This has been on the list for awhile now. I’ve built ZCI’s in the past from Oak and Masonite but overtime they have issues. I got my hands on a Leecraft ZCI for my Craftsman 113 TS and was blown away at how nice it was. So all the design credit here goes to Leecraft, here’s a picture:
The Leecraft doesn’t use the front hold down screw that comes standard on this saw, rather, they use 2 horizontal screws (one in front and one on the right side). You tweak these screws to get just the right fit in the opening. They also use the 4 set screws to adjust the height.
My LJ buddy William has been using Corian for different stuff and he was gracious enough to give me a stack of rough cut pieces:
First step was cutting the corners off and then flush trimming using the Leecraft as a template:
This is a REALLY messy process…..You must where a mask!! I did capture most of the dust even though the photos would suggest different…..
Next up is drilling the holes for the horizontal screws – I used 8/32” countersunk screws, so you first drill the small hole to be threaded, then follow with a larger hole so the screw head will have clearance once you machine away some material later. You may have to study the photos down the line to understand:
Then I drilled a tapped the 4 holes for the set screws:
Also used a 1/2” spiral bit to carve a relief for the blade on the bottom of the insert. This also provides clearance if you run a stabilizer on your saw blade. In hindsight, not sure I would carve this deep on future versions. In order for the blade to clear the insert prior to cutting it through it, there is only about 0.060” left. That’s a little thin! I would still cut the relief in the bottom, but not as deep, then use an 8” dado blade to start the cut, when cutting through…..Make sense?
I set up a homemade pin router on the router table. It use’s a 1/2” spiral bit with a 1/2” steel pin fixed above. This allows tracing the Leecraft insert (underside) exactly:
A couple of things to note here – the Corian is 1/16” thinner than the Leecraft so you can’t set the bit height from the Leecraft – you need to check it and make some test cuts. The dust collection works much better here from below the table. Just take it slow….takes 10-15 minutes to cut these shapes.
There is a locking feature at the back of the insert and I used a pull saw and chisel to open this up:
This is a bit over the top, but used the mini CNC to carve the intended purpose in the bottom of the inserts:
The Corian is brittle, so I covered the entire insert with a tubafore before cutting through, and clamped it all down of course.
One of the problems with the 113 saws is the inserts are not really long enough to put a splitter in them safely, so I am going to have an insert (with a splitter) for cuts up to 1-1/4” and will have to switch out for an insert (without a splitter) for taller cuts.
For cutting the 1-14” insert, you need to count the number of turns when raising the blade….
I found these Grip-Tite splitters on Incra’s website (Incremental.com) for really cheap ($8?) so going to give them a try. Includes both thin and full kerf in the same package:
I built four of them, plus have the Leecraft, so hope they last awhile….I did read a tip online somewhere that said when the insert starts to open up from blade drift or deflection, you seal the top with tape and pour epoxy in the bottom and start over again…..I will be trying that some day.
An interesting challenge…...thanks for looking.
-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA