A surprising number of professional carpenters and woodworking hobbyists consider the router—with or without a router sled—their most useful and versatile electric tool. And with good reason! Best described as a hybrid combination of a planer, a power drill, and a collection of wood-carving gouges and chisels, routers are able to shape wood in an astonishing variety of ways. Depending on the type of router (plunge router, fixed-base, combo, variable-speed, laminate trimmer, CNC, etc.), they are capable of…
carving grooves and rabbets
chamfering and beveling
incising shallow reliefs
drilling clean holes
creating decorative flutings
making screw threads
hollowing out adzed bowls
trimming wood flat
cutting dovetail, mortise-&-tenon, and other types of joints
…and generally shaping wood in ways that would often be difficult if not nearly impossible using just hand tools.
In a previous blog on T-slot fasteners—which generally are used to attach accessory items to framed T-slot fabrications—we compared those accessories to the kind of “extras” you might find on an automobile, such as rear-view mirrors or hubcaps. The car will still run fine without them; yet lacking them would diminish not just the aesthetics of the vehicle but also its overall functionality and even safety. By the same token, when it comes to adding T-slot accessories to any of Framing Tech’s standard or custom constructions, it’s important to choose the ones that fit properly and that will serve you best.
The ability to modify and accessorize an object is often key to that object’s paramount usefulness. Imagine a car without hubcaps or rear-view mirrors. It would still be quite functional as a car; yet the lack of those accessories would likely diminish not just the aesthetics of the vehicle but also its overall functionality and even safety. The same is true of Framing Tech’s aluminum fabrications. Accessories add distinct practical advantages to our T-slot creations, and the best way to attach these optional accessories is with T-slot fasteners.
They say that when one door closes, another door opens—but practically speaking, that would be true only if the room has a draft and the doors in question have shoddy latches. With door accessories made by Framing Tech, you won’t have that problem. Doors only open or close at your command.
Here at Framing Tech, we believe in finding just the right tool for the job. We apply this philosophy in all our products, no less in our selection of door accessories designed to fit the needs of any door you may wish to include with your project.
Before getting too far into our brief survey of T-nuts, it’s important to make a distinction between fasteners and connectors. The English majors amongst us might consider those two words to be nearly synonymous. In the realm of T-slot aluminum, however, each denotes a very specific set of accessories with well-defined applications.
T-slot aluminum profiles come in a variety shapes, lengths, and measurement systems (either metric or inch). Because of the modular nature of extruded T-slot aluminum, there’s no need to clamp, weld, or glue the various pieces when assembling. Instead, you use connectors of various types to put your profiles together at just the right angle and ensure the final fabrication is strong and stable. These connectors run the gamut, from quick connectors and tilt connectors to gussets, corner brackets, connection plates, and more.
Fasteners, on the other hand, are chiefly used to fasten, or attach, specialty accessories to the finished T-slot fabrication. The accessories may include cable blocks, conveyor rollers, locking handles, doors, side panels, machining jigs, and much more. Among these fasteners are various types of nuts, including the following.
Past users of Framing Tech’s aluminum T-slot extrusions are already familiar with their myriad features and advantages: strength, durability, stability, corrosion-resistance, and ease of assembly are just the tip of the iceberg. Whether custom-designed or out-of-the-box fabrications, they are practically perfect for their designated application. But there is always room for improvement. So how do you improve on perfection? With Framing Tech’s T-slot accessories, of course! Here is an overview of our most popular ones.
500,000 years ago in southern Africa, primitive Homo sapiens first bound stone blades to wooden spears, creating the spearpoint. Spearpoints were revolutionary as weaponry, and as the first “composite tools”—combining components.
Last November we wrote about the ways fasteners and other Framing Tech accessories can enhance your extruded aluminum creations. For December, we’ll end the year by focusing specifically on one key category of accessory, namely, aluminum connectors. This particular type of component allows you to take full advantage of the inherently modular nature of extruded aluminum profiles, and makes it possible to create a wide range of sturdy, customized fabrications, from workbenches and aquarium stands to book shelves and industrial machine guards—and whatever else your imagination can conceive of.
Whether you’re working on a full structural or modular aluminum framing project or a more simple task, Framing Tech has the pieces you need to build a complete and economical solution.
Our extruded aluminum T-slot framing (metric profiles and inch profiles) come in all shapes and sizes. Yet these aluminum extrusions can’t just assemble themselves. Specialty fasteners, connectors, and other accessories are needed to attach one piece solidly to another to create a stable structure. And still other accessories extend the practical utility of your fabrications, and even add aesthetic value to what you build.
Here is an overview of those specialty fasteners and other accessories.
“Play opens up the imagination, which
then opens up new possibilities.”
— Alfred Carlton Gilbert
Those lines are uttered by actor Jason Alexander playing inventor, magician, and toy maker A.C. Gilbert in the 2008 biographical film The Man Who Saved Christmas. You can preview the film in this trailer:
Visitors to our blog, of a certain age, will probably recall with great nostalgia what is surely Gilbert’s most famous invention and one of the most popular playthings of their childhood, namely, the inimitable Erector Set. Produced by the A.C. Gilbert Company, “Erector Set” was a brand of metal toy construction kits first patented in 1913. Basic Erector Set parts included various sizes of flat beams, made with real steel, with regularly spaced holes for assembly using nuts and bolts, and room for additional parts and accessories, including little electric motors. The only limit was your imagination.
If you are as fastidious about your workstation as Martha Stewart is about her table setting, you always ensure that there is never a screw out of place or a wobbly chair at your desk. Framing fasteners are the vital connectors that keep materials and machinery secure. For example, when we commit to piecing together DYI Ikea furniture, we are scrupulous in employing the myriad bits and pieces as directed. While we may fret and fume during the assembly process, nuts and bolts ensure the end product looks and functions as advertised.
Bolt vs. Screw
Bolts are externally threaded fasteners installed with the use of proper nuts that are fitted using torque. Bolts are typically used to couple unthreaded objects. The threads spiraling on the circular surface of the bolts provide exceptionally sturdy bonds in conjunction with a nut.
Screws are also externally threaded fasteners. They can be inserted into premade holes or perforated surfaces and sometimes create threads during installation.