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 Jim Mumford - My EZ plywood loader

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Dik Harrison

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Posts : 233
Join date : 2008-07-01
Age : 70
Location : Evans, GA, USA

PostSubject: Jim Mumford - My EZ plywood loader   April 8th 2009, 4:20 pm

This thread was originally posted on SMC by . It is here with his permission.

Now that I have my PBB legs done, on to the next thing on my agenda.

EZ, meet EZEE, from NJ also.

I bought an ezee-feed plywood loader from ezee-feed manufacturing a couple months before I discovered EZ(smart) gear. I was going to mount it in front of my mongrel bosch4000 TS for processing sheets. I never got that far. One issue that came up with it was that infeeding is the easy part - it's actually more of a mess handling the seperate pieces coming out the other end...

Anyway, since I have it, I need to try and use it, so here goes. Mounting it to my PBB was too EZ. One piece of 2"x3" aluminum angle, two 3" connector pcs, and two knobs, done. It can slide anywhere along the long side, making a hammerhead like in the pics or an "L" at either end. I could also mount it to the short side, but not sure yet if I would ever need to..
I haven't mounted it yet, but it comes with a metal roller that you side-mount and that facilitates loading the sheet up on there.

Will it work? Who knows. I could see mounting a piece of SME to the far end to accomodate a bridge, with an extension at the other end on the PBB, I would have 8+ ft for ripping, quick to set up. Cross cuts are a no-brainer.

Plus it fits my requiriement as always of being portable and storeable.

there's video of it in use on a TS at www.ezee-feed.com, by Lee Jesberger the inventor. I'm not affiliated except having bought this loader from him.

thanks,
-Jim










Don Bergren Posted:

This is similar to an idea I've been tossing around in my head. I envision the same type of setup you have, but with one twist. I would like to design something that would allow the rollers to drop below the surface, and be raised when needed.

My theory is that dropping them down and out of the way would make loading of plywood easier by preventing it from sliding around during the loading process. Once the plywood is on the loader bed, pull a lever to raise the rollers and the plywood can be easily be maneuvered and positioned under the Bridge for cutting. Once in position the rollers are again dropped, making the work piece stay in place with no danger of moving while being cut.

All of it would have to be quick and easy to remove, plus I have some other things I'd add as well. But that's the basics of what I envision.


I like your idea a lot. I'd be interested in hearing how this works out for you once it's fine tuned and in use.


Burt Wadell Posted:

Jim,

This is pretty close to the one that DIno did a demo on a video. Dino used a hinged lift to put the board on the loader. Why don't you see if you can find that video and take a look at it. I think you can add a lift to yours to make it even better.

Burt

Jim Mumford Replied:

Don -
These are excellent points, and we have concerns in common. I had at times thought about how one might do just what you're describing, in terms of dropping the rollers when not needed. I haven't as of yet envisioned anything that wasn't messy or complex to my personal taste, so I decided to spend some time with this setup and see what really happens. I have a couple theories.

I can set the height of the loader such that it is about 1/32" or less above the pbb top. I put a ripped-in-half sheet on there today just to see how it felt, kind of nudged it around. What I noticed is as long as most of it is riding on the transfer balls of the loader, it's effortless like air-hockey, which you might want. Then, interestingly, as it slides forward and more material is onto the pbb, where the bridge would be, there is a natural flex to sheet goods anyway and it starts to settle down onto the table, creating a bit of friction. Although I haven't set it up yet, I am imagining that the bridge may be good enough to hold it still while cutting if this flex combined with tuning the loader height until there is a sweet spot.

Another tweak I will try is slightly raising the far end of the loader in relation to the end at the PBB, which would have the effect of slightly angling the plywood to contact the table top, increasing the contribution made by friction contact as it progresses onto the pbb
end, but again looking for the sweet spot where it could still be easily nudged around on the table without knocking the PBB around too much AND, and where the slight angle up won't add a teensy bevel to the cut.

A caveat is that everything has to be level, level, and level. That's much of the motivation behind the adjustable leg I did made. I tried a repeater cut once and was on an incline not paying enough attention and the cutoff piece started closing the gap behind the saw and I had a mess and a torn EAC from that one ( but no injury , the saw just stalled out!). So, I'm eventually going to adapt my adjustable legs on the PBB to the rear of the ezee-feed so that I can have this rig outside on my horribly out of level stone driveway and still work with confidence.

thanks,
-Jim

Burt -
yeah I saw that lift when I was first getting aquainted with EZ. It's easier to load in many ways. But there is a huge headroom requirment that I don't wan't to be constrained by, would be nervous letting anyone else do near me, and that my shop ceiling at 7' 8" can't satisfy. And personally I'm still stubborn enough to keep traipsing around with sheets of plywood twisted-arm style. I can still duck-walk carrying a sheet to get through a low door if I have to. Not forever though...

As I'm typing this I'm thinking Dik already solved this, I seem to remember he drew out a cart once that swung the board up not end-for-end but side-for-side instead onto his table...

hmmm.....

thanks,
-Jim

Burt Wadell Replied:

Jim,

There are always personal considerations in making anything like this. You're apparently young and strong. I'm getting older, have had a couple major surgeries that limit my abilities. Don is an inspiration to all of us. He manages to do woodworking from a wheel chair.

That is one of the great things about EZ - We can all make it do what we want it to!!!

Burt

Joseph N. Meyers Posted:

About a year ago, I posted my version of a lift a follows:

http://eurekazone.aforumfree.com/eurekazone-tools-f1/joe-meyers-yet-another-loader-design-t203.htm

It worked for me and maybe will help other EZ Users!

Regards, Joe


Jim Mumford Replied:

Burt-

Don has all my respect. For me, the far side of the hill is in view, but that's why there is vitamin C and anti-inflam's!

I must confess a sheet up on end feels like a dangerous thing if it's outside on a gusty day....

-Jim


Joe -
I really like how simple that is. I oversolve then struggle with what to leave out. Nice. I wonder if there is a way to adapt something like that to mine...I'd have to slide it to the edge, load, then slide it back. But the mounting knobs would be covered then.....I'll have to think on it some more.

With the loader I have, which was lying around my shop unused, I was actually more excited in the beginning to use it as a long support that takes about 30 seconds set up or put away. The loader part is actually less important to me, but darn nice to have in the bargain. If I tried to sell it I'd take a huge loss, so I'm going to see what it will do..

thanks,
-Jim


Don,
indidentally, I didn't mention that I deliberately mounted the L bracket for the loader with an extra inch of depth possible...that leaves open the possibility of dropping the whole loader down 3/4" to accomodate a plywood top of some kind over it with cutouts for the rollers, making it more like a table, without adding a lot of weight. I would have to shim the rollers upward then with a 3/4" spacers to compensate. I was thinking I would just use an auxilliary top so I could cross-cut long narrow pieces supported by the loader, which is definitely a weakness of it as a material support, but since it slides anywhere along the edge, I would just work around the rollers.

But it just occurred to me that if you can do that, it can't be too much of a stretch to make the top rise above the rollers somehow.

Then I thought what about a mechanism that operates similar to the bridge applied at each end of such a top? With a b-300 kind of lever that operates from underneath...Needs to only rise about 1/16" to 1/8" to clear the rollers. It would have to lock upward instead of downward. The cutouts for the rollers would need to be lengthened just slightly
if at all, or just made with a larger hole saw...

Although if it were a bridge mechanism, then it would shift the material slightly....

hmm..

-Jim

Sam -

I agree, moving the table top is a better way to go and would be more straightforward to build.

-Jim


Mike Goetzke Posted:

Jim - with a lift that looks like it will work well. Due to space limitations in my garage I installed two HeavyLift cable lifts. The capacity is 250#. I use one accessable with the garage door open and just slide the sheet goods from our Suburban onto the 4'x4' rack. The second one fits above the garage door with my PBB on it. I lower it onto saw horses as needed and just slide the sheet goods from the storage lift to my PBB - no more lifting heavy 4x8 panels:



Dino Makropoulos Posted:

Hi Guys.
The ez forum is on fire with smart ideas.
I think this is the best woodworking forum by far.

Good job Jim.
we cut 4x8s 3/4" and 1" thick UHMW and HDPE plastics. Very heavy.
Easily 2-3 times the weight of a 4x8 plywood panel.

The very first thing is to cut the pieces in half.(full cross cut to length)
If we use the repeaters, the weight is not a problem.
The panel stays in one place.

For the PBB we're working on a better way to push the panels while keeping the panels against the squaring stops.
The infeed table can be made with strips of UHMW( inside the SME's)
By putting the SME's ( on the infeed table) on a slight angle, the materials are forced against the squaring stops.
Easy to move and always against the fence.
Same can be done with wheels on an angle.

Now that you have the eez loader,
I'm very sure that you can make it to work.
Anything made in NJ works good.

At the ez poll the ez loader is doing OK.
If your idea works good, one less product that we have to worry.

Keep us posted and good luck.

Tom Wizer Posted:

Interesting concept. But it's not really a loader is it? It's an infeed roller/table. Like Dino, I suffer near disabling spinal problems and I need to find something which can get a sheet from vertical to horizontal without any back strain. I watched the video on the eezee loader website and the way he flips the panel down on the table would put my in a hospital bed (serious). At the moment, If I don't have help, I have to cut sheets on the floor, which is better for my back than risking man handling a full sheet. The best soluton to this is Dino/Joseph's solution. I am planning an assembly table based on a PBB and I think I will build this system into it. Head height is an issue, but I tend to cut down sheets outside. The other option is an electric hoist, which I am seriously considering at the moment.

Watch you backs guys, it's a horribly depressing thing to be taking morphine daily and still in pain 24/7.

Dino Makropoulos Replied:

Hi Tom,
I watched the video.
It helps with loading but not a loader for all of us.
If you use a tablesaw, the eez looks good.
I like the simplicity and storability of the eez.
Good product for a shop with few stationary tools.

For us with bad backs and necks, the ez self loader is a must.
...and one more ez goodie...a surprise.


Last edited by Dik Harrison on April 9th 2009, 1:15 am; edited 2 times in total
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Dik Harrison

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PostSubject: Part 2   April 8th 2009, 5:01 pm

Dik Harrison Posted:

All this talk about plywood loaders has gotten me thinking again about the modifications to my existing cart. I've posted a video on my Blog. This is the beginning of the design, I still have to figure out how I want to hold the table horizontal. I've tried a leg that swings down when the table is lifter, but that makes it difficult to move the cart with the table horizontal. I'm currently trying two pins through aligned holes, but they are difficult to use when the table is loaded with 4'x8' 3/4" MDF. Any ideas are welcome...

Jim Mumford Replied:

Tom,

Not that I have any idea what you suffer with your back, but I used to get back spasms that laid me out for a day or two, and I do empathize with how awful back problems can be. An injured back keeps getting injured over and over again, unfortunately, so I can see how you would see Lee's video and want to cringe imagining doing that yourself.

My ezee-feed stand is something I already had, and I would not tout it as a loader solution for everyone, but more something that I had lying around, and it adapted almost for free to the pbb, almost like I was supposed to take the course I did. From getting the ezee-feed, to head-scratching over working it on my TS in a small space, to giving up and looking for a good edge guide, then finding EZ smart and it all comes full circle putting EZ and EZEE together.

On my list, in order is (1) material support (2) storeable and portable and (3) controlling a sheet to the point of avoiding a slamdown onto the pbb. I guess my definition of loader is more about control more than saving a lift. I have to walk sheets from my driveway to the rear of my house, so I'm already in the carrying position when I walk in my shop door, and I'm already holding it at table height, so actually I'm saving motion because it never hits the floor.

Like many, if setup or teardown of a piece of gear takes more time-in-motion than I know it could, I tend to go off and start another project instead or put that one off . My shortcoming for sure, but I know that's what I do.

It seems obvious that for a loader/support to have the widest use for everyone, has to have a means built in that helps the loading function while giving control throughout the whole movement, and doing it anywhere, such as outdoors in wind gusts and in shops with short ceilings.

I love the ideas that are coming out here. We can all cherry-pick the ones that work for each of us.

thanks,
-Jim

Mike,
I like your setup. You've even got storage for several sheets if you need it, right? That's one thing I lack in my space, storage for sheets in a manner that they don't wind up warped.

I can't help asking looking at your pic...what if that lift rode on a heavy duty track, from your Suburban over to your pbb?
Just a thought.

thanks,
-Jim


Tom - one more random thought - the telescoping pbb legs I built (see telescoping assembly thread I put up yesterday) can make the pbb table drop down to 25" in height. I don't know if that makes it any easier to say pull a sheet off of a vehicle and go directly onto the table by
making the entire pbb/loader/support/whatever shorter.

I guess the idea is this - we are all trying to figure out how to get plywood sheets up in the air so to speak.....is there any merit to the notion that maybe we should be looking at whether having a means to lower the whole pbb/loader instead would be helpful?

Kind of like the kneeling bus....

thanks,
-Jim


Randal Stevenson Posted:

You talk about a leg, but instead of having a leg off of the table, that folds down to the floor, how about a leg that folds UP?
Picture a bar, going across the middle of your table (can be ends or elsewhere, just middle for sake of discussion). You use it to push up the table, and then it locks between a small outrigger and the table top. That still allows you to roll the table with it in the horizontal
posistion.

Doug Hobkirk Posted:

Dik,

Good idea - use it as a loader or an expansion of your PB.

I think it looks like the pins might work if you make the quarter circle big like you show. But those pieces seem like they would effectively make the table excessively large when it's vertical.

It might work if you have the stabilizing leg(s) hook on the base of the cart instead of the floor. Now the cart can be moved in any direction and the load will remain stable.

Nice blog!


Dik Harrison Replied:

Same idea?

Randal,

I've been thinking along the same lines. Something kind of like an aircraft landing gear scissors that goes beyond dead straight to lock in the down position and has to be pushed past the locked position once the table is lifted, to lower the table. I've done a rough draft with SU/SP, and posted it on my Blog.


Jeff Relth Posted:

Another option - Hydraulic lift tables

Here is a link to a couple threads that discuss using hydraulic lift tables for various purposes. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...ght=lift+table
http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthre...ght=lift+table

The table can be lowered to load plywood and then raised to the correct height to match the top of the PBB. You could build any number of attachments for the surface of the lift table; add rollers, or ball bearings, or a side roller, or a hinged panel lift. These tables are heavy duty and seem to last pretty well.

I just bought one at Harbor Freight (Northern Tool also sells them) and am going to use it as my main base so that I can move outside my garage to work and just wheel it out and adjust the height to fit the circumstances. It may become the base for my PBB with the new Smart
Table Rails on it. The lift tables are often on sale for decent prices.

More than one table would give increased length or width as necessary to the EZ System, or an assembly table, or a "whatever" table with interchangable tops.

Jeff


Tom Wizer Replied:

Hi Jeff, I have been considering something like that. I have access to one of those trolleys with a hydraulic lift. I think this is the best solution for me actually. Thanks

Don Bergren Replied:

The more I tink about it, the more I like your setup of 1/32" over. If there is concern that the sheet may move, perhaps constructing a toggle type clamp that slides into the SME on the end of your PBB would hold the piece for the cut. A quick flip to lock or release. The loader platform could be adjusted an even 1/32" higher, and the clamp would quickly and easily secure things for the cut. Just an idea.

My original idea of rollers that can be raised and lowered now seems unnecessary and complicated.

Ahhh..... use the force Jim. Turn your thinking 90 degrees and picture your adversary in your mind. Dino made the video and showed us how, Burt has referenced that video, and you have watched it. The secret is there. Just picture a 90 degree change. Save your back.

Okay, I'll be serious now. Don't think of loading a sheet standing on end. Think of loading a sheet on the long edge. The headroom needed is only about 26" above the table top.

Load your sheet goods from the end of your loader roller table. Mount the right gizmo on that end and you have the EZ and back saving method. Place the sheets on edge lengthwise and there is no need for lots of headroom. You may have to rig one outrigger on each side of your roller table that will balance the sheet along its length when it's first flipped onto the roller table (Or use a couple of ball roller stands). Once it's flipped onto the roller table you can effortlessly move it 90 degrees to feed it end first under the Bridge.

That's how I'd do it.

Jim Mumford Replied:

Don,
I like the clamp idea. I am going to see how the 1/32" setting works out, and if there is too much chance of movement, I will indeed implement a clamp of some kind. Your idea of a toggle on a pc. of connector extrusion to go into an SME is very clean and simple, and quick in terms of time and motion. A smart clamp would also work fine, but they don't hold themselves open, requiring a two-handed operation, so.....

I still think having a way to drop the rollers would be sweet, but I agree that an elegant way that doesn't add a lot of hardware hasn't revealed itself yet.

thanks,
-Jim


Don,
thanks for this suggestion, it's a good one. I would have to change shop layout a little bit....doesn't seem like a big deal. We shall see... I'm considering outriggers anyway to deal with the limitations of the ezee-feed as a material support for very narrow long stock.

thanks
-Jim

_________________
Have fun...

Dik
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