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New life for my Kreg Jig

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Forum topic by MT_Stringer posted 280 days ago 1945 views 1 time favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MT_Stringer

1798 posts in 1829 days


280 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: jig pocket hole jig

I am slowly gathering parts to modify my Kreg pocket hole jig so it will be much easier and safer for me to operate.

Some of you have probably seen my set up (pics shown below). It works great. I have drilled hundreds of pocket holes with it. But, therein lies a problem. When I am drilling holes in panels such as plywood cabinet members, I have difficulty reaching around or over the panel to operate the clamp. In fact, on more than one occasion, I have scraped my arm. That is not good for a guy with thin blood.

So, in the words of Tim, The Tool Man Taylor “I’m gonna rewire it!” :-)

So far I have purchased a pneumatic operated air cylinder and a foot switch to activate it.

My plan is to mount the cylinder under my current setup, then fabricate the linkage to connect it to the existing clamp. It should be fairly easy to cut the existing handle off and fab up the linkage. I should be able to create the linkage with the flat bar I already have available, the drill press and a hand held grinder.

Plumb up the air lines and I should be good to go. Heck this might turn out to be a finger masher deluxe. :-)

Since the next step up from the manual jig is the Kreg Foreman ($849), I should be able to accomplish my modification for under $100.

So if all goes well, I will have the same old jig with a foot operated clamp. I hope to have it ready to go after the first of the year when we start building cabinets for our kitchen.

I will post some pics of my Frankenjig (part Kreg; part Mikey’s monster). :-)

Disclaimer: I am not an engineer so this will be a trial and error modification.

Here is what I am starting with.

Foot switch

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas


26 replies so far

View crank49's profile

crank49

3337 posts in 1569 days


#1 posted 280 days ago

Before you cut up the Kreg toggle clamp, have you considered removing the toggle clamp and mounting the cylinder directly in the same place.
That would use the air cylinder to do the clamping and eventually you could possibly even have the two methods of clamping interchangeable.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1798 posts in 1829 days


#2 posted 280 days ago

“Before you cut up the Kreg toggle clamp, have you considered removing the toggle clamp and mounting the cylinder directly in the same place.
That would use the air cylinder to do the clamping and eventually you could possibly even have the two methods of clamping interchangeable.”

Hmmm…no, I haven’t. I’ll take a good close look at it. That might be an easier conversion…and no linkage required.
Thanks.
Mike

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View DIYaholic's profile

DIYaholic

12900 posts in 1273 days


#3 posted 280 days ago

Now that you have peaked my interest….
I feel a picture heavy blog tutorial is due!!!
please….
Please….
PLEASE….

PLEASE!!!

Good luck with the “Tim Taylorization” rewiring!!!

-- Randy-- I may not be good...but I am slow! If good things come to those who wait.... Why is procratination a bad thing?

View crank49's profile

crank49

3337 posts in 1569 days


#4 posted 280 days ago

I can’t tell how big your cylinder is from the photo, but if it’s about 1 1/4” bore (a guess) it would have a clamping force of about 110 lbs with a 90 PSI of shop air. That might be a little light. But, like I said, I can’t tell what bore you have.

Also, you might need a flow control to keep it from slamming into and denting your work piece.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View dahenley's profile

dahenley

125 posts in 691 days


#5 posted 280 days ago

when i worked in the oilfield and manufactured parts, we used air cylinders like what you have (but a little bigger)
and we installed springs on the inside of one side. that way you only have to hit with air to move it, and when the air is off, it springs back (so you dont need 2 switches.)

just put a plug in the other hole and drill a small 1/8 drill bit in the plug so when you hit it will X pressure, it doesnt just pop forward at 100%. it slows it because its a restriction. (it will take 1 sec to actuate verses a fraction of a second) but once its actuated, it has 100% pressure so it wont go anywhere.

-- David Henley

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1798 posts in 1829 days


#6 posted 280 days ago

@Crank – 2 inch bore w/ 1 inch stroke w/power factor of 3.1. I will make sure to keep my fingers clear.
It just so happens that I have a piece of 1/4 inch aluminum flat bar 3 inches wide left over from another project. I might be able to mount the whole thing on it and attach the plate to the Kreg base. Maybe. I’ll have to take some measurements.

Thanks for the suggestions. You guys are great.

Note: I have been on Frightprops checking out their parts and watching their videos. All I need is a front mount to go with the rear mount that is in the mail and some fittings for the air lines.

Getting excited.
Mike

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View realcowtown_eric's profile

realcowtown_eric

288 posts in 535 days


#7 posted 280 days ago

total overkill methinks. the kreg/destablo clamps are utilized in moderate production jigs

unless you do this all day most days.

Just my thoughts….I like my jigs and solutions to problems, why not use a vacuum clamp?you wouldn’t even have to set the panel upright in the vice assembly? Hmm gonna scope that solution out myself!

And ibid the comments about keeping fingers clear if you go that air route

Eric

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View Handtooler's profile

Handtooler

1054 posts in 730 days


#8 posted 280 days ago

Very interesting! ALL coments are bringing knowledge to the forefront for this ole F**T. I’ve seen the restricted air flow used before and seen how it actuates the piston more slowly but gives total extension and pressure at the end of the stroke but didn’t quite understand how it worked or what applications it might apply to. and Mikes problematic application has been experienced by me and I gave up on trying pocket holes. Careful KREG will patent your work and make a fortune.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343 bassboy40@msn.com

View WhoMe's profile

WhoMe

1078 posts in 1841 days


#9 posted 280 days ago

Btw, kreg just came out with a ” New and improved” version.
The clamp is ratcheted, the handle is on the same side you drill from and it has 2 detatchable wings that add support on the right and left of the drill fixture. It seems to be priced the same as the previous high end kit. Because the handle has been relocated, there I no place to put a clamp to temporarily clamp the fixture to a bench.
My local rockler has been selling them for almost a month.
Something to look at for possible design ideas.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies and the wall gets in the way.. - Mike -

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1798 posts in 1829 days


#10 posted 279 days ago

Thanks for the input. I need to check out the restricted air flow principle.

@Eric – not overkill for me. The last set of five cabinets we built, I drilled almost 100 pocket holes, and that doesn’t include the holes drilled for the face frames. I clamped my sled to the table saw. My wife operated the clamp. She would clamp, I would drill. She would release the clamp, I would reposition the panel. We make a good team.

I am writing a blog about it.

@whome – I have seen the new model. Not interested. I like mine just fine except for the clamp position. My modifications will make me more productive.

For now, I need to build some drawers and drawer fronts for the buffet we are building. Then I can concentrate on modifying the pocket hole jig.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View crank49's profile

crank49

3337 posts in 1569 days


#11 posted 278 days ago

A real simple way to have a flow control on a double acting cylinder is to take a straight coupling, drive a short piece of dowel into the center of it. Drill a small hole in the dowel, say about a 1/16” hole, then put hose barbs on both ends of the coupling, capturing the drilled dowel in between. This assembly goes into the air line going to either end of the cylinder. If the action is too slow, drill the dowel out a little more.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1798 posts in 1829 days


#12 posted 278 days ago

“A real simple way to have a flow control on a double acting cylinder is to take a straight coupling, drive a short piece of dowel into the center of it. Drill a small hole in the dowel, say about a 1/16” hole, then put hose barbs on both ends of the coupling, capturing the drilled dowel in between. This assembly goes into the air line going to either end of the cylinder. If the action is too slow, drill the dowel out a little more.”

I think I understand what you are saying. I will work on it soon.

thanks.
Mike

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Matt Przybylski's profile

Matt Przybylski

433 posts in 976 days


#13 posted 278 days ago

Hop on YouTube and search for “Wooden Tool Man” channel. He has a video on how to build a foot operated kreg jig that seems much less involved than what you’re planning. His jig even does the drilling of the hole too which is kind of nuts in and of itself.

-- Matt, Illinois, http://www.reintroducing.com

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1798 posts in 1829 days


#14 posted 278 days ago

“Hop on YouTube and search for “Wooden Tool Man” channel. He has a video on how to build a foot operated kreg jig that seems much less involved than what you’re planning. His jig even does the drilling of the hole too which is kind of nuts in and of itself.”

Thanks Matt. I have seen the video. I got my inspiration from Izzy Swan.

My mod is not very involved at all. If the rest of the parts were here, I could hook it up and do a test run.

EDIT: @Matt – I went back to his channel and watched his latest video. His mod looks good for the newer model Kreg jig with the clamp handle on the outside.

There is one goal I have in mind – to be able to hang it on the wall when not needed. My mods should make that possible. Still waiting on the base mount and heavy duty shaft with bumper that matches my air cylinder.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1798 posts in 1829 days


#15 posted 278 days ago

Well, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I gathered up what parts I had on hand and a few new ones. I am still waiting on the mounts, exhaust muffler and shaft with bumper.

It appears the cylinder centerline is almost identical to the existing clamp mechanism. My main goal was to see the foot switch and valve work…and they do. Yay!!!

I didn’t have a bushing for one of the hose connections at the switch so I had to reverse one of the hoses. I need a 1/4 inch MIP male/female adapter. The fittings on the end of the hose are two large to fit side by side so I need to extend one of them. Lowe’s and the local auto parts didn’t have what I needed. I will get the oriented properly when I find the right fitting.

However, I did manage to get everything connected. I adjusted the supply air pressure to 90psi.

Here are a few pics just to tease the naysayers! :-)

I think this thing is going to be the cats’ meow!

Here are the main players.

Foot switch. Blue hose is the air supply from my air compressor. The red air hoses connect to each port on the cylinder. Press the foot switch. The shaft will extend. Let up on the switch, the shaft retracts. It works great. Actual use will determine if I need to use some sort of flow restriction or adjust the air supply pressure.

Here is the basic layout. Thanks to Crank49 for suggesting I replace the existing clamp mechanism with the air cylinder. I hope to do just that. That will keep the overall package about the same size so I can hang it on the wall when I don’t need it. Quick connectors will let me store the foot switch and air hoses separately.

Shaft extended

More later. I still plan to post a blog.
Mike

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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