Urgent trophy job

One of the family friends does woodcarving on the side, and had a job dropped onto him at the last minute.

So we decided to get the CNC Shark to do some of the heavy lifting.

6 shields, by tomorrow! Not a problem.

2 hours later and they were done.

I suggested that he follow Dennis’ lead, and use a resin filler – makes the designs really pop.

Anyway, it was a bit of a distraction, but at least sawdust was being made (and even the Festool ETS 150/5 made an appearance).  Slowly a sense of normalcy is returning to the shed space.

The Return of Powermatic Down Under, and a Stu’s Shed exclusive offer

Yes, it is true.  Powermatic, one of the well recognised gold standards of woodworking machines that others get compared to, is returning to Australian shores.

What is more, that as a Stu’s Shed reader, you have been given the unique opportunity to attend the product launch. 
Now before you decide to pass it by, there is a door prize, and more importantly, plenty of catering!
The door prize is only likely to be a Powermatic bandsaw or similar from the range, but don’t let that sway you.  Free food!

Of course, if you don’t come to the Melbourne release, more chance for me :)

power

I don’t have any Powermatic machines in my workshop……yet! ;)   MMmmmmmm Powermatic.

Details are:

Mon Nov 11th Brisbane Store 5:30 Start
Tues Nov 12th Sydney Store 5:30 Start
Wed Nov 13th Melb Store 5:30 Start

Refreshments and Drinks provided
Lucky Door Prize in every store – drawn on the night – (winner must be in attendance)
Substantial and exclusive offers on the night.
Powermatic and CT staff on hand to answer questions
Dancing Girls……sorry……..NO dancing girls. (Note from Stu – who needs dancing girls, there is tool porn!)

RSVP is essential (for catering etc) by 1st November

If interested….attendees MUST make contact with Carba-Tec via:  marketing@carbatec.com.au

Be in quick – once the places are full, that is it.  And you cannot just rock up on the night – entry by invite only.

Walnut Dragon

IMG_4274-Edit-2

Engraved on the CNC Shark Pro, using a Carbitool laser bit (solid carbide, 15o).  250mm diameter, 45 minute machining time.  Finish: Festool Surfix Oil System

My Drum Sander

Unsurprisingly, I have begun mentally (mostly) dusting off some of my machines, reconsidering their place in my workshop (and not just where they will go, but whether they belong).  For the most part, they will simply translate from the old workshop to the new, but in some cases, I haven’t been 100% content, and these will receive closer scrutiny.

One of these machines is the drum sander.

Now I don’t have the most expensive drum sander on the market.  Actually (excluding home-made versions), I think I probably have the cheapest.  Even so, at $840, it isn’t an afterthought either.  I can buy a cheap cast iron tablesaw for that sort of money, so you’d expect a lot to be packed into a small package at that price.

Carbatec Drum Sander

Carbatec Drum Sander

I’m not denying that the drum sander isn’t a useful tool – having had one for a few years now (over 4), I have put quite a bit through it, and have found it does work pretty well.  It could be improved, and I’ll get to that in a second.

Firstly, location.  Since having it in my workshop, I have had it perched on top of my thicknesser.  A bit higher than desirable, but still workable, and as both machines had similar requirements for infeed and outfeed, it proved a pretty good space saver.

zshed-1

This only works if your thicknesser is the larger version, with a fixed head and rising and falling table.  Otherwise you’d be lifting the weight of the motor and thicknesser head, and the drum sander combined!  However, it is time it got its own stand.  There is one made for this unit, and although I am not a fan of bolt-together pieces of angle iron as a commercial solution, for $70 it wasn’t too pricey, and it ended up proving to be a pretty robust design, so I can live with that.  The space underneath isn’t going to be wasted either – just have to make a storage unit that fits.

The next issue is the method by which the paper is secured.  At the free end, it is pretty straightforward – a springloaded clip that holds the paper against the underside of the drum.

WDS-400_insetE

It is the other end that has been bugging me recently.  I just have not been able to get the paper to secure.  Initially, I had a look at the clamp at the other end, and it didn’t push against the drum – that was a concern – what had gone wrong with the clamp?  A stop into Carbatec to look at their display machine, and it was the same – the paper does not get held against anything, it is just a bit of a torturous path to hold it in place.  So it is the length of the sandpaper which is the problem – the piece I have is too short.  Must be old stock or something – and the supplier was scrimping on the length of paper supplied.

Now I have had a close look at the clamping arrangements, I’ll cut my own to be longer, and see if I cannot get it resolved.

I do find a lot of burn marks on the drum – and that I have worked out is primarily a lack of adequate dust extraction.  If a dust buildup occurs between the drum and the workpiece, it burns, sticks, burns more, and the paper is quickly toast (pun intended!)

Guess there is no way around this really – have the correct feedrate for the timber and the grit, take lighter passes, and good dust extraction.  The large oscillating Jet may not have such a problem, but otherwise I’d expect this would be a pretty typical complaint?

The final area that I looked at is the one where the most criticisms are leveled at this machine. The amount of flex in the head.  If you lift the open end, you can detect some movement relative to the bed.  In operation, this equates to the machine not operating the drum parallel to the bed, and therefore creating a wedge shape, rather than simply making the board thinner.

To now, I have compensated for this by a few strategies:

1. rotating the work each pass
2. taking lighter passes when nearing the final desired dimension
3. feeding the work in closer to the support when nearing final dimension
4. finishing passes by not adjusting the height, and feeding the work through a few times, each time therefore becomes a lighter and lighter pass, with less and less deflection.

While in Carbatec looking at the clamping system, I also spent some time comparing this drum sander to the three Jet models.

There were some interesting outcomes.

jetn628900Not only is the drum quite short (and therefore not a lot of length to load up for deflection, but note how far apart the two bolts are holding the upper structure to the base.  It is a good amount of area resisting any rotation of the head around that joint.

JET-2244OSCNot sure if this is exactly the one looked at (wasn’t looking at the stand!), but the main point of difference here was a cast iron base which the head is attached to with a wide attachment area.  Very hard to get any movement here!

JET-1632

This had less movement than the Carbatec model, but still significantly more than the other two.  The bolts attaching the head to the base are quite close together, and the base is angle iron, not cast.  And there is movement.

The Carbatec model looks to all be cast, but the main members of the base are angle iron.  Furthermore, the bolts attaching the head to the base are very close together.  Add these together, plus what flex there is in the attachment bolts and the cast iron, and there is deflection.

If the attachment point could be reinforced, and the attachment bolts (both at that junction, and where the head connects to the height riser) were replaced with high tensile bolts, I may not be able to eliminate all the flex, but I bet I could significantly decrease it.

A mini project to work on!

Plotting the End of Days

Given we are still here, guess that yet another “End of Days” has quietly slipped on past.  However, the Mayan calendar (or is it Aztec?) is still one of the challenging images that are sent to CNC machines all over!

I’ve been playing with this one today:

Mayan Calendar

Mayan Calendar

It is quite a challenge for a CNC machine – results in around 1/2 a million lines of G Code to produce all the required cuts.  I started off cutting it into pine, but the initial size chosen (200x200mm), the depth of cut and the crapiata used, the results were not worth pursuing, so I cancelled it after about 45 minutes (so at least I could get a good idea how it could look).

Photo 18-08-13 13 33 16 Photo 18-08-13 13 33 24 Photo 18-08-13 13 33 45

Given how packed the garage is waiting for the new shed, working on a CNC machine is almost the only way I can actually manage any woodworking at all!  Note the precarious location for the laptop, so it is somewhat out of dust range from the router.

I then decided to find something more suitable, and this laminated electrical board was eminently suitable, given the lower layer is a significantly contrasting colour, so the pattern shows up exceptionally well.  Again, this was only a test cut on the underside – this was scaled to 300×300, and would have taken 4 hours to complete.  I stopped it after an hour, again as it was only a test, and a couple of settings I chose were causing some issues.

The other side of the board is a shiny surface, and should look pretty spectacular.  However, I plan to make it near the limit of size of the machine (a 580×580 calendar).  I didn’t start it today as I wanted to get a better idea of the settings before getting it underway.  It will also take 14 hours(!!), so I need to get some noise control in place before trying it on.  I might drop it back to 500×500, which will probably be closer to a 12 hour machining.

Photo 18-08-13 14 28 19 Photo 18-08-13 14 28 32 Photo 18-08-13 14 57 41

The CNC Shark range can be sourced from Carbatec, and seen in operation on Stu’s Shed ;)

Shed Layout

Going to throw it out there – if you are interested in helping me design the shed layout, I’d be most interested in your ideas!

To start, these are the shed dimensions.  The location of the roller door is pretty much fixed (won’t fit anywhere else), but all other doors and window can be shifted at this stage.  There needs to be one door accessing the rear triangular area, and I do want a door accessing the back of the shed.

Finalised Shed Design

Finalised Shed Design

Inside, there are columns to compete with, which are fixed in place.  The slab design shows a pillar directly in the middle of the roller door, but I am doubting that is actually needed!  Pretty pointless if it is – if this shed was for a vehicle, you’d have to split the car (or boat) in two to get it inside!

Columns

Columns

The door in the 9’10″ wall only needs to be in one of the two 9’10″ walls, move as suitable!

I’ve been using the Grizzly Shed Designer website – if you know of something better, I’d be keen to hear!

This is one design I have come up with, but I’m sure it isn’t as good as it could be.

Shed Layout?

Shed Layout?

So some specifics.  The tablesaw is the TS10L (discontinued), and has a long wing on the right.  It needs in and outfeed, but also room to the lefthand side for long items (at least until I get a Kapex). There is a router table which is about 680mm wide, and 1000mm long.  Infeed and outfeed is across the shorter width, as the Incra LS Positioner extends down the length.

There is a workbench – 1500×800, and the Torque Workcentre 2500×800 (the lathe on top of the workbench represents the overhead arm).

A 15″ thicknesser, a 6″ longbed jointer, a drill press.

There are 2 bandsaws, one a 17″ Carbatec which is used for resawing, and a 14″ Jet for small items (no outfeed required).

A Triton spindle sander, and a disk sander/linisher.  There are three lathes showing.  One is the DVR XP, one is the Nova Comet II, and the third is a Jet Mini, but this one will be used to hold three buffing wheels, so is part of the sanding section.

As far as the rest, I’m not showing any timber storage as it will either be on the mezzanine, or stored elsewhere.  The dust extractor and air compressor will be in a nearby shed, and can either be located in the triangular section (top left), or at the back, or alongside the shed at the right – your choice.  I’m not showing any storage at the moment – either suggest what you will, or have a look at older photos of the workshop to see what I have been using in the past.

So that’s the general scope – questions to refine the issues welcome.  Hope someone can come up with a plan that really works!

 

A storm is coming

More precisely, a whirlwind, a tornado, or perhaps that has already arrived looking at the workshop!

One of the opportunities that comes out of such a relocation, is things get reevaluated, cleaned up, and out.

Yes.  A sale is coming.

Not sure exactly what as yet, but there will be some recognisable names and brands amongst the items I have in mind.

Jet
Triton
Torque
Hitachi
Wixey
Carbatec
GMC

It will be interesting to see what comes of it all.

A Cool Nova Tool

For regular followers, you will remember my little jaunt over to the land of the red, white and blue, to Denver Colorado to appear on Cool Tools.  Haven’t forgotten the experience, from the flight on the A380 to getting around Denver, being on the show, meeting and working with Chris Grundy, visiting Rockler, and, well, the whole experience.

It all jumped back in mind when I was reading up about a tool sitting out in the shed, and heard it was about to be featured on….Cool Tools!

The tool in question: the Nova Comet II midi lathe, from Teknatool.

Nova Comet II

It is a very interesting addition to the midi lineup, and simply based on name, it has quite a pedigree.

There are a few other lathes in the same niche, so lets pull them all out, dust them off and see what we have here.

Jet Midi, Variable Speed

Jet Midi, Variable Speed

Carbatec Midi, Variable Speed

Carbatec Midi, Variable Speed

There are others, but these are the ones I have some familiarity with.

Must admit, I didn’t have variable speed on a lathe until I got my DVR.  My old Jet midi lathe didn’t have the feature.  Variable speed is pretty cool, and means you can quickly change the speed to suit what you are doing at the time, rather than stopping to change the belts (or simply ignoring the speed isn’t ideal, mores the point!)

Both the Jet and the Carbatec have the variable speed tacked onto the side, as if the lathe was designed without and on certain machines they get the upgrade.  For both the Jet and Carbatec, this is pretty much the case.

The Comet has it designed to be much more integrally part of the lathe from the outset.  This may just be an aesthetic, but it also means there isn’t a speed control box sticking out the side.  Dust does build up, and objects do fall or hit things that are sticking out.

While we are looking at it, some other specs, side by side

Specification Comet II Jet Carbatec
Price $639 $849 $799
Speed 250 – 4000 200 – 4300 250 – 3600
Swing over bed 300mm 304mm 355mm
Distance between Centres 419mm 510mm 430mm
Reverse Yes No No
Weight 32kg 45kg 39kg

All have 3/4HP motors, indexing heads

So in the first rounds, the Comet II really is holding its own.  Especially given the price.

There are some aspects that do come in though, and this is probably price-related.  I like cams on the various movable items, and although it is only the tailstock, I would have preferred it to have been a cam.

Although the finish on all user areas is good, there are some rough castings underneath.  The foundry really needs to invest in an angle grinder.  It wouldn’t have been hard to tidy up the casting a bit more underneath.

Toolless access to the belt drive.

Other than those points, there are some distinct advantages too!

Reversible. The other lathes can’t run backwards! (Correct me if I am wrong (update – the Carbatec does))
Excellent access to the belt drive – much better than either of the others.
Ability to add accessories, such as a grinder (for sharpening chisels during turning)

It may be a bit lighter (weight is a bonus for lathes), but not too much so, and it does make it more transportable.

I’ll revisit the accessories when they arrive, but the concept is very interesting!

When I have a chance to really put the lathe through its paces, I will feed those experiences back.  The initial testing didn’t reveal any issues.

So a very promising addition to the lineup, and at a rather cost-competitive price point!  You can afford to add a Nova G3 chuck and still be ahead.  Don’t forget, the 4 jaw self-centering chuck which is now the standard for wood turners was invented by Teknatool.

Nova DVR Remote in Australia

I have just gotten the confirmation from Teknatool and Carbatec, that the Nova DVR remote (and retro upgrade kit) will be available in Australia in December this year.

So if you have a DVR (and not necessarily an XP), then something to look forward to – just in time for Christmas………

DVR Remote

DVR Remote

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