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Tutorial: make your own raker depth gauge supported by software tool

Discussion in 'Chainsaw' started by hannes69, Apr 20, 2018.

  1. davidpm

    davidpm ArboristSite Lurker

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    I have never seen that device before - we only ever used the round protractors here in Australia. But yes, if you can measure the angle directly, then go for it. However, if you wanted to be very precise with the angle for some reason (and some people are like this, including me :D), this is possible with my ruler method.

    For example, the 1:10 ratio gives you an angle of 5.7° (atan(1/10), but if you wanted it to be exactly 6° for some reason, you can do the ratio at 1:9.51 rather than 1:10, which in my scenario would be 200mm horizontally and then 21mm vertically. The longer the distance the more precise you can get.

    But good job on the tool, I need to spend some more time going through it in detail. I got sidetracked by solving my blunt chain issues with other solutions - turns out it probably wasn't the chain at all.
     
  2. HarleyT

    HarleyT Tree Freak

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    Now we have to hear/see this story!!!

    You can't just let this go by.....
     
  3. davidpm

    davidpm ArboristSite Lurker

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    I don't want to derail this thread, but basically I gave my saw (stihl ms 362) a proper clean and a bit of a maintain, especially blowing out the air filters. I think this alone has made a huge difference in the power I'm now getting to the chain (felt slugging before in comparison). I think the oiler was clogged with dust as well, so cleaned all that out. These alone made a huge difference.

    It's cutting a bit one way, but at least it is now cutting, and mostly blowing shavings out the back rather than dust. Previously, it would barely scratch the super hard, old, dead wood I am trying to cut for firewood. On inspection I think this is the bar rather than the chain as the chain recently got a refurbish to ensure all the teeth were more or less the same. There are some distinct burrs and uneven wear on the rails. I've given it a file down and will see how it performs.
     
  4. HarleyT

    HarleyT Tree Freak

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    At least put up a pic of your cutters...

    This thread could use a little real life examples....

    Sometimes a redneck beats a protractor/slide-rule/ computer....
     
  5. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Wow!
    As they say in the classics: "That escalated quickly!". Anyway, I managed to fight my way through the first 16 pages of this thread, and could not go on listening to the bickering. Sheesh!!!! Get a room!

    Anyway, I have a question for Hannes - and the answer may lie in the 7 prevoious pages, which I simply skipped - but here it is: do you have presets loaded in your program for regular Stihl 3/8ths inch chain? I don't feel like rushing out to the garage to start measuring. It's a nice program, BTW.

    If not, do you perhaps have the measurements so that I can enter them manually?

    I ask this in light of a friend who does regular cutting of bluegums around here, and has told me that no-one has been able to sharpen his chains so that they perform like new ones. This got me thinking, as I sharpen both with a grinder (for badly damaged chains) as well as a hand file. I want to be able to do this for him. Near the beginning of this topic, Philbert (I think) posted an exellent pdf by Carlton, in which I was exposed for the first time to the concept of "Progressive Depth Gauge Filing", as opposed to the "constant" method I had always used. Thinking of my friend, this made a light go on in the back of my dimly-lit brain - here might be the reason he thought "less" of sharpened chains, however properly they had been sharpened.

    Afte reading the article thoroughly, I must admit that the depth gauges are the part of the chain sharpening/maintenance procedures to which I have not paid the correct amount of attention. This changes as of today!

    Thanks for sharing your program with us, Hannes. I will try to make a gauge and provide us with some feedback.

    Regards,

    Mike
     
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  6. PogoInTheWoods

    PogoInTheWoods Don't forget about the alligators...

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    There is still some jabbing back and forth throughout the last several pages but there is also some good discussion of the topic if you are inclined to wander through it.

    Otherwise, save yourself the aggravation and just buy a couple of these. They're as close as you will get to effectively maintaining depth gauges using the progressive method in an economical and readily available tool.

    Husky Raker Gauge Pics

    https://www.husqvarna.com/us/access...ners-filing-equipment/depth-gauges/596285101/
     
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  7. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Hi Pogo,

    Thanks for the info. I run Stihl chains. Would you happen to know whether they also offer a similar device?

    Thanks,

    Mike
     
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  8. PogoInTheWoods

    PogoInTheWoods Don't forget about the alligators...

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    BTW, I did actually take measurements of Stihl RM .404 back on page 19 for addition to the program. Took some time and patience but is certainly do-able. I did misunderstand one parameter which Hannes clarified in subsequent responses should you choose to do some measurements of your own. Otherwise, all the other parameters are specified according to the program input areas.

    Out of curiosity, what do you mean by "regular Stihl 3/8ths inch chain"? I intended to measure additional 3/8's Stihl profiles but frankly lost interest due to the minutia vs. substance ratio here becoming just a tad disproportionate even for me. LOL
     
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  9. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    377F8E1A-9427-44B5-8BC6-FAB788500B27.png Lol! It’s the normal, standard RS chain in 3/8 size. Pic attached.

    Mike
     
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  10. PogoInTheWoods

    PogoInTheWoods Don't forget about the alligators...

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    And yes, Stihl does make a similar device. It was referred to earlier in the thread, but I've never seen one and don't recall what it is. Whatever they call it, I'm sure it will be more expensive than the Husky tool!

    The Husky tool will work on any non-safety chain and safety chain with the adjacent bumper in the drive link as well as Oregon Vanguard style safety chain with the curved raker. It obviously won't work with the camel hump style safety chain.

    Husky also makes a roller file guide that includes a flip-out variation of the depth gauge tool.
     
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  11. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Thanks, Pogo! Appreciate the info!
     
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  12. PogoInTheWoods

    PogoInTheWoods Don't forget about the alligators...

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    Happy to help.

    Here is the Stihl tool. They also make a 2-in-1 tool that files both the tooth and the depth gauge simultaneously but it's expensive and is chain type/size specific. You tie up quite a bit of money in that approach if you have several saws using different types of chain and they also get you on the files. Good choice for folks who don't even know what a depth gauge is, but not something a hand filer would typically embrace. I believe the tool is manufactured by Pferd and their version is available for about $10 less in most markets. It may be just the ticket for your friend, actually.

    https://www.stihl.com/STIHL-power-t...ent-maintenance/267816-63674/File-gauges.aspx

    Finally, and in the spirit of the thread, I know of exactly one person other than Hannes who has made a depth gauge tool generally based on his initial idea. Finding conveniently appropriate stock for the task is the only reason I haven't tried to make one yet, myself. Hell, the other guy just used the blade from an old putty knife and says it works great..., give or take and extra stroke here or there. LOL

    Good luck.
     
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  13. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Hallo Hannes!

    Nochmals danken wir Ihnen für das Programm das Sie uns geschrieben haben! Ich finde das doch toll! Damit die Anderen sich jetzt nicht (weiter) ärgern, führen wir dieses Gespräch jetzt auf Englisch weiter....

    In my humble opinion, the best way to take these measurements accurately, is with the use of an optical comparator. Those who are familiar with the device will know the following, but I include it so that those who don't, can be on the same page. The comparator is basically a "magnifying projector", used mainly in engineering toolrooms, which has a direct scale overlay screen, allowing one to inspect small objects (albeit in silhouette only) in detail, to allow gauging of sizes and angles, and the accurate measurement of threads, gear toothforms, gauges, and the like. In the main, it is used for checking cutting angles on lathe and milling tools, as well as in the verification of manufactured part, to check for grinding and machining tolerances in such parts.

    If you look carefully at the pic, you can see the small object which is being projected onto ths screen of the comparator, and the fine lines on the screen which are "masks" to help with angle and length determination.

    If you could speak to a small engineering works (I'm sure there are many in Germany), and have them put a section of your sawchain in the comparator, you would be able to get the accurate measurements you are looking for!

    Hope this helps.

    Mike

    optical_comparator_01.jpg
     
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  14. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Here's a link for a quick optical comaparator tutorial. My short description did not nearly do this powerful tool justice!



    Mike
     
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  15. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    Oh yes. My nerves got a little bit stressed sometimes, but looking at it with some distance it was quite an interesting process, at least for me ;)

    I think yes. One of my two self-measured presets refers to Stihl 3/8 RM chain. RM means Rapid Micro, it´s a chain with semi-chisel cutters; RS means Rapid super, it´s a chain with chisel (full chisel) cutters. Both chains should be exactly the same, they should only differ in the cutters´shape, so the RS is more aggressive than the RM but also more prone to wearing. The measurements shouldn´t be affected, so a raker depth gauge (bought or selfmade) should lead to the same results for both chains. You need different raker depth gauges for different pitches (1/4, .325, 3/8, .404) and different profiles ('normal ' profile and low profile).

    Thanks :)

    That would be nice :)

    Yeah. This device seems to be made exactly for such purposes.
    I personally don´t know a company owning and using such a device, but certainly there should be some here around.
    I tried this method in a simpler way as well.
    My normal approach was to use rulers, pencil and digital calipers, doing multiple measurements to eliminate some of the error and watching out for maintaining a rather rectangular setup.
    The other approach was comparable to the optical comparator, but without automated measurements. I took a digital camera, made same photos of the cutters and made the measurments manually with a computer software. With this method you also have to maintain a rectangular setup. But you don´t have to fiddle around with the calipers, instead you can use a mouse and drag some lines and points.
    Within my hobbyist´s accuracy both methods delivered more or less the same results, so it´s a matter of taste how to make such measurements.

    My idea of this thread was to build up upon BobL´s work, do some prework with my software and two chain measurements and give it at this point to the forum here to make a community project out of it (which clearly failed up to this point in time). I personally won´t do something 'professional' in this regard, so no professional measurements and no idea of personal profit (in terms of money), a freeware software tool and no intention of selling raker depth gauges.
    The project simply got stuck due to the missing direct contribution of the community, it stayed at the point of discussion and theory. The topic itself and my person were accused being 'too academic', the way out of this would be active practical contribution.
    At this point you can use the information of the starting post in this thread to make your own raker depth gauge for Stihl 3/8 chain and Carlton 3/8 low profile chain (maybe for more chains, that´s the question...)
    Of course it would be nice to have access to a device like an optical comparator and know some chainsaw pros owning all different kind of chains and measure them professionally in a short time with high accuracy.
    But the hobby approach should work as well. And community means that the workload is spreaded over multiple heads.
    A complete measurement of one chain should take less than half an hour. And who doesn´t own (digital) calipers, rulers, pencils, ..., that´s all standard tools ;)
    I´m speaking of collecting some data to make some conclusions. Maybe most of the chains (assuming same pitch and profile) share the same measurements, so we can rule out the parameter 'manufacturer'? Maybe not, I simply don´t know due to the lack of data.
    Maybe we can skip 1/4 chain for the moment. But widespread and in use should be .325, 3/8 and .404 chains.
    So to have some useful data, most important would be:
    some .325 chains
    some 3/8 normal profile and low profile chains to compare with my two data sets
    some .404 chains.
    So hopefully 2 chains of two different manufacturers for each case, meaning 8 different chains.
    I hoped that some people here in the community could do these measurements, maybe 4 people measuring 2 chains.
    Then with some conclusions and assumptions the software would be 'complete'.
    This software with more presets combined with a clean new tutorial would be the next steps in this work.

    In my impression there´s not much interest here in offering and using such a solution.
    I´m pretty shure that even when having a full data set, a complete software and a new thread most of the users would not make such a simple tool themselves. Many users still use the 'normal' non-progressive raker depth gauges, or simply no raker depth gauge. Others who prefer the progressive ones want to buy and use them but will never make their own one.
    DIY seems less widespread than I personally thought.

    If someone delivers me new measurement data, I will implement it into the software of course.

    So Mike, make your raker depth gauge, and give us some feedback, maybe this threads gets some reanimation ;)
     
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  16. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    Nice wording and I´m quite sure what you are meaning here ;)

    Oh. One person made this tool himself (beside me). Mission accomplished :cool:
    Still no metal piece in stock? The whole (modern) world consists of metal. Take an angle grinder and find some part, cutting out some part and grinding it down to the desired thickness :p
     
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  17. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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  18. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    Are you really sure about that? I don´t own a RS chain to compare. Maybe someone owning both RS and RM should compare them and give a short comment about dimensions.
    Stihl offers its raker depth gauges in 1/4, .325, 3/8, 3/8 low profile and .404. They don´t make a difference between different 3/8 chains (RM or RS), only a difference between normal 3/8 and low profile 3/8 (we call them 'hobby chains' in Germany or refer to 'hobby pitch' when talking about low profile chains. The RM chain is not a low profile chain. Maybe a RM chain has smaller cutters than a RS chain, but as far as I know the only difference is the cutters´shape. The naming scheme from Stihl says not normal or low profile, Rapid means normal profile, and the low profile chains are called Picco. So my 3/8 RM chain is a normal profile 3/8 chain with semi-chisel cutters.
    You can measure the RS chain yourself within a very short amount of time. The whole dataset covers 6 parameters (5 lengths and one angle). And you don´t need all of them. The rivet diameter is definetely the same like in my measurement. The initial raker depth is the same (and this value only influences the initial one or two angles shown in my software, this doesn´t influence the depth gauge). The distance between rivet and raker really should be the same. Remains the measurement of A, B and alpha, so three measurements.

    Or way simpler just do this and it will work (quoting myself from post #2 in this thread here), just replace Micro with Super ;)

    "You own a chain listed in the presets of the software e.g. Stihl Rapid Micro 3/8 0.063. You choose design 2 and you like a cutting angle in the region of 6.5°. You buy a 1 inch wide stripe of 1.2mm steel, cut off 4 inches, make a rectangular cutting 172 mil wide and 850 mil deep and optionally bend the steel stripe for better gauge handling. That´s all."

    The whole rest of this thread is discussion, arguing and so on and the trial to make this approach universal (and beside that a lot of offtopic stuff and destructive approaches). When using 3/8 normal profile chain, you can skip all of it and simply do what I quoted above. You´ll have a raker depth gauge appropriate for your chain, maintaining the initial cutting angle throughout the useful life of your chain very accurately like shown in the software´s screenshot of post #1.
    If you don´t trust me, wait until some guy here does the measurements of a 3/8 RS chain or do the measurements yourself.

    And again the field of discussion. Why not simply try it? During the time of thinking, discussion or measuring I can make more than one of these raker depth gauges... The potential financial loss for a 1x4 inch metal sheet should be neglectable. And the construction time is less than 30 minutes.
    I don´t quite understand the general aversion in this thread against simply making such a tool. If it works - success, if not a few cents and half an hour of your life time 'lost' (it is not lost, you gained experience) and then you can bash me as a bonus to compensate for the frustration ;)
     
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  19. SEAM

    SEAM Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Interesting reading... Whatever works best is what we should use.
    I use a straight edge (actually my Husqvarna flat file) and the nail of my right-hand thumb to judge the gap between tooth top and raker height. Has worked nicely and universally so far for all kinds of chain I use.
     
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  20. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Not to be too pedantic about the matter, but Stihl’s RS and RM chains are definitely not the same. RS chains have a 3/8” inch (0.375”) pitch, whilst RM, which are considerably smaller, have a 0.325” pitch. I’m certain they would need different gauges.

    I can’t wait to get into the garage and make a gauge or two. I will certainly give you feedback on the performance. If at all possible, I would appreciate an RS preset in your program, since it is by far the most widely used Stihl chain.

    Thanks again!
     

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