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Workshop Development #4: Permanent floor model equipment moves in, dust collection becomes a higher priority.

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 05-12-2010 05:26 PM 2434 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Starting to fill up, taking up too much space with too little stuff... Part 4 of Workshop Development series Part 5: Bringing us up to speed. Almost to where we are today... »

When we last left off, I had built, what I like to refer to as workshop 1.0. It was up, it was effective, but it wasn’t feature rich and lacked the capacity I wanted. The little Ryobi BTS21 was a good saw for what it was, but it wasn’t what I wanted, I was wanting to start cutting raised panels and the little 1/4” shank Ryobi router wasn’t going to cut it either… I had a lot going on, but lacked a lot as well… Thing were about to change, FAST…

When I put the bench top tools on universal stands and mobile bases, I discovered the extreme limits of the Vermont American drill press jig and got to looking for an honest to goodness real drill press. I had decided on the Ryobi 12” drill press with laser guide. I was literally putting my shoes on to go to Home Depot when on a whim I decided to check Craigslist… I came across a Northern Industrial 16 speed 15 inch floor model 3/4 HP drill press needing some cleaning, and some cosmetic repair (the belt housing was smashed, and it needed paint) listed for $75.00. I called, got to looking at it, tested it out and determined that yes, I could fix this quickly, and easily…. So $75.00 later I had a floor model DP. Some penetrating oil, nylon scrubbers, etc… and some Krylon later, well it doesn’t look brand spanking new, but it works that well. The 3-1/8” throw isn’t the best, but it is FAR better than the Ryobi. Shortly afterwards I bought a second hand Grizzly DP table from a fellow member of BT3Central.com. The Grizz table didn’t hold up to my coastal workshop humidity, but it did serve as an excellent template for a shop made table. And it gave up its hardware for a good cause.

My Craigslist find drill press after some cleaning, and banging the dents out of the pulley guard.

As a late Christmas present to myself for Christmas 2008, in early January 2009 I took a trip to visit another BT3Central member that had bought a big iron saw, and was selling his trusty BT3100. I got a smokin’ deal on the saw, and a LARGE collection of accessories and upgrades. But this saw presented some problems for me dust collection wise… My BTS21 had pretty good dust collection, but it did NOT have any sort of zero clearance insert, and any dust that got missed by the blade shround simply dropped to the floor. The BT3100 had 3 fittings, the factory 2.5”, a 4” belly pan port to catch the stuff that was falling to the floor, and a 2” port on the shark guard up top. The shop vac system would work great on EITHER the blade shroud, OR the Shark Guard, but certainly not on both, nor would it work all that well on the belly pan. A true dust collector was in order… Harbor Freight to the rescue again!

The BT3100, most of the accessories are not visible in this pic...

But let’s back up a bit, I am getting ahead of myself… One of the things the BT brought to the table was the ability to table mount a wider selection of routers, with a better selection of bits than would fit through the top of the old Wolfcraft table. After reading up on what everyone is using and why, then looking at my budget it came down to a choice of 3 routers. The Freud 2-1/4 HP (model since forgotten, but it is the one that was being clearanced last Dec – Jan for $99.00), The Hitachi KM12VC, and the Ridgid R2930. The Porter Cables and all looked nice, but were typically priced above my affordability point… I watched prices go up and down, and pounced on a KM12VC for $122.00 thinking I got a deal… I also snagged the MLCS 66 pc 1/2” shank bit set on sale. Not long after getting my first KM12VC, I decided I really wanted a motor, and fixed base dedicated to my router table, and I wanted to go with the M12VC (KM12VC without the plunger base). But that model was never priced all that well. I mean Reconditioned Sales lists them for a good price, but NEVER has them in stock (I have been watching them for nearly a year and a half now, they have NEVER had them available in the entire time I have been watching this item…). I got lucky with Amazon and struck on a second KM12VC for $99.00! So I had my routers, I had most of my bits, including the stuff I had previously picked up, such as a Skil 30pc set 1/4” shank that was a scratch and dent from Lowes. Bad box, good bits, cheap… And a few molding profiles and panel raising bits from MLCS… I was getting fancier and fancier with my work all the time…

Another feature of the BT3100 is the included router accessory table, and fence brackets. Now the Ryobi fence leaves a LOT to be desired, and so soon after setting it up I built a set of fence faces out of MDF, hardboard, and Rockler T track… I am VERY happy with how these work… So in went the BT, and out went the shop built cart, the Ryobi router, and the Wolfcraft table. (No worries, those, and the BTS21 went to a good friend of mine from college…)

My shop made fence faces, and the fixed base for the KM12VC on the BT3100...

Now back to the dust collection subject. My Shop Vac Sawdust Collection system was starting to have some trouble. The way I had ducted it had too many bends, and long shavings out of the planer would jam it up QUICKLY… I never really liked how I was set up, so I started moving things around, combined with the fact that the BT3100, and band saw were now taking up shop space, I started moving things around, and added, with the sale price and coupon of course, a Harbor Freight 2HP DC, with the Wynn filter of course. I initially went with a Thien baffle in the inlet ring of my DC, but decided I didn’t like the sound of more solid chunks of wood hitting the impeller, and I wanted to get out of changing the lower bag out quite so often, so I built a pre separator based on a plastic 55 gallon drum. Yes it is big, but shavings and sawdust are nice light and fluffy, even with my bad back, it’s no big deal to empty it out. Unless I am working with walnut, I simply up end the thing into my flower boxes. Free mulch! (Which reminds me, I need to redo the mulching on my blueberry bushes!). Now due to the fact that there is still fencing material on the side of the shop I want everything in, my permantent plumbing is just sitting there, waiting to go, including the Lee Valley blast gates, and the pipes. For now, I am simply using a single hose going from machine to machine. The table saw, being a special case, has a single 4” hose that goes to a 4×4x2.5” Wye fitting, that pulls from the blade shroud and belly pan. The shop vac setup pulls from the shark guard. It takes a lot of juice to pull all of that, but it is working pretty well so far! Dust collection using this setup is pretty amazing…

The best pic of the dust collector with the Wynn cartridge I have...

For an air cleaner, I have cobbled together a box fan that has been pretty beaten up and was heading to the trash, found as fine a filtration filter as I could and duct taped it to the back side so that air HAS to go through to get pulled through by the fan blades… So far it has worked fairly well, but is SERIOUSLY ugly… Sorry for the lousy Cell Phone Camera pic…

Simple box fan air cleaner...

In the pic above, you can see the Y fitting going to a 4” belly pan and 2.5” blade shroud. I simply move the hose from 4” connection to 4” connection. So far it has worked well enough for me…

I always loved turning when in High School wood shop, and have been fascinated every time I saw Norm Abram turning for a project. I knew I needed a lathe, and with lathes you need, well there is a hole with no bottom… But I guess I should leave you guys with your appetites whetted for my next installment right?

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com



1 comment so far

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3666 posts in 1831 days


#1 posted 05-16-2010 05:10 PM

As I have said before, I don’t have the time and energy to find used stuff. That, and the limited market here in Alaska makes it difficult. If a used item is not available in Anchorage, then it would be nearly impossible to go look at it. So that leaves me with choices from a town of 250,000. I am sure with patience and luck I could come up with stuff but the trade off would be poor. Energy and time are in short supply here, and energy is more crucial than time.

I am continually amazed at how you have constructed a shop with a relatively small bottom line. This series should be an inspiration to those who cannot see how they would have enough money to put a decent shop. If for no other reason, documenting the development of your shop is important.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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