Sunday, April 27, 2014

Adding A Custom Pedal and Stand Modification For A Cowboy CB3200

I am setting up a new leather shop and recently purchased a Cowboy CB3200.  I upgraded the stand (Cowboy 441 stand) but found that I couldn't comfortably sit and work.  I decided to redesign and relocate the pedal and move the machine support column closer to my chair.

I'm very happy with the changes and can now comfortably sit at the machine with my right foot applying the gas and in a comfortable position.

Hopefully this will provide a solution if you use one of these commercial stands, but would like to work from a sitting position.

This is a post about the process:

Completed modification with machine support column moved forward
and the redesigned foot pedal installed.

Original pedals and support column position.
The column is mounted centered front to back which makes the machine hard to reach from a seated position.  Also, the legs on my chair would hit the metal base preventing me from scooting up to the machine.  Note that the presser foot pedal is operated by the right foot and the gas pedal is operated by the left foot which is awkward... probably due to driving a car.

The machine had to be supported to remove the base plate for drilling.  Here, a couple of 1 x 4s span two saw horses.  The 1 x 4 nearest the support column had to be notched for the bolts protruding through the bottom of the table.

Clamps were used on the 1 x 4 nearest the support column to compensate for any weakening due to the notches.  Shims were also used to keep the board flat and square to the table.

I used paint stir sticks to left the machine just high enough to get the weight off the casters, then unbolted the base plate and slid it over one set of holes to the front.  

I also needed to drill holes for the pedal.  Blocks were used to support the machine support column.

Using what were the front holes to bolt down the back of the column, the column was moved forward about 4 1/2 inches.  A tri-square was used to square the column to the base and then a drill about the same size as the column base holes was used to mark the new front hole centers.

All holes drilled and tapped.
This machine used 10mm 1.5 thread pitch bolts to secure the column to the base.  Irwin has a tap and drill set for about $6.00.  The drill that came with the tap is an R (8.5mm).

Column Reattached

Before taking the stand apart, I took some measurements of my foot position, angle, and distance from my chair and designed a top-hinged pedal.  It is constructed from plywood.  If anyone is interested in the plans, let me know and I'll post them.  It took about two hours to build.  

The pedal is secured to the base using two 5/16-18 bolts.  This requires a 17/64 drill bit.  Don't forget to use oil while drilling and tapping the holes.  I had some 3-in-1 oil which worked fine.

Here is the project finished and placed back in the shop with the chair.

Yours truly comfortably sitting and operating the foot pedal
and the machine in a much better position.