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Posted: Friday, March 30, 2018 10:26:49 AM
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The Fabulous table

I'm always skeptical when a student throws out a random idea of an unscripted project, but with this young woman's determination, I simply had to say... let's give it a try. Now that we are into it, I'm a little late in getting photos started, especially now that it is beginning to look like something more than a pile of rubble.

We had to overcome a lot of issues... what else is new around here. It seems everything I do around this place has a whole new list of issues. I hope this description will help to understand how the structure of this piece of furniture was planned out in this crowded class of motivated students who all wanted to do something quite different, and in a limited time frame.

This class wasn't even on the schedule until our life skills teacher never materialized. Then a few teachers had to divvy up the students and at least in wood shop... they will get a few life skills.

Sammy wanted a round Yin Yang table top with a drawer if possible. OK, a tall order for a beginner based on our limited resources. I say beginner, not because she hasn't performed well on past projects, but beginner in the sense that this is really a high school age project. There is equipment we don't have and machines she won't be able to use.

How do we make a round table apron under these circumstances? Producing our own form for gluing up thin pieces would have been an ideal way to make a curved apron, but time simply was not going to cooperate with getting that done.

We have to use a different approach to make as much of her dream come true as possible. She has earned her way into this spot and we have to make the best of what we have.

I wish I would have known this project was going to turn out this way because I would have started photos earlier. To me, stopping for a few photos now and then isn't conducive to keeping the learning flow in class, if that makes sense.

The Yin Yang alone was quite a proposal as we worked to set up a paper pattern. Veneer... not being a good option here, means finding two contrasting solid woods large enough to fit the size she wanted. I had my doubts, but after coming back from the wood storage, or more like dumpster dive storage, the choices were narrowed down to oak and redwood. The two don't match well in terms of hardness and I had more doubts.

Sammy's Yin Yang table top

These were cut apart on the band saw with the Yin Yang curved cut. When the two pieces were glued together, it looked fantastic, and I could see hope for it even with my misgivings about our hard/soft wood choices.

A circle was cut using a center pin and spinning it on the table saw, slowly raising the blade with each revolution. Everyone always thinks it is so cool when I demonstrate this operation.

The next issue was making the smaller circles. For that I had to bring from home my harbor freight circle saw set. With little fanfare, the pieces fit tightly together and to help out, I did the first sanding with a small belt sander.

Not a bad look either with a light touch as I managed to keep from digging out the softer wood while bringing both into the same plane. However, it is going to take some extra light sanding in order for her cross sanding marks to disappear.

At the same time, with the year's end (about 39 days) fast approaching (but not including the 3 weeks of state mandated testing we just started so it's even shorter than you think..., we were figuring out a simple way to make the apron and the only way I could see accomplishing this was using a solid block salvaged from a construction site. Although a bit top heavy, it is quick, simple and timely.

Sammy was able to make the cuts, but changed her mind about the height of the block. Not to worry as we were able to send it through the planer. She did have to give up the drawer idea. Not only is time not on our side, but the integrity and strength of the project may have been compromised.

Using rubber bands as clamps, Sammy gets the first of three veneers in place as I manage to sneak a photo. These veneers were given to me by someone who saw us on the front page of the news paper. Publicity is always a great way to get community involvement.

After waiting overnight, another side is being made ready to accept a veneer, but we are running out of rubber bands. The darn things have so little shelf life and they will pop during the night. A few extras are always placed to keep pressure long enough for the glue to dry.

We had to come up with some thick material for the legs. 2" X 4"'s would not have been as nice, so I brought a piece from home that should do the job. The boards came from an unusual source with very little background information.

The legs are certainly not a species that I can place a name to and I was told it was cut by an amateur woodworker using a chain saw mill. The man I talked with had been dragging it around the country from house move to house move and now didn't have the room to take it yet again. I know I would have used it sooner or later he tells me. A diamond in the rough, we sent it through the planer and it came out looking beautiful.

Sammy cut the legs, rounded the corners, sanded, drilled, and screwed them to the apron. Calvin is helping Sammy choose plugs (by color) to fill the screws holes... and she installs them.

Overly anxious to completely assemble the table while I have the camera in my hands, Sammy fits the top in preparation of gluing.

Making a big production of removing her hair tie before letting me take this photo, Sammy now has the top glued in position and only has a short wait before she can apply the finish.

***UPDATE*** 4-6-18, It's simply too hard for her not to come to the shop every day to see if she can take it home yet. Sammy, we still have a little ways to go, but if you want to pick out a variety of sandpaper grits, you can take it home to go over the piece, remove router burns, break the sharpness off the lower edge of the veneer, etc.... and she is so happy to walk out the door and hand it off to dad. Don't forget to bring it back for the finishing. Two more weeks of testing to go.

Sammy brought the table in yesterday and put the first coat of finish and the 2nd coat today.

We have a pretty consistent climate for the most part, but I can't help to wonder what the table might do when the summer rains come. Our shop is not air conditioned and it has made it through a little rain this winter. If it is kept in an air conditioned space year round, the humidity might not be drastic enough to affect all these grains going in so many different directions. But if it is anywhere near a swamp cooler... or an open window... cross your fingers... it just might explode.

5-24-18 Just a quick observation... In all the years I've been teaching, 37 and counting, I have never been mentioned in a graduation speech until last evening when this young lady got up and said the most wonderful things about her school experiences, siting several examples, one of which was how being in wood shop was so fantastic and how it has set her on a new journey of continuing with woodworking in the future. How cool is that?

Look back at Sammy's last project.

Posted: Sunday, April 8, 2018 10:36:28 AM
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Dust control wish list

Supposedly I will have two afternoons free during testing next week when I should be able to lift the unit high enough to add risers and cut through over the door to get into the shop and continue the duct work. So far I have managed to get everything I've wanted for my whole shop dust control system. These are next on my list.

The X-Carve is one of the closest machines to the vacuum system and this dust shoe comes with it's own grounding wire. Actually, this has already been ordered and it should arrive any day now. It will also double as a guard so I should be able to take the machine out of the plywood box.

Removing all the portable dust machines I've placed around the shop is going to be great for removing clutter, adding a lot more work area, and I'm looking forward to the new system keeping everything much cleaner.

X-Carve® dust control from the Inventables website

When I ran across this next item, I had been trying to figure out what to do for the fine dust created when sanding on the wood lathes. I thought that... for our middle school purposes at least, this would do nicely. It is especially made for smaller turnings like we do here. It is currently on sale at Rockler, has good reviews, and even if I have to abandon the blue plastic pieces in the future, I will still be able to put a dust catch/hood on to what is left. This should hopefully be ordered this week.

Dust Right® Lathe Dust Collection System from the Rockler website

Since I won't be using a portable vacuum for this, with 19.5" of flexform hose, I might be able to go directly up to the dust collector and avoid having to clamp it where they show it in the photo. I won't know exactly how far that is until I get my ducts in a row.... pun intended. It is also possible I could give up one or more of my portable wet/dry vacuums which will definitely give us more floor space.

And this is the companion piece, also on sale, which helps direct or keep the chips moving towards the dust hood, while also doubling as a sort of fancy looking guard. Time will tell how well these work together, but it is certainly something to try. The fine dust is the biggest concern and it's bound to leave some chips behind, but isn't that where a broom and dust pan comes in, or if we decide to let the kids use... dare I say this... the floor sweep feature.

Dust Right® Lathe Chip Deflector from the Rockler website

If I let them use the floor sweep, I want to limit what can go through it so we don't end up with all kinds of garbage in the collector. I guess this one statement alone shows how long I have been around kids. They will try to put all kinds of junk into the system and a floor sweep is the perfect setting for that to occur.

I've seen a few good ideas on how to accomplish this. Maybe a small removable ramp with 1/4" slots that sits over the floor sweep. Kids can sweep up onto the small ramp and most of the small dust and debris can go through while the larger junk stays behind and if I design the ramp to be similar to a dust pan, it could be periodically lifted off and dumped.

Since my lathes are three to a stand, I will also need this. Of course that means adding some wire to keep the ground continuity.

3-Way Dust Collection Junction from the Rockler website

Adapt them down to 2.5" and add separate 2.5" blast gates...

Or I might decide to make my own 2.5" blast gates.

And while you might think I make these posts just for you, I don't. I also make these posts for me... so I can go back at any time and find what I need, whether it be scroll saw blades, wood burning replacement tips, or a 2.5" blast gate. As long as the suppliers don't change their websites, I can find whatever I need, and I can also pass this list on the the next teacher who takes over when I finally do leave. I have to say with each passing day that I just might last a few more years longer than I have been saying. All this cool stuff is really making things fun.

Skip forward to the next dust control post.
Posted: Monday, April 9, 2018 9:52:46 PM
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Eric Lofstrom comes to class

Like everything else that is happening right now, this story is also filled with complications, but well worth the effort. When the Prescott Area Woodturners called to tell me Eric Lofstrom was in town and they wanted to bring him over to the school for demonstrations and photos, I really wanted to make that happen for both of us, but with the testing that is going on, we went round and round to figure out a way to be Eric's host. It came down to being here by 7:30 AM and only presenting until 8 AM.

Eric was wonderful, and as a school teacher himself, he easily related to the kids telling funny things and getting student interaction. It was a marvelously simple presentation that held us spellbound. I tried to keep moving around the room snapping photos, and this one was my favorite.

Would the spinning top be finished in time? Will it work? With suspense mounting... he demonstrated through clever delay tactics that kept the story moving smoothly while making a quick cut here, more personal stories... a quick cut there... when suddenly, I handed him a board to use as a surface and he spins the top on it and it was cool as it would spin top side up or down.

Then as if previously rehearsed, the spinning top on the portable surface becomes an impromptu game that everyone is dying to play. What fun the participants had when they tried to keep the top centered while also balancing on one foot... now close your eyes.

It captured everything necessary to believe that each and everyone of those kids had something to think about and something to talk about during their day, and possibly also at home, and maybe even for many years to come. In fact, entire classes are wanting to make them Here is Caleb's top.

I would like to thank both Eric Lofstrom and the Prescott Area Woodtuners. The Prescott Area Woodturners have been very instrumental in the support of our program through tax credit donations, equipment, grants and demonstrations like this. We wouldn't be this far along in building this program without their help. Sometimes people say things without really meaning them, but I am not one of them. I am completely aware that there is no way our program could get this far without their help.
Posted: Saturday, April 14, 2018 9:36:34 AM
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Dare we start getting our ducts in a row TODAY!

It's my day off, and to move this project along I decided to spend the day working on the dust collection system. It is recommended that you build as much as possible on the floor and then place it onto the system. That works pretty well since I have a helper. I don't always have a helper, but today I am lucky to start out with one.

This branch comes off the main trunk and the drop will be for the X-Carve and the sanding box. As we figure out the suspension system, and try our best to line up the hooks, the first piece easily goes into place.

The top view of this branch end shows places where it appears that Oneida's designer's weren't thinking as they put sleeves possibly the wrong direction on at least three places on this and every other branch. If the sleeves are merely there to lengthen the branch 11", then I'm wrong in my assessment, but as I can see the actual placement, I want to shorten the run by a lot and there is where the plan has to change.

I can't shorten the duct with the sleeve on the furthest end as shown on the plan. According to their own literature, the sleeve has to be placed "with the flow" to eliminate drag. (Think of the shingles on a roof with the wind blowing. The air can sometimes flip unsecured shingles up.) I cut the duct to fit the actual location and placed the sleeve at the other end (down wind) to correct the flow.

My helper only works a half day and I'm finding that the hard part is not working alone, although I have been forced to build smaller pieces to set in place. No, the real issue is to the right and is hopefully our last obstacle but I think we may have at least one more later under the scroll saws.

But for now, I have to get through the beam and under the heater. It took a lot of extra time to do that. From this angle, you can see it was a little more than just the center beam. The center beam was less of an issue since we were right at the end of the beam and just before the steel post. It was the extra bracing... and the fact that I wanted to shorten the trunk at the same time. Changing it from making one to making two cuts on this side... just to shorten the main trunk and make the next branch run closer to the center beam.

The trunk line still has to be raised slightly with suspension hangers so it does not transfer vibrations to the room next door. Here's one way to find out how much vibrations can go through the wall. The classroom aide next door comes over to tell me I was shaking their wall (with the saber saw) and one of the light lens covers was starting to fall out. It's a half day, but classes are going on. I immediately stopped what I was doing and went over to remove the lens until we can get past that point. Friday the 13th horror averted.

In the photo above, the branch to the right will line up for the new SawStop and is also suppose to run over the lathes. It's a good thing I figured out how to make a custom sleeve since this modular system can't go less than 11". I may have to make another custom sleeve if this branch doesn't line up enough. A full sleeve might move it too far, and no sleeve might leave us short.

The other open end will go to the final branch where two sanders, a chop saw, and a band saw are located. The real fun begins when we have to figure out how to include the drill presses. Oneida declined to add that and never quite explained why. There might be enough left in the budget to buy the extra parts.

And that's how I spent my Friday the 13th.
Posted: Monday, April 23, 2018 8:36:57 PM
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We're making progress...

4-23-18 With the eighth graders gone on their trip, we have a little breathing room to work on the dust collection during class. I asked the couple of students who were here today if they could help me carry in the remaining items for completing the ducting. This is the remaining small parts, mostly the drop ends.

And this is what ducting is left.... and ready for the drops. Smaller tubes can be inside of these, and there are quite a few left to go. We have three drops completed and two in progress. Once those have been completed, we will be halfway done with the drops.

More on the way.

I'll be posting images of the lathes as we get them finished. Then I will continue by posting images of the drill press area, and also the X-Carve. I have a little work to get the jointer and planer on-line and the sanders and miter saw... then on to the scroll saws.

4-24-18 Here are some of the students who stepped forward to lend a hand. Carson is cutting straps for securing the ducting to walls where appropriate.

Scott wants in on the action and helps sand (de-burr) cut (shortened) ducting.

Drop 1 is almost ready, only needing the hoses to make the final connection to the X-Carve and the sanding box.

This is drop 12 and will be the last one down the line, It will service the drill press area.

We returned a bunch of the green baskets to the kitchen today as they are getting emptied of parts. We are finding enough room to finally get the SawStop put into the shop tomorrow.

I'll keep you posted.

Skip forward to the next dust control post.
Posted: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 8:31:47 PM
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Time for SawStop

Now that the ducting is overhead, we can begin connecting the shop equipment to it. I can't believe that we now have a SawStop at Franklin Phonetic School. A dream come true. I'm getting it reassembled right now. The brake, the guard, with an exhaust system that works not only on the bottom side of the blade, but also on the top side through the guard as long as you remember to open the blast gate. It's almost too good to be true. Now I (and the students) just have to get used to opening and closing blast gates as we move around the shop.

I will post photos, especially of any special set ups, as I get things hooked up. I will say this right now, the system hasn't been as easy as I thought it would be. That's not to say another system would have been better or easier. It's just that working on it while teaching classes, and modifying things as I go, has added extra work and stress.

Any other system would have been much worse. This modular system has easy connections and does create smooth interiors, with larger ducts as you get closer to the vacuum. I'm expecting it to work better than anything I've used before.

The company couldn't have foreseen someone wanting the ducts to line up so perfectly. We don't have so much extra space where we can move things to match up. We needed a system that can be modified as we go so it will be exactly where it is suppose to be.

That means I made three of my own sleeves that shortened lengths that would have been 11", down to as little as 4". Two of those were on the 8" main trunk and one is a 5" under the scroll saws which you will eventually see as I get them hooked up.

More on the way.
Posted: Sunday, April 29, 2018 4:40:15 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 1

5.27.18... I'm breaking this post down into sections since it has gotten quite long talking about all the little details involved in getting this ready to run. It has been a lot of extra effort to be sure... and that includes posting this. But to me it is just fun to make it happen for this school!

4-29-18 What a long weekend. I worked on stabilizing the free standing ducts using a little bit of cable, hooking onto the clamps using some shop made clips. The key ring allows for a place to attach while keeping the wires from cutting on sharp edges.

During installation, a piece of tape holds the clip that usually requires two people to hold everything together as the clamp is snapped into place.

Wire is clamped onto the duct and run up to the ceiling to help keep the duct from unnecessary movement.


Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 1:43:24 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 2

I thought I might try my hand at making some 2.5" blast gates for above the lathes and behind the drill presses. The top and bottom are 1/4" MDF. A rabbet holds 1/8" plywood strips in place as the two pieces are glued together. This sandwiches a small blast gate made from sheet metal.

A plywood ring allows the blast gate to install onto 4" duct. Sheet metal also makes up the section that goes into the 2.5" hose on the lathe dust collection fixtures.

Here's another view of the completed blast gate. This end has been crimped so it easily fits the 2.5" hose. It works really well.

I think the alternative, although more expensive at $12.99 each, may look better... not to mention how much time it takes to make your own. I will need 11 = $142.89. Hmmmm... with money running out too.

Image No Longer Available

And this anti-static plastic one runs about $13.79 each, and when you buy 11 = $159.69.

It sure adds up quick and making my own seems a little more reasonable. I just might have to try painting mine with silver paint, except paint won't stick to the silicone caulk I used to make a tight seal around the sheet metal.

5-27-18 After giving it a lot of thought, I stuffed a sock with two other socks to fashion a sort of plug. Guess what? It works perfectly and didn't cost a cent. Now on several machines like the drill presses and lathes, I don't have to spend anything extra to control which ones are open and closed since in most instances, they are all tied to the same blast gate.

Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 1:46:39 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 3

5-1-18 The students helped continue the progress by making straps to connect and stabilize duct work to an anchor.

This one goes to the floor sweep.

We used a tomato can to connect the old Craftsman planer to the duct. Right now this is connected to a portable dust collector while we finish up the system.

I put the camera lens up to the planer hood to try and show the other side of the can.

You can already see the chips building up wherever they can get caught. We really need a new, bigger, better helix head planer. The sooner the better.
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 1:56:06 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 4

5-5-18 Another week end... what am I thinking!

I'm visualizing what can be done by modifying an adapter. The adapter doesn't fit into the duct, but if you cut away that part, it does clamp together properly and saves a clamp too. The next issue is how to make this adapter even smaller. Oneida wanted this hose to run 4" all the way to the sander. I don't believe there is room for that.

Using different sizes of circle saws, holes are drilled to make another adapter for the adapter. Two different sizes run from each end make this break out just the way it should, as a cork stopper. The step in the design keeps the stopper from going too far into the adapter. This particular hole being drilled is just a bit small, so it was later enlarged using the oscillating spindle sander.

Using the plywood ring we have created, the really small hose now fits the plastic adapter perfectly. I simply need to decide how permanent I want it to be... tape or silicone caulk... but tape wins because it will allow disassembly in the event of a clog. (Tape not shown yet.)

Although this sander is probably ready to be replaced, the small hose I managed to secure in the duct also fits the machine port perfectly. I could be wrong, but I believe this is a better solution than running 4" all the way to the machine. 4" would take up too much space at the left side of the sander. Maybe I'll find out otherwise and it can always be changed in the future, but for now, I like the way this came together.

This will be so much better than the crummy old vacuum we used to have on the table. It would work for a while, then overheat and stop. Then it stopped completely a few weeks back. It was so inadequate by then that when you turned on the sander, you had to step back while it threw dust all over. I took great pleasure in cutting out it's cord and throwing the rest away. I couldn't even see salvaging anything else but the long cord. Nothing of use left in that old thing.
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:05:36 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 5

Next I tackle the sanding box.

I've been wanting to open this sanding box up for some time now. When I unscrewed and removed it, I fully expected to find a ton of sanding dust that didn't manage to get out of corners. To my complete surprise, it was perfectly clear.

I decided to upgrade it anyway by adding a false curved bottom made from 1/8" plywood. Clear silicone caulk was put around the edges as a seal. This curved shape should streamline the air flow even more. You can see the dust clinging to everything. I had no idea that the cloth bag dust collectors were letting so much dust out.

5-27-18... I tried this sanding platform out after we had the system running and oh my does it work great! I've never felt the air move so fast on this device. A curtain of air all around the sanding space should make a difference. I'm sure that's mostly due to the Oneida and less to do with my addition to streamline the airflow, but every bit helps... Right?

Good-bye dusty room, hello clean air.

Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:10:00 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 6

The belt sander...

Some of the machines require a 5"- 4" adapter. I'm shearing off the rivets so I can make these fit the duct using the clamps. Oneida prefers running 5" hose to all these machines, but I believe I will try 4" first. The machines aren't that large and 5" may be over kill... however, if I ever change my mind, I can easily re-rivet the seam and put it in a different way, but for now, I like the way this works.

Here is an example of what I mean. With this donated sander, the dust collection was retrofitted and made of wood. After receiving it, I changed it to fit 4" hose. This is how far out 5" hose would come with the added adapter.

And here it is with 4" and without the added adapter. Big difference!

Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:14:55 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 7

When it comes to the chop saw, I want to keep the 5" hose so it has plenty of suction. I also want to add a little extra hose so it can be re-positioned for longer material. That might require moving it out and thus the extra hose. Before making the attachments, it is best to strip a little of the wire that goes through the hose and bend it inward where it can get clamped down against metal parts to keep a continuous ground. This minimizes static build up, which can give quite a shock, and with less static, there can be less chances of ignition from a spark.... which also minimizes the chance of an explosion.

I know what you are thinking. How many explosions have their been. I know of one, which was all about aluminum dust, but if there is even a chance that it could happen, better take precautions.

If you have a hard time believing that an explosion is possible with wood dust, try this little experiment next time you wonder how flammable it can be... just throw a handful of dust into a fire and watch what happens. You might lose more than just your eyebrows too.

You can see the stripped wire making metal to metal contact as it gets clamped tightly down, completing a continuous ground.

At the back of the chop saw, a 5" - 4" reducer sticking out this far should not be a problem, as long as we are careful when moving it out to make cuts.

You can see that I still have the quick release so the hose can come completely off without tools. Now if there is ever a reason to move it further, such as taking it outdoors, it is an easy task.
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:20:42 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 8

5-6-18 I hated to alter this old jointer, but it was necessary to cut the chute off flush in preparation of attaching a dust port that can hook into the dust collection system. The gravity feed was simply going into a bucket where we emptied it as it filled up.

Once the chute was shortened, a sheet metal cover was put into place over the chute to enclose it and concentrate the airflow. Weather stripping was added along the front edge before attaching the dust port. Now instead of simply having a gravity feed to a bucket, there is now a long square enclosed duct running right up to the blades. Add some suction and this machine should never get clogged or allow dust and chips into the shop.

Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:25:00 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 9

5-9-18 We live in one of the driest climates in the country. When we were kids, we didn't have carpet in our house, but when we went to someones house that had carpet, you would get a shock whenever you touched someone or some thing metal. This was no ordinary shock, but one where you could see a blue spark, sometimes as long a 1/4".

This happens all the time when I'm getting out of the car too. That shock has sometimes caused fires at gas stations. You should always touch a metal ground before you unscrew the gas cap. Then don't sit back down in your vehicle while the gas is pumping... without touching the door frame before you touch the gas nozzle again.

This also happens when you vacuum. The other day I was using the vacuum and kept feeling the static shocks. The drier it gets, the more often and the bigger the shocks. There is static everywhere around you that you only find out about when you touch ground.

It's hard to tell in this photo, but there are two wires helping keep nonmetallic parts/hoses grounded. One wraps around the outside and one goes through the inside to prevent static build up.

And another hose to another sander.

Other locations get jump wires bridged across nonmetallic areas such as plastic dust ports.

Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:28:13 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 10

5-12-18... This is the first step of a proof of concept... a trial to see if I can make a three port manifold setup for behind the drill presses which will support the modular hoses that I'm planned to install. It has been a long time since I was in middle school metal shop, but I remember a few of the things I'm about to do.

I'm cutting and shaping these to prepare for soldering. One is a refried beans can and the other is a left over section of 5" duct to use as practice. The angle which makes this more difficult, is in the airflow direction and helps with efficiency.... but will it work?

Once the slightly undersized hole is cut, the metal is bent outward to begin shaping a flange that will physically hold on to the can. The bending will continue until the sides are flared out enough to fit the can.

Although I had to trim the size again, the 3" can now has a mechanical bond by fitting onto the oval shaped flange. The angle makes it more difficult to construct.

The now smaller flange helps hold the can and leaves a place for soldering them together. This is looking down through the 5" duct.

I'm trying to solder this at home using what I have left over from doing stain glass projects. I have no idea if I'm using the right flux or solder, but even with that, the pieces seal together. One note... I forgot about the plastic coating inside the can, so it was a little more difficult than it had to be.

Far from perfect, it still shows that it can be done with the right materials. Since I'm scaling back on the number of drill presses, only 3 of these will be in the manifold.
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:30:42 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 11

5-17-18 Without even giving it a thought, I measured a short 90 degree elbow which would have hugged the wall nicely on the way to the drill presses, and then when I actually ordered the elbows, they gave me the long ones. At first I was ready to call them and return them, but as I think back, I very well may have let the sales person decide. The worst part is they probably also told me they were choosing the long ones. It made for a perplexing day as I tried to figure out if I could make them work. The last thing I wanted to do that day was eat crow!

Here's my thinking. Longer 90 degree elbows won't slow down the airflow as much as the short ones, so keeping them and making them fit is a smarter idea in the long run. That in fact is why they chose these over the short ones. It took some deep thought. They kept lining up and covering the electrical outlets. With a little maneuvering, I was able to finally get them in just the right position so the duct is at the right height (just below the outlets) for the anti-static modular hose connections, and I didn't have to switch out to the only one 5" short elbow I had already used on another drop location.

Speaking of anti-static, these hoses are great! I have noticed that all the places we have had to use plastic, fine dust clings to it. You can see it in the photos. We are in the process of deep cleaning the wood shop since school is over in four days. The fine dust that gets kicked up gets all over the plastic, but not these anti-static hoses. They are staying clean.

5-18-18 As much as I would have liked soldering the drill press ports, it turns out the modular hose is exactly the same size as the cans. If I want the modular hose to be well-anchored, it has to be secured right to the duct. This won't work as well if I have to use the 3" hose to make the port connection as they would be too flexible and I would have to make another anchor location like I was forced to do on the larger drill press. The modular hose wouldn't have a way to stay where you want it to vacuum on the drill press without a secure anchor.

I've decided on using plastic plumbing parts to make this anchor connection. I noticed this when I was talking to Dusty (maintenance) and we both saw a piece of plastic plumbing in his shop that looked like it would fit. He went out and bought a set of three along with another threaded part that fit the other end. By shaping, sanding and gluing the surfaces, these parts will screw together through the duct and make a much better anchor. This also means I have to make them come straight out instead of at an angle, which as it turns out, also makes them an easier run to the machines.

After shaping and sanding the parts with help of the lathe. The surface is roughed up and the glue is applied. I'm sticking the plumbing fixtures to a single link of the modular hose. Screws are added for an extra strong bond. I ended up running six around the outside that had been modified so they didn't stick out on the inside. I didn't want drilling chips to get stuck on screw tips and clog up the system. We also don't want these connections to come loose. We want them to stay steady as the kids adjust them over and over again.

There is no turning back as the holes are cut with a saber saw and later smoothed with sandpaper. I think there might be one section of 5" duct left if this doesn't work.

The test fit shows how well this might work. This ring is cut from another threaded fixture. The surface around the hole will be coated with silicone caulk to fill the gaps and the underside (shown) will be tightened, pulling the anchor up tight to the duct.

The assembly is drying for a few days before the rest of the modular hose is linked into place. The center anchor was the most difficult to reach and tighten since it is about 28" from the end. With my arm fully extended, I can barely hold the outside as I can barely grip and turn the inside.

5-19-18 Moving on to the larger and most used drill press, I'm cutting and shaping a spacer/reducer on the lathe that will fit the duct end. This duct doesn't line up as well to the machine, so another anchor has to be added, unless I have enough modular hose to go the distance, and I don't.

I'm adjusting the size of the spacer/reducer so one end fits into the 4" blast gate behind the large lathe. Made the same as all the other spacer/reducers on this system, the other end is the same size as the duct connection point, so a clamp can go around and seal it tight. And, it really does look nice... at least to me.

The completed spacer fits perfectly and on this one, the hose gets attached to the reducer.

The large drill press shows the other end of the hose coming from the reducer. The modular hose gets screw clamped into place. The modular hose adjusts/works perfectly connected to this anchor. I haven't yet shortened the screw clamp in this photo.

The small drill presses show the 3 port manifold that anchors the modular hose exactly as planned. I couldn't be happier at the way the plastic parts locked into place and how well it works. What seemed like the hardest task that kept me awake thinking and planning for weeks... actually turned out to not be as hard or take as long as I expected. The screw together plastic parts really simplified the task.

I was worried that this anchor point wouldn't hold up to constant adjustment, but as I tested it today, it seems like it will last indefinitely. It also looks as if the adjustments might work for the entire length of quill travel on every machine.

5-27-18 After we had the dust collector working, students had fun drilling holes on the drill press and watching the dust and chips disappear. It's like magic. I'm positive that this new dust collector is going to make a huge difference.

I planned on having enough left over for me to take a little home and use on my own drill press. I'm happy to say that it looks as if there is just enough left for that, so I need to pay for the parts. By combining these together, it saves on shipping. It also was a safe guard against not having enough to reach all the remaining drill presses. So... since there was more than enough, "note to self", don't forget to pay the office before you install the left over at home. (Tom Franklin agreed to add this to our previous tool/machine trade agreement so I will not have to pay extra.)

After splitting these posts up, I've lost my place and know I've probably mentioned this a couple of times already, but after filling an old clean sock with two other socks, I made the perfect plug to place near the nozzle to stop airflow on any unused machines without spending extra for smaller blast gates. It should be easy for everyone to get used to using.

Here is one of my worries... the after school program. 4th and 5th graders come into the wood shop after school and we have to feed them snacks before we begin. It is part of the 21st Century grant. The kids are all good kids, but I still find food wrappers all over the shop. It's kids after all... and I can easily see them thinking it is fun to send those wrappers through the dust collector. That is something I will have to address before we begin.
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:37:12 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 12

The floor sweep is a whole story about how Oneida first didn't send it along in the shipment, then when we asked about it, they sent the wrong one. It was the cheaper version that didn't fit the Gorilla duct. It was returned and the right one turned out to be larger. Then what was already in place came up short, so it had to be reworked leaving us shy one clamp.

Oneida already charging me double for missing clamps because we didn't catch it sooner. That was a bad deal, and I should have put up more of a fuss, but now everyone reading this knows to be more careful in the future.

Make your district receiving department count the project parts so you are not double paying for something missed until near the end when it was needed. Anyway I didn't let them get away with charging me for the extra clamp and 3" hose that they send wrong. It is now suppose to be on it's way at no charge.

You know... the trapdoor on this floor sweep thwarts my plan to make a wedge shaped screening devise to keep kids from putting all manner of crap through the dust collector. I am going to have to be strict about it's use. I can imagine rags, sand paper, nails, screws, broken scroll saw blades, small blocks of wood, larger blocks of wood... all ending up rattling there way through the duct work. OK kids, pick out the junk before you send that sawdust pile through the trapdoor. In a perfect world!

***UPDATE*** 5-27-18... OK... Oneida sent the wrong hose and a different part came instead of a 5" clamp... not to mention the part that came was suppose to go to Oregon. After a quick phone call, the right stuff should be on the way now, and also Oneida tells me this stuff happens all the time (people missing parts near the end of a project, so they may be refunding some money after-all. Still, it's a good idea to check all the parts and report missing stuff before even beginning. It will make things easier in the long run.

(Summer time) OK, no refund since she almost doubled the amount of 3" hose which I turned into a shop vacuum based at the center of the shop since it wouldn't be needed for the scroll saws. The hose will reach every corner of the room... but again, the kids need to know to be careful what gets into it because once it is on it's way, it can't be stopped and depending on what it may be, it could ding up the ducting or stop it up completely.
Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:39:15 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 13

I was having a hard time bending the cylindrical parts I am making out of scrap sheet metal. I noticed an old mail box post in my home scrap heap out back. I thought if I take a short piece of this pipe, and put a slot in it, I could quickly roll out some of these parts. One end gets a slight bend, then put through the slot, rolled and that's it.

There is some spring back, but it is not a problem... and the idea speeds up the process considerably.

The result are lathe reducers taking 6" down to three 2.5". That starts with the lathes having a 6" main duct split into three 4" which then is reduced down to 2.5".

I'm not sure I will make or purchase 2.5" blast gates. I'm torn... because it doesn't seem to make a difference if they are all open... just like the drill presses. I'll have to live with it for a while before I decide since leaving too many blast gates open changes the way the whole system picks up the dust.

5-27-18 I took a couple of old clean socks and stuffed them into another sock, tied a knot and it makes the perfect plug to close off unused lathes scoops.

Now, if I could just get maintenance to finish fixing the lathes that need attention... after all, it has been a year since I put in the written request for it. Hurry up Dusty!!! Once we have them all fixed and in place, I can button up the final stages of dust collection on the lathes.

Although there is a ton of air moving when opening the blast gate, I'm positive there will be no way to completely contain the chips coming off these lathes... especially larger projects, but then, the floor sweep is not far away. If I can keep the students from putting junk through the system, I will allow them to use the floor sweep. I just wasn't expecting the floor sweep with a trapdoor on the front. That will make it more difficult to screen junk.

***UPDATE*** 8-3-18 I'd like to finish up the lathes. I bridged the plastic 3-way fixture with copper wire on one lathe stand last week. The other stand has multiple concerns. Half of our lathes aren't currently working, and maintenance hasn't been able to get to it, so I have had to do a little of my own research and repair work.

For the noisy lathes, I found help outside from a long ago retired gentleman who only asked for gas money. Even though he insisted the bearings seemed fine, we started by putting in the new bearings maintenance had purchased.

Before we did that, I really should have tried running the motor with the belt off because as it turns out, the noise was from the motor bearings, not the upper bearings. Darn that hind-sight. Where is it when you really need it. It's always late. I have to say, even maintenance got that one wrong, and my old retired friend didn't think of it either.

Now you'd think we would all be smarter than to pull something like that, and you'd be right... but as I kick myself now, it just didn't occur to me/us at the time because I know that I've rarely had motor bearings be the issue.

When it comes to this cheap Chinese made stuff, you never know anymore. I have some cheap stuff run for years and years under extreme circumstances with little or no issues.

Two motors have bad back bearings which need replacing. The first was a breeze once we got the bearing loose from the armature. The new bearing went right in and it seems fine now.

The second motor... not so easy. The seized bearing fell off because the spinning armature was no longer the right size. It had worn down to a smaller size, and not just a little. Maybe if this had been caught when I first turned it into maintenance, things would be different.

Oh well. With some machine lathe work and a different bearing, the problem will be taken care of hopefully as I took it into the small machine repair shop. Estimate is $50... and if it were much more, it would make more sense to replace the entire lathe, unless tariffs sharply increase prices.


This next issue is a bit harder.... as if the last one was easy.... right? The control box went out on one machine which sat for almost a year before I could get someone to purchase a new one.

Now, two more are doing the same thing. One comes on and goes off on what appears to be a whim. Works today first hour. Doesn't work 10 minutes later. Works again the following period. Right now it is working. You can play with the plug, the switch, the speed control... nothing seems to make a difference. Then I ran across this You Tube video and start thinking I've found the answer. But is it the MOSFET transistor?

Right now the school is trying to get some replacement boxes. Later, as time permits, I might try buying a package of these MOSFET transistors to see if we can fix the old control boxes I can't seem to bring myself to throw away. A package runs $6 so it might be worth trying.

Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2018 2:51:47 PM
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Getting a start on the details... 14

5-20-18 I started working on the X-Carve today and it consumed most of my time too. This is a link to their X-Carve installation instructions. I had to begin with a reducer for the hose in the X-Carve dust control kit we purchased. My photo was taken before I shortened the screw clamp.

Some of the little parts that are spread all over on the table.

Some parts are test fitted on the table.

The scale helps the user to level out the brush. You can see how much dust the machine has from not having this previously installed. My hope is that it will keep this area clean.

The brush has a set of inserts that help concentrate the vacuum. The 2nd one will be for later if the 1st gets chewed up. The brush also has a gap to allow for the brush removal without first removing the blade.

The anti-static hose (which actually threads into the end piece) has a wire to help dissipate possible static build up. The other strap you see that goes around both the hose and the router is my own addition, knowing several things in advance. First, students won't be able to resist repeatedly pulling on the hose since it is the closest to the operator. This stress may cause problems with the hose to brush connection down the road.

Next, I have the hose running to the back corner of the machine instead of the front. This is due to the location of our blast gate. That makes the hose fall a little forward and this tilts the brush forward causing it to ride on the front bristles. With the amount of space they have allowed for the shoe to fit into, I can't imagine that changing the hose mount to the front wouldn't cause the tilt towards the back.

Lastly, It seems to not be affecting the router movement as it has the room to move quite a bit before rocking the clamp a little. I don't want these younger students to remove the hose or the brush. With the way we have it set up, and it's minimal movement up and down, it would be rare for them to need to remove it, and that is better for everyone concerned.

My quick opinion of the product without having used it first... a little over priced. This coming from a guy who rarely buys stuff but instead dumpster dives for our materials. That said, we will see how it holds up.

(We did a test run later as you will read, and the whole area stayed clean. That is a big improvement over the plywood box. The box worked, but it did get messy inside and needed to be cleaned after a few projects. Now it will stay clean on every project.)

Now that the big plywood box is gone, it is a bit noisier when we run the X-Carve, but the amount of space freed up gives me enough room to install a vice on the corner of the table. This one was given to me by a former colleague who has long since retired and thinks I'm absolutely crazy for not doing the same. I know it's not the best vise for a wood shop, but it is a vise that will be put to good use just the same.

You don't know how much you would miss work tables with proper vises until you are forced to go without. It will probably always be a problem here as the space is inadequate and there is never enough money or room to do everything we really need to have done around here either.

There have been several mentions about a new building, but I'm not sure how far down the road that is and if I'll still be around when it happens, but there is a chance for a larger space in the future. Can you imagine having to move this dust collection. At least it is the snap together modular ducting that will make that job easier, and I wanted that because I can easily see this happening. It's not a matter of if, but when.

While I have had some excellent news about the second grant we applied for, until I actually see a check, I consider it not newsworthy enough to be mentioning it yet, but can you imagine adding a new full sized band saw, and scroll saws that actually work without falling apart, or having a helix head planer that will be connected to a dust collector, and a belt disc sander that will not have a make shift dust shroud or a belt that tends to move over when you least expect it.

5-21-18 This really SUCKS.... and I mean really! The vacuum is amazing and we tested it today with the X-Carve. It worked perfectly. Not a crumb left behind. Of course we didn't do anything too elaborate, but all signs point to clean in our future.

Skip forward to the next dust collection installation post.

Skip all the way back to the first X-Carve post from January 4, 2016.

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