Beam Pump

The beam pump is one of those really simple mechanisms that have been around for donkey’s years.  They are in heavy use in the American South.sxo0redqpl_oil_and_gas 5a9b9-wideopenoil

The beam pump (like the beam engine) takes the rotary motion from the prime mover, and transfers it into a linear motion.

mediumThinking about it, a piston in a combustion engine is just a beam engine in reverse.

In the goldfields, a beam pump is one way that was used to pump water out of the mines (one of the disadvantages for mining below the water table).  A steam engine makes a good prime mover, and a counterweighted beam pump can have a significant stroke to draw water up from the deep.

At Sovereign Hill there is a working beam pump which you could almost miss, given how big it is!

SH-47 SH-64

Should have gotten some video of the beam pump itself in operation – slowly shunting back and forth.  I did have a closer look at the prime mover.  The comparatively small size of the engine just goes to show how powerful steam engines can be.

SH-50 SH-51 SH-52

Line Shaft Live

Probably the thing that I enjoy seeing more than anything else at Sovereign Hill, are all the line shaft driven machinery.  I’d love to have a workshop straight out of the 1890s.  I’d feel right at home.

This is one of the many working workshops at Sovereign Hill, powered by steam, and line shafts.

Shot by my daughter on an iPhone (without any encouragement from me – something starting to rub off?!! :) )

 

A guard for your hands and eyes

Incra are well known for their significant contributions to woodworking, particularly at the highly engineered end of the spectrum, with their precision tools (such as accurate fence positioning).

So when they bring out a new tool, it is worth taking note, so I was interested when Incra released a push block to see just what they have bought to the party.

rta_pushguard_main_zoomSold in Australia by Professional Woodworkers Supplies

The first thing that you notice is the clear shield.  It can be easily removed when the job doesn’t need it (or moreso, if it would be in the way), but for jobs that result in the cutter being exposed in particular, having added protection to prevent wayward wood chips flying in the direction of your eyes is a neat addition.

rta_pushguard_detail1_zoomThe handle is a decent size, not only so you can (just) fit two hands, but also so you can get a good positive grip on it, to control the workpiece.

Speaking of controlling the workpiece, and that is where the 178x75mm working surface comes into play, providing a decent contact area.  Often, you would want to work with two of these guards, not only further increasing the working area, but so you can further control the orientation of the workpiece relative to the tool, and prevent it twisting out from under the pushblock.

Unlike most pushblocks, the Incra one also has a double-walled ABS hand guard (grey) further protecting your rather valuable tools (hands).

rta_pushguard_detail3_zoom

I’d see a definite use for these on the router table, and the jointer particularly.  In an ideal world, I’d have 4 of these, two with the clear guard attached, and two without to cover all the jobs I’d want to use these on, without having to remove and replace the clear guard, but they are pretty easy to remove and replace even so.

Safety equipment is always something that comes secondary to the tools that allow us more capability in the workshop, but as I was told years ago when I got my motorbike license, if you can’t afford the safety equipment, you can’t afford the bike, and the same thing applies to woodworking.

Catching up on Festool

Seems that a few things have come out from Festool recently that I haven’t been across.

First is a high speed oscillating tool, the Vecturo, akin to the Fein Supercut.  It also has a Festool style price tag, but also includes some interesting developments as well, depth stops and blade stabilising.  I haven’t looked into it too far as yet, particularly any side-by-side comparisons with the Fein.

down_os_vecturoos400_563000_p_01a-setdown_os_vecturoos400_563000_a__10aOne of the interesting things in the photo above, is the plate that the blade is resting against is actually magnetic, keeping the blade from vibrating perpendicularly to the cutting oscillations, helping establish a cleaner entry slot.  This also is a depth stop for the blade.  There is another depth stop for circular type blades.

down_os_vecturoos400_563000_a__11aThese can all be removed if you want a more traditional oscillating tool setup.

The next is a redesign to the ETS 150/3 and 150/5, now the ETS EC 150/3 and 150/5

down_se_ets1503a_571870_p_07b-with-systainerThe EC refers to the EC-TEC brushless motor, so it has even more power and runs quieter. At least that would be my expectation if I get to play with one.

A new version of the dust hose, that includes a plug-it cable.  I have the older version, which I find keeps things neat when both powering the tool and extracting dust at the same time.  This version also has a material shroud for extra protection of the hose.  Interested to know if this helps with tool movement, where the external spiral of the hose can catch edges occasionally.  I’m sure the shroud wouldn’t help in the situation where I did damage a hose – doubt the shroud is designed to protect against a few hundred degrees of local heat when my hose got too close to a space heater!

down_s_d2722x35asgq_500269_z_01aFinally, although this isn’t new as such, it is an interesting storage for the various tools.  I keep dropping my sander onto the floor when I catch the hose, so the sander storage would be invaluable!

ae_ucr1000p_498966_a_04a ucr-1000And a small CT17 Cleantec, which would be quite handy connected to the Torque CNC (and overall quite a portable extractor).

zoom__s_ct17e_767992_p_01a_81

There is another small driver, called the TXS, which is seemingly replacing the CXS.  There are always so many new drills and drivers I can’t keep up!

If you are looking for more info on any of the above, have a chat with Anthony over at Ideal Tools – he’s always right across the latest developments in the Festool camp.

The Karate Kid of Sharpening Systems

wax on wax offWax on, Wax off

There are so many sharpening systems out there, it can be rather daunting.  Powered or unpowered, hollow grind or flat, single bevel or secondary micro-bevel, oil, water or dry, friable or fixed surface, open or closed grit, wax on or wax off.

I’ve come across another system recently, which has an interesting take on the process.  It is the Precision Sharpening System from M Power.

PSS1-Diamond-Cross-precision-Sharpening-System

It is based on diamond stones, and has two fixed angles 25° as a primary angle, and 30° as a secondary angle (such as for a microbevel).  The stones are exceptionally easy to change, held in place magnetically.  There are grits from 100 through to 1000 available (with the unit coming with a 220 grit and a 450 grit stone).

Where the system is somewhat different, is the direction of sharpening.  Most systems have the grinding direction in line with the chisel, where the PSS works perpendicular to the blade.  Secondly, most systems have the stone (grinding surface) stationary, and the blade is bought into contact and moved against the abrasive.  The PSS has the tool stationary, and instead the stone is bought to the tool, back and forth, creating a flat grind.

PSS1-Sharpen-small-chisel-484It is an interesting grinding direction.  Takes a little getting used to, but I can’t see that there is any particular disadvantage to the resulting tool edge.

The carriage is captive in the base, but has a bit of movement, which allows the sharpening surface to float fully on the tool. You can then apply as little or as much pressure as you like or need.

The body of the sharpener is best secured down, and there is a hole and screw made available for just that.

PSS1-Diamond-Cross-484

The system has a particular distinct advantage – speed of setup.  There is no jig that needs to be set up, or clamped to the blade.  The tool is placed on the flat bed, held against the lip at the side to keep it perpendicular to the sharpening stone, and a few swipes and you are done.

Remove the stone carriage, flick it around and a few swipes for a micro-bevel.  Change stones in seconds to move between grades.  It will not take every type of blade, but anything straight, such as a chisel or plane blade up to 2.5″ wide is no problem (3mm to 64mm).  The ease of setup and repeatability means regular, quick touchups are no problem, and you may find you use it more regularly given the ease of use.  With the result being continually, satisfyingly, sharp blades.

Available (in Oz) from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.

 

 

How’s it hangin?

The ol’ router table that is?

Ever lusted over a router lift, being able to precisely dial in a router bit height, make a pass, and need a 0.1mm adjustment to make it perfect?  That is what a router lift can give you.

Sure they are not cheap, but then the router table is one of the main workshop tools, and if you are prepared to put some bling into some of the other tools (tablesaw, bandsaw etc), then perhaps consider giving the router table some love.

I am coming from the other side of the decision, having had a router lift and the Incra fence for a number of years.  I’ve always enjoyed the accuracy, and it comes as second nature these days.  Guess it has improved my woodworking, but that isn’t actually why I have it. (Probably should be!!) I just like being able to use good gear when I am pottering around.

We did think the day of the router lift in Australia was numbered, when the Woodpeckers Router Lift ceased manufacture. The Router Lift was specifically designed for plunge routers, which are just not popular in the USA for some reason.

However, that is not the only form of the router lift that is out there, and the American version, the Precision Router Lift Version 2 (or shortened to PRL V2) is now available here.

This has some cool features that my router lift doesn’t have.  Such as a spring loaded plunge handle to quickly set the height close to what is desired, without winding and winding.  The other, and this is even more interesting, is it has a built-in large diameter knurled wheel to dial in the precise height (it is bright red in the photo, so hard to miss!)

  
This lift cannot fit a plunge router, but then having a plunge router under a lift is a bit of a waste anyway. I haven’t taken my plunge router out of the table for years.  Probably so full of sawdust now, it may not be able to plunge properly anyway.

So what do you use instead?

Well the PRL V2 from Professional Woodworkers Supplies comes with an 1800W 1/2″ (and 1/4″) fixed base router. So that takes care of that problem!

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you are looking for a kick-ass router table, having a router lift with such accurate adjustment, it will certainly have appeal to some.  Given my Triton is struggling (age catching up with it), this is a rather tempting option, and solves one of the final issues with my current setup – how to do through-table bit changes, without having to adjust both the router lift, and the Triton router.  Something I’ve put up with for the overall benefit of the lift.  Guess I really like the look of that red dial!

Clipper

Know it is getting a little repetitive, but I couldn’t resist making just one more of these.  Sure I’ll make more, but you don’t need to see them all (unless you want to!)

This was a pretty easy one to cut out, but I found the design had left out a number of hull sections, so that was a bit of a problem, and the assembly directions were ordinary as well, so a number of parts got broken and needed replacing as I worked out a new assembly order.

However, neither of those took as long as tying the sails into position!!

ship-1 ship-2

Cut out with a 1/16″ solid carbide straight cutter router bit (Toolstoday.com), running at 50mm/sec, and at 12000 RPM (I’d run it much faster, but I don’t have spindle speed control at the moment)

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