Torque Contact Number

If you have recently tried the mobile number and had difficulty getting through, use their landline number – 07 5472 7125, or contact Lazy Larry!

Needing Triton Spares?

I haven’t vetted these guys myself, but I’ve heard that a few people have been successful in obtaining spares for their Triton gear, particularly routers.

They are in the UK – The Woodworking Centre.

That Australians now have to import spares for their Triton power tools from 1/2 the world away is a really crappy situation (I’d actually rather say something a lot stronger than that), but at least the spares are available at all.

No criticism of The Woodworking Centre intended in that – at least they have the spares available.

How the situation got this bad I really don’t know. Sad.

The Woodworking Centre also has a good collection of Triton Manuals, Spares Diagrams etc. One of the last online sources of this information left.

Episode 55 Assembling the Torque Workcentre

1 1/2 hours condensed into about 3 minutes (30x normal speed) giving an overview of the assembly of the Torque Workcentre.  Note that this was done without any instructions at all (given courier issues). Blink, and you’ll miss it!

Toy Plans

I’ve been looking through some plans that the “Roving Reporter” bought to my attention from Enjoy Making Wooden Toys.

Some interesting designs in there, and a kitchen set that looks quite similar to my original one (not saying either copied the other – it is a pretty logical design, and both look good 🙂 )

The bi-plane rocker is a cool concept – a rocker to start off with, but can be converted to a ride-on toy as the child grows, just by lifting it off the rocker base.  They haven’t, but you could take the idea one step further and have a number of different ride-ons that fit the same rocker base.

Image from Enjoy Making Wooden Toys website

Always found making toys is a really rewarding aspect to woodworking.

One day I’d really like to publish a book of my plans and designs.

Movin’ In

It was definitely a weekend revolving around the new tool (understandably), from the pickup/delivery organising on Friday, the assembly (and getting it into the shed) Saturday, and commissioning it with some real tasks on Sunday.

If you were wondering how I was going to fit a 2.5m x 1m tool in my workshop, well, you were not the only one!  With a large pry bar!  Archimedes once remarked (paraphrasing) that with a firm place to stand he could move the Earth (with a long-enough lever that is).

Makin' a Hole

Clearing space was a combination of moving the jointer to where the router table was, removing the corner bench and in future the sanders will (potentially) be on roll-outs from under the Torque, and the router table met an untimely end, with the top being amalgamated with the TWC.  A hole was born.

The Torque arrives in its new home

I did try the TWC along the back wall, but lost too much access around the unit.  The MDF top has yet to be added – will do so some time this week.

That 1300mm arm is huge – I’m going to fit the 600mm (or 900mm) arms for the majority of the jobs, and the 1300 will get used only when I need that much extension.  For some workshops it probably would remain, but that is the one compromise on space I will have to make.  Sure looks nice here (by the end of the weekend it sure ended up rather dusty!)

Adding the Router Table

Here I have added the router table (with Incra Positioner/Fence) to the end where there is some dead space (because of the way the tools are carried on the left side of the arm), so this really utilises that area. I’ve moved the bandsaw further back so I have adequate access to the router table, and it isn’t hard to swing the entire unit out from the wall if I need more in-feed area.  Since this photo, I have also replaced the first module of the top with a plain cast-iron wing – it won’t be a two-router table now (well it is, but one is overhead), and I’ve shortened the cast iron top to 3 wings from the original 5.  The MDF of the rest of the bed will be at the same height, so there is no shortage of area for the positioner now!  At 2.5m long, this may be the largest router table in the world!

The clamp roof

The clamp wall was a problem, both getting access to the clamps, and also having them interfere with the X axis of the TWC, so they have been moved to the roof.  If the clamps are any good, then it won’t be a problem where they are!  Added benefit – partway through a clamp-up, if I need another I just reach up!

Temporary Triton Mount

One minor glitch I had (and it will be rectified by the end of the week), is the router mount had support posts for a Makita (I think), and not the Triton – the Triton needs both a larger diameter and a longer post.  Converting the Triton to fit the table took a few seconds, as did reverting it back to standard operation.  I was surprised just how easy it was – a single circlip.  So that I could make use of the router before the parts arrive, I added the old Triton quick-release plate from the original Triton router table.  The setup is rather flimsy like this, but it got the job done.

Oven Doors

First job was the oven doors for the kid’s kitchen – setting the stops for the size of the opening, then routing it out.  I also used the same method for cutting hinge mortises.

Oven Shelf

The second job was creating the shelf in the oven.  Rather than just a plain shelf, I didn’t want the inside of the oven to look like a cupboard, so I cut parallel slots through using a 1/2″ straight router bit, and moved the whole setup 30mm for each pass.  Again, something that could have been done other ways, but this was a very simple (and accurate) method.  It’s like using a machine with a built-in, adjustable jig.

So that was all I had time for in the end, but already it has been demonstrating for me just how functional the concept is.

The Torque and the Triton

There is a NZ author called Hugh Cook who wrote a series of 10 fantasy books which all had titles “The something and the something“, such as “The Wordsmiths and the Warguild”.  He was planning a series of 60 books, but sales didn’t eventuate, which is a pity. I’d have needed another bookcase though!  Nothing else relevant in this, other than whenever I read (or write) “The something and the something“, I’m reminded of Hugh Cook.

Back when I bought my Triton Workcentre – the Workcentre 2000, I was concerned if there was going to be a 2002 version that was going to supersede it – the danger of using a name that also depicts a year.  A lesson that Microsoft are starting to learn – your product is dated by the name.  As it turned out, the WC2000 was the final version – a newer version that was ready for prototyping was binned by GMC when they took over.  When Triton still existed as a company, they did get the occasional prompt to bring out a new version – a 2005 version for example.  This never happened (obviously), but there were a number of existing owners who wished it would happen.

As I was assembling the TWC, a feeling of familiarity, and deja vu struck, and stuck.  Even though I found I didn’t need any assembly manual to put the TWC together, the home-grown aspect to both companies did come through, but the differences also came through strongly – one being thin pressed metal and aluminium section, the other being steel, steel and more steel.

Despite there being no commonality between the companies, or between the workcentres (other than both being Australian Engineering, both being called workcentres, and both being woodworking related), there is a degree to which the Torque Workcentre (TWC) could be regarded as being a logical upgrade to the Triton.

Consider each function:

The Tablesaw.

The biggest criticism Triton owners hear, is the money they spent on the Triton Workcentre system over the years could have bought a significant tablesaw.  There are counter arguments to that, but not relevant for this article.  They then have a brushed-motor circular saw secured by plastic under a pressed-metal top, in an item that weighs around 30-40kg.  (Again, there are all sorts of other pros and cons, not my intent to discuss).  It can handle (with the extension table) a 2400×1200 sheet, with a cut depth of around 65-67mm.  A plastic-thread height winder.

The Torque workcentre is not an ideal tablesaw, and if you already had a tablesaw you wouldn’t consider the Torque as a replacement.  However, despite having a very good cast iron tablesaw I am still looking forward to being able to process sheet goods on the Torque with ease – being able to lay the goods out, and bring the saw to the sheet (with all the control the TWC offers) to safely process the sheet into the required sections.  For ripping, a tablesaw is still the preferred method, whereas for crosscutting, the TWC has it all over the Triton, as with a saw attached it effectively becomes a radial arm saw, which until the development of the SCMS (sliding compound mitre saw) was held in very high esteem in many, many workshops (and still is by existing owners).  The TWC could potentially give a radial arm saw some serious competition – increased range, support at both ends of the arm for 90 degree cuts etc.  A top quality RAS would most likely win, but for most workshops, the Torque makes the grade.

The Router Table.

The Triton router table was the first item that I left behind as my woodworking improved – I felt held back by its limitations – the top wasn’t flat enough for my needs, and I headed down paths seeking more and more accuracy, precision and flatness.  There is a definite benefit to a table-mounted router, but one thing I found missing (and had no solution for) was the ability to have the router controlled in an overhead position, without having to hand-hold it.

This is where the Torque absolutely kicks butt.  Even when all the other parallel functions being discussed here are removed, replaced with dedicated machines, you’d still look at the Torque Workcentre as an overhead router system – it is what the TWC excels at, and the primary reason for buying one.  All other functions of the workcentre are secondary to this – bonuses. IMO that is! There is so much potential that overhead routing capabilites provides, I’m going to be exploring it for a long time yet!

Now this doesn’t mean the table-mounted router is obsolete – far from it.  How I have dealt with that, is combining the two tools, and I have an area where the table-mounted router resides in the top of the Torque workcentre, and at this stage I don’t believe it does anything to detract from either machine.  While the table-mounted router is in place, I loose about 300mm of total capacity of the TWC because I have placed it at the end where there is some dead-space anyway, and I can regain that area by simply lifting the table-mounted router out to regain the full TWC capacity. The best of both worlds you might say.

When in place, the table-mounted router has the advantage of a cast-iron top (which I added), and the Incra LS Positioner and Fence, so that is pretty optimised, and yet I also have the overhead TWC to complement it.

I’ve long seen the router table as being a compromised tool – most workshops that have one have had to make it themselves (other than the low-cost Triton, GMC or Ryobi tables).  To get a machine as serious as the tablesaw as a router table, you’ve had to turn to the spindle moulder, and that machine has a very limited top speed, and is not effective for small router bits. (Not that I am belittling the Spindle Moulder – it is a very capable machine, and can be found in many professional workshops, but it isn’t designed for modern router bits.) The TWC is a machine built specifically for the router.

Drill Press.

Like the tablesaw, it is an additional (rather than primary) solution.  Like the Triton, take a hand power tool and give it extra functionality by providing a solid mount.  But again, in a pretty serious way – a drill press that can drill materials up to around 1300mm from the support pole, has massive work support, can handle angles, and drill points in arcs.

Jointer/Planer/Thicknesser.

There isn’t to my knowledge a jointer on the market that can allow you to prepare the face of a board 2000×1300, yet that is bread and butter for the TWC.  And anything smaller.  I’d say many workshops will still have a dedicated machine, but when its capabilities are exceeded, the TWC takes over.  If you don’t have a jointer yet, the TWC puts off the requirement to invest in one.  It doesn’t do the jointing the edge to 90 degrees to the face however (although you can use a router bit to run down the edge to perform that role).  You can also thickness with it, and again with significant capacity beyond any affordable thicknesser on the market!  For smaller items, a dedicated machine will be faster and easier, but the TWC can still substitute until you have the dedicated machine.

So, what do you think?  Could the TWC be regarded as an upgrade to the Triton system?  Both fit hand-held power tools to increase their safety and functionality.  One weighs a substantial 200+kg, so has the stability (with a corresponding loss to portability).

Assembling the Torque Workcentre

It was hard having to wait to assemble the workcentre – having it sit overnight waiting.  At least it arrived on a Friday!

First job was unpacking the remains of the container, and seeing what, if anything was missing.  By the end of the build, only 2 things appear to have been lost – a single bolt of 4 that holds one of the wheels on, and the assembly instructions!

So a pretty fortunate outcome in the end.

Disassembly of the 'crate'

I was concerned about that gap in the middle, but I now think this is for the shorter versions of the support arm – this unit shipped with the longest 1300mm version, which gets packaged with the 2 main beams rather than in this crate.

After laying it all out, the assembly task did not look that daunting, and in hindsight it wasn’t – nothing like even assembling a Triton Workcentre – this assembly didn’t need instructions, let alone the difficulty caused by missing a single step of the Triton assembly.

Components laid out

Assembly begins upside down, and the tapped holes make it obvious how it goes together.  The two main rails are set out, with the cross bracing bolted across.

Main platform assembled

The legs are then added to either end, with the adjustable legs (which also are the ones with brakes) to the front.  Once this section is finished, the unit it flipped upright for the rest of the assembly.

Legs Assembled

I didn’t get any photos of the next stage – it went so quickly and smoothly it was over before I picked the camera up again.  Throughout the build, I did have the video running, so at least that (hopefully) caught some of the action!

Workcentre Completed

Throughout the build, with every component I picked up I was reminded of the significance of each component – they were heavy, strong, and it was both obvious that it had been built by hand (and not in a bad way), and wasn’t some mass-overseas-produced tool.  This is solid, Australian engineering as it should be.

The total build took all of 90 minutes – a very smooth assembly, even without the instructions.

Tool platform with router attachment

This is the platform for the various tools – in this case for the router.  It includes the optional dust collections shroud. There is still some fine-tuning to do, and a top to be added which I will cover in the next article(s).

Heavy Engineering

From the base, to the upright, the support arm and the tool carrier, it is solid components, solid construction all the way.

It is one thing to see such a unit set up and operating at a woodshow, but you get a real sense for the quality during the build phase.

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