The use of a Router table as a Profile Copier - Router Forums
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-24-2012, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Default The use of a Router table as a Profile Copier

I have gotten many good ideas from being a member of the Router Forum so I wanted to show you all something that I am making, as a Professional then I use my Router Table to produce components that are part of a larger construction, that is, Chair Legs are part of a Chair, with Jig Making then it really depends on how many times that I think that I will use a jig in the future, that determines how nicely I make it and how much trouble that I go to, if I only want it to do one job then as long as it will do that one job, then that is enough for me, however I will go to a lot of detail if I think that I can/will use it many times into the future, and as I do make many items over and over again then the Jigs that I make for them, then I make those Jigs to last, or I make them so that they can be repaired with ease and I will also never give up the “Hand Turning” of components on the normal Wood Lathe, I am good at doing that so why would I.

I use my router Table as a “Profile Shaper” all the time and in the past then I did make a particular Jig with the plan that I would use it as a Rotating and Indexed Box, for use over a fixed Router cutter/cutters, this jig was made as an experiment and it worked very well, however with all “Jig Making” then in the first jig evolution, then I don’t always see the best way to do it and as time passes and the original Jig is used then I see the flaws in the idea, as this box was so very useful (and it still works, so by the end of this post then I will include a photo of that first Rotating and Indexed Box as it would be easier and cheaper to make) so then, after time and the use of the old box, then I decided to make an improved version and this thread is about this new “Rotating and Indexed Jig that can also be used as a Router Lathe Copier”.

I am also making a new Router Lathe as this Jig cannot do all of the processes that I want to do and the new Router Lathe will do those other things plus, have many more functions including some of the things that this jig will do, and that is the fact about Jigs, the best ones are simple but there is no jig that will do everything, I think of just the single job that I want to do with it and how many times that I think that I will use it, I then make it as simply as I can, simple Jigs work best and are the cheapest to make. However as the idea of this new box evolved then it was clear to me that this is a very good idea indeed and it would not be simple to make, the reason it will be so useful is, that by changing some components to this jig then it can be used to make “round shaped objects of any design and with any number of sides, that is, when it is used with the workpiece, fixed and stationary as the cuts are done, fixed stationary via the use of an indexing wheel and then by changing that wheel then the object can have as many sides as you may want, also by changing the “Profile Pattern” that the router bearing will follow as it goes about its work, then the object can be any shape at all, from a multi sided Tool Handle to a Chair leg or any other Chair component, and there is also this, if I used this new box with the work piece “rotating” and “not stationary as the cuts are done”, then the Jig can make round objects, one after another, that are all exactly the same, and that if I “power” the rotation then it will be a fully functional “Router Lathe Copier” that is a bold statement, but it will work as I have said it will.

I will post the full story about the Jigs construction, but anyone who reads my posts will know that I am building a house and that I have a frail mother, I have my hands full, however now that the construction plan is fully developed in my mind, then I also want to see it running, so I will do that as soon as I can. I also have to say this up front, I am a cabinetmaker who has worked my entire career in Furniture and Kitchen design and construction, in the first few days of my apprenticeship then I was told by an older machinist/joiner, that I would have to lose a few fingers before I was good in his eyes, he only still had five and a half fingers across his two hands and maybe only three full finders left untouched, well I am 56 today and I still have them all. Still there are those two very close calls that I don’t like to think about but other than some scars here and there then I still do still have them all, Routers, Shapers, Powered Saws, all machines and power tools, they are all very dangerous and can create horrific injuries, and when “A Router Table” is used this way then it is also very, very dangerous, with a fast spinning cutter sticking up out of the Router Plate a very long way, I don’t know what all your skill levels are but I am sure that many of you could make and use a Jig like this safely, I am also sure that many of you should not do this until you are sure that your personal skill level is high enough, as I cannot be responsible for how any of you will make and use this Jig then all I can say is that you have to decide for yourself if you can do it safely or not, if you think that you may not be ready then wait until you are and, keep your work area clean, use safety Glasses, use hearing protection, use dust/waste extraction, keep your cutters sharp, be professional and use all care.

There are many limitations on what a Router Lathe can do, mostly it is about what the cutter shape will let you do, and as I always intended to move a workpiece. from my Wood Lathe and into the box featured here and also into the new and as yet unfinished Router Lathe, then I wanted to hold the workpiece the exact same way regardless of what machine it was in and regardless of what I was doing, with that in mind then I needed to be able to do that with one of the SuperNova Chucks that I use in my Wood Lathe, so I had these two shafts constructed, the shorter one that has the SuperNova Chuck attached will go into this Jig, the longer one will go into the new router lathe. The these two shafts have to be able to be fixed stationary via the use of Indexing Wheels, my next post will be about the construction of these indexing wheels. NGM
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 11-24-2012, 03:36 PM Thread Starter
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Default Indexing Wheels

I have used this method several times to make indexing wheels and they are very accurate, I have elevated this new jigs platform so the new indexing wheels will meet the saw more square to the blade, it would have to be higher to meet the saw totally square but this angle is good enough for me and it still lets me see the saw clearly, I have included in one photo the “circle jig” that I used to cut the curved groove, I needed it to just cut this one groove so I used a piece of scrap wood and that is now back on the scrap pile.

I have made just these wheels as they give me the stations that I want, for now, the 6 as it gives me 3 + 6, the 8 as it gives me 2 + 4 + 8, the 9 as it gives me 3 + 9, the 10 as it gives me 5 + 10, 12 as it give me 2 + 3 + 4 + 6 +12 and 13, and that gives me a 13 only, I did leave a very long and detailed post to a person who enquired about 8 sided tool handles so that post got my mind back to making a new version of the old box so thanks to him I have moved forward to do this and as I could see that the new jig can make objects with any number of sides then I decided to abandon the plan to make 8 sided ones and to make 12 sided ones instead as I always liked the word “Dodecahedron”, as a test for the Jig then the first thing that I will do is make some 12 sided handles for my Wood Lathe Tools and as I want a very very very lucky handle for my 35mm P&N Skew chisel, so then I will make just one 13 sided handle to use with it and the index wheel with 13 stations is shown in one photo attached to the shaft with the SuperNova chuck also attached .

The thing about making Indexing Wheels this way is that you can do “cut one” at any point around the blank wheel and then do “cut two” with “cut one” held in the pegged slot, then do all the others, the trick is that the saw will have to go cleanly back into “cut one” while the “last cut” is held by the pegged slot, all the cuts from “cut one” to the “last cut” will be exactly the same distance from each other but only by adjusting the pegged slot will the distance from the “first cut” to the “last cut” be the same as all the others and hence the need for the curved slot, so big deal, I had to throw some away, I made twenty blank wheels to get the finished and correct ones shown here so the dud ones are in the bin, but small circles of ply are cheap and as I access these slots from the side then they will never wear out, anyone who has read my posts on “Dick in ia’s Router Lathe Thread” can read what I have said about making “Ply Gears” with a Router, as I intend to power the rotation of this Jig with a 18volt Lithium Screwdriver and I also can see some advantages in me using “Ply Gears” in the new “Router Lathe” as well as in speeding up the rotation for this Jig then I have also decided to make those Ply Gears, so next year I will make the Jig to cut Ply Gears with a Router, I mention it here for one reason, that is that if I wanted to make a ply gear with 36 teeth then I would first use this Jig to make an Indexing wheel with 36 stations.

Now that the Indexing Wheels are done then I will put the whole thing together and that will take a few weeks yet, NGM
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 11:43 AM
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Default

Neville, Thank you for posting this (very helpful) information. I have just noticed it today and since your most recent post include part 3, I was able to back-reference to parts 1 & 2 and print them. I can readily recognize that you are an "out-of-the-box thinker" - this kind of thought process shows constructive imagination, which is a (very rare) quality that I look-for when adding employees and consultants to my business. I am going to send you a "friend request" and I sincerely hope that you will accept my offer. Thanks very much, Otis Polk Guillebeau III from Auburn, Georgia, USA

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Tweak everything!
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Part 3. The old Box. NGM
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-06-2012, 12:44 PM Thread Starter
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Default Profile Cutting Cutters and their Bearings

I have two CMT extension arbours and as I use the shown piece of 10mm aluminium as my router plate then I need to be able to get more cutter height and the extension arbours allow that, I have seen a few comments that have said that router plates do not need to be bolted down, I would never allow that and this plate is held down with 8mm stainless steel bolts, my 4mm ¼ Carbi-Tool rounding over cutter is shown in photo 1 and is seen peeking up through the plate, it is fitted to the ¼ collet “CMT Extension Arbour”, this small cutter comes with its own bearing and as this cutter never really has that much heavy load on it then this cutter works very well as it is and I use it for both “Straight Work and Profile Following” (I have also said that these small bearing do not last forever, no bearing does as spinning them at Router Speed is nominally faster than their rated maximum speed and I have often been amazed at how much hammering these tiny bearings can take before they cry “enough”, bearings run at router speed do have to be replaced) but what can be done with the 32mm full bullnose cutter in photo 2 as that has no built in bearing?

The full bullnose cutter is shown with the ½ inch CMT Extension Arbour and beside it is a JAF bearing that has a nominal ½ hole in the centre. JAF only have a few bearings that have a ½ inch hole but I was very happy to find them as I had tried many ½ inch ID bearings to see if they would slip onto the ½ inch cutter shafts and others that I found never did, It seems that bearing manufactures have a +/- tolerance and the manufacturers never go “oversize” so if the tolerance of a particular bearing is less strict then that makes it undersize, or if the plus or minus is larger with a bearing manufacturer then it is always “undersize and never oversize” and being that, then they may be able to be pressed onto a ½ inch stub, but they will not slip onto a ½ inch router cutter freely or without being loose, I was told that Japanese Bearing Manufacturers were very exact and the +/ - variation was far less and I found that to be true, the JAF bearing will not be the only ones that will slip onto a router cutter shaft, but I stopped looking for any others when I found that they would slid on very snugly.

Photo 3 shows the extension arbour assembled with the bearing on the shaft of the 32mm bullnose cutter and photo 4 shows it mounted in the router table.

This cutter is the most dangerous cutter that I have and it will rip the hand off any careless user, it is very dangerous, it is so large that it will not pass through the hole in the router plate, so I fit it into the router from the top and I “fully lock off the plunge feature of the router” as it would be a total disaster if the router opened out, while the cutter was running, however with a bearing fitted between it and the extension arbour then the bearing lets me rest on that bearing as I run fully shaped, yet fully rounded over components and the jig that I use with this cutter is a whole story on its own, were I not able to fit the bearing this way then I would be restricted with this cutter and it would be worthless to me, I would not be able to use it on curved parts and I would only be able to use it with a fence and on straight parts, that is not what I bought it for as I use the Router Table as a Profile Shaper, I cut the item just a small amount over size on the bandsaw, then lock the item into the suitable jig and I let the cutter take away the small excess and finish it to size in one operation and that only leaves sanding.

Making a jig that has a built in “profile pattern” that will rest on a heavy bearing and then running the jig that holds the workpiece past the cutter, as the cutter brings an item to its finished size, and profile, is what a Profile Shaper does, it is advanced Jig making. It is an issue that the bearing and the cutters are not the same diameter, or 1 to 1, however they never normally are so the jig is made so that the pattern has to be offset or set back by whatever the difference is, that is that if the bearing is 32mm and the cutter cuts at 28mm then the jig has to be set back 4mm so that the finished size is correct. I do have several single and double bearing flush trim bits that are normally not larger than ½ inch and they have the bearing or twin bearings on the top of the cutter, the same as the small 4mm rounding over cutter in photo 1 but I do not like to lean onto and load up a bearing that is at the top of a high speed cutter that is also well up out of the Router Table and then also load up the shaft of the ½ inch cutter with the weight above the cutter, there is an issue with the cutter length ratio in regard to where the bearing is placed height wise and where the top of the cutter will cut so I have found that flush trim bits will only work some of the time. I normally sit the bearing hard up as there is normally a very nice lip that will stop the bearing creeping up however there have been times when I have needed the cutter to be higher so I have uses a ½ stop collar above the bearing as doing that lets me get the cutter higher.

There are some 19mm cutters that have a ¼ shaft and they also have the bearing between the shaft and the cutter but I have not seen any where the cutter length is also long enough for what I do, that is that even by lifting the cutter/bearing up a long way, up to the very underside of the workpiece, then the available cutting length is still not long enough and the Profile pattern is too close to the workpiece, and again, I do not like to load up a heavy 19mm cutter that has a ¼ shaft anyway, This will be more clear when I post the photos of the finished “Profile Copier” I did say before and will again, that this is very dangerous to have a large high speed cutter sticking up a long way out of the Router Table, I still have all my fingers because I am very careful.

Photo 5 shows the same arbour and bearing but this time with a 19mm straight double fluted Carbi-Tool cutter and photo 6 shows it mounted, this is the rig that I use for square edge profile cutting and I do also use other double fluted cutters including up to 30mm, this is not the cutter that I will use for the 12 sided Lathe Tools as I will need a longer one for that job, I will be able to sneak the profile pattern up and just under the new handle blanks but at this minute I think that I will need a working cutter length of over 60mm from the bearing to the top of the cutter.

I do have some solid tungsten spiral flute cutters that are sweet cutters and they have always cut very cleanly so I was happy to see that the JAF bearings will go onto them as well as they go onto the other ½ inch cutters that I have. This type of cutting puts a very big load onto the bearing but a big bearing like this can carry that load however I am still very careful to not load up the cutter with too much weight and to not over heat these bearings as a Router Table is not a Spindle Moulder, Spindle Moulder’s normally have a low speed race bearing that is not attached to the cutter head so they do not spin at Spindle or Router speed. This rig set up works very well, the CMT ½ inch extension arbour and the solid JAF bearing mounted onto the shaft of the cutter, but below the cutting, the extension arbour can lift the rig high enough to reach up to the workpiece height that I have to reach, and in regard to the new Tool Handles, then once that overall height is known then I will set the height of the Profile Pattern so the bearing will rest onto it or, the height of the cutter will be set by the needs of the new Rotating and indexed Profile Copier and then the Profile Pattern’s height will be set by the height of the bearing. Bearing onto pattern and cutter onto the new handles, that will all work fine and the last thing is that as the “Profile Pattern attached to the Router Copier” needs to be fully supported and resting on the “Bearing with the cutter”, all the time from “Before it touches the workpiece to after it leaves the workpiece” so then the profiler pattern needs to have “run-in and run-out portions built in”, that way the run-in part of the Profile Pattern can be moved up into contact with the bearing and then run in gently to contact the workpiece cleanly and that the bearing will stay in contact with the profile pattern until well after the cut is done and contact ceases, I will show photos of that.

The new box is being made so that the Profile Pattern can be changed for a different one, that different Profile Pattern may also be set at a different height, to suit whatever is being made, multi-sided Objects will get cut with the workpiece fixed via an indexing wheel with the required number of indexed stations and round objects can be copied one after another with the chuck rotating. I did see a U-tube Video of a bouncing Router Copier where the workpiece rotated and the Router was going up and down on what appeared to be a Hockey Strap type Spring, it is my opinion that that is not the way to make a Router Copier but me seeing that video was interesting, that device could make copies of Chair Legs or other Round Components however this new Router Copier of mine will work perfectly and be a lot safer, as always I have a lot to do and making this Jig is being done in my spare time so it will still be a bit of time before I can finish it. NGM
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