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"router lathe"

Yes, I have a Craftsman Rputer-Lathe from the 1980's that I use to make spindles (and half spindles) with spirals and other decorative patterns. What is it that you wish to know about this fixture/machine?
I have previously posted photos of a six drawer sewing spool cabinet that I made for my wife that has decorative half spindles with a spiral pattern. I will try to add one photo to this post.
Rick
It seems that I am not able to post photo into this thread.
 

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I want to modify my router lathe so that I can add a template or item to copy, at the exact distance that the router is from the pivot point
 

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Hentie, I have an old Vermont American model that I have not used in about 30 years, after I got a lathe. I used to do twists and open spirals on it. From what I remember, one could use a template, but the template follower is at the front of the router carriage.
I don’t see how it could be otherwise. If the follower were in the midline, where would you place the template? The workpiece is in the midline.

If you are worried that the workpiece diameter will be smaller than that of the template, because of the “pantograph” effect of having the follower at the front, you can compensate by adjusting the bit height, or by increasing the template diameter, but the calculation involved in doing so, is beyond me. Trial and error, in my ignorance.

I do remember having some dissatisfaction with the bit not being perpendicular to the workpiece throughout its travel, because the carriage pivots on the rear rail, and the tip of the bit therefore travels through an arc. This was only a major problem when cutting open spirals - the spirals landed up having a “rhomboid” cross-section. For surface decoration (e.g. diamonds cut with a twist and reverse twist) it was not that noticeable.
I had had a vague notion of making a parallelogram-based carriage to try and keep the bit travel perpendicular to the workpiece axis, but the model I have is very basic, with a fixed ratio of turn to travel, so probably not worth it.
 

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What model Router-Crafter do you own?

Larry,
You have not said what make/model of "Router Crafter" you own. Is it a Craftsman or its English brother? If so, the operator manual details how to mount a linear template across the front base of the fixture/machine. By linear template, I mean the a profile template of the desired shape of cross-section if a plane were cut through the centerline of the work piece.
Rick
I am trying again to upload a photo of the spiral half spindles on the spool cabinet that I made for my wife.
 

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Biagio, My router lathe is one of the newer tork craft ones, it doesnt have a place to mount templates, except I can put a screw in to turn cylinders(that will run on one of the rails). I have downloaded the manuals for the original craftsman router lathe, and I completely understand regarding the pantograph effect. Because the following pin is saw twice the distance, the high spots needs to be twice the distance you want it to be. In addition, you cannot mount an existing item (table leg, baseball bat, etc) and you have to create a template for everything.

Now - think outside the box. Think see-saw. if you extend the router carriage to the other side and put the pin/follower at the exact distance your router bit is from the hinge, and your pin will ride at the bottom of the Template or existing item

it doesn't even need to be straight, as long as it is fixed. top left is what the first thinking is, but if the router gets in the way, you can do it like the picture below. on the right is where and how - it doesn't have to be a plate. it just needs to be sturdy

Does the picture make sense?

Hentie, I have an old Vermont American model that I have not used in about 30 years, after I got a lathe. I used to do twists and open spirals on it. From what I remember, one could use a template, but the template follower is at the front of the router carriage.
I don’t see how it could be otherwise. If the follower were in the midline, where would you place the template? The workpiece is in the midline.

If you are worried that the workpiece diameter will be smaller than that of the template, because of the “pantograph” effect of having the follower at the front, you can compensate by adjusting the bit height, or by increasing the template diameter, but the calculation involved in doing so, is beyond me. Trial and error, in my ignorance.

I do remember having some dissatisfaction with the bit not being perpendicular to the workpiece throughout its travel, because the carriage pivots on the rear rail, and the tip of the bit therefore travels through an arc. This was only a major problem when cutting open spirals - the spirals landed up having a “rhomboid” cross-section. For surface decoration (e.g. diamonds cut with a twist and reverse twist) it was not that noticeable.
I had had a vague notion of making a parallelogram-based carriage to try and keep the bit travel perpendicular to the workpiece axis, but the model I have is very basic, with a fixed ratio of turn to travel, so probably not worth it.
 

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Hentie,
Makes sense, although it may be a bit tricky to adjust bit height with the follower under the template; will have to think about it.
An alternative would be to replace the existing (on the front of carriage) follower with a longer one, possibly bent so that the tip it is at the same level as the bit. There will still be some pantograph effect, but perhaps less so, and it will allow you to mount an existing turned object to use as the template. You will need to make a cradle to mount the template/existing object.

Incidentally, templates are not that hard to make, but with all the sanding and smoothing, only worth it if you are planning on making a number of identical objects. My Elektra Beckham lathe has a special holder to hold Masonite templates, for use with a copying chisel. Even came with a few Perspex templates, but I prefer free-hand.

Larry, attached are some photos of a standard lamp I made 30 years ago. It has developed a lean over the years, so ignore that. It was really a sampler, with a bunch of unpracticed mistakes. The close-ups show a “pineapple” surface treatment, with a number of irregularities, some caused by me, some by a loose cable connection, and some by the tool path of the bit. The last is more apparent on the spirals of the three-start segment, where one side of each spiral is not identical to the other side. The fluting and coves are fine.
Incidentally, the wood is iroko, before I knew about its toxic properties. Fortunately, at that time I was forced to work outdoors, and wear a surgical mask, so hopefully no harm done. But great wood to work with.

Rick, beautiful work. Which bit did you use for the ropework ?
 

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I'm like Tom, no call to use one. Look on line and there are free plans, and videos, on making and using one. Don't think any will do spirals, but never looked either.

I hadn't looked at any plans, builds, in a long, long, time. So did now. And found some that will cut spirals. If you want a router lathe, you might be well advised to see what is on line in the way of free plans to make one.
 

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There is a plan to make quite a sophisticated one, using bicycle gears and chain, in Bill Hylton’s Book, Router Magic (published by American Woodworker, before you guys let it die). But one would have to want to do quite a bit of spiral work to make it worth the effort, in my opinion.
I had planned to make the spindles for an internal staircase using the router lathe, but then found that imported ones in Scandinavian pine, were available at an affordable price. I still plan to make some barley twist columns, probably split.
 

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Two of the things I like about the Router lathe in Bill Hylton's book, is the ability to turn really long pieces of wood, and the ability to use bicycle gears to change the pitch of the spiral.

a shortcoming of most of the router lathes is that you mostly cannot take an existing item. and use it as a template. let us say an existing table leg. (I don't have a lathe anymore, and I never had a duplicator)

I would just about give a left nut for a ornamental lathe. but I will also really appreciate the opportunity to see one in person, fondle it, ask questions, etc (not just watch youtube vids with envy)

to me the next natural succession would be to combine some rails, linear bearings, stepper motors, big leadscrews and whatever else is required to make a cnc lathe. I am seriously thinking about doing this.

But for now I am studying, trying to up my skills. I am currently busy with a Microsoft Certification in Data Science - that should finish in a month or two. Maybe after that some more Business intelligence, Artificial intelligence (just a few more modules required) . Then will look at devops and business analyst training, and whatever seems in demand to make myself more marketable.
 

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Biagio..........I have a Craftsman model gathering dust in my garage. Sometimes I think I'd like to make legs for a dedicated chess table incorporating the "hollow" spiral you show in your first picture. But I haven't because I don't know how much vertical stress they could take. Any ideas?
 

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Spiral spindles

Biagio,
I used a 1/4" beading bit with a point from Sears/Craftsman to cut the spiral.

These columns are half spindles. I cut the hard maple square block down the middle and glued the two halves together with newspaper in the seam, and also put bolts through each end to assure that there was no separation while cutting, and when finished I split the two pieces with a single blow of a sharp chisel.
Rick
 
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