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DIY Table Saw Fence #1: Table Saw Fence

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Blog entry by Hutch posted 2323 days ago 153980 reads 162 times favorited 233 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of DIY Table Saw Fence series Part 2: Wixey Digital Guage »

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.

-- Hutch ...Montana ___ Life is a mystery to live, not a problem to solve! ___



233 comments so far

View pastor_shane's profile

pastor_shane

30 posts in 2325 days


#1 posted 2323 days ago

Nice fence system…In the end was it still cheaper than an after market fence? and secondly does it have some kind of scale?

-- Shane, Guttenberg, Iowa

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4435 posts in 2465 days


#2 posted 2323 days ago

I’ve never heard of this system. It certainly looks massive. Interesting. Is there a way to set up a fence rule?

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Sawdust2's profile

Sawdust2

1468 posts in 2590 days


#3 posted 2323 days ago

You know what?

I think that is at least as good as what you can buy on the market.

Really nice and sort of thinking outside the box.

-- No piece is cut too short. It was meant for a smaller project.

View Hutch's profile

Hutch

118 posts in 2400 days


#4 posted 2323 days ago

Yes, it was quite a bit less expensive and I’ll add a fence rule to the top of the rail. I’m also going to make an attachment to the linear bearing that will allow for micro-adjustment of the fence.

Tom, this company just makes aluminum extrusions which are for building things. They don’t really have anything that was designed as a fence system. The top fence is 3X3 and stout, but I don’t think it’s much wider or taller than say a Biesemeyer. I am adding a solid wood face to it. Pretty easy to attach different faces to the fence, sacrificial for dado, etc.

-- Hutch ...Montana ___ Life is a mystery to live, not a problem to solve! ___

View Karson's profile

Karson

34797 posts in 2903 days


#5 posted 2323 days ago

Great looking fence. I believe that someone is selling the Wixley digital sliding scale on sale with the Wixley angle tools as being free.

I thought it was in the $100.00 range with the 39.00 tool free.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View bryce's profile

bryce

10 posts in 2385 days


#6 posted 2323 days ago

You can get some cheap surplus alum extrusions on ebay. The stuff is called 80/20. I was looking at it for building a CNC machine someday.

http://stores.ebay.com/8020-Inc-Garage-Sale

Or else you can order the non surplus from their website or catalog.

http://www.8020.net/

Really cool stuff!

View Karson's profile

Karson

34797 posts in 2903 days


#7 posted 2322 days ago

The Wixey fence is at Woodcraft. $50.00 off and a free 40.00 gift.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View Hutch's profile

Hutch

118 posts in 2400 days


#8 posted 2322 days ago

Thanks Karson, I found it and ordered one this afternoon. I am really loving not having a piece of junk fence and hopefully when set up I’ll be making some very accurate cuts. Thanks again!

-- Hutch ...Montana ___ Life is a mystery to live, not a problem to solve! ___

View Jamie's profile

Jamie

162 posts in 2316 days


#9 posted 2316 days ago

What was the total cost of the fence that you made Hutch? I have been looking at getting either a beisemeyer or clone (Delta T2) for an old Craftsman table saw that I restored. I really like your idea. Does it have any play from front to back?

-- Jamie, Kentucky

View Zepe's profile

Zepe

24 posts in 2316 days


#10 posted 2316 days ago

I just bought a new saw and since it didn’t come with a fence I was searching on line when I came across your project. I love it, you seem to think like I do. I had come up with a design similar to yours a few years ago, but never built it because I didn’t have a decent saw. I had bought a couple of 4 foot pieces of a similar extrusions at a surplus place and ended up using them to build a bridge and trolley arrangement on which I mounted a Dremel tool.

In any event I had thought of using rack and pinions to provide micro adjustment of the fence. My intent was to run a shaft from the from to the back through the center hole (which mine had) of the fence extrusion. There’s a company by the name of PIC Designs at (http://www.pic-design.com/) the makes a whole galaxy of neat parts. If you haven’t, you may want to check them out.

Zepe

View Hutch's profile

Hutch

118 posts in 2400 days


#11 posted 2315 days ago

Zepe,
Thanks. So far I love the fence. I’ve attached an mdf face to it with t-nuts and counter sunk bolts. The bearings which ride in 3 of the grooves are made of UHMW plastic and once adjusted with the allen screws and locked into place with the allen set screws, it has smooth travel from end to end. The brake locks the fence solid, no play at all. Right now I couldn’t be happier with the design and the quality of the bearings and brake that I ordered. It has so many options with multiple t-slots, not just on the fence but on the rails as well.
Thanks to Karson, I ordered the Wixey fence scale and it came in today, so I get to install it tonight!
Let me know if you have any other questions.

-- Hutch ...Montana ___ Life is a mystery to live, not a problem to solve! ___

View Jeff's profile

Jeff

1011 posts in 2596 days


#12 posted 2315 days ago

This is good stuff, Hutch. Thanks to you and Zepe for the links for sources. I’ve been wondering where I was going to find such places. Glad to hear of someone so happy with one of their creations for the shop. Strike one for creativity and frugality.

-- Jeff, St. Paul, MN

View Hutch's profile

Hutch

118 posts in 2400 days


#13 posted 2315 days ago

Thanks Jeff. Can you tell I’m happy with the fence? I was worried that I would have a Frankenstein Fence when I was done with it. So far no torches chasing me though.

-- Hutch ...Montana ___ Life is a mystery to live, not a problem to solve! ___

View Jon Parker's profile

Jon Parker

20 posts in 2313 days


#14 posted 2313 days ago

Hutch – Awesome job! Do you happen to have an exact parts list for Futura Industries, I would like to order and build the same thing!

-- Jon | Rigby, Idaho

View Irwin's profile

Irwin

15 posts in 2306 days


#15 posted 2305 days ago

Hi hutch,

Great project idea! I contacted Futura to get a quote and I’m still contemplating if I’ll purchase a commercial fence like the Accusquare or build this one.

Thanks again for the idea,

Irwin

-- If you're walking on eggs, don't hop!

showing 1 through 15 of 233 comments

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