I suppose it would be wrong of me not to share this on here given that there are so few of these about now.
Some of you will read this, others will flick past the walls of text just to see the pictures. Both are fine, Ive done the same myself don't worry!
For those of you who do decide to read it all then you will probably know just how special every saw you have ever used was.
This is a story about all of those I have come across and how it ended up here with the Wadkin Pk.
I started out life as a Cabinetmaker but approx 8yrs ago called it a day as I needed to follow my true passion which is Mechanical Engineering.
The Cabinetmaking side was an aid as initially I started producing NLA Aluminum castings for Exotic cars. It went from there to F1 R+D/Tech Writing and then I fell into Consumer Electronics - assisting startup companies in Silicon Valley come up with new novel processes to make said products. The rest is history.
Always I had lusted after the Wadkin Pk since my old boss from 2000 had a picture of one on the office wall. This was long before we got the internet here in Ireland so getting one was near impossible as it was solely based on word of mouth. This meant you heard about it after 20 other people heard about it and the machine was snapped up before you could even ask what colour it was.
My first table saw comprised of a 9'' Makita mounted upside down in a table(haven't we all done that...). I suppose my inspiration for this came from looking at the adds in the back of the Practical Householder magazines I used to buy at jumble sales as teenager. In 1997 I wrote to a man by the name of George Lewin. He was the brains behind the Triton 2000 work center and based in Australia. I asked him for all the info he could give me so that I could build my own. He was a gentleman given that he must have known I could not afford one of his work centers at the time. George sent me a VHS tape of the official workcenter 2000 product launch and also various films taken inside the factory at the time. The material was a big help in designing my first Makita powered table saw and for that Im forever greatfull to him. Looking back, in many ways his entrepreneurial ethic inspired me far beyond woodwork but that's not what this thread is about. One thing I am sure of though, that it was the biggest factor in bringing out my Engineering side in later life.
I still have the VHS tape he sent me coming up on 20yrs later-
I have no picture of my saw mentioned above as it was before the camera in hand era but it worked well and was constructed of resin impregnated mdf, and 1'' box iron.
About 2yrs later in 1999 I took a job in a local builders store which made kitchen cabinets in the back half. About 3 months in I was given the word that they had purchased a new Altendorf F45 and that I was going to be the only one insured on it. I was just 16 at the time so just scraped by on the age forms. It was built on site by a small team of Germans and they told us it was the first model of its kind to be exported to Ireland. To use it was a privilege and I must thank my old boss for having faith in me at such a young age. The saw had a 10ft carriage, servo controlled scoring unit, and hydraulic foot pedal rise/fall/tilt. Coming home in the evenings resorting back to using my homemade table saw was a major come down so something had to change.
By this time I had enough money to buy my first real table saw. It was around 2001 although internet was semi main stream I still had no pc. Out came the biro and notepad again to write to possible manufacturers that could supply me with something in my price range.
I ended up settling on a Scheppach ts4010. It was the new model right after the brown top models. She had decent depth of cut, a manly large blade(at the time) anodized tables, scoring unit, and a nice sliding table. I cant remember what it cost at the time but approx 2,700 Punts sounds about it.
About 6months in I started to notice its faults and they came fast and heavy. The main one was how bad the dust extraction was - dust would fill the cabinet and jamb up the rise and fall mechanism preventing blade lowering. The sliding table also wobbled at its full cross-cut width. This I improved with an out rigger arm but as time went on I knew I could build a better saw myself for a quarter of the price of a saw twice as good as the 4010.
I sold the Scheppach after a yr of service in as new condition and got nearly all my money back. Before I sold it I had been designing my own table saw on paper. I took some time off and built the saw with just a welder, drill, and angle grinder. I had no cnc mill at the time, or foundry setup so I had to be sure I could make everything with simple tools and off the shelf bearings and parts. It cost about 1000 Punts at the time.
It had a 350mm blade, 3hp motor, and a 4ft sliding carriage. Given that I was doing no pattern work at the time I built it without the blade tilting feature. I could count on one hand how many times I tilted the blade on the Scheppach. I was used of using angle sleighs on the Makita table saw and continued to use those on the Scheppach for special jobs - mainly Kitchen hoods/Canopy's.
The homemade tablesaw below served me well for 13 odd years until present day. Its extraction system worked very well, and it never gave any trouble. It had approx 112mm depth of cut, 1/2'' Formica covered steel top, and a sturdy sliding table(not pictured).
Here it is after cutting its last ever piece of wood - crown guard, sliding table, riving knife and outrigger table have all been removed already,
The innards.....those of you that are sharp will notice the two Vw Mk2 Golf tierods as part of the rise/fall linkage....
I had of course located and purchased a Wadkin Pk at this point and had started to tear down the old saw above. Since I dont do any woodwork nowadays for commercial gain I could be without a saw for a few weeks no problem. I wanted to rebuild the Wadkin Pk on the same site as the old saw so it had to be moved anyway. The old blue saw now sits on the scrap pile all chopped up in small pieces. So much timber went through this machine, the projects holding many memories - onwards and upwards.
I found the Wadkin Pk on Ebay while sitting at the Gate in San Fran Airport. I was skyward bound so placed a bid. I knew that it was a dangerous auction to take part in as I was going to be spending the next 40hrs ish in the air with a stop here and there for only a few hours at a time. I had to watch this one closely! I checked the auction a few different times in places I cant remember and I was still the highest bidder. On landing back home I saw the last 50 seconds of the auction - the saw was mine for the approx cost of 1200STG. If the truth be known I would have paid twice this - you know how it is when you make your mind up and want something
Amidst the madness of the Dublin Web Summit which I was participating in I managed to figure out how to get the saw from the Uk, to the West coast of Ireland. A truck was on its way for the small fee of 160euro
I could barely wait for the saw to arrive. After all these years oggling the poster in my bosses old office I was finally going to own one. I didn't care what the saw had or had not - I could make whatever was missing. From the Ebay add I spotted it was running the PP crown and was missing the quadrant + Infill- no big deal. I was intending making my own crown guard with extraction anyway(this saw lives near a cnc mill), the quadrant, I could replicate or make my own design via casting. Im not an originality queen as long as parts work correctly and look of the era.
The one major hurdle I had to cross was the phase issue. The Wadkin Pks are three phase as you know but I dont have three phase. Neither do own, or like the idea of phase converters in the proximity of my Hurco cnc machine. Im not going to get into this now but this PK had to run single phase. I also liked the idea of having the only Wadkin PK true single phase saw in existence (I think).
Since nothing in terms of Engineering possibilities scares me I ordered up a 5hp 2800rpm cap start, cap run motor. These are about 400euro and I knew that it must be possible take the armature and stator out of the single phase motor, and build it into the 3 phase motor casing inside the PK. It was indeed possible although a bit of a chance on ordering a motor blind hoping the stator size was a bit larger than the PK stator. You can turn down stators a bit to fit into casings, but its not so easy add material!
This all in turn means that I have a standalone saw for life that does not rely on convertors, or Inverters. Just plug in and go reliability.
So, here is the build so far - its pretty much done to be honest but Ill document the finer points in more detail later when I set about making the miter fence.
Here she is fresh on the truck back from Uk,
Here are the shots from ebay add, its been painted a few times very badly in various greens,
Off the truck the stripping and cleaning starts,
I have no photos of any cleaning - its an awful job as you know. I used stripper, and a grinder with a cup brush. Its a pretty early Wadkin Pk as you can see - tilt hand wheel sitting on a smaller plate than most later Pks. There was no filler as such on the main castings - just paint and lots of it. EVERYTHING got stripped off, inside, underneath, outsides..
Notice small tilt wheel plate,
I don't like super bling on machines - so I just wire brushed bolt heads and all steels and left them at that. I kinda like the look of how they would have been leaving the factory,
Still have to do rise handwheel in this shot - fitted for operation/setting. Horn handles of course as with a lot of old machines, wheels are cast iron too,
The all important plate, states PKA, and # 554 , A standing for Ac standalone Motor.
The motor is the early one made by Hueston Electric Motor Company UK. (BTH) I don't have any pictures of the motor, or the internals of the single phase conversion - hard to believe. I do however have these below,
Here is the stator pushed out of the Wadkin PK casing, two grub locators hold it in plus approx 4 thou interference fit. With the grubs removed and the casing heated too hot to touch it just slides out under its own weight.
Pressed off the armature from the old spindle pretty easily too.
I passed the point of no return with the new shiny motor pretty quick....since its cap start cap run the 6 legs had to be extended and the caps positioned in the control box cast into the Wadkin Pk base cabinet. For anyone who doesn't know - the 5hp motor below is 112 frame, so pretty large. 112 stands for 112mm from foot mount face to spindle center.
Noting the wiring and direction before removal,
Legs removed from casing,
To save damage, I zipped along case with a dremel - this made withdrawing stator a breeze,
Lot left over - I got what I needed. I wonder is it still covered under warranty in its new home?!
You can just make out zip line with dremel @ 3 o clock,
Because this is cap start cap run I had to remake the centrifugal switch that switches off the start cap once its near running speed. This involved removing it from its original shaft below along with the armature, and cnc machining a new larger diameter housing for it so that it would slide onto the Wadkin spindle. I also had to bore out the single phase armature by 3mm(1.5per side) so that it would slide onto the wadkin spindle also.
Here is what I removed from the Single phase motor below. The armature took 26.4tons pressure before it slid off the shaft.
It went back onto the Wadkin Pk spindle with 2 thou clearance fit. The original armature was keyed with a 7'' long key, because its now 65 odd years later chemical bonding has come along way so after filling in the keyway with a strip of steel the new armature got bonded on with Loctite 638. This came highly recommended by my friends in F1, Boeing, and also GE. 5hp is pretty small torsional loads on the grand scheme of things plus theres a lot of material surface area so I have no doubts about the bond ever failing.
I got very lucky with the single phase stator diameter. It was just 10 thou too big for the Wadkin Pk motor casing - that was giving it 4 thou interference fit.
To machine down the stator my old lathe I use for weird jobs and also for welding came into play. Its max speed is set around 60rpm(variable)
Because the stator is made from many lamination's for eddy current restriction I chose to grind the outer surface rather than try cut it. I feared by cutting that the outer lamination's may be disrupted and tear. With grinding, no such cutting pressure exists.
For grinding I just mocked up the grinder on the top slide and gave it a few passes back and over. A tapered mandrel locked the stator to a chuckable center shaft. The live center(not pictured) kept everything true.
The biggest job was wrapping the lot to keep the ceramic coated wires grit and spark free.
The motor got reassembled and the caps + connector sited to the rear control box on the Wadkin Pk cabinet. The start relay, as well as a low amp breaker for coil circuit got added in there too. An overload for relay - not yet fitted is on its way too.
I made a new riving knife out of some 316 stainless on the cnc,
I made up new tufnol strips along table and blade edges. I thought about brass, then Iroko, but settled on this in the end. The slide surfaces where the rollers run on on the F45 Altendorf used this material so its up to it I feel.
The blade is new and from Atkinson Walker in the Uk,
I did away with the slotted adjustable shield and added a 1.5mm sheet metal panel inside the blade flask. It doesn't take from the look of the saw as the flask still fits but cuts down 10 fold on the amount of dust that likes to exit everywhere on the Wadkin Pk,
it also gives it a safer feel when the blade is tilted and the table extended should any offcuts drop down,
I still have to add a small nylon block + brush in this area to totally make the dust extraction efficient,
As you can see below, after ripping 10 odd planks a tiny bit of dust makes it outside the 1.5mm plate and into the flask,
I also have to cast up an adapter from the above to fit a 5'' hose - easy job over Christmas.
The Pk crown carrier, with PP crown fitted,
Switch - not sure about the red, will prob change to black,
As you can see I also painted the underpinnings of the carriage in red - I had it done first with the tops + sides left unpainted, but then decided to paint all over. It doesn't effect anything and looks less broken up.
Thats pretty much it for now - I cant tell you how happy I am to finally own my 'teenage dream' but now in my early thirties I finally have one to call my own and boys does it have soul!
I nearly forgot to mention, the saw spent all its life in Boulton & Paul - there's a nice brass plate on there to prove it too - will get a picture over the Christmas,
Over the next few days I hope to lay out the pattern for the miter fence and get it cast. Im not sure what Itll be like yet, but It will have a flip stop, metric scale, and so on. Whether or not Ill go off the table angle inscriptions or make it standalone is something I have to decide yet.
Hope you enjoyed this 'pursuit' and happy holidays all, will add a video of it starting/cutting/stopping shortly.
Absolutely brilliant solution to the motor issue when you don't have 3-phase. I guess most people myself included would have thought the old direct drive motors were permanently 3-phase. Only for someone with some sound electrical knowledge I would have thought. Your method has got to warrant a fuller more detailed article for those that would be brave enough to try it with a little more instruction.
A question - do you think the motor will still generate the full rated output after being tinkered with?
It was pretty easy in fairness - and I dont mean that in a smart way, round peg made a few thou smaller to fit round hole and so on. As for EE, its not the EE Im used of really, here you have various wire colours(and wires!) to guide you so you cant go wrong :mrgreen: :ho2
I have no doubt the motor is churning out same power - none at all.
@Wood, I dont think so - one is enough!!
@Tim, yes - a place I dont go much anymore - things changed too much.