Episode 106 SawStop Guard

Episode 105 Freeform Router Bowl

Using the Amana Tool bowl bits from Toolstoday.com, I create a freeform double (interlocking) bowl

New Festool Product Demo

Headed along to Carbatec this morning to see the new Festool products that had launched. Unfortunately the edge bander was not on show- demo’ed at a recent session, but now saved until some show in Brisbane.

Saw the new cordless hammer drill, and yes, impressive if that is what you need. Lightweight, shock absorber built in etc.

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Comes with a really neat dust collector.

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It sucks itself onto the surface, and gathers dust right from where the drill bit is in contact with the wall (or whatever you are drilling). Also available as a separate item for about $35. Definitely have to get one of those!

Saw the new cordless saw in operation too. Brushless EC-TEC motor, takes either 1, or 2 batteries, and that can be a mix of 15V and 18V. Depending on the available voltage, the max speed varies from around 3500RPM to around 5000RPM

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Without batteries fitted

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Dual batteries fitted, each with charge indicators.  The saw must have a battery in the lower slot to operate.  The second battery in the top position is optional.

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Has a different handle, that prevents the saw being used on the CMS system.

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New lever to allow saw to be tilted to -1º

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Has a new design to the Fast Fix system, which allows the blade to be locked and lowered in a single operation for blade changes.

For a saw that can be used onsite, away from any available external power supply, I’m sure it will be of definite interest to many.  If you are in a shop-situation, you’d still stay with the TS55R (the corded version).  This one would be awesome to use with something like the Centipede Workbench to break down sheets before bringing them into the workshop.  No need to run cables etc outside!  Also if you were working in difficult-to-access locations (such as in a roof space), the portability would pay off well then too.

Saw with 1 battery attached.  Note, this was the first time the saw had been used with the rail, so you will see the sacrificial plastic of the rail peeling off as well.

Saw with 2 18V batteries attached.

Rack it up

The timber store has so far been rather neglected since the storage itself was built (8m2).

The timber was unceremoniously dumped in there on a couple of pallets, which was better than nothing, but made fining anything difficult, and wasted a lot of space.

Not that I was intending to leave it like that, but there were other priorities.

With a few minutes spare today, I decided it was time to sort it out. So the Triton Woodracks were thrown up on the wall- 2 sets at this stage.

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Normally you’d see 6 rails, but I left the top rail off as it was against the roof. I’m going to redo them I think- I’d prefer the racks attached to vertical members to transfer the load directly to the ground, and that will provide an opportunity to attach the extra rail for additional storage.

Even so, despite their seemingly small size (gap between rails), the unit can store a significant amount of timber.

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I still remember when Triton developed the wood rack- back when there was still a local manufacturing industry. Seeing new, innovative, locally designed, engineered and manufactured product was something we knew was a good thing, but really not appreciated until it was lost to cheap (really cheap), poorly designed and made imports. Their focus being cost and maximising the total units sold only.

Still, at least some products and designs are still available such as the woodrack, even if it is now sold under a myriad of manufacturer’s names.

CNC Art

Using foam on a CNC machine to create some stunning artwork. Wonder if HR Giger ever released CNC files of his creations? That’d be truly awesome!

Goes to show what you can do with a CNC, some dense foam, and super-sharp spiral router bits.

Imagination is the only limitation.

Dovetail House

Now there are two words you don’t often see together. Building a house, but instead of the usual butt joints and a bunch of nails, this kit allows the house frame to be neatly dovetailed together.

It is the LignaTool kit, and putting the price aside, this make the current system of staggering beams and nailing obsolete.

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Dear MagSwitch, we miss you

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The range of MagSwitch products seems to grow and grow, and rightly so, the industrial sector are the main benefactors.

However, I miss the innovative products MagSwitch was bringing out for woodworkers and workshop owners, each one being such a game-changer. I know the products are still available, but as there has been nothing new for us for so long, they just become part of the background view when you walk into a store. I still look longingly at the display, hoping to see something new.

I still love the products, and use them very regularly, I used to do the occasional woodworking show demonstration for them when they were still an Australian product.

Just reminiscing about the days when MagSwitch and woodworkers were so much closer.

SSYTC067 PA Doors

A disturbing trend

I tend to avoid YouTube. Over the past few years, it has become significantly geared towards revenue raising, and for something like YouTube, that means ads. Lots and lots of ads.

But unfortunately, more and more “free” video content is being hosted there, and so I have been venturing on there occasionally, and seeing…..woodworkers advertising their YouTube channels, by forcing their videos upon us.

Does it work? Well I’m sure it does, looking at their subscriber numbers. But I still see it as sad. The best content isn’t getting rewarded, but those who spend money to force their content in front of you. I know, it is the way of the world, but it still is not where I’d like to see the woodworking world going.

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One day I might be tempted to join the evil empire to seek the higher subscriber rates, but until then, I’m staying well clear and hoping that good content will be rewarded over advertising. I know, it is not a battle I can win.

But I still rather give content away than sell it to subscribers, or surround it with ads, and I still prefer to give away the products from the shed, than turn it into a commercial venture.

In saying that, I will still be writing magazine articles of course- love seeing the articles in print! And the income helps make my hobby self supporting. I’d still like to write a book or two as well, and strangely, I see that in a different light to providing similar content on the web for free. I’m certainly not without sin here, but I’d still like to think that the readers I have enjoy the overall lack of advertising (banner farm, and video preroll ads) on this site.

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.

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