WX7 – The Triton Workcentre gets an upgrade

The Triton Workcentre 2000 was launched back in about 1997 or 98 or so (sure someone can confirm more accurately).  I used to have a poster of the Triton timeline that’d confirm some of the dates.

The name was somewhat unfortunate in hindsight.  Having the product named for the millennium meant it became increasingly obvious how old the design was, with people in 2002, 2003 and on wondering if they should buy the 2000, or if another was being released soon.

Funny thing is, a new design was on the drawing board at the time, but the decision to develop the new version beyond the blueprint phase was delayed and cancelled by successive owners of the Triton brand.

The design had an extruded aluminium top, a full mitre slot, and drop-in induction motors.

1 1/2 decades later, and that design has finally been dusted off, revamped, developed, then turned into a new product – the latest version of the Triton Workcentre, the WX7.

There is also a full redevelopment of the Router Table, and an impressive new version has been produced.  Due to the market early 2015.

In the meantime, check out this video compiled from shots from the 2014 International Hardware Fair in Colonge.  It shows not only the new WX7 Workcentre, the new Router Table, but also a bunch of powertools that are being released (some already available)

There are 20V 4AH system tools, including a drill/driver, a combo hammer drill and a 160Nm Impact Driver.

Alongside a reciprocating saw, right angle drill, oscillating multi tool, and a geared eccentric orbit sander.

Some of the other products already available are strangely familiar.  Such as the 180mm power planer. (And the unlimited rebate planer).

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Why does that look so familiar?

Could it be that I have seen it back in August 2008, and still have it sitting in my workshop, coloured blue, but with GMC on the side? Even down to the “magnesium” embossed signage on the side cover and base plate. They still cannot seem to escape that unfortunate association with GMC.

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The T12 drill also bothers me – the Triton drill had one really unique feature that stood it out from the crowd – the plunge mechanism built into the drill.  And despite a strange look, that was the best feature of the drill, which after all is one of dozens on the market.

The T12 has done away with that. T12TP_med_T12TP

The 20V version has a bigger battery, and also follows the Hitachi design concept – if you don’t think it would look out of place in the hands of a Cylon Centurion, you are on the right track. Interesting idea.  Not a design route I’d choose personally, either for tools I was designing, or ones I was planning to add to my workshop, but to each his own.

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Check out the latest catalogue here (but no mention as yet in there of the WX7 or new Router Table)

 

Cleanup in Aisle 8

November 3 2013.  While moving to the new house, a lot of the timber and tools were stacked in the original 3x3m shed on the property.  On that day, the shed was emptied and stored under the veranda, filling the entire area (covering all the outdoors furniture), and looked a mess, not to put too fine a point on it.  That shed was then taken apart and stored.

It has been almost exactly 5 months (minus a few days), and the cleanup of that area is finally complete.  Everything has been taken to their new homes (garden shed, main workshop, garage, and storage shed).  Not particularly neatly – that refinement will happen over a longer period as I work out various storage options.  At least progress each weekend is restoring a sense of normalcy to the place.

There is a small mountain of stuff now stored up on the mezzanine – crates and crates of tools and timber requiring sorting, storing, and disposing.  I really need some storage solutions for the shed – that is the next big ticket item requiring tick-off.  Whether that will be purchased, made, or a combination of the two is yet to be seen.  Fast will be the first order of the day. (The other big-ticket item needing resolution is installing a dust collection system).

As far as disposing is concerned – sure, that means there is some things not worth keeping that will be binned, but the majority of items in that category are ones needing to find a new home.

One thing I found I have a lot of, are Triton spares.  Bags and bags of components, from individual screws and red knobs with captive nuts, up to and including a Triton Router Table, Router Table Stand, a Bevel Ripping Guide, Biscuit Joiner, Finger Jointer and all sorts of other odds’n’sods.

So what I am thinking of doing is cataloguing it all, and sticking it on a tab at the top of the site, with a line number, photo and description.  Some items with a price tag, the others priced (cheaply) by weight.  I’ll work out something that gives a reasonable price scale.  I’ve become quite disillusioned with eBay.  Not because the items sell for a reasonable price, or the eBay fee structure, but simply because there are so many dickheads out there.  I don’t need the stress or hassle.  Some hassle is unavoidable – if I wanted to avoid it all, I’d simply throw all the metal into the trailer (along with the pile that is there at the moment) and run it to the local steel merchant.

Let me know if there is anything you are particularly looking out for – will see what I can turn up.  A good portion of it is new, and should be much cheaper than any Triton spares in the market.

Weekend Progress Report

Had a fair amount to get on with today, getting ready for the electrician as much as anything (although I still haven’t planned the GPO layout yet – have to be tomorrow.)

After trying to work out the order things needed to be done in, I realised that one of the difficulties was having the SawStop still in its box, still on the pallet.  I didn’t have time to go through a full setup, but I did manage to:

1. Get the mobile base from under the previous tablesaw (that was a bit of a mission in itself, being over 200kg, and in restricted space in the garage).

2. Size it to fit the base of the SawStop

3. Set up, and film the first stage of the SawStop setup, up to the point that the saw is out of the box, upright and sitting on the mobile base.  I’ll continue the process when I have more time to dedicate to it.  At least the saw is now mobile, and it sure looks good – black is definitely the new black where it comes to workshop machinery!

Next, I decided removing a couple of purlins would make life a lot easier, so off they came.  The benefit of a steel structure, held together with heavy-duty screws.

I managed to get the sheets up there – bit of a combination of angles, rope, and brute force.  With the mezzanine at 2800, it was a bit of an effort even so.  The sheets are only 33kg each, just cumbersome.

At the moment they are only sitting up there – I will fix them down later once the final building permit is signed off, and then the attic stairs installed.  They look raw underneath, but I have a solution to that.

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This was the first chance to see what the shed looks like with the overall vertical view blocked, and it is fine – not too closed in.  Benefit of having a high ceiling.

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I still haven’t decided whether to run the floor right to the edges (which needs more than the 3600 length the redtongue comes in), or to stick with the current length and secure it down.  Decision for another day.

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This is what I’ve bought to lay down under the flooring, so it looks the business from the ground.  Has some minor insulating properties, but I got it because it looks like the existing insulation on the walls, and is a good reflector, maximising available light in the shed.

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Speaking of lights, this is how I am installing them on my own.  A MagSquare.  And specifically the 50mm.  It comfortably holds the light fitting in place until I can get the self-tappers in.

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With the main and rear sections done, it looks pretty good.  All in line, spacing about right.  Double tubes per fitting should make for plenty of light.  Each fitting has a standard 3 pin plug end (which is the flex you can see hanging down), so wiring them in will be easy.

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Not looking as wide as it will when fully assembled, but there is a real presence in the workshop…..

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Mmmm.  Shiny.

The Dado Blade of the Router Bit World

The router table has always been particularly good for cutting a groove, particularly in smaller items (such as making boxes).  The orientation of the blade to the timber for one, the diameter of the blade (vs a tablesaw), the speed of the cutter, the accuracy in setup.

The one frustration I have found is having to accept the width of the groove is limited to the width of the cutter of the router bit, or having to take multiple passes.  Unlike a tablesaw, the concept of a dado blade is foreign to the router table.

Well until now that is.

Toolstoday.com have available a really interesting router bit indeed from Amana Tool.  It is an EZ Dial Slot Cutter, and unlike a tablesaw dado blade stack, this router bit does not have shims, or even need to be taken apart and reassembled.

EZ Dial Router Bit

EZ Dial Router Bit

Looking at the anatomy of the router bit, from the top-down.  The top threaded section is the range of adjustment of the router bit, and there are two types available – a 1/8″ – 1/4″, and a 1/4″ – 1/2″.  Next is the locking nut – once the width of the slot is set.  The knurled knob is the adjustment for the router bit, and is then locked in position with the locking nut.

The blade is next – it is a four-flute router bit, but because of the adjustment, each side of the trench is cut with two of the flutes.  As the knurled adjustment knob is turned, two of the flutes move with the knob, and the other two remain fixed.

A bearing then sits under the flutes – useful when following curves, and other times a router fence is not in use.  Just below that is a section with two flats – this is useful if the locking nut is too tight – a spanner can be fit on this section so it can be undone without having to risk damage to the router chuck or shaft lock.

Finally, the shaft is a finely finished, accurate 1/2″ shaft.  (An inaccurate shaft is either difficult to fit the router collet if too large, or at risk of slipping if too small).

Variable slots

Variable slots

I was working with the 1/8-1/4″ router bit, but the concept is the same.  In the above image, the two opposite flutes move, the other two are fixed.  That dial-in adjustment is remarkably liberating.  Being able to set the width of the resulting slot to accurately match the material that will fit in it (whether that be another piece of timber, a sheet of glass etc), and also easy to add an accurate amount of clearance if required.

The quality of the router bit is obvious, as is the finish that is achieved.

55500-cNot only can the width of the slot be set, but it can be adjusted with the router bit fixed in the router. (So long as you intend to remove more material – too hard to put material back!) Rather than trying to work out the range to move the router up and down again, a test cut or two, a dial-in of width, and your accuracy and flexibility of the table is increased dramatically.

Once you experience the convenience of a shim-less, dial in width of slot for a router bit, you’ll be wishing a tablesaw dado blade was as easy, as infinitely adjustable, and as accurate.

Available from Toolstoday.com

 

Sinking Deeper

Once the initial parts for the sink were glued up (the large U shape sections), it was time to make the actual components.  Ideally, I wouldn’t have had to take the previous step, but I am working with a limited stock size, partly as a bit of an exercise, partly because I have the timber, and don’t feel like buying something else.  The redgum is being salvaged from the ugliest, oldest sleeper you would have seen in a long time.  Always surprising just how much good timber is hidden behind a rough façade.

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Creating the sink template

To cut the individual sections out, I created a template from MDF.  It is easy to draw up and shape to the required profile.

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Template attached

In this case, I didn’t have to worry about screw holes, so it was easier and less problematic to use screws (Kreg square drive).  You may wonder about the amount of timber wasted here inside the sink.  It won’t be going to waste, as I intend to use this again in the same way to produce some other (as yet undecided) kitchen appliances.

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Bandsawing around the template

To remove the bulk of the material, the bandsaw works exceptionally well.  Cutting near to the template reduces the load on the pattern copying router bit.

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Routing to shape

Over to the router table, and with a pattern bit (a straight cutter with a bearing on top), each piece of the sink is routed to shape.  (The photo above has the piece upside down)

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Glued and clamped

Next, each piece is glued and clamped together to form the body of the sink.  The ends have also been cut using the same template, but obviously only the outside is cut and routed.

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Spindle Sanding

The spindle sander is next, and is the perfect tool for this job.  It may not get the full depth, but flipping the workpiece over a few times keeps things pretty even.

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Fine sanding

The size of the sink just allowed me to get the ETS150 inside, but it isn’t ideal for sanding around corners…..except I have a soft sanding pad (from Ideal Tools).  This has hooks on one side, and loops on the other, so it acts as a spacer between the original sanding pad and the sandpaper.  With this, it is really easy to sand all sorts of concave and convex profiles.

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Soft sanding pad

This is the soft sanding pad – a very useful addition for the ROS.

***Update: it is called an interface pad, and can be found here

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Attaching the sides

With the inside done, the sides of the sink can be attached.  This (and the next image) were actually photographed before the glueup, but it gives you the idea.

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Laminated sink

So that is how I make the laminated sink, still ensuring that the entire project can be made from timber.  Not sure if I will be able to maintain that ideal for the entire project, but I am still working towards it.  Very pleased I used contrasting timber this time – might as well make a feature of the laminations!

Enter, the Router Table

Taking the first components off to the next stage of the process involves the router table, and the rail & stile plus raised panel bits.

Cutting the interior profile

After some test cuts, the router table was set up to run the rails and stiles through the first router bit.  I use MagSwitch featherboards to hold the timber against the router table fence. They are so easy to position, and hold fast to the cast iron top of my router table.  Make you think it fortunate my router table is cast iron, but it came about in the reverse order.  I made the router table out of cast iron so that I could use MagSwitches on it.

Woodpeckers Coping Sled

After changing to the complementary router bit, it was time to cut the end grain of the rails.  If you ever wonder how to remember which is which, think about rails being horizontal.  They certainly are for trains! The stile is the other one.

The Woodpeckers Coping Sled is awesome for this task.  It holds the rails perfectly, and perpendicular to the direction of travel.  If I had taken more care, I would have used a sacrificial backing.  Probably should have – hardwood tears out a bit too easily. I’ll make sure I do when cutting the doors for the sink unit.

I just checked – the coping sled is still available from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  They now have a mini one as well, but given the full sized one is on special, I’d still go with that one (the one pictured above).  There is so much more with this one, it is worth the difference.

Sanding the panels

After removing the panels being glued up in the Frontline clamps, I used the Festool belt sander to do a final flattening (including removing any glue squeezeout).  The large sander weights 7kg, and when coupled with the sled means you can hold the handle, and, well, hang on – letting the tool do all the work.  The work is clamped up using brass dogs on the vice, and dogs in holes in the table.

Panel bit

Once sanded (not the final sand – more a sizing sand than a finishing one), it was back to the router table, this time with a raised panel bit.  I don’t have a raised panel bit with a cutter for the back yet, so have to adjust it manually. This is not the final pass, but an intermediate one to check fit.  Best to do the crossgrain first, then the longgrain.

Panel bit

This is a monster bit – pretty much at the limit that a router can (or rather should) drive.  The run at the slowest speed still gets a decent tip speed.

Test fit

A quick test fit showed I was close, but still needs another pass to get it there.  Looking good though.  Will look even better when I do the 3D routing into each panel!  Once that routing is done (next session), then I can glue the panels up.

Thicknessing undersized stock

One thing I have been surprised with so far, is the lack of waste.  I’d always try to use timber to maximise yield, but there is always waste.  So far I’d not have enough offcuts to fill a 10L bucket – the yield is exceptional.

Even these thin panels that were ripped off the 19-20mm thick boards.  They will be perfect for the back of the units.  I wanted to run them through the thicknesser, but it just doesn’t go thin enough.  To solve that problem, I clamped on a sled.  The boards would not feed initially, but with a quick rubdown with Sibergleit, the boards fed through smoothly and easily.  I wouldn’t do this with any timber, or to go too thin, but it will get you out of trouble.
So a good session.  Progress seems slow, but this is always the slow part of any project.  Once the items are cut, and some preliminary joinery done, it usually flies together.

 

Some good news and bad news.  The good news is that I am documenting sessions on video.  Bad news is I am not planning on releasing the video until the project is complete!

Stu’s Shed at the Melbourne Wood Show

In a week (tomorrow) is the start of the Melbourne Timber and Working with Wood Show.  The maps are now out on the Impressive Exhibitions website, and can be found here.   Exhibitor List  and  Floor Plan

Zooming in on the plan, and right near the entrance is Triton’s stand (#20 & #21), and as part of that is Stu’s Shed (and thanks to Triton (aka Kincrome) for use of part of their stand).

Stu's Shed at Melbourne Show

Stu’s Shed at Melbourne Show

I am still working on just how the stand will look (and function)- Kincrome are providing benches and storage units that look pretty cool, and provide a decent amount of working area.  I will have a Triton router table there (again provided by Kincrome) so can do some demos on that, and I’m hopeful of having one of the new Comet lathes from Teknatool as well.  Over the next week, the plan will reveal itself  (to me as well!)

Kincrome Worx Modular

Kincrome Worx Modular

Now I’ve a better idea of the location and size, I’ll make some modifications to my ideas – scale back some concepts!  Not a bad thing – it is very easy to try to do too much – grandiose plans!

 

Ready for the next revolution?

With the addition of the DVR motor to the lathe, it was transformed into a stunning machine, powerful, energy efficient, futuristic even.

So the next revolution? (Sorry about the pun!)

Teknatool are developing a DVR drill press!

No more belts, pulley slippage, belt vibration.  No more bogging down of a drill bit as the bit meets resistance and because of the pulley ratios, the motor is stalled.

The ability to easily tilt the drill head over and angle it to the workpiece which is maintained on a flat surface, rather than having to angle the workpiece to a fixed head.  I know there are some drill presses that can achieve this, but few and far between.

Instead of drilling a hole at whatever speed that the drill press is set for (and just how often do we change the belt speed for a single hole)? you’d have no excuse not to dial in exactly the right speed, each and every time. It is going to be a great drillpress!

 

Thinking about it, with the motor onboard the head (direct drive), then the plunge mechanism moves the whole lot – chuck and motor combined.  There is no limit then to the amount of plunge that is available.

DVR Drillpress

DVR Drillpress

Looking forward to seeing the DVR motor included on other machines – thicknessers, saw tables, bandsaws etc.  Instead of a router mounted under a router table, how about a DVR motor?  Seriously awesome!

Deja Vu in orange

Hope you are not holding anything liquid above your keyboard right now: I guess you are already sitting down!

I have a new addition for the shed (although it won’t be a permanent setup, but one bought in when required):

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Bet you never saw that coming!

I was putting the table together today, and was again struck (as I was when I first came across Triton), by the quality of the engineering design, and the manufacturing (understanding, and given the limitations of pressed steel).

The amount of thought that went into the product, the design concepts: superb. It is good to have had a chance to put a unit together again: reminded me of what attracted me to Triton in the first place.

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The fence is a big part of the innovations: from the adjustable (& removable) hold-downs…

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The moveable fences, which can also have shims inserted behind. I remember when the spring-loaded fence attachments were released as an upgrade, making setting the fence position so much easier than it was previously.

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The guard, which doubles as a freehand router post and dust clearance is also clever in its simplicity, and ability to be detacted and fitted directly to the table top.

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The microadjusters, allowing 1/10mm adjustment to the fence position, and also for creating rebates and rabbets the exact thickness of a board, without the use of a rule or caliper.

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This is the upgraded base- allows the Triton router to be quickly mounted and removed without additional clamps. Remember when that upgrade came out as well!

So not sure where all this will lead. More Triton content probably! We’ll see what comes next.

Rockin’ the Router Table

It’s never the big parts of a job that take the time, it is all the fiddly bits at the end! Same applies to finishing off the router table, but when you are not in a rush, that time is not wasted or regretted.

With “The Wire” playing on the Shed’s TV, I kept plodding through the various outstanding tasks.  It also happened that a collection of three tools that arrived late last week played an integral role in the activities.  And exemplified themselves as useful additions to the shed beautifully, from cutting openings, drilling holes, driving screws, the collection of Lithium-Ion power tools from Rockwell proved to be as fun to use, as they were effective.

First job was creating access to the router, and I wanted it to be a door that would hold shut when a vacuum was created by the dust extraction that allowed easy access when needing to switch the router off for bit changes, and use the macro-height adjustment of the Triton router.

Cutting the access way

The desired opening was marked out, and where this would often be cut with a jigsaw, the oscillating saw does a great job.  The added convenience of the cordless version was excellent.

Plunging corners

Firstly, I plunged the cutter into each corner, defining sharp corners, then ran the saw from one corner to the next to break out the panel.

Access opening

The oscillating cutter (the Sonicrafter in Rockwell/Worx speak) was then used for sanding – breaking the sharp edges of the MDF.  One benefit of the oscillating cutter is it can work right into the corner, where more classic sanders would bounce themselves out of a restricted area.

A door was then fabricated, with cabinet hinges. Support for the hinges inside the cabinet was made, with pocketholes creating a solid foundation for the door support.

Sealed Hinge Door

I created a seal over the hinge-side of the door – normally disguised by typical cabinet designs.  There are other hinges I could have used, but these were ones I had already.  A handle from another discontinued project worked well here (think it came from the drill press drawer thinking about it).

Triton Router in place

I made sure there was plenty of space below the router – makes for better shape to the air flow for dust collection.  One thing I have yet to determine, is whether extra air-inlet holes are required – I am expecting they would be, except there are large gaps under the cast iron top, so plenty of air can flow through those gaps and flow down past the router to the collection port. I may even need to reduce the gaps to increase the suction through the hole in the router table top – only testing will determine how optimal the dust collection design is.

Starter

The starter was attached to the side of the table – given sometimes the router is accessed from the front, and other times from the right side, this corner is accessible for either operation.  A hole was drilled behind the switch to feed the flex into the cabinet to connect to the router.

The upper opening you can see to the right of the switch is where I am hoping to install some thin drawers to house the Incra templates for the LS Positioner, and the template book.  The lower opening will probably store some other routers. (Yes, I have one or two!)

Wixey Digital Height Gauge

I also found a location to mount the Digital readout from the height gauge that is affixed to the side of my router.  It does jut out from there over the fence, but for the majority of operations it won’t get in the way where it is.  I have attached it using bolts with the same hex heads as the rest of the Positioner (and the supplied hex drive), and butterfly nuts on the other side, so it can be very easily removed whenever it is necessary (routing tall object for example).

Ready to Rock

Speaking of rocking, these are the complement of tools I used, almost exclusively, and I was pretty stoked how they performed.

Rockwell Cordless Collection

If they look a bit dusty, that is because they were being used, not just admired.  I was expecting them to come in a single kit, so was surprised to discover they were each in a separate package.  Although that means you’ve gotten extra chargers, I’m not objecting – just means I can have one at either end of the workshop ready to go!

Quick charger

And the collection of interchangeable batteries won’t go astray either, even though the chargers are quick (15 minutes to 75%, 30 minutes to 100% charge).

Sonicrafter - Oscillating Cutter

The oscillating cutter was used with both blades and sanding attachments, stripping paint off the cast iron edges, cutting the opening, then sanding the cuts and rounding the edges.

10mm Drill

The drill is quite lightweight, but still has a good feel, and worked well with the holecutter, as well as the Kreg Pockethole jig.

Impact Driver

Finally, the rather impressive impact driver.  Never had one before, or even used one, so this was a bit of a first.  Feels solid, and works!  Initially drives smoothly, but when it gets to a particular torque level, the high-frequency impacting kicks in driving the screw (or whatever) home.

The combination of the three proved very effective in covering a whole variety of jobs that I had on, and the ability to interchange the rapidly charging batteries is a definite bonus.

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