The first thing I had to do was to break out my Proxxon tools and see how well I can use the rotary tool to actually cut metal. I had purchased a whole lot of things to make my life easy and this turned out to be just fine. The biggest problem was all the fine metal dust that accumulated below the little stool (to which I bolted the base of my drill press).
I could not get small mending braces at OSH so I picked up these angled affairs after a salesperson told me that a Dremel like tool could cut it easily. I was skeptical but I simply had to try it. Here you see the mending brace clamped in the Proxxon Vise which is attached to the base of the Proxxon drill stand. The drill stand has two mounting holes and I simply drilled two holes into the top of a stool I had sitting outside and attached the stand to it using long carriage bolts and butterfly nuts.
Now for the fun part. I had prepared myself with goggles and all, and was looking quite the handyman. My research showed that cutting through metal needed high RPMs and a gentle touch. That is, no pushing the cutting disk into the metal with force.
The pic above shows the cutting disk (a fiber reinforced disk to withstand the high temps without disintegrating). It is attached to the end of a flex-shaft which is attached to the actual rotary tool. I did not need to use the drill-press, but it allowed me to work easily because I was not worried about where the tool was. All I needed to do was guide the flex shaft with the rest of the assembly secured to the stool/bench.
Actually cutting the mending brace was not too bad. Little sparky bits kept flying off and would sting slightly when coming in touch with the skin of my hand. Unfortunately I don't have any videos of it as I did not think of documenting the process at that time.
With the metal braces done, I then needed to drill holes into the side table. This is actually trickier than it sounds because of the requirement that the holes be perfectly perpendicular to the wood. I had foreseen the trouble there and a swipe of plastic money got me this..
This is what is called a Drill Guide, a cheap one, but gets the job done. The idea is to basically attach the drill to the fixed bit and then attach the bit to the chuck provided. Now as the drill is pushed down, it can only travel down the guide rods.and remains perpendicular to the base of the guide. This is all fine in theory. In practice what you get is
- The sliding mechanism sticks
- There is some wobble and the drill doesn't move perfectly up and down. It tends to move around and the holes are not perfect.
- Finally, depending on where you want to drill, there isn't backing material to place the base of the guide on.
I unfortunately do not have photos for the rest of the heroic endeavor. Without further verbiage, I present the end result! somewhat irregular, but very strong side table.
You'll notice that after all this preparing and shopping and talking, it isn't much to show. I could not even get it level finally :-(. However, it now holds weight very well and is once again a trusted load bearing member of my furniture family.