Friday, November 21, 2008

New Old Shop

Ain't she a beaut? I'm not sure what the original purpose of this building was, but on the back side there's a lean-to that was obviously a pig pen. It doesn't smell like there's been a pig in there for years though, and it seems like the building was used solely for junk collection. See the big grey thingy leaned up against the wall to the left? It's a slate slab from a pool table, 1" thick, 600 lbs, and dead flat. I'm going to build an assembly table from it. I want to find a hydraulic scissor lift table to use as the base to make the height adjustable. Add it to the list of projects...

Bench room...

...and machine room.

The building is in good shape, and has a cement floor. It'll take some fixing up but I think it'll work fine. I hauled away most of the scrap metal this afternoon after work, which included and old oil stove, three lawnmower engines, an old car door, two gas tanks, two water pressure tanks, 6 car rims, and what looks to be the complete exhaust system of a pickup truck.

One of three loads hauled away.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No New News

It's still sitting there, my bandsaw. The temperature here has dropped considerably in the last week or so. I've been so wrapped up in trying to get my house to the point where I can get the drywallers started that everything else has fallen by the wayside, including sobriety and hygiene. I think that I've figured out my shop issue though, I'll post some pics of the outbuilding that will serve my purpose this evening.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Davis & Wells Bandsaw

My saw finally arrived. Here's a crappy cell phone pic of it sitting in its crate. When I get some spare time I'll haul it home and unpack it. More pics to follow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Linear Thinking

I thought I'd get back to the topic of my mortiser. Or, more accurately, the design of the XY table on my mortiser. Below is my initial design that I drew up almost a year ago. My intention was to use 1/2" linear rails and build bronze bushings that pressed into a solid aluminum block. I went as far as to machine the bottom half; the seats and rails (photo #'s 2 and 3).

I got to this point a few months back but got hung up on the prototype for my bushing block. It turns out that while it isn't difficult to get the two rails to be exactly parallel, it's very difficult to bore two 3" deep holes exactly parallel. Even after getting my milling machine trammed in to within 0.0005 in all directions I couldn't drill and ream the two parallel bushings to within the couple thousands that I needed. Time for plan B.

There are several linear bearing designs, depending on the desired application. Very high end linear rails and bearings like the set shown below can withstand huge side loads and still run smooth due to the inherent stiffness of their design.

These are made by TSK and come in various widths and lengths. They are quite expensive new but I got these from ebay for next to nothing. I'm actually saving them for something else though so for my XY table I bought these:

They are actually considered a 'ball bushing' and can't handle the side load that the THK bearings can. They're also not quite as accurate as the bearings and have a tiny bit of slop in them, but it's negligible. In a cnc application, or in a production machine that runs non-stop, these wouldn't cut it. In my application though I think they'll work just fine. I bought these on ebay too, but I bought a second set from a local bearing dealer who had ordered them in for someone who never picked them up. He gave them to me for cost, which was cheaper than the ebay set.

Perhaps one day soon I'll actually put all these pieces together into something usable!

Monday, November 3, 2008

New Arrivals!!

I just returned this morning from a 4 day trip out to the coast and down to Seattle. As mentioned in my last post, one of the purposes of this trip was to stop in Bellingham and pick up a cyclone dust collector from Grizzly. I also bought a drill press, which was half pre-meditated and half impulse. I had thought that perhaps I would buy a drill press but ended up getting a larger machine than I had intended. Damn the up-sell!

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the incredible work of one particular branch of government employees. This crack squad of elite super agents are working hard every day to keep our great country free of the horrible threat that foreign woodworking machinery poses. Yup, the border guards. I'll spare the long winded story of this particular US/Canada border crossing, but let us just ponder: where the hell do they find these people?

Because I'm not certain where I'm going to set up the dust collector, I didn't do anything other than unload it from my truck. I did however take a half hour after work to assemble the drill press. For $500 it's a nice machine. There's all the standard Taiwanese-made trademarks: rough edges and some sticky moving components, but I'm sure an hour of alignment and adjustment and she'll be running like a top. It's a big chunk of fudge too! It weighs 330 lbs and it took every ounce of might I had to lift the head onto the pillar. I managed to get it all buttoned up without wrecking anything or dropping it though and she's ready to hawg some holes!

I'm looking at the picture of the drill press above and thinking about shop space. Hmmm... I've just recently bought a 20 acre acreage and have been up to my butt in renovations on the 110 year old house. All the while I've been planning on converting the little 16'x16' garage into a shop. It's insulated and has a little woodstove so it seemed like the natural choice to move my equipment and bench into. I'm not so sure now though. While shopping around for kitchen cabinets I decided that rather than pay the approximately $10,000 for modular cabinets of questionable quality I would invest half that into my woodworking shop and build them myself. The obvious downfall is it's one more thing to add to the ever-expanding list of crap I have to get done before I move in, but I get some machinery and nicer cabinets in the long run. My first purchase was a rebuilt 20" Davis and Wells bandsaw. After a couple weeks of delays I've just received word that it was loaded on the truck this afternoon and I should see it this upcoming weekend. The dust collector and drill press were my next purchases and the only other equipment on the list is a larger router to put in my router table. As I've been adding machines into the garage however, it's starting to look smaller and more cramped. And there's a bandsaw yet to come! One of the numerous outbuildings at my place is a huge old barn which has a 55'x15' lean-to on each side with a hay loft above. One lean-to is completely full of junk but the other looks like it housed a pig trough at one point and is essentially empty. Maybe that should be my shop?? The lack of a cement pad, while initially a turn-off, would allow me to run pressure treated floor joists and OSB flooring. It would be easier on the back and legs and would give space to run all the dust collection and wiring below, reducing clutter. It's also large enough that I could have a woodworking room and a separate metalworking room for my lathe and milling machine and still have room to have the dust collector and compressor in a third room. Mo' money though. I don't know how long I'll be at this place and maybe setting something up that's more temporary is a better idea? I dunno...