Alright, I am super happy with this thing. So simple but it looks so cool! The table saw insert was made from 3/8″ acrylic I found in the dumpster where probably half of my projects start out. I’m just saving this as a zero clearance insert and will use the stock one for angled cuts. Note that I am very comfortable with my tools and there are some techniques I used to do this that I wouldn’t recommend.
> Acrylic (from some lucky/persistent trash hunting) — or here http://amzn.to/2qxjth3
> Table saw: http://amzn.to/2j4bvVU
> Bandsaw: http://amzn.to/2j4auNu
> Benchtop belt sander: http://amzn.to/2jmRXik
> Drill press: http://amzn.to/2jgpN57
> Allen wrenches: http://amzn.to/2p2WAC9
> Miter saw: http://amzn.to/2j614UM
Aaaaaaand this starts where probably half of my projects start, at the dumpster outside of my shop. I found some pieces of thick 3/8″ acrylic and this was the first idea I had that was spurred from that material.
This piece was made for this project, I just ran it through the table saw to feather off the edge and bring it down to width. I then trace the shape of my old table saw insert onto the acrylic.
The piece is cut down to size on the bandsaw leaving a little room outside the line to sand it down to final size.
This is a crucial step, cutting out the finger hold on the drill press BEFORE you fit it in the table saw. You’ll only put an insert in your saw once without one 😉
So the first test fit is good! Now it’s just a matter of getting access to the 4 leveling screws. The 2 in the back are attached to the table saw, but the clear insert makes it super easy to mark these out.
I hop over to the drill press to drill out these 2 holes, then I have access to get my allen key to the adjustment screws and I can level out the back of the insert.
For some reason, the back part of the dust port within the saw sticks up out of the saw a bit. I lean on the insert to make a mark in the underside of it so I can remove some material to let it lay flat.
I use my depth stop on my miter saw and cut a shallow dado out of the bottom and now it fits!
This is half the reason I built this thing… ohhhhh yeahhhhh
Now I can mark out for the back 2 leveling feet and drill this out on the drill press the size just big enough for a couple of set screws to be threaded in.
I put some paste wax on the set screws and then thread them into the insert until the hit the tabs in the saw and lift it up to be level with the top of the table.
To make the initial cut through the insert I remove the riving knife and move my fence into place just next to the blade and lock it down. Then I slowly raise up the blade to its max height.
The problem with a lot of zero clearance inserts is that you can’t still use your riving knife. I make room for this by taking my new insert back out and putting it in place above the blade and holding it there while I raise the blade super slowly up to cut the back side of the insert where the riving knife will be able to fit. (obviously not the type of cut you want to make unless you are SUPER comfortable with your tools).
Then it’s done! It’s all fit in place and the first test cut can happen! It’s super freaky and awesome looking, I love it 🙂