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Quicker table flattening (resin/wood)

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Jitter

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I currently run a successful yet small business making resin and hardwood tables and simply live edge hardwood tables. It is going so well with orders coming in way faster than I can make them, I cannot keep up at all. Business start up has been exhausting and certainly will take some time to build up capital again after upgrading premises and new equipment. I just work alone mainly and for now would like to wait for a bit of stability before possibly employing someone to help out in future.

My problem is speeding up the process with surfacing the tops after they come out of the mould. Currently I am using a festool orbital hand sander which is certainly cleaner with the dust extraction but still takes forever getting the router marks out and keeping the surface flat while going up the grades. I make tables up to 1.2m x 2.4m in size and many of them are not far off that size so it is an incredible amount of sanding time after routering, sometimes sanding all day long just to get the required finish.

I know that there are monster belt or drum sanders out there but I do not have the money to buy one, even if I did, it would be too much for my shop right now as it is a bit cramped and currently have not got 3 phase although will be getting a converter soon for an old Wadkin planer I have bought.
Are there any folks out there who have had this problem of trying to find the best option to speed things up without breaking the bank, like a kind of upgrade to just at least get through the orders in a more reasonable time? Currently it is a slow process for me and I have to do something about it. Any ideas would be greatly welcomed. Possibly could upgrade the sander to the festool rotex? Not sure if anyone uses that and how well it works.
 

Inspector

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Being honest slab and river tables are not my thing but the Aussies have had various machines for that for many years before it became popular in recent years. Searching through their forums etc will give you ideas to explore. This is an example. Wood Wizz Machinery After you machine the wood flat you change out the head to a sanding disc and smooth with it. Keeps it all even and flat plus you don't hold the sander so the vibration doesn't wreck the nerves in your hands. You could import one or see if they will just sell you the head and you make the rest to fit your work.

Pete
 

Jacob

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Not my thing but I have had a go at some big slabs (given me). Starting off with 40 grit in a Bosch belt sander + brush frame accessory to keep it level. Work up through grits. Might help in between routering and orbital sanding.
Do you use a home made "router planer sled" like the Wood Wizz? The better you get that to work the less sanding you have to do.
 

Jameshow

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How about making a DIY drum sander?

8 x4 infeed and out feed tables with a 4" gap in the middle.

4 ft 4" heavy steel tube with blanks each end and 1" rod welded through the middle.


Flange bearings bolted to the frame of the mft table.

Pully to a 1 h/p?? motor with variable speed controller.


Spiral wound wet and dry secured with jubilee clips each end??

Just a back of envolope idea!!!

Cheers James
 

Jitter

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Being honest slab and river tables are not my thing but the Aussies have had various machines for that for many years before it became popular in recent years. Searching through their forums etc will give you ideas to explore. This is an example. Wood Wizz Machinery After you machine the wood flat you change out the head to a sanding disc and smooth with it. Keeps it all even and flat plus you don't hold the sander so the vibration doesn't wreck the nerves in your hands. You could import one or see if they will just sell you the head and you make the rest to fit your work.

Pete
Yes, I looked at the wood Wizz, looks amazing, still allot more than I can afford at the minute. Your other post below about the slab master looks like a good step up to what I have at the moment. Impressive multi-function setup too!
 

Jitter

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Not my thing but I have had a go at some big slabs (given me). Starting off with 40 grit in a Bosch belt sander + brush frame accessory to keep it level. Work up through grits. Might help in between routering and orbital sanding.
Do you use a home made "router planer sled" like the Wood Wizz? The better you get that to work the less sanding you have to do.
Hand belt sander is a good shout actually, never thought of that, thanks! Yes I use a steel router sled with a trend T11 router. I think I could do with a new router actually because it is not as accurate as I’d like it to be anymore, it leaves one side slightly high, maybe half a mm or so but it does take forever to sand out with the orbital.
 

Ollie78

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Belt sander is a good plan.

Is that wood wizz just a "manual" cnc machine? Seems like at that point just get a cnc machine, it takes up the same space.

Just a random thought, if doing lots of big slabs, what about a floor sander, they are a bit savage but will flatten floorboards pretty quick.

Ollie
 
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jcassidy

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I would just like to know, what is the problem with the finish out of the mould?

In my wayward youth I worked in a fibreglass boat shop, a significant amount of time went into prepping the mould before laying any glass down, specifically to reduce the time needed for the finish. Is there some part of your manufacturing process that you can improve?

Secondly, I'd definitely look at the router, is it accurate and are the bits super sharp? Paul Sellers has a vid about how sharpness affects finish.

Improving the finish out of the mould and improving the finish from the router. My €0.02.
 

Jitter

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I would just like to know, what is the problem with the finish out of the mould?

In my wayward youth I worked in a fibreglass boat shop, a significant amount of time went into prepping the mould before laying any glass down, specifically to reduce the time needed for the finish. Is there some part of your manufacturing process that you can improve?

Secondly, I'd definitely look at the router, is it accurate and are the bits super sharp? Paul Sellers has a vid about how sharpness affects finish.

Improving the finish out of the mould and improving the finish from the router. My €0.02.
Thanks for that. Always trying to improve these things. Generally the finish is deep pour epoxy and i route it down to the wood so that it is a real wood to resin finish. Many people just do flood coating but is a different finish to what I do. Sure the resin has a little shrinking when it sets, never going to achieve a perfectly flat finish with deep pour epoxy, always going to have to flatten with machine or pour epoxy flood coat to flatten.

the router bits/blades are replaced at regular intervals. As soon as it becomes tension to passing the router over the material, i change blades. Never forcing or burning. I think it is the tilt in the router that is giving me problems. I can see me putting a thin packer between the base plate to make up for the slight tilt which over such a large cutter area is quite noticeable and allot of work to remove. Ordered up a rotex sander now too. That should help a bit.
 

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