Conversion of a Radial Arm Saw into a Panel Saw


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Old 09-05-05, 10:26 PM
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Conversion of a Radial Arm Saw into a Panel Saw

I recently inherited a 30 year old Sears radial arm saw and was successful in restoring it back to health. By taking off the end stop and removing all cable clamps, I can pull the saw and bearing assembly off the radial arm track.

Now you have this heavy contraption in your hands.

I built a 10 ft track similar to the radial arm saw design. So far I have placed my 10 ft track upside down on the work bench and slid the saw and bearing assembly on it. After tightening up the bearings to a reasonable tightness, the saw moves quite easily the entire 10 ft distance. Using a laser pointer it appears the saw and bearing assembly track quite well. Due to the track design, there should not be any twist issues.

I guess the next step is to flip the 10 ft track around and build the rest of the panel saw structure. The track will be stationary and cut nothing more that say, 1 inch thick panels. In addition, the saw will only make vertical cuts. I selected a 10 ft track so that I can raise the saw above 8 ft then slide an 8 ft sheet of plywood in to be cut.

So what do you think?
 
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Old 09-06-05, 05:08 AM
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drburnish,

Souns like a good project.

When you say vertical I assume the saw will move in an up and down motion.
If so you will need to have a cable and a counterweight to reduce the weight of the saw.
 
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Old 09-06-05, 08:49 AM
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Greg

Yes vertical. Good point about the counter weight.

My major concern from the beginning is the saw on / off switch and grabbing the saw by the handle which will be below the track. Iím trying to figure out a way to transfer saw control above the track. The simplest way would be to add a bridge above the track and add a redundant switch.
 
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Old 09-06-05, 10:22 AM
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This is an interesting project but your design has to give safety the primary consideration.

You might find that as you start getting into it, a design based on a simple circular saw could be simpler.
You are right, the handle and on off switch will not be accessible because it will be behind the rail.
I would suggest that you use "panel saw" as a search term and you may come up with some ideas.

As a matter of safety the counterweight and pulley system must be effective and reliable.
The saw should have zero weight.

If you had a way of taking a pic and posting it somewhere we could see what you are talking about.
 
 

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