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By bp122
Good evening, all

Hope you all are well.
This would be my first post in metalworking, I suppose.

I am building a T-square style table saw fence for my table saw (the fence it came with has irritated me for a long time now, it is time for a "proper" upgrade)

Anyway, I almost have the design ready (will need to take from the sketches to some welding drawings)
But it involves some welding
1. a rectangular tube to an angle along its length (overall 1200mm long, I was thinking equally spaced 5 or 6 welds of 40mm each, suggestions welcome)
2. T square itself (250mm long angle welded to a 3" wide U channel, sandwiching two spacer plates and couple of small brackets to hold the cam lock mechanism)

I have never done any welding apart from a failed attempt to weld a bracket whilst at Uni, 9 years ago! Neither do I have any equipment to learn myself and was really hoping to do this upgrade at the low end of the budget (which will be blown on the materials alone, it seems)

So I am asking / begging for help from anyone in this forum who lives in or around Aylesbury/Thame/(even Oxford) who wouldn't mind helping out by teaching me the basics of welding, just enough to complete my project and potentially offer the use of equipment (fully supervised of course)

Or am I asking too much here?

Also, any suggestions on the best place to get really small quantities of Steel channels, plates for such a project, without remortgaging the house, would be deeply appreciated.

Thanking you all.
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By MikeG.
If this new fence relies on the welded parts for their accuracy, then you may have a problem. Heating steel distorts it, so even if you set everything up perfectly at right angles, after you've welded it you may well find that your straight edge is now curved. Obviously pro welders can mitigate this, (they use heat sinks, and years of acquired skill and training), but it's no easy thing for a beginner to deal with.
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I would definitely design around bolting together and give some thought to extruded Aluminium sections, a fence does not have to take any heavy loads just needs to be rigid in construction.

I would say the most important thing to build in is an ability to guarantee or finely adjust the 90 deg. relationship between clamping rail and fence.
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By marcros
I looked at these a few years back. from memory, the fence relies on being fairly accurately welded, but you add in adjustment screws to enable it to be made completely square.

There are a few designs out there that use a toggle clamp instead of welding. There was one in a very old edition of fine woodworking. I have a copy of this somewhere if you can't find an alternative plan but need to find out which edition it was in. It was before the glossy version of the magazine.
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By bp122
Thank you all, for the responses.

After I wrote the post last night, I have managed to make a version of the design with no welding in it. Even that will have the adjustment in two planes, just to be safe.

I think you all are right about the welding, if I attempt this and get it wrong, not only the fence is useless, but also the "already low budget" I have will be completely blown on materials that are now fit only for skip.

On the second part of my post, does anyone know good places to find scrap rectangle tubing and angle irons?

My recent searches on aluminium extrusions have yielded with expensive results, that is why I went with steel, hoping I'd find something from someone's ' unwanted ' pile

Also, regarding the Design, the reason I'm going for strong rails front and back is because I am trying to have the trails support the extension to the table saw which carries my incra router plate and Triton router. I probably will give a single leg support on the free end. When I did a quick analysis, loading each rail (front and back) with 50kg each (which is overkill), the deflection on the far end was 1.9mm without any support.

The goal is to do some more analysis by incorporating the extra leg and see if I can go for smaller angles, this reducing cost of materials and strain on the mounts due to their own weight.

Once I am happy with something, I'll draft a list of materials.
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By marcros
I use metals4u but check the prices elsewhere, and use the custom length option on all lengths (works out cheaper).

they are generally very good for small lengths and non ferrous. I did find them expensive recently on lengths of flat steel, so that is what I mean by checking elsewhere as well.

do you have a picture of your design? I converted by kity 618 by adding 50mm rails front and back (I had to make a bracket to hold this). I was going to make something similar to the very super cool tools plan but with a toggle clamp, but I got lucky with somebody selling their similar fence.
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By bp122
I was looking at metals4u as well, however I found the aluminium warehouse slightly cheaper and they do some mild steel bits as well. Plus, I could collect it to save on delivery as it isn't a million miles away from me. If I finish the revised design by this weekend, I'll have a new list of bits and I can check the prices, I suppose.

Regarding my design, it is #7 on this list:

I considered #1, but still not convinced it will be the right choice. Mainly because I can't support the router table on the rails, that will have to be differently designed. But otherwise a good design, I'd say.
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By AndyT
It's a long time since I have needed to do so, but I have bought odd bits of metal from scrap yards several times. Ready cash is widely understood!

Maybe worth calling in somewhere local to you at a quiet time and asking.
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By bp122
AndyT wrote:It's a long time since I have needed to do so, but I have bought odd bits of metal from scrap yards several times. Ready cash is widely understood!

Maybe worth calling in somewhere local to you at a quiet time and asking.

Thanks for the tip, Andy. Do you mean council recycling centres or do you mean an actual scrap yard?
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By AndyT
An actual scrap yard. Well, three different ones to be strictly accurate - not that I make a habit of this!
It was probably 20+ years ago and I know that scrap yards have had to get more formal about recording who sells them stuff, but they are in business to buy and sell, not just make piles in the yard. I bought some steel tube, some steel strip and some brass strip. Probably beer money for the chap in the yard, but I was happy and it was less daunting than going to a proper steel stockholder who normally sells by the lorry load and asking for just a handful.
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By marcros
bp122 wrote:Lucky you!

How has it performed so far then?

really smooth to slide and solid when locked.

I can't remember the brand of the saw that it came from, but it may be worth seeing if you can make one fit and buying it as a spare part. I think it was the saw brand that came from Woodford tooling. The Harvey looks similar, others may have that same style fence too.
By Sideways
Woodford used to import Harvey machines before Axminster did a deal that gave them exclusive import rights to Harvey machinery. IMO the Harvey saws do have a better fence than most of the Chinese imports, it's a robust affair of steel tube rather than alloy and one of their strengths. it would be interesting to learn the price if you could persuade Axmister to sell you the Harvey rail / fence assembly as a spare :-)