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Older RBI 220 information?

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  • Older RBI 220 information?

    Hello All,

    Is this the correct place to find out information on a saw I recently purchased?

    It all started with this Ad on craigslist (the road was paved with good intentions). RBI scrollsaw like new condition.

    Well, of course it wasn't like new condition, but the price was low, so I figured why not.

    It's OLD and dirty. It's a RBI 220(-2) with the AC fasco motor.

    It's missing the lower blade holder and I don't know what it looks like. It appears to be the old style "round type" blade holder. I looked on ebay and there appears to be only one listing selling them, so I'm hopeful that it's the correct type.

    Would someone be able to confirm that I need the "round type" from the attached picture?

    Also, are there any people or places that might sell replacement blade holders that I should check out? BTW the upper arm is a solid piece with no tension release in the front. Would it be worth replacing the arm or should I just get it up and running to see if I use this new toy often enough to justify some upgrades.

    Finally, are blade holders just basically two pieces of aluminum stock held together with a set screw or cam to hold the blade or is there something more involved that I'm missing?


  • #2
    Hi Jim, If you contact the Bushton Company 620-562-3557
    They will be able to help you. If you look at the left side of this page under
    scrollsaw resources you can look at their add. Good people and good service.
    Be sure to have the serial number when you call.


    • #3
      Take a look at Poszgais Designs. Frank makes and sells replacement blade holders. Have used his upper clamp on a 229-S and am happy with it.

      Yep, the round holder is a brass tube with a hole for the blade and a set screw. Bushton has replacements.
      Got Moose?


      • #4
        I have that very same saw, Jim. The lower blade holders are a bit of a pain. You need a pair of special tools also. The blade holders don't work so well with 2/0 blades. I'm thinking of checking into Poszgais for the lower set-up.
        It is a very quiet, well-made scroll saw. They sell new for around $1200 I think. So they are worth upgrading. Did you know it is a 3 speed? There are 2 pulleys and a belt set-up you can see underneath. Bushton does sell a variable speed motor to replace the pulley set-up. But it is $350 and shipping.
        Do you have a manual with it?


        • #5
          Thanks for all the suggestions.

          I looked at Pozsgai's Designs, but it looks like those are for newer saws. The upper arm design definitely won't fit my saw, and the lower arm one doesn't look like a fit either. I'll send an email to verify, but it looks like if I want a blade holder upgrade, I might have to do a little basement engineering.

          Variable speed for $350, hmm, not going to happen soon. I'm wondering what kind of AC motor that Fasco is, and if using a router speed control is possible with it. I took a picture of the pulley setup, I can see how you flip the one pulley to get the second speed, but I need another belt for that to happen. I don't know how 3 speeds would be achieved. BTW anyone know the belt sizes?

          I just picked up the saw on Friday, so I haven't had a chance to get a manual yet. I tried the wayback machine, and while it would show the manual, it couldn't be downloaded. I emailed the new RBI in Bushton to see if they have a pdf anywhere, but since it's the weekend, I've heard nothing yet.

          Check out that Allen head upper blade holder.

          I don't think the Pozsgai lower will fit in the "round style" lower blade holder


          • #6
            Mine has a 2 dif. size pulley on the motor, and 3 on the other pulley.
            I don't think Pozsgai has a set-up for yours. He didn't for mine. But mine is a bit different than yours on the bottom blade holder. The shape of the metal retainer is curved to hold the round blade holder better.
            I wouldn't use a router speed control on it. Very likely to burn out the motor. Contact Fasco for that info. maybe?
            Also, check your motor bolts on the top. Should be slots so you can adjust the motor back and forth. That's how mine adjusts. for the pulley/belt speed changes.
            I could measure the pulley sizes for you. Then you might find them at Lowes , HD, or a hardware store.
            Last edited by paul44224; 03-13-2012, 07:39 AM.


            • #7
              Thanks for the reply Paul.

              I think this saw might be older than the one you have. Thanks for the offer to measure the belts but I'm not going to need that info for a bit. No slots for the motor mount to slide in just fits.

              Yes, the router speed control is out, since it wouldn't work on a cap start motor and might be destructive. With the space for the motor is so small, it really limits the options. I'm toying with the idea of going for a small VFD like a Teco FM50 for $120 or so and build a shelf for a three phase fractional motor. Complete speed control....but....that's for another day, right now I'm waiting for a lower blade holder I bought on ebay. No word from Bushton yet on a manual.


              • #8
                Just a tip...

                Here is the preferred way to post photos. This method will apply a thumbnail so that messages load faster, keeping those who are still on dial up in mind.

                If it is a new thread scroll down below the message box to additional options and look for manage attachments,Click on Manage Attachments, click Browse, find your file name on your computer, click it, then click Upload. It may take a few seconds to load.
                Once you see the file name under current attachments you can close the window.
                If you want you can Preview Post (a wise choice) then if all is well, click on Submit reply.

                If you are uploading a picture to an existing thread (conversation)
                Click on the Go Advanced button under the reply box, Click on Manage Attachments, click Browse, find your file name on your computer, click it, then click Upload. It may take a few seconds to load.
                Once you see the file name under current attachments you can close the window.
                If you want you can Preview Post (a wise choice) then if all is well, click on Submit reply.
                Good luck
                "Still Montana Mike"

                "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
                Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC


                • #9
                  I picked up that same saw a few years ago at a garage sale in RI. I too had the same issue you are having now.

                  Don't give up on it. Even though these saws are as old as some of the socks that I own, I have yet to find only one other saw that can come close to this one in cutting ability and durability and that is the Hegner - Maybe the excalibur (but I have not used it).

                  For the lower holder you need the round barrel blade holder. They are a pain to set the blade correctly. There is a "thumb screw" upgrade for the top holder that works ok. If you are going to do a lot of cutting at one time consider getting a few lower holders and load blades in them. (Keeps you "saner" in the long run)

                  Let me look and see if I have the manual for mine. I got it with the saw and have since moved so, I "think" I know which box it is in.

                  I use a small crecent wrench to tighten the blade in the lower holder but if u cut a small slit in a piece of strap steel the same size as the slot on the barrel you won't have to fumble tightening the wrench all the time.

                  Lastly, I simply replaced the top allen screw with a regular 10-24 (I think that is the size) thumb screw and it works like a champ.

                  The biggest PITA that I have with this saw is the rear tension cam lock. I wish there was a way to upgrade to the more modern front tension system. My first RBI Hawk saw was the little 14" saw and I could remain seated to reach to the back and release the tension. With this saw, because of the longer throat, I have to almost stand up off the stool to to release it.

                  OK, enough dribble for now, let me look for that manual!



                  • #10
                    Pics of Hawk 220 blade holder


                    Attached are a few pics of my machine's blade holder.

                    The first picture is of the lower blade holders:
                    Looking at the blade holders sitting on the saw table from left to right, the thumbscrew version with blade. The middle one is a barrel holder with the thumbscrew removed. With the thumbscrew removed, you can get a better look at the brass bushing and how it fits with the holder. I believe the idea for the bushing is to minimize wear on the lower arm. The bushing has a small hole that has to be lined up with the hole in the holder. (This is the PITA part) And the holder on the far right is the OEM holder. (I forgot I did have it) The OEM holder is the one that requires the crescent wrench to tighten the blade in the holder.

                    The second picture is showing the hole in the lower frame where you place the notched side of the barrel holder to hold it in place while you line up the blade and tighten the thumbscrew.

                    The last picture shows the upper holder that I simply replaced the Allen head screw with a thumbscrew. One tip is to place an Allen wrench in the space behind the top holder and the back of the upper arm. This holds the upper holder "still" and perpendicular to the upper arm when you are tightening the blade in the upper holder. (Don't forget to remove the wrench PRIOR to tensioning the blade.)

                    I think if you Google "proper blade alignment of flat scroll saw blades" you should get enough help in the "finesse" of properly setting the blades.

                    Lastly, I took a quick look in my garage for the manual for the saw and as I was searching for it, I realized that I may have left it on my old workbench back home.

                    I hope these pictures help.

                    Does anyone know if the older arms can be updated to the newer front tension version?

                    Attached Files


                    • #11
                      I checked with the new RBI about new arms and the email I got was prompt, but a bit out of my price range. I'm not sure if he got the part about the round holder versus the newer style on the lower arm. Here is what they wrote:

                      "The lower arm would not be changed

                      The upper might be able to be changed

                      We have you send your arm in and we compare it to the new arms and see if it will fit.

                      There were several small changes in the arms we are not sure which saw has which arm. Complete arms are $150 each "


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