spot on the RIDGID R4511 to me is the Rip fence. So one of the first things I did was upgrade it and I’m very happy with the result. I have had a few PM requests for information on the fence upgrade I did so I thought it would be good to post the process. Unfortunately I did not keep any notes during this but it is pretty easy to do and did not cost much, probably less than $50. You could save about half of the cost by using the existing front rail angle mount and make a 60” or shorter front rail. The first two pics show the 72” rail mounted on the original short angle, I did it this way first to try it out then decided I needed to make a longer front rail angle piece.
Here is the material list:
Front rail – 2”X2” square tube with a 3/32” thick wall, 72” long.
Front angle – 2 1/2”X2 1/2” 3/16” thick, 54” long, this is a little thicker than the original because it extends to the right of the saw.
Rear Angle – 1 1/4”X1 1/4” 3/16” thick, 72” long.
I used the original rail and angle pieces to layout the holes to be drilled.
Drilling metal is no problem, just a different method than wood. Here are a couple of tips:
1. You will have to mark the spot to drill with a hammer and punch with a sharp point to make an indention in the metal otherwise the drill bit will wander when starting the hole.
2. Start the hole with a small bit, about 1/8” and drill completely through then work your way up to the size bit you want.
3. If your drill has a slow setting use that and once the drill starts to cut add a little oil, it helps the cutting action and cools the bit.
4. Do all your drilling and tapping and check your fit prior to painting.
Tapping the metals is not difficult either, the size tap will specify the size drill bit used. I’m sure you can purchase a single tap and dill bit together in one package for just a few $.
The most laborious part of this was sanding the front rail, and if I did this again I would see if a local metal shop could sand or sand blast for me, it was dirty and not a lot of fun. I sanded the entire 72” tube to bare metal masked it off with electrical tape in three places the length of the rail, this is for the three contacts points where the rip fence assembly rides. Then primed and painted. When the paint was dry I scored the paint along the tape (masked off area) so when I pulled the tape off there was a nice clean edge. I then waxed the bare metal area to protect the metal from rust and help the fence glide. At this point you install and set it up with the instructions in the saw manual.
I added 1” wide self adhesive HDMW plastic to the top of the rear rail for the fence to glide on and that made a noticeable difference.
-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.