Hi everybody, in this instructable I will show you how I built my cross cut sled. Nothing I designed or invented, there are plenty of information on internet about this type of accessorie. I did not know about it until recently when I started to look at buying a table saw. I wanted to work with wood in a better and faster way.
So I bought a Dewalt 745 saw. I looked a lot of videos and tests before I chose this model. I took the time to tune it perfectly for straight cuts when I received it: tuned the blade angle, fence parallelism, angle stoppers... All is pretty well explained in the instructions of the saw.
The next step was to build this sled as it will help me a lot with my future project that you will discover on instructables.com soon. The sled has a couple of advantages:
- cleaner cuts as the panels you cut are supported at the closest point of the blade. This gives cleaner cuts on lower surface.
- safer as no small pieces can fall in the blade pit and be kicked back
- easier and more precise to use than the mitre fence for perpendicular cuts
I built the sled with stuff I had around and it cost me nothing in material, lucky me! :-)
Here is how I proceeded:
Step 1: Step 1 : Measure the Grooves
On my saw, both grooves are the same. Check the width and depth of yours.
Step 2: Step 2: Cut the Groove's Stripes
my grooves are 19.5mm wide and 11mm high.
The stripes that will slide in the grooves need to be exactly the same width and a bit less in height. I had the chance to find an offcut of 10mm thick plywood which will fit perfectly for the 11mm groove height.
On all the pictures of this instructable you will see those plywood stripes but in the end I replaced them with plain oak as I felt the plywood was not sliding properly in the grooves...
When you cut the 2 stripes, cut them at just a bit more than the required width and use a plane and sanding paper to adjust for a snug fit! The stripes must slide easily along the grooves but without shaking from left to right in the groove!
Step 3: Step 3: Sled Table
for the table, I found an old (but never used) ikea shelf that is nearly as big as the table of the saw. No cut required and perfectly square.
You have to lower the blade to the minimum so it does not touch the panel and remove the divider.
I used the side fence of the saw to align the white panel and marked the 2 stripes lengthes to cut them at the panel dimension.
Step 4: Step 4: Stripes Preparation
In order to cut the stripes properly, first check that your perpendicular fence is at an exact 90° to the blade.
cut the 2 stripes on the marks done.
mark the center line of the 2 stripes
mark the 4 screw holes that you will drill
I drilled 4mm diameter holes for 4mm screws
countersunk the holes on one side of the stripe only
apply double-sided tape on the opposite side of the countersunk holes and cut the excess of tape so it does not appear outside of the stripe.
Step 5: Step 5: Panel and Stripes Assembly
I used washers to raise up the 2 stripes so they stick out slightly of the table saw grooves
align the 2 stripes on the front edge of the table saw and remove the proteective sheet of the glue
keep the sled panel at an angle to align it against the side fence, align it on the table frontage then drop it gently on the 2 stripes.
Apply pressure along the stripes
Turn the panel upside down and now you can put the screws to secure the stripes with the panel. When screwing, make sure to have your screws vertical and centred onto the stripes' holes. Otherwise the stripes will move aside when the screw heads will apply pressure and this will cause the sled not to slide any more...
Step 6: Step 6: Adding the Back Panel
This panel will join the 2 sides of the sled when you will cut through it. It has to be higher than the maximum height of your blade!
I used a piece of 20mm thick plywood that I cut to the required dimensions.
Mark its position on the sled panel, drill the screw holes and countersunk them from under side.
Use a square to position the panel vertical and put the screws by under.
You do not need a lot of precision on this one as you will work on the other side of the sled only.
Step 7: Step 7: Front Panel
For this one, you will need a thicker section of wood as the blade will go partially through it. I used a scrap part of a palet that I cut to dimension and squared using a plane and sanding block.
As for the back panel, mark its position on the sled panel, drill the holes and countersunk them from under.
Do not screw the panel yet!
First you need to place your sled onto the saw, raise the blade to the maximum height and start cutting through. You must stop before you reach the other side of the panel.
From now, you will install the front block: put a first screw on one end of the block but keep it a bit loose so the block can pivot around it.
use a square to check the angle between the blade and the front panel. Once at 90° exactly, slide the sled backwards a bit so you can access the screw hole of the other end. Put the screw.
Slide the sled back in, closer to the blade and check again that you have the 90° angle. If OK, then you can put the remaining screws.
Add a second block of wood on the center where the blade will touch the vertical panel. This will give you additional safety if the blade goes too far.
Step 8: Step 8: ENJOY!
There you are, a simple and easy to make sled that will make your life easier and safer to cut smaller parts.