Best made plans

I love it when a plan comes together.

Even better, when by some fluke, a plan formulated on the computer (such as the floor plan) actually works in real life too, as well as it suggested it would.

Moved the 4 machines around (tablesaw, 17″ bandsaw, jointer and thicknesser), and they all came together.  I did realise one thing though.  It is the end of the era for mobile bases in my workshop.

Mobile bases are really useful under the heavy machines in the shed.  Particularly when you are a sole operator, and especially when space is restricted.  A mobile base allows machines in sub-optimum position when stored to be moved out for use, then pushed away again.  I’ll still have a wheeled option for the thicknesser (it is built in), and for the tablesaw as well (when I upgrade it to the original built-in option).  The other machines though are another matter.

As I was sorting out the layout (and thank goodness for mobile bases at that point!), I found as I was finalising the locations, the bases were really restricting how well they each fitted together.  Once removed (from the bandsaw and the jointer), it was a whole different story.

I’m not against mobile bases – I have been using them successfully for years.  But I am also looking for to not needing them either.  I have more workshop room than ever, and with the layout compromised with them in place, I’m just as happy not to continue with them.  They do make a machine more unstable, and I could, if I become really confident with the layout, actually bolt the machines to the slab.  Now that is a big call.

Tempting though.  A really solid operating platform.

I may hold off on that for a while though – previous experience shows that I tweak the shed layout a dozen times a year, every year!

Cast Iron

A few more detail images of the Carbatec (Grizzly?) bandsaw

Upper Wheel

The upper and lower wheels are cast iron – very heavy and smooth-running.  Obviously some voids are cut to decrease the overall weight, but still, very substantial wheels!  There are also no balancing issues with these puppies.  If, in time I find that they do need an improvement in balance, they can be drilled to create a dynamic balance, rather than having weights clipped on.

Lower (Drive) Wheel

The lower drive wheel also has the pulleys (visible) for the two speeds, although it will be rare that I bother with a speed change (if ever).  You can also see the blade and wheel brushes – one for the back of the blade (for the side that will connect with the wheel, and one for the wheel itself at the point that the blade has just ceased contact.  There are none in the upper cabinet, again as the assumption is any created dust is dealt with in the lower cabinet (unless you have something SIGNIFICANTLY wrong, and the bandsaw is running backwards!  I have seen this once – on an Elu lathe – a bit freaky, but luckily rather uncommon!)  You can just see the lower guides – the lower set has eccentrically mounted bearings for either side of the blade, then one mounted behind the blade – a normal bearing for the lower set, and un-notched (unfortunately).

Upper Guides

The upper guide set again shows the two bearings supporting either side of the blade, and you can just see the thrust bearing located above and behind.

Decisions part 2

To follow up on the recent post, and to cover what I finally went with:

The thicknesser (planer) is as mentioned the 15″ 381.  With a retail price of $1600 (minus their current offer of 10% off or a free dust extractor or something), it is more than something like the Triton 15″ (which was retailing at $1000, and can take moulding blades), but boy do you get a lot of machine for your money! It is, I am lead to believe, very very similar to the Grizzly 15″ Planer – the GO453. Other than the colour, I’d struggle to be able to tell them apart (not even sure I could).

I did buy the WDS400 in the end – there was a lot of umming and ahhring (and not it wasn’t “Speak Like a Pirate Day”), but in the end, there isn’t another machine out there that comes close in price, and it is a 16/32 drum sander (for some reason it has been metricised) (I don’t know if that is a word, but it sounds good). I did take into account the many opinions that were kindly offered – these were probably as much the cause of much of my uncertainty, and also my decision to proceed.  See, I listen to everyone, but in the end I have to make a final call, and in this case it was “suck and see”.

I also added the mortising attachment for the drill press.  I was thinking of a dedicated machine, but we’ll see how much demand there is for little investment before forking out for yet another machine that I am rapidly running out of room to house!

And finally, (and most importantly?!) I went with the Foxtel IQ2 for a DVR.  Strange decision for me perhaps, but by juggling my account requirements, I ended up getting it and actually having the overall package costing $5 less per month than what I currently pay.  And how is that related to woodworking?  Simple – this thing has quad tuners in it.  This means I can record the various woodworking shows when they come on Foxtel (or free to air (except channel 7 (currently), and not have to compromise shed time (or the other things we want to watch and/or record).  As with the other decisions, I did note and investigate the various other options.  Hard to beat getting one for nothing and saving $5/month in the process!

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