Homemade table saw build: Lift mechanism
Having cut the rectangular parts with an improvised table saw, I proceeded to make the other cuts with a jigsaw. A bandsaw would be better, but I want to make sure this can be built with minimal tools.
I'm using some old plywood. I have found that old wood glues better (about 30% stronger joints) if you give the old surfaces a light sanding where the glue goes. For new plywood, the sanding isn't needed.
You could of course screw it together while the glue is still wet, but I find it easier to focus on one thing at a time, so I glue first, let it dry, and then screws.
After screwing it together, I realized, I should have left a gap between the pieces of wood. Sawdust will get into this area for sure, and if the gaps must completely close when the saw is raised all the way, it will really pinch the sawdust. Leaving a gap of 3-5 mm will prevent too much pressure.
It's really difficult to get the ring that holds t he guard off if you don't have a set of ring pliers. I recommend you cut the ring off with an angle grinder, because by the time you are done modifying the circular saw, it won't be suitable for normal use anymore anyway.
A pin provides the pivoting mount near the front. This pin is really hard to get out. If it's too hard, just cut the plastic mount for it off with a hacksaw. You won't need it anymore. The photo was taken just after the pin came out.
I modeled the shape of the circular saw in CAD when I designed the mount. Unfortunately, I didn't model the power cord so I neglected to leave room for it in my design. I updated the plans to include a hole for the cord, and hopefully, you will remember to drill this hole before assembling the mount.
If you don't have a big forstner bit, drill a 3/8" (10 mm) hole, then cut a bigger hole with a jigsaw.
Ironically, I put the hole in slightly the wrong place, so I had to enlarge it with a jigsaw later.
It can be difficult to figure out where the saw hits the mount. If in doubt, draw pencil lines all over the parts that go next to the plywood, and then see where the marks transfer to the wood.
Checking alignment for how the saw will mount. Here I'm checking that the blade will be vertical in the mount. The ruler is against the shaft mount of the saw, and I'm eyeballing it to make sure it's parallel to the square.
This is best done on a drill press, if you have one. I'm drilling it without one, just to make sure it can be done this way too.
The saw is resting on some pieces of scrap wood to support it at this angle. Drilling in metal takes a lot of force.
On my previous homemade table saw, I found I had a lot of sawdust getting stuck on the motor's air inlet.
I think this was made worse because the guard's sawdust ejection slot was plugged up, so the sawdust was deflected all the way around the guard, coming out just below the table on the other side. The sawdust then had to go left or right, and whatever went left went past the motor's air inlet, where some of it got sucked in.
Drilling the pilot holes for the screws. I'm drilling these through the holes in the saw. That way, I can make sure the pilot holes are in line with the holes in the guard. The holes I drilled in the guard were not all square.
To check what size drill I need to use, I hold the shank of the drill in front of the screw. If I see a good amount of screw thread sticking out either side, then I know I will get good thread engagement.
Screwing it on. I used 1.25" #8 screws, and a larger (probably #12) screw for the hole that used to hold the depth adjustment lock.
I glued in two pieces of veneer to act as shims to bring it into alignment.
The motor protrudes from the motor mount and hits the bottom of the table (shown with my red pencil). A cavity needs to be carved out for the motor. This will add about 8 mm (5/16") extra depth of cut.
A router would be a good tool to carve out this cavity, but I wanted to keep the tools needed for this build to a minimum. I tried carving it out with a circular saw. This worked really well - actually better than a router would have.
This does require that you have a second circular saw. But considering that the saw you are using for the table saw won't be usable as a handheld circular saw anymore, you really should have a second one.
I already glued and screwed a block of wood to the depth adjustment lock. Here I'm transferring the pilot hole locations by tapping the screws with a hammer. This makes a divot in the particle board for where the holes need to go.
Next: Making the fence
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