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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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Default hexagon dowel rods

Recently a customer has requested that I make 3/8"hexagon (six-sided) dowel
rods. The rods must be perfect - no sloppy, wavy or uneven sides. He is
willing to pay a premium for a first class product. These rods are to be made
from Maple or possibly a machinable plastic. They would have to be solid
dowels; not hollow tubes.
I thought about using a router and birdsmouth bits. I can't seem to decide whether that would be better than ripping the material on the table saw. I've
never tackled something this small and don't know how to determine what is safe or how to approach setting up.
Could someone please provide me some advice? ,
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 02:25 PM
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James,

How long they supposed to be?

You could build an indexing jig and use a router in a 'ski' arrangement (lots of instructions on that availabe on the forum) or you could use a router table indexing jig similar to the one in Wood Magazines router table turning seminar that they had online eons ago.
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Last edited by kp91; 04-02-2010 at 02:48 PM.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 02:44 PM
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Hi James

Welcome to the forum.

You really need an engineering indexing head although you can use the watchmaker's dodge of mounting a collet chuck on a suitably large piece of hex bar. I've one on 4"AF hex bar and one on 3" square that are surprisingly good for quick indexing. You'd also need a tailstock to support the other end. You didn't say how long these need to be.

People like ENCO do cheap index spinners that take 5C collets as well as a variation on what I described above. Enco - Guaranteed Lowest Prices on Machinery, Measuring Tools, Cutting Tools and Shop Supplies

However, as your client doesn't seem too fussy as to material, why not simply buy 3/8" hex steel or brass from any engineering merchant ? It would be far cheaper than making your own. In any case, trying to machine a 3/8" hex on an inherently unstable material like wood would be a nightmare. You'd need very well seasoned and very carefully chosen wood to avoid warping.

Cheers

Peter
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 04:38 PM
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Welcome James to the forum

Sorry I cant help but I'm sure others will provide some good info

Nicolas
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 07:14 PM
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Hello James. Welcome to the RouterForums. Glad you found us.




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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-02-2010, 07:27 PM
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Hi James

It a off the shelf item in plastic and Alum., The one company that comes to mind is KeyStone tubing for one of many I'm sure or
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Material Fluoropolymers
Fluoropolymer Material Virgin Electrical Grade TeflonŽ PTFE
Backing Plain Back
Finish Smooth
Shape Hexagonal Bars
Length Cut-to-Length
Maximum Continuous Length 6'
Opaque White
Lowest Temperature -399° to -300° F
Highest Temperature +401° to +500° F
Operating Temperature Range -350° to +500° F
Performance Characteristic Electrical Insulator and Weather Resistant and Very Low Friction
Tolerance Standard
Specifications Met 3A Sanitary Standards (3A) Compliant and Aerospace Material Specifications (AMS) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Compliant and Underwriters Laboratories (UL)
AMS Specification AMS 3656
UL Rating UL 94V0
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==========
Quote:
Originally Posted by James Armstrong View Post
Recently a customer has requested that I make 3/8"hexagon (six-sided) dowel
rods. The rods must be perfect - no sloppy, wavy or uneven sides. He is
willing to pay a premium for a first class product. These rods are to be made
from Maple or possibly a machinable plastic. They would have to be solid
dowels; not hollow tubes.
I thought about using a router and birdsmouth bits. I can't seem to decide whether that would be better than ripping the material on the table saw. I've
never tackled something this small and don't know how to determine what is safe or how to approach setting up.
Could someone please provide me some advice? ,



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Last edited by bobj3; 04-02-2010 at 07:39 PM.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-03-2010, 09:25 AM
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I agree with the above posts, attempting to make 3/8" hex dowels is courting disaster. I know that hobbyists like to do everything themselves, but the secret is to know when it's best to buy and not feel inadequate!

Harry



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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 03:22 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry for the delayed response but we took a long Easter weekend / short vacation. I want to thank all who responded to my question. I got some very helpful info from you guys. I really like the router jig idea from Wood Magazine. Since these rods need to be only 12" long this approach sounds feasible. I have searched the net and found some plastic rods. I've thought about making them with a polymer using a hex tubing. However, so far I haven't been able to locate any 3/8" tubing to use as a mold. May have to make the mold out of wood.
Thanks again for the warm welcome and great advice.

James
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-06-2010, 06:39 AM
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How about chucking the dowels into a drill chuck, any 3 jaw chuck should work, then setting 2 indexing pins that would drop into the gap between the jaws, 1 @ 0* and 1 @ 60*. You set it up so that as you spin the chuck one of the pins will always fall into the gap and lock it in place. That will allow for your even rotation, the chuck is never under power, just used to hold one end of the dowel and to locate your stops. The other end could be supported by drilling a hole in a block of wood and sliding the dowel into that hole. Then you could use a sliding brace to support one side of the length of dowel while you run a straight bit down the other side with your router. As you turn the dowel and hit the flat spot you move your sliding brace into position to contact the dowel again. Set your router on skis and let that guide your router for a straight run, or build a track that doesn't allow the base shoe any side to side movement, only lengthwise movement.

I am interested to hear what the rest of you think of this idea, it sounds straight forward to me but if you think its stupid, please say so, but also please explain why.


Thanks,
Jack
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