Monday, September 18, 2023

Workshop Re-Org

It's a well-known fact that the Eiffel Tower can be six inches (15 cm) taller during the summer. As the mostly iron structure heats up, the particles gain kinetic energy and expand.

It's almost as well known that you don't really plan the layout of your workshop - I mean, you can try, but whatever you do the final layout will evolve all by itself. If there ever is a "final" layout. The recent walnut TV console project highlighted a couple of things in the shop that could be improved, with a little bit of time and effort.

The first issue is that the jointer needs to be connected to the dust collection system. Since I got the thickness planer up and running, the jointer is the only "big" tool that doesn't have the dust sucked out of it on demand. 

The other problem was the miter saw. The workshop is basically an L-shaped space where the main work bench is located at one end of the "L" and the cabinet saw is at the opposite end. Which works well. But I found that having the miter saw right next to the cabinet saw was not ideal - the miter saw gets used a lot, so it needs to be in the center of the workshop. It does feel a bit crass to be moaning about the workshop being so big that I waste time walking between tools, but that is the luxurious position of today. 

This situation was resolved by swapping over the jointer and the miter saw. There was no 220 V outlet in this area at the time the jointer was parked there....

But a little bit of tweaking the existing writing and adding a new outlet was all that was needed to bring power.

I'm very happy with the dust collector - it works really well, and the suction can be switched on or off remotely. Still, it has its limitations, one of which is that there are only two (2) inputs. One of these goes to the cabinet saw, and the other one switches between the band saw and the thickness planer. Plus, some of the connectors are taped together, which looks a bit amateurish. 

I invested in a few connectors, three (3) metal blast gates, a "Y" duct adapter, and another section of flexible ducting. 

After assembly of these components the dust collector now has three (3) inputs, which are operated independently by opening one blast gate and closing the other two:

The two ducts which connect to the "Y" fitting serve the cabinet saw and the table saw and are always connected. The duct which goes to the jointer runs across the floor at this point; I may re-route this later if all the big tools stay where they are.

The third duct can be switched between the thickness planar and the band saw; I still need the proper 2.5" to 4.0" connector for the planar; I'm getting by with tape for now.

The miter saw has been parked on a crappy cart where the jointer used to be. I plan to use the shop vacuum for dust collection on this tool. I plan to build a proper miter saw station in this area if it does become the "final" location. This has already proved a much more convenient location. 

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