This is my old tablesaw fence. It is a little hard to see from the photo, but I cracked it trying to “micro-adjust” it. So I started to look for an aftermarket fence, of which there are some really nice ones out there. I just didn’t want to spend quite as much as they were asking because I have a previously owned Central Machinery tablesaw. I also was curious to see if I could come up with my own fence. I was worried about two things with most diy fence systems that I came across in forums and blogs, safety and accuracy. I also don’t weld and didn’t want to get in over my head with that.
The fence systems that use aluminum extrusions kind of caught my eye. So I started to search for companies that I could buy some aluminum rails and fence. I came across a company out of Salt Lake, Futura Industries that manufactures T-slots aluminum extrusions and lots of accessories to be used with them.
So after working with a very helpful sales associate and designer, I ordered two 72” rails that are 1 1/2” square, one 36” fence that is 3” square, two linear bearings (slides for the rails), and one L-handle brake. I also ordered the small hardware needed to both connect the rails to the tablesaw and connect the linear bearings to the fence.
I attached the bearings to the fence and slid the rails into the bearings so they would balance when I sat them on the saw.
I marked and drilled the saw for the holes to mount the rails flat against the face of the saw. The bearings register in the top, bottom, and outside slots of the extrusion, so three bolts and t-nuts on each rail and they were mounted. I plan on making a new left wing and a new right wing that will still be my router table, but will be larger. These new wings will be designed to also attach to the rails for support. I will also order two more pieces of the 1 1/2” square extrustion to attach the outer ends of the rails. These will be used to attach jigs, feather boards, etc. I was surprised at how rigid the rails are. When I was getting the order together, I was thinking about using larger extrusions for the rails, but now I’m glad that I listened to the sales associate and used the size I did.
Here it is mounted and fine tuned. Each linear bearing has adjustment screws so that the fence is parallel and travels well from end to end. This is the point that I let out a big sigh because I realized that this project that I came up with wasn’t unsafe or not accurate. Now I have all kinds of plans for the use of the t-slots in the fence which include jigs and other safety devices.
-- We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give - Winston Churchill