Episode 111 Nova Infinity Chuck and Jaw upgrade

Upgradeable technology- the DVR advantage

Normally when you buy a lathe (or drill press), you look at the features, make your choice and that is it- they are the features your tool will have for the remainder of its life.

You normally would expect those features to be static, ‘locked in’ as it were. Fundamental things like torque, but also the operator interface as well, preset speeds, how you can change speeds, safety features (such as chisel dig-in detection) etc.

Not so with a DVR lathe from Teknatool. I was not aware of it, but there was an older version of the DVR lathe that didn’t have some features of the current machines, and an owner of an older one could be left wishing their machine had more of the features of the current machine. Instead of replacing the lathe with a newer model, a DVR owner can simply upgrade the control board to get the higher torque, the safety features and the variable speed selection by replacing the “plug’n’play” computer control board.

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Not that I need to at the moment, as my DVR lathe has all the current features, but it is great to know that if (or rather when), Teknatool come up with smarter ways to implement the onboard DVR technology, and add software improvements (as well), that existing owners are not left behind. They can choose to purchase the upgraded control board.

That is a pretty cool concept!
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Episode 98 Upgrading Jaws to Nova Infinity

Episode 98 Upgrading Jaws to Nova Infinity

Episode 97 Upgrading the SuperNova2 to Infinity

Episode 97 Upgrading the original SuperNova2 to be a SuperNova2 Infinity chuck, with quick-change jaws

Metric? We can get it in METRIC now?!!!!

ROCKIN’!!

What am I talking about? Incra. The Incra LS Positioner is now available in a metric version, and for people in countries that primarily use a metric system, being able to get what I consider the best router fence out there in a metric version just makes the best system even better.

The big reason why it has historically only been available as an imperial version is until now the router bits have also only been imperial, and where it comes to dovetails, that is critical.  What has happened (and I’d be very surprised if the lines of communication between the two hasn’t been strongly encouraged by Grahame of PWS), is Whiteside in the US have produced a complementing set of metric router bits (straight and dovetail), and the rest is history.

So what does this mean with respect to the Positioner?  It can now work with 0.05mm increments of position (and although you can set 1/2 points between these and get 0.025mm accuracy (which is insanely accurate, equivalent to 1/1000″, and well beyond what is needed in normal woodworking….but nice that a machine is so accurate that it can achieve that level of precision)).

If you already own an imperial 17″ or 32″ LS Positioner, you are not left out – upgrade kits are arriving (tomorrow?) for existing owners who want to transition across, costing $199 (ok, $200) for the 17″ version.  These are only currently available in Australia from Professional Woodworkers Supplies (and they are (afaik) the first offering the transition kit worldwide.)  The upgrade kit replaces the Lead Screw, microadjuster, and all the rules with metric ones.  If you have purchased your LS Positioner from Professional Woodworkers Supplies then you’ll be contacted in the next day or so with a special upgrade deal.  The upgrade to metric takes about 30 minutes or so.

It also means there is no need to maintain any of the other Incra tools (such as the stops etc) in an imperial version either – all can now become metric.

Of course this does mean you also need the metric router bits, and if (like me), you already have a full set of dovetail bits, (and I’m not sure if this also impacts my hingecrafter and associated bits) then they need to be replaced as well.  But not having to continuously work in an unfamiliar measuring system (or worse, constantly translating between the two) is VERY attractive!  And if you have been put off buying the best fence system there is because of that annoying measuring system, then procrastinate no longer.  (And no, I’m not having a go at imperial measurements, it is just very hard to work with if you have grown up in a metric world).

So what do you think? Tempted? Can’t wait to upgrade (or finally get an LS Positioner)? Or think you’d might as well stay with the imperial?

I know what I’d like to do.  If my brain was 20 years younger, I’d probably be able to cope with the mental acrobatics required to constantly work in both formats (and dare I say, if I was 20 years older, then I’d have grown up with an imperial system), but as it is, it just doesn’t click for me.

What is 2&3/32 divided into 3 equal parts?  Dunno – where’s a calculator!  But what is 54mm divided into 3? 18mm.  Add 3mm, then shave off 0.5mm? 20.5mm

Can’t do that for the imperial – still working out the original question! In all seriousness, the fact my current LS Positioner is in imperial may be a big contributing factor why I haven’t gotten dovetailing on the Incra worked out.  Just can’t get my head around the imperial.

Tacking on a Laser

In recent times, it has become quite a fad to take a tool and whack a laser into it as if that will make it a better tool.  For some tools, this is just plain silly – a jigsaw with a laser for example makes a mockery of a potentially quality tool.  Some tools (like jigsaws, bandsaws etc) track (cut at an angle) – that is their nature, and there are a variety of reasons why that is so.  What it means though is they will never follow a laserline, so it is pointless having one.

However, and this is a big HOWEVER!, there are tools that can really benefit from the use of a laser to not so much improve their accuracy (although this can be the case) but to significantly improve their ease of use.  The drill press is definitely a tool that falls into this category.  Of course, you don’t need a laser to make accurate use of the tool – I’m certainly not claiming that, but I had a job just recently where I wished I had a laser positioner on the drill press.  I was using a forstner bit, and I wanted it to be precisely centred on a mark, and in the end I had to guess that I was close enough.  I’d rather not have to guess!

Now you don’t have to go out and buy a new drill press (and really, there are not many that come with a built-in laser).  Instead, there is a very easy retro-fit that takes a whole 15 minutes to accurately fit and align. The unit comes from Professional Woodworkers Supplies and costs $140.  It is powered by a single 9v battery.

Now I know that all sound like a typical sales review, but I do know there is a lot of resistance out there in certain corners to lasers in woodworking, and the inappropriate implementation in some instances has tainted the technology in other areas, so I wanted to justify the viewpoint.

Laser Kit Components

Laser Kit Components

The kit comes with the laser module, a couple of different size hose clamps (for different size drill press posts), a hex key, an alignment bar, and some easy-to-follow instructions.

Fitting the Hose Clamp

Fitting the Hose Clamp

The hose clamp feeds through a couple of slots in the back of the unit, the V shape of the unit means it centres on the drill press post when the clamp is tightened.

The two lasers are adjustable to ensure they are vertical, and also so they meet at a specific point.

Laser Mounted to Drill Press Post

Laser Mounted to Drill Press Post

Laser mounted.  It is completely out of the way, so will not interfere with drill press operation when the laser is not required, and the retro-fit is completely reversable.

Laser in Operation

Laser in Operation

It’s a bit hard to see in the photo (the camera doesn’t see the laser as easily as the eye), but the laser is now centred directly below the centrepoint of the drill chuck.  In this photo, you can also see the alignment bar mounted in the chuck.  It has a vertical slot cut for the first part of the laser alignment, and then the end point of the bar is used to mark a point that the lasers are aligned so they cross precisely at that point.

Total operation, including laser alignment was only 15 minutes (and that included following the laser alignment instructions and taking the photos!)

It is not something I will use for every hole, but it is going to be indespensible when I do need it and who know, I may find that I start using it every time I use the drill press!

A better sander

The sanding disk on my 2 in 1 Triton sander was getting quickly worse, with little sanding and more burning, no matter how often I tried the reconditioning rubber stick trick.

The cutting ability of the sanding disk had finally been exhausted – it was blunt.  Given that it was silicon carbide, which chips revealing new cutting edges, it means it had pretty much run out of carbide altogether.

Now before applying a new disk, you have to completely clean off all the glue from the old one, and given this glue is strong and gunky, I really don’t relish the task (and thus why the disk was so far gone).

So instead of having to do this more than once, I decided to upgrade the tool at the same time, with a velcro disk (yes, it actually is velcro) from Carbatec.  It is a pretty low cost fix, and will save a lot of grievance in the future.  Velcro can’t take the same level of heat abuse from oversanding (or rather overpressure during the sanding), so I’m going to have to use it without abusing it, but that isn’t such a bad thing.

Removing original disk

Removing original disk

Step 1 was removing the original disk that had expired and clean all the residual glue off.  It was as much fun as I expected.

Attached Velcro Surface

Attached Velcro Surface

Step 2 The velcro disk is attached.  In this case it was an 8″ disk – cost $18 from Carbatec.

New Silicon Carbide Disk Attached

New Silicon Carbide Disk Attached

New carbide disk attached – cost $5.50.  In this case it is an 80 grit, but there is obviously a whole range available, and easily swappable now with the velcro backing.

2 in 1 back in service

2 in 1 back in service

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