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Thread: Project 2 from Hooda. Category: 4) Custom welded Shop tools and improvements:CNC PLAS

  1. #1
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    Arrow Project 2 from Hooda. Category: 4) Custom welded Shop tools and improvements:CNC PLAS

    Well, the title box wouldn't allow me to finish, but I just started the build of my first of what I hope to be many CNC Plasma tables. This is a smaller, entry level table, designed with a 2' x 3' travel, plus the ability to accommodate full size sheets, due to the unique design of the carriage. The chassis is the main welded component of the assembly. It is made of 2" square tubing with a 1/8" wall thickness. I made the decision that for this first one, I will TIG weld all the joints. I first cut the pieces with my vintage Craftsman horizontal bandsaw. Than spent HOURS on a 4" belt sander squaring the pieces up to length. My goal is to be really precise, +/- 1/32" As a machinist by trade, these seem like wide open tolerances, but lacking the tools of a proper machine shop, getting there has been time consuming, and frustrating. Before I tackle another one of these tables, I will be purchasing an Evolution Rage Saw, as they will cut to an exact, perfectly square, ready to weld length in a few seconds, and with no burr. Having that saw would have saved me EASILY 10 hours off the cut/size/square-up operation. I'm finding that I'm lacking in so many tools that would make this an easy project, but my improvised methods are getting the job done, if not at lightning speed. I've pulled out every c-clamp that I own, along with a good selection of squares, steel rules, etc. I found out right away that my welding table is in desperate need of a flatter top. I priced out a piece of 1/2" steel plate for a new top at $170.00, so it's on the list. The single most important tools that I was fortunate enough to have from my trade school days were a set of heavy angle plates. These plates are super strong and square within .001" so I used them at the base of each square joint to clamp against for tack welding.







    I don't have much experience building anything this big, so I'm learning that things MOVE when you tack them!
    "It's not magic it's experimental, kind of like washing your hands after pooping used to be." -House

    Everlast PowerTig 250EX-arrived 1-26-2012
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    ESAB MigMaster 250-borrowed
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  2. #2
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    Default The welding begins

    Below are some more shots of the tack-up process finished. I have started welding, and I have a total of about 140" of welds to do
    For this project, I'm using the 250 EX in pedal mode. WP20 torch, 3/32 tungsten with a gas lens, 6 lpm on the argon. I set the max amps at 137, and only had to floor the pedal on occasion. I have started to weld on the bottom joints that will be less visible, allowing me as much practice as possible before I get to the visible joints.





    "It's not magic it's experimental, kind of like washing your hands after pooping used to be." -House

    Everlast PowerTig 250EX-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerCool W300-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerTig 185 Micro-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerPlasma 70-arrived 1-26-2012
    ESAB MigMaster 250-borrowed
    HyperTherm 151 AKA "The Light Sabre"
    Linde UCC-305-964 lb. of old time water cooled TIG love-SOLD-Bad MOJO
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hooda View Post
    Well, the title box wouldn't allow me to finish, but I just started the build of my first of what I hope to be many CNC Plasma tables. This is a smaller, entry level table, designed with a 2' x 3' travel, plus the ability to accommodate full size sheets, due to the unique design of the carriage. The chassis is the main welded component of the assembly. It is made of 2" square tubing with a 1/8" wall thickness. I made the decision that for this first one, I will TIG weld all the joints. I first cut the pieces with my vintage Craftsman horizontal bandsaw. Than spent HOURS on a 4" belt sander squaring the pieces up to length. My goal is to be really precise, +/- 1/32" As a machinist by trade, these seem like wide open tolerances, but lacking the tools of a proper machine shop, getting there has been time consuming, and frustrating. Before I tackle another one of these tables, I will be purchasing an Evolution Rage Saw, as they will cut to an exact, perfectly square, ready to weld length in a few seconds, and with no burr. Having that saw would have saved me EASILY 10 hours off the cut/size/square-up operation. I'm finding that I'm lacking in so many tools that would make this an easy project, but my improvised methods are getting the job done, if not at lightning speed. I've pulled out every c-clamp that I own, along with a good selection of squares, steel rules, etc. I found out right away that my welding table is in desperate need of a flatter top. I priced out a piece of 1/2" steel plate for a new top at $170.00, so it's on the list. The single most important tools that I was fortunate enough to have from my trade school days were a set of heavy angle plates. These plates are super strong and square within .001" so I used them at the base of each square joint to clamp against for tack welding.







    I don't have much experience building anything this big, so I'm learning that things MOVE when you tack them!
    Looking like a very nice project there. You said one of many CNC tables. Will you be selling them?

    My first project will pale in comparison to yours. It will be a small enclosure stick welded but I'm already thinking about how I'm going to keep the sides square - don't have a table and the tubes are going to be fairly close together so I may not have enough room to put a square in there to clamp it up .... I hear you on the "right tools" comment. It takes forever working around what is available as to what should be used.

    Good luck with the rest of your project!
    Is it OK to want to break something just so that you can weld it back together?

    Everlast PowerTIG 185 Micro IGBT AC/DC Welder

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zoama585 View Post
    Welcome back, stranger.

    Whats the resolution of these pictures when you take them ?
    I'm uploading them to photobucket, and then resizing them down to 400 x 400 (for this forum, and 360 x 240 for other forums) before I paste the link into the text. Are they not clear enough? I only know how they appear on my screen, and before I started resizing, they would take up the entire screen, and people were complaining about that. Any suggestions?

    As mentioned above I'm starting to weld the joints that are less visible when the table is upright. Here's some joints that I've done tonight.











    As far as observations regarding the performance of the 250EX, all I can say is FLAWLESS! This machine is the definition of what perfect arc starts and a smooth arc should be. I made a boo-boo or two (like when you bump the pedal, and the torch ain't quite where you want it yet) and found that the hi-freq. will throw an arc about 2 inches, kinda neat! Point being, the hi-freq. gets the arc going effortlessly, and stops precisely when the arc is going, like it's supposed to, EVERY TIME, without fail. I love this machine!! As far as tungsten goes, I've found out that I prefer 2% lanthanated over everything else, and the only thing I haven't gotten my hands on yet are some US-made (sylvania)2% thoriated that I've heard is better than the others out there, or the 4% thoriated that Diamond Ground offers. But there is definitely a difference between 1.5% anth and 2% lanth. The 1.5% did NOT even come close in performance to the 2%. Luckily, it was a free sample, so I'm not stuck with a 10 pak to burn through. NONE of the LWS around here stocks 2% Lanth, so I have to order it. I'm actually thinking about buying a pile of it and selling it locally.
    "It's not magic it's experimental, kind of like washing your hands after pooping used to be." -House

    Everlast PowerTig 250EX-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerCool W300-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerTig 185 Micro-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerPlasma 70-arrived 1-26-2012
    ESAB MigMaster 250-borrowed
    HyperTherm 151 AKA "The Light Sabre"
    Linde UCC-305-964 lb. of old time water cooled TIG love-SOLD-Bad MOJO
    Purox OXY/ACETYLENE

  5. #5

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    Hooda,

    Let us know where and pricing on the Rage. A lot of people (including me) are watching them, waiting for a good price. I don't think there will be any questions on how you like it. Seems all that have them love them. It will save a ton of time with square clean cuts. My 14" abrasive just ticks me all more and more. I just use the horizontal bandsaw when I can, but takes time too. But waiting on a the bigger project to help justify the purchase.

    Which Rage are you looking at?

    Oh, don't forget a link to the photobucket for your project.

    FYI: I used the Diamond Ground 2% lanthanated electrodes on my 250EX on some aluminum yesterday. Free samples as well. They worked well, 2% is good, the tip will not ball or not much and really good control. I have 10 packs as well from someone on the internet that work great as well. I moved to the blue tips and so far not looking back. Avoiding thoriated for now anyway.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    Which Rage are you looking at?
    Hooda, in case you are looking at the Rage 3 (the compound miter version), you probably want to take a close, hands on look at it before buying. IMHO the slide mechanism flexes too much, so your cuts could easily be off by 1/16" (especially for miter cuts). I've also read that the infeed/outfeed tables are not even with the center table. Even so, I'm still seriously considering it to replace my 12" wood cutting miter saw.

    Cheers
    Mike
    Power Pro 256

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    Hooda,

    Let us know where and pricing on the Rage. A lot of people (including me) are watching them, waiting for a good price. I don't think there will be any questions on how you like it. Seems all that have them love them. It will save a ton of time with square clean cuts. My 14" abrasive just ticks me all more and more. I just use the horizontal bandsaw when I can, but takes time too. But waiting on a the bigger project to help justify the purchase.

    Which Rage are you looking at?

    Oh, don't forget a link to the photobucket for your project.

    FYI: I used the Diamond Ground 2% lanthanated electrodes on my 250EX on some aluminum yesterday. Free samples as well. They worked well, 2% is good, the tip will not ball or not much and really good control. I have 10 packs as well from someone on the internet that work great as well. I moved to the blue tips and so far not looking back. Avoiding thoriated for now anyway.
    Quote Originally Posted by posixPilot View Post
    Hooda, in case you are looking at the Rage 3 (the compound miter version), you probably want to take a close, hands on look at it before buying. IMHO the slide mechanism flexes too much, so your cuts could easily be off by 1/16" (especially for miter cuts). I've also read that the infeed/outfeed tables are not even with the center table. Even so, I'm still seriously considering it to replace my 12" wood cutting miter saw.

    Cheers
    Mike
    The Rage seems to be the Rage (pun FULLY intended) these days. I'm looking at the cheapest model, which I saw come up on Amazon as a REFURB unit only one time for $275.00, But the same unit at the LWS was $332.00. Then I heard that the LWS has 3 in for returns that I may get a good deal on. HUH? That has me truly concerned, as they are a LOCAL seller, so 3 units coming back is a big percentage of their sales. I'm going to get to the bottom of why customers are returning them in the first place, price be dmned, if it's because of cut quality, then the deal is OFF. I was aiming at the cheapest unit not just to save $100.00, but also because of what you mentioned, Mike. The $100.00 more for a slide mechanism with excessive flex would be a deal breaker for me, because then it's just another piece of equipment that's a "compromise" and I'm fighting with to get where I want. Worst comes to worst, I'll go for the Big Milwaukee and fork out the extra $200.00. Well worth it, even if it only does simple miters, if I get PERFECT cuts. I noticed this link http://www.buyweld.com/fury2.html for $178.00 it seems too good to be true, but if you read the description, it comes with a 36 tooth blade, and the steel cutting blades offered (for $96.00 more) start at 66 teeth. I'm guessing it comes with this blade http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-FURY...326971&sr=1-15. But it does not specify.

    As far as tungsten, I ordered 3/32, 2% lanth off ebay too, and to my pleasant surprise, it was from diamond ground products, even though the listing didn't specify. Blue tip seems to be the shizz. And I'm switching back and forth between the lanth and thoriated (I just sharpen 10-15 at a time and use them interchangably) but the more I use the blue, the more I look at this as an exercise to get rid of my thoriated tungsten and replace it with 2% Lanth altogether. I'll save a few thoriated just in case I run into trouble that nothing will resolve. To get into the inside corners, I pull the electrode out a good distance, and the arc still seems to "find" the tip right from the get-go. I call that pretty good control.
    "It's not magic it's experimental, kind of like washing your hands after pooping used to be." -House

    Everlast PowerTig 250EX-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerCool W300-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerTig 185 Micro-arrived 1-26-2012
    Everlast PowerPlasma 70-arrived 1-26-2012
    ESAB MigMaster 250-borrowed
    HyperTherm 151 AKA "The Light Sabre"
    Linde UCC-305-964 lb. of old time water cooled TIG love-SOLD-Bad MOJO
    Purox OXY/ACETYLENE

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by hooda View Post

    As far as tungsten, I ordered 3/32, 2% lanth off ebay too, and to my pleasant surprise, it was from diamond ground products, even though the listing didn't specify. Blue tip seems to be the shizz. And I'm switching back and forth between the lanth and thoriated (I just sharpen 10-15 at a time and use them interchangably) but the more I use the blue, the more I look at this as an exercise to get rid of my thoriated tungsten and replace it with 2% Lanth altogether. I'll save a few thoriated just in case I run into trouble that nothing will resolve. To get into the inside corners, I pull the electrode out a good distance, and the arc still seems to "find" the tip right from the get-go. I call that pretty good control.
    Yea, 2% lanth, for me is a lit better thant 2% thoriated. But you can find the latter local. I have a couple packs left I will guy a buddy north of me when I see him next. Was keeping them for spare and realized I have plenty of the lanth and will just keep them stocked up.
    They last a bit longer for me as well. And my tip do not telling ball up on them.

    On the saw. I know I have heard about cheap made, but that is something people with a welder should fear (unless it is made of plastic hahaha). $325 was best I found last check. I want to put my hands on one local first. If you get one let me know what you think and well it cuts, but there are some good reviews.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
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    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by everlastsupport View Post
    On the saw. I know I have heard about cheap made, but that is something people with a welder should fear (unless it is made of plastic hahaha). $325 was best I found last check. I want to put my hands on one local first. If you get one let me know what you think and well it cuts, but there are some good reviews.
    My local Lowes has both the 10" Rage3 and the 14" Rage2". I think the $249 they want for the Rage3 is one of the best prices I've seen around. I'm not that deterred by the slide mechanism, as I'm planning to use it mostly for wood cuts. I will be replacing a 12" Delta, but the slide will give me much more capacity than the fixed throat Delta.

    Cheers
    Mike
    Power Pro 256

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by posixPilot View Post
    My local Lowes has both the 10" Rage3 and the 14" Rage2". I think the $249 they want for the Rage3 is one of the best prices I've seen around. I'm not that deterred by the slide mechanism, as I'm planning to use it mostly for wood cuts. I will be replacing a 12" Delta, but the slide will give me much more capacity than the fixed throat Delta.

    Cheers
    Mike
    WOW. We have lowes here and I never shop there, they are a little out of the way. Will plan a trip there, probably tomorrow. Had no idea. I saw Craftsman had some clone version way back and ACE claim they have them, but do not here.

    Lowes will let me bring it back probably if I didn't like it. I want compound miter for sure. If they have one I will post what I saw/bought.
    Mike R.
    Email: admineverlast@everlastwelders.com
    www.everlastgenerators.com
    www.everlastwelders.com
    877-755-9353 x203
    M-F 12 - 7PM PST
    FYI: PP50, PP80, IMIG-200, IMIG-250P, 210EXT and 255EXT.

  11. #11

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    While the Rage or similar may work, they are nowhere near as rigid as a real cold saw.

    If you are trying to make a living with tools, where your time is money, you will never be ahead by buying tools that are not made to save time.

    I'm not saying the Rage saws aren't nice for a hobbyist or casual user, but if you are serious about making this your livelihood and getting into the metalworking business, you really should be looking at a more industrial level cold saw. WAY more money, but also WAY more saw.

    I know you mentioned that you wanted to tig the first one, but really, the GTAW process isn't the right fit for this type of work. Basically no benefits in this case, other than possibly spatter removal (nothing a little anti-spatter wouldn't eliminate). GMAW all the way for this.

    Welding some stop blocks to your table for setup would allow you to ditch most of the clamps and save 50% or more on the setup time as well.

    First one down, time to start cranking them out :-)
    Everlast 200DX
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  12. #12

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    Hooda
    If you get over to the twin cities, let me know. I am just in Lino Lakes.
    I have this saw (http://www.northerntool.com/shop/too...6857_200326857) from Northern Tool and you can stop by and try it out. If I remember right I paid $209 plus tax including the 72 tooth blade, using a $50 off $250 purchase card. (I think I have a card here you could have)
    Consistency is a good thing....unless you're consistently an idiot.

    Miller Matic 185
    Thermal Dynamics Pak Master 38xl
    Everlast 250EX

  13. #13

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    I agree with sportbike you will need a good cold saw. Jet and Grizzly seem to have some nice cold cut saw's if I had more work/need I would invest in one myself. I have looked at the Evolutions and am seriously thinking about one.

    If you going to build the same thing's over and over I would look into strong hand's welding table. That would allow you to set up fixtures/jigs to allow you to speed up the process considerably. Not to mention the accuracy that you would have with a nice fixture. Since your a machinist I'd bet you could make some nice fixture's for the strong hand table. Building a plasma table is not easy!!!! I do not have a welding table, and would never attempt another plasma table build without a welding table again! I will probably pick me up a sheet of 1/4" or 3/8" this week for a table. Some of those 3 axis stronghand clamps would save you a ton of time also!

    I understand all this stuff is expensive! In your case since your building plasma tables so accuracy is a must. The faster and better you can build them the more you can build, and the more money you can make. It get's easier the more you build something, but you need to be set up to replicate the process exactly the same.

    We all have to start somewhere! Kudos to you jumping in there!
    Lincoln Eagle Engine Drive
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  14. #14

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    you got a welder make one . I am making my own cold saw that way i can make it with adjustable speeds for differentClick image for larger version. 

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  15. #15
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    Default

    Hey hooda - good to hear an update.

    I have a bit of time (and interest) lately in getting the ol' craftman metal cutting bandsaw dialed in and figured out. If I make any headway, I'll let you know. I know you've got one just like it, so if it's just a simple matter of setting it up properly to get it to make square cuts, that'd be pretty sweet.

    Here are my latest thoughts (completely untested) - I have seen no "good" source as to how to tune the gap between the blade guides. The owner's manual instructions in this regard make no sense to me. I'm pretty sure I have mine set up somewhat "sloppy" - meaning the blade rests kind of angled in between the guides. So, one guide bears the tension of the blade high up, and the other bears the blade tension down low. So as the blade deflects from varying cutting force, it bends the blade sideways somewhat, which makes the blade wander. My thoughts are if the guides were tighter, it would keep the blade more fixed with a range of tension. It seems like a pretty difficult parameter to adjust on this bandsaw though, and I can't think of any easy way to improve that. Maybe it's something where once it's adjusted right, it won't need to be readjusted again though. (At least if you keep the same thickness blade... I'm using .025" since they're commonly available.)

    Those are just my preliminary thoughts. And I know I've set my guides up so tight before, that little metal fragments on the side of the blade practically extruded going through the guides. Not a good situation, it was definitely *too* tight. Anyhow, I'll let you know if I make any headway on it. I've tried some cutting in it recently without trying very hard to make the cuts square, with pretty good results. So now I'm thinking maybe using a high feed pressure helped. I don't know.

    PS - on the TIG welds, one tip - I think if you ran more current, with a faster travel speed (or even using pulsing) you could input less heat and oxidize the metal less. That may be a moot point for your project (because it's going to get paint over it any way) but if there are any stainless steel parts it will help the way the welds on those look. Try running more amps and a faster travel speed, or using some pulse perhaps (either with machine or manually with the pedal.) Cheers
    Last edited by jakeru; 05-08-2012 at 04:36 AM.
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  16. #16

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    http://home.vicnet.net.au/~pwguild/i-bndsaw.htm . check this out band saws can be a pain to get to cut straight, my friend had aproblem cutting with his bandsaw ened up the upper and lower wheels was not inline everything he cut was in a slant from top to bottom
    Last edited by Rodsmachineshop; 05-08-2012 at 04:42 AM.
    EVERLAST 250 EX , EVERLAST I-MIG 205 , EVERLAST spool gun NOW have 2 EVERLAST POWER PLASMA 50 plasma cutter's , LINCOLN 175HD MIG WELDER , VICTOR TORCH SET and many more tools to many to list

  17. #17
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    Hey rodsmachine - thanks for the link but, not really applicable. It's a horizontal saw. The blade rollers are also really old style, they are actually oil lubricated solid rollers, not ball bearings like most newer saws. They have these felt "wipers" on the top which have the job of retaining a bit of oil to keep things lubricated. When I first got my saw, one of hte "wipers" was missing and it didn't work at all. Any oil I put in it drained right out and the blade guide was running hot and dry. I ended up making my own wiper out of some felt stock I think I found from an old dremel polishing wheel.

    Anyway hooda has the exact same saw so if I can figure it out, I might be able to help him. I think I can set it up so it cuts straight on a certain test cut piece, but then when I use it to cut a different piece, it's not straight. So the problem is, it's not consistent. My theory (that is unproven at this point) is a difference in feed pressure causes the blade to rock in the roller guides either more or less, and causes the inconsistency in cut angle. I believe hooda has encountered the same issue with his.

    Edit - I found some pics - this should show the roller setup on this bandsaw. This pic was before I made the missing felt wiper.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by jakeru; 05-08-2012 at 05:15 AM.
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  18. #18

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    you can still buy parts for these old band saws since most old craftsman machinery tools was made my atlas , whats the model number
    EVERLAST 250 EX , EVERLAST I-MIG 205 , EVERLAST spool gun NOW have 2 EVERLAST POWER PLASMA 50 plasma cutter's , LINCOLN 175HD MIG WELDER , VICTOR TORCH SET and many more tools to many to list

  19. #19
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    How right you are! I have bought some parts from clausing service, and cured many of the problems with this unit. (The biggest one was a worn out driven wheel bushing.) The problem I had before doing that was keeping the blade to stay on the wheels. I don't think hooda has been having that problem. But anyway, that's all fixed now. It's just getting the unit dialed in to cut straight *reliably* that I haven't figured out.

    One thing I have not tried, is a .020" blade which the machine is actually designed for. I have been trying .025" wide blades, because they are more commonly available (and less expensive for a wide variety of different blades), so I was thinking if I can make it work on an .025", it'd be pretty sweet.

    Mine is a 101.22923. I've located an owner's manual that's pretty close (actually I have some others on variations on this saw as well.) Hooda's is pretty much the same but, his has an on/off switch "upgrade" that mine lacks, but I plan to add to mine soon. (I already have the switch, just need to install after figuring out where precisely to drill the hole for it to go.)

    I found a pic of my homemade wiper. Works like a charm! Practically never need to add any oil now.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    And an overall pic of the bandsaw:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by jakeru; 05-08-2012 at 05:30 AM.
    '13 Everlast 255EXT
    '07 Everlast Super200P

  20. #20

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    I was surprised craftsman still had part for my 1936 craftsman metal lathe i restored
    EVERLAST 250 EX , EVERLAST I-MIG 205 , EVERLAST spool gun NOW have 2 EVERLAST POWER PLASMA 50 plasma cutter's , LINCOLN 175HD MIG WELDER , VICTOR TORCH SET and many more tools to many to list

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