Ghetto WorkCenter Boom Arm: Part III, The Boom Arm

As much as I love my TS55, I find keeping the vacuum hose clear of hangups to be the most challenging part of using it. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t use the TS55 without the vacuum hose. It does a great job of capturing what I’d estimate to be about 85% of the dust.

My old setup was to simply velcro the power cord to the vacuum hose. This meant there was effectively only one (1) tether being dragged by the saw, but in practice I have continually caught the hose on the side guards of my BenchMark Table, on the workpiece or on the track..
It cuts wonderfully, when the hose isn't getting caught.
My first attempt to remedy this issue was with the purchase of the Festool Guide Rail Deflector. The Guide Rail Deflector is a plastic piece that fits to the end of the Festool Guide Rail. It’s designed to prevent the hose and cord from getting caught up on the end of the guide rail. Unfortunately, it doesn’t keep the hose and cord on the rail, so they still fell to the side and caught on the BenchMark Table’s side guards and the piece being cut.

The solution to keeping the hose out of the way is a boom arm. I know from my previously built wall mounted boom arm, that they work wonderfully at keeping hoses and cords out of the way. Unfortunately, the boom arm that Festool makes costs a bit over $300.00. For a short hose, a short extension cord and some steel tubing, that strikes me as much more than I’m willing to pay.
Looks as good a place as any to mount a boom arm.
Once I’d built the TS55 tray, it dawned on me that if I made a boom arm to fit on it I’d finally have my hose and cord out of the way.
A simple boom arm.
I made the boom arm using scrap ½” baltic birch plywood. The pieces simply lap each other and are fastened with ¾” flat head screws. The arm attached to the support mast with small butt hinges. The hose is attached to the arm with small I-bolts, springs and plastic ties. Thanks to a suggestion by Chris Wong of Flair Woodworks, the hose will soon be attached via Wrap-N-Straps from Lee Valley.

The springs allow plenty of give in the hose.
To mount the boom arm to the saw tray, I attached a small hook to the back of the mast. It was notched so that it caught the side of the tray and prevented the boom mast from moving side to side. I then added a second hook that caught the inside of the lip on the tray. So that the mast would stand vertically, I added a spacer block at the bottom. It holds the bottom of the boom off the systainers the same ½” as the lip around the tray.
The initial hook allowed too much wobble.
While the initial hooks worked, I found that the mast and attached boom wobbled a bit more than I was comfortable with. I took off the initial second hook and replaced it with one the full width of the tray. Now the boom arm is rock solid.
The new hook is the full width of the tray for much more stability.
The completed boom arm holds the vacuum hose out of the way during use. No more getting caught up half way through a cut. It also mounts on and off the saw tray in moments.
The completed boom arm on the saw tray.
Now that my saw can no longer slide off the systainers, and the vacuum hose it up and out of the way, what to do about the sanders?