Chainsaw Repair

Chain - Grinders - Filing - Wood Milling - Tools - Welding - Machinist - Mowers - Tillers => Chain - Bars - Grinders - Filing => Topic started by: Philbert on December 17, 2018, 10:25:34 pm

Title: Automatic Chain Sharpener - under $300
Post by: Philbert on December 17, 2018, 10:25:34 pm
I have heard rumors of an automatic chain sharpener 'under $500' for a few years. Saw some info on one for just under $300 today:

TEMCo Industrial FP1000 - Automatic Chainsaw Sharpener

Have not used one, or even seen it in person. Following info is from manufacturer's materials.

- works on full comp chain only
- looks like you can set top plate angle only (head tilt angle and 'down angle' fixed?)
- does depth gauges with separate wheel (interesting way to gauge them)
- works on 12V (off of car battery) or 120VAC with adaptors
- looks like proprietary grinding wheels (?)
- no info if wheels need to be dressed, etc.
- $299 on eBay

More info in series of pretty clear YouTube videos:

Looks like I might need a 'cheat sheet' to program it for at least the first few times. But 1/10 to 1/20 the price of the next automatic chain sharpeners that I know of!

Title: Re: Automatic Chain Sharpener - under $300
Post by: Philbert on January 16, 2019, 05:35:01 pm
First Impressions

Received a demo unit yesterday: very good first impression. It was double boxed for shipping, with die-cut, closed cell foam packaging.

The sharpener itself looks well finished and appears to be a quality product. The main housing appears to be an aluminum (?) casting with plastic guards. It is roughly about the size of a loaf of bread.

It comes with LOTS of parts! 5 power accessories; 3 hex key wrenches; 2 grinding wheels (sharpening wheel comes installed); 2 wheel wrenches; a chain weight; a wheel alignment indicator; a depth gauge measuring tool; a feeler gauge; mounting screws; and a user's manual. If I was going to keep this grinder I would find or make up some type of pouches to keep the power cords together, and the small tools together, so that they do not get lost.

The manual is pretty clearly written, but technical. If you are not into reading, you might have some trouble with this. Watching the YouTube videos really helps. Hopefully, TEMCo will have the manual up on their website to download. They should also make the user videos available for downloading, in case someone wants to view / refer to them later, and has limited Internet access. I may make some editing suggestions and pass them on directly to the company, as they do not really pertain to this thread.

I need to make a base for this (to clamp down to temporary work surfaces), and review the videos, before I try running any chains, so it may take me a few days.

Title: Re: Automatic Chain Sharpener - under $300
Post by: Philbert on January 16, 2019, 05:40:35 pm
IPLs for those interested.

Wheels are approximately 0.630" ID
Sharpening wheel is 3.145" OD, and 0.14" thick.
Depth gauge wheel is  3.295" OF and 0.20" thick

Title: Re: Automatic Chain Sharpener - under $300
Post by: Cut4fun . on January 17, 2019, 08:18:25 am
Seems more like homeowner use then someone that is doing chains daily. 
Title: Re: Automatic Chain Sharpener - under $300
Post by: Cut4fun . on January 17, 2019, 08:52:04 am
Reading this is alittle scary.

Somebody on AS said = (I bought one of these and received it last week. It works well except when it ground the wrong way on a tooth for no apparent reason and ruined the tooth. Good thing I was standing there and could stop it from continuing. Hopefully this was a fluke and doesn't happen again. Now I need to get out and dull a couple chains and try it again.)
Title: Re: Automatic Chain Sharpener - under $300
Post by: Philbert on May 08, 2019, 08:26:42 pm
Couple of Inside Photos


Title: Re: Automatic Chain Sharpener - under $300
Post by: Philbert on May 08, 2019, 08:28:02 pm
Philbert's Summary - Part 1

I like the idea of an automatic chain grinder: it should save time and increase cutter consistency. I am really impressed that TEMCo was able to develop and produce this model for the price that it is offered at. Looking 'under the covers', the design is both clever and elegantly simple.

Comments posted in these threads have provided the company with a lot of invaluable feedback, advice, and suggestions from a dedicated group of chainsaw users and potential customers. E.g. this type of device should cover the full range of common, consumer saw chains, including:
1/4 inch to full-sized 3/8 pitch chain;
0.043 to 0.063 gauge chains; and
skip tooth chains, or at least the extra space common on many odd length loops.

'Automatic', of course, means that it runs unattended once set up. This is not, "Alexa: sharpen my chain!" technology. A user still needs to understand what a properly sharpened chain looks like, and how to set the controls, in order to get satisfactory results.

TEMCo generously provided a unit for evaluation in these forums. For reference, no one else asked to participate in this review, per the guidelines posted. In fairness, the company's offer of a 'one-year satisfaction warranty, with shipping paid both ways' on eBay is, perhaps, a better offer.

I hope that others who try and use this product share their comments, experiences, and recommendations in these threads. I also hope to continue using and evaluating it further, and to take it to other events for folks to try. Longer-term feedback can only come from extended use.

An evaluation of the product really falls into 2 categories: the product itself, and how it compares to other chain grinders or sharpening methods.

Title: Re: Automatic Chain Sharpener - under $300
Post by: Philbert on May 08, 2019, 08:28:59 pm
Philbert's Summary - Part 2

Overall, the TEMCo FP100 feels like a well made and well finished product. The design is compact and the packaging is very professional. Many photos are posted earlier in these threads. The manual feels a bit more like a work in progress.

Use of the grinder was not intuitive for me, however a series of YouTube videos were very helpful to understand basic operations. Familiarity came with use. This might vary with the type of previous sharpening experience a user has. I have sent the company many comments, beyond those that I have included in these threads, and continue to send updates, occasionally.

A key set up issue I had was with the 'Length' and 'Pitch' knobs. Because these adjustments are mechanically related, and the design allows the knobs to be rotated past the limits of having any effect, it is confusing when adjustments apparently make no difference, or when they have disproportionate or unintended results. Cutting viewing 'windows' to see what these knobs actually do was a big help for me, but something I still have to think about.

The 'bubble buttons' on the digital display panel also have a learning curve, since they are multi-functional: hold them a little too long and they do something else. Periodically, I have to turn the power 'Off' and start over.

The 'Depth' knob is pretty straightforward. However, the cam-operated, gravity feed of the grinder head sometimes made this confusing, when the wheel would not travel as far as desired; this turned out to primarily be an issue with the grinding wheels.

In my mind, the wheels of a grinder are analogous to the chain on a saw: their quality and condition are critical for good performance. The red/brown, fine grit, vitreous, OEM grinding wheels cut well when new, but soon became glazed, even though I routinely clean chains before sharpening. They were also challenging to dress, compared to conventional grinding wheels. Glazed wheels, in turn prevent the head from grinding to the desired depth during the programmed cycle time, resulting in inconsistent cutters.

Eventually, I was able to learn how to dress the wheels appropriately; this is information that should be included in the instructions. The optional CBN wheels have performed well, during the limited time that I have tried them. Because they are offered in 2 widths (1/8" and 3/16") it is also easier to get good cutter profiles for a variety of chain pitches in a single pass.

Changing wheels should be more convenient, as this is required for different pitch chains (with the CBN wheels) and when adjusting depth gauges. The small screws securing the guard require a lot of turns, and are very easy to lose.

With some practice and experimentation, I was able to sharpen cutters, clean out gullets, and get acceptable chains. If starting with a hand filed chain, it may take a few passes to 'even up' the cutters: after than, maintaining edges with the sharpener is easier.

The FP1000 could be a good choice for a saw user seeking to sharpen edges dulled from normal use; who runs a limited number of chain pitches; who is satisfied with conventional cutter profiles; who is technology minded; or just appreciates the automated function. Frankly, it is kind of fun to watch, once you have it 'dialed in'.

This grinder is for personal use: it is not the unit to start a chain sharpening business with. It would not be as good of a choice for users demanding custom angles or cutter profiles; for those restoring 'rocked' or damaged chains; or for those not comfortable with technology.

Title: Re: Automatic Chain Sharpener - under $300
Post by: Philbert on May 08, 2019, 08:29:55 pm
Philbert's Summary - Part 3

Hand filing chains requires some knowledge, skill, and experience for proficiency. Grinders generally produce more uniform cutters, and are faster when a lot a material needs to be removed. In fairness, it takes some knowledge, skill, and experience to become adept using most grinders as well.

Inexpensive, manual chain grinders can improve cutter edges with standard angles, but often have limited power. Other automated chain grinders cost more than my first few cars! It is most fair, therefore, to compare the FP1000 to other grinders in a similar price range.

The Oregon / Tecomec style grinders generally have more powerful motors and larger diameter wheels. Depending on the model, most offer a greater range of angle options for custom cutter profiles, especially 'hook' angles, for those who desire those options, and understand how to set them up.

With the right wheels, these manual grinders will work on any (round ground) chain. They have the power to grind away a lot of material when fixing a damaged cutter, or re-profiling a chain. Incremental adjustments are somewhat intuitive (e.g. turning a knob slightly lets you see the cutter or wheel move a similar amount).

Even though a few models have 'automatic' clamping mechanisms, grinding with them is a highly repetitive, mundane task. So, if the additional capabilities are not required, an automated grinder could be very attractive, and the TEMCo is the only automated grinder currently offered in this price range.

Greater control or automated operation? Few people in these threads have just one chainsaw: no reason why they can only have one way to sharpen chains!

Title: Re: Automatic Chain Sharpener - under $300
Post by: Philbert on November 25, 2019, 04:33:03 pm
Link to a related thread: