Battery Longevity

I have, as you might have gathered, I have a number of Wixey Digital products (from PWS) in my shed, from the Angle Gauge that resides in my shop apron, to the digital height gauge, calipers, planer gauge, tablesaw gauge etc etc!

Wixey Digital Height Gauge

Wixey Digital Height Gauge

The problem I have been having recently, is given they are all around the same age they all seem to have a flat battery around the same time, and when you are going to use an item, that can get a bit frustrating especially if you haven’t used it much.

Mentioned it to a friend, and he pointed out that I may not have been using them correctly – at the end of the day when I have fully finished using the digital readouts, instead of clicking the off button, I should in fact hold it down for around 6 seconds or so.  What I wasn’t aware of (probably from not reading the manual), is if you just press the off button, that sends the screen to sleep, but doesn’t in fact turn the device off.  By holding the power button down until the display shows – – – – before switching off, fully turns off the device (and thus stops the slow battery drain I was experiencing).

I’m not sure how this might affect the planer height gauge – it might need to be re-zeroed when you turn it on, so I might not do it for that gauge, but for the rest (including the saw gauge), I have to regularly zero them anyway (each time I change blades for example), and it is such a simple step that I do anyway that this isn’t going to negatively impact on my work practices (and will instead improve them, as the gauges will be ready to go when I need them, and not flat!)

This is not a peculiarity of Wixey products either, it will be the case for other digital readouts as well.

One day, when the next generation of devices comes around with fully wireless charging, it will cease to be an issue – you’ll just leave the device sitting on the recharging mat until the next time you want it, but until then, this might be a useful trick to know.

An Interesting Gauge from Bridge City Toolworks

Prototype Gauge

Prototype Gauge

It is not yet available for sale, but it looks an interesting (and innovative) tool.

An article on the gauge can be found here (Image sourced from their website)

The gauge takes into account the width of stock in the left-hand slot (as seen in the above-photo), and the kerf of the blade (be that tablesaw, bandsaw, router bit etc up to 1/2″)  A very simple, and clever concept.

Wixey Saw Fence Digital Readout

I finally had a chance to get this mounted to the tablesaw, and it was a lot easier than I was imagining.

Like the other items in the Wixey range, it comes from Professional Woodworkers Supplies, and cost just under $260.

Wixey Saw Fence Digital Readout

Wixey Saw Fence Digital Readout

It looks a little daunting when you first open it – lots of small components makes it look like a real jigsaw (as in puzzle), but if you follow through the instructions, it is very straight forward.

The concept is clever in its simplicity – a digital readout (that attaches magnetically to the fence) that runs up and down an auxiliary track, which has a conductive strip attached so the readout can determine its position (or more precisely, change in position). It is accurate to 0.1mm, typical of the Wixey range, which is pretty impressive for a table saw fence.

The first step is to join the two sections of the auxiliary track together.

Dovetail Joiner

Dovetail Joiner

It is joined securely with this dovetail joiner. The joint is important, as once the conductive strip is attached, it would wreck the accuracy if the joint separated at all.

Attaching Conductive Strip

Attaching Conductive Strip

The conductive strip has an adhesive backing. First one side is attached…..

Attaching 2nd Conductive Strip

Attaching 2nd Conductive Strip

Then the other side. A temporary positioner is supplied to ensure the two strips are attached an accurate distance from each other. Note the orientation of the strips – it is important that they are not mounted upside down.

Brackets & Rail Attached

Brackets & Rail Attached

The brackets are then attached to the underside of the original fence rail. There is a specific distance that it is meant to be set, and this is normally done with this rail removed, but I couldn’t be bothered – removing the rail seemed like too much work, and unnecessary.

I also found that when I measured where the brackets were meant to be mounted, they ended up flush against the rail support, so that is where I mounted them. They attach using a thread-cutting bolt (supplied), by drilling a pilot hole with a drill bit (also supplied).

Thread Cutting Bolt

Thread Cutting Bolt

As you might be able to tell from the photo, the bolt is actually triangular. It is a little hard to get it started in the hole, but once it is cutting in, it tightens up well. The small ones suppled, to hold the magnetic plate for the digital gauge were not made from a high-enough tensile steel, as both sheared off before they held the bracket tightly. This is (still) causing me a bit of a problem, as they are small, and hard so are proving too difficult to extract. I don’t believe it was an operator error, overtightening the bolt, as they both sheared while the bracket was still very loose.

Conductive Strip Attached

Auxiliary Rail Attached

This is the rail in position, almost ready to be commissioned. I have placed the gauge to the left of the fence as per the instructions to maximise the amount it can read to the right of the blade, but I am debating whether to swap it to the other side. In use, the gauge gets covered in sawdust in its current location. (In the photo, the gauge is not magnetically attached to the fence as yet).

Fence Gauge in Position

Fence Gauge in Position

The digital gauge in position, ready for use. The first couple of uses showed just how invaluable it is going to be – being able to accurately set the fence to a position with incredible accuracy, and be able to move it away, then bring it back to the same location.

The Quest for Accuracy

I’m not sure what it is that is driving me to seek ever increasing degrees of accuracy in my tools. Is it because I need everything to work perfectly to counteract my lack of skill and/or practice? Is it because I’m an engineer (in mind if not by vocation)? Or do I secretly wish I was working with steel rather than wood? Perhaps I’m just a bit AR (and if you don’t know what the acronym is – Google it…..add “freud” (no, not the blade!!))

Irrespective of the cause, I do like accurate tools, and gauges etc. I’ll do a full expose’ in an upcoming video, but have thrown a few things together here:

Precision Measuring Tools

From the left side, heading clockwise, is a digital protractor (accurate to 1/10 degree), digital angle gauge (also 1/10 degree), the Woodpeckers Saw Gauge (accurate to 1/1000″, or 0.02mm), a digital height gauge (0.1mm), Incra rule (0.1mm), and Incra square. In addition, there is the Wixey Digital Fence Gauge, and of course the tablesaw itself is part of the picture (figuratively and literally), and that is also deliberate. No point having accurate measurements if the tools themselves are not part of the equation.

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