Craftsman Radial Arm Saw - Height Adjustment Handwheel - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 09-27-2020, 07:47 PM Thread Starter
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Craftsman Radial Arm Saw - Height Adjustment Handwheel

Hi Guys, I'm looking to replace the plastic height adjustment handwheel on the front of my Sear radial arm saw, part number 818237 or 815707 (item #26 in the diagram).
This is my second Sears RAS and this handle on both of them have either already been broken or crack after very little use.
Has anyone found a good metal replacement for this application that they'd like to recommend?

Thanks.
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post #2 of 20 Old 09-30-2020, 11:03 PM
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My older model has a simple crank like this one:
https://www.theequipmenthub.com/wp-c...151325-1-1.jpg
It seems like it is more durable and, if you can find one, it might fit. As a last resort, you could likely make one using steel bar stock drilled and tapped as needed to fit and fasten. A handle would be easy to turn on a lathe or use some tubing of the right size.
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post #3 of 20 Old 10-01-2020, 10:14 AM
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I can't help with a recommendation but I will offer one word of caution.

I worked in a machine shop so when the plastic knobs broke I made my own replacements. I took a round disk of aluminum, bored a hole in the center and tapped in from the side for a set screw. Then drilled and tapped the face for the free spinning aluminum handle/knob. Works great for cranking the blade up and down,,,,,,,,,,, except if I want a very precise depth.

You see there is no "locking" feature for depth of cut and my saw adjustment turns very freely. The same additional weight of the aluminum "knob" is enough for the height adjustment to "self rotate" to where the knob is at the 6 o'clock position. Usually this is not an issue and may not be an issue at all with a radial arm saw, but a "balanced" handle would be ideal.

Ya I know, I need to correct the handle I made by drilling a hole or two in the aluminum disk to offset the weight of the knob.
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post #4 of 20 Old 10-01-2020, 08:23 PM
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That won't work!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave McCann View Post
I can't help with a recommendation but I will offer one word of caution.

I worked in a machine shop so when the plastic knobs broke I made my own replacements. I took a round disk of aluminum, bored a hole in the center and tapped in from the side for a set screw. Then drilled and tapped the face for the free spinning aluminum handle/knob. Works great for cranking the blade up and down,,,,,,,,,,, except if I want a very precise depth.

You see there is no "locking" feature for depth of cut and my saw adjustment turns very freely. The same additional weight of the aluminum "knob" is enough for the height adjustment to "self rotate" to where the knob is at the 6 o'clock position. Usually this is not an issue and may not be an issue at all with a radial arm saw, but a "balanced" handle would be ideal.

Ya I know, I need to correct the handle I made by drilling a hole or two in the aluminum disk to offset the weight of the knob
.
Your issue is you have added weight where the handle is. No amount of drilling will add more weight on the opposite side to counter balance it. You can either add weight on the opposite side of the handle, or some means of friction or a locking mechanism to maintain the established height.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 10-01-2020 at 08:28 PM.
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post #5 of 20 Old 10-01-2020, 09:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Your issue is you have added weight where the handle is. No amount of drilling will add more weight on the opposite side to counter balance it. You can either add weight on the opposite side of the handle, or some means of friction or a locking mechanism to maintain the established height.

Now why would I want to add weight? To balance anything one must either ADD weight to the side which is light,, OR,, SUBTRACT weight from the side which is heavy. Seems to me drilling a couple holes would indeed remove weight.

Drilling holes at the two locations marked in red should put me in the ball park. I can start small and increase holes size, checking the balance as I go. I could also, weigh the added features (bolt and knob). Use that weight, along with the density of aluminum, to calculate the size of the holes required.

So yes, I can indeed, balance the handle by drilling holes. A lot of high speed machine pulleys, are balanced by drilling partial holes.
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Dave McCann

Last edited by Dave McCann; 10-01-2020 at 09:12 PM.
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post #6 of 20 Old 10-01-2020, 09:12 PM
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Read my reply again ....

No amount of drilling on the "opposite " side ....
Drilling on the same side of the handle will work to balance it.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #7 of 20 Old 10-01-2020, 09:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
No amount of drilling on the "opposite " side ....
Drilling on the same side of the handle will work to balance it.
Read my first post again. Nowhere did I say I was drilling on the opposite side. YOU labeled your response "That won't work" Yes drilling WILL work.

Take care,
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post #8 of 20 Old 10-01-2020, 10:53 PM
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That's right .....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave McCann View Post
Read my first post again. Nowhere did I say I was drilling on the opposite side. YOU labeled your response "That won't work" Yes drilling WILL work.

You did not say where you were going to drill the holes:
Ya I know, I need to correct the handle I made by drilling a hole or two in the aluminum disk to offset the weight of the knob.


It was my fault for assuming you were going to drill them opposite to the handle and I said so. I then said:
No amount of drilling on the "opposite " side ....
Drilling on the same side of the handle will work to balance it.



So, you were right and I am done here.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #9 of 20 Old 10-02-2020, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for sharing your experience Dave, that's certainly a good option. Was also wondering if picking up a handle (like below) and milling out the back of the hub to fit the shaft.
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post #10 of 20 Old 10-03-2020, 01:18 AM
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MY crank handle like your saw crank handle broke. I purchased a crank wheel from Grizzly with a small bore dia. and milled/drilled it to the radial saw shaft dia. on my drill press. Works better than original with a look of quality.
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post #11 of 20 Old 10-03-2020, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Greg. Which handle did you go with? Seems all the options from Grizzly are either cast iron or plastic. I was thinking of going with aluminum so it was easy to machine and long lasting.
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post #12 of 20 Old 10-04-2020, 01:59 AM
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My new handwheel is the H3189 6" cast iron & I also purchased the H3205 chrome handle. My existing handle (shaft mounted) is like the one pictured by yomanbill. I hope I did not lead you in the wrong direction. However this still might work. It could mean more machining on the hub than just enlarging the bore hole to fit the existing shaft like I had to do. For $14.95 Plus shipping it might be worth a try.
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post #13 of 20 Old 10-21-2020, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason42 View Post
Hi Guys, I'm looking to replace the plastic height adjustment handwheel on the front of my Sear radial arm saw, part number 818237 or 815707 (item #26 in the diagram).
This is my second Sears RAS and this handle on both of them have either already been broken or crack after very little use.
Has anyone found a good metal replacement for this application that they'd like to recommend?

Thanks.
Jason: Boy, do I have good news for you!! I had the exact same issue with the exact same part # on my old radial arm saw this week. Busy Bee Tools has what you need. They sell 3 different bore size wheels. Smooth bore with a setscrew in from the side. Mine is 1/2" diameter, their part # 186NS12. I see you're in Ontario - their Mississauga store has all 3 sizes in stock. $25.99 plus tax. It took way longer for me to drive to the store than it took for me to install it. Just a couple things: I added a washer and reused the screw into the end of the shaft to allow the wheel to be pulled out a bit, to clear the sheetmetal around the hole. And the setscrew is impossible to tighten down unless you take the front section of the wood table off and reach in from above (which is only another 5 bolts to remove).

Gerry from Oakville
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post #14 of 20 Old 10-21-2020, 08:35 PM
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How fast do you plan on turning it, to be concerned with balance? I could see maybe if it was a big cast hand wheel. Big maybe.
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post #15 of 20 Old 10-22-2020, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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Hey Gerry, thanks for the feedback! I had been looking at what BusyBee offered but was unsure if the OD of the handwheel was too large and would interfere with the bezel. Had thoughts of picking up the handwheel with the 3/8" shaft and machine out the hole (drill press with end mill) to either the 1/2" D shaft or 5/8" hex shaft adapter and use the OEM screw rather than the handwheel's grub screw.


Jason
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post #16 of 20 Old 10-22-2020, 09:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirate View Post
How fast do you plan on turning it, to be concerned with balance? I could see maybe if it was a big cast hand wheel. Big maybe.
The issue is vibration and gravity. Not speed.

Rich
Just a dumb old paper boy from Brooklyn, NY
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post #17 of 20 Old 10-23-2020, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason42 View Post
Hey Gerry, thanks for the feedback! I had been looking at what BusyBee offered but was unsure if the OD of the handwheel was too large and would interfere with the bezel. Had thoughts of picking up the handwheel with the 3/8" shaft and machine out the hole (drill press with end mill) to either the 1/2" D shaft or 5/8" hex shaft adapter and use the OEM screw rather than the handwheel's grub screw.


Jason
No need to machine - good thing, because I don't have the tools to do that. I think all 3 Busy Bee wheels are same outside dia, just different bore ID. Hole in sheetmetal panel is 4-3/8 but wheel is 4-1/2 dia so what I did was, put a 1/2" OD washer on the end of the shaft, then a larger washer, reinstalled the original screw, and pulled the wheel out a bit before tightening the grubscrew down. It's good and solid, way better than the plastic original.
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post #18 of 20 Old 10-24-2020, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the photo Gerry. How far does the shaft extend into the hub of the handwheel?
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post #19 of 20 Old Yesterday, 08:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason42 View Post
Thanks for the photo Gerry. How far does the shaft extend into the hub of the handwheel?

The hub is about 3/4" thick and it is bored straight thru. I put that 1/2" washer on the end to pull the wheel out so it won't rub on the sheetmetal and it's still engaged by over 5/8". If you don't have that clearance issue you could run the shaft right thru the hub.
The plastic OEM wheel lasted me 25+ years, pretty sure this one will outlive both me and the saw....
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post #20 of 20 Old Yesterday, 10:46 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the detailed feedback on how this modification went for you Gerry!
It really helps with planning my path forward through to resolution without concern about maybe having to try yet another option.
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