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Discussion Starter #1
So I have a quick question, and I didnt know exactly which thread to post under. I plasma cut metal signs that are approximately 24-30" large. Stuff like a Harley Davidson logo or Raiders sign. I would like to route out a pocket in wood for the sign to lay in, approx 1/8" deep. Obviously a router has a smaller base than a 24" raiders sign. So how would I do this? Can you bolt on a larger base? I can cut out a negative to use as a guide. (I havent bought a router yet... but I was looking at the dewalt compact router) I dont plan on making but just a handful of these.... so I dont need an expensive router than Im only going to use a few times. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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If you only need a few...buy em from someone who can whip them out on a CNC to your exact measurements. Then all you have to do is what you do best and finish them.

But.....if this will lead to more, then you may have to rethink this. As much as I like playing with wood, I can buy glued up wood panels cheaper than I can make them. And being a one man shop, it saves a lot of time. When Menards or sometimes Lowes has a sale, I'm there to pick the cream at first and to buy (at a further discount) what's been picked over after they've been sitting there a while.
 
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What John said. But what first popped up in my mind was possible copyright infringement.
 

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Welcome Shawn. It's hard to find solid wood that wide and it wouldn't be stable if you could find it. The most stable backing would be plywood. Then you could add a wooden rim around it to give the off set height you want. If you used a panel of glued up boards you could use a sled to rout the recess but it would be slow. Solid wood, including glued panels, change dimension with changes in humidity. If the panel shrinks too much it could cause the steel to bow or the steel could cause the edges of the panel to split.
 

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Welcome, Shawn. How about an alternative approach? Have you considered just making a wooden frame and rabbeting the edges to accommodate the metal sign? You could miter the corners and make a thin plywood back for a more finished appearance. (This assumes, of course, that the metal signs are square or rectangular.)
 

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Shawn Chuck posted while I was drawing up a picture for you. Get the router and a slot cutter, make parts for a frame, route a slot for a plywood panel so there will be a 1/8" lip, assemble your frame and panel, then install the sign.
 

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Doug
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I think you could hybridize the process. Glue up a panel out of 1/8 inch stock, use a router inlay template kit, and cut all the way through, or you could just trace around and guide the router by hand if you are bold.. Mount that onto a nice plywood substrate and frame or edge band with solid wood.

You could even veneer a thin piece of ply and use that instead.

Needless to say, I can't wait to see the results
 

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Welcome to the forum Shawn.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the help, but I wasn't quite clear in my question. So I downloaded Sketchup and modeled a quick example. The wood thickness that I will be working with will be at minimum 1" thick. Up to 3.5" thick. Only the portion routed out will be 1/8" deep as my metal work is cut out of 16GA steel (1/16" thick)... and I will most likely have 2 layers. The idea is to have the top of the sign even or slightly below the top of the wood. I will then pour an epoxy over the top...sealing everything in. Think of a bar top with a sign in it.

I have access to a plasma table at work. This is where I cut my metal for signs for friends and such. When I can afford the one I want for my house, I will get one that will be able to convert to a wood CNC and back. Until then, I just want to play around with this idea.

I could take this to someone else to do for me... but that's no fun. I want to buy a smaller, cheaper router... as every time I buy something bigger or more expensive, I realize it's not for me and it sits on a shelf. (Ask my wife about my DJ maschine). LOL.

I plan on probably buying the wood from Lowes or Home Depot the first couple times... but I may see if a buddy can hook me up with some butcher block style pieces.

I'm using a Harley Davidson logo as an example because I know a friend wants one and it's complicated enough to get the idea across. Most of my signs are one off originals for friends and family. I don't have a website or anything. When I do, I will be doing original pieces. But if someone wants a Raiders sign or a Seahawks sign...(which some of my friends have asked me to make)... why not. LOL. Most of time, I trade for a good bottle of whisky. :)

Anywhoo... If anyone has an idea of what I would use for the router or any links to pictures, websites, products, videos, etc... that would be awesome. Every time I type in "routing large portions or areas"... I get either how to route out a big circle or how to use a router to plane a board. Not what I'm looking for.
 

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Shawn

You should use a plunge router that will allow you to plunge to the depth you need. In addition, you should attach a base to your router that is large enough to span the width/length of your work piece so that the router is supported and prevented from dropping into the channel, regardless of where you are on the work piece. Essentially, your base plate will always ride on the portion of the work piece that is not being routed.

Here's a link to a video - take what this guy has done, but extend the base appropriately to your needs.

 

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Could you use the plasma cutter to make a template ? Just go around the inside of this template with a router bit that has the bearing by the shank and follow the jig . Once you've cut out the perimeter, then route out the rest starting from the middle ?
I really think this would be best on a cnc router table , but I think my idea would work
 

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You could use a set like this, Inlay Sets - Lee Valley Tools to follow a template to cut around the outside of the pocket then use a larger bit and large base to clear out the center of the pocket. Or just use a large base and bit and free hand the pocket and clean up with small bit or chisel.
 
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