Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mitre Station in the Workshop

While the Kapex isn't a large compound sliding mitre saw, having it on my workbench effectively took up most of the available work surface so I've been wanting to build some kind of miter station for it.  Originally I thought about building a mobile mitre station, but after some thought decided to just build a stationary one next to the workbench at the same height so the workbench can double as a work piece support extension.

It's essentially just a box with an compartment underneath being used to house the dust collector.  The main challenges for the build were making it level since my garage has a pretty steep slope and getting the height right so that the Kapex is at the same height as the workbench.  I used shims on the back to and on the front I used some machine levelers to make it easier to adjust the height.  I was able to get it even with the workbench.

There is an opening in the back for the hose, power cord and air to flow through.

The other side of the station still need an extension so I'm thinking of building a folding extension that I can pull out whenever I need to use it.  Also, some shelving next to the station would be useful and would complete my work space "L".

Dust Collection for Router Table

I have a list of woodworking projects that I've been wanting to do and last weekend I planned on completing a couple of them.  My work area is in the garage and shares space with the car.  To do any work requires that I back the car out and setup my tools each time.  This isn't a big problem as most of time since I have most of my tools on mobile carts and setup time is minimal.  The project I had planned on doing involved cutting down full sheets of plywood so there was some extra setup assembling my cutting table.  While this takes away time that I'd like to spend working on the projects it's a minor annoyance.  Now what is frustrating each time I get to time to do some work is the dust clean up especially when I work with the router.  So much dust is generated that I always have to cut my working time so I can clean and vacuum up the mess and while I can keep the car outside during the weekend I have to clean at the end of each session since I don't want the family to have to go through all the dust.  This meant that I probably spent a couple of hours out of a few hours on cleaning.

I decided that I need to do something about this otherwise I just won't be able to get much done, so I started to see if I can put some kind of dust collector into the router table.  Most plans show a dust collector connected to the back or base of the router, but a lot of people also mentioned that this didn't work very well in actually capturing the dust.  Also, a lot of dust actually accumulate above the table..  Buying a Festool 1400 and the CMS module isn't a realistic option, so I did some  more searching and found the Keen Dust Collector for Routers.

Essentially this is a little rubber cut that you put on the underside of your router plate so that dust doesn't fall down into the router and router table.  By limiting the space where dust can spew a vacuum's section is a lot more effective in capture the dust.

I have a Bench Dog 40-001 ProTop Contractor Benchtop Router Table which is an enclosed router table so setup involved drilling a hole in the back to run the vacuum hose through.

There is is plastic sheet that sits between the router base and the router table.  It has a velcro ring that the blue rubber cup sticks to so the cup doesn't move around.  Mount your router and put in the rubber cup and then attach the hose.

Conclusion?  It works very well!  I cut multiple dados through 3/4 in plywood and very few dust got on the floor or into the router cabinet.  It was good enough that I felt comfortable going right back into the house after a slight dust off with my hands for some dust that did get on to my shirt and pants.  For about $40, you can have  a pretty effective dust collector for the router table that can save hours of clean up.