A DIFFERENT ROUTER LATHE or “A ROUTER STANDARDIZER”
Before I show the new one, then I wanted to show the old one. I never really thought about this original “Rotating and Indexed Box” that I made some years ago, as being a “Router Lathe” but it is one. When I made it then I am not sure that I even had heard that term and this older box is definitely not a “Router Copier”, but it could be called a “Router Standardizer”, when I made this one then I needed to be able to rotate a table column over, and along, a fixed router cutter, so that the Leg Boss area on some three legged tables that I make, were all “uniform in size, and that all of the columns would be the same diameter, and also be parallel with the center line of the column, where they needed to be. Because the tables have three legs then I needed to then be able to machine three flat areas that were 120 degrees from each other and around the leg boss area for the three legs to attach to, so I had to be able to index the rotation with a x3 indexing wheel, (actually I made a x9 and I just had to remember which three slots out of the 9 were the ones that I was using, I refuse to say if I ever got that wrong), then, when all the flat areas were done, I had to then do a deep mortise in the middle of the three flat areas for the leg tennons. I also had to square, and parallel, and slot, some other parts of the table column to a standard size.
This old box can do all of that so it is in fact, a simple Router Lathe, and also a Wood Milling Machine, I use it on a Router table and trapped tight between two router table fences and as the fences were made far longer than the box, and they had sides that are twice as high as the sides on the box, then I could lower the box very accurately in the tight environment of the two fences onto any Router Cutter, and I could also fix stoppers at both ends so that the forward and backwards movement inside the two fences, was restricted to the work area only, that gave me the ability to do accurate flat areas, mortises, (once the set up was done then I could do all three indexed mortises on an individual column in about five minutes, so as I made columns 30 at a time then the box let me do all the mortises in about an hour and a half), and I did slots as well, and all on a round object, and the box being trapped, made it so that no area on the column, that I did not want to machine, would be inadvertently machined.
Although I never did this, as I use this box “over a router cutter”, but there is no reason why I could not make a sled that would be attached to the base of one of my Routers, that also has two runners attached to the underside of that sled so that the two runners would effectively trap the sled from any side to side movement and with the cutter centered over the central line, if such a sled was made then the router on the sled could then run along the top of the box and do anything that you wanted to do to any workpiece held rigidly inside the box, stops could be set up just as easy by fixing a pair of stop blocks to anywhere on the side of the box so even though I used it “over the cutter”, I can see no reason why a router could not do all the work I do, but “sitting on top of the box”. This box is a very effective and simple “Router Lathe” and perfect as “A simple Router Standardizer”.
This box was easy to make and I still use it and if anyone wanted to make one like it, or one similar to it, then I would say this “you will never get a cheaper or more effective Router Lathe than this is and I am sure that many Cabinetmakers have made similar devices, some indexed and some not”. I have not had to repair it and it has done this work on many many table columns, however it did have issues, you can see the indexing wheel behind the head chuck and to change it required the box to be stripped down so my new one will have the Indexing wheel on the outside, the box could not do all the work I later thought about doing but as it does what I designed it to do, and it could do many other things if I asked it to do them, as a jig it meets the required standard for a jig, but I could never see how I could do any spiral flutes with it and due to the fact that some areas of the Table Columns were turned by hand on my wood lathe, then I could not do straight flutes either. The rotation was done by hand via the small knob outside the headstock end and I could not see a simple way where I could power the rotation without a major remake, so turning the workpiece by hand meant that I had to control the box with the other hand and as the head and footstock shafts are not on bearings then the hand rotation does work, but is not that smooth, I could not fit longer items into this box and the “part change over” took far too long, although I used all care to make the pronged head and foot chucks and I made sure that I put the columns back into the same pins each time, but there were still small alignment issues with these handmade stocks and the tail stock is less than what I wanted it to be.
That said, I have never damaged a single item using it due to its design so I never had to throw one out, (if I ever did get a flat area out of place by choosing the wrong index slot then that could have been easily fixed, and the column could have been saved, and then I could have put masking tape over the slots that I was not using so it would not happen again). In the beginning then if I had of actually understood how good an idea this really was then I would have designed and made it a lot better, but it did teach me a lot about this problem. It would not be that hard to make one with bearings and a better headstock, one that was longer and had a sliding tailstock, one that had a height adjustable tailstock would also be nice but that is what I am doing with the new box.
The new Rotating and Indexed Box will do all the work that I want it to do including all the things that this older Jig is used to do, but it will also not do spiral flutes, The new one will be a better Router Lathe and better Wood Milling Machine than this one has ever been and it will also be an “Indexed Profile Copier, or Rotating Profile Copier”, when this one is not, but the new one will cost much more than this did to make but, it is still very likely that I will keep and use this box for the Table Columns that it was designed to be used with.
I did have the design for the new box fully worked out when I realized this.
“Without changing the design in any way then it will be a Rotating Profile Router Copier”. NGM
Last edited by neville9999; 12-02-2012 at 11:33 AM.
Reason: simple editing