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View Full Version : Ideas needed on converting a tool, with prize!



flylo
12-07-2011, 11:01 PM
I bought a 12"HD Radial arm saw that was from my old high school. Maybe I used it years ago. Anyway it's 3HP, 3 phase, 3450 RPM very heavy duty in great shape that turns, swivels, rotates, slides, locks & cranks up & down. I want to make a metal working tool out of it. It's got to be useful to convert to something in a metal shop. My former machine shop owner friend says no that I threw away $75. Help me out here, what can I convert it into. I can't believe with all those movements & power it can't be useful. I have a 6' long flex shaft with a 1/2" chuck but I think it will be wasted as as 3 phase,3 HP,1/2" dremel tool. Best idea wins a plane ride! Let the contest begin! :D :D

lbhsbz
12-07-2011, 11:10 PM
Add a wd40 drip and use it to cut aluminum. Add a leadscrew and a dc motor to make an automated straight line plasma cutter. Figure out a way to bolt
The track to the side of your mill turret to make a sliding vise storage device

12teethperinch
12-07-2011, 11:10 PM
You could turn it into a belt grinder. Machine up a drive drum to go on the arbor, and a platen with a couple of idler wheels to mount at the front, put a belt on it and push the saw toward the rear and lock it to tension the belt. I gave an old saw I have been thinking about doing this with.
Darrell

danlb
12-07-2011, 11:22 PM
Add a VFD and mound a grinding wheel.

You'd have the worlds most awkward surface grinder, or....

a surface grinder for 3/4 inch wide surfaces.


Dan

Toolguy
12-07-2011, 11:25 PM
Make it into a pin router. You can put a pin in the table, turn the spindle vertical with a collet chuck and put a 2 flute endmill in the collet. Lock the cutter directly over the pin, both the same size. usually 1/4 inch. Then you can rout out 2 dimensional shapes out of alum. or plastic sheet stock.
You might be able to use it as a horizontal mill with the same collet chuck by adding a quality XY table with finger clamps or vise. Use the depth adjustment of the saw for Z axis. Add a 3 axis DRO for more accuracy and versatility.

flylo
12-07-2011, 11:38 PM
Great ideas, keep them coming! I like the pin router idea. I told him this is a great site but he's burned out & I'm just getting fired up.

Tony Ennis
12-07-2011, 11:45 PM
Sell it to a woodworker and buy a metalworking tool.

toolmaker76
12-07-2011, 11:49 PM
I have a miter saw in my shop that I have used for woodworking projects- but also use it for cutting UHMW plastic plates for one of my customers. Easy to make a square cut, makes a NICE cut on the UHMW. The radial arm saw would be even better in that application. So the answer is- use it as is!

I am primarily a metal shop, but I get a lot of projects requiring plastics. Seems like woodworking tools work just a bit better on them. Recently I had to make 100 pieces out of 1 1/2" diameter polypropylene. I used a horizontal bandsaw to cut them to length (diameter too big to part them in the lathe) and had to fight with the stringy burrs left over from the saw- had to clean up each one before I could chuck them in the lathe.

I did not order enough extra material to do this, but if I get the project as a repeat, I will try to recalculate my material order to allow for the wider blade in the miter saw, and may even try to finish them to size. It will cut a great deal of time from the job (a few seconds per cut, vs. minutes to clamp, saw, unclamp, reset, repeat).

Oh, and I might suggest a carbide tipped blade.

danlb
12-08-2011, 12:01 AM
Tilt the head sideways and mount a cup wheel on the spindle. Add a turntable and magnetic chuck. Bingo, a usable Blanchard style grinder.

Dan

Black Forest
12-08-2011, 12:36 AM
I used one to shapren my lawn mower blades in Texas. I only had to make a jig to hold the blade at the correct angle and presto.

darryl
12-08-2011, 01:22 AM
I have exactly the same problem- the radial arm saw has been sitting in my way for a couple of months now. So far the appropriate re-purposing hasn't occurred to me yet.

Paul Alciatore
12-08-2011, 01:26 AM
Sell it to a woodworker and buy a metalworking tool.

I second that. Any conversion will be Mickey Mouse and will ruin any value it has. A woodworker could use it as is and you can use the money to help get a decent metal cutting tool.

Evan
12-08-2011, 01:31 AM
It could be turned into a surface grinder but not the way you might think. Turn the motor sideways so the shaft is perpendicular to the table and mount a cup wheel on it. That will make it a swing grinder.

lakeside53
12-08-2011, 01:57 AM
Dig out an old Sears catalog. Their Craftsman 10 inch radial arm saw flipped the motor like the OP, and had available pretty much all the attachments for ideas presented so far!

LKeithR
12-08-2011, 02:10 AM
Add a wd40 drip and use it to cut aluminum.

I'd be pretty leery of using for this purpose. Radial arm saws are notorious for grabbing when cutting wood. I can only imagine what would happen if your blade were to grab when cutting aluminum--wouldn't be pretty...

MichaelP
12-08-2011, 02:15 AM
Convert it into cash.

flylo
12-08-2011, 08:16 AM
I could sell it but that would take all the fun & creativivity out of it.

Tony
12-08-2011, 09:06 AM
mini jib crane.

(just kidding).

my vote goes to leave it like it is. if its as in decent a shape as you say,
it'll be gold to some woodworker. I know I'd kill for an old cast iron radial
arm (at that price). If you don't think you'll use it, clean it up nice and
sell it. buy some other stuff.

Tony

Toolguy
12-08-2011, 09:40 AM
I'd be pretty leery of using for this purpose. Radial arm saws are notorious for grabbing when cutting wood. I can only imagine what would happen if your blade were to grab when cutting aluminum--wouldn't be pretty...

A radial arm saw is dangerous for aluminum cutting because of the grabbing issue. However, a chop saw with just a hinge that only goes up and down works quite well. Even better if you put blade stabilizers on it. A regular carbide woodworking blade will cut fine on alum. Wear ear protection - it's pretty loud.

Stepside
12-08-2011, 07:52 PM
Take off the blade and mount a mailbox where the blade used to be. Drag it out by the driveway and you will have a mailbox that can dodge the snow plow and the mailman won't even have to pull over to leave you mail. Also it won't affect your power bill in the least.

BTW did I tell you "I hate radial arm saws".

BigMike782
12-08-2011, 08:23 PM
Eric,my opinion is the best use for any radial arm saw is weight in the bed of your truck until spring.I worked at the lumberyard in Niles for many yrs and they have a big ole DeWalt......hit the start button,go to lunch and when you get back it's almost up to speed,that thing had a nasty kick......miserable old cuss anyhow!

flylo
12-08-2011, 11:32 PM
Did you work at Williams? I managed Judds for years. Worked there 32years.

plunger
12-09-2011, 12:04 AM
The moment you convert it to something else you will need it for a woodworking phttp://i941.photobucket.com/albums/ad254/eugeneeman/004.jpgroject.Best to make it into a multitool for us hsmers with no garage space.Mine is a polishing machine. Where am I flying to?

BigMike782
12-09-2011, 11:27 AM
Did you work at Williams? I managed Judds for years. Worked there 32years.
Sure did.....13 yrs and 3 days.