Making a table saw sled for the Dewalt FlexVolt sawWhile I try not to let that affect how I go about things, you should know that the tools were provided by DeWalt, and that I am financially compensated for this. DeWalt has approached a lot of content creators about their new FlexVolt line of tools, so expect to see a lot of YouTube videos by other YouTubers involving FlexVolt tools in the coming months (January 2017)
DeWalt sent me this battery operated FlexVolt jobsite saw.
Given my previous experience with a jobsite saw, I was skeptical,
DeWalt also makes a battery powered miter saw, which perhaps explains why this saw only comes with what I would consider a "token" miter gauge. The miter gauge is very small and loose in the slot. The pivoting part is made entirely out of plastic, and the front edge isn't even parallel to the table. So I figured before I do anything else, I should make a small table saw sled for this saw, similar to this one
The slots in this saw are nominally 3/4", but wide enough that a 3/4" metal bar would have too much play sliding in it, so I made a wooden guide bar to fit very snugly, cutting it carefully on the table saw.
When switching the saw on, it often immediately turns off again. At first I thought I wasn't pushing the button long enough, but eventually I realized that when I let the red cover (that covers the start button) drop down, it taps the stop button hard enough to stop it. So that cover needs to be let down slowly. Kind of an annoying feature.
This saw is a very small jobsite saw, but the fence can be moved out a full 24" (60 cm) from the blade. To accomplish this, the fence attaches to rails on either end, and a rack and pinion is used to move the two rails in unison.
Then scraping off the excess glue.
In the past, I made the guide bar so it could be removed again, but I have never ever had a desire to replace a guide bar on a sled, so I'm just gluing it on. If it does wear out, I could always cut it off, or make a new sled.
Examining this closely with a straight edge, I realized the slot itself is curved. The middle of the slot is about 0.25 mm (about 1/128") further to the right than the ends! With a ruler pressed against the right edge of the slot, I could easily insert a folded piece of paper between the ruler and the edge of the slot!
For it to get stuck in one direction but not the other, my miter gauge must also have a similar curve in it.
I took a file, pressed it against a block of wood to keep it vertical, and filed away at the right side of the slot near both ends, and on the left side near the middle. This widened the slot slightly, but it also made it straighter.
Now the base of the sled slid freely in both orientations. It was slightly lose though, but I adjusted for that by putting some varnish on the edges of the sled's guide bar (the varnish adds a bit of thickness).
My next step was to cut the main slot of the sled, even though I hadn't yet assembled the sled.
I added a slight chamfer to what will be the inside edge of the fence pieces with a small palm plane.
Then squaring it up with respect to the edge that I just cut.
After that I used some sawdust and a wooden splint to clean up any glue squeeze-out that made it into the corner.
Safety stopNow re-cutting the slot.
At this point, I could call the sled done.
But on my other small sled I added this neat stop that prevents me from pushing it any further than I need to make the cut. It's a little toggle that gets caught on my outfeed table.
But I don't have an outfeed table to hook onto on this table saw.
So I had the idea of making a pin that drops out the bottom to get caught on the finger hole of the table saw insert. It works much like the latching part of a door knob (prototype mechanism at right)
At left, I'm drilling a 9/16" hole for the dowel in the bottom of the sled.
I had to cut a dowel at an angle, so I used the little miter gauge again. But to get near enough to the blade to make this cut safely, I had to extend the miter gauge's fence. I cut a bevel on the back of this fence to match the non-square angle of the miter gauge. That way the front edge of the fence is vertical.
I drilled two holes next to each other for a slot in the back of the sled, then inserted the 1/2" dowel, pre-drilled a hole and put a small #4 screw in the dowel. This screw allows the dowel to move up and down but keeps it from dropping down too far.
I hadn't anticipated this, but the sled also had a tendency to catch on the front edge of the saw (This would not have been a problem on my big table saw with a much deeper table). I filed a light bevel in the edge of the aluminium table to help the latch make it over the step on the edge of the table.
And finally, trying out the sled by cutting off a piece of maple. I have to say, the saw performs surprisingly well considering that it's battery powered. It really doesn't feel like it's battery powered.
There are a few things I found annoying about this design though. The table has these tabs sticking out the sides, which brings it to enough width to accommodate the fence that can be brought to a 24" rip capacity. It would have made much more sense if the whole table was brought to that width - and this would not have made the saw any more bulky. Ironically, Dewalt's corded compact jobsite saw has a slightly wider table, and doesn't need these tabs (as in, an earlier corded version of the saw "fixes" this problem). I can only imagine someone in management requested "make the table even smaller", but then also requested "24" rip capacity, which necessitate adding an unusable portion to the table to accommodate the fence.
The corded saw also has a lever on t he left side you can pull to release the
riving knife, without taking the insert out. A nice feature that I wish they kept
for the battery powered version.
Boxes for paperork
With the DeWalt Flexvolt table saw
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