Man .... It took a lot longer to get the kinks out of the carriage that I made for the trim saw. The first one was OK for awhile, but I had routed away the center of a piece of corian, leaving the edges ... that didn't last too long. The edges crumbled after cutting several ounces of pearl.
I decided that it worked pretty well, but I needed to add metal edges to the thing. I took my binding router attachment and added narrow strips of aluminum. That was kind of OK, but I ended up trashing it before I reallized what a good part of the problem was. I was pushing the shell with pressure on it with my right hand. I couldn't get it to cut straight. Every piece was coming off the saw tapered.
Once I reallized that I needed to push the carriage with my left hand and use the right hand only to keep the shell against the carriage ... the tapering problem was gone. Unfortunately, so was a good bit of my "add on" aluminum.
I knew what I needed to do was put full 3/16" thick pieces of aluminum on a new carriage, so I crafted a second one ... and this time I drilled, tapped and screwed the substantial aluminum edge to the new carriage.
I just sliced 6.4 ounces of shell, some really large pieces too, with no taper, and no need to resurface with the belt sander after every slice ... which I was having to do in the early going.
It took longer to get the kinks out than I thought it would, so some of the work I wanted to do last week didn't get done. I need to get all of this pearl slicing business behind me because Once I change the "wrap" on the thickness sander, I can't surface pearl with it anymore. I only have one "wrap" left .... and if I don't run shell and plastic through it, they last a long time. I want to get done abusing this one before I change it though. I guess the best news is that now that I have the procedure down to an art ... I won't be using the thickness sander for that anyway.
Even with the equipment design shortcomings and "do-overs" ... I enjoy that kind of work. It's a nice "change up" from the daily grind, and I'm not allergic to shell yet, so that's a bonus too.
Tomorrow ..... I am going to clean the shop up. I am actually going to start that "tonight" ... it's only 3:30 am ... so I'll work a couple more hours before shutting down the operation for the night.
The place is such a mess that I can't get much done. I'll be doing a good bit of Vega work in the near future ... and tons of engraving, so having 3 work stations clear is going to be a "must". Some of the shell slicing was "staging" for that work, so the stage is nearly set for a bunch of that stuff to get some much needed attention.
Going back to work now ..... but wanted to let you all know what's happening here.