A Custom Saw Designed For Close Quarters Making

It probably goes without saying that we’d all love to have a huge, well-appointed, workshop. But in reality, most of us have to make do with considerably less. When trying to fit tools and equipment into a small space you need to get creative, and if you can figure out a way to squeeze multiple functions out of something, all the better.

Wanting to get as much use out of his space as possible, [Chris Chimienti] decided that his best bet would be to design and build his own folding combination table. Using interchangeable inserts it can switch between being a table saw and a router, and with its extendable arms, also serves as a stand for his miter saw. Of course when not cutting, it makes a handy general purpose work surface.

In the videos after the break, [Chris] takes viewers through the design and construction of what he calls the “Sinister Saw”, which is made somewhat more complicated by the fact that he obviously doesn’t have a table saw to begin with. Cutting out the pieces for the table itself and the panels that would eventually become home to the router and circular saw took some careful work with clamps and saw horses to make sure they were all perfectly square.

But the wooden components of the Sinister Saw are only half of the story. The table is able to extend by way of an aluminum extrusion frame, and there are numerous 3D printed parts involved for which [Chris] has provided the STL files. We particularly like the box that holds the emergency stop button and relocates the tool’s battery to the front panel, which looks to be an evolution of his previous work in 3D printing cordless tool adapters. We could certainly see this part being useful on other projects that utilize these style of batteries.

In the other extreme, where you want to build your own tools and have plenty of space, you could try making everything out of giant slabs of stone.

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Equipping A Workshop Using Plywood And Handheld Power Tools

Properly equipping a home workshop for the DIY discipline of your choice can often end up costing more than we would like to admit, and is a never ending process. [JSK-Koubou] is doing exactly that, except he is building almost all of his equipment using plywood, hand-held power tools and a LOT of attention to detail.

As far as we can tell the series really got started with a humble hand-held circular saw guide, with every tool being used to build more tools. So far the list boasts more than 50 different videos of tools built around a drill, circular saw, jigsaw, router, planar or grinder. This includes a wood lathe, drill press, jointer and various drills guides and sanders. The level of precision each tool almost eye watering. He even pulls out a dial gauge on some builds to check alignment. We honestly didn’t know plywood equipment could look this good and work so well. Check out the YouTube playlist after the break to see for yourself.

Previously we also covered [JSK-Koubou]’s set of perfectly tuned wooden speaker enclosures, the craftsmanship is really something to behold. For more impressive homebuilt hardware, take a look at this 8-axis camera crane built by another YouTuber for his home shop. Continue reading “Equipping A Workshop Using Plywood And Handheld Power Tools”

Save Fingers, Save Lives With A No-Voltage Release For The Shop

Imagine the scenario: you’re spending some quality time in the shop with your daughter, teaching her the basics while trying to get some actual work done. You’re ripping some stock on your cheap table saw when your padiwan accidentally hooks the power cord with her foot and pulls out the plug. You have a brief chat about shop safety and ask her to plug it back in. She stoops to pick up the cord and plugs it back in while her hand is on the table! Before you can stop the unfolding tragedy, the saw roars to life, scaring the hell out of everyone but thankfully doing no damage.

If that seems strangely specific it’s because it really happened, and my daughter was scared out of the shop for months by it. I’ll leave it to your imagination what was scared out of me by the event. Had I only known about no-voltage release switches, or NVRs, I might have been able to avoid that near-tragedy. [Gosforth Handyman] has a video explaining NVRs that’s worth watching by anyone who plugs in anything that can spin, cut, slice, dice, and potentially mutilate. NVRs, sometimes also called magnetic contactors, do exactly what the name implies: they switch a supply current on and off, but automatically switch to an open condition if the supply voltage fails.

Big power tools like table saws and mills should have them built in to prevent a dangerous restart condition if the supply drops, but little tools like routers and drills can still do a lot of damage if they power back up while switched on. [Gosforth] built a fail-safe power strip for his shop from a commercial NVR, and I’d say it’s a great idea that’s worth considering. Amazon has a variety of NVRs that don’t cost much, at least compared to the cost of losing a hand.

True, an NVR power strip wouldn’t have helped me with that cheap table saw of yore, but it’s still a good idea to put some NVR circuits in your shop. Trust me, it only takes a second’s inattention to turn a fun day in the shop into a well-deserved dressing down by an angry mother. Or worse.

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Doubling The Capacity Of Power Tool Batteries

YouTube User [Vuaeco] has come up with a novel idea, combining power tool battery packs to double the capacity.

Starting off with two slimline 2.0Ah compact battery packs, [Vuaeco] wanted a larger 4.0Ah rebuilt drill battery pack. These battery packs are different in size so it wasn’t just a case of adding in more cells in empty slots, instead he goes on to show us how to connect the batteries in parallel using some thin nickel strips. Once completed he modifies the battery casing so it fits another stack of batteries. He does this by bolting the top and bottom together with long screws, and insulating the otherwise exposed battery terminals with insulating tape. The final product isn’t as aesthetically pleasing as a real battery pack, but it looks good enough.

There are a few things we might have done differently, for instance providing some hard plastic around the insulation so should the battery get knocked in an awkward position it would still have a hard shell protecting it. Also, instead of combining the batteries together fully charged as the video suggests, we might have done the opposite approach and fully drained them, avoiding unnecessary risks. If you try this, how about giving it a 3D printed case?

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In Defense Of The Electric Chainsaw

Here at Hackaday we are a diverse bunch, we all bring our own experience to the task of bringing you the best of the hardware scene. Our differing backgrounds were recently highlighted by a piece from my colleague [Dan] in which he covered the teardown of a cordless electric chainsaw.

It was his line “Now, we’d normally shy away from any electric chainsaw, especially a cordless saw, and doubly so a Harbor Freight special“. that caught my eye. I’m with him on cordless tools which I see as a cynical ploy from manufacturers to ensure 5-yearly replacements, and I agree that cheap tools are a false economy. But electric chainsaws? Here on this small farm, they’re the saw of choice and here’s why.

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Snow Blower Turned Power Wagon

Winter is now gone and it’s time to put away that snowblower. Well, it seems that [SWNH] either didn’t hear the news or thought not using his snowblower for most of the year was a waste of a great resource. No, he’s not using it to blow dirt around, he converted it into a Power Wagon.

A Power Wagon is just what it sounds like, a wagon that is motorized and it is used for moving stuff around your yard. [SWNH] started by disassembling the 2 stages of the snowblower. They came off as a unit with only 6 bolts. Next up, the wagon bed was made, starting with an angle iron frame with a plywood bottom and sides. Two large casters with rubber wheels supports the front of the wagon.

Using the power wagon is easy, fill up the bin and use the snowblower controls to drive the cargo around. [SWNH] says that it steers like a shopping cart. And since the wagon bed is bolt-on, it can be removed and the blower assembly re-installed next winter to take care of that pesky snow.

Building A 20 Inch Disk Sander

A small disk sander is a useful and cheap addition to the shop. For about $100, you can buy a cheap combination 6″ disk/belt sander that’s extremely useful. The size and cost of power tools does not scale linearly, and if you want a big disk sander you might as well make your own.

The motor for this build is a 1kW single phase motor pulled from a floor polisher found in the trash. That’s enough to push a sanding disk around, but when you get to tools this large, you need a good base, good tilt mechanism, and everything should be extremely heavy.

This build meets all those requirements while still using mostly recycled components. The work table is actually made of three pieces of recycled aluminum epoxied together. Yes, you should cringe at this, but it actually makes a little bit of sense: thinner pieces can be cut on a table saw, and if you’re extremely careful during the glue-up, you can cut the mitre slot without a mill. This frame attaches to a frame made from aluminum extrusion and filled with a homebrew epoxy granite mix. Remember, heavy is better here.

In keeping with making a huge disk sander out of stuff pulled out of the trash, the trunnions and motor hub were cast out of aluminum melted in an old propane tank furnace. Once these were cleaned up, a disk was mounted on the hub and trued up in the most unsafe manner possible.

With a few additions including a machined mitre gauge, dust collector, and legs made out of wood that’s far too pretty for a simple shop tool, this huge assemblage of trash turned out to be a great sander. You can see a few videos of it below.

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