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Home-made table saw

I was going to post this when my table saw is completely finished, but it seems like it’s going to take a while, still (the usual story). So here it is.

As the title says, I made a table saw. I bought a 3kW electric motor from a junk yard for 50 euros (I looked around and this one was the cheapest. I thought it was expensive, but these junk yard people seem to be price-conscious). This was to drive my saw, of course.

I wanted to make the saw belt-driven. There’s an axle on top of the motor which has opposite screw threads on each end (Machining these cost me 40 euros! The 40cm long and 30mm thick axle steel bar cost 17 euros.), so I can put some other tool to the other end. The motor is driving the axle with a belt and is hanging from axle by the belt so there’s always tension on the belt. The motor is 700rpm, so I needed a big belt wheel on the axle of the motor. Those cost sky-high new, so I ended up making both belt wheels myself of thick veneer. I sawed pretty rough circle shapes of the veneer first. I attached pairs of these circle shapes together with bolts and nuts. To the other piece I bored diagonal holes on equally spaced spots from the surface of the wheel to the centre hole and put bolts through the holes and nuts on the centre hole side. I was thus able to tighten the wheel against the axle. See the pictures below, the explanation is fuzzy.

Then I attached the axle by the bearings (about 7-8 euros each) to a plank and clamped an electric drill with a piece of water hose and water hose clamps to the other end of the axle. I attached the drill to the plank with some nails (which were hammered to the plank and bent around the drill) and Jesus tape (btw it’s called Jesus tape, because it can do miracles). I was now able to spin the axle and turn the veneer wheels I had attached to the axle with chisels. Oh yeah, and I also put those veneer wheels to each end of the axle, so that I could clamp tools against them with big M30 nuts. So I also turned those side surfaces as even as I could. I couldn’t get those surfaces perfect because veneer is a hard but also a bit springy and I had trouble holding the chisel still while turning. I will put some fiberglass cement on those surfaces later and get them perfect (I think fiberglass cement is easier to machine but hard enough to stand the pressure of the clamped tools). Now I had the axle ready with the belt wheel, tool holders and bearings on it.

Then I made the belt wheel to the motor with a similar technique, but instead of using a drill to spin the wheel I put the wheel on the motor’s axle and powered the motor. Then I made the table. The structure is basically made of 5x15cm planks. I had found a nice table top from a kinder garden repairs site so I hinged that on the table so that it could be lifted nicely. The tool axle is screwed to a bed which is hinged from the other end to the table and can be lifted and lowered with a threaded bar from the other end. The motor is lying on a bed, similarly hinged to the table from the other end and is hanging by the belt from the axle above. I put a “side table” on the other side of the table, under the other end of the tool axle.

Things still to do:

-Switch! Heh heh! :)

-Blade guards! Muhahaah!! :D This is one dangerous machine!

-All kinds of guides. At the moment I’ve just clamped temporary guides to the table when I’ve had to do something. It’s pretty clumsy.

-At the moment the table has just one threaded bar to lift and lower the saw blade, but it doesn’t hold it down. When just sawing, this is not a problem because the motor is very heavy and holds the blade axle down effectively. But I noticed that I need two more bars to hold the tool axle still if I put a highly eccentric tool on the axle (yes, I have done that – see below – and I am not crazy… at least I think so).

The saw:
img_0518-500.jpg You can see the side table and the other end of the tool axle here. The end of the tool axle is covered with a temporary guard(paint can).

The insides:
img_0505-500.jpg The table top is lifted. You can see the axle and the bed on which the axle is lying.

The Blade lifting mechanism:
img_0519-500.jpg Here’s the threaded bar which lifts the tool axle bed. I’m going to put a handle for easy spinning on that bar some day and also two more clamping bars in those holes you can see there… some day.

A closer look on the insides:
img_0511-500.jpg At each end there are the tool holders. You can clamp tools against those holders with nuts. Next to them are the bearings. In the middle is the belt wheel. The motor is hanging by the belt from that.

The motor’s belt wheel:
img_0516-500.jpg Ok, here’s some damage. The blade got stuck one time and a bolt holding the wheel on the axle was bent. But… It held. And at least if the system breaks down some day, it’s probably this wheel that’s going to come loose. Better than the saw blade, right? :)

DIY tool:
img_0515-500.jpg Here comes THE dangerous part :) I needed a tool to cut a couple of hundred decorational bevellings. So I made the tool myself. It’s made of 5mm thick iron plate and the parts are shaped with an angle grinder. Of course it became highly eccentric and made the tool axle bed and the table itself shake terribly. At this point I was glad that I made a heavy table. A lighter table would have become a traveller. I tried to tie down the tool axle bed with a rope but it wore off (it was thick rope with multiple turns). I finally hammered the bed down with nails. It was pretty scary device though, I tell you. The fact that I had no switch made it even more exciting. The shaking loosed the nut holding tool in place and I had to tighten it time to time. The problem was that the cable was plugged on the other side of the presumptional trajectory of the loosened tool parts… I put a plywood sheet on the way of the trajectory and made my way to the cable in the protection of that every time I heard scary noises coming of the saw.

The finished product:
img_0523-500.jpg In the end it paid off. Making of the tool, tuning the system and making the bevellings took about a day and a half, but still it was a lot easier than making all those bevellings by hand.

And painted:

img_1198-500.jpg Quite nice.

Was it worth it? I don’t know yet, because the saw is not ready yet :) I have big plans for the saw. I’m going to make lots of wonderful things with it. It took about 3 weekends to make the saw to this point and a lot of planning and hunting down the parts (the motor, mainly). The parts came to cost about 400 euros, so the saw was not cheap. But on the other hand I’m fantasizing that when I’ll present people all the wonderful things I will make with it some day, it’ll raise some eyebrows when I’ll tell them that I also made the tool to make them. How do you put a price on status?

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