Over the past week or so, several of you have reached out asking, speculating, wondering what it’s like to operate the Sagar Spindle Moulder with the box joint attachment. I always try to give the people what they want, so here goes:
I moved the machine from the garage over to the shop this past Sunday. I had to rig it up with some temporary power since the machine is setup to run at 400 volts and 50 cycles. I have a special transformer setup that I keep on an old railroad cart. The transformer is setup to go from 240 volts to 400 volts, but can be adjusted anywhere from 380 to 480 volts. The older 50 cycle motors can sometimes be sensitive, so it can take some fussing about to get it right. In this case, I was lucky on the first try and she fired right up.
The first thing I noticed was that during wind-up, there is a certain point where a vibration resonates through the machine. It’s not too severe, but that sheet metal guard shakes pretty good. This was a bit concerning the first few times I started the machine. The same vibration is manifested at the same point on wind-down.
The second thing I noted was that the guarding was not sufficient. In the starting position, the cutter block is well guarded, but when you move the workpiece through the cutting position, the entire block is exposed. Even worse is the trajectory of chips as the last piece runs through the block. While standing in the operators position, you get pelted with sawdust and chips. You definitely need safety glasses, if not a full face shield.
This would be very easy to remedy with a sheet of lexan mounted to the edge of the rolling table. You’ll get a better understanding of this point when you watch the video.
I only used 10″ board for my test cut. I didn’t have anything 16″ laying around. Even if I did, I probably wouldn’t have used it for a test. My test boards are clear vertical grain western red cedar. They cut very nice, but have a tendency to chip more than white pine or hardwood. For this reason, I used a sacrificial board before and after my workpieces.
The workholding vise on the rolling table is setup with the bottom surface exactly in line with the bottom of the first cutter. There is a removable rebate plate screwed to the vise. You can cut all of your sides with the plate in and then remove it and cut all of your ends. This feature makes for very easy setup. The fence on the machine is set so you can but the workpieces against it for perfect length of the joints.
I had to mess around with the machine a bit to get the cutters perfectly aligned with the vise. Once I did, I could easily and reliably repeat the process. With this setup you could make 10’s of boxes an hour.
Enough of me blathering on… Here’s the video:
Here are some better shots of the joints. The last picture is the joint I cut after I tweaked the settings a bit. Much improved:
Is it scary? Hell yes!
Terrifying? Sure. Maybe. (the first few times you turn it on).
Dangerous? As currently setup… Yeah… it needs some work here.
Hey, it’s no Morgan, but it is absolutely fit for purpose. I will definitely be looking for some lexan and maybe an air actuator to move the work through the cutter block.
Thanks for following along.