Right at this moment, there is a large MDF box sitting in my trailer waiting for the time to drive it home.
Thanks to the good folks at Carbatec, who kindly took delivery of the package, and transferred it to my trailer (they have a forklift, and were willing to use it!)
It is 1.6m3, and weights over 220kg.
Yes, the YAS Engineering CNC machine has arrived!
While woodworking often doesn’t require extremely fine and/or accurate holes, there are times when a fine set of drill bits would be very handy, and when it comes to fine bits, they don’t get much finer than these sets from Zona Tool. They are supplied in Australia by Professional Woodworkers Supplies.
Whether you are model making, making jewellery, working with wood, metal, plastic, glass, ceramic, even stone, the ability to drill incredibly tiny holes is achievable.
But what do I mean by fine? How about 0.3mm to 1mm in 0.05mm steps (then from 1 to 1.5mm in 0.1mm steps)? 0.3mm, or 300µm. Sure, that doesn’t sound too small when talking about sanding, where we are working with particle sizes in the 10s of microns (or less), but these are drill bits we are talking about!
To put it in scale, consider the humble Australian dollar coin. It may not be angels dancing on the head of a pin, but here are the three finest drill bits in comparison.
Of course you won’t be mounting these bits in your standard power drill! So in the first photo, you can also see a couple of bit holders/drivers from Zona as well. One is double ended for larger and smaller bits, the other is a twist-drive, which can hold the finest bits. None of these are particularly expensive either, with the drill bit set around $25.
They are available in metric and imperial, and interestingly, the blue box above are diamond coated bits, which is why glass, stone, ceramic etc are also able to be drilled with this precision.
1µm. 6 times smaller than an anthrax spore. Around P8000 sandpaper! If that isn’t smooth enough, you have a real problem!
Been doing some handheld routing on the Festool MFT, the results of which you’ll be able to see in the next video. I’ve been using the Festool surface clamps for much of the operation, but have been surprised to find that over time, the Walko surface clamps (which are 2/3rds the price) are actually doing a better job! (Festool $150 pair, Walko $99 pair)
(Just did an image search for both – the top 4 images of the Walko clamp all came from Stu’s Shed!)
Granted that the Festool is probably a better design, I guess, with a longer reach, the ability to secure it to the table from underneath, and I am sure there are one or two other features over the Walko.
However there is one overriding difference. The Festool jams when you try to release it. The Walko doesn’t. After a while, the Festool also doesn’t slide smoothly, whereas the Walkos I have, have been going and going for years without incident.
Looking closely at the shaft of the Festool, and it is pitted along its length, dented by the securing mechanism. Sure, I can file these off (and already have a couple of times), but it is an inherent flaw. The metal of the shaft of the Festool surface clamp is wrong – it is too soft. Whereas the Walko clamp has got it just right.
Not often that something is able to out-perform Festool, but in this case, something has!
I haven’t paid too much attention to sliding tables before, although the Sliding Extension Table on the Triton was rather handy.
The latest offering from SawStop looks rather interesting, and I’ll be giving it serious consideration when it becomes available down under.
Aluminum Extrusions: T-6 Aircraft Grade
Table Depth: 47.25″
Table Travel: 55″
Table Crosscut Capacity: 48″
Table Crosscut Capacity (flush mount): 36″
Fence Width: 43″
Fence Extends To: 58″
Fence Scale: Imperial / Metric
Fence Scale Pressure: Adjustable
Miter Gauge Measurement Range: +- 60 degrees
Mounting Type: Pre-drilled holes for SawStop saws
No doubt it will be able to be fitted to other tablesaws.
I do wonder if anything has been added to insulate the fence from the operator- I would imagine that if you cut the fence accidentally while you were contacting it, the brake would activate.
In any respect, I can well see how useful an add-on it would be- very tempting indeed.
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.
The 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.
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:
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.