Revelations

Now I know this will be a bit of a shock to the system, especially coming from me – the “Electron Murdering Woodworker”, but, not every job in the workshop is best done with power tools.

I know, I know – breathe – here is a paper bag each, we can hypoventilate until the panic subsides.

I’m not referring to pneumatic tools either.  I’m talking about handtools, and elbow grease.

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When sanding components, there are times when a power tool just is not the right tool – whether it is unnecessary overkill, or it cannot get into the area of concern, or it would turn a 2 second job into a 2 minute one.  When that happens, out comes some sandpaper, and it is wrapped around a sanding block to tackle the task.

Now there are some problems that can occur with this (at least by my experience)

1. The paper grips on the workpiece too well, and the block rotates rather than slides, and you give your knuckles a good rap.  Done it before, don’t know how – must be a handtool thing ;)

2. The paper slips off the block a bit, and you sand with an edge of the paper, rather than the middle (which then folds and scratches)

3. You catch the paper on a sharp corner, and it catches and tears

4. You regularly need to reposition the sandpaper on the block to expose a fresh portion

5. Some sanding blocks need the paper correctly sized, causing wastage

 

All these things to dissuade me from hand sanding in preference to a power sander.

 

But there is another solution.  How about using a belt of sandpaper, rather than a sheet?  It is cloth-backed, and much more tear resistant.  Being a belt, finding a fresh portion (without using a portion with a previously-created fold) is easy, and the entire belt can be used for sanding, rather than some of the sheet of sandpaper never being accessed, as it was just being used to secure the sheet to the block.

How about a block that carries the sandpaper firmly, yet with a quick-release allows the paper to be rotated to a fresh portion?

And one that isn’t just a lump of timber or cork (technically, a piece of cork is a lump of timber……), but the working surface can be larger as it will not waste sandpaper unnecessarily.

I refer to the Sand Devil, from Professional Woodworkers Supplies

It takes a standard belt of sandpaper, and has a quick-release lever to remove tension, allowing the belt to be quickly repositioned to expose a fresh cutting surface, or offset the paper on the block to get right into tight corners.

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As you can see, there are a few different profiles on the Devil – a square corner, a larger radius corner, a smaller radius point, and the tapered section to help get into tighter places.  The rear shoe is moved by the quick release lever to apply or release tension.

You can check out more details at PWS (including some videos Sand Devil have made)

SSYTC065 RapidAir Installation Update

Most of the system is now in place and connected up, just need a few extra connectors to finish it off.

Have shot this quick walking tour so you can see the setup that I have put in place.

As mentioned, the system is sourced through Professional Woodworkers Supplies, and it makes it very easy to create a professional looking setup around the workshop.

RapidAir

As indicated in my previous post, I have begun installing the RapidAir system around the workshop.

It is as easy as the product suggests to create a comprehensive pneumatic system around the workshop.

After preparing each of the outlets (which realistically didn’t take a lot of time), I began mounting these around the workshop.  Each set up with the inlet from the top, and drain at the bottom.  The plan is to run a ring-mail around at roof level (the underside of the mezzanine), and by using a T piece, drop down to each outlet.  The manifold has three outlets, one will feed a local outlet, the other two will supply the ring-main.

After mounting the outlets (and deciding that 2 more would properly finish the setup), I started connecting the tubing.  It is pretty rigid, so although it means it isn’t designed to go around corners (that is what L connectors are for), it does mean that each run is able to be done neatly, easily creating a professional-looking (and functioning) setup.

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The tubing is easily cut square using the provided cutter

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As mentioned, there are T and L connectors, combinations of which provide the different configurations required.

The tubes happen to still be hanging in free space, as I haven’t secured them in position with clips while I finalise the layout.

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I will change the configuration of the manifold slightly, so the standard nitto fitting from the air compressor can plug straight in.

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Proceeding very easily- another installation session will pretty much see it done.

When taking it slow is the fastest way to go

I was in the process of mounting the RapidAir outlets, which required pilot holes to be drilled for the screws (not self drilling unfortunately).

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It was taking ages- having to start on smaller and smaller drill bits, just to drill a 3.5mm hole. Ridiculous.

So decided to stop being lazy, and continue working with something obviously blunt. Take the time, set up the Tormek, and the DBS22, and put a real edge on the bit.

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Back to drilling through steel like butter. All that extra time sharpening was saved in just the next 4 holes, and I still had 50 holes to go.

Time spent sharpening pays off in spades.

Threading Up

Spent the time while watching the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix (well done Daniel!), getting the outlets for the RapidAir (from Professional Woodworkers Supplies) all threaded up, with thread sealant rather than Teflon tape.

Probably the slowest part of the whole install!

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There are 7 outlets set up identically (capped off rear inlet, front outlet, air inlet at top, drain at bottom), 1 which is for the mezzanine (capped off rear inlet, capped off top inlet, air in from the bottom and front outlet- no drain so lower outlets will have to be the reservoir), and one manifold, with all 4 ports with a hose connector.

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Next job is to physically mount the outlets in the shed.

Layout

It pays to try a layout of a system as a dry run, before going to the trouble of connecting everything up.  And that is what I am doing with the installation of the RapidAir system.  It may be easy to install (and modify), but it is even easier if you get it right first time!

So I’ve taken the 8 outlets I have planned for the shed, assembled them (by hand only at this stage) and initially placed them around the workshop where I originally thought they’d go.  Didn’t take long to work out some were not in the right place – having to reach over machines (or almost unreachable at all), others not having something solid to connect them to.  So they got a bit of a shuffle.

Then while doing some other things around the workshop, visualising how I might utilise the compressed air, and where the nearest outlet is.

For some areas, I originally planned two outlets.  This is so I have access to compressed air for various tools, and a second outlet that will provide air for the vacuum clamps.  Turns out they do not need to be right beside each other so long as there are two in close proximity to the workbench, and that gives better overall coverage around the workshop.

I still haven’t finalised the layout – sleeping on it is another good option!  I’ll approach it with fresh eyes, see if there is anything I have forgotten or missed.

Compressed Air Supply

Compressed air and woodworking definitely go hand-in-hand.  There is a whole collection of air tools to use, and they are typically quite a bit cheaper than their electric powered equivalent machines as the energy conversion from electricity to mechanical is done by a single machine (air compressor) rather than each and every tool doing the same (there is a small step of converting the potential energy in the compressed air to mechanical kinetic, but that is pretty simple).

That concept does harp back to the workshops of old, with line drive, belts and pulleys etc, but compressed air is a lot easier to move around the workshop!

Other than nail guns, impact wrenches, sanders etc, there is always the convenience of a burst of compressed air to clean out a cut, clean off a tool, and even to sweep the workshop floor!  I also have a few vacuum clamps that use compressed air to generate significant grip on the component. (Using a venturi effect to produce low pressure, then the atmospheric pressure does the rest).

Getting air around the workshop can either be with long hoses, or in my case I am going to use the RapidAir setup from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.

152558The initial kit provides the tubing, and a bunch of quick-connectors, so running it around the workshop is a ‘breeze’

After running what will effectively be a pneumatic ring main around the workshop, at strategic points there will be individual tap points, to plug the tool straight in.

152559These come with the valve, and aluminium mounting block, so will fit in very well with the workshop layout.

airThis is an approximate layout for the air run, with the air compressor in a shed near the top right corner.  The red squares are air outlets, the circle is an air outlet then connected to a hose reel (which then allows air to be used elsewhere in the back yard)

I might put an outlet up on the mezzanine, and probably one by the drill press.

The ring main then allows a balance of air to each outlet (especially if there is more than one demand on the circuit at the same time), and for others to be easily added for future design changes or needs.

Will probably start installation next weekend.

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