Bench Polisher From a Tile Saw

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Sometimes, the tool you need the most doesn’t exist.  It’s at that moment that you realize…Hey, I could make one of those!  I’m doing an awful lot of edge cold working and don’t have a lap wheel, and my hand held polisher isn’t fabulous for edges.  So, with a little ingenuity and a sharp hack saw, a new bench polisher is born.

I started with this tile saw, since I can’t use it as a saw. (don’t buy one, it’s horrible piece of equipment)

Tile Saw for polisher conversion

Tile saw pre-hacking

Then I started to disassemble it so I could rebuild it into something that was actually useful.

Inside of Saw

Once I got the blade guard and other stuff out, I found this handy adapter at the hardware store.  This will re-thread the shaft of the saw motor to accommodate the 3″ diamond polishing pads from my hand held polisher.

Adapter for Tile Saw

Luckily there is an adapter that fit this saw.  I have another old tile saw that has an extremely odd size of thread with no known adapter.

See?

Saw with Adapter

Now the hacking part.  I started by sawing through the black plastic rim of the saw on the reservoir side of the saw.  I set that aside, as I’ll need it later.

Sawing the Saw

Next I needed to reduce the height of the plastic walls so I can get my glass to the polishing wheel.

Saw with reduced height sides.

The plastic walls that are left are really flimsy, so I added some reinforcement in the shape of maple sticks.

Reinforced Saw Sides

And then put the black rim back on by screwing it down to the maple reinforcements.

Saw Reassembled into a Polisher

Next, I added two maple crossbars that act as a work surface.  I will probably find a more elegant solution at some point, but these are easy to make and removable for a more versatile set up.

Nearly Finished Polisher

It looks to me like this thing is going to make a heck of a mess when I add the water feed and use it, so I hacked up a plastic bin to make a splash guard and added a gallon of water with a thin piece of surgical tubing.  I could have installed something more permanent in terms of a water reservoir, but I use this jug and tube set up for drill and carving, so it seemed easiest to have a multi-use solution.

Finished Bench Polisher

I’ve pulled it forward so the drain hole in the reservoir is directly above a bucket.  At some point it would be good to add a tube to the drain, but for now, I’m in business!!

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Disclaimer:  This article is for entertainment purposes only, it is not meant as a guide or tutorial.  Hacking power tools can be dangerous and should be done at your own discretion and with great caution (if at all).  Be smart people, safety first!

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4 comments
Beverly M
Beverly M

Love this idea.  I'm always looking for ways to reuse.  How did it work for you when finished?  I'm getting ready to purchase a new tile saw and would love to make use of the old one.

 

GlassWithaPast
GlassWithaPast moderator

 @Beverly M As a tile saw I HATED that thing.  As a polisher, I've logged about 8 hours of polishing with it, and am quite pleased.  It doesn't work well for very thin glass.  I mostly use it for polishing the edges of things before I slump them and for that it is wonderfully efficient.  The trick was finding the adapter to convert the shaft to the same thread pattern as my polishing head.

gerryphibbs
gerryphibbs

 @GlassWithaPast  @Beverly M Jody, as an old hardware guy, I'm bound to ask - can you provide better details on this "adapter" that's at the heart of this rig?  I'm going to assume that it's metric - but maybe not.  Who makes it, and what was it originally designed to fit?  There are adapters for various polisher/buffers, going from SAE (USA) threads and sizes to metric, and visa versa, but some solid particulars might help.

  Peace  -Gerry, IGGA

GlassWithaPast
GlassWithaPast moderator

 @gerryphibbs  @Beverly M Hi Gerry;  you are correct in thinking that the adapter is the key element.  The one I used is an M10x1.5 to 5/8 11 adapter that came in a kit with a wire brush from Harbor Freight and cost about $5.  Hand held polishers have a standard 5/8 11 thread.  The saw came from Home Depot, and is a QEP 7" tile saw.  The polishing head and pads are 3" diamond, velcro backed and came from toolocity.com

 

Gotta love tools!  J.

 

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