Router Table Top

Turns out, that I don’t have anything to report on the progress of the top.  2 wings were sent from Brisbane Carbatec specifically for me, but as it happens the truck hit EXACTLY the same pothole as the previous one, and the holes fell out of these tablesaw wings as well.  You wouldn’t read about it.  All that was left were some pencil marks where the holes used to be.

It is looking increasingly likely that unless some miraculously arrive tomorrow, that I won’t get to complete the new router table until after I go back to work in January.  Guess that is one Christmas break project that won’t get done! (There is always tomorrow…there is always tomorrow….. rinse & repeat)

It also holds up another project, as I was hoping to review a dovetail jig that arrived last week on the new table.  I can go ahead using the old one, but I want it to be a sort of commissioning project for the new cast iron router table.

Perhaps Father Christmas needed the holes for another project.

Runnin’ Just to Stand Still

Lyrics by U2, reenactment by the entire planet these days it seems.  When did life get so busy?  Must be Christmas time again (and again and again – it’s almost like Groundhog Day).

Doing some rearrangement – trying out some different equipment layouts, primarily based around the new dust extractor.  Ran it for quite a while today (while it was still in the main shed), and although the noise is less than it seemed at midnight the other day, I still decided it would be better in the lower shed (the 3×3 that is next to the main workshop).  After clearing out all the pipework of the cholesterol that was building up (restricting the pipe diameter, and made up of heavy wood shavings, concrete dust, and who knows what else!), and particularly clearing some blockages where the original GMC dust extractor had not coped, and the pipe had blocked fully, I then got to try some different variations to see what worked better.

Firstly, different machines produce different types of dust & shavings (obviously). The jointer/planer and planer/thicknesser produces quite a long chip, that easily matts into a blockage, particularly given the rate that these machines shave the wood down.  Not sure what I will come up for these machines – difficult.  The shavings are also a problem even when they reach the dust extractor – more on that in a sec.

The tablesaw produces a much finer version, and a lot of dust, and given the much lower rate of production seems relatively easy to clear.  The bandsaw is even easier, primarily producing a fine dust.  The sanders are obvious, and easy.  The router table – finer than the tablesaw, coarser than the bandsaw, and although can produce a lot of particulate quickly (depending on how heavy a pass you are doing), a good flowrate will cope.

The real problem child, and who would have predicted this: the drill press.  Specifically when using a large diameter forstner bit.  The shavings are circular, and large (as large as the cutter’s internal diameter), and although they are pretty light and suck up ok, they are a distinct problem at the dust extractor.  Simply, they catch on the chip guards before the impellor, and almost immediately block the entire pipe.  Not dissimilar to one of the problems with the jointer, although that also has an issue with the shear quantity produced.

The solution for the jointer is easy enough – get a spiral head.  Unfortunately, the cost involved is very high, as nice as the finish can be from this type of cutter. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to bring you some first hand experience, but until then we will all have to look at this gold-plated solution with envy.  Otherwise, there is little option but to slow down!

For the forstner bits, the solution may have to be to turn the dust extractor off, and resort to dust pan and brush.

The next thing I looked at was flow rate at each of the machines.  It isn’t overly high, but that was the compromise – I can’t afford a 3HP machine – both the cost of the machine itself, as well as the power supply requirement.  So the 2Hp machine will have to do, and just accept the lower flow rate.  I tried it with my original 1st stage collector (documented here a few months ago), as that would have been ideal for the shavings collection before clogging the infeed to the extractor, but the flow rate dropped off way too much with that inline.  I might work further on that problem – perhaps a form of mini cyclone for the heaviest chips or something.  Pity – would have been good on a number of levels.

I also tried leaving off the pleated filter, so relying purely on the 1st stage chip collector, but there was little perceived difference in flowrate.  I guess this is a good thing – shows the pleated filter does not have too much of a detrimental effect on the dust extractor’s performance.

So that is about as far as I got – the pipes are cleared, the new extractor is sitting where the old one had been, and the infeed is connected directly to it.  Now all I need to do is work out some form of remote starter, so I can start and stop the extractor from the main shed.  It isn’t a matter of simply turning the power on or off, as the switch on the motor does not reengage when power is restored.  I might have to resort to a mechanical solution- a couple of long sticks through the shed wall!

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