Previously posted on LJ on 7th June, 2019 and migrated across if only to spruik my take on ZCIs for tablesaw sleds.
While this article is basically for the skin on the fence, it makes reference to the skins (ZCI inserts) on the base.
I made a video a while back on the base skin,
In that video I limited the kerf and didn't provide for any fence skins. It has since been redesigned (this project) as I increased the maximum blade kerf to 3/8" and as it permitted bevels, I had to reposition the t-tracks. The eventual outcome was that the base could be laser cut as one pice and cut on the tablesaw into the respective halves.
The skin on the fence is a handy addition to confirm the proposed cut is properly aligned... I've never trusted those gimmicky measure twice tape measures. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
While I utilise skins on my other sleds' fence (gallery photos 5 & 6), it wasn't till I was confronted by D'3's Crosscut Sled that it dawned on me that I didn't practice what I preached and my sled wasn't 100% completed… it was missing the ZCI skin for the fence. I use 2.2mm, 2.7mm, 3.2mm, ¼" and 3/8" kerfed blades with the sled, so as I progressed up the kerfs over time, all the narrower blades were screaming discrimination,
... and I always thought it was the saw blade wolf whistling at my animal nightie (long story for any newbies).
The fact that I wasn't motivated prior to this, even though I've used the sled countless times, may be explained by the fact that it is facing away from me and may have been hidden by several casks of vino with the wolf whistles being drowned out by some 60's rock music blaring from my iPod (yeah, this geriatric still has one). I have now seen the error of my ways and after vigorous self-chastisement and use of my cato-9-tails, decided to make retribution.
In my defense I did have an excuse that I managed to persuade myself about over the past 2 1/2 years as initially I had a proprietary flip stop and mounting it on the Incra track to "standard" practices, precluded its travel once any additional thickness is introduced on the working side of the fence like a ZCI… I think I was trying to say that a bought flip stop would not fit on my fence with a ZCI.
Now having said that, I replaced that flipper with a 3D printed one,
so that remained a pathetic argument designed to scare naughty little kidies and make geriatrics wet themselves.
First step was to redesign my 3D printed flipper to accommodate skins.
While I consider a 3mm skin sufficient to prevent chip out, I thought I might as well cater for 6mm and 9mm MDF skins as well,
I then sketched up the skins in SketchUp > Layout > CorelDraw > Laser. You may ask "DOH! why cut on the laser?" or you may not… and for all you that didn't ask "DOH! Why cut on the laser?"… The simple reason is that I can position the screw holes perfectly every time so each time I replace I skin I don't contribute to converting the fence into Swiss cheese. Furthermore I can engrave instructions on the skin to keep thing neat… (CorelDraw screen dump),
like ducks in a row… and during hunting season, I line up at the end,
I also engraved identification markers on the skins to record kerf size and angles if/as applicable. Bottom side of the existing bases,
bit neater than the hand written ones…
Just to digress a tad… the original base skins were cut in quarters. After re-arranging the tracks to allow for a 3/8" kerf blade (used extensively while making my puzzles), they will be cut in one piece and naturally halved with the first cut. For future blank skins I also included angles,
Looking from the opposite angle the absence of a ZCI even looks bad let alone damaging,
Sled posing with its 6mm petticoat (at the tail end not screwed in) with the new range of flip stop lurking about on the fence,
The 3/8" base skins removed (close up),
and the 2.7mm skins readied for fitment (close up).
Sled outfitted with its new base and fence couture prior to the 1st. cut,
new flip stop (blue) in place… red flip stop will not lower due to addition of the ZCI.
The first cut was made to establish the kerf (gallery pictures 3 & 4). Initially there was no intention to put a ZCI on the tail fence, however, I screwed up by drilling the fence's countersink holes on the reverse side which resulted in the fence being flipped. The screw holes no longer lined up so I decided to use that fence on the tail end… it did neat it up.
I needed a ZCI for the 45° mitre skin and realised that the kerf of the 0° fence did not interfere, I decided to use it with these set of skins and mark it accordingly,
Cut the kerf,
Now all I need to do is find a place to store all these extra skins,
As mentioned in other blogs, there are probably one or two people who DO NOT have a 3D printer or a laser… and even fewer have both, however, most people are not stupid like me and have built their own stops (flip/non-flip) out of timber and therefore allowing for a ZCI should not be an issue and for those without a laser, as long as you can read your own handwriting you could fake it and ensure you keep your first ZCI (and base) skins to use as a drilling template for future fences.
So the only excuse you have for not using a similar concept is by refusing to read this article past this spot.
If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD