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ZCI Interchangeable Inserts.

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Project by LittleBlackDuck posted 05-05-2021 09:41 AM 817 views 3 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Boys and Girls,

ZCI is an acronym for Zero Clearance Insert, however, consider yourself pardoned when I say ”ZCI Insert” and you accuse me of stuttering.

While toying with some comments on ZCI, Marpel enticed me with this titillating comment, ”… rather than replace the full zci, the hardboard strip could be slid out and a new one inserted… “, … to me it was an,

an open invitation into action..

Took up the gauntlet and the inevitable happened,

which eventually rolled off the production line,

Using my dowel alignment lamination technique


created a “2 part” ZCI (compared to my standard ZCI),

The slit in the bottom layer,

was cut out so that the ZCI could be placed in the tablesaws throat to “fit over” the saw blade at its lowest point.

Cleaned it up (more later), locked it in and raised the blade…. Oh crap… the raised blade split the back of the insert letting it flop loosely,

Tried to salvage the ZCI by extending the insert slot and doctoring a new insert so it could be extended past the back exit point (leaving a gap at the front),
Unacceptable… and this version was quickly red crossed.

Back to the drawing board and extended the insert so that there was some substance at the end and the exercise was repeated,
Let’s discuss some of the details in the build.

I made two versions,
  1. To accept standard blades ranging from 1.7mm to ¼”,
  2. To accept dado stacks (up to 7/8”) and standard angled blades,

Along with the above two plates, I made several inserts for each.

The dado width allowance had to be curtailed due to the position of the front anchor. After assembly, I concluded that drilling through the insert should not be a problem, so the next version (if required) will accommodate wider dados.

The ZCI plate was anchored at the back by the use of a fender washer,


and the standard countersunk bolt anchor at the front,

You may notice the finger hole and the don’t drop that bloody screw ”mushroom” plug,

to prevent this,

it’s not a big hole, but a bloody small screw…

Because extra inserts need to be made and I didn’t want to use the ZCI as the vehicle to feed it through the drum sander (as for the initial thicknessing), I made this jig up

that is the same thickness as the ZCI plate… and trust me, it renders the correct height for a new insert to get slipped in and be flush with the tabletop.

The jig was also used to give a better reference for flush cutting the alignment dowels and a larger level sanding surface,

I had to mark the down side of the jig,

as wrong orientation through the sander thins out the slider part of the insert. After stuffing up twice, writing ”down” was easier than making new jigs.
The jig was also used to buff the top face of the inserts,

The parts were tunged and then buffed to a smooth top finish,

The large kerfed one was clamped down, though clear of the blade, and the blade raised,

and after removal of the “clamps”, the MJ Splitter inserted on the insert,

Though still experimental and not tested for durability, I 3D printed some MJ Splitter look alikes for 1.7mm kerfed blades,

I was happy to wrap up this exercise, however, the tear out from raising the blade, though minimal, annoyed the crap out of me.
After a restless nights sleep and hesitation to sacrificing a board, I came up with a jig to hold a ZCI for the ZCI while raising the blade and not waste usable timber (albeit pine).
The jig held down another smaller insert,


and held “flipside” to the tabletop using mag-switches,

The blade came up throught the ZCI insert and the jig without any tear out,

a completely successful exercise.

Unfortunately, having fuctional pre-existing ZCIs, these new versions were deposited in my archive store house,

to be resurrected as soon as I stuff up the current 5 year old one… hmmm?

Again I splurted through another couple of animal nightie video.
Due to complaints by viewers that kept running out of beer, I have split the video into Part 1 and Part 2. They were followed up by an extra (Part 3) about the ZCI for the ZCI Interchangeable Insert.

The hero of this project is the concept and not the laser. If you’re alread guilty of making your own ZCIs, this should be doable with conventional tools in case you happen to have misplaced your laser ot CNC.

Keep safe, jocks... and your jocks, safe!

——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— Next post day after thought.

A dovetail sliding insert could be a viable option if making with conventional tools out of solids.

However, in MDF, I believe my two piece laminated insert is more cost effective (time is money) when I consider accurate router setup vs. glue up…

I can imagine issues if the dovetails are too lose or too tight.

Proof is in the pudding, however, I do not plan to visit the kitchen soon… except for eating… and casko-vino replenishment.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD





25 comments so far

View 987Ron's profile

987Ron

1381 posts in 435 days


#1 posted 05-05-2021 11:33 AM

Love the idea. Great build and instructional.

-- Ron

View Ivan's profile

Ivan

16848 posts in 3986 days


#2 posted 05-05-2021 11:59 AM

Pretty clever and precise….I wish you were closer, I would sure order one of those!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

8070 posts in 4472 days


#3 posted 05-05-2021 12:11 PM

Very interesting LBD a brilliant idea! I watched your video also….I didn’t want it to end….Oh and I understood every word you spoke and that was also amazing!

-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

View doubleDD's profile

doubleDD

10429 posts in 3162 days


#4 posted 05-05-2021 01:11 PM

I find this intriguing enough to almost make this. If I haven’t made several new inserts for future use i would give this a try. A great idea simple idea.
Now I need you to come up with a idea so I don’t have to swap out different blades all the time. LOL.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View pottz's profile

pottz

17568 posts in 2103 days


#5 posted 05-05-2021 01:35 PM

well once again duckie youve gone way beyond my level of patience too read or watch your video so how bout you just make me one.anodized aluminum for the plate on mine tough.make one for ivan too while your at it.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile

woodbutcherbynight

9589 posts in 3528 days


#6 posted 05-05-2021 02:56 PM

Exceptional walk through for the entire process. Enjoyed it immensely. As soon as my current stock of ZCI are depleted I will look into this redesign.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5284 posts in 2341 days


#7 posted 05-05-2021 03:12 PM

It’s not just the design, it’s how you push past all the issues with versions 1 & 2 and get to 3 without making any ZCI sized holes in the shop wall 8^)

Add me to Pottzy’s list, ‘cept I’d like mine with 1/2” aluminum and a 3/4” stiffener rib underneath on the left. Some clever anodizing would be a classy touch!

View Ocelot's profile

Ocelot

3131 posts in 3757 days


#8 posted 05-05-2021 03:20 PM

Well that’s something!

-- I intended to be a woodworker, but turned into a tool and lumber collector.

View RDan's profile

RDan

183 posts in 3443 days


#9 posted 05-05-2021 06:56 PM

I have Infinity Sawstop Al insert that does this. I would like a few others that I could customize though. I do like your Insert cutting jig though for the saw kerf. Great Project. Dan

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

8009 posts in 1693 days


#10 posted 05-05-2021 07:59 PM

Nice build Duck. I’ve been using a Betterly Tru Cut since I first saw them. Your way to the job is likely lower cost than buying yourself a Betterly, but I like the dovetailed insert, and they are pretty easy to make replacements out of MDF.

Thing I like most about my Betterly is they put in a slot for my TS guard, gotta swim my Shark. :-)

-- Think safe, be safe

View pottz's profile

pottz

17568 posts in 2103 days


#11 posted 05-05-2021 08:15 PM



Nice build Duck. I ve been using a Betterly Tru Cut since I first saw them. Your way to the job is likely lower cost than buying yourself a Betterly, but I like the dovetailed insert, and they are pretty easy to make replacements out of MDF.

Thing I like most about my Betterly is they put in a slot for my TS guard, gotta swim my Shark. :-)

- therealSteveN


those are great throat plates had one on my old saw,wish they made one for the saw i have now.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View crowie's profile

crowie

4664 posts in 3070 days


#12 posted 05-05-2021 10:25 PM

Clever, patient, well thought out Alex, though way too complicated for me.

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7076 posts in 1939 days


#13 posted 05-06-2021 12:33 AM

Thanks all for you kind words. Unfortunately it is not my original idea, however, this messenger will gratefully accept all the compliments.


Love the idea. Great build and instructional.
- 987Ron

Maybe a project for your new laser 987.

Pretty clever and precise….I wish you were closer, I would sure order one of those!
- Ivan

Easily fixed maj... as I’m not closer to you, using my ruller, you may be closer to me.

... I watched your video also….I didn t want it to end….
- woodshaver Tony C

Thanks shaver, I must remember to post projects after you finish one of your paint jobs… after painting people will endure anything else!

... I need you to come up with a idea so I don t have to swap out different blades all the time. LOL.
- doubleDD

Simple solution… always use the same type and dimensional timber and you’ll never need to change blades… no need to buy a laser for different sized kerfs… QED.

... gone way beyond my level of patience too read or watch your video… just make me one…
- pottz

Making one will not regain your life pottzy... Just sacrifice 1% of your time at Gunnys Garage and you’ll probably reclaim 366 days a year… plenty of time to wade through my drivel with plenty of spare time for more drinks.

... Add me to Pottzy’s list…
- splintergroup

Sorry splinter, while it would be a pleasure to fabricate to your specifications, the shipping costs to Yankeeland would be inhibitive for only one plate, as I’ve regretfully declined pottzy generous request for one.

... I’ve been using a Betterly Tru Cut since I first saw them… but I like the dovetailed insert, and they are pretty easy to make replacements out of MDF.
- therealSteveN
... wish they made one for the saw i have now.
- pottz

They appear to be a great product and would be a time saver (MDF inserts), however, I didn’t see a reference to dovetails.
But that rung bells… a dovetailed insert would eliminate stuffing around with laminating it. Unfortunately the laser is not too good with angled cuts (even if I took the picture sideways (ugh!)). It’s comfortable limit is 6mm (1/4”) cutting thickness, which might make an after laser dovetail route without enough “meat” in the plate. Though making out of solids would seem more practical using dovetails. Followed by a slot for the “splitter” should be easy with a bandsaw… doesn’t need to be smooth and pretty.
If I didn’t have the laser and the Betterly fitted my saw, it would be a more timely exercise (if not necessarily cheaper as I cost time). Unfortunately you can never guarantee fitting to your TS until delivery… as was proved by the article (ZCI) that spurred me onto this.
Either way, using this concept and ideas from the Betterly could get people started on their own adventure.

Clever, patient, well thought out Alex, though way too complicated for me.
- crowie

As many of your truck builds, but somehow you seem to manage… don’t undersell yourself…

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

8009 posts in 1693 days


#14 posted 05-06-2021 03:32 AM


Nice build Duck. I ve been using a Betterly Tru Cut since I first saw them. Your way to the job is likely lower cost than buying yourself a Betterly, but I like the dovetailed insert, and they are pretty easy to make replacements out of MDF.

Thing I like most about my Betterly is they put in a slot for my TS guard, gotta swim my Shark. :-)

- therealSteveN

those are great throat plates had one on my old saw,wish they made one for the saw i have now.

- pottz

Pottz, contact them, they have added several saws to their line, and, well, ya never know.

-- Think safe, be safe

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

8009 posts in 1693 days


#15 posted 05-06-2021 03:42 AM

Duck the actual Betterly inserts, at least the ones that came with my insert for my General 350 are a phenolic like substance. I just use MDF to make my cheaper version. They seem to work well.

-- Think safe, be safe

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