Dusting up a storm

Some further thoughts and developments on the dust extraction system.

I’ve been giving some thought to what happens next – as in how does the dust run get to the dust extractor, and just how far that is – how much more length, how many more bends are required.  The simple answer is “too far and too many”.

Hmm. So the question arose in my mind again – just why did I think the original idea of having the dust extractor on the mezzanine floor was a bad one?  Back in mid Feb, I had thought about it, and opted to bring the dust extractor back down from the mezzanine where it had just been put (and what a pain that was!)  However, now that the machine positions have settled, it is really looking like the mezzanine was a good idea after all.

Looking back at my earlier musing on the subject, I highlighted good points to be
a. free up workshop floorspace
b. for it to be inside the main shed, as it draws a lot of air, and if outside the main shed, that is a lot of hot (or cold) air that would be drawn into the workshop, and
c. as that would make it generally central to the machines it is drawing from.

On the other hand, I had thought having it in the timber store next door gives better access, better noise separation, better workshop air quality (particularly on the mezzanine).

Now that I have been working in the shed for over 1/2 a year, more informed decisions can be made.

These lead to the following justifications for relocating the dust extractor back to the mezzanine:

1. Significantly shorten the length of ducting, and minimises the number of bends required.
2. Noise isolation would be the same as having the dust extractor in the area I currently have placed it.
3. Dust isolation from the main shed is maintained, although the mezzanine will not be as clean, it is not used as I was anticipating. If I ever do start to make use of it for something other than storage, I can look at physically isolating the extractor at that point. It still has a pleated filter, and I can still run an air filtration system up there if I choose.
4. It does not draw air from the outside (hot or cold), so running the dust extractor will not significantly impact on the shed environment
5. Changing bags is as easy (if not a little easier), and I do have the hoist to remove full bags from the mezzanine.

To compare the two locations, let’s take the biggest producer of sawdust in the workshop (which also produces the heaviest particles), being the thicknesser.

With the dust extractor outside in the side shed, it would involve approx 12m of ducting (up, across and down), and a total of 6x 90 degree bends (each elbow is estimated to be the equivalent of 2m of straight pipe), so a total of 24m equivalent length.

With the dust extractor on the mezzanine, it would involve approx 4m of ducting and a total of 4x 90 degree bends (at worst), giving a total of 12m.  That is one significant saving to be had, for the machine that needs the most drawing capacity.  All other machines benefit to lesser degrees, but each ends up saving about 10m in equivalent straight pipe length, if not more.

So I guess that makes the decision an easy one.  The ducting is a lot less complicated, and shorter.  There is power already available (I originally placed a GPO up there to be dedicated to the dust extractor).

The future plan will be to look at continuing to improve and upgrade the dusting system – moving as much up to 6″ ducts as possible, rather than the current 4″.  But let’s see how the system works once I get it up and running, to see just how much that will be a priority.

Onwards and upwards (quite literally!)

I Wood Like

The guys down at I Wood Like have done a lot of work recently, and have done a complete rebuild of their site.  It looks much like it did before, but has had a significant upgrade, especially around the new online store.

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For those that don’t know, they are the importer/reseller of the SawStop tablesaw, so I have been working closely with them on the video front, providing footage about the SawStop.

At this stage, they have my video of the assembly of the saw, the video of the saw in use, including the brake, and a short of the blade brake in action.

Upcoming footage on their site includes my video about the guard & riving knife and using the dado blade (and a short video of the same).  The next video after that will be about fitting the genuine SawStop wheel kit, which is a much better solution than the standard machine wheel kit I have been using.

As the I Wood Like site grows, it will be interesting to see their next round of developments.

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The online store that is now up not only covers the SawStop and the related accessories, but also a range of other machines, including the MiniMax bandsaw, panel saws, combo machines and more.  That includes a range of BSP Blue sawblades.  Not sure what they are like yet, compared to the blades I know, but will be interested to find out, and the SawStop Titanium blades measure up.

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Will also be interested in seeing how some of the other machines measure up to those we are familiar with.  So many tools, so little time!

Things get worse before they get better

The workshop certainly is an apt demonstration of that point at the moment!

Started off the weekend with the workshop being a little messy, after last week’s rush build to get the magazine articles finished.  Ended the weekend with it looking like a bomb site.

So what went wrong?  Nothing!

It was just time to finish off a job that I started almost two years ago, and has been notably absent from the current workshop: a fully functioning dust extraction system.

For the past 8 months, I have been working with a flexible hose running from the dust extractor, through a door and across the floor to whichever machine I am using at the time (although primarily focused on the jointer and thicknesser, so the other tools have been venting free).

Decided this weekend to do something about recommissioning a fully laid out system, given the machines seem to have migrated to relatively stable positions in the workshop.

Photo 14-09-2014 21 58 38

I’ve had all the odd lengths of pipe, tube, hose and fittings sitting aside from the previous workshop (and the collection above is a small portion of what came out of the previous shop), so that is where I started – working on the complex areas of the dust extraction.  The combined area around the tablesaw, jointer, thicknesser and bandsaw, which are all in close proximity (particularly where the dust ports from each machine are involved).

Photo 14-09-2014 21 57 35 Photo 14-09-2014 21 57 44

It took a bit of trial and error, but I am pleased how it came together.  It is a bit hard to show it looking anything but a mess, but it looks better than the current photos!

One day, I’d be tempted by the metal dust extraction system, but that is an upgrade for the future (if ever).  At the moment, simply having each machine connected to the dust extractor, with blast gates isolating each is the plan.

So far, the bandsaw comes in the bottom (with two hoses, one from the bottom of the bandsaw, and one from just beneath the table), then the tablesaw.  I haven’t worked out how I want to have the tablesaw dust guard connected in yet, but I am still thinking the genuine SawStop solution looks to be an attractive option.

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There is a port visible that has nothing connected – I have placed a quickconnect port on there, so can easily connect the super-flexible hose with the floor sweeper when I do need additional cleanup.

I have the run overhead towards the dust collector, but that run isn’t finished yet.  I still need to drop it down, past (and pick up) the outlets from the second bandsaw, drum sander and Torque Workcentre.

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The run continues to the other side of the shed, then drops down to the router table and drill press.  The run then continues (smaller diameter) to the Kapex

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Still to work out how I am going to pick up an outlet near the lathes, I might have to cut into the run I have just completed by the looks.  Oh well, better done as right as I can.

Some work still to go – another day should knock it off, so long as I have all the parts I need (so better I plan ahead).

 

Every man for himself

The latest example- Lowes was sued (and has settled) for selling 2x4s that were not 2×4. Every possible way that an individual can see a way to get an advantage, and damn the consequences.

In this case, there is a fundamental flaw in the prosecution’s argument that was ignored. That building a structure is a precise process! And where a 2×4 actually gets its dimensions from.

Sadly, Lowes settled.

Other examples include SawStop fighting other manufacturers using legislation to try to force them to adopt the equivalent of SawStop’s flesh detection invention, or for “allegedly” actively conspiring against SawStop.

An individual suing a saw manufacturer after cutting himself- the saw manufacturer “should have” flesh detecting capability. Like buying a car without an airbag, then suing the car manufacturer for not providing something when said person’s face meets the steering wheel in a car accident.

I’m sure there are plenty of other examples, but I despair a little more each time I see another.

CNC Progress

Spoke with YAS Engineering recently, and got an update on the CNC build. Things are going well. Given that this machine will be the first production run CNC machine from YAS, it is taking a little time to refine it. Happy to wait, as each delay represents real improvement to the design.

Latest estimate is the end of October.

Already, some real improvements, including progress towards this being capable of both subtractive and additive manufacturing. Yes, there is a possibility that downtrack, this CNC machine will be capable of both CNC routing, and 3D printing.

Going to be awesome when we get there!

Rail Saw

I’ve been flat out recently getting the next magazine articles together (so sorry for being so quiet here – the combination of everything has been overwhelming, so I had to let some areas slip right).

One of the projects has involved making quite a bit of use of a rail saw, and in this case it was the Festool Tracksaw system, including the MFT/3 (multifunction table) that was extensively used, and as much as some are going to hate hearing it, it is bloody awesome!

This was the first time I had a chance to start putting them through their paces, and I was doing jobs on it that I would have struggled to work out another way, at least finding another way that was as easy.  The more I use it, the more it becomes apparent that it is incredibly useful in the workshop.  It doesn’t remove the need for a good tablesaw, or a SCMS, and both the SawStop and the Kapex got a heavy workout as well, but it was a real pleasure to use the right tool for each job.

hb_mft3_495315_p_01aThe MFT/3 with the rail that flips out of the way was brilliant.  Being able to drop the rail down in a consistent location meant that at one point I needed to shave off about 1/2mm, and I was able to set up for that accurately, and quickly.

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If the MFT/3 was good, the TS55 running on the rail was even better.  Precision height adjustment, accurate tracking made very easy given the saw is captive on the track.

I’ll shoot some videos of these doing their thing soon – cool tools.  There are always many ways to skin a cat, some just make it so quick, easy and accurate.  When I used to look at a circular saw, I saw a rough machining tool, inaccurate, noisy and dangerous.  (My old man almost killed himself one year with a circular saw).

The Festool version is like comparing this:

Lada 2103 1300 1978 frontwith this:

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Both will get you from A to B.  Sort of.

Some people can’t see the point to anything more than the Lada.  Or justify the price difference (the cost of a good coffee, vs a small house!)  Although they both have 4 wheels and a motor, but that is about where the simularity ends, and the same applies to the difference between a basic Bunnings $50 circular saw, and a $1000 Festool.  The longevity of one tool over the other is just one small factor in the decision.

Suck it up

A new (and relatively cheap, at about $35) tool caught my attention at a recent Festool demonstration, which I mentioned briefly at the time.  It is the Festool Dust Removal Nozzle, and it just goes to show that sometimes the best ideas are so simple, you ask yourself “why didn’t I think of that”. It isn’t the first time that a vacuum based system or similar concept has been used, but it certainly is a good example of one!

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Drilling can be a messy business, especially when inside the house and the room where you need to do the work is perfectly clean otherwise, (well, again, relatively speaking!)  I’ve had this situation a number of times, and often in the kitchen when you want to install something above the kitchen bench.  You drill a hole, and the plasterboard produces that talc-fine dust that falls down from the hole you are drilling and lightly coats the bench surface.  You spend more time trying to wipe up that damned powder than the time it took to drill the hole!  That includes those plaster wall anchors that you either drill a hole for, or those that drill and self tap a hole.

I’ve seen many examples over the years of how people have tried to solve the problem simply and cheaply, even resorting to post-it notes

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The Festool solution is a dual chamber system, which allows the dust collector to adhere to the surface (rough or smooth), as well as collect dust that is produced.

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It isn’t a drill guide per-say (although I know Dennis is working on a mod for his one that does just that!), but it sucks onto the surface, and collects the dust right at the point that it is being produced, which is the best place to do so, especially rather than trying to wipe off the residue from the clean kitchen bench below!

As mentioned, overhead isn’t a problem, nor is rough surfaces, such as concrete, even when both ‘challenging’ scenarios occur simultaneously

19431So there you have it – a cool tool, Festool, and yet you don’t need to break the bank to have one!  And just think of all the times you’ve had to clean up after drilling into plasterboard.  Use post-it notes for writing reminders (or your next art work)

post-it-notesFor keeping drilling dust under control, there is a better solution!

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