Just what you need when on a budget

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A newly revamped HNT Gordon website, making it even easier to see and purchase the hand-made planes, Colen Clenton marking out tools etc etc

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Tempted?

Given my collection of planes already (and still intend to grow it further), I am very tempted to build a Krenov-inspired cabinet to store them in, such as this one made by timberbits.com.au which is a beautiful example.  Another may be good for router bits…….

Huon-Pine-Krenov-Style-Cabinet-web-1

Flight of the Navigator

David, from the classic 1986 movie, had Max (the alien AI spaceship) attempt filling his brain with starcharts.  When David asked how the experiment had gone, the answer was the same as an issue I had with the shed in today’s beating rain.  It leaked.

To be fair, the vast majority of the shed was fine – such a relief not to be ankle deep in a river as was the (exaggerated) case from the previous shed.  That one needed the ShopVac to suck as much of the free water up so it didn’t start lapping around the base of the tools sitting on wheeled bases.

The leak today was no more than a puddle forming on the floor of the mezzanine, directly under one of the windows in the eaves – rain was getting in around the rubber seals of the glass.  Not ideal, but with a bit of glazier’s silicone, should be pretty easy to rectify.  If that is the only leak I ever have to experience, I will be happy.

At least nothing was raining on the cast iron tools – I’ve had enough dealing with rust on tools.  Tried some Killrust Rust-Eeter (sic) the other day, and although I am sure it did a good job in converting the rust, it is only suitable as a product when intending to paint over the surface afterwards. It left the surface completely black, as if it had been painted (which effectively is what it was).

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It didn’t work as I was hoping – I just wanted to convert rust back to raw metal, or use something that cleaned rust off.  Both on large surfaces, but also something I could set up as a bath to immerse smaller tools in to clean rust off.

Does anyone have a good product for doing this?  I have some old tools that really need some of that TLC.

One Sharpening Station to Rule Them All

Dropped past Carbatec today, and on the front counter was a solution to end all solutions for the sharpening station

The Tormek TS-740 Sharpening Station

Photo 19-02-2014 9 26 34

Drool.  Seriously.

The website spiel covers the basics:

Height 750-830mm, width 578mm, depth 390 mm

Moisture proof composite worktop
Centralised key locking
Scratch resistant metallic surface
Drawers to fit Tormek kits
Auto-return soft close drawer function
Aluminium handles
Fully extendable drawers
Holes for hooks
Adjustable legs for comfortable working height
Rubber feet to protect the floor

But what a way to keep all the accessories organised, protected, easily to hand (and looking cool!)

getdata.do getdata2.do getdat2a.do

 

The Unpack

It was not much of a start to be honest, it was only one box unpacked, but it is a start never-the-less.

The next challenge is certainly looming: just where to put everything!  Not that these are troublesome issues per say, solving them is part and parcel of getting the workshop into an ever improving functional condition.

The first box was the easiest – saving challenges for another day I suppose!  Reason it was the easiest?  Full of MagSwitch featherboards, fences and hooks.  Finding storage for them is pretty straightforward – find the nearest steel beam to where you’ll need to use the item, and lock it on.  If only all the tools were that easy!

Having plenty of floor area is not the only thing needed for a good shed – having storage is as important.  To save as much floor real estate as possible, I will be looking as much as possible to wall mounted cabinets – getting them up off the floor, and above any infeed and outfeed areas of the machines.

Something along these lines.  Especially the one with check-plate! Watch this space – it is a long journey!

K070038 K7165 51003

The Sharpest Edge

Just what you can do with a sharp chisel, and a sharp imagination.

SSYTC058 Profile Pro on the C26 Genius

Another tool I got to play with at the wood show was the C26 Genius, a MiniMax combo- again from Gabbett Machinery.

Trying out the Amana Tool Profile Pro from Toolstoday.com, with a rebate cutter, then one of the profile cutters.

Photos are in an earlier post, but you can’t really see just how smooth the finish was, straight off the tool.

Cutters were changed without having to remove the cutter block from the spindle moulder – very easy system that positively aligns, and restrains the blades in the cutter block.

The starter set comes with 7 different profiles (including a straight rebate), but there are 137(!!!) different profiles to choose from for this cutter block, many costing around $US26.

SSYTC058 Profile Pro on the C26 Genius

SSYTC055 Routing the Japanese Dragon (CNC)

SSYTC055 Routing the Japanese Dragon (CNC)

Get out of jail card

It is Sunday, (or after trading hours), or simply live too far from your normal woodworking supplies shop, and your drum sander has run out of abrasive.

What do you do?

I decided to find out if there was an alternative, if only temporary to get you out of trouble so you can finish the job you are doing.

Headed down to Masters to see what was on offer.  Seriously….very little.  Certainly no cloth backed sandpaper in a roll or of any length.  About the only stuff I could find was a very weak paper backed painter’s sandpaper.  No idea how it’d survive – you just touch it and the abrasive is flaking off the backing.

Went to take a length anyway, and discovered that even worse, it is perforated every metre (for easy tear-off – the last thing you want for a machine sander!)  But there was nothing else, so it was either this to get out of jail, or nothing.  It wasn’t the right width either, so it was going to be an interesting attempt.

First, I took some packing tape, and ran a length down the entire back of the 2m long strip I bought.  Oh, and the strip cost $4 ($2/m), compared to something like $18 for the real deal.  (Remembering this is a temporary fix, not a long term viable alternative).

With a bit of guesswork, I trimmed the end to an angle, then with a bit of adjustment got it so each loop butted up against the previous, and got to the opposite end of the drum.  That was a lot easier, as the end was simply trimmed to be parallel to the edge of the drum, and secured with the second clip.

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Kind of looks the part doesn’t it!  Also proves that you can use other widths of sandpaper – you are not restricted to just using a 75mm wide roll (think that is what the standard width is).

A quick test – turn on and off (while standing clear) – seems to work – it didn’t fly to shreds instantly.

Next test – sand something!

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Took a scrap of timber, and ran that through.  It survived as well, even multiple passes.  You can see a gap at the right hand side- I hadn’t gotten sufficient tension in the roll, so after this pass I readjusted the paper to get it tight on the drum again.

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After a few passes, the wear is a lot more evident on this sandpaper than is on the garnet cloth-backed sandpaper.  However, it was working.

So let’s do it for real.  Got the piece of walnut that I needed to sand, and ran it through again, and again to flatten it off.  I did go with a slower feed speed and less height change between passes to give the paper the best chance for survival.  Even so, near the end of the job the drum was bogging down a bit as the paper was loosing its ability to cut.  But I got the piece flattened (over a dozen passes)

Turned it over to dress the rear side a bit, and managed to get about three passes in before the paper exploded off the roll.

It wasn’t dangerous – the paper was flapping a lot on the drum, but there was no issue in turning the machine off.  There were bits of sandpaper everywhere (about 1″ square) – when this let go, it really let go!  Surprisingly, the perforated area halfway along had survived (although had started to tear when the length failed).

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The proof of concept was achieved however – I have a nicely sanded piece of walnut – so this indeed “get me out of jail”  It isn’t the most economic – an $18 length will last and last (until you burn it or do something silly, or wear it out), but for a one-off when the shops are shut, this worked.

Be your own judge whether you choose to ever do this for yourself or not.  I am satisfied that there was no real risk (and I stood aside even so).  If I have to do it again, I may try gorilla tape next time – something a bit stronger than a cellotape-type packing tape which may increase the time the temporary fix can survive.

Groovin’ on the Dancefloor

A CNC machine may be capable of placing a router in precisely the right place, and follow an exact path, but still a router is just a motor.

The real tool is the router bit – it does the real work.  If you were hand carving an intricate pattern, you’d want your tools to be razor sharp, and have the variety of profiles that you need. Just because a router is a powered version of a chisel, it doesn’t stop the need to have sharp bits and correct profiles.

This is where the Amana Tool In-Groove Engraving bits from Toolstoday.com come into their own.

Normally, if you want a really fine tipped engraving router bit, you either have to go with tool-steel, or a particularly expensive solid carbide bit.  The In-Groove bits have a real point of difference (pun intended).  They have replaceable carbide tips.  And not only that, but a variety of profiles that fit the same router bit body.

Toolstoday.com In-Groove

Toolstoday.com In-Groove

You choose either the 1/2″ or 1/4″ shank, and either just get the components you require, or get the 8 piece set which gives a good sample to start with, that you can then grow as required.  If a tip becomes blunt or is broken, it is a low-cost replacement and not the entire router bit being written off.

There are also a surprising variety of each profile, with different tip widths, allowing you to precisely choose a profile to match the job you are doing.

Profiles

Profiles

There is another real benefit to the In-Groove system that is not immediately apparent.  You can change profile (effectively the same as changing router bits) without removing the bit from the router, or even having to disturb the current location of the CNC machine.

So you can set up a job with multiple paths, and like really expensive CNC machines that can change tools partway through a job, start with one profile to define edges, switch to a second for bulk clearing, then finish with a third profile that refines the design.  All by undoing a single hex bolt on the router bit itself.

Changing tips

Changing tips

As a bit of a test (and only in pine), I quickly threw together a design to test the different profiles out.  It really was simple changing tips on the fly, and matching design to bit.

Different profiles

Different profiles

As much as a V groove bit is the most commonly one used, I really liked the result of the cove tip

Cove Tip

Cove Tip

I also gave a more complicated design a try, with a bit of a Celtic knot, a photo of a saw blade turned into a path, and some text on a curve.

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This was done with a 30 degree V groove tip mounted.  Forgot to mention, I normally choose 1/2″ shank router bits, but knowing the CNC shark router is 1/4″, that is the way I went here.  The bits don’t get heavily loaded up – it is not bulk material removal after all.

The In-Groove router bits do sound like they are not running true (you develop quite an ear for that sort of thing after a while), but I didn’t see any particular problem at the router bit tip, so I suspect it is more because of some asymmetry caused by the tip retaining plate rather than the bit not running true.  For any bit mounted in the CNC, I made sure they were fully inserted into the collet.  No matter what the size, the router is single speed, and kicking along at 33000RPM.

Finally, I ran the same design onto the laminated board that I did the Mayan calendar and Japanese dragon, to see how well it came out.  I could have refined it further by choosing different bits (and depth of cut) for different portions of the design, but took the simplest option – letting it run from start to finish.

Stu's Shed design

Stu’s Shed design

This isn’t some new design for a Stu’s Shed logo, although I don’t mind the saw blade and text layout, but I’d want to replace the Celtic design with something more applicable.  Perhaps the outline of a Festool Domino, or something!

If you are so inclined, see what you can come up with (Illustrator format preferred!)

So that is the Amana Tool In-Groove CNC Router Bits, from Toolstoday.com.  If you have a CNC router, these are definitely worth some attention.

Sawdust and Shavings

I did get into the ‘workshop’ as planned, and churned out a couple of ManSpace signs on the CNC machine (one carved, one bas-relief)

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before moving onto what I was actually planning to work on – the start of a rocking horse as recently built by a friend.  He kindly gave me his templates and the plans, so I was able to jump straight into it.

_DSC2478This was about 90 minutes work with a bandsaw and a template copy bit on the router.  Still lots of joining, gluing, shaping and finally finishing to go, but getting to make sawdust and shavings was a palatable relief after so long.

One of the first things I went to do was fire up the generator to try out the 15A tools.  The tablesaw fired up without a problem, but the thicknesser was another story.

It kept tripping the generator out.

Now I am rather confused by this.  The generator is a 6.5KW, so isn’t like it is short of power.  Before the move, the thicknesser was working ok, and I subsequently tried (successfully) to turn it by hand (power disconnected, by pulling on the belts).  So why could the generator not get it up to speed?  It isn’t like the generator wasn’t turning the motor, just extremely slowly under maximum load (with the engine labouring) before the circuit breaker kicked out.

I’m not in a position to be able to test the thicknesser any other way – it is way too heavy to move to somewhere there is 15A available, and I don’t have any currently at the property (at least not accessible (aka oven)). Green steam sucks – anything that needs imaginary numbers to describe how it works is obviously magic. (No, I’m not kidding – you need to understand imaginary numbers to perform some of the multi-dimensional calculations involving frequency and phase-shifts

The voltage in a circuit is 45 + j10 volts and the impedance is 3 + j4 ohms.  What is the current?
Answer:
E = I • Z
45 + j10 = I • (3 + j4)

7 – j6 amps

j represents √-1 (also shown as i in non electrical engineering applications).

See what I mean?! Once upon a time I used to understand this stuff.  Happy to have brain-dumped it after the exams!)

What it all boils down to, is the thicknesser will just have to wait until the new shed, and the subsequent installation of a power supply.  At least the tablesaw is functional again – even if it wasn’t used for the rocking horse (yet).  The steps followed so far were all managed on the bandsaw and router table.

 

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