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