A review of the MicroPreciis BT3 fixture blocks


  • A review of the MicroPreciis BT3 fixture blocks

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    I like the BT3 series table saw because it is innovative. One of the best attributes of the BT series saws is the presence of multiple T-slots in the rip fence, mitre fence, and fence rails. These slots allow the user to attach jigs and fixtures to the saw very easily. MicroPreciis and it's founders, Andrew Perrella and Erik S. Friis have created the BT3x00 Fixture Blocks. These blocks make attaching jigs and fixtures even easer.

    According to MicroPreciis, these blocks "provide high functional adaptability at a relatively low cost to the woodworker who has an interest in developing custom jigs and accessories for the saw. It is designed to lock into several of the available T-tracks on the BT3000, allowing users to quickly and easily mount dial indicators, sacrificial fences, stop blocks and even do router table jointing. The concept is simple. The profile of the BT3x00 Fixture Block allows it to sit inside several of the BT3x00's T-tracks. Two nylon tipped set screws lock the block into place without damaging the saw's aluminum extrusions. Then two 1/4-20 mounting holes are available for jigs and fixtures limited only by your imagination."

    The first thing that came to mind when I received my BT3x00 Fixture Blocks was to attach feather boards to my rip fence. I had purchased some inexpensive plastic feather boards at a woodworking show. As the picture to the right shows, attaching the feather board was simple.

    By using the BT3x00 Fixture Blocks, I did not have to make a wooden or MDF attachment to hold the feather boards. The feather boards attach quickly and securely. Using the optional nylon tipped thumbscrews I was able to position and reposition the feather board quickly. I plan on ordering two 1/4-20 knobs to use instead of the two 1/4-20 Phillips head screws that came with the BT3x00 Fixture Blocks.

    After playing with the feather board for a while, my attentions were quickly turned towards sub-fences. Although I already had a sacrificial fence for my BT3, I thought about how simple it would be to attach one with the BT3x00 Fixture Blocks.

    I "built" the sacrificial fence with a scrap of 3/4" MDF. It was 3" x 24". I attached the BT3x00 Fixture Blocks to the fence and placed the MDF next to it. I marked the height of the threaded holes, then drilled holes in the MDF. I countersunk the holes on the outside face of the MDF and then gave it two coats of Minwax polyurethane. After it dried, I applied a good coat of Johnson's paste wax. I mounted my dado, attached the fence, then raised the spinning dado into the sacrificial fence. it was fast, easy, and it works great.

    Finally, in the past I have wished that I had a high fence for certain operations. I selected another scrap of 3/4" MDF that was 12" x 24". I marked the holes the same way I did for the sacrificial fence and countersank the holes. Again I applied two good coats of Minwax polyurethane and a top coat of Johnson's paste wax. In a matter of 10 minutes I had "built" a nice high fence for my BT3.

    The BT3x00 Fixture Block set includes 2 blocks, 4 nylon tipped set screws, 4 mounting screws, sacrificial fence plans (not mine) and shipping in the continental US. The set costs $25.00. Additionally, a set of two 1/4-20 nylon tipped thumb screws are available for those who want a tool-less solution to block mounting. The thumbscrews sell for $7.50 including shipping in the continental U.S. Now here's the best part: some people like the "try before you buy" method. If you would rather wait until the shipment arrives so you can verify that the jig blocks will suit your needs simply mention "I'd like to try before I buy" in your order email and MicroPreciis will be happy to send the package out with an invoice enclosed. Send payment upon satisfaction or return the purchase and they will re-reimburse you for return shipping. Try before you buy is only available for orders under $100. For larger orders a deposit may be requested.

    These are now sold by T-Nuts.com and can be found in the saw parts section of the site.

    (Questions, comments or snide remarks about this article can be directed to sam@samconder.com)
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