A big hallo to all chainsaw sharpeners who like to build their own raker depth gauge! In this thread I will show how easy you can make your own raker depth gauge, which has several advantages: + low cost + ‚personalized‘ gauge corresponding to your needs / preferences + no need for measuring equipment when raker filing + progressive depth approach + better linearity than typical buyable gauges + being proud of having another self-made tool First of all I have to thank BobL in this forum, whose thread https://www.arboristsite.com/commun...ly-progressive-depth-raker-generators.114624/ has inspired me a lot! He explains in his thread why we aim for a ‚constant cutting angle‘ and how we could realize that. To my person: My name is Hannes, I live in Germany, more concrete in Bavaria, 200 miles away from Waiblingen, headquarter of Stihl English is not my native language, I hope you´ll understand my wordings… It´s a very short time I´m into the matter of chainsaws; last year my father died quite unexpected, so now the small ‚family forest‘ is my job and I hold my father´s good old Stihl 034 Super in honor. I renewed everything possible of the chainsaw, cleaned everything thoroughly and went then to the maintaining of the chain. My profession is electric engineering, I like measuring, numbers, programming, repairing and tinkering with many things. So I came across this wonderful forum here and found out many useful things about raker filing. And in the same ‚perfect‘ manner like I restored my father´s chainsaw, I learned to sharpen my chain and now I wanted to do the same perfect approach according to the raker filing process. It´s a shame that many chainsaw users still are used to throw away half-worn chains because they don´t cut as good as the new ones. A waste of money, bad for our environment (much of energy is needed when recycling metals), more unnecessary profit for chain producers, less fun and more effort when using a not so perfect chain. So I invested some time to develop my perfect raker depth gauge. Of course I didn´t reinvent the wheel, but I tried to do my best to collect some information and combined it and give it a new structure. The results are some self-made raker gauges, which are now in my personal use and now this thread including photos, explanations and a piece of software. I´ll give this to you in the hope that it may be useful to some of you For me the raker filing process shall be practical and parallel as perfect as possible. The method by using calipers, digital angle finders and so on leads to perfect results, but this way is not that practical to me. On the other side the buyable raker gauges are very practical but not that perfect: Like BobL showed, they aren´t perfect progressive, you have to live with the given ‚soft‘ and ‚hard‘ settings and maybe there are problems with different chain types (e.g. bumpers). My first attempt of creating a raker gauge was of course to imitate the given ones, so I built one in the Stihl or Husqvarna style. To get away from the trial and error process, I then took pencil and paper, made some drawings and did the math behind it. Then some Excel sheets and after that for usability reasons and out fun I packed the formulas in a self-made Windows application: the Raker Gauge Calculator. After this lengthy theoretical section I tried some versions of the raker gauge and started to think about better approaches. The result is my gauge type 2 (type 1 is the Stihl / Husqvarna design). Here´s a photo showing some of them: the two left ones are type 1 (the second one with joined raker cutouts), the three right ones are type 2 (the fourth one made from stainless steel) Both designs can be calculated by my software. That means: When knowing different parameters of a given chain (like raker – cutter distance, cutter height and so on), my tool calculates the resulting raker depths and cutting angles depending on cutter wear when altering the gauges´ design criteria. So ideally you choose one of the chain presets so you don´t need to take measurements from your chain, choose the gauge type, and play with the gauge´s design numbers until you get the cutting angles you would like to have. The software has several sections (tabs), one is the calculator itself, one tab shows the chain parameters graphically, one tab shows the gauges graphically and one tab contains some hints concerning the software and the gauges. The following screenshots show the different tabs: Download the zip file, unzip, run exe. Virus free guaranteed! How are the gauges made? I bought some steel plates from a normal hardware store, in Germany there are common 1.2 mm ‚normal‘ steel and 1.0 mm high grade steel (stainless). Here they sell them in 1 inch stripes, that´s an ideal width for a gauge. Next step is to cut off a piece 4 inch long, take a Dremel, angle grinder, hacksaw. If you leave the gauge straight as it is now, maybe you´ll touch the chain with your fingers with a worn chain when using the gauge (see photo), so it is better to bend the gauge (like the Stihl ones). I did the first curve with my fingers and the gauge pressed into a vise, the second curve with the help of a hammer and a chisel because of the narrow distance between the two curves. The gauge type 1 design can be created by using different Dremel bits, if using ‚normal‘ steel it even is possible to misuse a steel driller in a drilling machine as a milling cutter if you don´t own a Dremel. My personal favorite is my creation, the gauge type 2 When looking at the numbers you´ll see that it is more linear during the cutters´ wearing life (see screenshot and compare with screenshot above)), due to its design it can be used with bumper style / safety chains (see photo) and most obvious it is VERY easy to build. This one rectangular cutout can be made with anything, a hacksaw, a Dremel, an angle grinder or even a file, no special tools required. Why are the numbers for this design better? Because of the LOWER pivot point. The next photos show my raker gauges in action You see type 1 (the one you should already know from different manufacturers) and type 2, not sitting like type 1 onto a tie strap but onto a rivet. These gauges are practical in use and from a practical point of view precise enough (let´s not say perfect ) Why do the gauge manufacturers not use design 2? Design 2 has one weakness: it has only 1 design criteria, the thickness of the material. They prefer to use one thickness and use another design criteria that can be used for type 1, the criteria I call ‚pivot length‘, so the position of the pivot point. So they can use one sort of metal sheet, and the design itself is no problem for mass production (laser cutting, …). Maybe it would be difficult to sell such a simple design like my type 2, who would spend some bucks for a rectangular cutting ? So when using gauge type 2 we have to live with given metal sheet types or we have to discuss a way to alter the thickness of the material (this is not impossible, I´m thinking of at least two methods, one is hand grinding/polishing, the other one using acid). By accident (or call it luck) the common 1.0mm and 1.2mm sheets work very well in combination with 3/8 chains. And additionally you have one joker: you have more than one rivet on the chain to sit on with the gauge! For the 3/8 low profile chain I use the rivet directly after the raker, for the normal 3/8 chain one rivet farther away is the appropriate one. One thing to mention concerning the bumper style chains: The gauge defines the level of the highest point of the raker. If you file away all the material parallel to the gauge, most of the bumper disappears The missing dimensions of the gauges´ cuttings that are not given by the calculator are dependent on your actual chain (pitch, gauge). Example gauge type 2, 3/8 chain, 0.063 driving link gauge: the cutting has to be 172 mil wide and 850 mil deep to make the gauge sit onto the rivet. The numbers don´t have to be that accurate, start with removing a little too less material and try the raker gauge, then progress with removing more material. The calculator doesn´t deliver these numbers, they are self explanatory when looking at your chain.