Web broadcasting video

Received a rather interesting email tonight from Toolstoday.com.  They send out a regular email promoting their latest router bit, video, sawblade etc, (and I subscribe to it – makes a nice break from the mountain of work emails that come through!)

Tonight’s one will look rather familiar :)

FinderScreenSnapz001

(And yes, they did seek my permission to put the video on their YouTube channel – I was more than happy to allow it)

 

 

Blast from the Past

Came across the Torque Workcentre segment I did on Cool Tools in Denver a few years back.

Those were the days!

You don’t see that every day

A Torque Workcentre Router Master, and some TWC accessories (couple are prototypes) have now been added to the Tool Sale page.

Photo 29-04-2014 21 52 16Photo 29-04-2014 21 54 29Photo 29-04-2014 21 56 10

Day of the Machine

After taking much of the day to do some family things (beach before, and BBQ after) for Australia Day, I also moved a number of machines into the shed, now that the electrical was completed and therefore the machines wouldn’t get in the way.

Heavy buggers, especially over soft, churned up dirt the backyard has become.  The pallet jack is such an asset – able to lift the heaviest machine easily, and with reasonably wide wheels, can even manage the ground to a certain extent.

Even so, it was too much to move the thicknesser on my own (230 or so kg), so with a brief assistance of a couple of neighbours, it flew across the back yard.

Paying the price for it all now though!

Never-the-less, a good number of moves was achieved – slowly emptying the garage, and the shed starting to take on real character.

Placement/layout is by no means locked in (never is in my shed!), but am roughly placing them still in accordance with the original plan.

What was moved in this time was the Jet lathe (still uncertain about its long term plan), Jet 14″ bandsaw, Torque Workcentre, the workbench, thicknesser.

$1000 off Torque Workcentre

Had a chat with Professional Woodworkers Supplies yesterday, as I noticed in their latest mailout that they still have their Torque Workcentre for sale.

Bottom line is, if you tell them you are a Stu’s Shed reader, and you want to buy the demonstration unit they will sell it for $1000 off normal retail. (Actually $1010, to make it an even $4000, but a round number of $1k sounded better ;) )

Image

Just to be clear, this is a unit that in practical terms has never been used, except to drill holes in the MDF top to fit Walko clamps (as I use on my workcentre).

Normally, the TWC doesn’t come with the MDF top, so this is another $30 or so saving (plus the time it normally takes to drill all those holes!!)

Some specs on the unit: 2m long, and has a customised leg position so it can fit inside a 6′x4′ trailer.  (You can still have the legs at the original position).  It has the 900mm arm (which is the most versatile and convenient of the 3 typical sizes).  It includes the copy attachment, saw attachment and drill attachment.   The router is not included.  Think the mount for this unit fits Hitachi routers, but you can check that with Grahame directly.  Not too difficult to get it to fit other brands of plunge router.

The recommended retail for it is $5010.  For a Stu’s Shed reader, $4000 will take it away (pickup from SE Melbourne, or plus delivery if further afield).

If you want to know more about what the TWC can do, either do a search on here or click on the Shed.TV tab and watch the numerous videos.

I am not getting any kickback from this, nor am I selling my unit (too bloody useful!)  These machines are rather difficult to obtain, let alone with a significant discount.

Contact Grahame directly on 03 9776 1521, and don’t forget to mention you are wanting the Stu’s Shed discount on the purchase!

 

 

Barley Twist

After finding a natural barley twist while holidaying in Queensland, Geoff has sent a couple of photos in of a barley twist lathe that he has acquired (but yet to use).

It is interesting to study, just to see how simple an arrangement it is, and with a little bit of work, pretty easy to duplicate – especially (but not limited to) those with Torque Workcentres.

It would be pretty easy to add this functionality to a real lathe (but NOT switching the lathe on!!!) A lathe with an indexing ring would be excellent for this

Barley Twist Lathe

Barley Twist Lathe

Barley Twist Lathe detail

Barley Twist Lathe detail

I’m not sure the drive mechanism for this lathe – it may be from pushing the router sideways, but I suspect you manually turn the black winder in the second photo.  In that photo, you can also see an indexing ring, which is essential for setting the workpiece to the next start location.  Depending on the combination of how far around the workpiece is indexed, the router bit chosen, and the setting for how fast the router moves relative to each rotation of the workpiece will dictate resulting effect.

A barley twist lathe can be regarded as a glorified Beall Pen Wizard (or is it the other way around – the Beall is a miniature barley twist lathe?!)

Beall Pen Wizard

Beall Pen Wizard

Back to Geoff’s lathe – I can’t see how the gearing is regulated, but I assume it can be changed.

So that is a barley twist lathe.  Do an image-search on Google for Barley Twist will reveal over a million examples of this ornamental feature being used in different projects, with varying degrees of success!  In some instances it is beautifully complementary to the overall object.  In some other cases, it has obviously been included without any understanding of how such an ornate feature should be used.

Animal Train

Wooden toys are one of those things I particularly enjoy making in the workshop.  The whole quality thing, the tactile thing, the longevity thing, the imagination thing (as opposed to all bells and whistles being built in), and not to mention the satisfaction of watching a child genuinely enjoy and play with a toy that you have made for them.

Some of the toys take quite a bit of effort to make, and as a one-off, that is never a drag.  It is also very rewarding to be able to donate toys to other causes, and in those situations you want to be able to make as many as possible, and as quickly as possible so coming up with a duplication method is very valuable.

There are many different ways that parts can be duplicated – stacking, router table template copying are probably the most common.  I have the advantage of the Torque Workcentre, so for this project I chose to create a duplication template.

Instead of cutting the patterns for the animal train out of the intended timber, I chose 6mm MDF.  It has the advantage of being dimensionally stable, easy to machine and shape, and cheap.

Once the shapes were cut out, I stuck them to a 19mm thick MDF board using carpet tape. Flipping the board over, then holding each pattern against the copy pin in the table while the router with a matching router bit cuts a new track.

The resulting tracks makes creating duplicates of each object very easy.  The board is again turned over, and one of the paths is captive on the copy pin.  Whatever timber you then want to make the object out of is attached to the upper side, ready for routing.

For this project, I am using New Guinean Rosewood.  Carpet tape is applied to not only stop the board moving, but once the object is cut free, the carpet tape keeps it from bouncing into the cutter.  I also used a couple of screws in non-essential areas to ensure the board could not slip during the cuts.  The patterns up can see under the board were lightly cut into the upper surface making it easy to align timber to the pattern, and in particular ensure the grain direction supports the weak areas of the pattern.

After 2-3 passes, the items are cut free.  These are then taken to the spindle sander for a quick post-machining touchup.  Given I am making these out of a decent timber, I will come back to give them a much better degree of finish.  There is some waste areas between the patterns, but this is not wasted timber.  From here, the offcuts make their way to the drill press where I cut wheels out of the offcuts with a Carbitool wheelcutting bit.

I still have some work to do to finish this train, but at least you can see here where it is heading.

The benefit of making the copy template means I can now easily produce train after train in whatever material I want.  I’ll probably make the next set out of MDF and paint it appropriately.

Moo.

 

Cake Boss

There are router bits, and router bits.  They come in a substantial number of shapes and sizes for a vast variety of functions.

Signwriting is a rather popular use for routers, given its particular ability to operate around curves and corners, its ability to follow templates and a router bit is basically a powered chisel.

Now chisels come in two types.  Ones used to shape wood, and ones used to open paint cans.  If your router bit isn’t razor sharp, you might as well use it to open paint cans – the difference between a sharp and blunt router bit is chalk and cheese. If you want a smooth, clean finish, the router bit needs to be as sharp as is achievable.  Tungsten carbide is not the sharpest material possible, but because of its hardness and durability it is preferred for the cutting edge of router bits and saw blades.

Face it though, sharpening it is a bugger.  Quality router bits are sharpened by CNC machines, able to produce polished carbide faces, but even a quality bit blunts with use.  You can send a bit away for sharpening, but the way to really get as sharp as new, is to have a new router bit.

So where does that leave us?

The ideal is:

1. A router bit that is razor sharp

2. Tungsten Carbide tip for maximising durability of the edge, prolonging the amount of cutting when the bit can still be considered sharp

3. Cheap enough (after the original purchase) to replace whenever it dulls off

4. Still able to be sharpened to maximise bit lonegivity

Guess we really want our cake and get to eat it too!

I’ve been trying out a couple of router bits that hit all these points – the professional signmaking bits from ToolsToday, by Amana Tool, and in particular the Insert V-Groove bits, that have replaceable inserts.

Amana Tool Router bits

These are not bits for massive stock removal – there are bits with significantly heavier chunks of carbide for that operation.  These are designed to achieve one particular feature – significant sharpness, and the ability to maintain that by easy tip replacement.   The angle that they approach the work is also important – sharpness is only one part of the formula, and the angle of attack is also critical to avoid tearout.

These bits are designed for CNC machines, and router tables.  So of course I turned straight to my ‘manual CNC’ machine – the Torque Workcentre.

My ‘manual CNC’

To try the bits out, I set up with the copy attachment, and chose a letter to duplicate as a first trial.

Mounted

The 1/2″ bit is mounted (this is the 90 degree bit – with the blade set at 45 degrees, the resulting groove is an exact 90 degrees.  There is also a 91 degree version for ‘mitre folding’ – this is where you cut a groove, then fold the material at that groove – used in furniture making with melamine and the like to get a sharp corner, with the outer skin being continuous around the corner, and not with a cut at the very corner).

From the Wood Magazine website, here is an example of a box made with this technique. (You can do it with a 90 degree bit – a 91 degree bit just achieves a sharper corner)

From WoodMagazine.com

First 2 passes, increasing total depth to around 5.5 – 6mm

The first pass went well, and a very clean cut.  I then increased the cutting depth for a second pass.  It comes down to how you use the Torque, but as a general rule this isn’t pushing the bit as much as a CNC will – it has a much higher feed rate tha what you’d tend to do by hand. Still, it coped well.

I then changed the copy pin to one with a wider diameter (from 1/4″ to 1/2″) and ran around the template again.

Twin pass

The bit cut really cleanly, and easily.  Don’t judge the small indentations around the curves of the “S” – that comes down to the smoothness of my template. I can really see how well this would also work on an actual CNC machine.

If you want a fine cut, then the 45 degree bit is for you.

Fine cut

With a combination of the two bits, you can cut large solid letters, and fine, precise details.  And as they dull off (as all bits will with use), the cutting surface can be removed and replaced or resharpened as you desire, without having to incur the price of a new router bit.

Available from ToolsToday.com in the USA. Now you can have your cake and eat it too…or in terms of router bits, you can always have sharp router bits and use them too!

Another Torque Session

Had another (and final, at least for the current series) session at the Berwick Woodworkers Club, teaching how to use the Torque Workcentre.

This happened during “safety week”, so left posting about it at the time so as not to detract from the series of posts/quizzes for Safety Week 2012.

Same as the others, covered surfacing, drilling, rip and crosscut sawing, circle cutting, pin routing, and template copying.  Workholding gets a good mention too, and safe practices throughout.

NEW from Torque Workcentres

It is like a news week that just keeps on giving!

I’ve known about this being in development for quite some time, but now it has been seen in the wild for the first time, I can let ya’all know!

Thanks to Larry from Lazy Larry Woodworks for use of the photos and info (lucky bugger got to see it first!)

So, new from the inventor of the Torque Workcentre, we have this little puppy:

Image used with permission from larrysworkshop.wordpress.com

Now that is one heavy duty, large CNC machine that will soon be available!  One of these in your shed will cost around the $9k-$10k mark according to Larry (don’t have any more official word at this stage).

It is reported as being fast: over twice the speed of the CNC Shark Pro.

It isn’t your average shed tool, but you look at this beast, and immediately see an income generator.  Not limited to signwriting either – don’t limit your imagination!

Image used with permission from larrysworkshop.wordpress.com

In saying that, the signs you can produce are pretty stunning!  These have been produced on the machine by a signmaker called Bruce, from Queensland who has been working with Keith on this machine (not sure if it has a name as yet).  Contact to Bruce if you want one of his signs can be done through Larry and the link provided

Image used with permission from larrysworkshop.wordpress.com

Image used with permission from larrysworkshop.wordpress.com

Seeing what it can do in 3D is quite mind blowing, and again, the ability to produce more than just signs is blatantly obvious.  Some pretty sophisticated furniture component fabrication would be well within the machine’s capacity, and given the overall scale of the machine it would make this very feasible.  Kid’s toys, part duplication, it is all looking amazing.

Image used with permission from larrysworkshop.wordpress.com

Image used with permission from larrysworkshop.wordpress.com

I expect there will be a lot more information coming out about this machine over the next few months: thanks to Larry for the above, we have our first taste.

Keith: unbelievable! Congratulations :)

(Update: there will be comparisons drawn between this and the CNC Shark.  FWIW, this is what the shark pro looks like)

Quite a difference in scale and capacity…speed!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,631 other followers

%d bloggers like this: