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Thread: Tablesaw Overarm Guard w/DC

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
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    Sacramento, CA
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    1,367

    Tablesaw Overarm Guard w/DC

    Well at the risk of leaking too much about the new shop ... i already posted this on another forum and figured you folks wouldn't mind having a gander as well. For those sleuths who found my early progress shots, things are quite a bit different now. I'm at the point where I'm just starting to get things organized. I plan to do a full shop tour when I am completely out of the boxes I moved to this house with lo' those 10 months ago, but for now... i shamelessly cross post:

    Since I'm never one to remain predictable, I finally got around to taking pictures of something I made and talk about from time to time. This is my overhead blade guard that I use on my tablesaw. It has built in DC and it's "tunable" such that with the right counterweight, will softly raise as a piece of stock is fed into it. I'm still working out the weight part, but it's getting there

    It's made with some lexan and 1" aluminum angle - i had just picked up a set of taps and this project gave me an excuse to use 'em :P

    It's mounted to the ceiling with scraps of birch or birch ply and some spare bits of T-track I had laying around. This gives me some pretty good control over alignment - i can move the guard in 3 dimensions (front/back, left/right and up/down).

    The collection truly depends on the cut being made. A regular everyday rip cut with both sides of the blade being buried and only a rooster tail coming off the back, it does great. Catches nearly all of it. A skim-cut where yer only takin' off 1/16 and the blade's half exposed will still spew a good amount at you - I doubt anything realistic could stop it in those kinds of cuts.

    Well anyway .. here ya go

    (Oh, and pay NO attention to my crummy texturing job)

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here we just show the thing in all its glory. Pay no attention to my scooter - I'm in the process of building it a home in a new shed behind the garage (i have a 22' square slab back there which may turn into more garage one day).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Another view of the whole thing. The pile in the background is about half of what i need to organize. I have 14' of base cabinets and 8' of uppers that should house the majority of it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    This shows how i mounted to the ceiling. This lets me adjust for thin cuts as well as changes in position for when I mount the splitter (a project on my todo list).

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Just a shot from one side. The little hinged thingy gets pulled up when the DC's on and there's less than about 1/2" clearance - if it's raised any further, the suction goes away and gravity wins. Once I work out the right counter weighting, I think the DC will improve even more.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Yet another view. In the background you can see my latest gloat, too. The Jet 6x48 belt sander with 9" disc. On stand. On a $75 mobile base. I paid $150 total. Yeah. Gloat.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And a view from the other side. The mount is just a few pieces of BB ply, a few lock washers, some regular washers and a nut - they're very loosely held in place - basically finger tight. The lock washers are just slightly engaged enough to keep the whole thing from coming apart yet allow everything to pivot smoothly.

    There ya go! My shameless cross post has grown considerably thanks to the ability for me to insert bits of chatter between the pics. Thanks for reading!
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  2. #2
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    Nov 2006
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    Between Aledo and Fort Worth, TX
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    Nice job, Jason! I built mine too, only I used aluminum box tubing for the floating mechanism. That is a neat way to get some adjustability for placement. Mine is fixed on a 3/4" square steel tube that goes into a fitting at the ceiling. I can push my pick up head almost up to the ceiling to get it out of the way.
    Have you found that your unit is stabil enough? Mine wasn't, so I used some bracing, one front to rear, one side to side than I can anchor down with knobs from some t-track I bought. Makes the head at the saw blade very stabil. Click image for larger version. 

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    I still want to redesign mine. I want it to be able to track over my miter sled and my miter guage. It just takes time!! Jim.
    Coolmeadow Setters...
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  3. #3
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    Jan 2007
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    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the nice comments

    It wobbles pretty good, but i haven't had it really be a problem much. I am thinking of redoing my parallel mechanism in aluminum box tubing as well. I think that'll help it stiffen up nicely. If i were really trying, I could easily shove the thing into the blade (about 2" either direction when i have it centered).

    I saw how you'd stiffened yours up and thought it was pretty cool. I may add something similar myself one day. One other thought I'd had was a triangular gusset up at the mount to kind of give the whole vertical piece a tripod kinda effect. Though, truth be told, I can't say I'm too worried about the side-to-side movement as it's more for dust collection than it is for keeping my digits outta the blade. That's probably a very personal "comfort level" kind of decision, though.
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  4. #4
    Built mine also. It gets in the way sometimes, but so does the sawdust when it is not on.
    paul

  5. #5
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    Dec 2006
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    Floydada, Tx
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    Looks good. Any thing you want to change? I need to make one as I am sick of haveing a face full of sawdust everytime I use it.

  6. #6
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    The only thing I'd probably change is going to a larger dust port. 4" would be much better, I think. I'm also considering using stiffer material for the "parallel arms" so it's got less flex. I may pick up some 1" square aluminum tube next time I'm at my handy-dandy metal supplier. Aside from that, though, the thing works just fine when I can get it positioned over the cut. Some cuts there just ain't room for that but that's not too often.

    I'm considering a different guard assembly, too, though. One where the sides are loose and raise up and down independently. This would let me get better enclosure around those "just off the edge" cuts as well as a bit less friction when moving through the cut. Right now, the whole thing requires a delicate balance with the counterweight and it can sometimes get hung up. I saw a guard somewhere that has the sides loose and liked it so I may completely redesign the thing one day. Too many other projects in front of that one, though, so this does the job just fine for now
    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  7. #7
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    Nov 2006
    Location
    Odessa, Tx
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    Thumbs up Guard With Vertical Sliding Sides!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Beam View Post
    The only thing I'd probably change is going to a larger dust port. 4" would be much better, I think. I'm also considering using stiffer material for the "parallel arms" so it's got less flex. I may pick up some 1" square aluminum tube next time I'm at my handy-dandy metal supplier. Aside from that, though, the thing works just fine when I can get it positioned over the cut. Some cuts there just ain't room for that but that's not too often.

    I'm considering a different guard assembly, too, though. One where the sides are loose and raise up and down independently. This would let me get better enclosure around those "just off the edge" cuts as well as a bit less friction when moving through the cut. Right now, the whole thing requires a delicate balance with the counterweight and it can sometimes get hung up. I saw a guard somewhere that has the sides loose and liked it so I may completely redesign the thing one day. Too many other projects in front of that one, though, so this does the job just fine for now
    Jason, I don't know if it's still on SMC or not, but before Sam Blasco moved to Texas and was still operating his shop in Florida, he posted the Absolute BEST Overhead Guard with Dust collection that I've ever seen (IMHO). It was one he designed and built himself, and added or updated the original posting when he made the modified guard head with the (right side only IIRC), that would slide up and down independently and could be locked UP when you needed to make a really thin cut between the blade & fence. It was made differently from most and seemed to be Rock Solid giving MORE finger protection than most.

    If you can't find it through a Search there, you might send Sam a PM and see if he still has any pictures of it on his computer somewhere.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2007
    Location
    Nashville, Ar.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norman Hitt View Post
    Jason, I don't know if it's still on SMC or not, but before Sam Blasco moved to Texas and was still operating his shop in Florida, he posted the Absolute BEST Overhead Guard with Dust collection that I've ever seen (IMHO). It was one he designed and built himself, and added or updated the original posting when he made the modified guard head with the (right side only IIRC), that would slide up and down independently and could be locked UP when you needed to make a really thin cut between the blade & fence. It was made differently from most and seemed to be Rock Solid giving MORE finger protection than most.

    If you can't find it through a Search there, you might send Sam a PM and see if he still has any pictures of it on his computer somewhere.
    If you do find it how about posting where it was or maybe you could get him to repost it here for all of us. Thanks Jack

  9. #9
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    Jason Beam
    Sacramento, CA

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jason Beam View Post
    Have to be one of their members to see the pics. Which leaves me and others out.

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