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small gang rips or multi-blade moulders?

9/1/20       
Matt

Gents, one of our projects involves us ripping 50-100pcs per day of some tricky 1/2" x 1/2" sticks that are roughly 12-20" long. Material is HDPE (Starboard) and we're getting good results with common plywood blades.

As things ramp up we may be ripping as many as 300-400/day.

I'm trying to find a safer, more consistent way of ripping these while also getting the best quality cut as possible.

We do use SawStop brand tablesaws, and they are indeed excellent machines, but we still want to find a way to avoid hand-ripping these.

We COULD just set up a tablesaw with a power feeder, and that's option 1.

However, I figured I'd ask around if there are other options. Are there any small gang-rips that can handle such small items? I've never needed a gang rip so I'm assuming most of them are much larger than what we would need.

9/1/20       #2: small gang rips or multi-blade moul ...
dustin orth

How accurate of cuts are you trying to achieve? A gang rip generally won't do that short of material, there are ones that will do that. As far as accurate cuts, yes and no. I have a Pinheiro 270 gang rip. Its an older model that I bought on auction. Cleaned up, repaired and modified with laser brackets. Good saw, I like how it runs and because of what I paid for on auction, its already paid for. You can put a pressure plate in between the top feed rolls that would hold the material down better so that the vibration of short material is kept to a minimum but there will still be some. A newer gang rip will probably be better at that but at what cost? With the Starboard do you have to have special blades to cut it? What kind of feed speeds cut best? Do you have the power in your shop to handle a gang rip? They typically have at least a 50 HP motor for the blades. Then add 2-3 HP for the feed system. Add in dust collection of at least an 8" port. I'm not trying to talk you out of one, just explaining the possible minuses. The plus part of this is that you are looking for approximately 500 LF of material, I estimate that it would take about 10 minutes to cut on my saw once the blades and pressure shoe are set. Newer saws also have computer controlled moving blades, way overkill if you are always cutting the same dimension, both in dollars spent and maintenance costs. Don't know if they would allow a 1/2" between blades either. A standard saw with spacer rings, 1/2" between blades is no problem.
I don't have any experience with saw blades on a moulder, so that we have to wait for others to chime in on. I think depending on your budget and shop resources, a gang rip might be a viable option. But the outlay in dollars vs labor costs in your current method, only you can answer that.

9/2/20       #3: small gang rips or multi-blade moul ...
Hen Bob Member

Beam saw.

9/2/20       #4: small gang rips or multi-blade moul ...
Bill

Put a 4 wheel feeder on the saw, you should be able to fit 2 blades and a spacer. It would make you twice as fast if the saw could handle it.

9/3/20       #5: small gang rips or multi-blade moul ...
David R Sochar Member

Smithway XL Gang rips show up on the used market occasionally. It has a small footprint and direct drive motor. Load up the arbor with 3-4-5 or more blades and go to town. Be sure the kickback prevention fingers are in good shape - like all ripsaws, it can kick back a piece every now and then.

9/15/20       #6: small gang rips or multi-blade moul ...
Matt

Gents, thank you all for your replies.

Dustin, these do need to be accurate cuts and I know a standard gang rip is going to be huge overkill (over-cost) for this situation. Thank you for your input here, that helps me understand what's typically available for a gang rip.

Hen Bob, a beam saw won't work in this case. These rips are basically being done using offcuts from nested base CNC. But I do understand why you suggest it.

Bill, I think you're right about the suggestion. We have a saw/feeder set up for a very specific dado. I'm going to have one of our guys revamp it and test for ripping to figure out what blade and feed speed works, and probably just replicate that whole setup with a new machine dedicated only to ripping these items.

David, I'm not familiar with Smithway, I'll keep my eyes open for such, thanks!

9/15/20       #8: small gang rips or multi-blade moul ...
CW

A woodmaster might work. I donít know if you can get to 1/2Ē with there blade setup.

9/16/20       #9: small gang rips or multi-blade moul ...
Matt

Woodmaster was one of my first thoughts as well, but when I spoke with them on the phone they said I'm going to have broken material because the blades are up-cut, and the machine does not have a top platen to give such thin/narrow pieces enough support to handle all the upward force from those blades cutting upwards.

11/3/20       #10: small gang rips or multi-blade moul ...
Tracy Yarborough

I've never actually tried this but how about stacking 2 blades on a standard table saw, 1/2" apart and run a power feeder over the top. Blades could be glue line rip blades to increase cut quality. Make sure you make a zero clearance fence to run the parts. If you use a 4 wheel feeder you can set the center of the feeder over the blades effectively having 2 wheels on both front and back of the pieces being cut.
2 blades - twice the production.
Power feeder with zero clearance insert - increased safety.

2/15/21       #11: small gang rips or multi-blade moul ...
David Waldmann Member

Website: vermonthardwoods.com

Be aware, OSHA requires anti-kickback devices when ripping multiples.

I think a simple power feed on an existing saw is the next logical step.

FWIW, we make flooring, and provide 3/8" x 15/16" x 42" stickers for acclimation. We rip these on our tablesaw with a power feed, one at a time. We are trying to come up with a solution to rip multiples on our Raimann gangrip but Weinig has been very slow to respond to making a sleeve for it (normally we use the quick-fix arbor but the minimum rip width is about 7/8" with that). We generally run it with one person, but with a feeder and tailer it could probably be run at 63 ft/min (second fastest speed on our feeder).

At 63 ft/min 300-400 pieces at an average of 18" could be done in 10 minutes. Gang rip is way overkill.

By the way, we use an auxiliary fence for this. Just a piece of 1/2" x 4" stock that lays flat on the table, so that the power feed wheels can fully cover in- and out-feed with enough sideways thrust to keep the piece against the fence.

11/25/21       #12: small gang rips or multi-blade moul ...
stoneaxe Member

We are using a shop made mini gang rip- a 5hp table saw with a custom arbor with 4 thin kerf blades and spacers, a zero clearance insert and splitters behind each blade. A power feed sits right over the blades. We rip 3/8 "x 3/8" strips out of slats.

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