Custom Torque..

In this post we will be talking Custom…. a custom made Torque WorkCentre that is..

A short time ago I was approached by a rather large Cabinetmaking/Joinery company with regards a special job they need to do…

It seems that as part of a multi million dollar contract,  they need to make a variety of desks, both stand alone and with returns [ so this means that some have two gable ends and some only one..].  The desks were made from 54 mm [just over 2 inches] thick plywood ranging in width from 600mm [2 feet] to 1200 mm [4 feet] and on each gable end there were  20 mm [3/4 inch] exposed fingerjoints/boxjoints. As you know fingerjoints are made with the fingers proud of the work so that afterwards you can trim off the excess. This is normally done with a hand plane or sander. Due to the huge numbers [read several hundred] of these gable ends that had to be cleaned up…well you work it out… that’s a lot of work…and therefore not really a viable method.

One of the guys at the company remembered seeing a Torque WorkCentre at a wood show and contacted me…He had been told that I knew a lot about the Machine and asked if I thought the Torque could do the job..

I had him bring two samples of the joint up to my workshop and after destroying the first sample….. I showed him how it would not work…the first attempt I used the router with the Surfacing Router Bit in the normal way and blew out the edges of the ply… So I tried climb cutting… I do not recommend climb cutting normally but as the router is held in the machine and I was only cutting a small shearing pass, it is the best way. And it worked perfectly… He took the sample back and showed the boys…

Next challenge was the fact that the desk returns….. only one leg….were up to 1600 mm [0ver 5 feet]  long and could not be set on the bench top with the leg to the front…UNLESS we make the arm longer… OH OH now there is no room for the support arm…so  rule that out….

Ok lets hang it off the end of the Torque… the length is too much to stand it on end and raise the Z axis on the post…and the leg hits the leg of the bench… more problems to solve…Now how about moving the leg inboard a bit… 600 mm [2 feet] That clears the leg and works great for the top of the gable end but what about the side… Let us rotate the head assembly and plunge sideways… that works… but too time consuming… with all those gable ends to do…

Fixed that problem by adding a custom build L-bracket to the vertical plunge control and fitted another plunge control at 90 degrees in a horizontal mode..hey two heads on one arm… we had done two arms with heads before but never two heads on the one arm….

The above photographs have the routers removed to show the plunge systems.

Now the problem of having two heads is that we loose travel on the arm… so make the arm longer… yes we now have an arm that is 2.1 metres [7 feet ] long…

What about support… fit and extension beam … couple that with a longer support with bearing on the extension beam… great…. and add a separate brake to the extenuation arm support… and move the normal brake to the rear of the bench for easier access…

Is that all… not quite…I still have not mentioned the extra support legs for the extension beam to prevent the machine overbalancing and going A over T.  There was also another problem with the stand alone desks… so we had to shorten the length of the Torque WorkCentre to accommodate the 1500 mm [ 5 foot]  desk but could not shorten it to fit the 900 mm [3 foot] one… lucky that it will fit on the end.. just had to build a small stage with an opening for the other gable end to slide into…and to raise the whole machine…

That is certainly enough for now…but to re-cap… the machine has been customised to be 1350 mm [4 1/2 feet] wide with an arm 2100 mm [7 feet] long…. two carriages with one vertical plunge and on with both vertical and horizontal plunge…reconfigured brake, extension arm and legs, addition bearing on the extension beam and a purpose build stage.

Next episode I will replay the trials and tribulations of picking up the machine from the factory, delivering and assembling the unit.

About Lazy Larry

Just a woodworker sharing some of the things learnt the hard way... so you don't make the same mistakes...
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