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DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

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  • DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

    After 4 years of service, my R4511 gets an upgraded fence. Since I am disassembling the saw to move it, I thought it's about time. The reasons behind the upgrade are that it's fun, stronger fence rail, longer rails to mount outfeed and router extensions, and increasing rip capacity to right and left of blade.

    Cost was about ~$50. I used longer screws because of the increased thickness of the stock materials.

    Materials and Cost:
    1. 2" x 2" angle iron, 6' length, 3/16" thick for back rail, $11
    2. 2.5" x 2.5" angle iron, 6' length, 3/16" thick, for front rail support, $15
    3. 2" x 2" square steel tube, 6' length, 3/16" thick, front rail, $20
    4. 5/16-18 1" button head stainless steel screw (4), $1
    5. 5/16-18 1" flat head black oxide screw (4), $1
    6. 1/4-20 3/4" button head stainless steel screw (10), $1
    7. Reuse all washers, $0

    If you live in or near Sacramento, S&K Steel is a good place for the angle irons and square tube. The guys in the warehouse are very helpful and nice! The front desk guy is very easy going. I bought my screws in bulk at Blue Collar.

    The OEM front rail is originally attached to the oem angle iron support by M10-1.0 button head screws. Since I taped new holes, I use 1/4-20 3/4" button head screws.

    I am reusing the rip fence itself, but thinking about ways to upgrade it as well.

    Now that my back rail is totally flipped compared to the oem design, the rip fence back end is riding on the granite. I am considering ways to lift it off of the table. I'm thinking 1/8" thick UHMW plastic underneath the rip fence.

    I considered staying with 0.95" thick 2" x 2" square tube for the front rail (same as oem tube) due to concern for excessive stress on the granite at the contact points. However, I ended up using 3/16" thickness steel instead to ensure no flexing when the rip fence is locked in place. Once assembled, it is a much more substantial fence system. It makes the oem rip fence feel flimsy.

    I used the oem front angle iron as template. The locations of the screws for the front and back rails are mirror image of each other. Convenient!

    Next is to clean, prep and paint it a nice bright orange color!

    Hopefully, this will help someone else. Feel free to post improvements and suggestions.

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by vnh; 11-03-2012, 12:34 AM. Reason: Source for material

  • #2
    Re: DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

    Nice! Adding a UHMW spacer to the fence is essentially how the Biesemeyer fence works. I suppose you could add another section of angle for the fence tube to slide on... back to back against the new one. (I'd paint it black...)


    • #3
      Re: DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

      Nice idea. I'm not sure about the "Ridgid orange" paint but may work out. You can always repaint. Please post some additional photos showing various angles of view.


      • #4
        Re: DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

        Some modifications were made today. I re-attached the oem back rail so that the rip fence can ride on it. When the fence is locked down, the safety hook doesn't touch the rail. The front rail received 3 more screws on the right, minimizing any chance of the rail flexing under load.

        The front angle iron was slightly bent, about 1/8" along its 6' length. Per advice from BHD in this thread, I straightened it out.

        Still thinking about painting it a bright color! It would be fun.

        Here are some more pictures.

        Click image for larger version

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        • #5
          Re: DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

          Click image for larger version

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          • #6
            Re: DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

            Upgraded mine with a Biz last year. Best investment so far for a good old saw...........


            • #7
              Re: DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

              Correct me if I'm wrong, but the R4511's fence copies the Biesemeyer's design. The R4511's stock fence just wasn't made with stronger material. The last time I used a Biesemeyer fence was years ago. Now with the new rails, the locked fence flexes a hair under very strong lateral force. If I know how to weld, I would make the rip fence and it's T components next. I already have a few designs for this in the sketch book. For now, I am satisfied with this inexpensive and simple upgrade, but I plan to learn to weld.

              Mostly, I thought this was fun.


              • #8
                Re: DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

                geez. do you think you used enough bolts to attach the guide tube to the angle iron? that think must be as strong as a tank!
                there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.


                • #9
                  Re: DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

                  That first pic is weird! I mean the way the saw is the only thing in focus and looks like it's in 3D.

                  Interesting upgrade, it still rolls around ok? Not too prone to falling over to the right?

                  Looks nice, heavy duty!


                  • #10
                    Re: DIY R4511 fence rail upgrade

                    Finer, the more the better! Seriously, it's a little too much.

                    Tacman, I have no problem moving it, even over uneven concrete. The saw is so heavy that the extra weight added to the right by the new rails does not seem to affect balance. I blurred the background, which is one clutter mess, in the first picture.