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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 06:10 PM Thread Starter
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Default making a clear subbase- dumb question

I'm about to make a couple of clear subbases for my router. I've already looked at this thread which is pretty similar to what I want to do. two questions:
1) any particular plastic material to use/not use?
2) (and here's the dumb question) Am I going to mess up any of my cutters/bits/blades working on the stuff? I guess it can't be much harder than wood, but I don't want to go ruining expensive bits and blades trying to save a few bucks on a base.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-11-2006, 10:25 PM
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Most glass shops carry 2 types of plastic. Acrylic [Plexiglas and Lucite are brand names] or Polycarbonate [Lexan]. Polycarbonate can be cut, routed or drilled just like wood. And is a lot stronger. Special bits are made for drilling Acrylic to prevent chipping but I have made my own as they are just regular bits ground at a much sharper angle. Also over time Acrylic tends to crack from any holes you've drilled. Whichever you choose if your going to rough it out with a bandsaw or jigsaw, use a fairly coarse wood blade. Most people try a thin fine tooth blade but often the cut will melt back together behind the blade.

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2006, 08:31 AM
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I have clear polycarbonate bases (Lexan) 3/8" thick and they are rigid, rigid, rigid.
I receive them blank and drill them to suit. I get them mounted on the router first before attempting the center hole. Regular twist drills seem to work just fine but I always clamp a piece of wood on the backside when drilling. Never had it chip out, but never drilled it without the backer either.

Then I just put whatever's handy and pointy... like a countersink bit... into the router and lower the bit to contact the plate and make me an "unmistakeable centerpunch". Then I remove the plate from the router and drill the center hole in a drill press. And for that I've simply used a 1" hole saw. For smaller holes I use regular drill bits or anything I'd use for wood. I usally keep teh speed down because, as was stated earlier, the plastic WILL melt, but with the polycarbonate I think it would take a lot of heat. I haven't had problems doing it this way.

OH... and from building model radio controlled airplanes I have this neat tool that was used for centering the mounting bolts for engines. Cone-shaped, hollow business end kinda auto-centers in a hole. And a spring loaded drill slides through the cone to give you a nicely centered starter hole for mounting to your router.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2006, 09:39 AM
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Use the polycarbonate, the acrylic tends to sag after a while,neither will harm your bits.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-16-2006, 04:22 PM Thread Starter
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thanks for the tips, I found some 1/4 polycarbonate- it was cheaper to buy multiple pieces from one shop's scrap than a single piece at the local hardware store, anyone wanna buy some polycarbonate?

I'm gonna make at least two bases, and then probably some templates out of the rest.

Last edited by rprice54; 01-16-2006 at 04:32 PM.
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