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solder Saw Mill Lumber & Tips
If you're having problems with the reliability of your 4-2321* sawmill, try
these measures.  They helped mine and now I can run it within the full range
of recommended voltages (9-13 volts) rather than only at the low end.
Personally I like it on 13 volts - - it looks, sounds, and performs with the
robustness you'd expect from a sawmill.  These measures increase the
consistency with which the ejector drives out each board by reducing the
play in the main vertical drive lever at the points where it intersects the
sawmill's floor and where it acts on the board-ejector or horizontal
push-plate.  They also address the repeatability of the contact and
push-pattern of the push-tongue as it acts on the vertical lever beneath the
floor of the sawmill (this tip thanks to another S-Trains member).  None of
these measures permanently change anything about the sawmill and can be
easily removed later with the least of clean up required.  These tips come
with the assumption that all other mechanical and electrical attributes of
the sawmill are sound.

1) Slip a "T" shaped piece of .010" thick styrene behind the vertical lever
(in the house on the left) at the point where it intersects the floor of the
sawmill.  The tee should measure 1-1/2" across the top, 1-1/8" tall, and
3/4" across at the base with the vertical stem section 3/4" long.  You may
need to trim the width of the tee's stem to fit (without buckling) into the
slot of the deck behind the lever.  Bend the top (horizontal) portion of the
tee back about 45 degrees toward the rear wall of the sawmill.  That's so it
doesn't add resistance on the return from ejecting a board.  You'll also
have to help it past the knock-out nub on the back of the lever beneath the
deck, but with some gentle pulling from the bottom and gentle pushing from
the top you can get it to fit fine.

2) Slip a "T" shaped piece of .015" thick styrene behind the vertical lever
at the point where it intersects the ejector or push-plate that drives the
planks out the front of the sawmill.  This tee should measure 1-7/16" across
the top, 3/4" tall, and 11/16" across at the base with the vertical stem
section 3/8" long.  You may need to trim the stem to fit (without buckling)
into the slot of the ejector behind the lever.  Bend the top (horizontal)
portion of the tee back about 45 degrees toward the rear wall of the
sawmill.  That's so it doesn't add resistance on the return from ejecting a
board.  You'll also need to notch the middle of the horizontal portion of
the tee to accommodate the spring.  Mark the tee with a pencil through the
hole that the spring hooks onto, remove the tee, and cut out an area about
1/4"x1/4" around the dot you made.

3) After inserting both "T"s you may need to bend the base portion or tab of
the vertical lever that extends beneath the floor of the sawmill back just a
bit in order to still have some, not much, play or travel left when the
push-tongue is completely extended against it.

4) Attach a 2-1/2" long piece of 3/8"x1-1/4" molding (nominal dimensions,
actual after milling are 1/16" less) to the underside of the sawmill floor
diagonally so that the push-tongue travels perpendicular to this as it
approaches the base of the vertical lever.  The curved face of the molding
helps avoid any potential snags with the tongue (actually the 5/16" actual
height of the shim is just shy of making contact with the tongue), yet the
1-1/4" width provides a broad surface to help position the tongue
consistently as it drives the vertical lever back.  Cover the bottom of the
molding with double-stick tape attach it to the underside of the sawmill and
"strap" it in place with a 1/4" wide strip of aluminized duct tape at each
end (this is the shiny metal tape, it follows the profile of the molding
really well and sticks like heck).  This is the part you may have to clean
up some days/years down the road if you ever remove this aid, but some
GOO-OFF, GOOF-OFF, GOOP-OFF, whatever-OFF that is safe for plastics should
do the job.

5) Use planks or boards of basswood (or harder) in the dimensions of 3/32"
thick, 11.5 mm (~.45 in) wide (so they just fit through the feed slot on the side of
the sawmill), and 73.5 mm long.  Be sure the planks are FLAT, with no bowing
or warp.  Make sure all angles and edges are 90 degrees. Polish the broad
faces of each board with 2000 grip sandpaper.

PS  If at >12 volts you find the last board buzzing about before getting
pushed out, try using an emory board (finger nail file) to roughen the top
surface of the sawmill on which the board rests.  That usually slows the
eager board down some.  Yes this is permanent change to the unit, but
actually some 1500 grit sand paper brings back most of the original finish.

* These might also work on the ACG 23796 sawmill, but I haven't one to try
them on.

The secret to soldering from: "Alex Mendelsohn" <>

The secret to soldering is to have enough heat at the point of contact for
just the right time--and scrupulous preparation.

The latter means you should scrape, sand, or steelwool the surface to be
soldered, and then clean it of all oils, residues, and
contaminants--including fingerprints. I use denatured alcohol for this,
after I make sure the surfaces to be joined are shiny.

Never carry the solder to the work on the soldering iron tip! Always heat
the work and add the solder to the work at the same time. The use of a good
resin-core solder such as Resin Multicore or Kester 60/40 is essential.

The flux will cause the solder to "flow." Sometimes adding just a little bit
of solder to the work or the iron's tip will also cause the flowing effect.
Just don't over-do it. And, don't use acid fluxes where you won't be able to
remove every trace later. They can cause nasty corrosion. However, I use
paste flux quite a bit on larger items. I clean it off with denatured or 99
percent isopropyl alcohol.

Also, use a wet sponge to keep the iron's tip clean. I clean the tip by
swiping it on the sponge before EVERY joint is made. Then I add a minuscule
bit of solder to get the flux flowing and keep the tip "tinned." I also use
steel tips, not copper. If you use copper, you can "dress" the tip with a
file every now and then as needed. Do NOT file or dress a stainless tip!
You'll ruin it, and they're expensive.

Sometimes, with larger pieces, or items you're going to "sweat solder"
together, it pays to pre-coat the surfaces. This is called "tinning." Just
prepare the prices, and coat them with a thin solder "plating" before
joining them with extra solder. Oftentimes you'll tin a job before putting
it into place with the other piece to be joined.

Sweating two pieces is nice because you don't see the soldered connection or
joint. The two pieces are previously tinned and then placed together and
then heated until the solder on the hidden surfaces flows together.

Also, once the solder is joining the work, be sure not to move the pieces
until the solder cools and sets. If you see a grainy effect, the soldered
connection is said to be a "cold" solder connection. Re-do it! Do not cool a
joint with water either. Let it set or cool naturally.

You can use a "solder sucker" to remove excess solder or to de-solder
something, or try solder wick. Solder wick is a copper braid that sucks up
solder, but it needs a little added flux-based solder to make it "start." I
prefer a solder sucker, but they're much more costly. The solder sucker is a
spring loaded affair with a trigger and a heat-resistant tip. You place it
on the molten solder and hit the trigger and---bingo--the solder gets sucked
into the tool, leaving a clean (and usually tinned) surface!

Regards and good luck, Alex in Kennebunk, Maine

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