Safety First - Router Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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This is a project I am working on currently. It is to track two different numbers, and hold a card at the top. The red oak is a more 'finished' top layer. The Poplar pieces are example of a what it will become at the end. I cut both pieces with a handheld jigsaw, but wasn't really pleased with the final product, and it also took a toll from my hand. I took a while to cut them out, and would like to be able to mass produce these parts a bit easier.

My questions are about safety, and also about practical skills.

First, what is the safest amount to remove from a piece in regards to the opening? Its about 1/4" remaining once I cut the hole, and I don't want to send something flying that could hurt me. Could I potentially set up a few guards and cut those pieces?

Second, if it is safe enough to do it, what would be the best way to set up a template or anything like that to be able to effectively cut through these quickly?

Thanks in advance!
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 04:23 PM
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Hey, Bob; welcome!
I'm surprised your jigsaw didn't just zip through those like butter. Perhaps too fine a blade? A router will require multiple passes to cut all the way through. Personally, I'd cut out the holes, leaving maybe an 1/8"+ waste, then clean up the cuts with a straight bit and a template. Your router has a plunge base?
Don't even think about doing this without working out a secure clamping arrangement...obviously the work will have to be raised above the bench as both your jigsaw and router bits will be coming thorough the bottom of the work-piece.
Since all the pieces are the same size, how about building a frame of 2x4 on the flat, with a rebate on the inner edge that will allow the work-piece to just drop in...maybe 5/8"x 5/8" ? If the front piece extends out both sides, you could just clamp those tails down, assuming the frame is screwed together.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 05:33 PM
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Sorry, I can't figure out what you are attempting to do. If it is to cut out an opening, that can be done by cutting away the waste with a jig saw leaving about 1/8th inch. Then use a template on top of the work piece that is the actual finished size. Run a flush trim bit around the inside of the template opening, and you should end up with the opening you want, except for four round corners.

Making square inside corners is hard to do unless you plan to use a chisel to complete the job.

Mass produced, huh? Good luck.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 06:17 PM
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Sandwich 2 or 3 pieces together depending on their thickness (most jigsaws have a 1 stroke) using double backed tape. drill a hole at each corner inside the line. Clamp it down securely and cut. I would cot the far end piece 1st then the sides finishing with the cut closest to the main mass. If you want to mass produce buy a CNC.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 06:46 PM
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Welcome to the forum Bob.

Ross,
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia


Enjoy the knowledge of others that can be found within.

‘Members are requested to add a first name in their profile as we are a very friendly bunch here'.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkTenor View Post
First post

This is a project I am working on currently. It is to track two different numbers, and hold a card at the top. The red oak is a more 'finished' top layer. The Poplar pieces are example of a what it will become at the end. I cut both pieces with a handheld jigsaw, but wasn't really pleased with the final product, and it also took a toll from my hand. I took a while to cut them out, and would like to be able to mass produce these parts a bit easier.

My questions are about safety, and also about practical skills.

First, what is the safest amount to remove from a piece in regards to the opening? Its about 1/4" remaining once I cut the hole, and I don't want to send something flying that could hurt me. Could I potentially set up a few guards and cut those pieces?

Second, if it is safe enough to do it, what would be the best way to set up a template or anything like that to be able to effectively cut through these quickly?

Thanks in advance!

Bob I agree with others, it would be nice to have more information on what you are trying to do. Like what is the end result. I can tell you that the picture with the red oak the narrow piece on the left side is very weak because of the way the grain is going.

Don in Murfreesboro,Tn.

Measure once cut twice and it's still to short.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-19-2018, 10:16 PM
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The guys hav pretty much nailed it. If you're going to square up the corners, you will need a seriously sharp chisel. You are definitely going to have to be careful about grain orientation on the big opening. Whichever way you orient the grain, you'll have two connections that will be weak and prone to breaking. You might even want to reinforce the weak corners with dowels. Or you could glue a backer to the piece, or make a thicker "frame." My 14 cents worth on the matter.

The more I do, the less I accomplish.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 01:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the welcomes everyone!

I'm sorry about jumping in. I know I tend to just assume everyone knows what I'm doing/talking about at first glance which is pretty much never the case.

More complete project description:

I play a card game Magic the Gathering. Specifically the format EDH. You don't need to know anything about it other than one card becomes special, and is set aside. Typically, most people put it into a top loader. A top loader is a 3" x 4" hard plastic case, about 1/8" thick. Thats the important bit. The two dials in the center keep track of my life total in the game (1-100) and the bottom dial keeps track of how many times I used my card (1-8).

Google "toploader tcg", top result is an amazon link and is what I am talking about. Can't post links yet.
The top loader isn't exactly square, and, the opening can be bigger (so I don't have to chisel square edges). My preference would be to just cut the opening a little bigger with the router bit so that the top loader fits without me having to do anything with a chisel. Seems like it would be a cleaner looking finish as well.

The final product is three layers.

The bottom layer is just the full size, with holes drilled out for putting screws in for the dials to rotate on. Currently I'm just using machine screws that are 3/8" long and 1/4" wide (size of center hole in the dial).

The second layer is a backer for the top layer, and bottom corners. I just cut 1" x 1.5" pieces for the corners so the dials have plenty of space. The dials I cut using a circular hole cutting bit (can't post links yet, Kobalt 13-Piece Bi-Metal Hole Saw Kit at lowes looks pretty close)

The last piece is the top picture from above. The last piece is what I'd like to "optimize" production of. I intend to make a few of these as gifts, so if I made one, I'd like to make 4 or 5 at the same time. Thats more what I mean by mass produced. It took me a lot longer than the others, and also is what will be seen most, so I'd like to get a much cleaner feel. My thought was to setup a sliding fence with a couple of stops so I could just lay the piece in, run it back and forth and then repeat for the others I intend to make at that time. Then once those are cut, setup the next phase etc...

I'm starting with 5.5" hobby wood from lowes, and cutting it down to the 3.5" that I need, so I'm not very limited when it comes to extra room to work with. The way I did the above piece was to cut it to width, then cut the holes from the center, and then using a chop saw cut it to length. My thought from all of the suggestions would be to outline my piece in the center of my board. Cut the holes for the center, and then use the table saw/chop saw to bring it down to final size. Basically use an extra inch around the outsides for stability while I cut from the center.

This is where I get into concerns of safety etc. I don't know what the strength of most woods are, and even more scary, the stupid things I am doing that I don't even know. I took a class for beginning woodworking, and took away a lot of things from it, like don't stand where the board can be thrown, pay attention to the grain and the direction/type of blade. Just like the idea of running it by someone else and they say something a lot better than getting called Frodo of the Nine Fingers.

Attaching a picture of a more completed prototype.

Thanks again for the welcome and the feedback
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 03-21-2018, 03:39 PM
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Bob - that explanation helps us see what you want to do. In your description you indicate you have a table saw and a chop saw. What type/size of router do you have? Is it fixed base or plunge, how big? Is it in a router table or is it hand-held?

You'll need a couple of things - a pattern router bit - that's got a bearing that is closest to the router when installed, with the sharp end of the bit away from the router.

For the process, I would make a template out of 1/4" or 1/2" material, like mdf with the openings that are the size of the finished openings in your final product. Cut out the openings in the template and clean up the edges with whatever means you have - a file or sandpaper - doesn't matter if the corners aren't radiused. Make the size of the openings in the template to accommodate the toploader box and the size required where the numbers are displayed. Make this template longer than you need so that you can attach it to your work piece.

For the work piece(s), I would keep the hobby board as long as you can.

In the work piece, cut out the holes, but don't cut the holes to final dimension - leave about 1/8 to 1/4 inch

Attach the template to the hobby board - if you leave enough room on the hobby board you can tack the template to it, or use some hot melt glue.

Routing - the template sits on top of the hobby board - the bit goes into the hole you cut out but make sure the bearing is able to ride along the inside edge of the template. You'll also need to leave room below the hobby board as the bit will/should be a little longer than the depth of your cut. Of course, everything must be clamped down so it doesn't move on you - that's dangerous. Route in a clockwise direction around the inside of the template to clean up the 1/8 or 1/4" that you left behind. The corners will be rounded but that won't matter.

When you've completed one board, move your template down the length of the board and repeat the process. Do this as many times as required.

When you're done, you can rip the hobby board to the correct width, then cross cut each of the pieces you need.

Hope that makes sense.

This is what a pattern bit looks like and how you would use it with a template:

For
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2018, 09:57 AM Thread Starter
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Finally getting around to posting again.

Project turned out pretty nice. I have some more improvements to make before I give this to anyone as a gift, but still, turned a lot of heads.

I ended up using the template as my guide. It REALLY helped. During my final touches, I ended up breaking the top layer, and was able to route a new piece, trim it down and attach it again in under an hour. Really saved the project from just being a headache. I also was able to alter the prototype pretty easily and re-route my piece to have final proportions. I cannot stress enough how thankful I am for the suggestion.

Here are some of the 'in progress' and final pic.
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