Feeding on ideas

Been having quite a few visitors through the shed in recent months – friends, family, work colleagues. One thing that seems to be a common feature of the visits are other’s opinions on what I should do with the shed layout, or products, and I do keep an open mind to these, as not only are they intended in good faith, they have regularly proved to be invaluable! And to be fair, I also actively seek them out – another set of eyes and source of ideas – many heads are better than one!

And it isn’t always actual suggestions – just the act of showing people around has a habit of highlighting things to me that need addressing, or I can see a better way.

Had Gordon Heggie around (of Triton fame), all rugged up against the cold as he drove his convertible with the roof down on a cold night ;) and we were talking about storage (among other things, such as the TW7 ;) ). It encouraged me to relook at the storage (specifically the shelving), and I came up with the development of an idea. I still had shelves and brackets of the green metal bookcases, but no uprights. In Masters, I found some standard vertical posts with the typical slots cut. Got a couple hoping they would work, and sure enough, the brackets fitted (with a little manual encouragement).

These got fitted to the shed wall near the lathes, and that shelving now gets to carry the chucks, jaws, and other accessories. They are much closer to the lathes, and it frees up the other shelving unit for something else. I could fit a double bay of shelves, but want to keep the wall clear so I can store the range of chisels.

20140417-232017.jpg

20140417-232031.jpg

So now I have a fair few empty shelves around the workshop. That will certainly make sorting out some of my tools etc much easier! Lots still in their storage boxes on the mezzanine floor, but I am regularly bringing down a box and (re)discovering what is inside, while looking for a new home.

Slowly getting there. Happy about the shelving – it has worked out really well.

Gold Plated Machines

You know, I get it. I can see why Marc (The Wood Whisperer) Spagnuolo has a workshop full of Powermatic. I’m sure it is all part of his huge sponsorship deal, and more power to him (pun intended), but he would also want to have the best workshop he can have too.

He may not have a SawStop, but the flame-covered tablesaw is pretty cool never-the-less.

He also doesn’t have a DVR, but I had a closer look at the Powermatic lathe today, and what a beast it is.

Not only enough cast iron for a small country, but every (moveable) component glides so smoothly.

20140417-201203.jpg

3 phase motor, with its own onboard converter from single phase. Built-in vacuum system for vacuum chucking. A 96 point indexing system with a heavy-duty indexing disc.

What’s not to like (except the price tag)? You’d have to be pretty dedicated to really make use of such a machine, but then, it would also handle some pretty significant turnings as well.

Had a look at one of their promotional videos, just to see what it looks like in use. Yup, that is a beast! Anyone got one? What do you think? And more importantly, what have you managed to make with one?

SawStop, and my Woodworking Assistant

On one hand, the shed is regarded as a dangerous place for the unwary, and the inexperienced. Not so much inexperience in woodworking, but inexperience in life.

On the other hand, being able to enjoy woodworking with you child (or grandchild) can be an immensely rewarding experience, for both of you.

I would normally be very reluctant to have an inexperienced hand using a tablesaw, yet while making some shelving for some kitchen cupboards, Jess (my 7 year old) wanted to help, and not just help by standing around watching. Having a SawStop meant the answer to that question was not “No” or even a reluctant “Maybe”. It was a definite “Yes, of course”.

Now she didn’t get to cut the board unsupervised or unattended – I’m not that confident! Tablesaws can do damage in plenty of other ways, particularly hurling things at you at 250km/hr!

By setting up a featherboard, having the guard in place, and standing beside her, she was able to feed boards through the blade, and not give me absolute conniptions. Even on a regular saw, she would have been safe, but knowing that there is also the SawStop technology between her and a disaster really enhances the experience of woodworking with your offspring.

And it is another activity for her to add to the crazy quilt that is life’s experiences.

SawStop really makes a huge difference in relieving some of the stress that can surround the workshop.

Shed Essentials

There are always so many conflicting requirements in a shed, and (strangely) one I have been putting off for far too long is the essential sub temperature amber dispensing unit, otherwise known as a beer fridge.

It has just been one of those things that kept flying along as a good idea, but too low on my radar to actively notice.

Something clicked the other day, so I’ve trucked down to the Good Guys, and found what is hopefully a suitable solution: The stainless steel-fronted 120L HiSense fridge.

20140416-013210.jpg

It is now home, and in its new home, unwrapped, opened, stocked and turned on. It looks like it will be able to manage a couple of slabs.

That was certainly some low hanging fruit – don’t know why it took so long.

Blasterboyz Plaque

One thing I had yet to try on the CNC router, was other materials, and specifically aluminium.

As much as ‘they’ say that some Australian timbers are harder, and that I have both cut and routed aluminium manually, it was still with trepidation that I mounted a plate and engaged the CNC router.

There is more than hardness to the effects of machining different materials. Different materials form chips in different ways, different amounts of heat generation, and in the case of aluminium, a tendency for waste material to try to weld itself to the cutter if chips are not cleared adequately.

It is for this reason that aluminium router bits tend to be single fluted, allowing a much larger flute for more aggressive chip clearance.

Had a project come up that made it a great excuse to give it a try. The Blasterboyz are a group of JetSki riders, with a common tool of the trade- the Yamaha WaveBlaster. They often ride socially, right through to competitive rides.

They have asked if a plaque can be made, which will be used as a bit of a trophy. I won’t tell you what the trophy will actually be called – too politically incorrect!, but it translates as “go hard, or go home”

I set up to try a pretty standard V groove bit (before risking one of my soli carbide bits), and played around with feed and plunge rates to get one that cut sufficiently, without chatter or causing the CNC to move faster than the cutter could cope. The CNC Shark isn’t the most rigid, so when push comes to shove, there is some flex, which results in an imprecise job. The solution is to ensure the feed speed chosen suits the cutter and material.

So as a first attempt, this is the result. With some refinement, and a better, sharper, dedicated cutter this could be quite satisfactory. If the opportunity arose, it would also be very interesting to see a lasered result.

20140414-222424.jpg

Real Estate

About the most valuable commodity in the workshop is not the tablesaw, or the ubeaut spiral headed whatever, or custom made plane with metal dovetails. It is space.

Floors space, and bench space.

Hard to know which one is worth more. Floor space dictates if it is possible to move around, fit in large machines and floor-mounted tools, and for project assembly.

Bench space is working area, and given how much this space magnetically attracts mess, dust, tools, offcuts, works in progress, and benchtop tools.

I’ve been struggling with this for years. I have a number of bench-top machines that have long struggled to have a legitimate home – they always get bumped for a higher priority. Guess that is always their lot in life. I do tend towards floor-mounted, stand-alone machines. Bigger, more powerful, (more expensive), and don’t take up bench real estate.

Guess that indicates where the most valuable real estate is then – the bench top. Still, bench top machines need a home, and that is the challenge I am facing.

So I have made the decision (which is modifiable/reversable) to use the bench for the bench-mounted tools. A lathe (with buffing wheels), spindle sander, belt & disk sander, scrollsaw.

20140413-222326.jpg

That is some serious bench space to sacrifice, so there needs to be a replacement, or equivalent.

Not sure what to use to achieve this, but there are some options (without resorting to using the tablesaw as a work surface, like I have for years!) One is to make another workbench, to fit the slightly smaller space under the window. That bench will take the main Veritas twin screw clamp.

The Walko workbench will be wall mounted (as it was designed to do, as an alternative to the A frame configuration). Just need to identify a suitable section of wall. Speaking of walls, that is another area of real estate that is always incredibly useful and also in short supply. Think I have a location in mind.

Space, the final frontier.

Workshop Heating

Seems like it was summer only yesterday (and in Melbourne, that is pretty much the case) and now the cold is approaching.

(Actually, even over the course of today, I had rain, then sun to the point the roller door was radiating heat)

But that will change, and it will become consistently cold, and wet.

What better way to provide warmth, ambiance, and have a method of discarding offcuts (and failed projects), than a potbelly. As it happens, I have one that has been waiting to have a home. It was meant to go into the last shed, and that just didn’t happen. Will definitely make it happen this time around.

I was originally going to use a coonara, (have a spare of those as well), but think the potbelly has a better ambiance, and takes up less room.

Still, working out where to put it is still proving to be a bit of a challenge.

This is my current best guess for a location, but it isn’t really gelling for me yet. I would be happier if I had another location for the drum sander.

20140412-225152.jpg

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,573 other followers

%d bloggers like this: