Sliced bread? Step aside!

Yet more evidence of the phenomenon that is the Centipede SawHorse – had another job on (cutting some polycarb roof), and again the Centipede absolutely nailed the task.


Needed to cut some sheets at 90º and 45º, and the Centipede’s ability to both support the sheet, and provide plenty of clearance for the tool to make a full depth cut (without having to worry about cutting into the table) was invaluable.

The simplest concept success is the 2×4 support that plug into the holes at the end of each upright.  Absolute genius.  You don’t always need to use them, but for a particularly flexible material, it was the difference between an ok setup, and one that absolutely nailed the task.  I was flicking from left to right on that front length to get the angle cuts I needed, and the flexible sheet was supported all the way along the length of the cut.

untitled-2You can set it up anywhere – I would have done this job out on the grass (even being a bit uneven), but due to a persistent drizzle, found working under the back deck was a good solution.  The Centipede created the working surface in seconds, and was a real asset to the job, not just a bench, or a couple of sawhorses, but actually made the job easier (and therefore achieved a better than expected result).  Can’t tell you how much I love this thing!!

As you can see in the photo, I am using the Festool rail, but instead of using the TS55, I used it with the Dremel, mounted in the plunge router attachment.  I did try the TS55, but without the right blade, I got too much cracking and chipping of the edge.  The dremel with a shear cut bit did the trick.  When I get the Festool router, and attachment to be able to use it on a rail, it will be even better.  The Ti15 impact driver got a really good workout!

So what was it for?  The new dust extraction section of the shed.  It was a trapped corner, between the shed and the (45º) fence, and with a new wall, and roof (polycarb), the outdoor area becomes another internal, sheltered, but separate room.  It provides easy access to the dust extractor, and yet isolates the noise and any leaking dust away from the shed itself.  I’ve now also decided to do a little rerouting of the air system, so the air compressor can go into the same area, again for ease of access.

untitled-3The floor is crushed rock – I will continue to revisit the space, but it is perfectly functional.

And finally, the dust extractor has a home, and one that I can easily route the dust extraction system to it.

Can’t wait to get it all connected up, and back up and running.

Compounding Cuts

Been working over the weekend on cleaning up around the shed.  A little bit of cleaning up after the last project, and a lot of getting some equipment into its final home.

Specifically the dust extractor.

If you remember from my recent floorplan, I am intending on putting it into the ‘dead’ corner caught between the shed and the diagonal fence.  My original idea was to create a bit of a standalone shed around the extractor, but for a number of reasons it is a lot better to resurrect the earlier plan of having the whole section boxed in.  Overall, it results in a loss in usable floorspace, but the floorspace that is available becomes significantly more productive.

It may stop me turning the rest of that corner into a rubbish tip!

The original shed design shied away from producing an angled section to the shed – too difficult to calculate, or manufacture the angled joiners or something.

But not if I am doing it myself. I’m using treated pine for the frame, so I can cut the compound angles easily.  45º side angle, 10º down angle for the roof.  Don’t have to think twice about it on the Kapex.

Getting this sorted, and the rest of the shed more organised meant I didn’t get to shoot the videos I was planning for the weekend.  Things rarely go to plan, but each day is a small step closer to having the shed organised and operational, and each step means when I do shoot video (or take some stills), that things look closer to how I would like them to be.  It also means I am a bit short of content to chat about here, but again, the more progress I make now, the easier it will be down track.

The Ti15 Festool impact driver is really earning its keep, and the TS55 REQ is going to do the same when it comes time to make the angled cuts in the polycarbonate roofing.  As is the Centipede Sawhorse!  You know a winner of a tool, when within days of receiving it, you can’t work out how you did without it.

Brushed vs Brushless

We’ve been hearing this term more and more with power tools, particularly drills, impact drivers (and pretty much anything Festool handheld).

We know brushless is meant to be better – same power with a lower voltage battery, and/or longer run time, longer durability of the motor.  But why?  What makes a brushless motor so ‘special’?  And if it is so great, why do we have brushed motors in the first place?  This will be a pretty simplistic look at the concept – there is plenty of info out there if you want greater detail!

Let’s start with the last point.

Brushless motors require electronic control, so it is only with the inclusion of a modern microprocessor has it been possible to build such a motor.  Still, they have been around since the early ’60s, so perhaps a little strange they are not more common (cost does play a factor).  They have only been becoming reasonably common in some tools in the past 5 years or so.  Perhaps why they are so good is still not really appreciated.

In simple terms, a canned motor (or brushed) has a rotor at the centre which is an electromagnet.  Power has to get to that electromagnet, which is done via ‘brushes’ that brush against contacts on the rotating body.  Around the outside is the stator, made up of permanent magnets.  (Stator => Static/stationary is how I remember it.  Rotor => rotating)

Brushed Motor

Brushed Motor

The brushes are rubbing continuously on the core (the rotor) (at a point called the commutator fwiw).  Brushes wear, there is friction, heat.  A typical brushed motor is around 50% efficient, even down to 30% on smaller motors.  That means an 18V brushed motor power tool (if looking at cordless versions for a sec) is getting 9V worth of power from the motor. (Even as low as 5.5V)

Triton Router Brush

Triton Router Brush

Triton Rotor (image from

Triton Stator (image from - static electromagnets typically replace the permanent magnets in AC motors

Triton Stator (image from – static electromagnets typically replace the permanent magnets in AC motors

A brushless motor swaps the operation of the rotor and stator.  The rotor is now a permanent magnet, and the stator is the electromagnet.  As it is not rotating, getting electricity to it is easy – no brushes required.

Brushless Motor

Brushless Motor

Electronics control the switching on and off of each electromagnet around the stator, causing the rotor to, well, rotate.

A brushless motor is around 70% efficient, so in the same cordless scenario above, a 13V tool as a cordless model is about the same power as a good 18V brushed motor one.   So, for example, you take my 14.4V Festool brushless impact driver that I got from Ideal Tools recently, and put it up against an 18V cordless model (with a brushed motor (Hitachi, Milwaukee etc etc)), and the Festool is going to kick its butt 🙂  Not that Festool are the only brand with brushless motors, both the aforementioned brands also have brushless versions – but it is definitely worth making sure that the tool you are buying does. And the brushless aspect makes a lot more difference than the battery voltage as you can see.  Once you have electronic control in the tool, you can do all sorts of other smart things, like Festool’s ECS controls not only the motor’s speed, but also provides overload protection and controls the electronic clutch to boot.

Even in a corded model, you are looking at less wear, a lighter tool (for the same power), a quieter motor, and electronic controls of other functions.

Brushless vs Brushed

Brushless vs Brushed

One is spinning as freely as possible, (you still have bearings etc in both types of course).  The other is like driving with the handbrake on.

The Mezzanine

Took the opportunity (and the willing participation of my FIL), to make some progress on the mezzanine floor.

Dennis (one of the site regulars) and I tried a few combinations with the attic stairs yesterday, unfortunately finding it a little trickier than expected, and took them down again.

So last night I used some 90x45s to box around the outside of the stairs’ frame, then took down the two flooring beams that the stairs will attach to, and reversed the process, attaching the beams to the stairs on the ground, rather than in situ.  A few bugle-headed hex bolts today to really lock the whole structure together, and we raised it all up back into position, and screwed it all down in place.

Much easier, and a really good outcome.  The stairs (almost) reach the ground – so much closer than I possibly expected, and it will only need a small step (about 50mm high) under the bottom of the ladder for the lower legs to rest on.

Photo 25-01-2014 17 44 08 Photo 25-01-2014 17 43 58

With the stairs in place, access to the mezzanine becomes significantly easier.  We then started on the laying of the redtongue.  Rather than just going with the sheets simply going between the end beams (conveniently the same distance apart as the boards are long – 3600), we are instead maximising the floor area, and with some short vertical panels, separating the mezzanine from the lower section completely.

This requires every sheet being cut down in length, so it stops midway on one beam, and leaving 3 beams (including the half-beam) for a shorter section to finish off and sit fully stabilised across all 3.  These are alternating left and right.  It does mean I am short two sheets of redtongue now.  It also means I am making more use of the Triton Circular Saw freehand than I think I ever have before.  Heavy, powerful, good on the plunge cut.  Still, I’d prefer if I had a Festool circ saw and a rail.

The first section needed some significant tailoring to fit it in among the combination of posts, and electrical conduit.  With the first piece down (and the silver builders paper underneath), it did get easier, but still it took a lot longer than expected.  We only ended up 1/2 way across the floor before having to stop for the day.  Still, a good start.

Photo 25-01-2014 17 46 43 Photo 25-01-2014 18 18 20

The Festool Ti15 has been getting a good workout in all this – has been really beneficial.

I don’t have any of the Centrotec bits though, and it is obvious this is a ploy used by Festool, as normal bits are not positively retained and fall out often, which becomes frustrating.

Photo 25-01-2014 17 46 56

The first view out the mezzanine window.Photo 25-01-2014 17 44 27

And the workshop floor gets its first real taste of sawdust.

SSYTC064 SpinChill

It may not be woodworking, but we all enjoy a cold beverage of some description, and we have all been stuck on occasion wanting it cold a lot faster than conventional methods will allow.

Here is a quick look at a way of using a power tool (drill) and a bucket of ice, along with a Spin Chill bit (from who I found through Kickstarter (crowd funding)) to get a bottle or can to drinking temperature in 60 seconds.

%d bloggers like this: