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Pantograph vs moron

3059 Views 11 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  roofner
:crying: I feel like a total absolute moron.. I have a milecraft pantograph been trying for hours to make anything cut correctly.

I start the router, wait till it gets to full speed then lower it into the wood. It cuts about an inch then in I have to force it hard to get it to move which almost always results in a more shallow cut and a bent line. If I let it sit with light pressure it does nothing, I have to push hard. I get this on every board I have tried, new, old doesn't matter. It was slightly better on the new 1x3 but the lettering stencil doesn't seem to scale that small but even trying to freehand it didn't work.

If I adjust the depth on the router it burns or hardly makes a mark even with little half turns so it barely moves 1mm from where it was, if I adjust it on the corner sticks it either doesn't cut or cuts in two depths. I've tried it at a million depths adjusting all 3 points with different boards at different thicknesses... but I can not get it to make a single letter smoothly anymore.

I did one sign, in the modern script. I was moving the board over, using the start points. I did have to shove it a bit after the inch but it worked.. once.
Is my bit dead? Or am I just stupid? Its probably me, I feel utterly beyond stupid.:crying:
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I used a cheap pantograph fitted with a Hitachi TR-8 800 watt router, to make many signs particularly in hardwood - Ash. Never had a problem.

I used a single flute solid carbide 1/8" diameter bit from memory and it cuts like a knife though butter, the bigger the bit the harder it will be, some people use a V bit.

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Lana; LOTS of sign makers here...Phillip and others will sort this out for you! Sorry, I'm not a sign maker; can't really help, but yeh I'd be suspicious about the bit.
There are no stupid questions! There's a Hell of a lot to learn in woodworking, and routing in particular. It'd be great if we all had a private mentors but this forum may be as good as it's gonna get for most of us. I learn something new here every day...unfortunately they have to re-teach me after coffee breaks.
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I was looking for sign carving bits and I realized you hadn't mentioned what you've actually got in the collet, Lana.
Could you please give more info on your bit? Maybe even a picture of it? If you can either scan an image or take a picture, upload to your hardrive (Desktop) then slide it over into the green bordered field below your comment, that'' be excelent.
Interesting In just order a miles craft pantograph Pro . I'm interested in this thread. Just got the plywood to mount the pantograph to. Do you have Pro or copyier version.
Using the router on a pantograph should be no different than using it handheld as far as its ability to cut. Sounds like the bit. What brand, what type, what size, and is it new? Keep in mind if using a straight bit that not all are meant to plunge and that could be part of the problem. You have to be able to plunge the bit into the wood.
I don't plunge, or make signs. But way back when I was making small figure banks I would plow thru 1/2" plywood. Bit was a 1/4" shank, and 1/2" pattern bit, powered by an old Craftsman, either 1/3HP or 1/4HP or 1/2HP, somewhere in that range. Don't recall, but not much compared to what most here have.

Went thru with no problem, did go slow, and if it seemed it was starting to have a hard time of it, would stop for a second, then start again, slower than before.

Going by that, I would say your bit. And like was said, a picture would help, also the brand, style of bit, and whatever.
From Lana's description it sounded like it went in OK but wouldn't advance horizontally without some serious pushing, to the point of not being able to accurately follow the design(?).
too big a bite and a dull bit...
Maybe she was trying to cut it thru completely.
Part of the problem could be trying to climb cut instead of feeding the bit into the cut. I don't see where it would just stall and not cut but it could make it harder to cut and cause jumping or be hard to control.

It would help if we had pictures of the bit and the cuts that were made in the wood. One other thought would be if the Arms of the pantograph are binding and causing the hard to operate problems.
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I received my pantograph could not assemble bolts would not go in. . The one bolt jammed and would not go on or back off sent back sending another.
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