Introduction: Great Projects From Old How-to Magazines
Magazines like Popular Mechanics and Popular Science once published articles on how to build very capable shop tools like tilt arbor table saws, arc welders, and drill presses. Those articles are still available on-line through Google Books.
The photo shows plans for building a 10 inch tilt arbor table saw. It originally appeared as a two part article in the November (p. 218) and December (p. 217) 1947 issues of Popular Mechanics Magazine. (The link for the second part of the article takes you to the front cover of the December issue, not to p. 217 and the second part of the article. See the second graphic. Enter "217" and press "Enter" on your keyboard to get to p. 217.)
To the right of the box with "217" typed into it are two blue forward and back arrows. The index for Popular Mechanics magazines is usually on about page 3. You can also pull down the "Contents" tool in the menu bar and see hot links to most articles. Oddly, the second part of the article on building a tilt arbor table saw did not appear in the contents menu, but I had to find it by advancing to page 3 and reading the index for the magazine.
While this table saw is very well-built and full-featured, building it requires some work on a metal lathe to make the trunions and other things. There is also some welding. It would be possible to have these things done at a machine shop, or by a friend with the needed skills and tools. It is also possible to buy a set of trunions for a commercial table saw on eBay. (The trunions allow the blade to tilt so that its exact axis is where the blade comes through the table.)
Step 1: Need an Arc Welder? Build One!
The September and October 1948 Popular Mechanics Magazine issues carried a two-part article on building your own 220 volt arc welder. The link for September will take you directly to the first article. The link for October takes you only to the front cover of the magazine. Find the remainder of the article by going to page 213 of the October issue.
This is one of a couple of arc welders from Popular Mechanics which you can build. The other is from the November 1955 issue (p. 207). It is a one-part article--no continuation into the next issue.
One problem with these arc welders is that they are built from step down transformers used on power transmission lines. Once old transformers no longer useful were fairly easy to obtain from local utilities. That was before environmentally hazardous PCBs. Still, if you scour your local scrap yards, you can sometimes find electrical devices with large laminated steel cores that could be adapted for use in a welder. These articles also show how you can use parallel strands of common copper wire used in household wiring to gain the current carrying capacity needed for the transformer windings. Before committing yourself to building one of these welders, you may want to figure the actual costs and compare a used welder in local want ads or on Craigslist.
Step 2: Another Arc Welder
The November 1965Popular Science Magazine carried an article for a portable arc welder built from a gasoline engine and a military surplus aircraft generator. It is a DC welder with an arc stabilizer. Its output is about 75 amps., which is adequate for 3/32 inch welding rod.
Step 3: Drill Press
The January 1948 issue of Popular Mechanics carried an article on building your own drill press largely from pipe fittings (p. 216). Another set of plans for a drill press made with a differential from a Ford Model A automobile can be found in the November, 1953 issue of Popular Mechanics on page 215.
Step 4: Do You Want to Browse?
When I was in my early teen years our local barber stocked his shop with Popular Mechanics and Popular Science magazines. It was the late 1950s and the early 1960s. When he retired, he remembered how often I read those magazines while waiting for my haircut. Even though I was away at college, he phoned my mother and asked her if I would like to have those magazines. From them I learned how to use power tools and make furniture. Thanks to the Internet and Google Books, I can read those magazines again and browse issues I never saw. This link will take you to Popular Mechanics issues for about 1960. Click on the numbers of different pages at the bottom to navigate to other years. This link will take you to Popular Science issues from about the same time. Click on the hot link for the year to browse the year of your choice. For me, these magazines were Instructables.com before there was an Internet. Happy browsing and happy building!
A postscript: These magazines were published in other languages. My friend Rimar2000 found a web page for Popular Mechanics in Spanish. If English is not your preferred language, do a little digging and you can probably find these magazines in the language of your choice.
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