Upgrades and Mods to the Torque

On Christmas Eve, the courier finally managed to locate and deliver the package from Torque Workcentre (TWC).  Inside was a shorter main beam and a few other bits n pieces.

I still have the 1300mm arm, which will prove invaluable when working with very large tops, and breaking down large sheet goods, but in a shed the size of mine, it is more suitable having a shorter arm.  To my mind, the optimum length seems to be the 900mm arm that I have now fitted, but it really does come down to your intended purpose, and the amount of space you have available.

TWC with 900mm Arm

This was the main purpose of the package – downsizing the main arm.  And rather timely as well – with my last quick project (a couple of dovetailed boxes for Xmas presents), I found I really did need easy access to my planer, and found I had to move it to a more accessible location.  With space ever-increasingly at a premium, it happened that the planer is now alongside the thicknesser, and it was overhung by the larger arm.   Dropping it back to 900mm now again provides decent access through, past both machines.

Changing over from one arm to the other obviously meant the carrier had to be removed, and that was an ideal time to add a minor upgrade that I actually suggested.  Once again, having local manufacture is worth its weight in gold – they can be responsive, and are contactable!

The suggestion I made (well, one of a list) was to do with the Y axis lock (which is the knob on the back of the Y axis carriage).  By original design, when wound in to lock on the arm, the twisting motion caused the carriage to walk along the Y axis.  What TWC came up with (and now a standard fitting for future machines) is to have a metal plate affixed to the casting, the knob can wind in against the plate, causing it to tighten on the Y axis.

Replacement Knob

Another suggestion made was to replace the 4 point knob on the plunge arm with a similar one to the Y Axis lock – I found the 4 point knob uncomfortable when a decent amount of pressure was required.  This wasn’t too difficult – the knob is restrained with Locktite which took a bit more effort to crack, but couldn’t resist the combination of a large Stillson and 24″ adjustable spanner!

I still want to do something about the plunge stop, which I’m finding slips a bit too easily, especially with multiple plunges.  It may be simply a matter of adopting more of the mechanism from the Triton router – larger post and increased area of the lock knob.  I also want to incorporate the multi-post stop that Triton uses – allowing multiple plunge heights to all be pre-set.

Possible location point for a Wixey Height Gauge

Another proposal that I’ve made is the incorporation of Wixey Digital technology into the TWC.  A combination readout for all three axis would be ideal (and further reinforce the concept of this machine closing the gap to a full CNC machine).  It wouldn’t actually take too much to turn a TWC into a CNC machine either……..

In any case, as a proof-of-concept I have been looking to fit the Wixey Planer Height Gauge to the TWC, and this looks a likely location for one.

Under-Table Router

Despite the awesome capabilities of the TWC, I still find having another router mounted in the traditional below-table position invaluable.  With the Woodpeckers Router Lift, I am no longer dependent on the plastic worm gear of the Triton itself.  I still use it during bit changing – preferring to use the Triton’s ability for rapid height change to bring it up to full height, which has a combined benefit – it means the shaft gets locked for one-handed, through table bit changing, and still uses the in-built safety mechanism of the interlock to prevent the bit being able to be changed without the router being turned off, and not allowing power to be restored until the shaft is free to rotate.  For accurate height setting though, the Woodpeckers Router Lift is second to none.  I still have to finish the install – just need to mount the remote digital readout.

Under the Router Lift

Under the table, the Router Lift in as-used condition – it may look a bit dusty, but that’s par for the course for wood working power tools!

I was going to use a spare Triton switch to start and stop the router, but the Pro Router Switch is superior.  Where you can see I have mounted it makes knocking off power with your thigh easy, so even if both hands are occupied, you can still easily stop the router.

Pro Router Switch

The deluxe version has lights under the switches – when power is available, the on button glows.  When running, this light is out, and the stop button glows instead.  It acts as an extra visual indicator to let you know whether power is being supplied to the router, or not.  It is also a no-current release switch – if power is lost (tripped circuit breaker, black-out etc) then the switch automatically turns off so the tool doesn’t immediately restart when power is restored.  The Triton switch is a lot more basic – when power is restored, the tool takes off again, with obvious safety implications.

From the two small holes you can see above the switch, I originally thought that would be a good mounting point, but then suddenly remembered that the Extension Table for the TWC slides through that RHS, and the ends of the switch mounting bolts would have impacted on that when I add one to my TWC.  Mounting the switch a little lower turned out to be better – making it easier to kick it off when both hands were busy with the workpiece.

The switch, Woodpeckers Router Lift and Wixey Digital technology are all sourced from Professional Woodworkers Supplies. The Torque Workcentre dealer I’d recommend is Lazy Larry – he has and uses one, so can also answer any question you may have from an operator’s perspective.

Episode 30 Pro Drill Press Table

Upgrade to the 3 1/4HP Triton Router

The US version at least. I hope this will become available in Australia as well, but from the horses mouth (or Amazon.com to be precise)

From the Manufacturer
World’s best router has just gotten better. Here are the new and improved features that make us #1 in the woodworking shop. Changing from free plunge to rack- and pinion mode as become even easier with just a push of a button. Our switch is now fully sealed in a rubber boot to ensure dust free operation. The plunge handle components have also been updated to metal gears for smoother operation and extended life. Our improved ¼ inch collet reducer makes changing to ¼-inch bit safer and easier……<snip>

I’ve seen the new collet, and they are great. I’ve been petitioning Triton/GMC to have them available in Australia. It will happen sometime I think. I hadn’t heard about the change from the old style of plunge selector (the mechanism on the handle you had to twist to change between height winding and free-plunge mode, which on the 1400W router became a much easier push-button). Looks like they have now changed the big router to have that same method of mode selection. Again, I guess at some stage that will become available here in Oz, but in the meantime, lucky Americans!

Unorthodox Triton Router Table Mod Part 2 (Accessories)

With the table upgrade, the table accessories also need to be adjusted to cope with the additional 3mm extra table height. This is achieved easily by adding shims made out of the offcuts from the aluminium of the new top.

Triton Finger Jointer
The finger jointer is the hardest, only because of the amount of dismantling required.
The sliding plate is removed to give access to the hold-down hardware.

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Photo 1 – Removing the Finger Jointer Plate

Next, the hardware that holds the finger jointer down is removed.

routeraccessmod-2.jpg

Photo 2 – Removing the hardware

New shims are cut, and holes drilled in each.

routeraccessmod-3.jpg

Photo 3 – Preparing the new shims

Click here to read full article

Unorthodox Triton Router Table Mod Part 1

I’ve had a few queries about my unusual table top in my recent post about Router Tables. So to cause a bit of controversy, here is the article I wrote at the time about the modification. To clarify however, I still use an original, unmodified Triton Router Table quite successfully, so this is another one of those “I’ll always try to modify everything kind of thing!”

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I have been using the Triton Router Table for a few years now (with the Triton Router pretty much permanently mounted), and have found it to be an excellent way of performing most router operations. In fact, other than some totally unavoidable operations where I need to do freehand routing, I wouldn’t dream of not using a router table. As things have progressed, I have been expecting more and more from my equipment, in their capabilities, and accuracies, and have been reaching a point where I needed to use bigger and bigger router bits, and/or a very high degree of accuracy. As I have written in another article, (which I’ll post here soon) the micro-adjusters for the Triton Router Table are excellent for achieving precise fence movements.

When using some very large router bits (such as for raised panel joints), I found that the Router Template Guide plate got in the way, so I wasn’t able to lower the bit far enough to achieve the cut that I wanted. To get around this, I had three options. The first was really not an option at all (lowering the router). The second was raising the work, which although ok, made it difficult to achieve the same setup every time (you don’t want each door on a raised panel cabinet looking different!) The final solution was to make the Triton Router Table top thicker. This had an added benefit of allowing a 1-piece top, which meant that there was no chance for the front edge of a piece of work to catch the top of the table at all, or worse, experience any dip or rise as it progressed past the router bit.

Photo 1 – Original Triton Router Table

There were a few things that I demanded of the upgrade.
1. Retain the ability to use the fence, perform through-table bit changing, and still be able to use the various router table jigs (finger joiner, biscuit joiner, jigsaw table).

2. The modification must be fully reversible, which adds an extra dimension to the design.

3. The table must still be able to take a full range of bit sizes, from the 3mm Triton bit, through to panel making bits, without ending up with a huge cavity when using the smaller bits.

4. Safety must not be compromised.
My solution was to attach a new single piece of aluminium sheet over the entire tabletop, while still leaving the slot for the sliding portion uncovered, and therefore usable as originally intended. After much thought, I finally clicked to the best way to do this- attach the new top to the removable router holding plate, so that it gets removed at the same time as the router is.

Click here to read full article

SSYTC002 Nostalgia – an early woodworking video!

SSYTC002 Nostalgia

Going though some old files, and came across this 7 second clip of a modification I made to the GMC thicknesser. Guess this actually qualifies as my first woodworking video (despite its short length).I’d forgotten the clip even existed!

Not sure of its vintage – probably 2004 – 2005. Not that long ago, and look how online video quality has improved

Episode 23 Wixey Digital Planer Height Gauge

Episode 23 Wixey Digital Planer Height Gauge.
Turning the planer/thicknesser into a precision tool.Available from Professional Woodworker Supplies.More detail in this blog entry Wixey Digital Planer Height Gauge.

Update: Since making this video, Wixey have updated their Height Guide, and it now presents the LCD panel at a better viewing angle.

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