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Dressing up my TS-200 - zero-clearance insert

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JakeS

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I recently blew some savings on a TS-200 from Axminster, just before the prices went up (largely because I had been watching it for a while, and from past eBay auctions I figured I'd be able to sell it on at not much of a loss if I wasn't happy with it). I knew it wasn't going to be perfect, and I'm willing to mess around with it to get it running well. I've used it for basic rips and crosscuts and I'm very happy with it on the whole, I still have all my fingers and there are no dents in the garage door behind it, so I'm getting caught up in the moment!

I knew from the outset that I would have trouble finding aftermarket accessories to fit the nonstandard mitre slot - but I happened across the Milescraft featherboard at a decent price, and since it advertised a 5/8" mitre runner on the packaging, I thought I'd give it a go. In case there's anyone else out there with a TS-200 and a desperate desire to buy a third-party featherboard, it fit fine after a couple of minutes' sanding down the aluminium runner (and filing down a bit of burr on the edge of the mitre slot on the table). It locks nice and securely, and adjusts back and forth.

But that's not why I'm posting - see, the next thing I thought I'd do was make a zero-clearance insert, following along with one of Steve M's DVDs; it seemed like a good idea, not least since I've already seen a few smaller offcut bits drop into the table and rattle around something rotten between the blade and the crown guard and the internal blade guard before getting spat out at the bottom in several pieces. I've found a piece of smooth-faced hardboard the exact thickness necessary to sit flush on the little ledge that supports the supplied aluminium insert, I've discovered the radius to cut the corners (3/4") and fashioned a piece (well, three pieces, actually) which sits perfectly in the hole in the table... but as can be seen from the below picture, there's a small problem in the support department:

saw-2.jpg


The ledge actually only runs about half-way around the hole, and there's nothing to support the insert on the left-hand side (top of photo). Since I expect a not-inconsiderable amount of force to be exerted downwards on this thing, at least at the front, I'm a bit worried that it may be pulled down, flipped sideways into the hole and disappear forever! With the blade fully retracted here, the insert would fairly easily tip into the gap on the left with only a little more pressure than it took to pop it into place in the first place.

Now, I've checked out the extents of the blade's and the riving knife's travel and I'm pretty sure that there's a good centimetre at the front and back which will never be intruded upon - at least not with this size blade - but I'm unsure as to how to go about attaching something to support the insert. My first thought is to get the epoxy glue out and just glue a washer or something to the underside of the table, poking out into the gap a little to provide a small ledge, but I'm not convinced it'll be especially strong. I'm not emotionally prepared (yet!) to go drilling into the table if I can possibly avoid it, or I'd just tap a hole and attach said washer with a cut-down machine screw... does anyone have any other advice? Or am I worrying about nothing, and if I screw the insert down into the provided screwholes I'll never have a problem anyway?



(I'm also wondering as a future project about fashioning a less-protruding riving knife; I gather from past threads on the subject that the important things are "tool steel", a thickness somewhere between the thickness of the blade's body and the thickness of the teeth, and mounting it with a closed slot so it doesn't fly off and stab me in the face, but if anyone has any other advice I'm all ears! Can one cut ~2mm tool steel with a hacksaw, or is that going to be messy enough it wouldn't make a good knife?)
 

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MickCheese

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On my Kity, very similar, there are what look like washers as you propose at each corner so I think that would be a good and cheap idea.

Mick
 

studders

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It's quite simples really but does involve drilling the Table. Will take a Piccy later, if I don't get Snowed in/out.


ooops, just re-read post, and you don't want to do that.
 

woodbloke

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MickCheese":1zsvve1k said:
On my Kity, very similar, there are what look like washers as you propose at each corner so I think that would be a good and cheap idea.

Mick
Hope the K419 is behaving itself Mick :lol: Fitting a zero tol insert plate is almost a mandatory 'must do' on any table saw. I replaced the Kity with a Charwood W650 which is a great saw, but required some fettling to make it around 150% better. The original insert plate was replaced as you could drop a:



...'twixt saw and plate :-" The finished insert plate appears thus:



...with the insert plate being a bit of suitable thickness ply, shimmed underneath with thin washers to bring it exactly up to the table height. The original guard was rubbish and has been replaced with a Suva style guard which is much better whilst the riving knife isn't steel at all...it's a piece of 3mm thick carbon fibre, supplied buy another member of the forum (many thanks Tiddles :D ) Saw blade is an industrial one from Wealden...recommended :wink: - Rob
 

MickCheese

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Rob

Love the Kity, and as you had already set it up perfectly it really needs little work to keep it running true. Just email Doug for some new blades as the current ones are getting a bit tired having been sharpened a couple of times.

I need to look into the guard and chopping the riving knife down a tad so I don't have to remove it to complete housing cuts.

The Zero clearance insert is a must as the alloy one that is standard has a huge hole to one side, I was using it yesterday for an angled cut and bits were trying their hardest to get swallowed down the hole.

Jake

I think washers stuck with either araldite or that metal weld stuff should work to support the left of the insert. Anything too large may impede you when changing blades and such.

Let us know how you get on.

Mick
 

JakeS

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studders":1sfaywem said:
ooops, just re-read post, and you don't want to do that.
If it's going to be a significantly better option than just gluing stuff to form a shelf, then I'd still love to hear about it - I may work up the courage, or I may find that the glue idea fails and I have to resort to more drastic measures anyway!

MickCheese":1sfaywem said:
I think washers stuck with either araldite or that metal weld stuff should work to support the left of the insert. Anything too large may impede you when changing blades and such.
I have some Araldite and I don't have any metal-weld stuff, so I'll probably give that a go first, unless anyone pops in with a really good reason why not before this evening. After all, if it fails then it's going to have come off already, so I don't need to worry so much about that...! ;-)
 

Ateallthepies

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I fitted a bit of wood for the plate to sit on but some aluminium would do a better job. The blade is free to tilt all the way still.





Steve
 

JakeS

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JakeS":1122vfvd said:
I have some Araldite and I don't have any metal-weld stuff, so I'll probably give that a go first, unless anyone pops in with a really good reason why not before this evening.
Correction: I thought I had some Araldite, so maybe tomorrow evening! Annoyingly I was in the hardware shop earlier to get suitable washers, I bet they sell it.

On the plus side, I did manage to get the ZCI mostly-finished anyway, as it's pretty snug in the gap at the moment (I cut the pieces a little oversize to start with and sanded down) so I thought I could risk it with the fence over the side with the support to hold it down:

saw-3.jpg


I don't want to cut anything on it until I've got the support sorted, but

I also took the opportunity while the plate was out to align the blade with the mitre slot, having read the thread Wizer posted a couple of years ago about fettling his TS-200 and worked out which bits I need to loosen and which bits I need to whack! I don't know if the design has been changed or whether Wizer was just making a meal of it, but it seems a lot simpler than the earlier thread made it sound - I had a vernier clamped against the mitre gauge to check alignment (and a bit of paper trapped between the runner and the slot to hold it more firmly in place), then just loosened the four screws nearest the blade a quarter of a turn each, reached in from the back and gave the saw carriage an affectionate nudge in the right direction, re-checked to confirm it was better aligned and then re-tightened the screws; no flipping of the saw required!



Ateallthepies: Am I reading that picture right - you've made a little wooden shelf to hold up an aluminium insert? Does the blade tilt all the way with the insert in place, or do you still need a separate insert for different angles of cut?
 

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Steve Maskery

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Jake
I think in your position I would simply drill countersunk holes and screw it down.
There will be downward pressure on the ZCI only when you cut it for the first time, and if you are followingthe technique I show in the DVD, using the fence as a cover and guard, then it can't tip anyway.
I can understand your concern, and I agree the design leaves something to be desired, but I think you can use it safely without having to drill your table*.

Cheers
Steve
*(Although I think that that support idea is a good one)
 

JakeS

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Steve Maskery":2gw6vhaj said:
There will be downward pressure on the ZCI only when you cut it for the first time, and if you are followingthe technique I show in the DVD, using the fence as a cover and guard, then it can't tip anyway.
I did follow the technique you described when I raised the blade up to cut the slot, which is why I felt comfortable doing it before getting the support pieces fixed into place.

There's two concerns I have with an unsupported insert, but since this is my first table saw and I've made something like twenty cuts on it, half of which were test and setup on scrap, I could just be not understanding something! I'm used to the bandsaw, where obviously there's a lot of downward pressure during the cut, and I'm expecting that at the front of the table saw blade at least, there'll be a similar effect.

Firstly, I'm concerned that if I rip a piece which has a small offcut on the left of the blade, then before the end of that offcut passes the end of the insert, it'll be being pushed down by the blade at the front of the cut, which may push the small offcut down into the insert on the left where there's no support.

Secondly, I'm worried that if the insert slips down at all, it may cause the workpiece - running along the bottom of the insert - to get jammed against the end of the gap before running onto the table again, causing an interruption of the cut... at which point I guess I'd have to turn the saw off, back the workpiece out, adjust the insert, and make the cut again from scratch.
(In fact, since the interior edge of the gap is curved, if the offcut is small and hits the end, there's also the worry that it might get guided towards the blade - the riving knife should prevent it from binding, but I don't want to push my luck!)
 

Steve Maskery

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JakeS":1du0s5n9 said:
There's two concerns I have with an unsupported insert, but since this is my first table saw and I've made something like twenty cuts on it, half of which were test and setup on scrap, I could just be not understanding something! I'm used to the bandsaw, where obviously there's a lot of downward pressure during the cut, and I'm expecting that at the front of the table saw blade at least, there'll be a similar effect.

Firstly, I'm concerned that if I rip a piece which has a small offcut on the left of the blade, then before the end of that offcut passes the end of the insert, it'll be being pushed down by the blade at the front of the cut, which may push the small offcut down into the insert on the left where there's no support.
That is a perfectly understandable concern and it is why I would screw the ZCI down if I were you.
I've no idea how feasible this is, but would it be possible to fit turn-buttons underneath to stop it tipping?

S
 

Ateallthepies

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Yes just a bit of scrap screwed down through the table with countersunk screws. The zero plate is then screwed down with the original screws and some tiny ones into the scrap wood shelf.
The blade will fully tilt without hitting the shelf but the original plate is needed for any cuts other than 90 degrees.

Steve.
 

JakeS

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Steve Maskery":3a83tw7c said:
I've no idea how feasible this is, but would it be possible to fit turn-buttons underneath to stop it tipping?
I don't know what you mean by turn-buttons, so I'm not sure! I'll drill and countersink some holes so I can secure it into the same threaded holes that the aluminium insert is attached to, using the same screws, and once the support is there on the other side I'm hoping that will be enough...

On the subject of future work, I've found a couple of websites that do not-terrible prices on thick cut-to-size polycarbonate, and I'm going to try and replicate the guards in the tablesaw-safety WE DVD... but I'd also like to replace the riving knife, and after several web searches and asking around local hardware shops, I'm none the wiser as to where to get the steel from it! Does anyone know of a good online supplier of suitable steel? The riving knife that came with the saw is 2mm, the blade disc 1.5mm and the teeth/kerf 2.2mm, so I was looking around for 2mm-thick tool steel/ground flat stock/gauge plate...

Today I attached the washers using araldite's 'extra strong' blue-and-white epoxy resin-glue; the most difficult one was the one in the middle of the throat, since I didn't want to disassemble the saw if possible. I realised afterward that it would have been easier to do if I'd just taken the blade off, but - well, hindsight is a wonderful thing. What I actually did was apply the glue to the scratched-up-with-a-file washer, lay it on a piece of rosewood (the most suitable, strongest scrap I had of about the right dimensions) and use the rosewood to slip it under the edge of the table:

saw-4.jpg


Then I (cleaned up the squeeze-out and) laid another block over the top and clamped the rosewood to that block, causing it to push the washer up from beneath:

saw-5.jpg


Hopefully the clamping wasn't totally necessary, but it at least prevents the washers from slipping while the glue cures.
 

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marcros

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cromwell tools do flat ground stock/gauge plate if there is a branch near to you. Or you could try a fabricator of some form for a small bit they may have.
 

simocco

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This may be a bit late...but i got a piece of 3mm steel cut for my ZCI. with the 4 screws in there is no need for support on the other side!
 

simocco

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I got a mate to cut the dimensions with an angle grinder - he also started the slot with teh angle grinder and drilled the holes but i finished it off with a file, and rounded the corners. i got the steel for free - i discovered it acting as the counter weight in the back of an office desk pedestal.

NIce videos by the way - thicknesser snipe and luthern clamp! any more?
 

simocco

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Steve Maskery said:
But how did you cut your slot? Steel and WC don't mix very well.....
OK, i see your point - it isnt absolute ZCI there is a very small gap all around, but better that the insert that comes with teh saw
 
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