Put on your thinking bonnet, because this is all interrelated stuff. If this seems complex, it is, mostly because there are contingencies based on performance, and I built my sled with these things in mind. Things like splitters have nothing to do with the sled.
1) Splitter. I have ordered Incra microsplitters, the ones with a metal skeleton, and they are in the mail. That will be my splitter solution. I agonized over this a long time, but if I don’t like something about them….....I will engineer something better along the same lines and build them….....many virtues to having a ZCI (zero clearance insert) mounted splitter…...(-: ZCI’s are a snap to make, and modify. Thanks to the reviews on LJ’s about this splitter.
2) Guards. Guards are high on my list of essentials. I never do a rip without one. Never. But I used that sled without a guard, because I am not using it in production mode, and they have a much better safety profile. Much like my radial arm saw.
But the sled will get a guard, most likely a three sided guard that will be pretty safe, and will tend to trap dust.
Now comes the complexity because there are contingencies.
I am going to build a guard for when I am not using the sled that is an overhead mobile guard, meaning multiple mounting points. If my new idea works it will not need dust control integrated with it. With 2 or more mounting points, and there are a bunch of designs out there describing how to make it sit in place. Like my lamps on my central pillar, you do not need an extremely robust mounting system, because you can place it on a different mount that doesn’t interfere with the workpiece, and it does not need a long reach.
3) Dust control. With a contractors saw there is this large open area in back. How to control dust?.........make a containment box…......and that is my secret weapon…......the outfeed table, or better put, the outfeed cabinet. It will work even with miter cuts. And be a detachable part of the overall TS cabinet, the TS cabinet will also include a router table in the extension. So with dust contained, including revisions to the other slots in the main TS cabinet, there will be a strong negative pressure in the saw cabinet, at least with my DC, which I find pretty impressive for what I paid for it.
So once you have strong negative pressure, how to use it to collect the dust near the blade.
Any dust coming through the kerf in the ZCI will of course be trapped. And here is the thought….......
Why not a dust port in the ZCI, which should probably be a slot?
Lot of wasted space on that ZCI. If you are using an overhead guard it will contain the air flow, and perhaps (the contingency) trap the dust. Same with the sled. You don’t need a full slot in the sled, just a series of holes, which, as they pass over the ZCI will become subject to the suction.
4) Sled Availability. I narrowed my sled to 44 inches, it was designed at 48 inches. 48 inches is awkward, if you are trying to house it, because about 48 inches is a good cabinet size looking at sheet goods. So I cut it back.
I am going to house the sled in the outfeed table, with a pivoting sub-cabinet that makes it line up with the TS and you pull it out, hence it needed to be narrower.
I want the turn over to be about 30 seconds with minimal physical effort to change from normal to sled usage.
And all this will be the subject of an LJ Mentored Project that ought to create a lot of interest and input.
I sure hope this creates some interest, because I am sure I am going to need your help….....
-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska