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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Default Crosscut Miter Fences II (Digital)

Yesterday was a rainy day here, so I had a little time to kill.

Remember back when I was upgrading the miter fences on my Rockwell shop saw? When I was building crosscut fences and incorporating aluminum extrusions in my fences? When I said I wanted to build something that was re-usable on my new saw?

I was bummed when the new saw arrived and the top of the t-slots in the slding table where 15mm... Not 3/4" (19.5mm) wide. And the right side of the table is smooth without any miter slots. I thought, I did all that work and had plans... Well, I really wanted to use what I had. I was thinking I spent all that time thinking I was using time well spent. (Ouch!)

Review:
I had a Craftsman Digital Miter fence that I had a 15" and 4' 10/20 extrusion and a 3' 20/40 extrusion. (I really always liked that miter gauge.) The second fence was a Delta HD Precision Miter fence, that is like an Osborne E3 on steroids. For that I had the basic stock Osborne type extrusion and a 4 foot HD 15/30 extrusion. That extrusion is precision/medical... thick walled... salvage... held up suspended medical imaging equipment.

(The Morphism)
Okay. The slots in my sliding table are 2 t-slots. The bottom of the t-slot is 32mm x 10mm. (1-1/4 by 3/8) The top of the t-slot is 15.5mm x 8mm. (Less than 5/8" wide by a little over 1/4" deep.) I created a custom t-slot miter bar...

This project is not for the unskilled. Don't try this at home... if you are not confident with your skills with metal working, electronics and electronic controls... just run away.

I disassembled my Craftsman Digital Miter Gauge to remove the miter bar. Unfortunately, the e-clip locking the pivot pin for the head to the miter bar is in the head, under the electronics control board and the electronic controls. Since the original miter bar was 3/4" x 3/8", I ground and milled it down to 15mm wide and deburred the edges. Then I assembled it back together.

For the bottom of the miter bar, I cut a piece of 1-1/4" x 1/4 stock, the same length as the miter bar. I tacked on a piece of 1/8" welding rod along the length of each side, then braised on each outside-side of that to buildup a ledge. What I created was a piece 1-1/4 wide, 3/8" thick... with a slot in the center 15mm wide and 1/8" deep. Someone could create the same by milling that slot in 1-1/4"x3/8" stock. I adjusted the top of that, so when the bottom bar is locked in and the top bar is one, that the top of that miter bar is level with the table. In the slot, I drilled and tapped for a 10mm set screw in each end of that bar, to lock it in the slot. In the original miter bar adjustment screws, I drill them out to 4mm and drilled and tapped corresponding screw holes in the bottom bar to assemble the t-slot pieces together.

Pictures attached.

I'll make an additional lock for it to help support from the other t-slot to the fence. Now to do the same conversion for my Delta Miter Gauge based crosscut fence... (Later)
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"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."

Last edited by MAFoElffen; 06-18-2013 at 09:07 AM.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 11:18 AM
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Mike, I'll keep this in mind in case I purchase the twin brother of your saw, if I win the lottery. In the meantime, I'm curious how you got your hands on those extrusions. I've seen them in catalogs but they are usually close to well over what I can justify price-wise. I've never come across any in a used or salvage situation.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cherryville Chuck View Post
Mike, I'll keep this in mind in case I purchase the twin brother of your saw, if I win the lottery. In the meantime, I'm curious how you got your hands on those extrusions. I've seen them in catalogs but they are usually close to well over what I can justify price-wise. I've never come across any in a used or salvage situation.
Most of the extrusions I have, I got on eBay. 80/20 has an ebay store... and in that store they have some used or "second" items with appearance blemishes. Other items were end cuts, where someone had a stick cut down... and had leftovers. That brought my costs way down.

The other HD 15/30 pieces I got from a friend that does commercial repo's. Somehow he got ahold of all the extrusions that were suspending a medical imaging system... They are true and very heavy construction. The slots in those are 5/16" instead of 1/4". I'm sure if I went out to buy that, they would have been like gold.

The intent of sharing these is not to show off... That's just not me. But to show and inspire that your can convert precision miter gauges for use on saws that have t-slot miter slots and to 5/8 x 1/4 miter slots (like Chris Curl). For example, next I'm going to "make" a smaller miter bar for my Osborne type gauge where the top is just a little less than 5/8" wide by 1/4" high... That would show people that it is possible to convert that miter gauge to their saws, if their saws have miter slots that are not 3/4" x 3/8"... You and I have discussed some of this with other users, over the same challenges.

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."

Last edited by MAFoElffen; 06-18-2013 at 01:27 PM.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 03:45 PM
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Just giving you a friendly poke. Most of us would love to have the problem of fitting a gauge to that saw. I wouldn't have a problem doing it, I have a milling machine. If I didn't, I would probably switch the bar out for hardwood or plastic so I could mill it on the router table. I've hard of guys using routers to mill aluminum but I'm not willing to do that with one of my routers. According to what I read I gather you laminated the different widths and thicknesses together?

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 05:33 PM Thread Starter
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According to what I read I gather you laminated the different widths and thicknesses together?
Yes, I did. I probably could have made a smaller bar for that one, but on the digital miter bar there where some eccentricities in how the electronic controls sensed how the bar was turned in relation to the head... My getting the bar down for that involved an angle grinder, files, a straight edge, a square, a caliper and lots of patience.

The bottom was a little bit challenging. I couldn't thin the bar down to 1/4" because of those controls. The bottom plate (whether 3/8" or 1/4" thick), when you tighten up the set screws (not an issue if not on a sliding table) it raise that bar to the top of the bottom T. That put the top of the miter bar at 1/8" above the table.

So I came up with 1/4" bar and adding a 1/8" land to each side so that when the plate raised, it left the top of the miter bar level with the table.

After doing all that the hard way... Then I remebered that I had an old 6" cross-slide vide and some end mills that I probably could have used in my drill press. Oh well. When I checked the fit of that vise in this drill press, it would have had to been a jury rigged affair anyways.

For the Delta, It's going to be a lot easier to make a miter bar for it. I have some 5/8" by 1/4" stock... left over from broken HF squeeze clamps (they tend to not last long!!!)... That I only have to take less than 1/16" off to make fit. So then I'll just have 4 holes to drill and tap for the gauge and fixtures to mount to. Since it will be only 1/4" thick, I can use a bottom bar that won't need anything done to it to make the miter bar ride at the right height. Just 2 set screw holes and a couple clearance holes for screw heads (or countersinks in the miter bar).

***Sidenote- That uni-t-fence arrived today. It should work for you. To work for me, I just need to doing a few mod's (milling off the bottom t-slots) to make work for me.

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-18-2013, 10:23 PM
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I'm still thinking about that fence. Sure would make some jobs a lot easier.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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I'm still thinking about that fence. Sure would make some jobs a lot easier.
Same for me. We have similar rip fences. I have all these jigs made over the years that I don't won't to have to remake. The UHDP face on it... countersunk screws that go into regular nuts. The slot underneath it takes those regular nuts. Makes things simpler. The other t-slots are just standard t-slots, so all my jigs and hardware mate up well.

43" was exactly the length I had for the Euro extrusion that was on there. I could already see that I was working "around" the stock fence instead of truly adopting it. I think I'll be much more happier and productive with this one.

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 08:49 AM
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Here's the one I installed on old Rockwell that I keep for a second saw. Mule Cabinetmaker - Carpentry Tools for Carpenters that Need Precision & Reliability! It's the same basic extrusion as your new one I think. This saw is only set up for fairly small jobs though. But using it made me realize what I was missing on the unisaw. The Biesemeyer is no better than our fences. I'm starting to wonder why they haven't addressed this problem yet. We're into the 21st century and they're still thinking in 19th century engineering.

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 10:33 AM Thread Starter
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Just woke up and read your post. While reading it I had a revelation. My rip fence L-square (not really a T) uses posts and big t-slot nuts t mount that rip fence extrusion...

I have to make some narrower (thinner in thickness) t-slot nuts to make it work. If I make them somewhat "offset," the fence will mount without me having to mill off the bottom of the extrusion. It would still be close, as the posts are right there at the bottom edge of the slot openning. I still may have to take 1/16" off the bottom edge of the slot openning to make that work, but... that would be a lot less work than milling off the bottom of the fence extrusion and the UHDP face.

"Don't worry, I saw this work in a cartoon once."
"Usually learning skills and tooling involves a progression of logical steps."

Last edited by MAFoElffen; 06-19-2013 at 10:48 AM.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 06-19-2013, 10:51 AM
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I was thinking about that when you first mentioned having to mill the bottom of the extrusion off but I didn't think that the studs going through the clamp head would line up well enough with the t-track slot. Maybe you could mill the top side of the slot a little too?

Someone I consider a master woodworker once told me that a master woodworker is not someone who never makes mistakes. He is someone who is able to cover them up so that no one can tell.
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