Rest in Pieces

Bit of a bummer day on the tools, getting jobs finished around the property.  Self inflicted in each case too.

Started when trying to use the wrong tool for the job – using a log splitter like a sledge hammer.  Other than the fact that a log splitter has a much softer metal, so does not transfer impact properly (and deforms easily!), the handle is not designed to absorb the impacts I was delivering, and split itself.

The main failure however, was my Bosch (green) 710W drill.  It has been used, and abused for years and years – 14 to be exact.  Thought I’d manage to kill it more than once, but it kept running.  Had the insulation almost smoking, but it survived.  Until today, when trying to drive large screws (bugle-headed hex 100mm screws!) was just too much torque, and the drill overheated just that bit too far, and the gearbox mechanism failed.  The drill still goes forward, but it is well down on torque, and I will mega-test it before plugging it in again, to test the internal insulation.

But as far as it goes, it is in the dead-tool basket.

So I shopped around for a replacement, and specifically a corded drill.  There is plenty of room for cordless, but I still like to have corded models.

After my previous drill experience, Bosch certainly was a strong contender, but I didn’t let that influence me too much when looking at the range of models out there, at least in my local district.  After a couple of stores and not finding enough choice, I headed into Total Tools.  That is where I found my range.

And settled on……. a Bosch!  Specifically, the GSB16-RE.  That doesn’t mean much to me either, but it is a basic drill – what I needed, and could justify.  It is effectively the Bosch blue version of the drill I had. 700W.

bosch-gsb-16-re-impact-drill-650w-range

(Bosch blue is the professional range).  It cost around $130 or so – so not too scary.  NOT chosen to drive those bugle screws though – no need to torture another drill to death!

I did try to find something (corded) that could drive the screws – needed something with very high torque.  I know there are plenty of impact drivers out there, and at some stage I’ll get one, but just not this week!  I did try a corded Makita impact driver (230W, 100Nm) failed dismally, and I ended up getting a $17 Koken bit for my socket set to finish the job.  Not sure if it is 100Nm or not – the green Bosch with 30Nm was driving the screws, and got most home until it hit some real hardwood.  Would have thought there would be a more noticeable difference (granted I did kill the drill to achieve it).

The guys at Total Tools (Carrum Downs) did let me have a play with a couple of ‘real’ impact drivers – tried a 14V Panasonic and it drove without a problem.  Didn’t struggle (but could tell it was working).  Didn’t see what the 18V Panasonic was like, but I did get to try the Milwaukee 18V.  Not sure what it would take to stop it, certainly not that 100mm screw!

3F.022-3056-1

The Panasonic 14.4V has 150Nm torque, and the Milwaukee 18V has 158Nm.  So there is the benchmark when I do come to the point to choose an impact driver.

As to the sledge hammer, they also had the Stanley FatMax 10lb fibreglass handled sledgehammer.  Done deal.

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Rockin’ the Router Table

It’s never the big parts of a job that take the time, it is all the fiddly bits at the end! Same applies to finishing off the router table, but when you are not in a rush, that time is not wasted or regretted.

With “The Wire” playing on the Shed’s TV, I kept plodding through the various outstanding tasks.  It also happened that a collection of three tools that arrived late last week played an integral role in the activities.  And exemplified themselves as useful additions to the shed beautifully, from cutting openings, drilling holes, driving screws, the collection of Lithium-Ion power tools from Rockwell proved to be as fun to use, as they were effective.

First job was creating access to the router, and I wanted it to be a door that would hold shut when a vacuum was created by the dust extraction that allowed easy access when needing to switch the router off for bit changes, and use the macro-height adjustment of the Triton router.

Cutting the access way

The desired opening was marked out, and where this would often be cut with a jigsaw, the oscillating saw does a great job.  The added convenience of the cordless version was excellent.

Plunging corners

Firstly, I plunged the cutter into each corner, defining sharp corners, then ran the saw from one corner to the next to break out the panel.

Access opening

The oscillating cutter (the Sonicrafter in Rockwell/Worx speak) was then used for sanding – breaking the sharp edges of the MDF.  One benefit of the oscillating cutter is it can work right into the corner, where more classic sanders would bounce themselves out of a restricted area.

A door was then fabricated, with cabinet hinges. Support for the hinges inside the cabinet was made, with pocketholes creating a solid foundation for the door support.

Sealed Hinge Door

I created a seal over the hinge-side of the door – normally disguised by typical cabinet designs.  There are other hinges I could have used, but these were ones I had already.  A handle from another discontinued project worked well here (think it came from the drill press drawer thinking about it).

Triton Router in place

I made sure there was plenty of space below the router – makes for better shape to the air flow for dust collection.  One thing I have yet to determine, is whether extra air-inlet holes are required – I am expecting they would be, except there are large gaps under the cast iron top, so plenty of air can flow through those gaps and flow down past the router to the collection port. I may even need to reduce the gaps to increase the suction through the hole in the router table top – only testing will determine how optimal the dust collection design is.

Starter

The starter was attached to the side of the table – given sometimes the router is accessed from the front, and other times from the right side, this corner is accessible for either operation.  A hole was drilled behind the switch to feed the flex into the cabinet to connect to the router.

The upper opening you can see to the right of the switch is where I am hoping to install some thin drawers to house the Incra templates for the LS Positioner, and the template book.  The lower opening will probably store some other routers. (Yes, I have one or two!)

Wixey Digital Height Gauge

I also found a location to mount the Digital readout from the height gauge that is affixed to the side of my router.  It does jut out from there over the fence, but for the majority of operations it won’t get in the way where it is.  I have attached it using bolts with the same hex heads as the rest of the Positioner (and the supplied hex drive), and butterfly nuts on the other side, so it can be very easily removed whenever it is necessary (routing tall object for example).

Ready to Rock

Speaking of rocking, these are the complement of tools I used, almost exclusively, and I was pretty stoked how they performed.

Rockwell Cordless Collection

If they look a bit dusty, that is because they were being used, not just admired.  I was expecting them to come in a single kit, so was surprised to discover they were each in a separate package.  Although that means you’ve gotten extra chargers, I’m not objecting – just means I can have one at either end of the workshop ready to go!

Quick charger

And the collection of interchangeable batteries won’t go astray either, even though the chargers are quick (15 minutes to 75%, 30 minutes to 100% charge).

Sonicrafter - Oscillating Cutter

The oscillating cutter was used with both blades and sanding attachments, stripping paint off the cast iron edges, cutting the opening, then sanding the cuts and rounding the edges.

10mm Drill

The drill is quite lightweight, but still has a good feel, and worked well with the holecutter, as well as the Kreg Pockethole jig.

Impact Driver

Finally, the rather impressive impact driver.  Never had one before, or even used one, so this was a bit of a first.  Feels solid, and works!  Initially drives smoothly, but when it gets to a particular torque level, the high-frequency impacting kicks in driving the screw (or whatever) home.

The combination of the three proved very effective in covering a whole variety of jobs that I had on, and the ability to interchange the rapidly charging batteries is a definite bonus.

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