DIY-Laser Guide for Miter Saw

Greetings,
Well, I missed the unadvertised sale on the Delta 36-255L saw at Lowes for $229, wasn't all that impressed by the bevel scale on it anyway, and already own a pretty good 12" CMS already.
I AM interested in adding a laser guide to the CMS however. I like the looks of the LaserKerf, but those ridiculous blade mounted laser washers are a joke. Either way, I'm not ready to pony up $60 - $80 for a glorified laser pointer. But to be sure, I'm tired of trying to manually line up the blade with a cut line.
Being an electronics designer and pretty crafty at such mechanical things, I am pondering the prospect of gutting a $10.00 laser level, building a small AC power supply for it, and mounting it on the saw. Blade alignment mechanisms are not a problem, and the whole assembly could be potted in epoxy when completed.
I could use a standard $5.00 pointer, but would have to add a cylindrical glass refractor to make the dot into a line. This would work, but requires precision gluing of the assembly. The gutted laser level would be much simpler as I can pick up a cheap one for $10.00.
The whole job should take about 2 hours of free time and a few junk box electronic parts.
Has anyone tried this, and how did it work out?
Greg G.
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On Sun, 03 Oct 2004 02:27:29 -0400, Greg G. wrote:
you could probably do a better job of this than I did, so here's an idea for you:
I got spoiled by the laser in the cutoff saw and wanted one on my RAS... $65 for a saw blade laser was unacceptable... I had a $10 laser "picture hanger" (useless) from HF that I took apart and mounted in pieces on the arm of the RAS... It projects a red line across the table, through the blade path... Not very well done and NOT pretty, but it works.. kind of a PITA to have to turn it on/off though, I'm spoiled be the one on the cuttoff..
With your background, I'd be very interested in what you come up with... please keep me/us posted!

Mac
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I recently purchased a Craftsman 28060 circular saw. I've only used it one time for a few cuts but was quite amazed and the first thing that came to mind was "Gee, wish I had one of those on my DeWalt miter saw". I'm interested, please keep the list up to date. Rob Mills
PS, I've seen some very small (probably 5/8 X 2 inches) clamp on self contained battery powered laser gun sights. I believe they were made for BB or pellet guns but looked to be of good quality.
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mac davis said:

OK Folks, here it is!
A Laser Line Miter Guide for $10.00 and some junk parts laying around. You could probably replicate this for $15.00 and two hours time.
Look in alt.binaries.pictures.woodworking for complete details.
FWIW,
Greg G.
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On Sun, 03 Oct 2004 17:06:43 -0400, Greg G. wrote:

Saw it. I like the mounting position you chose and the fact the laser actually paints the real line. I'll put that project on the list right after the digital readout for the planer.

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Mark & Juanita said:

Saw it... that's a good one. Yes, it does "saw it" just fine. ;-)
I thought the PC/Delta version was a little crowded - too many lines. The aftermarket blade washer type is a joke - it won't even shine through most blade guards and maintain a proper line. In addition to the fact that the line is 1/16" or so off to the left of the mark. Then there are the reliability issues. Besides, do you *really* want a piece of Chinese pot metal and plastic holding that big, sharp blade in place - spinning around at 4,000 RPM in close proximity to your head? I think not!
Do I detect a touch of sarcasm in that last sentence? Hmmm... Perhaps not... That might be kinda handy! I'll get right on it.
<scribble, scribble... optical slot wheel, infra-red opto-coupler, PIC microcontroller to convert ticks to fractional inches, backup power supply to hold settings while planer unplugged, 1 line x 25 LCD panel and language interface... scribble, scribble...>
FWIW,
Greg G.
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On Mon, 04 Oct 2004 02:26:31 -0400, Greg G. wrote:

Sorry, you missed the thread a couple weeks ago in which we were discussing adapting a DRO to a planer. Here's a link to one source: <http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&categoryA939&item843610956&rd=1
I'm still trying to find something not on e-bay

I'd look at something pre-built first. Just need to find one from somewhere other than e-bay.

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Mark & Juanita said:

Yea, I missed that one. Sometimes I'm here every day, and then months laspes before I return. Life's kinda like that - a roller coaster ride that alternates between boredom and exitement; busy and slack.
I hadn't thought using a quill DRO. There is one drawback - if the thing loses it's zero setting when powered off, you would have to recalibrate it every time you use it - not something I would want to do. I'm not certain how you would calibrate a DRO quill meter on a planer, 'cause they don't allow a "zero" setting. Most start at about 3/16" or so. I wouldn't want to do math to arrive at the actual measurement - just another source of stupid errors. ;-)

I've bought stuff from eBay and never been screwed. But keep in mind that this is probably a cheap, Chinese, blister packaged device...
Rockler sells that digital router depth measuring device, but I'm not certain of the "zero" method on it either, and it's around $100.

It's definitely cheaper and easier to use pre-manufactured stuff. In fact, after looking at Mouser and DigiKey for laser diodes, I found that I could buy the whole level and gut it for considerably less.
But when I can't find anything else to do the job, I design something like this:
http://www.thevideodoc.com/preefs5.htm When I get the time, I may invest some time into this project as well. I have to finish roofing and siding the garage first, so it could be December before I get around to it. But it is definitely something I could "get in to."
Ciao,
Greg G.
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On Mon, 04 Oct 2004 23:36:22 -0400, Greg G. wrote:

I was not aware of that. I had thought it kept a reading in a manner similar to a dial caliper. If this is the case, then my original idea of connecting a dial caliper is more viable.

Agreed

Neither am I and I don't have any intention of attempting to do so. I'll have to investigate this further.

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Cripes, I need to use a speel cheker - that last post was littered with misstakes!
Greg G.
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Greg,
I can't find the details. I saw the pictures but no description of the circuitry.
Thanks, Ted
Greg G. wrote in message

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I don't feel those rediculas blade mounted lasers are a joke. A laser needs to do everything the blade will do. If you're cutting at a compound angle, your laser needs to show where the cut line is. I've seen where a laser penlight was adapted to the blade guard and after a few shakes from vibration, it is out of adjustment. My blade mount laser works better than anything I've seen on the market. So why is it a joke?
-- Woody
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Joe "Woody" Woodpecker said:

I'm glad you are happy with it - to each his own. The only original equipment laser on the market even worth considering is the PC/Delta dual laser miter saw. All the others ARE blade arbor mounted lasers.
I believe I covered the pros and cons of each in my original post. To review, Blade Mounted Lasers:
They are battery powered, They require the saw to be ON (spinning) when positioning the wood. The line is 1/16" - 1/8" to the left of the actual cut. They are Chinese mfg pot metal that replace the arbor washer - and as such they do not fit all saws and interfere with some blade guards. They do not project a line through the blade guard without optical distortion. Their reliability is purportedly very questionable. They are $50 and up.
A properly designed frame mounted laser DOES what the blade does. Only an idiot would mount one to the blade guard - it's too flimsy.
They are not battery powered, and require no maintenance once set-up. They operate without the saw blade spinning which is far safer. They work properly at all miter and bevel angles. They mark the ACTUAL blade kerf, not 1/16" - 1/8" to the left. Do not modify arbor design & cause interference with guard movement. Do not depend on guard's optical clarity to properly mark a line. Cost $15 and an hour of time.
FWIW,
Greg G.
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PLEASE Greg,
Tell me the details. I saw the pictures but no description of the circuitry
Ted
Greg G. wrote in message

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I am unable to find the pictures Greg G. posted in his DIY Laser Guide for Miter Saw. If someone can repost or email them to me, I would appreciate it.
Thanks
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