Friday, June 1, 2018

New Miter Saw Cart

In my last blog entry I breifly touched up on how I revised this table...


...and made a small cart for my new table saw.


Now it was time to start making a new miter saw cart to match.  For the time being my miter saw is on the top I removed from the table saw/Router cart, and resting on saw horses.  I removed the saw from it's old cart as the old cart is now the new home for my Grinder/Buffer.


For this new Miter cart I'm going to also make it out of melamine and 1x2 wood.  I am really liking this look for my tool carts.


Like the old cart, the new one will have extensions on each side that can swing up while in use, and down when not being used.  Unlike the old cart, this new cart will have a hood for better dust collection.  


With my plans all set, I went out and bought more melamine and 1x2's.


The first step was to cut the pieces using my circular saw and rip cut guide.  I cut 2 sides and the top, bottom and middle shelves.


Then I clamped up the bottom and middle shelves to the sides on my workshop floor.  I drilled holes and screwed the bottom to the sides.


Then I cut some spacer blocks and used them to hold up the middle shelf while I drilled and screwed it together.


And then I attached some casters to the bottom so the cart can roll around.


At this point I made sure that my miter saw fit inside nicely - which it did.  The miter saw won't be on this middle shelf...


...instead it will be on the top shelf, seen below.  This shelf will have a big hole in it so that saw dust will fall through it and into the drawer that will eventually be below the top shelf.


I marked where to cut in pencil, then cut the shape out with the jigsaw.


This top piece will be added on once all the 1x2 trim has been attached to the body.  Next I began cutting those 1x2 trim pieces...


...and glued/nailed them in place.


The glue sticks to the edges of the melamine, but not the white plastic parts.  So all the trim that attached to the plastic did so with screws.


Now it was time to attach the top.  I marked where the shelf should go in pencils and I used clamps to squeeze the sides of the cart to hold the top in place.


Then I put the miter saw on and used a level to keep the sides of the cart level with the table of the miter saw.  I used a mallet to raise or lower parts of the top until it was all level.


Then I drilled holes and screwed many screws to hold the top in place securely.


Finally I could attach the miter saw to it's new cart.


Once on, I used the saw to cut the remaining pieces of trim for the top shelf, and attached them with glue and nails.


Next I cut pieces for the side extensions...


...and trimmed some 1x2s to fit the thickness of the extensions.


It's always a good idea to stop when you're getting tired - and that's exactly what I did at this point.  So I cleaned up and left everything else for the next day.


The next morning I continued work on those extensions.  I glued the 1x2s I cut the day before to the melamine sides and nailed them in place.


Next I removed everything from the cart and placed it upside-down on the floor with the extensions flush against the sides.


I'll attach the extensions with the long piano hinge I removed from the router table.  I cut the pieces to length using my angle grinder.


Then I screwed the hinges in place.


Then it's turning the cart right side-up and reattaching the miter saw.


I used my long level and some clamps to hold the extensions up...


...while I nailed a stop block underneath.  This is temporary and is solely used to keep a scrap piece of wood in place to hold up the extensions.


And it's looking pretty good!


Next I started to work on the hood.  So back to cutting melamine on the table saw.


The 2 sides of the hood have a 45 degree cut on the top - which I did with my circular saw.


Then it came time to assemble the hood...


...and attach it to the cart.


Originally the back of the hood was going to be made out of .25" thick plywood, but I have plenty of melamine left over, so I used that instead.  I also decided to add some 1x2 trim to the front sides of the hood.


It's a somewhat shallow hood, but it needs to be that way to allow the saw to rotate left and right.


But I did use the miter saw to cut the trim pieces and was happy to see that the hood was doing it's job.


The last thing I did for the hood was drill a large hole to allow the plug to go thru.  I'm sure some saw dust will escape through this hole, but nowhere near as much as having no hood at all.


With the hood done I next tackled how to keep the extensions upright.  I could just use the scrap wood to hold up the extensions, but I decided to try something different.  I rummaged through my junk and found some chains and hooks.


The chains attached to the sides of the hood.


A hook was placed on both extensions...


...making sure that the chain was taut when the extension was perfectly level with the miter saw.


I used the level to make sure I had both sides leveled properly before attaching the hooks.


I thought this process was going to be difficult...


...but this was a very simple and easy way to do this.


Now it easily folds up and down.


The only things left to do is attach a thin sheet of plywood on the back to cover the drawer space and the storage space below.


I also need to make a new stop block for the extensions.  For now I'm simply clamping down my speed square.


And of course I need to make the actual drawer for the dust collection.


Using some melamine scraps, I cut out and assembled the sides of the drawer.


Then I went out and bought a 1/8" thick piece of hardboard which I cut roughly to size and glued/nailed it to the bottom of the drawer.


I then used my trim router to trim the bottom to match the sides. 


And the fit is perfect.


I had the perfect size of scrap pine laying around, so I attached this to the front of the drawer...


...and added a knob.  Now the drawer is complete.


I then took the leftover hardboard and trimmed it to fit on the back.  This covered up the back of the drawer area and the bottom.


On the bottom itself I will keep my compressor, so I needed to drill out a hole for the plug.


And then I put my compressor in place.


Since neither the miter saw's plug and the compressor's plug are long enough, I attached them to an extension cord.  I then attached a hook on the back of the hood to hold the extension cord.


And with that done I think I can call this cart finished!


This is a great new cart for my miter saw.


On both sides I have almost 42".  The extensions are not too heavy, and can still hold up a good amount of material.  


The hood does a good job collecting saw dust, and the drawer will make it easier to contain the dust and dispose of it.


And the bottom is a good space to store my compressor.  This is not a tool I use often, but it's good to have when I need it.


The whole cart matches my other new carts, and is small enough that it can fit anywhere in my shop.


I still need to make a better stop block, but for now my miter saw is up and running!

UPDATE:  After a couple of weeks I made some revisions.  The first regarding dust collection.
The hood does a good job in preventing dust flying all over the workshop, but it's not perfect.  The hood's wall deflects a lot of that dust forward.


I searched through all my stuff and found some muslin, which I cut into strips.


Then I took a spare piece of 1x2 wood and cut a small channel on one side.


This channel is where I stapled the muslin onto...


...and then I attached it to the front of the hood, and trimmed the muslin.  This should block a lot of the deflecting dust.


After cutting several pieces of scrap wood I was happy that this did indeed work.  


The other thing I did was make a better stop block using some scrap pieces of wood I had hanging around.  One side of this stop block has a tightening knob that's connected to another piece of wood - which allows me to change the angle of the stop block (say, if I'm cutting picture frames at a 45-degree angle.


Underneath the second piece of wood is a locking clamp (originally made for a drill press), which clamps the fence in place securely.


I can't really store this fence nicely anywhere on this cart, so I added some sides to the top side of the hood and that's simply where I'll leave it when not in use. 


Next I wanted to change out the chains I had originally put in place.  I noticed that the links in these chains are not soldered together.  This could mean that the chain could break if a heavy enough force were applied to the extensions.


I bought some heavy duty chains (with soldered links) and cut them to size with my angle grinder.


I attached the chains to the cart using some long screws and washers.


The small hook on the extensions seem to continue being strong enough.


Like the original chains, I made sure they were taut when the extensions were level with the table of the miter saw.


I can't really think of anything else I'd want to do, so I think this cart is all done now!


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