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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. ray benson

    ray benson Tree Freak

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  2. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    No. :) RS and RM are both available in 3/8 and in .325 pitch. RS is full chisel, RM semi-chisel chain, that´s the difference. Both are normal profile chains.
    Maybe you´re irritated by the naming 'micro'. That doesn´t refer to a smaller pitch or a lower cutter´s profile. The pitch is named by Stihl directly according to the pitch value. And the lower profile chains are called Picco. Why Stihl is naming the semi-chisel chain 'micro' and the full chisel chain 'super' - I really don´t know.
    My measurements are made from a brand-new Stihl Rapid Micro chain 0.063 gauge (1.6mm metric) in 3/8 pitch. You´re using essentially the same chain, they only differ in the cutter´s shape. That doesn´t influence the relevant measurements and you need exactly the same raker depth gauge for both of these chains to get the desired cutting angle.

    Looking forward to your feedback :) And like described, the RM preset is a RS preset as well, I simply named them according to the chain used for the measurements.
     
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  3. PogoInTheWoods

    PogoInTheWoods Don't forget about the alligators...

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    RS is chisel. RM is semi-chisel. The small 3/8's is Picco with a PM designation. I've attached the Selection and Identification chart for handy reference as well.

    For software input purposes, I would think the only differences between RS and RM chain cutters would possibly be length and height at the cutters face.

    edit: Oops. I see clarification has already been posted.
     

    Attached Files:

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  4. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    Thanks Pogo for the chart :)
    I used 36 RM 60 chain for my measurements. The number of drive links has no influence of course, and I think the gauge (0.050, 0,058, 0.063) shouldn´t either. The cutters´s shape full chisel vs. semi-chisel could have a small influence (if really), but it shouldn´t have a relevant impact on the resulting cutting angles. The manufacturers of the buyable raker depth gauges only differentiate in pitch, not in gauge or cutters´shape.
    Of course someone owning both types of chains could deliver some feedback, either by measurements or quick and dirty visual inspection...
     
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  5. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Ok, thanks very much! I was not aware that the RM chains were also offered in a 3/8 pitch. Looks like it's time to start making gauges!!!
     
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  6. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Ok,

    It's official - I'm back from the garage. Meet my two new best friends!!!! Please ignore the typos on the narrower one.... :crazy:

    20190702_124934.jpg

    Below, you can see them resting in the vise jaws on my short section on brand new chain. The depth gauge sits perfectly in the corner, like a good boy, :) whilst the front of the gauge rides on the rivets. Both are similar; made from 1.2mm Stainless Steel plate, with the opening cut to the dimensions specified in Hannes' first post. Let me say this - these gauges work exactly as promised. I dropped them onto some brand new chain I keep around, and they just sat there, with the depth gauges (I hate the term "raker", but that's a fight for another day!) perfectly flush with the tops. So, I haul out my MS390 with the rather worn-down chain on the 14" bar. Many moons ago, I had filed its depth gauges too low (trying to eyeball them), and had ended up with a very aggressive, grabby chain, which I did not like. After several sharpenings, it had calmed down a bit to where, when I put the new gauge on it this morning, the depth gauges were almost perfect... I just got lucky!
    20190702_125301.jpg 20190702_125351.jpg 20190702_125518_001.jpg 20190702_125301.jpg 20190702_125351.jpg 20190702_125518_001.jpg View attachment 744516 20190702_132130.jpg 20190702_132218.jpg View attachment 744526 20190702_132130.jpg 20190702_132218.jpg

    20190702_125301 - Copy.jpg

    So, I grab the MS361 with the 17" bar, and lo and behold - the depth gauges stick out above the gauge like little black pimples!

    ms361_depth_gauge_sticking_out.png


    This was the result of filing them down by the constant method - one not recommended by Carlton. Great! Now to filing! It took between 15 and 25 strokes on each depth gauge to sit perfectly flush with the top of the new gauge.

    ms361_depth_gauge_level.png

    Let me tell you - seeing the gauges stick out by such a minute amount made me realise that anyone who claims to "just eyeball" his depth gauges, is either telling pork pies, or is seriously overestimating his abilities... The section in the Carlton chain manual says as much too.....

    Below, you can see how the depth gauge sits level with the top of the gauge. The camera angle makes it look as if it sitting below...

    20190702_125518_001.jpg

    Anyway, I for one am very glad that I ran into this topic, and grateful that Hannes offered his input on the matter. It has taught me a whole new level of respect for depth gauges, and what their role is in the whole cutting system. As I had mentioned is a previous post, I had always just skimmed over the depth gauges (both physically and emotionally). They became largely the stepchildren of the cutting family - occasionally looked at, never much attention given. If the chain was sharp, but cutting slowly, I would suddenly remember them, and file them down in a hasty, lackluster fashion, to get cutting again. But you know what? Since learning about progressive depth gauge maintenance, I have changed my view of these orphans radically. They are to me now like the Down's syndrome child of the family - people tend to shy away from them, but they are the glue which, ironically, brings the whole family together. Most of the attention normally goes to the "rock star" children, (the cutters), but all that has changed now! The whole family will receive my proper attention. The depth gauges are the "wind beneath my wings" components of the cutting family, without which the rock stars would not be able to shine!!!

    Thank you to everyone who participated in this thread, and for all the info offered. I have become a better chain sharpener! My ultimate goal with these gauges is to get a friend's chain up to speed again. He does not grind or file, thus is at the mercy of the dealers. I shall post feedback on whether I was successful or not.

    Kudos to Hannes!
     

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  7. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    P.S. Apologies for some of the double-post pics. Some of them are also out of sequence, or just won't load. I had one helluva time uploading. There is a problem on our ADSL line. Sorry...:(
     
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  8. PogoInTheWoods

    PogoInTheWoods Don't forget about the alligators...

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    Nice job.

    That's not exactly just your run-of-the-mill redneck workmanship, there. LOL

    How did you actually make them? (Details, please.)
     
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  9. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    :)
    Yeah, it´s official, we have reached post #466 in this thread and you are officially the first person who has produced a raker depth gauge according to Hannes´Raker Depth Gauge™! ;)
    Seriously, nice job!

    Yes. I promised it and you seem to be the first person who really believed it ;)

    Sounds like a kind of evidence, that the RM and RS chains share the same measurements. On a brand new RM chain the depth gauge is perfectly flush with the raker tops as well. This wouldn´t be the case if the measurements would differ in a larger amount.

    Yes, for efficient cutting (and some fun during work) the cutters and the rakers must be taken into account.
    For me additionally the impact on environment is very important. I assume that many chains are thrown away prematurely due to the lack of performance due to too high rakers due to the lack of a progressive raker depth gauge. And then of course the DIY idea. And perfection and personalization.
    Like I said in the first post: "Being proud of having another self-made tool" I think you can be proud and I think you are ;)

    Great photos!
    Could you please leave additional comments about your production method, which tools you have used, how long did it take, how difficult was it for you, do you use your new tool directly (file onto it) or indirectly (only measure after filing)?

    Have fun with your new tool! :)
     
  10. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Hi,

    I simply followed your recommendations in post #1, and used an angle grinder to cut a strip of SS off a larger plate. Then ground the edges on a belt sander, and finished with a file. The groove was also marked out and cut near the line with the angle grinder, and also finished to the line with a file. Edges rounded and cleaned up on the belt sander.
    Finally, the tools were clamped in a vise, and the angles bent in with a hammer. A punch set finished the letters and numbers off. Not hi-tech at all - close to Redneck engineering! ;)

    As far as using the gauge, I learnt many years ago that filing over the gauge (Stihl's depth gauge is not hardened steel) is a bad idea. Since the new gauge is also not made of hardened steel, I have followed the same procedure here - measure with the gauge to determine how much stick-out there is, and remove gauge to file. Then check progress with the gauge again. It's so quick to check with the gauge. The whole process took about 6 minutes to do. Chains with more cutters will obviously take a bit longer.

    Thanks again for a most handy tool!:)
     
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  11. PogoInTheWoods

    PogoInTheWoods Don't forget about the alligators...

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    How to Make Your Own Progressive Depth Gauge Tools With The Help Of Free and Simple Software

    20190702_124934.jpg
    It only took 24 pages and 451 posts over 14 months to finally arrive at the bottom line essence of this thread. Well done, scouts!

    I would respectfully assert that if approached with such simplicity at the outset, the response would have been closer to what was initially intended while reaching a much broader and effectively functional participant base -- which would have evolved more along a natural flow of interest rather than an attitude of, "Who is this Guy? Where did he come from? And when is he going back?" LOL

    After a more subtle/simple opening, THEN provide the propeller-head-geek details for the more in-depth theoretical discussion (and criticism) as was derived from The Hannes Raker Gauge Home Page..., which was the introduction.

    I have personally enjoyed the thread and learned quite a bit over the course of the journey. Perhaps it will be revisited along the way by more folks like Mike who found the subject matter compelling enough to plow through the non-essential noise in search of enough practical knowledge to reach his own conclusions and make a couple tools anyway.

    Still looking for a convenient source of 1.2mm thick SS, myself. In the meantime until I find some...

    Success, Hannes.

    Cheers.
     
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  12. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Hi Pogo,

    Thanks to you for all your helpful inputs and info. I can't believe it took me 20 years to learn about progressive depth gauge adjustment! Talk about a slow learner!

    Anyway. Macmaster Carr is a US-based supplier for all steel products, but if you drop by your local steel fabrication shop or scrap yard, I'm sure you'd be able to pick up a scrap piece is SS. Sometimes the folks are very accommodating, and won't even charge you.

    https://www.mcmaster.com/

    I'd be happy to send you some of mine free of charge, but I think the shipping will kill you....

    Mike
     
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  13. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    Hmmm ... for me the punched letters look hi-tech, I don´t own such 'tools' ;)

    I don´t use the raker depth gauge directly as well. I made one of my gauges out of hardened steel (1,0 mm thick) which leads to a larger cutting angle. It is possible to use this gauge directly without destroying it within a few file strokes, but I think that the file would suffer more than I´d like to... And my raker file is not so sharp that one or two strokes more or less make a too large difference, so using the gauge after 3 or 4 additional strokes in a series is sufficient for me. After using the gauge and seeing the raker´s height several times you´ll get a good estimation for the needed strokes. So putting the gauge onto the raker, estimating 6 strokes, performing 6 strokes, putting on the gauge again, 6 strokes confirmed, next raker ;)
     
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  14. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    The really really good things in life take their time ;)

    I know what you mean. But like I said in the starting post, explaining things the short and easy way is not my strength ;)
    Maybe I presumed a little bit too much. I thought her I am at the biggest forum worldwide covering the given topic. And when reading BobL´s and others´ threads I had the impression that there is a large amount of practical experience and/or theoretical knowledge on bigger parts of the community. So I wanted to start at a certain level and with some things given as fact for me, so e.g. no explanation why the progressive approach is better than a constant. And I assumed that people using chainsaws also have some kind of workshop/garage/machines/tools/metal sheets and are generally interested in making tools.
    The biggest mistakes I made was definitely to present the topic within 'one big pack' and going too early into computer/numbers/science/software matters. It was not easy for me too estimate such things. I was concentrated on language, pictures, formulations and covering most parts of my approach.

    For some parts I enjoyed the thread (like e.g. now), for other parts it was a source of anger (thinking about certain comments of certain persons ;) )
    With some community work and contribution it still is possible to make something out of it. A new thread covering the basic concepts of raker depth gauges, some photos, maybe a short video, gathering some measurement data for .325 and .404 chains, making a short list containing the direct dimensions of the resulting gauges and offering the software for pro / personalized usage. That would be the next useful steps.
    I will not start this new thread, maybe someone will do this some time in the future. Or maybe not ;)
    So it´s ok for me, I learned some things as well on this journey, I made an offer, and hey, at least Mike Kunte made something out of it :)
     
  15. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    Thanks again!

    (and no, I haven't made one)
     
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  16. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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  17. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    What a shame ;) But thanks for following the thread :)
     
  18. hannes69

    hannes69 ArboristSite Operative

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    Yes. it´s satisfactory to plan tools, make them and use them. Ok, my gauge was more of a watchmaker´s work, your log rollers are more of a heavy duty style... But all of them are tools at the end.
     
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  19. Del_

    Del_ Get outside.

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    I'm glad to see the interest in this thread.

    I usually keep the same chain on a saw until I'm worn the chain out. I do the depth gauges by feel. If the chain is not aggressive enough I take them down a bit. I strive to keep the teeth all the same length and if a chain is not aggressive enough I measure the depth gauge with a feeler gauge and a straight edge placed across the top of two teeth. I've got Stihl fixed measuring guages and Husky progressive gauges but usually just use a feeler gauge as I've described.

    I hand file square ground most of the time and have converted many chains between round and square over the years. It is quite easy. I have a good supply of Save Edge files.
     
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  20. Mike Kunte

    Mike Kunte ArboristSite Operative

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    Ok, feedback time!

    I will sort-of double post here, since the feedback regarding the diamond file came from this topic, but the depth gauge feedback from another topic....

    Anyway, having filed the half-used 3/8 Stihl full chisel chain (which cut very well to begin with), I finished each tooth off with a couple of swipes from the Trend Diamond File in 600#. The teeth were "sticky" sharp. I then used Hannes69's progressive depth gauge to drop the depth gauges to their new level (in order to maintain that constant cutting angle of around 6 degrees). This chain ate wood like a pitbull in a Barbie Doll store!

    I literally could hardly "feel" the cutting taking place. The best way to describe the sensation would be that the chain "melted" its way through the wood. Admittedly, I only took down a small bluegum (around 8 inches ion diamteer, and about 20' tall), so the wood was really soft (as opposed to the more mineralized fibres in m,ore mature trees), but the chips were flying! My BIL commented that he had never seen such nice big chips flying like that. And to top it all off, the chain was very well behaved - not "grabby" or rough at all! I did not try a bore cut (this normally exposes a too-low depth gauge setting better than normal cross-cutting), since the tree diameter was too small, but I am convinced it will be really well-behaved!

    I was initially rather cautious about the large depth gauge setting (this chain is past its halfway mark), but my fears proved unfounded - it really cut without issues!

    Thanks to all who helped get me here!

    Mike
     
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