Unilifts and Triton Routers

Had an interesting question the other day, and thought my response might be useful to others as well.

Hi Stuart. I just purchased a brand new TRA001 and have plans to fit it to my existing Woodpecker Unilft. Some feedback received from an online forum gave the following:

“You don’t need a Unilift.

There is no way to engage/lock the shaft if you can't raise the router up into the footplate. As the TRA001 router rises, a small rod is shoved into the spindle. The rod lives near the spindle, but it’s the action of the footplate moving up that slides it across.

Raising the Unilift may expose the shaft, but it doesn’t raise the router into its own footplate.

You can’t poke your finger in (or screwdriver) to manually engage the locking rod, nor is there a convenient hex nut on the spindle to use another spanner on.”

I know this as I was terribly excited to see the Unilift, but found all this out when I ran it all through my head. It is a brilliant bit of gear, but it seems more suited to routers that use two spanners to unlock the collet, or a Festool OF1400 (or similar) where you press the green switch to engage the lock.

I understand that you have installed a TRA001 to a Woodpecker Unilft. Was the TRA you fitted the newer model with the Micro winder or the earlier version . Did you encounter any issues in getting the router spindle lock to function correctly when fitted to the Unilift.

My response:

 

It is strictly true, sure.  But written by someone who themselves does not own a Unilift with a Triton attached- I’d (almost) put money on it.

Firstly, to your question.  The Triton I have well predates the through-table winder of the later models.  And if I had started with one of those, I wouldn’t also have a Unilift.  And I would have missed out on things because of it.

Being a Triton router owner, I know exactly what you mean about the collet locking mechanism btw.

When I want to change router bits, I go through the following steps:

1. Reach under the table and switch off the router (it is irrelevant whether I use a starter box or not, turning off at the router is a good safety step), and unlock the plunge lock.

2. Grab the macro-height adjuster, and with one quick turn, raise the router to full height, engaging the shaft lock.

3. If necessary, use the unilift handle to further raise the router so the collet is above the table.

4. Change router bits, using one spanner, one handed.  Still no other router lets you do that, above the table as well!

5. Reach under the table, using the macro adjuster, drop the router enough to disengage the shaft lock, and engage the plunge lock.

6. Switch on the router, and choose a router speed (the router isn’t running, as I have the remote starter box)

7. Use the Unilift handle to finetune the height as required.

If you didn’t have the Unilift, you would pretty much do all the above steps as well, except for #3.  So not a really big deal between them at this point, and I don’t find #3 is that big a deal.

So the Unilift hasn’t really lost you functionality, but has it gained any?

If I was to do the same steps with the Triton router, each time I wanted to micro-adjust the height, I’d have to reach under the table to release, then re-engage the plunge lock.  I bet most Triton owners (particularly with the new Triton) don’t use the plunge lock – it affects their functionality.  Hang on- not having a Unilift means a potential extra step elsewhere in the process, or a degraded functionality.

So what is is that extra step, and why can it be useful?

Take the Unilift out of the table, and sit it on the bench, next to the Triton.  Have a look at that mechanism.  4 posts, gears, chain wrapped around the circumference, all that weight, all that strength, all that rigidity.  Now look at the Triton router, and work out how you’d fit all that strength inside that router.  Doesn’t go, does it!   Now if you took your router apart, you would find the micro adjustment gear.  One small, flimsy nylon thread ( or metal in the new router- not sure about that?). It is a significant difference between the two mechanisms.

Sure, both do the same job, and one is internal, and one external, but boy, is there a difference in the build quality.  Which one is going to wear over time. Which one is going to get increased gear backlash over time, to the eventual point of failure?  Using the plunge lock removes inaccuracies caused by gear backlash.

What you have, is a very solid height adjustment system that will far outlast the built-in option.  Sure, there is redundancy there, but the Unilift will outlast the Triton router.  Your accuracy will be better, you won’t get any slippage in height for not using the plunge lock.

Enjoy, and work with the setup you have- it is a much heavier engineered solution than those who don’t have one.

Recommissioning Triton History

I debated whether to use the Triton POS router bit cabinet again, (that is Point of Sale by the way!), and decided that despite it not being the most efficient storage system, it is a good display

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And maintains a little bit of Triton history. Not sure how many other copies of this cabinet still exist. Once, pretty much every Bunnings store had one.

Still, loaded up, it doesn’t make too bad a router bit storage. I still have to fit another dozen or so bits in (not to mention the bit sets that will be stored separately).

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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).

TPL180_med_TPL180_Primary_Image

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.

gmc-tool-review-1-of-15

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.

100 bottles of beer on the wall

26 crates of tools in the shed
26 crates of tools
And when one of those crates gets unpacked
There’ll be 25 crates of tools in the shed.

Still slowly working through the boxes and crates of tools packed over a year ago, finding them new homes, or at least placing them where their home should be so I get an idea of just what storage options I still need.  Getting to the point that I will need to start making some, which will be good. I’m also looking at some other options to complement some cupboards, such as a collection of Festool systainers on roll boards stored under the TWC for all the miscellaneous items (abrasives, glues, various handtools etc).  Have to have a chat with my local Festool dealer (and yes, I mean that in the drug-dealer way – damned addiction that it is :) ).

I am still finding items that will no longer be required, and so the sales pile is slowly growing.  Latest items include a Makita 3612 router, a Triton 184mm circular saw, a Triton Router table and stand, a scrollsaw, and a Dewalt radial arm saw.  This is also related to the Festool drug – as I look to upgrade tools, my current ones go on a hit list.  Still looking for expressions of interest (or preferably, offers to buy!) on the Torque Router Master, and the TS10L 52″ 3HP cast iron tablesaw.

On the mezzanine front, I decided the best option was a small crane arrangement from Hare & Forbes.  Costs only $209, so quite reasonable for what it is.

Overview

I will work out the best method to securely fix it to one of the main support beams, and add additional reinforcement to counteract the bending moment it will create for the beam.  It will still use a chain hoist to lift I expect, given its operational range is less than the height of the mezzanine, but that will be a bit of suck and see when I get it installed.  2200mm of operating height isn’t too bad, given the mezzanine floor is at something like 2800.  It might just mean something that needs lifting only needs to start from about the height of a workbench, which is an interesting proposition (but I still can’t see it working without a chain hoist being involved).

Irrespective, once the item is lifted above the mezzanine floor, the crane rotates easily allowing the load to be deposited onto the floor, rather than having to be collected from above the hole.  Still need to sort out some balustrading around each of the openings.

The Mezzanine

Took the opportunity (and the willing participation of my FIL), to make some progress on the mezzanine floor.

Dennis (one of the site regulars) and I tried a few combinations with the attic stairs yesterday, unfortunately finding it a little trickier than expected, and took them down again.

So last night I used some 90x45s to box around the outside of the stairs’ frame, then took down the two flooring beams that the stairs will attach to, and reversed the process, attaching the beams to the stairs on the ground, rather than in situ.  A few bugle-headed hex bolts today to really lock the whole structure together, and we raised it all up back into position, and screwed it all down in place.

Much easier, and a really good outcome.  The stairs (almost) reach the ground – so much closer than I possibly expected, and it will only need a small step (about 50mm high) under the bottom of the ladder for the lower legs to rest on.

Photo 25-01-2014 17 44 08 Photo 25-01-2014 17 43 58

With the stairs in place, access to the mezzanine becomes significantly easier.  We then started on the laying of the redtongue.  Rather than just going with the sheets simply going between the end beams (conveniently the same distance apart as the boards are long – 3600), we are instead maximising the floor area, and with some short vertical panels, separating the mezzanine from the lower section completely.

This requires every sheet being cut down in length, so it stops midway on one beam, and leaving 3 beams (including the half-beam) for a shorter section to finish off and sit fully stabilised across all 3.  These are alternating left and right.  It does mean I am short two sheets of redtongue now.  It also means I am making more use of the Triton Circular Saw freehand than I think I ever have before.  Heavy, powerful, good on the plunge cut.  Still, I’d prefer if I had a Festool circ saw and a rail.

The first section needed some significant tailoring to fit it in among the combination of posts, and electrical conduit.  With the first piece down (and the silver builders paper underneath), it did get easier, but still it took a lot longer than expected.  We only ended up 1/2 way across the floor before having to stop for the day.  Still, a good start.

Photo 25-01-2014 17 46 43 Photo 25-01-2014 18 18 20

The Festool Ti15 has been getting a good workout in all this – has been really beneficial.

I don’t have any of the Centrotec bits though, and it is obvious this is a ploy used by Festool, as normal bits are not positively retained and fall out often, which becomes frustrating.

Photo 25-01-2014 17 46 56

The first view out the mezzanine window.Photo 25-01-2014 17 44 27

And the workshop floor gets its first real taste of sawdust.

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!

 

Cannot keep a good brand down

No matter what happens in the workshop, nor what tools I have added over the years, I was out this afternoon doing a job, and realised the only tools I was using were Triton.  One being the Multistand, which gets used all the time – infeed, outfeed, work support etc.

The other, a tool I was really confused about when it first came out, and at the time it concerned me about the direction Triton were heading.  But nevertheless, the Triton Steel Cutter is one of those tools that you are always really pleased having for each and every job you use it on.

Today I started working on a cat run/shade area for the side of the house (might even look at what it’d take to produce a bit of a fernery , but conditions are probably not good enough), and using powder-coated fence steel to do it.  Having a dedicated steel cutter is making it really easy.  It may look like a dropsaw, but it isn’t a matter of putting a steel cutting blade on a standard dropsaw.  The steel cutter is geared down to ensure the blade is running at the right speed.

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I made a video about it aways back – Episode 43.

Pretty sure these are not available anywhere retail, but you can still get them occasionally on eBay.  Sometimes new.  (There are 2 new ones on eBay at the moment for about $150.  They were originally about $400).  That’s if you are interested in one of course!  In the new workshop, I am actually hoping to have a corner where I can finally have it set up, rather than having to drag it out each time I want to use it.  Along with a few other metal working tools (not that I have an abundance of those).  Good for jig-making for one!  We shall see.

The (ex) Triton Engineers have done it again!

To be fair, I don’t know that for certain, but I strongly suspect it, and can see their design philosophy in this new, or rather reworked, product.

First there was the roller stand, which evolved into version 2.0, the Multistand

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I always had about 4 of these “hanging” around.

This became version 2.1 when its manufacturing was sent offshore to China. No real change, but it picked up some black boots on each foot.

This version is still current and in store at places like Carbatec, Amazon etc.

Now I was having a scout around the web, and came across

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The Rockwell JawStand! Given the (ex) Triton engineers who designed the original SuperJaws came up with the magnificent JawHorse

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You can understand why I strongly suspect their involvement in the JawStand.

I suspect they have not arrived in Oz, but nevertheless, I want one! (Or two)

To clarify a point, overseas, Rockwell is the premiere brand for the company, whereas in Australia you are looking for Worx Pro.

Given what they have done to the SuperJaws, and now the Multistand, I wonder if they will ever turn their attention to the Workcentre or Router Table? Sadly, I doubt it, but wouldn’t it be cool?

How about a reworked extension table designed as an aftermarket product for cabinet saws?

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.

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