Ryobi 40V Mower Cutout Fix

I’ve had my battery-powered 40V Ryobi mower (model #40108) for a year now and have been pretty happy with it.  However the last time I used it the damn thing would randomly shut off while mowing.  At the time there didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the problem such as heavy grass or a weak battery which was reading 2/4 bars.  I threw the battery into the string trimmer and it worked great.

So I took the lovely slime-green plastic cover off to see if there was anything obviously wrong.  My hopes were low because I figured the mower would consist of a motor and control board.

IMG_20170806_161157
Simple mower internals

Sure enough nothing looked wrong such as a leaking capacitor on the control board.  But while putting it back together I noticed a kill switch I had never noticed before!  It’s located by the handle hinge, ensuring that the mower will only run while the handle is in the folded-out position.

This little switch was flopping around in its hole because one of the spring clips on the backside was broken probably while I was removing that slime-green plastic cover.  When the handle is folded out the switch is depressed, closing the circuit allowing the mower to run.

If you take a close look at the interaction between the switch and handle, it is  not a precision operation.  Due to the position of where the switch happens to be, the handle bumps into it, hopefully depressing it.  Here’s the root cause of my problem: The mower’s frame had loosened up over time, allowing the frame to rack from side-to-side during turns.  This racking let that little switch spring back up, opening the circuit and stopping the mower.

And thankfully the solution was to tighten these two T25 frame bolts, located right above the rear wheels.

IMG_20170806_163036
Keep these bolts tight

And as a footnote, I bypassed that dumb switch just to avoid this kind of nonsense in the future.  The connection was wrapped up with electrical tape after these photos were taken.

 

I hope this short article helps someone out!

Advertisements

Lathe Sharpening and Tool Cart

I’ve had my grinder on a Harbor Freight tool cart for the past year.  I don’t have any more bench space in my shop so a mobile solution was all I had left.  Plus skinning the sides with tools works pretty well and its nice having some shelf space.

Gouges on the left, scrapers on the right, with skews, parting tools, and a drill on back.  It’s nice being able to put my grinder and tools right where I want them while turning and then tuck them away when doing something else.

However the lower shelves are only moderately useful because they’re short and deep, and they also fill up with chips.  I couldn’t find a cheap (say $100 or less) tool cabinet with drawers all the way down and a solid top, so I was planning on just building a small two-drawer box to sit in the bottom space.

So off I went to Menard’s to get plywood, drawer slides, and pulls.  On a whim I checked out their tool storage area and found a pretty damn good cart!  It’s just wide enough to accommodate the Tormek jig arms and the price was right.

 

I re-used the tool holders but did make a new top from some 2x material.  Some drawer dividers and I was ready to go!  It holds much more than the old cart and should do a better job of keeping the chips out.

Veritas Strking Knife Sharpening Jig

The thin profile of Veritas’ Striking Knife makes it pretty versatile but at the same time hard to sharpen.  It’s very small so there’s little bevel to “feel” for and the blade material is bendy so it’s hard to keep in the exact same orientation while sharpening.

Consequently over time mine will loose its nice pointed end and flat sides and it can’t reach into tight corners.  To help me re-establish a nice flat bevel I use a really simple “jig”, just a scrap of wood with two 25° slots cut into it.

The jig then holds the marking knife up against the flat side of my CBN wheel.  The 220-grit finish from the wheel isn’t great so I then finish up with my usual honing routine.

This slot-in-a-block-of-wood type jig could be used against a normal bench grinder (front of wheel of course), belt sander, or even to hold the knife for hand-sharpening on stones.

Gouge Sharpening Through a Microscope

singleshot0003-220
Sample image

Using a cheap USB microscope I took some closeup shots of the scratch pattern and burr on a HSS bowl gouge through three sharpening methods.

Here’s the full album of images

For the purpose of woodturning it seems like the fineness of the edge doesn’t matter a whole lot.  While the burr looks very nasty, and would be bad to have on a smoothing plane iron, it will get immediately knocked off in a woodturning project.

Hitting the Reset Button on my Jointer/Planer

Introduction

Over time the outfeed table on my Rikon 25-210H worked its way out of adjustment, gradually creeping its way close to the cutterhead.  I found out about this one day by the one cutter slamming into the table when I turned on the machine.  So I was able to move the table back out of the way by turning its parallel arms but over time the table moved around more and more.

Looking at the Jet’s version of this machine (JJP-12HH), I saw that the outfeed adjustment arm also serves to lock it in place against the front cover.  So I ordered the three parts from eReplacementParts that would give me that:

Adjusting Handle (JJP12-014)
Knob (JJP12-015)
Bracket Screw (JJP12-016)

When the parts arrived I decided to start from scratch on tuning up the jointer tables, loosening the hinge adjustment screws thus throwing away the factory adjustment plus the work I had done.  I wasn’t very confident in how aligned the tables were so I wasn’t losing much.

Terms Used

Pitch Rotation of a table about the short axis of the machine.  Right/left ends are up/down.
Roll Rotation of a table about the long axis of the machine.  Front/back sides are up/down.
Twist Rotation involving both pitch and roll.  One corner is off from the others.
Stop Bolts The two bolts that each table stops on when closed.
Hinge Screws The four grub screws in each hinge that control its orientation
Hinge Bolts The three bolts in each hinge that secure it to the frame

(pitch and roll are aeronautic terms, they make it easier for me to visualize this stuff)

Tools

I have both the 38” and 50” straight edges from PeachTree and while the 38” model works OK the fact that the 50” lays across almost the entire table makes infeed adjustment a lot easier.

General Tips

  • Lock Down Levers and Stop Bolts
    • A smooshy feel when tightening means that the stop bolts are uneven; the “smoosh” is from the table flexing down to meet the top of both bolts.  If you have the bolts even then you will experience a nice firm feel when tightening the lever.
    • Adjust the bolts by hand and with the table down.  Turn one bolt to move the table up/down and then move the other bolt to just touch the table.
    • There are two stop bolts per table, with the locking rod in between them.  There are two in order to provider a wider, more stable platform for the table to rest on.  They do not participate in changing the pitch of either table; that is the job of the hinge levelling screws.  After making changes to the levelling screws both stop bolts should be brought into equal contact with the table.
    • When you are ready to lock the stop bolts down, do so with the table locked down.  This will help prevent the bolts from turning as you tighten the lock nuts down.  It helps to have two 13mm wrenches here as there isn’t a lot of space for a crescent wrench to fit into.
      • Tightening the lock nuts has the effect of moving the bolts upwards a small amount.  The thread’s backlash being taken up is my best guess as to why.  In my experience you will have to tighten the bolts down by another ~20° to account for this.
  • Outfeed Table
    • If you are installing the outfeed adjustment lever you can rotate the parallel arm as-needed to clear the guard arm mount.  
    • Loosen all grub screws before adjusting anything.  There are two on the parallel arm and four on the lift rods.

“Reset Button” Sequence

Outfeed

  1. Move infeed table down to take it out of the equation. You don’t want your straight edge resting on it.
  2. Back out all four leveling screws until they are loose.
  3. Tighten down hinge bolts
  4. Loosen all the grub screws to allow the outfeed table to be freely adjusted using its parallel
  5. Using the parallel arm try to adjust the outfeed to its ideal height, i.e. where the cutters just scrape your straight edge.  Work first on the back edge, closest to the hinge.  Note: it’s advise to not tune the table such that the Top Dead Center is at the ideal height.  Give yourself some wiggle room should the outfeed table settle lower.  
    1. If you are able to reach ideal height in back, move onto step 6.
    2. If you are not able to get the ideal height, i.e. the outfeed table is too low then you will need to raise it a bit via the hinge adjustment screws.  Adjust them evenly, say ¼ turn each.
      1. Again use the outfeed level to get the ideal height in back.  If needed raise the table more via the hinge screws.
  6. Now adjust the stop bolts to get the front of the table to the idea height.  
    1. This will most likely throw off the adjustment in back.  Use the lever to regain your ideal height in back.  This will mostly likely throw off your height in front, fix that via the stop bolts.
  7. When you are done tighten all the grub screws on the outfeed table.

Infeed

  1. Loosen the hinge leveling screws and tighten down the hinge bolts
  2. Adjust the infeed table to its uppermost position such that it is even-ish with the outfeed table
  3. At this point there shouldn’t be a lot of roll, just pitch to adjust for.
  4. Attack the pitch first, adjusting the hinge screws in left/right pairs.  For a gap of around 1/16”, start with pretty small turns of the screws, about ⅛ of the way around.
    1. Measure in the back side first by the hinge, noting which side has a bigger gap.
    2. Adjust the infeed table’s height to zero in on it being level with the outfeed table.  Raise it such that it just contacts your straight edge at some point, either left or to the right.
    3. Now check the front side, adjusting the stop bolts to match the roll between the outfeed and infeed tables.  Another way to think about this is that your goal here is to have your straight edge’s contact with the infeed table the same in both front and back.  It won’t be laying flat (unless you’re lucky) but the gaps and contact spots should at least be in the same areas.
    4. Now note your gaps which will dictate your next round of adjustment.  When you overshoot, and move the gap to the opposite end, back off the screws you just touched rather than tightening the screws by the new gap.  This minimizes the variables in play.
  5. Ideally you will be able to get things adjusted such that your 0.001” gauge won’t fit under the entire length of the table in both front and back; good luck with that 🙂

I put together a (too long) view on the process which also includes my thoughts on the product after messing around with it so much.

To summarize, setting the outfeed table is simpler than the infeed because it has fewer variables:

Outfeed:

  1. Match the cutter head’s height
  2. Match the cutter head’s roll

Infeed:

  1. Match the outfeed’s height
  2. Match the outfeed’s pitch
  3. Match the outfeed’s roll

Front Cover Bracket Screw Hole Marking

I used a dowel marker pin over the bracket screw to mark where the hole should be drilled in the front cover.  With the marker pin in place I positioned the cover about where it should go and then struck it with a rubber hammer.

Jet JCDC-2 vs. Grizzly G0548ZP Showdown!

I just got Jet’s 2HP cyclone dust collector as an upgrade from Grizzly’s 2HP canister unit.  My main driver was to get a more quiet dust machine with a side benefit of it being easier to empty.  So while I had both machines on hand I measured their sound levels and air volume throughput.

The purpose of this post is not only to compare the two machines but also to give a little more real world data on the sound levels produced by dust collectors as opposed to what the manufacturers publish.

My testing instruments were:

The ambient noise levels in my shop measured @ 43 dBA.

Open Test

img_20170107_110340
Side by side testing

My first test put the machines out in the open with a short length of 4″ hose to constrict flow a bit.  I stood with the sound meter from where the photo was taken, about 10 feet away.

Grizzly:  86 dBA,  1065 CFM

Jet: 82 dBA, 1070 CFM

The Grizzly’s sound level was pretty close to the published 83-85 dBA level.  The Jet’s number was quite a bit higher than their published value of 76 dBA.

The air volume numbers were essentially the same, showing that the 4″ hose restricted them to the same volume.

Enclosed Test

img_20170107_114246Next I tested the dust collectors where they actually live, in this weird little room my basement has.  It’s about 8′ x 8′ and is where the water main comes through the floor.  As a woodworker it serves me pretty well by giving me a plash to stash a noisy machine.

On this test I measured the sound levels from about 15′ away next to my lathe.  This is where I will spend a lot of time with the collector running while sanding or turning dry wood so I was interested to see what my ears would be subjected to.

As for airflow I measured the flow at my lathe’s dust hose and my jointer’s dust hose.  Each of these machines are at the end of the two branches of my dust system.

Grizzly: 76 dBA, Lathe = 550 CFM, Jointer = 500 CFM

Jet: 70 dBA, Lathe = 550 CFM, Jointer = 532 CFM
img_20170107_113447The two jointer numbers are not the same because the machines have different inlet locations and therefore force a different shape in the hose hooked up to them.  The Jet’s inlet is higher up so I was able to reduce the severity of the bends which netted me 30 more CFM.  The lathe piping run kept the same shape.

I was happy to note that the Jet’s lower noise level is very noticeable from my lathe area.  In fact the whooshing noise from the dust hood is pretty much louder than the actual dust collector.

Jet JCDC-2 Cyclone Dust Collector Assembly

img_20170106_202146
Awkwwward.

This past weekend I assembled my new dust collector, Jet’s 2HP cyclone unit.  The whole process took about two hours, most of which was spent getting the “head” (motor/impleller) mounted onto the frame.  That part, when done according to the instructions was honestly hard to do.

As you can see in the photo I used my “shop crane”, a Harbor Freight 1-ton model, to lift the head.  Unfortunately the legs of the shop crane did not allow the cyclone’s frame to be positioned directly underneath the head… they are about the exact same width as the halves of the frame.  So I tipped the two parts towards each other and got them bolted up.  This wasn’t an elegant or safe operation but it worked.  After it was bolted up I was able to tip the dust collector back upright.

If I had to do this over again I would still use my shop crane to lift the head, but I would not have first assembled the two frame halves together.  I would have left them separate and bolted them onto the head while in the air.  Then I would have lowered the dust collector to a horizontal position cradling the head on some the styrofoam it was packed in, and then assembled the rest of the frame.  Tilting it back up could have been assisted by the shop crane.

 

 

Grizzly T26674 Button Repair

Over the last few months I’ve noticed the buttons on my dust remote starting to flake out.  Some days they would require a few clicks to work, other days they would be fine.  Well today the on button totally died.

Because the buttons were getting more and more unreliable over time I had a pretty solid hunch that the culprit were the actual buttons on the remote’s printed circuit board.  So I took it apart, and the on switch when pressed by itself sounded different, less “clicky”.

So I removed both the on and timer down switches and then soldered the timer switch in the on switch’s old home.

t26674-pcb
Repaired PCB with switches moved.  In the background are the two worn out switches.

So on the board you can see the four switch positions S1 – S4:

  • S1: On button
  • S2: Off button
  • S3: Timer down
  • S4: Timer up

I just moved S3 to S1.  And lo and behold my dust collector now turned on with its usual roar!  And amusingly enough that was exact moment the off switch decided to crap out, I had to unplug the whole works.  So I did the same operation with S4 and S2 and fixed that too.

momentary-switch-example
Example eBay listing for the replacement switches

I’m going to replace the timer switches so that I can resell this remote, but it works fine without the timer buttons in place.  On eBay or Amazon just look for 6mm x 6mm x 4.5mm through-hole momemtary switches, they’ll be about $1.25 per 100 shipped from China.  I did some googling for “high quality” switches but really didn’t find anything obvious; but perhaps these more expensive switches from Jameco would be more durable?  Or they might just cost more.

This repair would work for the Grizzly T26673 as well because it would use the same cheap components.

If you are interested in doing this easy repair yourself here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soldering iron
  • Solder, something thin like 0.5mm or 0.6mm diameter
  • Some means to remove the old solder from the switch pins.  “Desoldering wick” will work in a pinch but I’ve always had good luck with a desoldering iron like this one.

Search YouTube for “how to desolder” and you’ll find 1000 videos on the topic.

DMT Dia-Sharp Stone Roundup

Over the last year or two I’ve gradually accumulated 6 of DMT’s 8″ continuous diamond sharpening stones.  I started with Coarse, Fine, and Extra Fine per Paul Seller’s recommendation with a leather strop plus green compound for a hair-popping edge.  Then curiosity compelled me to get the Extra Extra Coarse, Extra-Coarse, and Extra Extra Fine models.  I have not purchased the special Medium stone because it costs $20 more than the other models.  I’ll be using DMT’s shorthand for these throughout this post:

Extra Extra Coarse XX
Extra Coarse X
Coarse C
Fine F
Extra Fine E
Extra Extra Fine EE

This post is basically shitting on those last three models.  I feel that with the C, F, and E models DMT has produced some very effective sharpening plates that efficiently remove metal to the advertised mesh.

The lowest two (XX & X) do remove metal faster than C.  But not that much faster, not $50 faster.  And I honestly have not noticed much of a difference between XX and X.  XX has sort of a bumpy, gravelly feel to it not a sharp feeling.  Yesterday I was straightening out the beefy 2-3/8″ blade on my Woodriver 5-1/2 plane blade, starting with the X plate.  You know the drill, 3/4 of the bevel is done but then the remaining 1/4 has this thin triangular section that slowly wears away.  As I spent minutes upon minutes sharpening away I there wasn’t a noticeable difference in the speed at which that triangle disappeared as I switched between XX, X, and C.  No I did not time this or get very scientific but I was frustrated from a consumer perspective.

At the top end is the EE model.  Out of the box it leaves a scratch pattern much more coarse than E and apparently requires a ton of break-in time to get good.  Some folks on Bladeforums.com have had success, this fellow spent a year breaking in his plate.  Personally I’m not willing to spent that kind of time on a product.  We’re here to make things not sharpen.  Related to this, I recently picked up an 8k Kuromaku Shapton stone and got a mirror finish coming from the DMT E plate in something like 20 seconds.  Super fast and easy.

I did spend some time trying to break in my EE plate, perhaps 15-20 minutes scrubbing with a 1″ square of steel.  It still leaves a pronounced scratch pattern after all that; I’m done with it.

Concluding Remarks

Here’s my quick summary of the plates I’ve used

Extra Extra Coarse Way too slow for something advertised as 120 mesh.
Extra Coarse Slower that it should be, is a bit faster than Coarse.  Also useful for flattening water stones.
Coarse Works quickly enough, leaves a healthy surface
Fine Works great
Extra Fine Works great, leaves a surface that reflects light but is not mirror-smooth
Extra Extra Fine Not worth the time investment

I feel that DMT’s plates belong in the middle of your sharpening progression.  Paul Sellers does C, F, E + strop.  Rob Cosman goes from a 1k diamond plate right to a 16k ceramic stone.

Serious shape changes can be done with the X or C plates, albeit slowly.  Or you could gently perform those modifications on your bench grinder.  Or you could do them on cheap sandpaper and a flat surface.

On the fine end a strop plus honing compound will get you a very sharp edge but you truly do need to hit it for 50 strokes.  Waterstones are an option here too but introduce more cost especially with the need to flatten them.

I’m going to stick with my C, F, E + Shapton for day-to-day tasks.  I’m keeping the X for waterstone flattening.  XX and EE are heading out to eBay.

Veritas Inset Vise Review

img_20161029_164331
Bench before inset vise installation

I recently finished a new workbench with a face vise on the left and Veritas Inset Vise off on the right.  Most of my bench work is on the medium-to-small size and I wanted a means to secure those pieces to the bench top without clamps.  Most operations will be things like holding the work for assembly or sanding.  I don’t do a lot of hand-planing but when I do I use the face vise.

Benchcrafted’s wagon vise looks pretty sweet but it’s also at least $300.  Making one from scratch is an option but I’d still have to spend some money on the hardware not to mention the extra time on making the darn thing.

img_20161116_213130
Vise installed

So I went with the Veritas option because it wasn’t horribly expensive and the installation looked pretty easy; just rout out a channel for it.  Installation was simple, I used my plunge router with a guide fence to make two parallel grooves forming the edges of the channel and then hogged out the middle.  I screwed up the routing process, cutting out the a 3″ wide channel the full depth leaving hollows underneath the two wings.  Oops.  But this wasn’t a huge deal I just made two spacer pieces to fill that void back, in gluing them in place.

img_20161116_213155
The four 3/4″ dogs

I located the edge of the vise about 2″ from the edge of the bench in order to give more support to either side of the clamped piece.  As you can see I went with round 3/4″ dogs, starting them about 1.5″ from the end of the vise and spacing them every 7″.  The vise allows a spacing of 7-3/4″.  I made mine as Paul Sellers shows in this video.

 

 

So that is where my vise lives, but how well does it work?  I’d say pretty darn well.  My first test was a piece of plywood clamped up between the vise and one of my dogs.  Yanking on it I moved my entire bench before it budged at all.  So it is not lacking at all in the power department, it would easily snap off one of my oak dogs if I really torqued on it.  The work is very resistant to rocking motion too, but for extra stability there one could install parallel bench dogs for an ultra-sturdy triangular holding pattern.  As I said earlier I’ll be using those for mostly light-duty things so I don’t need to get that fancy.

The little toggle handle is kind of cheesy but it’s necessary for the vise top to be 100% flush.  While a wheel would be easier to use it’s really not so hard to quickly spin it around with your finger.. just not as intuitive.

My only real complaint was with the optional 1/4″ jaw that I ordered along with the vise.  Its locating pegs were a bit too close together, preventing the jaw from fully seating into the vise.  To remedy this I had to file away some material on their inside faces.

So overall I’m very happy with this vise.  It works very well and due to its simple installation it can retrofitted into existing benches.  After spending a few weekends building this workbench I was very glad to be able to install the vise in one evening!