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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Problem with Engraved Wooden Sign.

Hello everyone,

I normally use my old Craftsman fixed base router to engrave wooden signs with my letter template kit. I got tired of tilt plunging the router into the wood so I decided to use my Bosch 1617evs plunge base router to do the engraving to see how easy it would be. When I finished I noticed what was happening to the letters. I started getting deep circle marks in the letters. I even plunged the bit just a hair deeper to level everything out and didn't push down on the handle while unlocking the plunge base to lift it up which I thought was the problem and I still got the same results. Then I plunged the bit just a 1/32nd of an inch deeper again and lifted the whole router out of the template kit and still the same results. My question is: Is it better to use the fixed base or plunge base? Maybe I should go back to my old way just to make engraved wooden signs. What do you think? The bit that I'm using is a 3/8" straight bit. The way that I did it before came out really nice after sanding everything out. But now, it's a whole other ball game. Hmmm.... :confused:

Boricua
 

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Are the marks from the bit at the location that you plunged it in? My first guess would be that the force of plunging the bit in is also flexing the lettering kit. I don't know how the lettering kit is made but some seem to have bars that hold the letters and if these are not supported then they would flex as you push down then as you start moving the pressure lets up and you are left with the marks.

I would pick one of the letters and shim the kit near the letter and go another 1/32 deeper and see if it clears up. Also a bit that has a round nose wouldn't show the problem as much.


The last issue is one that some people miss when picking bits for plunge operations. By looking at the marks it looks like you have a bit that is not designed for plunge cutting. You should get a bit designed to do plunge work, either a spiral or a plunging straight bit. The bit you are using does not have a cutting edge on the bottom and only marginally works for what you are doing.

Ed
 

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I think Reible nailed it. You need a bit designed for plunging. Woodworkers Supply carries some, they have a carbide spur on the bottom just for that. Another is a bottoming bit used for routing out the bottom of dados with. Insure you also aren't pushing down with additional pressure in certain areas while routing.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Reible, yes I believe so, that the marks from the bit is where I plunge the bit in. Your explanation of what is going wrong makes a lot of sense. Thanks guys, I will work on this when I get a chance and keep you updated. Attached is a picture of the lettering kit that I'm using. Later... :)

Boricua
 

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Borica, is this the same bit you used in the Craftsman or a different bit? I believe Ed is right. When you tilted in, you cut all the way across your letter. It looks like you are using an end mill bit for cutting metal.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dr.Zook said:
Borica, is this the same bit you used in the Craftsman or a different bit? I believe Ed is right. When you tilted in, you cut all the way across your letter. It looks like you are using an end mill bit for cutting metal.
Dr. Zook, it's the same bit used in the Craftsman. The Craftsman that I have is not a plunge base though. Also it's a much lighter router than the Bosch I have. I found out the bit is actually a 3/8" straight bit made for dado cuts not plunge cutting. I guess I learned from my mistake. :eek: I attached a picture of the bit I used. Thanks again guys. Later...

Boricua :)
 

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All the sign making kits seem to be identical with the exception that the Craftsman kit is shorter than the ones marketed by Rockler and Lee Valley. I noticed that the plastic bushings on my Craftsman kit got a "trim" the first time I used it. I was considering using my 1617 with metal bushings and the plunge base so I would like to know if other than the swirl cut problem you were happy with the operation? I have only used round nosed cutters for the signs I have made, and the results are pretty good.

Ed, you are right about the flexing problem with the bars, but when using round nosed bits the minor amount of flex doesnt seem to show.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #8
aniceone2hold said:
All the sign making kits seem to be identical with the exception that the Craftsman kit is shorter than the ones marketed by Rockler and Lee Valley. I noticed that the plastic bushings on my Craftsman kit got a "trim" the first time I used it. I was considering using my 1617 with metal bushings and the plunge base so I would like to know if other than the swirl cut problem you were happy with the operation? I have only used round nosed cutters for the signs I have made, and the results are pretty good.

Ed, you are right about the flexing problem with the bars, but when using round nosed bits the minor amount of flex doesnt seem to show.

Mike
Mike, I was wondering what did you mean when you said your plastic bushings on your Craftsman kit got a "trim" the first time you used it. Do you mean your cutting bit took a nice chunk off of it while routing? Just curious... The bushings I use for the Bosch are the brass ones sold on Oak-Park. I heard brass bushings are better to use because they don't loosen up like the silver metal ones do since it is a softer metal. And yes, I am happy with the operation. :) :) :) It works very nice not having to tilt plunge that a router. You need to use a bigger base plate for the plunge base router though, since the baseplate for the 1617 plunge base is not wide enough. I have used round nose cutters before but some of the people that I make the signs for like the flat bottom instead of the round nose. Later...

Boricua :cool:
 

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sign making kits

where are you guys getting these sign making kits? In the kits do they have very drawn out instructions and know how for dummies? I am VERY new to routing and am interested in doing these signs but is this more for experienced routers or is it just fine for rookies such as myself?

shawn
 

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Boricua, the plastic guide bushings came with the Craftsman sign kit. They fit my Craftsman router, and yes, the bit trimmed the inside of the guide bushing a bit. Maybe too much side pressure from me? Someone else mentioned the plastic guide bushings being in the Lee Valley kit, and equally useful. This is why I was thinking of using my Bosch 1617 plunge with good collars.
Shawn, Sears sells the kit for about $20. Rockler is about $40 and Lee Valley charges $55? Far as I can tell the Rockler and Lee Valley Tools sets are identical. The Craftsman kit is too, except the guide bars are shorter. Craftsman lets you align 8 pieces of letters, numbers, etc while the others hold 12. The instructions are clear. The jig is easy to use. If you live near a Rockler or Woodcraft store you could ask for a demo of the set up and use.
PS It really helps to list a State/Province & Country in your profile. This way people can try to give specific answers to your location. Our forum members are world wide.

Mike
 

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boricua.................

i looked at the lettering kit that you are using,,,,,,,,are there are styles of fonts that come with these kits or is it only one style of font?

reds_21
 

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Discussion Starter #12
reds_21 said:
boricua.................

i looked at the lettering kit that you are using,,,,,,,,are there are styles of fonts that come with these kits or is it only one style of font?

reds_21

reds_21,

No, there is only one style of fonts that comes with the kit. I really wish there was more than one so I can go all out and do some nice signs with different fonts. It's just so much easier following templates than doing that freehand work. Some people are pretty skilled doing that freehand work. There are other ways to make different style fonts though. There's jigs in the market that are pretty pricey. Anyway, take care. Later...

Boricua :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
aniceone2hold said:
Boricua, the plastic guide bushings came with the Craftsman sign kit. They fit my Craftsman router, and yes, the bit trimmed the inside of the guide bushing a bit. Maybe too much side pressure from me? Someone else mentioned the plastic guide bushings being in the Lee Valley kit, and equally useful. This is why I was thinking of using my Bosch 1617 plunge with good collars.
Mike
Mike,

I'm doing the same thing. I'm using the brass guides with my sign kit instead of using the plastic ones. I also have the Craftsman sign kit and won't use the plastic ones because they won't fit my Bosch plunge router of course so I decided to purchase the brass ones from Oak Park. They come in very handy.

Boricua :cool:
 
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