More Zero Clearance Inserts

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Project by Ger21 posted 11-19-2009 02:43 AM 3654 views 9 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I see a lot of these posted here, so it seemed like a good first project to post. :)

Made these for my Unisaw on my home built CNC router from 3/4” MDF. They have nylon setscrews for leveling. The bottom is routed to clear a full width dado blade. I can set them in place and level them before actually having to cut into them. I’ve had my Unisaw for about 12 years now, and these are the first inserts I’ve made. I’ll probably make another dozen this weekend, which should last quite a long time.

-- Gerry,

22 comments so far

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13347 posts in 2710 days

#1 posted 11-19-2009 03:00 AM

Nice inserts.

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3025 days

#2 posted 11-19-2009 03:26 AM

Great looking inserts!

One question though. If you made them with your CNC, why didn’t you cut away all the area leaving four pads the exact right thickness for your table. It would have saved you some nylon screws.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View CanalboatJim's profile


197 posts in 2542 days

#3 posted 11-19-2009 03:27 AM

Great inserts. I’d like to hear more about your homebuilt CNC router.

-- Jim Westbrooks

View Ger21's profile


692 posts in 2168 days

#4 posted 11-19-2009 03:49 AM

Trying to get the exact depth can be quite tedious. It’s much easier to just use the leveling screws. They only cost $0.25 per insert.

-- Gerry,

View Joedcatman's profile


172 posts in 2152 days

#5 posted 11-19-2009 03:54 AM

Pressed wood swells and shrinks according to moisture content so leveling is required with the material that wouldn’t otherwise be needed on a finished solid wood or plastic insert. They look great but if you require that level of accuracy in leveling, you might want to spend a bit and get yourself some melamine stock.

Just my two cents worth.

-- JoeR Nothing that I could make will ever be perfect but I'll use it anyway.

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 2271 days

#6 posted 11-19-2009 05:00 AM

Cool, i second the more info on the cnc.

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View SPalm's profile


5174 posts in 2919 days

#7 posted 11-19-2009 02:59 PM

Hey Gerry, long time no talk. Welcome to LJs.

I am surprised that these are not epoxy coated to control shrinkage.

To be continued,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View pscholz's profile


10 posts in 2153 days

#8 posted 11-19-2009 05:34 PM

I built myself a stack of these for my steel city granite top cabinet saw and love how they work.

nice job

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12253 posts in 2194 days

#9 posted 11-26-2009 08:20 AM

can never have enough zero clearance inserts lying around… made mine out of some scrap maple from a previous project… work great…
I like the thought of building some from MDF… cheap and easy and best of all, have lots lying around already…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View papadan's profile


1157 posts in 2405 days

#10 posted 11-26-2009 03:15 PM

My inserts are only 5/16” thick, I use scraps of laminate flooring to make them.

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View kimnick's profile


8 posts in 2342 days

#11 posted 11-27-2009 05:04 PM

nice. cnc nice. what about inserts to use with a 45 degree blade tilt?. ideas on how to make them without the cnc?

View papadan's profile


1157 posts in 2405 days

#12 posted 11-27-2009 06:01 PM

Kimnick, here is a tutorial on how I make them for my saw.

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

View a1Jim's profile


113725 posts in 2614 days

#13 posted 11-27-2009 07:06 PM

Wow Gerry you should have a life time supply.
Nice tutorial Dan

-- Custom furniture

View Ger21's profile


692 posts in 2168 days

#14 posted 12-15-2009 07:38 PM

Been selling these on Ebay. Added a photo of the latest batch.

-- Gerry,

View Ger21's profile


692 posts in 2168 days

#15 posted 12-18-2009 07:36 PM

1) They can prevent or minimize chipping on the bottom of a cut by supporting the work right up to the blade. Similar to backing up a part before crosscutting to prevent chipping.

2) They prevent small cutoff pieces from falling into the saw, which can be a safety hazard.

3) Try using a dado blade on the standard plate.

-- Gerry,

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