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!
The first step was coming up with a plan. There are various sled plans with varying degrees of difficulty. As usual I took to Google Sketchup and began drawing the sled. Next I began the details. 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 tubes near the rear blade guard is designed to be a pencil holder.
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 rotary dials from the locks.
• 3/4" project grade plywood for main body
• 1/2" plywood for round pucks
• 3/4" split loom
• 1/2" PVC pipe
• 1/16" aluminum
• 0.060" Polystyrene
• Hobby knife for polystyrene
• Sand paper
• Epoxy (2-part)
• Evercoat Z Grip 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
• Mustard (typical sandwich grade yell
• Primer base coat
• Silver spray paint
• Green spray paint
• Black/White/Red spray paint
• Wax for runners
• Paper for stencil
• Spray adhesive for stencil
• Rustoleum Black Enamel Paint for weathering
• Table saw
• Band saw
• Belt sander
• Router w/ 45* angle bit
• Hole saw
• Forstner drill bit
• Electric sander
• Pneumatic saw
• A table saw & band saw can remove fingers very quickly if you don't pay
attention. Proceed with caution at all times.
• Hobby knives are sharp! Be careful and use a cutting mat.
• When drilling, make sure you don't accidentally drill through anything you don't want to.
• Spray paint must be used outdoors in a well ventilated area. A respirator or mask is recommended. Allow time to dry fully.
• Wear old clothes for painting. Chances are paint will find a way to get on your clothes.
Step 1: Main Body
The main body components are 3/4" project grade plywood. The overall sled size 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 on the taller pieces 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 wires, a shallow hole was drilled for the wire ends. The ends are epoxied in place.
I glued the base, front, and rear guards together with clamps and then nailed them to the body. Use a right angle to ensure joints are square. Next, I made the main cut with the table saw. You want to be sure the rear guard is 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.
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.
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.
There should be no drag when the sled passes the blade.
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 slightly.
I've used drywall joint compound to smooth edge grain, but in this case for a shop tool that won't be handled gently, I wanted the stronger body filler.
Step 2: Extras & Details
Finally, the huge box of scrap pieces I've kept will come in handy!
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 on one side, 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. Making the edges square makes the finished project look better.
The plate for the rotary dials is polystyrene plastic. I knew I couldn't cut precise openings for the dials out of metal. A hobby knife will cut through the plastic.
The PVC tubes and extras are epoxied in place.
For the dials, I drilled the lock rivets out with a drill press. Hold the lock with pliers, you don't want it smacking your fingers when it catches on the drill bit. The lock will pop right open with the rivets removed. 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 dials are loose in the groove. The cover keeps the dials in place and the dials will turn.
Step 3: Finish
I sanded the sled and then sprayed it 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. Holes were drilled and these were epoxied in place.
Next I printed out and made Fallout, radioactive, and Crosscut stencils. Check out my previous instructable on stencil making: https://www.instructables.com/id/Simple-Spray-Paint-Stencil/
The Fallout font text was generated from this site: http://fontmeme.com/fallout-font/
I sprayed the back of the paper with glue, let it sit for fifteen minutes, 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 epoxied any extras to the sled prior to paint.
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 for a great detail. I keep a few spare paint can nozzles for different textures. A gloved finger in front of the nozzle can simulate that spray pattern. Practice it before trying it on the finished product.
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 enamel paint in corners, at joints, and at screws for additional grime. I finished the sled with a coat of clear and waxed the runners.
Step 4: Conclusion
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. The key is layers and variation.
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. I would have liked to add the lights to the top of the guard, but they would have definitely been smashed at that location.
If I had drilled the holes in the guard before gluing it up, I would have chamfered the edge for a machined metal look.
I had built a router table previously that was all function no form, and it bothers because it's so plain. I didn't want to do that again with the sled.
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.
Thanks for checking it out! Let me know if you have any questions.