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Thread: Winter Contest Project 1 from MuttonHawg. Category: Custom welded Shop tools

  1. #1

    Default Winter Contest Project 1 from MuttonHawg. Category: Custom welded Shop tools

    My radial arm saw is an old Craftsman that I bought at a yard sale, probably late 70's or early 80's vintage. The retractable casters on the base are a crappy design (in my opinion) were beat up and barely functional before I got it, and that was 7 years ago. It's always a chore trying to move the saw around the garage because the stand is so flexy, the caster design sucks, and the wheels themselves are horrible, so it's generally not convenient to use.

    So I've decided to remove the casters and put the whole saw/stand assembly on a trolley base of my own design made from 1.5"x1.5"x1/8" steel angle, with corner braces made from 1"x1/8" flat stock, with casters from HF (pivoting casters on the front corners, stationary casters on the rear). The corner braces add a bit of strength, as well as capture the legs of the saw stand. I used my PowerArc 140ST and most of the work was done with Lincoln 7018 rod, with a few places where I used 6011 as an experiment (for instance, welding the casters on - that was NOT a graceful operation)

    This was my first welding project. Ever. I made a ton of mistakes, and learned a ton. I did a little practicing on the scrap pieces, but welding real joints is quite a bit different from running stringer beads on 1/4" steel. It doesn't look nearly as nice as I'd like, but it seems relatively strong and stable, and the next thing I make will be cleaner and better.

    I forgot to account for welding heat metal shrinkage when I squared the whole thing up, tacked, and welded it. It probably would've been less of an issue if it was a complete square (rather than the open front), so the heat pulled the front ends together. Because the span is so long, there's still a bit of flex to it, so once I put the saw stand on it, the saw legs should hold the ends apart a bit and still fit OK.

    I also forgot (once) about how long it takes for metal to cool off after welding, and that hot metal looks an AWFUL lot like cool metal. Oops

    My fit-up could be a bit better, especially as I'm not very good yet at filling in gaps between 2 pieces.

    Anyway, here's some photos of the completed project, before painting. I'll probably deal with pulling the casters of the saw stand and put it on this new trolley sometime this weekend. I purposely tried to avoid the photos of the worst welds - I'll just keep those for myself.

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    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  2. #2

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    Put the saw on the trolley today, which is a bit of a chore without a helper! I left the little rubber feet on the saw as it sits on the trolley, assuming that'll reduce the amount of the vibration and buzzing when using the saw, but it does add about 1" to the height of the table. I didn't plan ahead far enough so that I could bolt the saw legs to the trolley (the casters on the bottom of the trolley prevent me from running a bolt all the way through the saw legs and new base), so perhaps a little redesign is in my future, or maybe I'll just remove the rubber feet to drop it back down another inch. That's why I'm holding off on full cleanup and painting - to see how well this design ends up working for me, and if it's stable enough, etc.

    The saw is infinitely easier to roll around the garage now, and as an added plus, it fits about 3" closer to the wall so it takes up a little less space in the garage. The open front will let me easily store stuff underneath the saw as well.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
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    Disneyland
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    2,661

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    Looks nice. I bought those same retractable casters for mine. What a joke those turned out to be. Just too much flex in the legs and such. I copied a friend's setup where he took the legs off and bolted the saw to a roller cab type tool box. I had a super heavy duty cart that I used for mine. Having storage under it is nice.

    One thing someone just told me about that might apply to you as well. It seems there is some giant recall on craftsman radial saws, so if you have one that falls in that group, you can get a new guard, and table kit. I just ordered my kit, so I can't say for sure what comes in it.

    http://www.radialarmsawrecall.com/
    Long arc, short arc, heliarc and in-the-dark!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Whine Country, California
    Posts
    442

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    That's a great first project... Simple, effective, and necessary! You'll smile every time you wheel the saw out now, because of how easily it rolls. Don't worry about poor fit up, less than perfect welds, and grabbing hot welded metal, as we have ALL done those things at least once or twice. It's part of learning! As you get more experience, you'll automatically think ahead when building metal projects, especially if you made a certain mistake on a past project that took a long time to correct (ask me how I know, haha).

    My Dad has a table saw that he bought brand new from Sears in the 80's, and about 10 years ago someone gave me a matching radial arm saw for free ( just like the one you bought). I ended up getting rid of it as it had a ton of problems (nothing is ever "free"!), but I do remember the base being flimsy, the legs flexing, and the entire unit being a total PAIN to roll around!

    Glad to see that you started using your new welder! You'll have a blast working on projects with it. Keep the projects simple and you'll pick up the basics of welding and fit up in no time Good job!
    Andy
    New Everlast PowerTig 250EX that is begging for me to come up with a few welding projects so it can stretch it's legs. Did someone say aluminum???

    MISC. TOOLS:
    Atlas 618 lathe
    Milwaukee Porta Band with custom made stand
    Dewalt 4-1/2" angle grinder
    Dewalt 14" chop saw

    Strong Hand Nomad portable table
    Juki sewing machine I've had for years (yes I know sewing is for girls)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Cambridge, ON. CA
    Posts
    111

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    Good job on the trolley. For equipment like this those welds will hold no problem. They don't look as bad as you say they do and for a first time it's not a fail. I like the idea of storage underneath the saw. That's just plain smart.

    Noticed you had to take the flat stock off to fit the table. That must have done wonders for your back.
    PowerArc 140ST
    Victor VPT-100FC

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tanh View Post
    Noticed you had to take the flat stock off to fit the table. That must have done wonders for your back.
    Good catch I'd measured correctly to allow a big enough triangle for the size of the legs, but I didn't look closely at the way the legs themselves were made. The legs are just sheet metal folded along their length, with tabs at the bottom that fold in and overlap each other for the foot to screw into. The folded-over tabs extend beyond the triangle of the legs, and I decided that I'd rather cut that flat piece out of the trolley than tip the saw back and 'massage' all 4 legs with the cut-off wheel.

    I planned ahead for a number of things, but the nuances of working in metal - and having neither all the tools I'd like, nor the mastery of techniques, made for a couple oversights during this little project. But that's how I gain that mastery, right?

    It's a pretty flexy structure, but once the saw is resting on top it's stable enough. Closing off the front, using box tubing instead of angle iron, and/or making a full underpan for storage would've made it MUCH more sturdy, but I planned on another rolling cart sliding underneath. Perhaps I'll eventually redo the entire thing, including replacing the legs, with square or rectangular tubing. That would allow me to get even better fitment up against the wall, support the wider 48" table I have on there now, and have a sturdier base all at once. For now, though - this does the trick!
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rambozo View Post
    Looks nice. I bought those same retractable casters for mine. What a joke those turned out to be. Just too much flex in the legs and such. I copied a friend's setup where he took the legs off and bolted the saw to a roller cab type tool box. I had a super heavy duty cart that I used for mine. Having storage under it is nice.

    One thing someone just told me about that might apply to you as well. It seems there is some giant recall on craftsman radial saws, so if you have one that falls in that group, you can get a new guard, and table kit. I just ordered my kit, so I can't say for sure what comes in it.

    http://www.radialarmsawrecall.com/
    Wow - I never knew! My saw is indeed included, and I just ordered the retrofit kit. How do you know these things, Rambozo?
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
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    Litchfield Park, AZ
    Posts
    370

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    Looks like a great project and clean look for the saw.

    I would not worry about the mistakes because that is how we all learn. Every time I build something I think back and think of all the things that could have been improved.
    Miller 252
    PowerTig 250 EXT
    Evolution Rage 2
    48X6 inch Belt Sander w/ 9 inch Disk Sander
    ...

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by DVA View Post
    Looks like a great project and clean look for the saw.

    I would not worry about the mistakes because that is how we all learn. Every time I build something I think back and think of all the things that could have been improved.
    Thanks for the kind words. I agree whole-heartedly with your point about hindsight making me realize what I should've/could've done to make it a little better. But on the upside, the closer to 'mastery' I get in something, the 'better ways' get more and more subtle. Still makes me want to practice more, though, to be able to make really clean stick welds before I go on to something like TIG or MIG.
    Everlast PowerArc 140ST

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