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

HarleyT

HarleyT

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His are soft or hard?

Or does he need 2? For each model chain? Of all of the hundreds of chains?

Well, the ones that matter.....
 
PogoInTheWoods

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Do you file with it in the centre like that? What part of square peg in a square hole didn't I understand lol
I lock it in to the inside and back of square and put the bottom inside tap on the tie strap and file to the outside with the lean of the raker. I tried in the centre once and it was getting pushed around and have always used the side. I have kicked it off cockeyed to get them lower at times as well butted the outside raker into the female slot at the bottom centre.
I use the rear corner for whichever direction cutter/raker and file down and to the left diagonally across the gauge from behind the saw regardless of whether it's a left or right hand cutter/raker. Seems natural for me as someone who's right handed and the direction itself really doesn't matter, does it? LOL

Here's what I mean for the positioning. Notice the gauge is straddling the chain centered and parallel with the bar and the raker automatically ends up aligned in the correct corner for the tooth being referenced. I force whichever slot corner against whichever raker applies and go for it.

0429182012_resized.jpg

0429182012a_resized.jpg
Here's an example of how the Oregon Vanguard chain plays with one of these. Also sort of demonstrates how the width of the slot can easily accommodate the rear hump style drive link safety chain and also maybe why that extra center slot is there, huh? I would certainly consider this feature being critical for any homegrown solution simply for the flexibility factor.

1126171617a_resized.jpg
Lastly, here are a couple of early style File-o-Plates and the Husky 3/8 lo pro tools for whatever reference purpose they may serve. Carlton sure tried to pack a whole lot o' function into a little piece o' metal...., with 13 or so different variations for all their different types of chain. Brilliant functional concept simply lacking the required flexibility to actually be practical, e.g. the ones pictured are only designed to fit certain Carlton chain and a good basis for part of Harley's argument.

0429181918a_resized.jpg
I hope this is somehow useful to the cause and doesn't come off as a distraction or clutter. So far the Husky approach is the simplest and most flexible solution out there for easily accessible and economical progressive style depth gauge tools. If there's a way to improve on the design and easily produce a crop along the back fence every now and again when needed, I'm all for it. What I do think is required in the discussion as a whole is some degree of acceptance of the fact that practicality and repeatable results should easily carry as much or more weight than a couple microns here or there in calculating the effective impact of the tool's ultimate function..., which after all is to roughly gauge the filing of metal on a freekin' chainsaw chain, not be a surgical instrument.

Nowthen, for some reason a banana sounds pretty good right about now.
 
KiwiBro

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DAF's are easily accessible (online everywhere), work with every chain even HarleyT could dream up (yeah, that's a challenge), are sandle-wearing hippy progressive, cheap as chips ($9 delivered to your door), and useful for other projects also.

Not trying to burst bubbles, piss on cornflakes, blow smoke up skirts, rain on ya parades but c'mon, people, haven't we already established it aint rocket surgery?

:)
 
hannes69

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I presume the measurements of interest for this exercise will be thickness of material and distance from saddle/straddle contact point (front notch) to rear of the raker slot?
Yes :)

Wouldn't that be the other way around? (3/8 gauge for end of life .325 chain)?
Your later delivered numbers speak for using a .325 gauge on an old 3/8 chain ;)
 
hannes69

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I enjoyed reading about your report Hannes. I spent a few months in Starnberg as an exchange student a long time ago. Being German is OK, but being a Bayer is higher!
:) Yeah, I know that saying. There are always some rumors here and there, that some people want to reanimate the Bavarian Kingdom ;)

Back when BobL's thread was running, I put this together:
Nice approach! Of course the solutions dealing with measuring the cutting angle DIRECTLY have its charm. It´s always desirable to measure the parameter in view directly and not indirectly.

The upside of this is that it works on all my chains. The downside is that if you don't sharpen your teeth to the same length, the angle won't be quite right.
I consider your given downside not really one, because sharpening a chain with cutters all sharing the same length is obligatory in my opinion. Furthermore to mention is here maybe that you can´t file directly onto it, if one likes to.
 
hannes69

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Here's an example of how the Oregon Vanguard chain plays with one of these. Also sort of demonstrates how the width of the slot can easily accommodate the rear hump style drive link safety chain and also maybe why that extra center slot is there, huh? I would certainly consider this feature being critical for any homegrown solution simply for the flexibility factor.
Nice catch! I´Now we know the secret of the additional slot :) And for the homemade solution it is added in 5 seconds ;)

If there's a way to improve on the design and easily produce a crop along the back fence every now and again when needed, I'm all for it. What I do think is required in the discussion as a whole is some degree of acceptance of the fact that practicality and repeatable results should easily carry as much or more weight than a couple microns here or there in calculating the effective impact of the tool's ultimate function..., which after all is to roughly gauge the filing of metal on a freekin' chainsaw chain, not be a surgical instrument.
Improvement of the design is my type 2 ;) ;)
You´re right, it´s not the couple of microns that counts.
Every solution puts an accent on a different point and lives with some flaws on another side because of that.
The 'perfect' gauge would have a simple design, low cost, you can file onto it, it measures cutting angle directly, works for all chains, the cutting angle is adjustable ;) , it is ergonomic so you don´t hurt your fingers on the chain, it refers to one cutter,...
Perfection is dream, but you can aim for it of course. In the end it should have a higher quality standard than any surgical instrument ;) ;)
--------
BTW you have my admiration for your skill in explaining things like in #143, that´s brilliant. When reading that I wish that I could explain things in such a manner, I often struggle in doing this so well I´d actually liked it to.
 
hannes69

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offtopic:
Looking up 'turd in the punch bowl' in urban dictionary reveals the following:

"A person who spoils a pleasant social situation.

This metaphor is powered by a particularly vivid contrast: the inviting sensory appeal of a festive beverage juxtaposed with the revolting suggestion of feculent contagion. Therefore, labeling someone a turd in the punch bowl is most appropriate when the individual's deleterious influence goes beyond mere faux pas or nuisance behaviors, and rises to the level of deliberate offense for its own sake. Consider that the literal act of depositing or excreting fecal matter into a communal food-service container would be sabotage. [...] "

When reading that, it is well possible, that spontaneously someone is coming to your mind ...
 
hannes69

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So now really ontopic mode:
Some numbers for the three main Husky gauges. [...]

.325 'Soft' Position -- 14.80mm
.325 'Hard' Position -- 19.00mm
Material Thickness -- .84mm

3/8 'Soft' Position -- 19.00mm
3/8 'Hard' Position -- 23.30mm
Material Thickness -- .84mm

.404 'Soft' Position -- 19.00mm
.404 'Hard' Position -- 22.00mm
Material Thickness -- .75mm
Many many thanks for these numbers, they are helpful ! :)
So now we at least know, what Husqvarna thinks about cutting angles:
So I´m virtually throwing the gauges onto my virtual Stihl RM 3/8 chain in the following order:
1. 3/8 hard
2. 3/8 soft / .325 hard (they are obviously the same ;) )
3. .325 hard

Let´s see what happens :)

3_8hard.jpg
3_8soft.jpg
325soft.jpg

Husqvarna seems a little bit on the conservative side of things ;)
Some thoughts:
- because I have no measurements of Husqvarna chains, we don´t know how the Husky gauge performs on Husky chains
- when comparing the numbers to a 25 mil constant depth gauge, the Husky gauge always 'wins', so at least it is an evolution compared to the 'normal' depth gauge tool.
- Husky gauge seems a little bit conservative on Stihl
- the 3/8 soft setting seems suitable for using it as hard wood setup on Stihl chain
- the 3/8 hard setting seems suitable for a very very hard wood setup on Stihl ;)
- the .325 soft setting may be suitable for a soft setup on Stihl, but better only using for the second half of chain´s life, for the first half it would be a little bit too aggressive
- of course it still is a matter of personal taste, your special personal setup and needs, this here only reflects my opinion

----------------

Husky here seems to use 33 mil (0.84mm) and 30 mil (0.76mm) steel. Are these common dimensions or do they use special dimensions for their needs?
Would still be interesting, what common thicknesses are available (at least when somebody is interested in making my type 2 gauge ).
 
Westboastfaller

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So now really ontopic mode:


Many many thanks for these numbers, they are helpful ! :)
So now we at least know, what Husqvarna thinks about cutting angles:
So I´m virtually throwing the gauges onto my virtual Stihl RM 3/8 chain in the following order:
1. 3/8 hard
2. 3/8 soft / .325 hard (they are obviously the same ;) )
3. .325 hard

Let´s see what happens :)

View attachment 649369
View attachment 649370
View attachment 649371

Husqvarna seems a little bit on the conservative side of things ;)
Some thoughts:
- because I have no measurements of Husqvarna chains, we don´t know how the Husky gauge performs on Husky chains
- when comparing the numbers to a 25 mil constant depth gauge, the Husky gauge always 'wins', so at least it is an evolution compared to the 'normal' depth gauge tool.
- Husky gauge seems a little bit conservative on Stihl
- the 3/8 soft setting seems suitable for using it as hard wood setup on Stihl chain
- the 3/8 hard setting seems suitable for a very very hard wood setup on Stihl ;)
- the .325 soft setting may be suitable for a soft setup on Stihl, but better only using for the second half of chain´s life, for the first half it would be a little bit too aggressive
- of course it still is a matter of personal taste, your special personal setup and needs, this here only reflects my opinion

----------------

Husky here seems to use 33 mil (0.84mm) and 30 mil (0.76mm) steel. Are these common dimensions or do they use special dimensions for their needs?
Would still be interesting, what common thicknesses are available (at least when somebody is interested in making my type 2 gauge ).
Thanks to the both of you.
For THAT CHAIN the .325 gauge would be decent to customize FOR SOFTwood. For improvements you would just need to grind a little out of the crotch on the
.325 hard setting were it saddle's up.
Bring the front end up from 6.3 to around 7.1°
The whole male/female joint is not mandatory. That's up to the individual
Holding into the raker is the important part. If one was to mod something like that, they may not have a tool to grind a deeper crotch... Just sayin'

So at this point if anyone gave you chain measurements. Then you could run the data then? Right!
Since you don't need the physical raker gauge then you can shorten the virtual gauge's lower measurements to hit optimal.
You need cutter height to base for raker gauge angle and chain pitch size?

Run the Stihl .377" cutter ht if you have time please.

That's a common pro chain also the Oregon is taller, that's the chain I've used the most as its easier to file in a wet climate. I uses those gauges too.
Its the Oregon measurements I would love to see the most.
Those are the only two different measurements I ever usually use.

I think they have to be custom. Your gauge did really good with the reg Stihl .377 (tall cutter) Up to .280", it only dropped .2°.
It wasn't great on everything.. Still better,yes, but not great.
The type 1 gauges may be really designed for the tall pro chains?
We will see.
Thanks
 
edisto

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I consider your given downside not really one, because sharpening a chain with cutters all sharing the same length is obligatory in my opinion.
While I agree in principle, I am not going toss a chain with a tooth or two that are short because I hit a nail or rock, and I definitely am not filing the others to match.

That said, even if the teeth are different lengths, using the preceding tooth to set the guide on should still mean that the actual cutting angle is being set, so variation in tooth length might not matter because it is a direct measurement.

Furthermore to mention is here maybe that you can´t file directly onto it, if one likes to.
I actually prefer that. I never like filing on a gauge because it seems to me that it would make the gauge and the file both unhappy, and happy files always work better.
 
Westboastfaller

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That said, even if the teeth are different lengths, using the preceding tooth to set the guide on should still mean that the actual cutting angle is being set, so variation in tooth length might not matter because it is a direct measurement.
Yeah, This is the cat's azz.
As long as a guy doesn't have a mixed back of backslops and hooks then its good to go.
....And if he does...my guest is he's got more issue's in other places.

Anyways... we are not talking about "Joe shmoe and the bumper chain" here
 
PogoInTheWoods

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Precisely. But the primary reference point for the gauge will always be the tooth (fulcrum) of the raker being filed (tangent point?) regardless of gauge slot position (pivot) on the chain..., which obviously establishes the 'relatively' pre-determined angle designed into the gauge for every cutter on the chain regardless of its length..., and why these gauges are desirable for pro's and accomplished free hand filers. Also why different length cutters don't cut in circles or sideways when using a progressive depth gauge tool. Are identical length cutters desirable? Sure. Is that practical in the real cutting world? No.

If you file or grind a chain with left hand cutters intentionally made shorter than right hand cutters and set the rakers accordingly with a progressive depth gauge tool, the saw will still cut straight. If you grind every other cutter on the same side shorter than normal length and use a progressive depth gauge tool the saw will still cut straight. The reason is because the relationship between the raker and cutting face on each individual tooth is appropriate for that particular tooth with no discernible effect or concern for the one before it or after it. Slight differences in angles don't really come into play in the real world because they really only apply to an individual cutter's ability to grab its own chip anyway, not whether the one before it or after it does or doesn't. If they're also filed or ground correctly and have the proper 'relative' raker adjustment obtained by using a progressive depth gauge tool, they'll grab their own chips too. Simple as that.

I'm not suggesting that ideal fine tuned performance from a chain with uneven tooth lengths is readily attainable as would be the case with a new chain. But from my general experience in practical applications, the majority of folks wouldn't even be able to detect a difference and would probably still wonder why their saw cuts crooked.
 
PogoInTheWoods

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This metaphor is powered by a particularly vivid contrast: the inviting sensory appeal of a festive beverage juxtaposed with the revolting suggestion of feculent contagion. Therefore, labeling someone a turd in the punch bowl is most appropriate when the individual's deleterious influence goes beyond mere faux pas or nuisance behaviors, and rises to the level of deliberate offense for its own sake. Consider that the literal act of depositing or excreting fecal matter into a communal food-service container would be sabotage. [...] "

When reading that, it is well possible, that spontaneously someone is coming to your mind ...
Eugene from "Walking Dead" and Sheldon from "Big Bang Theory"? LOL
 
lambs

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"If you file or grind a chain with left hand cutters intentionally made shorter than right hand cutters and set the rakers accordingly with a progressive depth gauge tool, the saw will still cut straight."

One of our local Stihl dealers did this with a brand new chain, taking the cutters on one side down to half their length.
 
Westboastfaller

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"If you file or grind a chain with left hand cutters intentionally made shorter than right hand cutters and set the rakers accordingly with a progressive depth gauge tool, the saw will still cut straight."

One of our local Stihl dealers did this with a brand new chain, taking the cutters on one side down to half their length.
AND? What where all the Particulars?
Does not mean you CAN as a practice because it was done on a new Stihl chain.
Stihl makes chain and obviously they make their cutting angle close on their chain at least the chain I have used. I've said its very forgiving. That's a testament to their product. (the chain) They use a lower cutter than the Oregon. May be the key to this?
Unfortunately as a hand filer in a wet climate, I almost always have used the Oregon chain.
I talked about a window you can play in which depends on a handful of things and as to how long things with work with uneven cutters but it HAS TOO be a spread in the cutting angle numbers.

Other chain's apart from those two?...I have no idea but we will find out more here.

I heard that story before. ^^^ Likely from you.

In the OP, Hannes's tested a Stihl chain with the Stihl 'virtual file gauge'
It started out with .025" and a 6.3° cutting angle. at half a chain it dropped only to 6.0°
That's 630 points = 100%,
1% = 6.3 points or.63°
3 points or .3° = .5% accuracy difference. Approx . This is at a full chain on one side and half on the other.
Look in quote

Look at some of the other numbers in the thread.

Part of the downfall with Hannes's single file is he will upset these close numbers (in some cases) in order to get a LOWER raker depth near the end of the teeth

View attachment 647693

View attachment 647694
View attachment 647695

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).
View attachment 647697

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.

View attachment 647698

View attachment 647699

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.

View attachment 647700
View attachment 647701

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.
 
lambs

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I don't think I wrote anything that implied it was good practice to take all the cutters on one side down to half their original length.

The owner at one of the Stihl shops I frequent told me they did it to see if a saw would cut straight that way. And after adjusting the depth gauges on that side to compensate, it did. I was interested in that aspect because when we talk about filing chain, it seems we almost always mention uneven cutter length.

Nothing more, nothing less.
 
hannes69

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For THAT CHAIN the .325 gauge would be decent to customize FOR SOFTwood. For improvements you would just need to grind a little out of the crotch on the
.325 hard setting were it saddle's up.
Bring the front end up from 6.3 to around 7.1°
When using my calculator you´ll see that you just have to grind the slot 50 mil deeper and you´re done ;)
So at this point if anyone gave you chain measurements. Then you could run the data then? Right!
Since you don't need the physical raker gauge then you can shorten the virtual gauge's lower measurements to hit optimal.
You need cutter height to base for raker gauge angle and chain pitch size?
I could run the data, right :)
For a type 1 gauge 1 need 4 measurements and for a type 2 gauge 6 measurements (see software screenshots in starting post; the measurements are explained in the software´s 'chain' tab, also seen on screenshots).

Its the Oregon measurements I would love to see the most.
Yeah ;) I´m still waiting for .325 and .404 chain measurements and of course measurements of all pitches for different manufacturers ;)

I think they have to be custom. Your gauge did really good with the reg Stihl .377 (tall cutter) Up to .280", it only dropped .2°.
Run the Stihl .377" cutter ht if you have time please.
I´m not so sure, is here a sort of misunderstanding? First, do you mean a cutter height of .388, that is used for gauge type 2 (meaning .377 a typo?) and when you speak of a "tall cutter" I have the impression that you maybe think that there are 2 different Stihl chains involved in my software, measurements and setup?
It is always the same Stihl 3/8 RM chain. The 'cutter height' is the naming for a measurement within my software (couldn´t find a better name) that actually means 'distance from highest point of the cutter down to the pivot point of the gauge'. That are simply 2 different measurements depending on the gauge type. Type 1 sits onto the tie strap, type 2 onto a rivet. So the 2 measurements are different, but I call them both 'cutter height'... It is a kind of height of the cutter, it´s only a question what the base reference point of the height is ;)
 
hannes69

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While I agree in principle, I am not going toss a chain with a tooth or two that are short because I hit a nail or rock, and I definitely am not filing the others to match.
I won´t toss such a chain either. A too short cutter is simply ignored by me for the next sharpening(s) until it matches the rest again. And a too long cutter is filed back immediately of course ;)

I actually prefer that. I never like filing on a gauge because it seems to me that it would make the gauge and the file both unhappy, and happy files always work better.
Feeling the same way ;)
 
hannes69

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If you file or grind a chain with left hand cutters intentionally made shorter than right hand cutters and set the rakers accordingly with a progressive depth gauge tool, the saw will still cut straight.
Ok. That´s interesting news :)
I once had a chain filed in such a way, that there was a length difference between left and right hand cutters. I tested it and it cut in a curve. Then I shortened the too long side, so that all cutters had the same length. The chain has cut straight since then. So I thought, that this was the case because of the same cutter length. Of course the rakers all had more or less the same length, before and after the shortening ;)
So my experience would fit into your theory. Sometimes some things are different from what you think how things are (what a sentence) ;)
Every day something new to learn!

Eugene from "Walking Dead" and Sheldon from "Big Bang Theory"? LOL
Now as you´re saying it: It must have been Sheldon I thought all the time about, only didn´t realize it :D
 
hannes69

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n the OP, Hannes's tested a Stihl chain with the Stihl 'virtual file gauge'
It started out with .025" and a 6.3° cutting angle. at half a chain it dropped only to 6.0°
That's 630 points = 100%,
1% = 6.3 points or.63°
3 points or .3° = .5% accuracy difference. Approx . This is at a full chain on one side and half on the other.
Are you trying to calculate a relative error here?
That´s simply (6.0° - 6.3°) / 6.3° ~= -0.05 ~= -5% :)
 
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