Up next are the blade guides. These will control the blade through the cut to keep it cutting straight. I made these guides adjustable on both sides of the saw so I’ll have more flexibility in the future.
Previously, I installed the cutoff linear rails to the underside of the beam to facilitate the in and out movement of the guides. The linear rail and carriage will be the main part of the motion system. I’ll also install a post and rod on the side of the mill that will allow me to adjust the position of the guide while standing at the side of the mill. This mechanism will just consist of a piece of 1.5″ square tube sliding inside of a 2″ square tube. The linear carriage will be joined to the guide with a post so I’ll need to create a mount for that.
The mounting plates are a bit simpler this time. They just receive through holes so a bolt can be run up into the linear carriage. This time I’ll be taking advantage of the threaded holes which are M12.
While in the shop, I also made the outside adjusters. These were just cut to length and I drilled and tapped 3 holes into one of the corners to allow me to clamp the smaller tube in place. I made sure to orient these so that when the bolt presses into the inside tube, the weld seam wouldn’t be in the way.
Next I need to put a blade on the wheels to make it easier to see where to position the guides so now it’s finally time to open the box of blades. I bought 10 blades to start with and they came in two boxes of 5. The blades are 1.5″ wide, 25’8″ long. and have a tooth spacing of 7/8″. They cost $47 each.
I coiled up the other 4 blades to make them easier to store. This was actually much easier than I thought it would be given the length of the blade.
I got the blade on one wheel but wasn’t able to get it over the other wheel. Turns out the blade was a bit too short.
In order to get the blades I have mounted on the mill, the wheels will need to move closer together. It should only need to move about an inch or so before the blade will fit. Luckily, I can modify the idle mount to travel further towards the inside of the saw by notching it around the nut holder.
A bit of work with a cut off wheel and the idle mount is notched. I’ll come back and plug weld this later.
Now I can put the wheel back on and give the blade a try.
The blade fit this time but barely. I’ll have to trim a little more material off of the mount later. I can also see that the wheels are way out of alignment. But I was able to get the blade in the correct position so I can determine the location the guides will need to be in. This doesn’t have to be super perfect since the guides have a lot of adjustability but the closer I can get it now, the better. I’m starting with the post that will connect the guide to the mounting plate on the linear carriage. I positioned the post on the mounting plate so it would not interfere with the adjustment bolts on the guides.
With the mounting plate and post installed, I can mark the location where the post will need to be welded to the guide.
I was thinking of welding a receiver tube onto the end of the post and having the guide assembly slide into that. I could then plug weld the guides inside the receiver and if I ever needed to remove it, I could just drill out the plugs. I however decided to just weld it directly. It shouldn’t be too hard to cut the post off if needed and if I need to, the back side of the guides would be easy to fabricate since it’s just a square tube with 4 holes and a plate welded to the front.
The guide assembly can be connected to the linear carriage and I can give the motion a try. Quite smooth!
On to the adjuster. I clamped everything to the saw so I could get it all aligned before welding it in. One thing I decided to do was shim the post back in order to have the adjuster post intersect the guides far enough back so it wouldn’t interfere with the adjuster bolts.
Once I was happy with the alignment, I could weld it all into place. I also made these birdsmouth plates to help strengthen the connection between the post and the outside adjuster tube.
I followed the same procedure for the drive side guide. The only difference is the length of the adjustment post. The drive side is around 24″ long and the idle side is currently 96″ long. The idle side is longer than it needs to be at this point but I’m waiting until I get the guards installed to trim it to length.
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