Friday, September 11, 2009


Hum...haven't posted here for 4 months! Really haven't been doing anything that extrodinary and haven't had anything to post about. But I thought of something today worth talking about.

So I have been spending a lot of time out in my shop recently building halloween props. And I have been giving a lot of thought to what tools I'd like to purchase first. I have had a long list of tools that I want for some time but I started thinking about what do I REALLY want the most. And I thought of 3 very important ones.

First on my list is a new Band Saw. I own a small table top version that to put it plainly SUCKS. It isn't big enough to cut anything large and it is cheap and won't cut straight to save it's life. I am a big fan of Delta so I want the 28-276 14" 3/4HP open stand band saw. This puppy runs about $400.

Next on my list of tools is a table saw. I own a simple right tilt 10" contractor saw with a VERY cheap fence that can't cut a square line to save it's life. It also has cheap pressed metal wings that are not smooth or worth much of anything. I probably counldn't even sell the saw for $50 on craigslist because thats about how much a new one would cost. I replaced the motor in it after a few years so I've paid more for it than its worth.

So what I want instead is a Delta 36-982 10" left tilt contractors saw with a 30" Biesemeyer commercial fence. This new version comes with cast iron wings and a nice mobile base. It has a 1.5HP induction motor. The left tilt blade makes cutting angles MUCH easier. It costs a mere $1000.

Something else that is on my list is a Delta 50-875 3-Speed Air Filtration system with remote. I have no doors or windows in my woodshop and I'm sure I've probably cut years off my life with the amount of junk I have inhaled. This bad boy can go through 1200 cubic feet per minute of air capable of filtering the air in a 20 by 20 foot room 13 to 18 times an hour. Not really high on my list but probably a must have. This one costs about $500.

Well, all of these are nice but I've decided what my first purchase is going to be. I've always wanted a CNC machine. My main idea for one is to carve really complex tombstones out of foam and other foam based products using a rotary tool. I've looked at the shopbot but that puppy is $8000 which is WAY beyond my reach. So I have discovered the DIY CNC sites and found that I can build my own CNC machine by purchasing kits and following some plans and using free software and my own laptop for about $600. I'm thinking that it would be fun to make my own. It will be sort of like a hobby kit that I can put together this winter. I'm quite confident that my computing skills will come in handy to understand the software side. It might take a little more effort to build the actual machine. I'll probably find a plan that is simple enough to meet my needs. More to come on this...

Shopbot for $8000 DIY CNC for about $600