Nov 20

Dust in the wind…

Dust collection in the shed has evolved from a dustpan and broom, to a cheap-and-cheerful wet-and-dry vacuum cleaner, to including a dust devil knock-off cyclone separator in the mix, to changing out the barrel from something waaaaay too large for the shed to something that was better sized, to building a cart to lash all the pieces to, to getting a proper extractor and creating a hodgepodge of 100mm and 63mm hoses. That’s where it’s been for a while and it kinda worked but was… a bit janky to be honest.

I mean, that’s a mess. And it means I can’t have shelves on the front of the dust cart as well because of the hoses which is wasted space. But it worked well enough while all it had to cope with was the bandsaw and occasionally unplugging the 100mm hose from the cyclone and plugging it into the thicknesser. But then the lathe showed up and while you don’t have to worry quite so much while cutting on it, if you’re scraping or sanding, you generate a lot of dust in a hurry, so I printed off a loc-line style posable hose for there and fed it with a new length of 100mm hose:

But the hose from that is running across the floor:

Minor trip hazard there, plus it’s jamming up the stuff behind the lathe and it’s also a faff to hook it up so I’m liable not to hook it up which is not a great idea. And to boot, the top-heavy arrangement of the cyclone pulls the whole thing over and the cyclone acts like a lever and rips out of the plastic lid of the dust bucket.

Also, the new finishes for the woodturning stuff are taking over. So this has needed fixing for a while and my plan was to make a Thien cyclone separator lid for the blue barrel by printing one off, but the more I worked with the 3D printer the more I realised that this is one of those jobs that just wouldn’t last if I 3D printed it on my kit because of the natural flexing and vibration the parts undergo. PLA would snap and PETG would give out after a while – the loc-line hose has already lost two segments to wear and tear and I expect to lose a few more before I figure out a way to print those things that doesn’t suffer from separation between layers. Looking round the plumbing section of woodies didn’t provide the parts I needed either. So instead, I bought a kit for about the price of a reel of PLA.

Make the bread, buy the butter. So, I stripped down the dust collection setup, cleaned off the old silicone, retired the cyclone (I’ll find a use for it at some point, probably in a proper shop vac if I ever get a shed large enough to expose enough floor to need a hoover) and cut two plywood discs to sandwich the remains of the plastic lid of the barrel.

I haven’t put in the baffle yet. The internal structure of the barrel means you can’t really get a baffle in there – the indented handholds get in the way. I’m hoping that the counter-facing elbows will perform a similar function but the dust in the barrel may wind up being a problem as it fills. I can try adding a baffle then, or just empty it more often. Part of the price of a small shed is that you can’t always be as efficient as you can be at a larger scale after all.

That’s the top half and as you can see, there’s not a lot of room to play with here. In fact, there’s none, I had to trim the flanges on both parts on two sides to make them fit.

Oh well. Next, fit it back to the barrel, and ratchet-strap it back in place.

And now you see the next part of the plan, rotating the extractor 180 degrees and running the extraction 100mm hose up the back of the dust extraction cart where it’s all wasted space and hooking up the outflow pipe that way. Now the next step is to get the 100mm hose going to the lathe out from underfoot.

And the only two ways to get out from underfoot were to cut holes in the floor of the shed, run the tube outside the shed, across to the other side and back up inside the shed – which would have been… awkward; or this way, suspending it overhead. There’s about half an inch of head clearance, which for the shed is actually pretty good. The loc-line style posable hose then mounts to the ceiling and the hose plugs into it and if I need dust extraction, I just position the hose.

The 100mm hose was too long for that run though, so I cut about half a metre off it and that now feeds the line going to the bandsaw and which also acts as the hoover for the floor and other debris. I don’t have a Y-splitter, I just use quick-release clamps and attach and detach as required:

To use the thicknesser, I’ll detach the lathe hose from its posable endpoint, untie it from the roof mounts (it’s only paracord holding it) and plug it into the thicknesser and away we go. Not the best solution but the best I can think of for now in this much space.

Next up, a sheet of plywood will cover that extractor and become the backplate for a set of shelf type things so that I can move all of this stuff off my bench…


Mar 20

Buying space

So I kept looking at this and trying to think of where I could stash timber and I kept coming back to the litre-in-a-pint-pot nature of the problem. And some problems you just can’t fix with tidying up stints.

But there’s this little trick you learn in engineering – you can throw money at some problems and they just go away. So I pootled off to homebase and bought a garden storage box (a Keter store-it-out midi for €120 if you’re wondering). And also got the next size up for the garden furniture because it’s driving Claire batty seeing the stuff making the back patio look messy.

Fiddly things to assemble if you get the order of operations wrong and it doesn’t help when your manual is paper mache because someone stored them outside in the rain at the garden center…

Never seen that before. But thanks to online copies of manuals I got them assembled, and spent most of Sunday moving the smaller one onto that little bit of deck outside the shed and then moving all the timber that would fit into the box and tidying stuff up. The difference is… well, pretty noticable when you’re in the shed.

Not done yet, but good grief. I was able to push the bandsaw six full inches to the wall, and I now have enough room in there to actually move around, it’s awesome. I want to put a shelf in the storage box and try to move some of the finishes from the right side of the bench, but that’ll wait for another day.

Oh, and I drilled another doghole in the apron so I’d have a place to put that bench hook for my japanese saws. Works well, wish I’d done it sooner.

The benchtop’s still cramped, but at least now the problem is manageable.

Bolted down the lathe. That was a pig of a job. Turns out, the electronics box (the bit with the switch on the right) hangs *below* the lowest level of the casting when you take off the rubber feet that come with it, so you can’t just bolt the casting down to the stand, you need a spacer (I used M10 nuts for now, but I’ve ordered four ice hockey pucks that I’ll replace the nuts with for vibration damping). And the threading in the casting got painted over so I had to run an M8 tap up through the holes to clean then up, but I had to do that while the lathe was more or less in that position, just swung out a little over the edge to get some access.

And then a misalignment from earlier bit me. When I glued on the top on the stand, I bumped the top at the tailstock end while trying to do the glue-up on the headstock end and didn’t notice (there are downsides to not having any space in the working area beyond inconvenience and safety y’know, the work suffers too):

Out by a full 15mm or so. Which means that the bolt through the top from underneath into the casting is fine on one side of the tailstock and on the other side would require me to cut away a chunk of the crossbar to access the nut. *sigh*

I may need to do that (and it’s at the end where the crossbar can lose a little mass anyway) but for now I just threaded the bolt down from above enough to align everything (so the M10 nut spacer doesn’t drift off and leave the casting unsupported) but it’s not holding the lathe down (and yes, the vibration is now much more noticable). When the hockey pucks get here, I’ll fix that.

I also put up a really quick and dirty shelf from an offcut.

It has some recesses for the faceplate and the chuck and a hole or three for knockout rod, tool rest and chuck key, but there’s more work to do there, not least of which will be a support from the back to the edge of the shelf as it flexes too much and to move it over slightly to get one of the screws at least into a wall stud (and also more holes for things like the indexing pin for the headstock) But it got more stuff off the bench so that’s fine.

I do have a cheap hall-effect sensor based tachometer to fit as well, which will require removing the electronics box and doing some rewiring and also some mounting holes in the casting to get the sensor close enough to the spindle to sense a magnet mounted on that. The black plastic hood does lever back but the geometry means I can’t just drill into that and mount it that way. Need to think abou this a little.

I also need to figure out lathe tool storage.

Yes, I also need to tidy the shavings, I know, I know. But where do I put the lathe tools is the current question. I don’t like the idea of putting them on the back wall because I don’t want to lean over the lathe; I’m thinking more of a small (2×4) array of pvc pipe segments on the wall below the window and angled towards where I’d stand slightly (I only have six lathe tools, but I want to be able to get one or two more in the next few months). They can’t go by the door which was the natural choice because that’s where the sharpening station is going.

There’s also a little camera arm thingy in there so I can try to get timelapse photos and other fun things later.

And those bench hooks and jigs can’t stay behind the lathe, they fall over instantly when you start the lathe up. Not sure where they’re going. Bit of a pain, those. But waaaay too vital to throw away. They’re nearly daily use tools.

That weird-looking thing in the lathe by the way, is me cleaning up this week’s course project, which was a basic tool handle which is right now  holding a saw file. But the bandsaw cut on the back end wasn’t square, and I also had to cut down the ferrule from this:

Still a bit of tidying up to do yet. But at least the long timber is squared away and tied off (and the dowels are in their own 100mm pvc pipe holder).

Need a container for the squeezy bottles of finish and the MMAP and Butane gas though. I might be able to hang those containers off the dust extraction cart if they’re readily removable for when I have to empty that thing. And I have more 100mm hose coming to run the extractor over to the lathe properly, so the sooner I get the 3D printer printing off dust extraction fittings the better. If I can retire the 40mm dust deputy for something like a 100mm Thien cyclone lid for the blue dust barrel, that would work much much better for my little shed as it wouldn’t be banging off the ceiling and I could run the 100m hose to the cyclone instead of the extractor directly.

Did manage to get a 20mm calibration cube to print and it seems I’m getting some reasonable results off the printer.

I mean. they’re parts at least. Not a mess of spaghetti behind the machine where the print head knocked it. Yes, that is the Taj Mahal at the front, the rest are parts for the printer itself.

But it does look like spiderman tried to immobilise it (the extruder head needs to come down a few degrees C I think) and for some reason I’m still getting warping but only on the right hand side of the bed?

Odd. I’m probably trying to print too many objects at once. Oh well. Prioritisation needed. Parts to improve the printer first, then on to dust collection. I’m running low on filament so I ordered another reel, this time from a manufacturer called eSun instead of this stuff from Creality which has more than a few very loud negative reviews from the various forums for these printers. We’ll see.

Jan 20

Lots of stuff. Like, lots.

Long gaps between posts are a sure sign of either nothing getting done or a whole lot of stuff happening. In this case something of the latter. Since the last post, I extracted the shop vac, which is now living happily in the attic with Bob, our friendly funnely spider who lives right by where your face emerges from the stairs to the attic and who we met while taking down the xmas decorations this year.

So Bob’s new companion shop vac joined the mitre saw which I have no room for in the shed, and I kicked and prodded the new cart until it fitted into where the vac used to be.

It almost looks tidy if you don’t look too close or turn around…

Yeah, that’s why you don’t want to look too close. Even with the dust barrel tilted right over, that’s a real tight fit for a 4″ pipe to get into that 2″ opening because of all the adapters we’ll need.

And that’s why you don’t want to turn round. The problem with tidying up any one corner in the shed is that you have to dump all the rubbish in the other three corners. Ideally, a shed needs to be pentagon shaped so you can have tools in four corners and all the rubbish in the fifth. I was hoping to get more storage into that cart, but I need to build something that can hang off the front and also not foul the 4″ hose first. Still working on that idea.

Also, have I mentioned that I share the shed with a tumble drier? And of course it’s collected a huge amount of crud as it’s a flat surface.

And since the floor is also technically a flat surface…. well, you get the idea. Time to tidy up a bit. Thing is, the eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed a large green box on the end of the bench hiding behind chunks of 2×4 that I’m hanging on to for use in jigs and the like, and yes, that is a new interloper in the shed.

I honestly couldn’t point to a single thing and say “this is why I bought that” this time round. It came up in a black friday sale at the lowest price I’d ever seen this for, it has good reviews from everyone who used it for the kind of light duty hobbyists put these things through, and it doesn’t involve faffing about with belts and it has a tiny footprint for a pillar drill at 13″ by 13″ by 24″ tall. And yes, I have an idea where it’ll go, but more on that later, for now it’s just taking up a chunk of the bench and I’ve only used it for a few quick holes for putting away some sandpaper I bought off rutlands in the sales…

Yes, I’m very clever, I made a toilet roll holder. And yes, that is a faceshield and some custom artwork by the house’s resident Young Artist. It’s titled “the red car Daddy should have bought instead of our one”.

Around this time the annual winter solstice enforced holiday came up. The pillar drill was brought home on one of the last days before my vacation time kicked in. So there was some tree work instead of woodwork, and all of the lights had to be put up (this is what happens when you keep picking up sets of LED lights in the sales every year, your tree emits more light than your house lights). That glass of anejo was well earned, because along with the tree was the cooking…

Beef wellington only looks like a faff when you do it right. So here we have the beef which was sous vide’d to just under medium rare, then chilled overnight in the fridge, then seared in the pan and left to cool again and then coated in mustard. Under that is the duxelle mix of mushrooms and shallots, with the mushrooms not blitzed but chopped by hand so it’d be lumpy instead of paste and then cooked for ages until all the water was driven off. You don’t want liquid leaching out of the middle, it makes the dough soggy, so the duxelle has to be dry and still slightly chunky to act as a sponge as the beef will express juices in the final cooking. Then some parma ham to seal in the juice even more and finally two layers of filo dough instead of the traditional crepe to seal it in even more. Then just simply wrap in puff pastry…

…or do some lattice work and put rosemary leaves in the spaces by hand with tweezers.

Yeah, not kidding. I must need my head examined. It was nice though. And of course you need potatoes, but what happens if you mix 50% mashed potato (sans milk or cream please) with 50% savoury choux pastry (like the stuff you make eclairs with but with no sugar and a good pinch of salt) and then deep fry the mix in small dollops from a piping bag?

Pommes dauphine that’s what.

And there were desserts and starters as well. Gravlax and smoked salmon with pickled mustard seeds on guinness bread to start, and pecan pie, gingerbread cake and the above lemon meringue soup as desserts. Yes, soup. What do you mean, your curd sets up?

ANYWAY. After a day or two lying on the couch, floor and bed trying to digest several different animals and half a field of vegetables, I got back out to the shed and did a bit of tidying up and assembled the dust collection using all of the adapters in the plumbing section of woodies. You’ll note the dust barrel is over at a 15-20 degree angle and is held there with a tie-down ratchet and a slightly cut down strap (this ratchet now belongs to this cart, but it was a cheap lidl job so no worries). And I tested the dust extractor and holy crap. It lifted the dust off the floorboards, had a go at the dirt under the shed and damn near ate the floorboard as well. This thing is industrial. I think it might actually cope with the thicknesser. It damn near cleaned all the dust off the outside of the bandsaw from the inside when I used that for the next odd job to do in the shed which I thought would tidy stuff up.

So a lot of the little metre lengths of 19mmx40mm whitewood that’s been laying about the place since I built the workbench have found their ways into jigs, but the last few I actually have had a plan for since building the bench and that was to put them into the lightweight aluminium sash clamps I have to beef them up, an idea I first saw in a Paul Sellers video (and then in about six other youtube channels over the subsequent week or two as everyone independently thought up the idea. The gig economy at work, sadly. Hard to blame them really).

Ripped down on the bandsaw, then planed to the right thickness and depth, and tapped home.

Took a bit of fiddling so I got it right with one, then used that as a rough template for the other seven. Offcuts went into the sack for transport to the parent’s house – I’ve finally found a way to get rid of waste wood, it goes in the fire and the recycling center can stick that in their “we charge you for a full carload even if you have just one bag of shavings that could go straight into the compost heap” policy and smoke it in front of Greta Thunberg. Sometime you’d think this country is run by incompetent jobsworths who never think policies through and the rest of the time you wouldn’t be that naively optimistic.

One down, seven more lined up behind it (and now done). But now I’ve cleared some room, so of course what I should do is take the birthday and xmas gift vouchers I keep getting for The Carpentry Store and which have been building up over the last three or four years and drive out to Naas, just to have a look…

Sooo many toys and so much fun material to play with, it’s a good thing I was just lookin…

Now, to be fair, I’ve been trying to find this stuff here for ages for the masking tape trick and nobody wants to ship aerosol cans or any other pressurised container anymore so it’s not that bad…

And in my defence here, I have some western saws but they’re all quite old and not sharp and while I finally have the kit to sharpen them, unless I have a decent one already how will I know what they should be like?

Also, it’s very nice and it was a gift voucher and also, I’ve had things fit my hand this well before but I had to have a licence to own them and they came with sights and ammunition…

And it’s small and it’ll go on a magnet rack on the wall and it’ll be grand, it’s not like I got anything too larg…

I mean, okay, yeah, but they’re small and come on, they’re pretty and you want to know what that lidl lathe can do with real hardwood or resin, don’t you?

See? Small. And useful, and it’ll hang up on the wall (on a magnet, for this is magnetic brass, none of that nonmagnetic muck for me). Just little small things, that’s all.

Look, technically they’re still small things…

Um. Okay. So I know what you’re thinking and you’re probably right.

….yeah. So maybe I shouldn’t walk round a tool shop with a lot of gift vouchers. Herself got me a woodturning course for xmas that starts in a few weeks, so it’ll live in the box for a while yet because this one really could do you some mischief, but it’s a decent solid beginner’s lathe and yes, yes, I know, there’s no room, but I Have A Plan dammit…

So about that tumble drier I was sharing space with. Well, it was long dead, and nobody wanted it anymore, so it went to the recycling center, who took AN ENTIRE TUMBLEDRIER FOR FREE but oh no, a bag of wood shavings is far too much to cope with…

Ah, right, yeah, the stuff that was on top of the tumble drier. Okay, let’s put it in the precious empty floor space for now…

Don’t you be making faces at me, you’re not there for long, I’m using up a chunk of the beech and poplar that’s taking up room in the far corner in order to make a lathe stand that won’t take up all of the space the tumble drier is no longer using up, and then I can put the lathe there and all this stuff can go in the far corner where there’s some room and under the lathe stand along with the pillar drill to make more space and weigh down the stand, and all will be right with the world.

Er. Yeah. Well. Er.
Look — good tequila, 3am on new year’s day and a 30% off sale on banggood.com aren’t the wisest mix, okay? Besides, look, it has actual uses for the shed. I mean, look at this nonsense:

I mean, come on, that’s daft. How many fittings? I damn near had to drill into the ceiling for this for pete’s sake. With the 3D printer I could just print off a cyclone that had a 4″ port right there. Or an adapter that fitted both the 4″ hose and the 2″ port perfectly and had a 180 degree bend as the hose is coming up from below. And there are lots of things like that you could do with one.

See? Now all I have to do is… oh, crap, I have to tidy up the lab to make space for the printer first.


Right. I guess I get to go visit Bob again so. Good think I bought that faceshield I guess…