rock well radial arm saw - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 03-23-2013, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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rock well radial arm saw

Hi guys please give me some advise on this machine as it is going for a very good price. 10 inch blade machine has seen little use the old gent is moving into a retirement home . regards carl
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post #2 of 13 Old 03-23-2013, 11:37 AM
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Without more info (model number, HP, pics, something) it's hard to say. Generally all the Rockwell RAS models are considered very solid saws.

"I long for the days when coke was a cola and a joint was a bad place to be" (Merle Haggard)
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post #3 of 13 Old 03-23-2013, 11:38 AM
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You really need to give us more information. A picture or model number would help. The older 'turret arm' Rockwells are considered superior to the newer models with a standard arm, but generally, all are decent saws. All may be tough to get parts for.

Bill
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post #4 of 13 Old 03-23-2013, 03:46 PM
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Rockwell radial arm saw gives me cold shivers. I worked for a company in I believe 1979 that had a Rockwall radial saw that the carriage bearings would break in two allowing the saw to drop off the arm while the saw was running. It happened to me twice, another worker once and when it did it on the boss the saw dissappeared. It's been too long to remember which model it was.
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post #5 of 13 Old 04-12-2013, 06:56 PM
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The RIGHT Rockwell RAS is right by me

Quote:
Originally Posted by dodgeboy77 View Post
You really need to give us more information. A picture or model number would help. The older 'turret arm' Rockwells are considered superior to the newer models with a standard arm ... All may be tough to get parts for.

Bill
I have a 1958 Rockwell-Delta 40C RAS, which is a 14" Turret Arm style, and love it. I also have a 1964 DeWalt Deluxe Power Shop 1486B (I think) that is an underpowered 10" model that is a good tool as well. The Rockwell-Delta is a much better tool.

In general, there is a lot of negative talk RE RAS, and I think those people don't understand the real pro's and con's of the different tools, proper tool tuning and maintenance techniques, and their appropriate applications. The previous post RE a yoke that kept falling off could have been due to improper assembly or maintenance, and there was a period of time in Delta's ownership history that is known for profits instead of quality. For people like me, who can only have small shops, the RAS is a superior choice. This is because it:
  1. Can be installed against a wall, and take up very little shop space; a single line tool arrangement works quite favorably. This is critical because the tool itself takes up very little space, and similarly, its operations take very little space and can be directly shared w/ neighboring tool stations, which means long and narrow spaces work great.
  2. Has a blade that is always visible, which is safer when properly respected.
  3. Offers many more, better, and safer cutting operations than do table saws.
  4. Can be kitted out and adapted to perform other tool operations like horizontal boring, moulding, disk sanding, shaping, and mortising.
Here are 2 websites that are worth looking at. The first one is all about all sorts of vintage tools, and the 2nd one is devoted strictly to radial arm saws (99% are DeWalts because the site Mod is a DeWalt guy) and this is THE place to learn nearly all there is to know about RAS. http://owwm.org and http://people.delphiforums.com/snotzalot/sawdust/
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post #6 of 13 Old 04-12-2013, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
Rockwell radial arm saw gives me cold shivers. I worked for a company in I believe 1979 that had a Rockwall radial saw that the carriage bearings would break in two allowing the saw to drop off the arm while the saw was running. It happened to me twice, another worker once and when it did it on the boss the saw dissappeared. It's been too long to remember which model it was.
Well gee whiz, jumpin' jehosephat, by golly, maybe we all should just get rid of our radial arm saws. Operators of machinery should have some knowledge of what they are using.

With something like that happening, the operator should have had some clue to a fault with the saw. Maybe vibration, some inordinate side play, carriage rocking, or even some weird noises. It seems if it happened once, the problem should have been fixed. If it happened to you, you should have troubleshot the problem. JMO.






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post #7 of 13 Old 04-12-2013, 09:44 PM
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<< I worked for a company in I believe 1979 that had a Rockwall radial saw that the carriage bearings would break in two allowing the saw to drop off the arm while the saw was running.>>

I agree with C-Man's assessment of that. My first reaction to the story was 'Huh?". How the heck would that happen? Were the bearing allowed to get so badly worn that they came apart? I think there is more to this story.

Bill
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post #8 of 13 Old 04-12-2013, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cabinetman View Post
Well gee whiz, jumpin' jehosephat, by golly, maybe we all should just get rid of our radial arm saws. Operators of machinery should have some knowledge of what they are using.

With something like that happening, the operator should have had some clue to a fault with the saw. Maybe vibration, some inordinate side play, carriage rocking, or even some weird noises. It seems if it happened once, the problem should have been fixed. If it happened to you, you should have troubleshot the problem. JMO.









.
You don't get it. It's not radial arm saws in general, it's Rockwell radial arm saws that worry me. The saw I used was new at the time. After the bearing broke all 4 bearings were replaced with new bearings and within a week broke again. The carriage bearings had a design flaw where the metal was too thin and they would literally break in two letting the saw drop off the arm. There was nothing anyone could do to prevent it except not use the saw. Since they would just snap it was impossible to tell when it was going to happen. The third time new bearings were put on the saw they were installed by a Rockwell technician so there was nothing improperly adjusted. I think the third set of bearings lasted two weeks before they broke and Rockwell bought back the saw.
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post #9 of 13 Old 04-13-2013, 01:02 AM
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Steve,

Think you could pick out the model of the offending saw from this list of suspects?
http://vintagemachinery.org/mfgIndex...x?id=698&tab=4

I've done a lot of reading on Delta/Rockwell saws and never knew anything about broken carriage bearings until now. The turret arm saws are especially well thought of.

Bill
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post #10 of 13 Old 04-13-2013, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodgeboy77 View Post
Steve,

Think you could pick out the model of the offending saw from this list of suspects?
http://vintagemachinery.org/mfgIndex...x?id=698&tab=4

I've done a lot of reading on Delta/Rockwell saws and never knew anything about broken carriage bearings until now. The turret arm saws are especially well thought of.

Bill
It's been too long and I wasn't involved with the purchase of the saw to say what model. I was an employee of a new cabinet shop that was just getting started and the saw was only in the building a few weeks. The saw was purchased for the opening of the business which was around 1979. The saw was a 10" saw and there were 5 candidates I could see on the link you gave. It wasn't 33-216 or TRT-2313. If I had to guess one I would say 33-310.

The saw had bearings of a similar design of Craftsman carriage bearings however the steel was less than 1/16" thick and all three bearings that broke, broke in the center letting the saw drop off the arm. My employer told me at a later date that the saw was being discontinued because of the bearing design.

I started a thread here last year asking if anyone had a similar experiece with the saw and there were no replies. Maybe it was a brand new model they got off the market before anyone was seriously hurt. My fear is there is some out there somewhere that didn't go back to the company. In the shop where I was at, the saw only saw light duty. It was just used to cut 5/8" particle board and 1x4 whitewood pine.
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post #11 of 13 Old 04-14-2013, 12:05 AM
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That's pretty scary. The Rockwell I have uses carriage bearings that are the opposite of what you sketched. They have rounded outside edges that run in a groove in the arm. But some Rockwell/Deltas had bearings like you sketched that ran on rods running inside the length of the arm. The rods could be rotated to provide a new wear surface. Having bearings break like that would be a really serious design flaw.

A year or so ago there was a thread on OWWM about the best of the Rockwell/Delta RAS's. Nobody mentioned any broken carriage bearings so hopefully the machine you had the bad experience with was a fluke.

Bill
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post #12 of 13 Old 04-14-2013, 12:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dodgeboy77 View Post
That's pretty scary. The Rockwell I have uses carriage bearings that are the opposite of what you sketched. They have rounded outside edges that run in a groove in the arm. But some Rockwell/Deltas had bearings like you sketched that ran on rods running inside the length of the arm. The rods could be rotated to provide a new wear surface. Having bearings break like that would be a really serious design flaw.

A year or so ago there was a thread on OWWM about the best of the Rockwell/Delta RAS's. Nobody mentioned any broken carriage bearings so hopefully the machine you had the bad experience with was a fluke.

Bill
Yea it was scarry. Fortunately when the saw dropped to the table it spun to the right away from me. The only thing I could do is throw my arms up and run backwards. It sounds like the model saw you have with the different bearing design would be safe. I have a Craftsman arm saw with the same carriage bearing design as I have sketched. I've used it for 40 years now doing much harder work with it and have had no incident. The steel must be better or thicker.

It couldn't have been a fluke with that saw because the saw was repaired three times with new bearings and put back in service. If they did discontinue making that model saw there has bound to be more incidents but like you I haven't found any mention of it. I would like to think it only happened to the two of us. Neither of us were hurt.
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post #13 of 13 Old 05-14-2013, 02:16 AM
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Unhappy

In general, there is a lot of negative talk RE RAS, and I think those people don't understand the real pro's and con's of the different tools, proper tool tuning and maintenance techniques, and their appropriate applications. The previous post RE a yoke that kept falling off could have been due to improper assembly or maintenance, and there was a period of time in Delta's ownership history that is known for profits instead of quality. For people like me, who can only have small shops, the RAS is a superior choice. This is because it:
  1. Can be installed against a wall, and take up very little shop space; a single line tool arrangement works quite favorably. This is critical because the tool itself takes up very little space, and similarly, its operations take very little space and can be directly shared w/ neighboring tool stations, which means long and narrow spaces work great.
  2. Has a blade that is always visible, which is safer when properly respected.
  3. Offers many more, better, and safer cutting operations than do table saws.
  4. Can be kitted out and adapted to perform other tool operations like horizontal boring, moulding, disk sanding, shaping, and mortising.
Here are 2 websites that are worth looking at. The first one is all about all sorts of vintage tools, and the 2nd one is devoted strictly to radial arm saws (99% are DeWalts because the site Mod is a DeWalt guy) and this is THE place to learn nearly all there is to know about RAS. http://owwm.org and http://people.delphiforums.com/snotzalot/sawdust/ [/QUOTE]

I have to agree I love my ryobi RAS since I've got it have used it more than any other in my shop. I got it used but for what I've got in it compared to $300+ for new. Only wish it had come with gaurds attached
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