Monday, November 23, 2015

Fallout Crosscut Table Saw Sled

I needed a cross cut table saw sled, but I wanted something different, and I wanted a challenge. Could I make a Fallout video game inspired sled that looks like it fits the aesthetic? You tell me!
I started in Sketchup. If you follow my projects, you know nearly all of them start in Sketchup.
I used inspiration from the Pip-boy, power armor helmet, and laser rifle. I thought about what would or potentially could be functional, such as the aluminum plate at the head of the sled, and the ducting at the rear blade guard. They aren't functional, but they potentially could be.The PVC tube near the rear blade guard is designed to be a pencil holder.

Once I added some texture, it was looking pretty good.
I ransacked my junk bin which changed the design slightly. I added a row of Christmas tree lights, handles, and a power button. I also consolidated the dials. The only money I spent on this project was for the locks for the dials.

Supplies needed:
  • 3/4" project grade plywood
  • 1/2" plywood
  • 3/4" split loom
  • 1/2" PVC pipe
  • 1/16" aluminum
  • Sand paper
  • Nails 
  • Epoxy (2-part)
  • Body filler
  • (2) master locks with rotary dials 
  • Salvaged Christmas light bulbs
  • Salvaged push button switch
  • 10 gauge wire
  • #6 hex head bolts
  • #4 hex head bolts
  • Silver spray paint
  • Green spray paint
  • Black/White/Red spray paint 
  • Wax 
  • Paper
  • Spray adhesive
Tools needed:
  • Table saw
  • Band saw
  • Belt sander
  • File
  • Router
  • Hole saw 
  • Forstner drill bit
  • Electric sander
  • Pneumatic saw
Main Body
The main body components are 3/4" project grade plywood. The sled is 24"x18".
The top fence is 24"x4" with angled edges and a 2" hole on one side and (2) braces. I placed the lights before drilling the holes, and had to delete one hole from the original design.
The rear fence is (1) 24"x3" and (1) 24"x3 3/8" glued together with a rabbit that fits to a rabbit in the main sled.
The rear blade guard is 3"x5" with a chamfered edge cap and braces.
There are (2) ears on the back edge for the hoses. Each end of the hose is a 3/4" and 1/2" plywood puck glued together. The split loom is fitted over the 1/2" puck and glued.
For the wire near the lights and the power switch, a shallow hole was drilled for the wire ends. The ends are epoxied in place.

I glued the base, front, and rear guards together and then nailed them to the body. Next, I made the cut with the table saw. You want to be sure it's square to the blade because this sled needs to make square cuts. If you're first cut isn't square, recut. It is critical the sled is square to the blade.
You want to sand the edges of the cut so you have sufficient clearance for the blade. With the sled in place over the blade, I glued it to the runners, ensuring the blade was square to the rear fence.

The runners need to fit snugly in the channels, you don't want the sled to wobble at all. If the runners aren't snug, you need to toss them and recut.

I used body filler to smooth edge grain and some joints since I want this to look like metal. I sanded all edges to round them off.

Extras & Details
I used PVC for handles and a Forstner drill bit for the holes. I added a PVC tube on each side of the blade guard as a pencil holder. I didn't want to place any extras on top edges where I thought they could be hit or damaged. I wanted the extras somewhat protected.

Christmas tree light bulbs are on the rear guard with a piece of wire, and a salvaged push button switch and wires is on the other side. The wires die into drilled holes, epoxied into place.

The tubes are 3/4" split loom epoxied into place.

For the aluminum plate I cut it with a pneumatic saw and then used a bench grinder to true the outside edges, and a file for the inside edges.

The plate for the rotary dials is polystyrene plastic. I knew I couldn't cut precise openings for the dials out of metal.

The PVC tubes  and extras are epoxied in place.

For the dials, I drilled the rivets of the locks out with a drill press. Hold the lock with pliers, you don't want it smacking your fingers. The lock will pop right open. I epoxied the dials to the metal sleeves they were originally on.
Next I used a router to make a groove in the top of the rear fence, placed the rod with dials in place and then epoxied the cover over the dials. The cover keeps the dials in place and the dials will turn.

I sprayed the sled with a silver base coat. I taped off the silver and added mustard (yes mustard) to edges and spots where I want the green to look like it's flaking off. Then I sprayed the green. Once the green is dry, I removed the mustard with a towel to reveal silver spots where the green 'flaked off.' I added duct tape to the handles.

Hex head screws add an industrial touch. These were epoxied in place.

Next I printed out and made Fallout, radioactive, and Crosscut stencils. I sprayed the back with glue and affixed them to the sled. I free handed the Vault boy with permanent marker as the image is too difficult for a stencil.

I sprayed light mist coats from far away- burgundy, black and white onto the sled and scrubbed them off in places for a layer of grime. The white paint nozzle was partly blocked which made the paint spray out thick. A gloved finger in front of the nozzle can simulate that spray pattern.
I used mineral spirits on the edges and corners to make the sled look worn, revealing the silver under the green and to remove some of the mist coat for a mottled look. I brushed black paint in corners, at joints, and at screws for additional grime. I finished the sled with a coat of clear and waxed the runners.

Creating a Fallout inspired table saw sled made the project more exciting and propelled me to finish it much quicker than I otherwise would have. (Finally I found a use for my junk box!) I really like how the grime came out.
I wish I had thought more about where to add the Christmas lights so that I could have kept both holes for the front fence to retain the look of a metal bracket.
The router table I built was all function no form, and it bothered me how plain it was.
While there is a lot of aesthetic work involved with the sled, this project's purpose is purely functional. I may go back and add a miter insert, but with the miter saw I already have, I doubt I'll find much need.
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