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 🙂

One Response

  1. Having been through the same type of thinking, I bit the bullet and bought a used Minimax CU300 back in March. Not a single regret. An absolute joy to use. And though the changeovers are quick and easy, it’s made me more methodical by trying to avoid them which is a good thing.

    That’s not to say there aren’t things I plan to change. It lacks the Tersa head on the planer that is now standard, and is missing the jointer fence that now comes with the new machines. Things that can be fixed, and they are more convenience items as the finish from the planer is remarkably smooth even without the Tersa. I was fortunate enough that it came with a set of CMT spindle cutters and a Steff power feed, but I’ve not had need to use it yet. A 4hp spindle moulder makes a power feed a good idea, but it needs to be connected though the e-stop switches on the machine for safety so an electrician is needed to remedy that. It also needs a swing away mount for the Steff, the thing weighs over 60kg so you don’t want to be lifting it on and off a combo machine. Minimax have one, but only for the CU410 elite.

    I don’t have the optional slot mortiser attachment, and confess that I’m in two minds on that one. If you do a lot of repetitive mortises, it would be well worth having, but a Domino is flexible and portable, and I just don’t have deep enough pockets for either!

    The 12″ planer thicknesser is ample for me – I’d invest in a big drum sander before looking for more thicknesser capacity.

    For a one man shop, the Minimax is absolutely brilliant. I could not have achieved the capabilities it offers in the space I have with standalone machines, certainly not without compromises. In fact, its usefulness has extended beyond the machine itself – I’ve built a drill press table that will take the rip fence from the Minimax, which has proved very useful for repetitive drilling. Even has a t slot on the fence so I can add stop blocks. I’m now planning to adapt my radial arm saw to accept the crosscut frame and fence, because it will allow much easier squaring of the fence to the saw, a more easily repeatable method of mitre cuts, and save me spending $200 on a Kreg precision measuring system. The Minimax doesn’t accept dado blades, so it makes sense for me to have both saws.

    I know you’re in a different situation, and having a cnc and a quality saw stop cabinet saw makes your decision a lot harder than it was for me. What swung the decision for me was to stop thinking about the capabilities of the machine, and to think about how I progress a project through my shop. You’ll adjust to the tool regardless, but poor workflow will bug you every single time.

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