Archive | February, 2014

A cheap and simple hutch for some power tools

19 Feb

I wanted to tidy up my power tools (drills, jigsaw, etc) as I’ve been leaving them scattered around the bench.This is only a temporary setup, as I’ll need something more enclosed when the wet weather comes in a few months (it’s high summer in New Zealand at present).

power tool hutch 017

Not an original idea, I swiped it from here and a number of others have done a similar setup – but probably not as cheaply.

I’d been thinking of making something up when I spotted a bunch of strips of mdf at the side of the road (put out for people to take, by a cabinet making business). This was four strips of the fifty or so I could have grabbed.

power tool hutch 001

Next I ‘rootled’ around in my (large) scrap mdf pile and found a suitable, if rough, chunk. The ends were broken and it tapered, but a few minutes with the tablesaw turned it into a couple of shelves.

power tool hutch 002 power tool hutch 003 power tool hutch 004

I set up the mitre saw on my homemade bench, and cut off a long strip to go at the back, and then a slew of short sections. The back and the first couple of short sections were glued on to one shelf to form the base.

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I wanted to be able to take the top off and replace it in the same place, so I drilled a 5mm hole through the the top and into the side walls, then tapped the base for M6x30 bolts  (similar to a 1/4″ x 1″ bolt). Mdf taps quite easily using an ordinary metal tap in a cordless drill.

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Now I could pile a bunch of tools onto the top and start sorting out placement and mountings. (In the background you can see that, yes, my workshop floor really is tarpaulin over dirt, then pallets, and free mdf!).

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Here’s what I ended up with (glue gun, soldering gun, hot air gun, jig saw, orbital sander, drill, drill).

power tool hutch 012

I had to get a bit inventive with mounting them. Various odd shaped bits of wood for the heavier tools, and bent pieces of wire for the heated tools (which are also, conveniently, much lighter). I found 1.6mm wire (16 guage) was just strong enough – it feels really flimsy but gets more solid when you screw the ends down. 2mm wire (about 12 guage) was much stronger.

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I glued the spacers into the bottom (here being weighted down by some convenient chunks of concrete paver), then bolted the top back on.

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The final result is not very pretty, but cheap and makes a good prototype.

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A very quick and dirty holder for some tools

16 Feb

Quick tool storage A

It’s sunday morning and I don’t feel like making too much noise (courtesy to my neighbours + alcohol on Saturday night!). I wanted to do something towards making the workshop better, but without using the tablesaw or mitre saw.

Quick tool storage B

I found some scraps of mdf that were roughly the right size, if somewhat rough, and chopped them to length with a handsaw.

Quick tool storage C

A quick grid of pencil lines. 50mm x 40mm. When I made the second set of lines I remembered to centre them on the wood. If anyone asks I’ll say it was intentional – to allow more space on one side.  🙂

Quick tool storage D

Off to the drill press and drill 28x 6mm holes.

Quick tool storage F

I drilled out some of the holes a bit bigger while I had the pieces separated. 25mm, 16mm, 12mm, and a couple out to 6.5mm to hold 1/4″ (6.25mm) shafts.

Quick tool storage G

Glue and staple three pieces of 50mm wide mdf strip. A bit damaged, and a bit curvy, but that won’t matter.

Quick tool storage H

And it should be harder to misplace the marker pens, drill press key, countersink, torch, etc. I also glued on a couple of small magnets to hold my favourite hex driver bits.  Since the holes were drilled on the drill press, they are nice and straight which means I can easily enlarge any holes I want with a hand-held drill.

Four quick enhancements for a cheap tablesaw

14 Feb

This is my cheap 250mm (10″) tablesaw – a “Tooline TS250”. None to fancy, but it cuts ok.

Tablesaw mods - 14022014 001

Dust collection is a real problem in my shed so I’ve added some footings to it so I can carry it out to gravel driveway. Much better for my lungs, and the wide support makes it stable on the stones.

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A close up of the very simple footing. Four pieces of 100×25 Oregon, bolted together, and the legs bolted to them. There were some rubber feet, but I got the positioning of the legs wrong and one wouldn’t fit so I left them off.

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I glued a multibox to a side panel. It seemed like a good idea, but I haven’t used it yet.

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I grabbed a chunk of mdf and glued some 25×25 strips of wood around the edges. The mdf had quite a curve in it, but fastening the strips to it sorted it out.

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It’s just big enough to fit over the top of the tablesaw. Now I have another workspace, without having to worry about damaging the soft cast-aluminium table top.

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One last fixup is visible here. The plastic coating (complete with the angle markings) is peeling off, less than a year after purchase.

Tablesaw mods - 14022014 008

So there is a magnet holding it down. (The body is plastic but there’s a screw under that point).

A final note for the safety-conscious, and those familiar with tablesaws. The riving knife is not removed for photographic clarity. It’s removed because it was so badly designed that I couldn’t get it to stay parallel with the blade and not bend over and catch the workpiece. The saw is actually safer without it.