Triton WX7

At the IWF in the USA, the new Triton workcentre has finally been seen in the wild.

I have the catalogue for 2015 around here somewhere, but it is always better to see a product in action.

The original replacement for the Workcentre 2000 (which this is based on) was originally slated to come out around 2004 or 5 or so.  So about 10 years or so late?  Is it too late, with all the cheap cast iron topped tablesaws now available for a comparable price, or is there something here that appeals over a fixed platform?

WX7 – The Triton Workcentre gets an upgrade

The Triton Workcentre 2000 was launched back in about 1997 or 98 or so (sure someone can confirm more accurately).  I used to have a poster of the Triton timeline that’d confirm some of the dates.

The name was somewhat unfortunate in hindsight.  Having the product named for the millennium meant it became increasingly obvious how old the design was, with people in 2002, 2003 and on wondering if they should buy the 2000, or if another was being released soon.

Funny thing is, a new design was on the drawing board at the time, but the decision to develop the new version beyond the blueprint phase was delayed and cancelled by successive owners of the Triton brand.

The design had an extruded aluminium top, a full mitre slot, and drop-in induction motors.

1 1/2 decades later, and that design has finally been dusted off, revamped, developed, then turned into a new product – the latest version of the Triton Workcentre, the WX7.

There is also a full redevelopment of the Router Table, and an impressive new version has been produced.  Due to the market early 2015.

In the meantime, check out this video compiled from shots from the 2014 International Hardware Fair in Colonge.  It shows not only the new WX7 Workcentre, the new Router Table, but also a bunch of powertools that are being released (some already available)

There are 20V 4AH system tools, including a drill/driver, a combo hammer drill and a 160Nm Impact Driver.

Alongside a reciprocating saw, right angle drill, oscillating multi tool, and a geared eccentric orbit sander.

Some of the other products already available are strangely familiar.  Such as the 180mm power planer. (And the unlimited rebate planer).

TPL180_med_TPL180_Primary_Image

Why does that look so familiar?

Could it be that I have seen it back in August 2008, and still have it sitting in my workshop, coloured blue, but with GMC on the side? Even down to the “magnesium” embossed signage on the side cover and base plate. They still cannot seem to escape that unfortunate association with GMC.

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The T12 drill also bothers me – the Triton drill had one really unique feature that stood it out from the crowd – the plunge mechanism built into the drill.  And despite a strange look, that was the best feature of the drill, which after all is one of dozens on the market.

The T12 has done away with that. T12TP_med_T12TP

The 20V version has a bigger battery, and also follows the Hitachi design concept – if you don’t think it would look out of place in the hands of a Cylon Centurion, you are on the right track. Interesting idea.  Not a design route I’d choose personally, either for tools I was designing, or ones I was planning to add to my workshop, but to each his own.

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Check out the latest catalogue here (but no mention as yet in there of the WX7 or new Router Table)

 

Some Torque Details

Some more views of the Torque, now that it is all assembled and functional. Looking forward to a chance to really start putting the machine through its paces, but even the first 2 jobs (both for the recent toy kitchens), had me approaching traditional problems from a brand new direction (and no, that isn’t a reference to “overhead”, but of course that is the literal truth!)

Rear View of Y-Axis Rail

The machine is built heavy – at no stage do you feel any component has been scaled down to save on materials cost. The castings are heavy, the bearings are large, the members are solid and have no chance to incur sag, twist, or bend. The horizontal (Y-axis) beam has the tool carriage mounted on it, running on 8 substantial bearings on an electroplated arm. The black knob locks the carriage, so only x-axis travel will then occur (or rotation around the z-axis, if that is what the job requires). (Also, not counting the router plunge, which is obviously a movement in the z-axis) The z-axis movement is primarily the rack gearing that can be seen, and it is locked in position with the twist of the plunge arm. There is also a major movement of the z-axis with the threaded raising and lowering of the main arm, but that is not a movement that will be done during a cut, whereas the x, y and on-carriage z-axis movements are all directions that can be utilised during a cut.

Main Tool Control Mechanism

This is the y-axis arm from the other side, and here you can see the z-axis mechanism – the plate and bearings. One thing that strikes you is bearings everywhere on this tool – if something is designed to move, it is running on bearings, and few bearings are mounted flat – most are angled to the direction of load, so controlling and locking movement, and not just providing a smooth ride. The router mount specifically for Triton is still being manufactured which is why the Triton is still sitting on the original mounting plate, held in the circular saw attachment.

Z-Axis Mechanism

The z-axis beam is even heavier than the y-axis – it has to resist a significant bending moment. Still has the solid cast components, and electroplated beam. You can also see in this image the lock that allows the y-axis beam to rotate, setting the tool to angles other than just straight up and down. This is normal for radial arm saws and some drill presses, and now also for routers as well.

Critical Arm Balance Mechanism

Under the table is the main support arm. It serves a couple of purposes, carrying the beam that supports the end of the y-axis beam, but also the bearings are carrying a load to ensure the upright remains upright, despite the significant bending moment caused by having a heavy tool operate at the end of the y-axis beam. The knob and rod are actually the x-axis brake.

Copy Attachment and Pin Routing Point

An optional addition is the copy attachment. In many situations this provides significant control over the tool – with two hand grips, and will be very useful whether the copy rod is deployed or not. It is still quickly and easily removed if not required. It also provides a convenient allen key storage (a Lazy Larry solution)

In the MDF, you can just see the metal sleeve inserted that takes the pin routing guide. Again, very easy to deploy when required.

Router Table Section with Incra Positioner and MagSwitch

At the right-end of the table, I have still retained a traditional router table…….. cast iron, inset router lift with digital height readout, Incra fence with 1/1000th inch positioning. And MagSwitch of course. If it wasn’t for MagSwitch, I wouldn’t have bothered retaining a cast iron top. But the MagSwitch technology is just too good to pass up, and I want it’s ease of placement anywhere I want it, the safety of featherboards for horizontal and vertical material restraint, and of course any other jig I decide to create, with the use of MagJigs to hold them in place. One such example is the commercially available Woodpeckers Freehand Router Guard, which I have added an additional base to with 40mm holes to take a couple of MagJigs. So easy to place when needed, it actually gets used. Safety equipment is only useful when you use it, and having a method of making using it as painless as possible is never a bad thing.

Freehand Router Table Guard w MagJigs

Is this it? Have I finally achieved (through an amalgamation of quality products) The Ultimate Router Table? It certainly can’t compete with some out there for aesthetics, but where it comes to functionality, I think I am pretty safe to say there would be few tables out there that have more than one with the overhead capabilities afforded by the Torque Workcentre, a solid cast-iron router table that has an Incra LS Positioner and Wonderfence, a Woodpeckers Router Lift, and because of the cast iron, can utilise the awesome MagSwitch technology. It is going to be really interesting over the next while, really putting this machine through its paces. About the only thing it seems to be missing is CNC, and with the potential future edition of Wixey positioning readouts, even that will close the gap significantly.

The Phoenix is Arising!

I have it on expert authority (and I will protect my sources here) that some of the Triton range is now back in production, with the remainder of the manufactured range (as opposed to power tools (I don’t have a source of information on those)) being bought back on line in the near future.

As has been know for quite a while, Diver Consolidated Industries (DCI) in northern Melbourne were tooling up to take over production from the aging Triton plant in Cheltenham, and they are now in production mode.

See the ABC Inside Business Program of June 14th 2009

DCI from all reports is a very high quality manufacturer who have been producing parts for the automotive industry for 60 years, and who are now the new home for the manufacture of Triton. They are an Australian manufacturer, and what’s more are bringing back onshore some of the production that had been outsourced to China (and elsewhere?), and you know how I feel about local manufacturing!  I so hope that this means we will once again see Australian made Superjaws and Multistands – they should have NEVER left Aussie shores!

DCI have 3rd party quality accreditation, and are going over every aspect of the manufacturing of the products to address any concerns that previously existed with the range.

Please don’t send me your lists (yet), but they will be wanting feedback from existing owners about what quality concerns you have, and what spares you want to see (as a priority).  Certainly start composing an answer to that question, but I will let you know when (and where) that information is needed.  I don’t have any way of sourcing spares, so please don’t ask! (I know there is a lot of orange tools out there hurting at the moment waiting for spares to once again become available – at least be assured that their availability is much more certain now that it ever has been over the past, long, 12 months!

At this stage I can tell you that the Workcentre, Router Table, Powered Saw Table, Finger Jointer and Dust Buckets are all in production. When they will be available on the Australian market is yet to be determined, as is how they will be distributed.  But keep your ears open for news in the coming weeks.

I will certainly be interested in supporting the products again through Stu’s Shed, be that training videos, product reviews, and if I can add them to my “Store” I will do that too.

Best news out of all this (in addition to that it is happening at all), is that the manufacturing is back fully in Australian hands where the users can directly input into the manufacturing where there are issues, and improvements that can be made, and a company with a solid quality assurance program, who is willing to listen and make product improvements is handling the manufacturing.

The name is still Triton, the product is still orange, and it is still going to be proudly Australian Made!! YOU BLOODY RIPPER!!

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