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Making an overhead router sled/jig

27530 Views 12 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  harry21030
Not sure what to call it, but after making a couple decent good router tables, I thought I'd try something different. I got a Bosch Colt palm router, and I really like it for small work. And I've always like working with the router on top instead of under the table. Great visibility & freedom, etc. So... I thought I'd rig up something with rails. Not built yet, but the ideas are something like this:

- a 2'x4' surface to handle 48" x 18" or so
- a pair of small t-rails (a) running along the 4' lengths
- larger rails (b) that slide along the t-rails above, lockable with knobs
- a pair of small t-rails (c) mounted to the above sliders, that run perpendicular to the first set
- a pair of larger rails (d) that slide along this second set of t-rails, again with knobs that can lock their travel
- a router plate (e) mounted to these rails, tying the two together
- So far, then, the plate can move left/right and fwd/back unless locked down, and the workpiece rests on the 2'x4' surface
- straight edges to be mounted lengthwise (since exposed surfaces (b) move)

Note: small rails above fit perfectly inside the larger rails with no slack.
Several problems exist with this design, including:

- there is no mitering, only 0 or 90 degree routing (I have bigger problems!)
(ps: with all knobs loose, this rig could move diagonally in theory)
- there is no way to raise/lower the work piece, nor the router plate
- since the rails are all aluminum, stability/precision may be a problem

I can beef it up by sinking some of the rails into wood. And/or gluing or welding rails (b and c) together, but I'm not sure locking at 90 degrees is a great idea. But the biggest issue is that there's no way to adjust the height of the router or work piece.

Short of a set of chain-driven cranks, I haven't thought of a way to address the height/depth issue. Any thoughts welcome. Anyone tried anything like this? Thanks.......

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1 - 1 of 13 Posts
Randy, there are plans for building overhead or overarm routers. Some of these are also called pin routers. You will also find plans or at least postings about home built CNC routers. The question is: How much production work are you planning on doing to require a router of this type? If this is just a project to see if you can build it, you can. Professional sign shops use CNC routers. ($$$) The same mechanisims are used for CNC Plasma torch cutting tables. The router or plasma head are attached to an acme screw that is powered up or down by servo motors. Why not leave the X,Y & Z stuff to those who really need it and keep it simple and fun?

PS: If you want to build something really useful for your palm router see Shopnotes Vol. 15, Issue 90 (on sale at news stands now) for the article on the 3-in-1 portable multi-tool. This allows you to use your palm router as a router table, mortiser or edge jointer.
1 - 1 of 13 Posts
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