Vacuum Systainer

An interesting concept- Festool now have a vacuum that is inside one of their systainers. Makes for an interesting option, especially in space-limited situations, or when needing real portability.

  • Power consumption : 1000 W
  • Max. vacuum : 20000 Pa
  • Filter surface area : 5357 cm²
  • Rubber-insulated mains cable : 5 m
  • Container/Filter bag capacity : 4.5/3.5 l
  • Dimension (L x W x H) : 396 x 296 x 270 mm
  • Maximum wattage of connected tool : 1200 W
  • Volume flow : 3000 l/min
  • Weight : 6.9 kg

Called the Mini Extractor, or CTL SYS

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Blast from the Past – Cool Tools

Came across the video from when I headed over to Denver to appear on Cool Tools, demonstrating the Torque Workcentre.  Wasn’t that long ago in years, but it was a lot of grey hairs ago that is for sure!

What is it?

One of the Men’s Sheds recently got in contact with me to try to help identify some tools that were in an old chippies toolbox.

Does anyone recognise what these are, and their purpose?  Either end of each is a lead sphere.

I don’t have a good answer, but it strikes me that they may have something to do with balance, and/or heat.  If one end heats up faster or hotter than the other, whether this is a trigger for what these are attached to, or a way or measuring differential temperature.

Anyone have a more knowledgeable answer?

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The 45190

It sounds like another Whovian thing (or more precisely, Torchwood) (aka “The 456“), but instead, it is a lot simpler than that.

The 45190 is a router bit.  For my current activities on the CNC, it is THE router bit.

It is not overly complicated – a straight 1/16″ (1.59mm) 2 flute solid carbide cutter embedded in a 1/4″ shank.


Amana Tool 45190 Carbide Tipped Straight Plunge High Production 1/16 D x 3/16 CH x 1/4 Inch SHK Router Bit

from: Tools Today

But it is what I have been able to do with it that sets it apart.  Or rather, that it gets done what many other router bits have failed to do.

As many would know, I am cutting out a lot of patterns on the CNC, particularly from 3mm thick MDF. To get the level of detail I need, I am using a router bit that is around half that thickness so it can get right into the various corners.  But it also needs to do some miles, and that is also where this router bit has been scoring some exceptional goals.

I have tried other router bits, with some (but decreased) success – spiral upcut bits work, but have a tendency to pull the resulting piece that has been cut out, right out of the sheet.  It can then be thrown or bumped to a point where the router bit plunges through it while cutting another.  I’ve even found small pieces that have been cut out subsequently stuck on the router bit, trying their best to emulate a helicopter!

Downcut spirals work better, but they still have a problem that the dust they are carrying downwards gets deposited under the sheet, causing it to lift, and in the worse scenarios, to completely detach from the vacuum table.  Granted my vacuum table might not be as strong as a commercial one, or may not be able to carry away any sawdust produced so this doesn’t happen.

I’ve also tried larger bits (specifically 1/8″), but they do not give the same degree of detail, and the joints are not as tight.

So that leaves the 45190.  Yes, I have broken a fair few (and am again down to my very last one, that makes me nervous!) but that has always been the result of something other than cutting normally.

So far, the router bits I have broken have been:

Forgot to slow the feedrate back to 100% from a previous operation, and the router bit tried to cut 3-4 times faster than I have worked out to be a good speed for my machine for that bit and that material.

I’ve hit the clamp on at least one occasion, and a screw on a couple of others.

I’ve had a piece come loose and wedge itself against the spinning bit, and it has broken when the CNC moved in that direction.

Sadly, I have occasionally forgotten which is Y and which is Z (or have simply clicked the wrong button), and instead of lifting the bit, have tried to drive it through the material.

And more than once I’ve had the CNC get its + and – directions confused, and it has driven down hard, rather than up.

In spite of all this, when the router bit is treated correctly, it does the energiser bunny thing – it keeps going and going and going.

dino3

Check out the teeth on the dinosaur (Spinosaurus) and you will see what I mean about retention of detail.  Remember that MDF is 3mm thick to give you an idea of scale.

The straight cutter is also not the worse solution either.  The dust that is produced gets packed into the cut, which helps hold the piece being cut from moving.  The top and bottom surfaces stay pretty smooth, and only a very light sand is required.

The detail is retained, which is important, and the yield from each sheet is maximised.

vac-5

So when I am doing these CNC MDF jobs, and I keep mentioning this one router bit, there is good reason. The 45190.  Its a Whovian thing!

torchwood-welcome-the-456

 

 

He’s champin’ for a clampin’

For those who don’t recognise the quote, it comes from a character in Futurama, known, surprisingly enough, as Clamps. (Short for Francis X. Clampazzo).

clamps

Back in the 21st century, we still have the standard mechanical versions (no homicidal robot attached).

Given the old adage that you can never have too many clamps, it is definitely a good thing to find that there are good clamps available that don’t have to break the bank.

Timbecon have a full range of clamps now available – quick action F clamps were what I was looking for particularly.  Their range can be seen better on their website, but what I picked up were a set of 120mm throat clamps, ranging from 300mm to 1000mm in length.

Price wise – $22.50 for a 300mm clamp through to $29.90 for a 1000mm one.  Yup – under $30.

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The price for an equivalent Bessey or Irwin is $72 (from another supplier).  So you can afford to get the number of clamps you need, not the number you can afford.

I also like the quick lever clamps they have (again Torquata brand).

 

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Again around $30 (+/- depending on the size).

A wall of clamps like you see on your favourite woodworking show (or a project covered in clamps during a glueup) is now a lot more affordable!

 

Spring Clean

I happened upon a post the other day, that showed what the shed looked like 2 years ago.  Quite impressive, given it was just some formwork at that stage, waiting for the slab to be poured.

While that was interesting in its own right (and bringing back memories of finally having some space to move into after having the shed contents packed in a garage for a year), it reminded me that I hadn’t in fact managed to fully move out of the garage into the shed.

So that was Saturday’s job – with a big cleanup of the garage, and move anything around to the shed that should have been in there.

In the meantime, the CNC was churning away, cutting some Xmas decorations out ready for another market next Sunday.

The job today was to try to maintain the momentum, and get the shed in some sort of order.  What I find after every project (particularly when it is for a magazine article), is that the shed quickly gets very messy as good practices follow shrinking deadlines out the door.  And the shed hadn’t had a decent cleanup for almost 3 projects, on top of the sudden influx from the garage.

All I can say at this point, is I am so relieved that I went with the mezzanine floor, and with the powered hoist!  It is all in and up, and the shed floor has a passing resemblance to something clean.

Still more to go, even after all that.  The TWC has been a junk magnet for about a year, and that is still the case at the moment.  Plus there are some machines & tools in the shop that have a variety of needs.

Some need to be tuned up – getting them accurate.

Some need to be sold – they are surplus to requirements.

Some are not performing to the level that I now need, and these need to be sold and replaced.

I am still of two minds in some instances.

For example, the 6″ Jet longbed planer.  As a machine, it is perfectly fine, and a quality Jet machine.  But I am finding that 6″ is too limiting, and I have to modify my stock to match the capacity of the machine.

The 15″ Carbatec thicknesser. It has had no problem milling the stock that I have thrown its way.  I’m sure the blades need some TLC, but the question is whether to stay with separate machines (and upgrade the thicknesser with a spiral head), or to go with a combo machine.  What I am thinking about at the moment is whether something like the Minimax C30 would be an interesting way to go.

It has 12″ capacity on the jointer, and also the thicknesser (being a combo), is a saw (although that isn’t relevant in my case), has a spindle moulder (very interested), and a horizontal mortiser.

Downgrading from a 15″ thicknesser to 12″ is one question – although it would be fair to say that I haven’t used that sort of width for a very long time.  Going from stand-alone machines to a combo is another, although given shed space is worth its weight in gold, that may be a huge offset benefit.

Lots to do and work on.  Spindle sander, drum sander, disc sander and drill press are all up for consideration.

While all this was going on, the CNC was plodding along in the background, and worked well all day – working continuously for 8 1/2 hours (and that is actual machining time, not counting the pauses in between!) It did well:)

Getting the Festool Lowdown

Went along to a Festool evening recently at Total Tools, to see what the latest offerings from Festool were all about.

The C18 driver was shown, although I already have the T18, so they seemed pretty similar.

What was particularly interesting was the new circular saw.  This isn’t a plunge saw as is the norm for Festool, but a much more stock standard CS design.  Of course there are still the typical mods that Festool are known for.  It is driven by an 18V battery for one.

It is the HKC55 160mm cordless circular saw.

Photo 15-10-2015 17 25 43A quick flick of one latch, and the saw still works as a plunge saw.

What really seemed to set this saw apart though is the guide rail.  This is not your grandmother’s guide rail.

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 1.53.46 amThis one locks to the bottom of the HKC55, and effectively becomes a part of the saw.  A ‘bungee cord’ mechanism engages with the saw and returns the saw to the start of the rail after a cut.

Photo 15-10-2015 17 17 49

An easy-to-use angle-setting system on the side of the rail makes it very easy to set up for angled cuts, and by angling the saw over, it effectively becomes a portable SCMS, with a long travel distance.

Photo 15-10-2015 17 18 01

Bit hard to show with a few photos. Found this video on Festool UK.  Probably better watched with the sound muted!

So an interesting evening, getting to look at a couple of the new products from Festool.  Interesting too, seeing it with people in the trades, who are quite vocal in expressing what they need to see, and what they don’t in a demo.  If it is not a tool they specifically need to use for their job, they have no interest whatsoever, and are quite prepared to express that fact.

Came away with a showbag which is always a bit of fun.  Sadly, I didn’t find a HKC 55 in the bag, but I did get a few Festool-branded items – cap, travel mug, stubby holder, carpenter’s pencil, and a Festool carpenter’s rule.  Seeing as that normally sells for $15, I’m not complaining:)

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