Upgrading a Used Table Saw – Part 2

I’ve done a lot more to my used Craftsman table saw (model 113.298032) since the upgrades in part 1 of this series.

To go along with building my dust separator, I needed a way to connect it to the table saw. I used a dust hood ($8), 4″ hose ($20, with plenty extra for future uses), hose clamps (2x $1.29), 4 in.- 2 1/4 in. adapter ($1.78), and some scrap wood.

While I was grabbing parts from Menard’s I grabbed a push stick (yellow-orange in picture below) for $2. Eventually I’ll make one or two other versions on my own to use with different cuts or sizes of wood. Since I had to add the insert on a side for the dust hose, I add some places to hook stuff. I’ll probably add something similar to the other side of the stand and maybe put in a bottom for more storage space.

I grabbed a nice Diablo 60 tooth blade ($34) from Amazon, a zero clearance insert ($34), and a splitter kit ($35). After installing the blade, I tuned up all of the alignments on the saw following tips from parts 1 and 2 of a YouTube guide. Once everything was aligned properly I was able to install the insert and splitter. The combo will help prevent tearout, not give space for pieces of wood to fall down into the saw, and help prevent kickback since this old saw doesn’t allow a riving knife. You can never be too safe on these machines.

In part 1, I mentioned fence customizations. The plan there was mainly based on reviews I read about this saw before buying it. Many people said the fence was junk. After aligning everything, making sure to move the fence from the T end (not the end by the blade), and using the saw for a bit, I think it’ll work just fine for me.

At an estate sale I found a miter gauge that actually fits my slots. I bought a digital angle gauge ($15), which not only helps to make sure the blade is aligned properly with the table, but will allow accuracy when setting angled cuts.

DIY Cyclone Dust Separator

With the plans to turn an area of my basement into a workshop, I wanted to have some type of dust collection system in place. Here’s the video of what I built and then I’ll go into some details.

Originally I had some grand ideas, but I did more searching and came across a neat mobile dust station. It seemed like a good solution for me since the area I’ll be using isn’t very large and there is a pole in the middle of the room. I’ll probably have most of the larger tools and work table on wheels, so I scrapped the initial idea to have dust collection feeds going to several different places around the room.

I ordered a knock-off cyclone unit for about $25 on Amazon. I noticed it was going to take several weeks to be back in stock, so I wondered if I could make my own. Sure enough there are countless examples of people building their own. I cancelled the order and had my next project. Most of the builds shared online are based on the Thien Baffle Cyclone Separator, which is one guy’s improved version of the Cyclone. I found a video where someone used polycarbonate to create a clear cylinder, which I thought looked really cool when dust was whipping around inside. I ended up using many of his methods to construct my own cylinder.

Here are some sketches I did before and through the build process.


The final build ended up pretty close to this sketch.


Dimensions of my baffle and the other parts at the bottom of the cylinder.


Pieces to support the seam of the cylinder and house the infeed hose.

Cutting the outer hole, an inside circle, and forming the cylinder were easily the most difficult parts of this build. I used straps to help keep the polycarbonate shape, because it wants to go right back to being a flat sheet. If I were to do this again, I’d use a wider sheet than 24″ or find some thinner than the 0.093″ I got from Home Depot in the hopes it would be easier to form the cylinder.

Once formed and screwed in, the 2 screws at each end of the sheet pulled right out of the top circle after a few minutes. It needed some support down the seam, so I learned how to cut a cove with a table saw that would allow a piece of wood to fit up nicely against the curve of the cylinder. Don’t get me started on how many circles and curves there were during this build.

I didn’t take any pictures during the frame/stand build but there isn’t anything exciting to say there. To get the rainbow effect on the LEDs I’m using a cheap Arduino Nano clone with some pretty simple code, which is available at my rgb-led-rainbow repo on GitHub.

I’m happy with how the project turned out, but it took much longer than I expected. I probably should have started out my shop with something easier to get more comfortable with woodworking. I did learn a lot and used so many different tools throughout the process.

If you have any specific questions about my build, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to answer. I decided not to do a detailed description or video because there are a lot of examples out there, including the two YouTube videos and the Thien baffle design I linked to above. I took most of my ideas from others and gave things my own twist.

Blade Runner: The Final Cut

The release of Blade Runner 2049 has been getting a lot of hype, so I posted my unimpressed memory of the original to Twitter. I remember thinking, “Is this one of those cases where everyone says they really liked the movie because everyone else says it and they don’t want to feel left out?”

I think I borrowed a DVD from a friend 10 or 12 years ago, but I have no idea which version of Blade Runner it was. After a bit of searching, I found I could rent The Final Cut on Amazon Video.

Side note: having to fire up my Xbox One and fight with passwords in order to launch the Amazon Video app was a pain in the ass. When does their app for the Apple TV come out?!

I quickly realized I didn’t remember any of the plot. So with a fresh view and open mind, I kept reminding myself the movie came out in 1982, when I was 2. I’d also read about the visuals and how Blade Runner has influenced so many films since, which helped me pay attention to details I wouldn’t have noticed. With it set in 2019 Los Angeles, now less than 2 years away, I kept thinking about how movie portrayals of the future can be extremely far off, especially when it comes to technology. We still don’t have flying cars, talking to a computer is finally improving, and computer screens are a lot more advanced than text terminals.

I was able to appreciate the film this time around and can give it my 👍🏻. Looking forward to seeing the new 2049.

The Power Drill Clutch

A couple of weeks ago I learned what the adjustment dial (called the clutch) on a power drill does. I’ve had a DeWalt power drill for about 15 years and never understood how to use this feature; I always thought it was a speed change. I felt pretty dumb when I found out while watching the video below (which should start at the correct spot). Using this has already been a game changer!