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Thread: power feeder kit

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Colrain MA
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    36

    power feeder kit

    I'm working on a two wheeled power feeder that I plan to selling in kit form. The feeder is light and easily set up. It's powered by a brushless motor drill, slowed down about 3.5X by a two stage wooden gear reduction. Depending on the drill, it's lowest feed speed seems to be as low as about 5 feet per minute.

    I'm planning to offer it as an assemble-yourself kit with all hardware, polyurethane drive rollers, the gears, CNC machined baltic birch bearing plates, a few of the ancillary wooden holders CNC machined for hardware, all but, if not totally ready for screw together assembly, and complete plans for customizable holders, easily built from nice plywood/and or hardwood by anyone with a tablesaw and a portable drill.

    One holder will position the feeder for typical table saw use, ripping stock, or grooving pieces held down and fed from above. This same holder will work on a router table for jobs like rounding over, or rail/stile cutting. Some of these jobs will be able to be safely and cleanly climb-fed at a steady speed with this feeder. I suspect shaper use will be limited to small cutters, and only jobs that one might consider hand feeding.

    A second holder holds the feeder horizontally for use on a bandsaw for resawing, or use on a table saw or router table for stock fed in a vertical position, like raising panels with vertical panel raising bits, or cutting raised panel type angles on a table saw. The switchover from one holder to another takes about two minutes. Switching from typical table saw use to typical router table use will take less than that.

    Here's a little teaser video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhvJ...ature=youtu.be
    of the feeder feeding 5" wide cherry on my Davis&Wells band saw. The blade is a Lennox 1/2" 3 tpi Trimaser, but it's actually pretty dull, and the cut experiences a little more flutter and resistance than it would with a relatively sharp blade. Still, I think the hands-free feed gets the message across. This is a capable little bugger!

    In the video I have it mounted on the inside of the blade, because that's how I have always done my resawing, but most people will probably prefer to mount the feeder on the other side, with the fence on the inside. In that configuration, the feeder can be used for resawing on a typical 14" band saw with the usual 6"resaw capacity. The feeder has a hand wheel that creates 1/16 " movement of the wheels per revolution, with a total of 2" horizontal travel (in the band saw position) so you'll be able to clamp the feeder to the table and adjust it for every cut in a few seconds by turning the hand wheel, while reducing a 2" thick billet to veneers. Spring hold down pressure allows for maybe 1/16" variation in billet thickness without significant change in feeding pressure.

    The next prototype will have feed wheels on both sides of the gear box, so it will have three (or possibly four) wheels bearing on the wood, creating hold in and feed pressure across about a six inch span. This should help on wider stock, but as the video shows, 5" wide stock can be fed with just the two-inch wide wheels' contact. Commercial band saw feeders use just one wheel on a pivoting spring loaded holder, but my feeder can be quickly adjusted parallel to the fence, so both wheels can be engaged at once.

    I'm aiming for about $125 price for the kit, plus shipping of about a ten pound package. I'm posting this now to get feedback from the most knowledgeable and friendliest group of woodworkers I know of. So, thoughts? Anyone interested?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    160
    Hi Al,
    This looks like a very interesting accessory. Could you post some photos showing your feeder mounted onto a router, and also onto a table saw. I am particularly interested in the router application. I checked out your video - I'm impressed with the nice smooth operation. Will you be offering your plans separately, and if so - will you be including the VCarve/Aspire files for those who wish to cut their own gears, side plates, and any of the other parts that lend themselves to CNC cutting? I think that there are many of us who already have the CNC router capability, and might be interested in a kit that includes the plans/construction manual along with the other hard parts (exclusive of the gears, side plates, and other wooden parts). I took a look on Ebay and I did not find any kits or plans for a small power feeder - so I think the market is wide open for a product such as yours when it comes to market - for both the plans and various versions of your kit. Good luck with this and please keep us posted with your progress.
    David

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    West Lafayette, IN
    Posts
    5,060
    Very interesting. Iíve always been interested in a feeder but usually itís quite an investment and a lot are 3 phase when used ones come up.

    Iím guessing the buyer provides their own cordless drill? Can corded drills be used?

    On the video, i thought sparks were flying out of the feeder for a minute!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Beantown
    Posts
    2,744
    I've spent a fair amount of time using power feeders on saws and shapers over the years. Here's my opinion for what little it's worth.... power feeders need to be built heavy and really be sturdy to do their job safely. They need a lot of pressure to ensure that parts are held fast against the table or fence. For many operations they also need to have a decent amount of power, a small lightweight feeder might be only 1/2 hp, which is still much more powerful than a drill. Building a light duty cobbled together version for the masses may not be the best idea.... I really don't know? So I'd recommend being careful how you market it and being very clear on its capabilities. Also I think your on the right track selling it in a kit form. The more you can do to limit your exposure to liability the better. This is the type of thing that could really be problematic when it comes to folks mis-using it and getting hurt and/or having things broken. So the more you can do to protect yourself from the inevitable lawsuits the better

    good luck,
    JeffD

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Colrain MA
    Posts
    36
    Thanks for the warnings!

    The Comatic Baby Feeder, which is the closest thing on the market to the little bugger
    I hope to be offering, is 1/8 HP, 1.2 amps, less power than a Black and Decker 1/4 sheet
    sander. Like mine, it's aimed at hobbyists and specialty uses, not for production runs (or
    even a single pass!) of raised panels on your 10 HP Martin with a 5 inch cutter.
    One Creeker mentioned in a thread here he owns 6 of them.

    But there are things small feeders can do really well, and mine sets up and adjusts quickly --something
    the Baby Feeder definitely does not, and it weighs less than half what the Baby Feeder weighs. Not unimportantly,
    the kit should be about half the price of Jessem table saw stock guides,
    and less than 1/3 the cost of a Baby Feeder.

    Its fence-mounting form for the table saw and router table is a bit like the long defunct
    Delta unifeeder: http://vintagemachinery.org/pubs/detail.aspx?id=5825. The Unifeeder
    used a clunky AC motor and a medieval-looking speed reduction system.

    Brushless motor drills have high torque at low speed, and are controlled by little circuit boards to perform tricks other drills can't.
    I doubt this will work with a corded or brushed motor cordless drill.

    I was inspired to make this after seeing two videos:
    The first of them : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPiaduBZHRU
    introduced me to the potential of the brushless motor drill, and dispelled any ideas of what a power feeder needs to look like.

    The second one provided the essential form of what I'm offering.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSTo6SeSssQ
    He used a commercial gear reduction unit and a corded drill. Many people asked him for plans.
    I dialogued with him and got his blessing before launching upon my plan.


    It won't be for everybody, but I think it will be useful in many places. It should, for instance, be able to be
    quickly clamped to a job site tablesaw for ripping stock or helping manage plywood.

    It'll be really useful for router tables, especially router tables too small or light to
    accept even the Baby Feeder, and for resawing it's just plain fantastic. My friend
    and neighbor, furniture maker and frequent Fine Woodworking Magazine writer Tim Coleman,
    thought it would be worthwhile even as a band-saw-only device, and he wants one.

    I plan to write an extensive user manual, full of caveats about all the ways misusing a
    small power feeder can be dangerous, especially climb feeding. I've talked with my insurance
    provider and gotten their OK. Still, if anyone has any specific advice about limiting my liability, or even
    more warnings about why I should abandon this plan, I'm totally open to hearing from you!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Northern Virginia
    Posts
    501
    There was a time (before i had a bunch of power feeders) when i was considering trying to build a power feeder. I likely would have been all over this. It seems well suited to router tables and smaller bandsaws, it kind of reminds me of a unifeeder.

    I would not suggest using it on a shaper though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Tucson, Arizona
    Posts
    160
    Quote Originally Posted by Jared Sankovich View Post
    There was a time (before i had a bunch of power feeders) when i was considering trying to build a power feeder. I likely would have been all over this. It seems well suited to router tables and smaller bandsaws, it kind of reminds me of a unifeeder.

    I would not suggest using it on a shaper though.
    I totally agree with you Jared. This looks like a great feeder for those specific applications. I have not seen anything else like this on the market.
    David

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Phoenix AZ
    Posts
    70
    I’m interested- keep us posted!
    ďLearn what you can control and what you cannot..Ē Epictetus, 100 A.D.
    It costs nothing to be kind to others

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    SE Michigan
    Posts
    1,975
    Interested as well. For my use, I’d want to confirm it works on a contractor size table saw (which I believe you said it would). As you know, there’s not a lot of room on one of these saws in front of the saw blade. I also do my re-sawing on my contractor table saw...so I’d be interested if it had the power to move a board with a fully extended saw blade doing a non-through cut.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Colrain MA
    Posts
    36
    Yes, it will be able to be used even on a job site table saw. For typical ripping or grooving work, my final design will allow for the wheels to straddle a properly elevated 10" saw blade, so fence mounted, the feeder will simply move with the fence for different widths. For resawing on a table saw the feeder is best mounted with the wheels horizontal, the same way it would be used on a band saw. For table saws with t-slotted mitre gauge slots t-slotted blocks with bolts allow easy clamping of the feeder's holder, and other saws will need tapped holes or clamps. Once in place, the hand wheel will allow 2" of side to side movement.

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