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Enco / RF-128 4x6 Bandsaw Mods

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darkzero

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#1
When I got my first mini lathe I quickly learned that cutting bar stock with the strong arm method was not going to last long. I was going to pick a HF bandsaw until my buddy found me a used bandsaw locally an Enco 4x6 which is a RF-128, made in Tawain. It was practically never used, just sat in the back of some guys garage, still had the stock blade & was never adjusted.


Here it is when I picked it up 2 years ago. Was missing the saw table to be used vertically & the depth stop attachment.
Img_9945.jpg

Img_9939.jpg


Blade cover was damaged but a replacement from Enco was only $15.
Img_9949.jpg


Only thing I've done to it in the past couple of years was adjust blade alignment, change the oil, ditched the stock blade, installed a Fenner Power Twist belt on it, & just use the hell out of it.
Img_5513.jpg


For reference, my favorite blades to use are (they last a long time if used properly):

Titanium 6Al4V (which I cut the most): Lennox p/n 12897D2B51638, 6-10 variable tooth bi-metal, 0.025"
MSC p/n 82909524. Also available at Amazon. $25-$35.

General purpose: Irwin p/n 88508, 10-14 variable tooth bi-metal, 0.025" thickness.
Always on sale at Enco for $14.99, p/n 240-4930.


Here's what I use on the blade & in the gearbox.
Img_6819.jpg



Although I've been wanting a RF-712N or RF-712G clone from MSC for quite some time now, this little guy has been serving me well & has never let me down yet so I'll continue to use it for now until I really need the larger capacity.


Please feel free to share your 4x6 mods & ideas here if you'd like. Been thinking about a hydraulic downfeed mod too but I haven't looked into it much.
 

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darkzero

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#2
I've just been throwing a carboard box under it to catch chips. I've been meaning to finish my pull out tray project for it & now that I have a mill I decided to make better brackets for it than my original idea.


I started out with a couple pieces of alum bar stock & an alum baking pan from Walmart.
IMG_6752.jpg


Milled a slot on each bar to serve as the tray slide.
IMG_6768.jpg

IMG_6776.jpg

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Tapped some holes for the mounting brackets.
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Tapped some holes on the body & mounted them in place.
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Tray simply slides into place & easily removed for clean up.
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I'm pretty happy with it & it works pretty well for being so simple. I'll probably mill the ends of the slides at angle later. Thanks for looking.
 

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GaryK

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#3
Great job on the chip tray. My next purchase is a 4x6 saw.
 

darkzero

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#4
Thanks Gary! You would definitely put it to good use. It's one of those tools that I can't live without. :)
 

PurpLev

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#5
heh, I did almost the exact same thing with a baking sheet although I was lazy and just put the sheet on the shelf. I like the idea of the mount for it as it frees up the shelf for better uses. that's a nice saw, and I wish I hadn't waited so long before getting it (I have the HF version which looks identical to yours by the way in every way - mobile base, guide knobs and all).
 

darkzero

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#6
I have the HF version which looks identical to yours by the way in every way - mobile base, guide knobs and all.
I have heard the older green version of the HF were built much better than the red ones. I do remember seeing one on CL & it does look identical to mine.

I guess I will definitely be keeping mine for a while.....


I added a knob to the tray to make it easier to pull out.
Img_6844.jpg


I've seen many others add extensions or make new jaws for theirs. I thought about that too but figured adding extensions to the existing jaws would reduce capacity a bit. There were a few times where I actually needed more capacity & had to remove the jaws to get the job done.

So I just relocated the "fixed" jaw. Drilled & tapped new holes which gave me about 1/2" more capacity & brought the jaws closer to the blade. No mod needed to the dynamic jaw, just slide it over.

Before:
Img_6867.jpg


After:
Img_6868.jpg


Only downside is that I would have to move the fixed back to the original location if I need to cut an angle which I never had to do yet but that's no big deal. So now I can fit 4.5" between the jaws before the dynamic jaw hits the roller guide & if I adjust the dynamic jaw to clear the guide I can now fit 6.5" between the jaws. I could have squeezed a tad bit more out if it but I'm ok with it now. If I make new jaws I could get 8" between the jaws but I don't need to push it, 6" is the widest I've had to cut so far, plus some other things will have to be modded to get 8" between the jaws.
 

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darkzero

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#7
Finally decided to do something about the "knuckle buster". I quickly learned not to use the handle intended for moving the bandsaw around. Holes in the sheetmetal were so bent out of shape that the handle would always slip & I'd get cut or bruised on the frame.


I hammered the holes flat again but I was still scared to use it. It's just held in with cotter pins.
Img_6984.jpg


Very simple to fix this. Got some shaft collars from Mcmaster.
Img_6989.jpg


Now the handle is nice & solid, can't believe I waited so long to do something about it.
Img_7013.jpg

Img_6992.jpg

Img_6994.jpg
 

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sanddan

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#8
I found that replacing the sheetmetal stand with a welded one that is much stiffer has improved the cut quality.
bandsaw1.JPG bandsaw2.JPG

bandsaw1.JPG bandsaw2.JPG
 

darkzero

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#10
Nice mods, keep em coming! I really need to learn how to properly weld & get a welder!

Any hydraulic down feed mods here?
 

jmh8743

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#11
Truly amazed. I paid $166 for my saw. Replaced motor. It is a good saw and I never thought of the mods you guys have made. Excellent work.

Thank you for sharing.

BUT I did learn how to weld the blades after I ordered a high $ blade 1' too long.

mike
 

PurpLev

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#12
nice work on the stand and vise!

I tried to fit a quick clamping DP vise ,but it's too high and interferes with the bandsaw casting :(

I also have a storm-screen hydraulics that I was thinking of using for the saw,but not sure those are good enough for this purpose... still tinkering with it. will post if I decide to use it with pics.
 

hman

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#13
I got my Delta 4x6 bandsaw in 2009, disliked the base and some other features, and made some changes. The attached PDF describes my mods, as well as offering a setup tip for sawing long pieces of stock.

View attachment SawMods_n_Setup_Tip.pdf

- hman
(John Herrmann)
 

GA Gyro

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#14
Reading on bandsaws... need to get one.

I see in Hman's PDF... (nice build there John!) the Delta bandsaw tips up vertical.

Do most bandsaws do this?
Do they come with a table for vertical use?

THX

GA
 

JimDawson

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#15
The 4x6 bandsaws that are based on the old Delta design and are advertised as Horz/Vert, normally come with a table for vertical use. If you can find an older Jet, they were a pretty good saw. Some of the newer ones from China are questionable IMHO.
 

Rbeckett

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#16
There are any number of forums dedicated entirely to down feeds and mods to improve the 4X6. Any mod you think it needs is easily found with a quick google search. Hope this helps to clear it up a little bit and BTW the Yahoo group for the 4X6 is a good place to start!!!

Bob
 

francist

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#17
Here's the hydraulic I added to mine. The cylinder is one of those Sunshine things that come on the larger 7 x 12's I think, but I have a brother-in-law who works at a tool rebuild place for the oil patch and he scooped it for me. I wasn't sure how it would all come together when I built it, so I allowed for multiple positioning holes on the lower bracket. As usual though, the first hole I tried worked fine so I've never had to make use of the others.

I also replaced the really wimpy motor mount and added a couple of extended-reach bolts/taper pins for the angle adjust on the fixed jaw. Saves having to fiddle with a wrench.

The he challenge now is to attach the pics -- poking the iPad at the right spot can be iffy sometimes! Here goes...

-frank
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg
image.jpg

image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg image.jpg
 

darkzero

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#18
The cylinder is one of those Sunshine things that come on the larger 7 x 12's I think,
Yup, looks just like the one on my MSC 7x12.

20140424_083857.jpg


Nice mods BTW! Man I kind of miss my ol Enco 4x6. It was the best $100 I had ever spent, it served me very well!

Here's some more mods by wquiles whom I know from another forum.

4x6 metal bandsaw stand/base and mods ...
 

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francist

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#19
Thanks Will. On the off chance, have you ever had to add fluid to your cylinder? Mine works but it has always been a bit spongy (probably why it was pulled in the first place) and I often toy with the idea of seeing if topping up the fluid would help. I know they're not built to be serviced though.

-frank
 

darkzero

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#20
I have not added any fluid to mine. When I first took delivery of that bandsaw (purchased new), I noticed when I closed the valve & had it supporting the weight of the head it seeped out a tiny bit of oil. So I took the valve out & didn't like the way the oring fit, wasn't damaged but seemed a bit undersized. Replaced it & it never leaked again.

I thought about adding fluid, tried searching on the net & looking at other bandsaw manuals. No one mentioned anything about filling it except Wilton IIRC. I suppose it's not much different than filling any hydraulic cylinder like this. Mine does not feel spongy nor do I hear air bubbles in it so I just left it alone.

Sounds like yours does need some more fluid in it but sorry I don't have any tips on doing it for you.
 

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#21

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#22
Nice job on the mods. A little bit of ingenuity and wow.
 

BROCKWOOD

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#23
As for leaky / spongy hydraulic cylinders, look to replace the seal that allows fluid to seep from the pressure side to the reservoir. The reason all the forklift, skytrack etc renters keep all those masts in the air is so come morning they know if 1 needs to be pulled for service. I tend to do the same with my bandsaw.
 

bob308

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#24
I did the handle mod. also stiffened the bottom of the stand. that made the whole saw a lot better. I bought it new in 81. still have it and use it a lot. most used machine in my shop. after 5 years I had to put a new motor on it. even bought a blade welder to make my own blades.
 

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#25
Is there a procedure for getting the blade to cut straight down square to the table? My blade scoops away from the table as it lowers to the base of the cut.
 

bob308

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#26
make shore the blade guides are vertical to the table. also run the back guide as close as possible to the work. also have at least 2 full teeth in contact with the work.
 

xman_charl

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#27
machinist square, could help for blade alignment...


Charl
 

ddickey

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#28
Is there a procedure for getting the blade to cut straight down square to the table? My blade scoops away from the table as it lowers to the base of the cut.
Make sure your frame is running true to the bed. That would be the first things to check. Hold a longish square to the blade and raise the frame. There should be no change in distance from the square to the blade.
 
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