Author Topic: Repurposed a $10,000 custom solar panel conveyor into tablesaw outfeed table  (Read 3261 times)

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Offline ryanjg117

  • Posts: 111
I decided I was finally fed up with using a Hoover vacuum box as my outfeed table for my vintage Powermatic 65 tablesaw. Recently I scored an interesting custom-built solar panel conveyor table for $80. Here's what it looked like on the manufacturing floor:



As you can see, it's made of aluminum extrusion (not 80/20 but very similar to their 40 Series ultra-light profiles) so I was able to easily reconfigure it as a shell for a real outfeed table. The profiles cut very easily on a miter saw, no special blade needed but it does create a mess and the aluminum shavings are stubborn and don't like to be vaccuumed.

I'll skip the boring extrusion assembly pictures and go right to the good stuff.

Here's what I wanted in an outfeed table:

1) Adjustable height on all four corners
2) Casters so I can move it around the shop and detach it to use as an assembly or fabrication table if needed
3) Miter track slots for an eventual crosscut sled I'll be building (soon, I hope)
4) The ability to affix it to the tablesaw in the event I want to move them both around at the same time
5) On a whim, decided to add a 20mm hole pattern over half the top using the totally awesome Parf Guide System

Here's how it looks:



I had some extra carbonized bamboo plywood, but not a single piece large enough to make the whole surface. I was trying to do this project a bit on the cheap, so I decided to glue a few panels together with dominos. It came together nicely, but you can definitely see where the panels meet. I don't care about this, actually I think it looks cool.



Stole the hinges and door pulls off a Salamander Designs AV cabinet. These are higher end AV cabinets that are often dumped on Craigslist. They use aluminum extrusions for the vertical supports, and all of their hardware fits inside of standard aluminum extrusions.



The doors didn't have a stop and I was considering making a complicated magnetic closure but decided to re-use a component out of the solar panel conveyor parts bin.



My first welding project: connecting two bolts of different sizes together to form a thread adapter or sorts. Sure, I could have paid $30 for an actual set on Amazon, but why not use my welding skills? Didn't even have to add filler metal. The black baseplate is threaded, so the height of the table can be changed by loosening the top nut and rotating the casters in either direction.



On a whim, I decided to add a 20x96mm hole pattern on the top. The Parf Guide System worked wonders here, and the TCT forstner bit, to my surprise, was still super sharp at the end of cutting these 80 holes in bamboo. The larger stainless drill stop, added to Parf Guide System shipments from TSO, really helped he as it let me control the depth of hole boring to minimize backside tear-out. The real way to solve this is with a sacrificial backer board, of course, but I was trying to do this with everything assembled.



Had to be precise on one axis with these hole locations and I lucked out. Here you can also see the chamfer I added to the 20mm holes. Ended up using my OF1400 with pilot bearing chamfer bit to pull this off crisply.



No workshop project is perfect and this is no exception. After routing the miter tracks I realized I blew through a domino. Attempted to patch it with a glue plus sawdust mix, then some wood filler, then some dark wax. Ended up just making it look worse. The lesson: just leave it be.



With height adjustability, I also needed a way to adjust the height of the mounting brackets that link the outfeed table to the table saw. I did this with another part from the "solar panel parts bin," a simple right angle bracket connected to the extrusion via slip-in t-bolts and a small hole I drilled into each side of the Biesemeyer rail. Since this rail does nothing but connect the cast iron table to the laminate side-table, it won't cause an issue to drill into it.



And I made sure the mounting bracket automatically lines up the miter slots as well, without any adjustment necessary. I intentionally oversized the miter tracks on the outfeed table to provide room for error.

Not a bad little setup.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2018, 09:21 PM by ryanjg117 »

Offline Wooden Skye

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Great job and that should serve you well for a long time.
Bryan

TS 55, (2) 1400 Guide Rails, 1900 Guide Rail, MFT/3, Domino DF 500, 2 domino systainers, ETS 150/3, RO 90, CT 26, (2) OF1400, RO 150. RTS 400, LR 32 set, PS300 jigsaw, 3 abrasive systainers, (2) sys toolbox, (2) sys mini, clamps and other accesories

Offline mwildt

  • Posts: 420
Looks great! Thanks for sharing.

Offline HarveyWildes

  • Posts: 781
Nice score on the conveyor, and nice work once you got it.

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 2498
Great looking table and storage cabinet, Ryan!  I don't notice the plywood joints unless it's the inset grid on the doors. 

So you still have the 'conveyor and roller' parts - what is your next use!?

Offline chewy

  • Posts: 85
Wowsers, that's a great addition to the table saw.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Tapatalk


Offline ryanjg117

  • Posts: 111
Great looking table and storage cabinet, Ryan!  I don't notice the plywood joints unless it's the inset grid on the doors. 

So you still have the 'conveyor and roller' parts - what is your next use!?

Thanks Neil. I have a bunch of conveyor rollers, belts, aluminum mounting plates, a couple of gear motors, drives and a few photoelectric sensors. I'm going to have to get more creative to find a use for it all!

I cut rabbets in the plywood panels and they inserted easily into the extrusion channels. Easy peasey.

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Hi Ryan

The Parf Guide System's 20 mm cutter has done really well. My original one from the first set off the production line is still going strong and I am approaching 800 holes in Medite MR MDF. Dust extraction whilst cutting prolongs the life.

Good work and what a bargain - well done.

Peter

Offline ben_r_

  • Posts: 1077
That looks amazing and thats crazy that you got all those aluminum extrusions for $80! Amazing find! Wish I could run across something like that!
If at first you don't succeed, redefine success!

Offline ryanjg117

  • Posts: 111
Hi Ryan

The Parf Guide System's 20 mm cutter has done really well. My original one from the first set off the production line is still going strong and I am approaching 800 holes in Medite MR MDF. Dust extraction whilst cutting prolongs the life.

Good work and what a bargain - well done.

Peter

Peter, thanks for inventing it - my geometry teacher always told me I should have paid more attention in class. The system is great and you’ve been smart to build in accuracy checks throughout the process. The machined drill guide is amazing... The only issue I had was using the chamfer tool, which didn’t play nicely with the grassy/stringy nature of bamboo plywood. Basically those fibers need to be cut at high speed for a clean finish. So I had to use the OF1400 and piloted chamfer bit for that. The chamfer tool does work well in MDF though.

Offline Peter Parfitt

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Hi Ryan,

I guess nobody thought about bamboo when that  chamfer tool was designed !!

Peter

Offline Steve1

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Great price.

If you take off and examine the end-caps or leveling feet, you might find a part number.   Google the part number and description and you can figure out what brand of extrusion that is. 

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 3474
Like Steve said, look for a part number, or post a photo of the end of one of the profiles. The exact extrusion pattern is proprietary so someone will probably recognize it.

If not 80/20 it’s probably Bosch.

Online Gregor

  • Posts: 945
Nice project with a very nice bargain on the materials!
So you still have the 'conveyor and roller' parts - what is your next use!?
I have a bunch of conveyor rollers, belts, aluminum mounting plates, a couple of gear motors, drives and a few photoelectric sensors. I'm going to have to get more creative to find a use for it all!
My first thought was: a power feeder.

Offline 3PedalMINI

  • Posts: 455
    • Signature Sound & Video
That is seriously cool!

As an Audio Video contractor and salamander designs dealer I’m very familiar with their stuff! I chuckled when you mentioned it! I have to say, and I hate saying this. The price vs- quality isn’t there. I understand most of the cost is in the aluminum extrusions but I wish they paid more attention to the exterior of it.

My favorite cabinet is the tall cherry cabinet, although it was quoted as solid cherry, it was particle board veneered with cherry :(

Still I sell their furniture because of the audio video aspect of it!

Anyway, awesome project! Please post future projects with your leftovers!
The Bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten -Benjamin Franklin

Professional Custom Audio Video System Designer/Installer serving Southern - Middle NJ, Eastern PA & the Surrounding Shore Points.
www.sigsv.com

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