Decked Out Ridgid Model R4511 Table Saw #9: Relocated Tilt Handwheel -- Finally Making It Happen

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Paul Stoops posted 12-31-2011 01:36 AM 9660 reads 13 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 8: Relocating the Tilt Handwheel -- Design Considerations Part 9 of Decked Out Ridgid Model R4511 Table Saw series Part 10: Tilt Indicator Redesign »

My Turn-The-Corner-Thingy Selection

My first choice was to use a small right angle gearbox, but I was unable to come up with any miniature ones with my Google searches. Fellow LJer DIYaholic pointed out some really skookum looking ones yesterday from sources that I somehow missed when I was searching. (Thanks, Randy – I tucked those references away in my Turn-The-Corner-Thingy file for future projects.) Had I seen them, I might have gone that direction. The only right angle gearboxes I could find were too large and cost half as much as my saw!

But in spite of that, my Turn-The-Corner-Thingy quest has come to a successful conclusion! The winner is the Milescraft Drill 90 Right Angle Drill Drive, Model #1390, which I purchased at my local Lowes store for less than $20. That said, there are other similar products that would probably work just as well, such as the compact Milescraft Drive 90 #1302 suggested yesterday by LJer Kiefer. Please don’t let my choices limit your thinking.

Note that my selected Milescraft product is very similar to the Vermont-American Model 17172 suggested by LJer DIYaholic yesterday. I had seen this V-A model on, but it had some accessories that I knew I wasn’t going to use and the price was a little higher than the Milescraft. I suspect that the two would be interchangeable. But the biggest driver was that I wanted to purchase something that I could get locally so that I could return it easily if it wasn’t going to work for this application.

The Milescraft Drill 90 is a right angle drill drive with 1:1 ratio, powder metal bevel gears and bronze bearings. For this application, I didn’t feel that the plastic case was a detractor because of the intermittent usage, low rotational speeds, and low stress mounting design. The integral chuck would be ideal for gripping the extended Tilt Shaft without having to fabricate or purchase any other adapters. This is not a precision device, but it is more than adequate for this job.

Designing and Packaging the Drive Train

Having selected my Turn-The-Corner-Thingy, I was ready to develop a design for the rest of the drive train, which would meet my previously specified criteria, and a way to package it.

Design Criteria

• Low Cost
• Simple Configuration
• Use Available Components
• Accommodate Possible Shaft Misalignment
• Reduce or Eliminate Lubrication
• Retain Original Handwheel Attachment
• Be Contained within the Envelope of the Saw Table and Fence Rail

The photo below is what I came up with for the Right Angle Drive train. Note that the Part 15 is already installed in the new Tilt Shaft.

Correction: It has been pointed out to me that some of the parts in the Drive Train have been shown out of order in the photo below: Parts #8 & #12 should be shown between the two #11 Flange Bearings. These parts are shown in the correct position in the parts installation photos and in the Concept Drawing.

As I mentioned before, I intended to purchase the Tilt Shaft, Roll Pin, and Cover Plate as Ridgid replacement parts. Some of the other specialized parts, such as the Flex Coupling components and Shaft Collars were purchased from McMaster-Carr online. The other hardware items were purchased at local hardware outlets.

As a side note, I highly recommend McMaster-Carr ( as a source for almost any hardware item you can think of. Their prices are competitive, fast order turnaround, and very reasonable shipping rates. They also have some of the best prices I have found for thin wall PVC S&D ducting fittings, including 6” sizes, for DC system fabrication.

The photo below shows the drive train components assembled in their relative positions similar to the actual installation.

The Coupling Nut was an easy way to attach an extension to the existing Tilt Shaft projecting from the side of the saw cabinet. The extension shaft was the shank from an 8mm hex head bolt. The Jamb Nuts lock the Coupling Nut in place to prevent loosening. The round shank of the extension shaft would be easy to secure in the Right Angle Drive chuck.

I incorporated the Flex Coupling, a low priced assembly, to minimize the effects of misalignment between the Right Angle Drive and the new Tilt Shaft. I was delighted to find that McMaster-Carr carried the necessary components to permit joining the 3/8” shaft on the Right Angle Drive with the new 10mm Tilt Shaft!(Would that be called a Multi-national connection?) The Spider is a Buna – N rubber component that couples the two metal hubs and provides a small measure of flexibility.

The Shaft Collars were incorporated to prevent any lateral movement of the new Tilt Shaft. Operating the Tilt Handwheel could tend to push the new Tilt Shaft inward, putting unwanted stress on the Right Angle Drive. Conversely, locking the handwheel with the Bar Knob would tend to pull the new Tilt Shaft outward, disengaging the Flex Coupling.

The Spyraflo Flange Bearings are a unique design in that the bearing surfaces are made from Acetal (Delrin), an engineered plastic material that is widely used in industry for low load bearing, low friction, precision bearings. These bearings are also self aligning and will tolerate up to 5º misalignment – a low cost product with amazing specifications! The Acetal bearing material is a product with a low coefficient of friction and requires no additional lubrication.

The flat steel and nylon washers were provided to produce low friction, rotational “thrust” bearing surfaces.

Right Angle Drive Train Installation

As shown below, a three-sided, open top (and bottom) box was fabricated and attached to the inside of the back and the right side of the storage cabinet. So that the storage cabinet would fit tightly against the saw cabinet, a counterbore was drilled in the outside of the storage cabinet back to accommodate the thickness of the original Cover Plate. An oversize hole was drilled thru the cabinet back to allow access to tighten the rear Jamb Nut. The photo shows the Coupling Nut with the extended Tilt Shaft and Jamb Nuts installed.

The photo below shows the Milescraft Drill 90 Right Angle Drill Drive installed on the extended Tilt Shaft. Note the oversize access hole in the side of the cabinet to allow clearance for installation and removal of the Right Angle Drive with the Flex Coupling Hub installed. The Right Angle Drive Hub was approximately centered in the side opening. The open top and bottom of the enclosure allowed tightening of the chuck on the shaft extension. I chose to leave the angle drive handle attachment bolt through the housing in place. I had originally considered using the bolt to attach the drive, but found it wasn’t necessary.

As shown in the following photo, a separate external enclosure was built for mounting the Flange Bearings and housing the rest of the drive components. The bearing supports were fabricated and drilled as a matched pair, minimizing alignment problems. Note that the Flex Coupling is clearly visible and that the two Shaft Collars sandwich the flat anti- friction washers and the Inner Flange Bearing. These components were installed with full engagement of the Flex Coupling components and adjusted to produce minimal lateral movement of the new Tilt Shaft, while maintaining free rotation. Note the Right Angle Drive is unattached on one end, constrained only by the Flex Coupling – this design minimizes the stress applied to the Right Angle Drive in operation. The Flex Coupling is self adjusting, accommodating any minor misalignment of components.

After installation of the drive train components, the external box position was adjusted visually to produce the best alignment of the Flex Coupling, minimizlng misalignment between the Right Angle Drive and the new Tilt Shaft, and clamped in place. Permanent attachment of the external box to the cabinet side was then done with screws from inside the storage cabinet.

The external surfaces of the box were covered with 5mm Birch underlayment plywood to improve appearance. I didn’t like the appearance of a square box that looked like it was just stuck to the side of the storage cabinet, so I added some sloped panels to make it more aesthetic— strictly foo foo—they serve no other purpose other than to make it harder for dust to stick to them. A removable access panel was incorporated into the side of the box to allow installation, removal, and adjustment of the drive train components.

The photo below shows the Outside Flange Bearing installation. The pairs of Flange Bearing mounting holes were oriented at 90º to each other. Note the screwdriver access holes for installation of the Inner Flange Bearing mounting screws. The Cover Plate, not shown in the photo, was installed over the large hole in the face of the enclosure. Installation of the Access Cover, Tilt Handwheel, and the Bar Knob completed the assembly.

The Relocated Tilt Handwheel

So for all of you folks who have been waiting with bated breath……… is what the Front-Mounted Relocated Tilt Handwheel looks like! It is totally contained within the envelope of the front overhang of the table and fence rail and the front of the storage cabinet. In addition, there is no interference with adjacent front-mounted machine components, such as the Power Switch, Elevation Handwheel, and Tilt Indicator. The Relocated Tilt Handwheel operates smoothly, with no more effort than when it was mounted on the side of the saw — but it sure is a heck of a lot handier to use!

The Handwheel Twins

Kinda looks like a poor man’s version of the new Delta Unisaw……………..!

Bits and Pieces and $$

So now your next questions are going to be, ”What are the parts? Where can I buy them? and What do they cost?” So here are some answers. You may find that substituting other parts will work just as well. Keep in mind that these are the parts I used for the Model R4511 doing a similar modification to another saw may require different parts and hardware, especially for adapting to the existing tilt shaft.

What If My R4511 Doesn’t Have a Storage Cabinet or I Have a Different Saw?
The obvious answer is 1) you could add one, or 2) you could find a Model 4511 on Craigslist and change saws……………!!

But let me suggest a third alternative for relocating the Tilt Handwheel to the front of almost any tablesaw.

Firstly, purchase the component parts listed above or equivalents to fit your particular saw. Altho the Flex Coupling could be omitted, I would recommend including it because working with wood usually isn’t as precise as dealing with metal components, although with care it can be done.

Secondly, design and build a suitable enclosure for the drive components you have selected. Sometimes it is best to have the hardware in hand before fabricating anything so that you can be sure that everything is going to fit together.

As a starting point design, you might consider the concept below:

I would add a thin plywood or hardboard cover to the top and bottom to increase the rigidity of the enclosure and preclude dust and debris. At least one of the two covers should be removable to allow access for installation and removal of the drive train components. I would also make the two sides of the enclosure adjacent to the saw cabinet at 1 to 2 inches larger top and bottom to provide a flange for attachment of the enclosure to the saw cabinet.

WARNING!! This is only a conceptual drawing—the actual dimensions of the enclosure and the placing of components will depend upon the configuration of your saw and the drive train components selected.

Well, we have finally come to the end of this chapter. But, stay tuned…........there’s more to come!

This phase of the equipment upgrade was an interesting one for me— and will be right up there near the top of my favorite changes to this tablesaw. One of the things that delights me the most is that I was able to put it together with available parts and wood scraps in the shop. And the only part alteration was to cut off the head of the bolt I used for the extension shaft and cut off the excess length of the purchased Tilt Shaft. I hope others will find this information useful. If so, please let me know—and be sure to show us some pictures if you decide to take this adventure…................

Please feel free to leave comments or constructive suggestions. All questions will be answered. And if you find any errors in the material callouts or part numbers, etc., please let me know so I can make corrections.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

21 comments so far

View jaydubya's profile


183 posts in 4056 days

#1 posted 12-31-2011 05:15 AM

Nice, im wondering if I could adapt this idea to my saw, but have the wheel come out the front of the saw…

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3805 days

#2 posted 12-31-2011 05:30 AM

Hi jaydubya,

Sorry, you lost me—since this modification does make the handwheel come out the front of the saw, I assume you mean out the front of the saw cabinet without having an accessory enclosure on the side. If that is the case, it would probably be much more difficult, since you would have to work within the confines of the cabinet and worse yet somehow get around the internal mechanisms—trunnions, tilt and elevation worm drives and quadrants, motor and mounting, etc. Probably not impossible, but I would think very challenging.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View jaydubya's profile


183 posts in 4056 days

#3 posted 12-31-2011 05:42 AM

Yes, I was talking about the saw cabinet itself. My tilt handwheel actually comes out the right side of the saw so Im wondering if it wouldnt be a little easier

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3805 days

#4 posted 12-31-2011 05:58 AM

Keep in mind that the concept drawing can be inverted to make it work for a right hand tilt handwheel. However, you would still have an enclosure of some sort on the right side of the saw instead of the left.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View DIYaholic's profile


19921 posts in 3919 days

#5 posted 12-31-2011 07:09 AM


I am finding your blog very informative and entertaining. Your explanations, documentation and tips/insights are engaging and well written. I am truly enjoying looking over your shoulder as you upgrade your saw into a design & engineering work of art.
You have talent! Please keep up the excellent work. I eagerly await your next installment…...

With that being said, I still need a new tablesaw!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procrastination a bad thing?

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3805 days

#6 posted 12-31-2011 07:41 AM

Hi Randy,
Thanks for the kind comments. I worked as an engineer in the R&D field for 40+ years and documentation of our work was part of the job I always enjoyed. Now days with the advent of really good, affordable digital cameras, it is really easy. I take a lot of pics of all of my projects (and throw away most of them) because I have found it a really good reference of the details of past projects, which may not be visible or available anymore, and something I can share with my fellow woodworkers. I see a lot of folks doing a good job of photo documenting their projects. It sure makes it easy to share projects and ideas on the internet forums. I love to see pics of other people’s work—it inspires me and gives me more ideas than I have time to build…......:-)
I’m getting some hints from LOML that blogging is great, but maybe it is time to work on my Honey Do list pretty soon! She’s a patient sweetheart!
Hang in there and keep looking for a good saw value—there are a lot of good used ones for sale.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View falegniam's profile


335 posts in 4197 days

#7 posted 01-02-2012 08:00 AM

I love your work, and recognized the field you must of worked in since I worked in drafting and with engineers for some years. When i saw the detailed drawing, it gave it away, and said…this guy is an engineer, or was one. I still use an old version of cad to do my designs for projects. The kitchen cabinet i posted is one that I built right to spec, and I use the cabinet daily. I have the same saw, and particularly like the bottom portion of the modification you did. You are absolutely correct about the saw being unstable with the “short wheel base” if you will. The extra storage must be nice. I also wanted to add that using a right angle drill head was a very good idea. Thank you for uploading your projects, i enjoyed viewing and reading about them. :)

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

View b2rtch's profile


4921 posts in 4293 days

#8 posted 01-02-2012 03:54 PM

Looks beautiful.
Excellent and thank you for the very detailed information.
I use Mc Master Carr at work daily, they are excellent.

-- Bert

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3805 days

#9 posted 01-02-2012 07:22 PM

falegniam—You are very observant! Yes, I am a retired engineer and worked in the R&D field for 40+ years. I am old school and only use 2D CAD drafting for all of my projects. I guess I am too lazy to try to learn new software to work with 3D—tho I have tried it. I learned drafting in the “olden days” as my kids would say, using a T-square and triangles, so 2D orthogonal projection is much easier for me to visualize. I find that making CAD drawings of my projects to scale makes it really easy to make changes by cutting and pasting, or overlaying different parts to make sure they are going to fit one another. I make enough mistakes as it is, so using the CAD drawings helps minimize that! However, I have the failing that frequently I make changes in the design on the fly when I am building a project and neglect to go back and update the drawings! As others have found, when trying to explain something to someone else, it is indeed true that a picture or drawing is worth a thousand words. Thanks for your encouraging comments.

b2rtch —Thanks Bert. I’m glad I had the opportunity to share my ideas and information. I, too used to use McMaster-Carr when I worked. I was delighted to find out that they also sell retail and there is no minimum order restriction.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View Rob Mammen's profile

Rob Mammen

67 posts in 3936 days

#10 posted 01-04-2012 12:17 AM

I am impressed with this modification. the engineering behind it looks to be elcellent. Nice going and thanks for sharing the idea.

-- Rob, You have failed if you have not tried.

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3805 days

#11 posted 01-04-2012 12:44 AM

Thanks, Rob. It really was a rather simple modification to make. I was delighted that I could find off-the-shelf bits and pieces to put it together, with nothing left over but the bolt head and an extra piece of the Tilt Shaft!
It was fun to engineer and it works very smoothly. And it kinda looks like it grew there….......... :-)

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View toolie's profile


2210 posts in 3873 days

#12 posted 01-08-2012 07:10 PM

paul, ever had a problem keeping the RA drill chock tightened on the saw’s bevel rod? and, being pretty cheap (or is it “green”), i’m trying to think of a way to repurpose the column raising mechanism of older (radial 100) craftsman radial arm saw. i’ve removed the column support, elevation crank shaft asembly and the elevation shaft assembly from a c-man RAS. any thoughts you would be willing to provide regarding attaching the TSs bevel rod (similar to that on your 4511) to the elevation shaft assembly rod (part 28 in figure 2 of this manual) would be greatly appreciated.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View toolie's profile


2210 posts in 3873 days

#13 posted 01-08-2012 07:30 PM

paul, one more thing. the MMC part numbers for parts 5 and 7 in the Parts List for Model r4511 Tilt Hadwheel Relocation…..are they actually 6408k13 and 6413k12, respectively? also, is the MMC part number for part number 2 on the parts list actually 93355a105? thanks.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Paul Stoops's profile

Paul Stoops

358 posts in 3805 days

#14 posted 01-09-2012 01:45 AM

Hi toolie,
Altho I appreciate your desire to recycle another piece of equipment, I think you are making it way harder than it needs to be, unless the ~$50 price tag does not fit within your budget. The Milescraft Drill Drive or equivalent, is a very easy modification. I don’t know how large your bevel gear drive housing from the saw is, but even if you don’t use its original housing, you have the problem of supporting and aligning both of the bevel gear shafts. And then the further problem of adapting the R4511 Tilt Shaft to your shaft. I couldn’t tell much from the exploded parts diagram related to the end termination of the shafts. None of that is impossible, but it seems to me that you are putting yourself through a lot of work and it may be difficult to fit your mechanism into the available space. The way I described the modification, you are still able to use your existing Tilt Handwheel and Bar Knob.
To answer your first question, no, slippage of the shaft extension in the chuck was not a problem if tightened securely.
To answer your second question, you missed a digit in both of the part numbers. They should be 6408K112 and 6408K113.
To answer your third question, this time you have too many digits—the number should be 9335A105.

-- Paul, Auburn, WA

View toolie's profile


2210 posts in 3873 days

#15 posted 01-09-2012 02:37 AM

hello paul,
fair enough comment on repurposing the column mechanism of the RAS. the size and weight are also a problem. but i am having a problem finding the MMC parts shown in the parts list.

when i searched the MMC site for 6408k113, here is the page i got:

if there’s a part number 6408k113 on that page, perhaps you can help me find it, because i cannot seem to locate it. also, the prices of the parts that i was able to locate, with the different part numbers i noted, were somewhat higher than those refelected in the parts list. so am i finding the right parts?

i’d really like to add your tilt wheel mod. to my saws, and the “spider coupling” you cobbled together using parts 5,6 and 7 from the parts list are key for it to work. i’d just like to make sure i buy the correct parts. thanks again for the great idea and your assistance.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

showing 1 through 15 of 21 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics