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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

Quick question about router sled designs. I have made a few different ones to see what works best, but some things have recently thrown the proverbial spanner in the works...

...my wife and I decided to leave Canada and have permanently moved to the USA (Medford, Wisconsin). During the move, some of the jigs got damaged and so I am once again getting reorganized. I have recently purchased the Milwaukee 5616-24 kit after debating for weeks about whether to go with a DeWalt 618 PK or Bosch 1617 EVS or Bosch MRC23EVS. This purchase was aimed at having a dedicated variable speed plunge router for my sled. But in the end, I went with the Milwaukee 5616-24, knowing full well that there is not much info available on them, compared at least to the Bosch or DeWalt lines. I have also bought and installed a JessEm MastR Lift II with a PC 75182 in it. The purpose behind this preamble is to let you know that I have some experience with routing, but not much. Being a hobbyist, it is hard to find time with work and family. And not knowing the best course of action about a project can be time consuming.

Anyhow, back to the question about the sled - my first sled has a PC6902 bolted to a sheet of MDF and I would push and pull the whole sled left/right and back/forth. Nowe I debating if it is a better idea to have the sled be stationery and instead cut a groove thru the sled and slide the router on it. I have seen both, but not sure which one is more effective and what the pros/cons for each are.

I also hope that the Milwaukee 5616-24 arrives soon so I can put it on the router sled. Seems like a good router, but not sure my decision was good or bad.

Thanks.
 

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Here is a pdf showing how I make router skis. In use, the router is positioned then locked in place and the skis are operated by the ski ends. This gives a great deal of mechanical advantage and can be used for many tasks that would be difficult, if not impossible to do by other means.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Harry, thanks for sharing, mate. Since I dont yet have the Milwaukee router in hand, I dont know if your ski setup can be an option for me. It seems like in your case, you have the holes that metal rods can go through parallel to the router's wider side. I will have to see how it is on the Milwaukee. Besides, it is also an important thing to note that the router has to be not too heavy and the rods need to be very strong, so as to not cause them to sag under the router's weight. What metal are these skis made of, Harry?

From your post, I gather that you prefer to move the whole setup (skis) left/right, instead of the router itself, thereby removing the need to carve out a hole in a piece of plywood/mdf or any other material. It seems like a good idea as it also ensures visibility under the router while it is flattening wood. Right now, I have my PC6902 bolted to the underside of a spare aluminum throat plate (came out of my router table), and I simply slide that throat plate left and right on an MDF sled. But I am seriously reconsidering this setup as it has robbed me of a little over 1 inch of cut depth - the base plate plus the throat plate plus 1/2 inch MDF. Not sure what the solution is - maybe get rid of the throat plate, but then it gives tremendous stability in sliding the router on the sled. Oh what to do....

The biggest challenge for me is to brace the piece of wood that I am planing. I dont like the idea of using and reusing glue or screws to secure it. Right now, I am using wedges, and then I bring in the two rails closer to lock the wood in place from the sides. My rails are not fixed on the flat surface. I secure them where I want them with clamps on both ends.
 

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Every router that I've come across in the 45 years that I've been using routers have holes for a side fence. Makita routers have 12mm holes and my ski rods are 17.5" long with zero sag, but if the assembly were to be operated by the router handles pressure would no doubt cause some slight sag. I know of several members who have made identical skis using 10mm rods without sag. My rods are bright mild steel. As shown in the shot showing planing, I use a sacrificial table and pin a piece of scrap on each side. Many members have made their own versions of the skis. I'll attach a pdf showing how to thread the rods for those without a metal lathe. Please don't hesitate to ask further questions, no question is considered stupid.
 

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Harry,
Thanks for the pdf on the sled. Good idea and explanation. Do you have a PDF on the road, or link to a thread that shows that process?
I'm not sure what you mean by "on the road". Please explain and I shall do my best to help you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you so much, Harry...your ideas helped a lot. I have made my sled, but rather than using skis, I have used aluminum rods reinforcing an MDF board. At the same time, I have fixed my new Milwaukee router in the dead center of the sled, with a Magnate 2706 bottom cleaning bit.

I do have a couple of questions about this, since I am very new to it:

1. What direction should I run the router in? Is it better to plane along the long side (face - like we rip), or across the grain?

2. Can I plane on both strokes (left and right, or forward/backwad)? I know when edge routing you go left to right and on the inside you go clockwise, but this is neither, or is it?

3. Other than using hot glue or double-sided tape, both of which I find to be not the best things as they both leave unwanted mess in their wake, what is a more effective way to secure the stock in its place? What I have been doing is that I use my rails to squeeze the stock in place after leveling it with shims. Seems to work, as there is nothing left afterwards on my flat table to remove.

Thanks,

Munib
 

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You can only properly cut in one direction with a sled. trying cut on both ways will give chip and tear out.
I use an mdf board with the router bolted to it.
I cut from top right (furthest away) to bottom right, then slide the sled to the right on the way back up and start again.

I use hot melt glue and it is far superior to any double sided tape i have found.

A hint though with the glue; Dont get it too hot. Get the wood ready, and wait while the gun heats up, testing it untill the glue just starts to squeeze out. Then glue a couple inches on each side of the piece. Once the routing is done, a wallpaper stripper inserted underneath a corner will lift the piece, and then I can roll the dried glue off with my fingers. If you let the glue get very hot and runny, then it sticks much harder to the wood and is a pig to clean off.

You should only be taking very thin slices off the wood, any more than a 1/16" will rip the wood away from the glue and throw it at you.
 

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Thank you so much, Harry...your ideas helped a lot. I have made my sled, but rather than using skis, I have used aluminum rods reinforcing an MDF board. At the same time, I have fixed my new Milwaukee router in the dead center of the sled, with a Magnate 2706 bottom cleaning bit.

I do have a couple of questions about this, since I am very new to it:

1. What direction should I run the router in? Is it better to plane along the long side (face - like we rip), or across the grain?

2. Can I plane on both strokes (left and right, or forward/backwad)? I know when edge routing you go left to right and on the inside you go clockwise, but this is neither, or is it?

3. Other than using hot glue or double-sided tape, both of which I find to be not the best things as they both leave unwanted mess in their wake, what is a more effective way to secure the stock in its place? What I have been doing is that I use my rails to squeeze the stock in place after leveling it with shims. Seems to work, as there is nothing left afterwards on my flat table to remove.

Thanks,

Munib
The beauty of skis like mine is that you can move in ANY direction, left, right, diagonal and in circles, but a bowl cutting bit works best. As shown, using a sacrificial board on top of the bench I pin a piece of scrap along each side which completely prevents movement. Fig 27a in the second pdf shows the work-piece held with four pieces of scrap.
 

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Router sled?

The term router sled brings to mind the router cut infant snow sleds I made when our kids were small. I built half dozen or more of these and gave to all my sisters for their infant to 3 year old kids.

The sled consisted of two side panels , a front, a back, and a bottom, all cut from 3/4 melamine board. I band sawed out a template for the side panels, shaped sort of like a santa claus sled. I sanded smooth all the curves on my home made oscillating spindle sander, then used it with a router and ball bearing flush cutting bit to cut out 12 each side panels. I used the router with a slotting cutter to cut a slot for a 3/4 wide plastic "T" mould edge band, which I installed to create a very smooth and slippery runner and finished edges for all the exposed edges.

The bottom and ends were cut on the table saw and the whole thing was just screwed together. I drilled some holes in the front end for a rope to pull the sled with. The thing worked great and people saved them and handed them down through several generations.

I no longer have the plans so you'll have to use your imagination for the shape of the side panels, or if someone really needs one I can try to recreate plans.

The overall length of the side panels was about 3 to 3-1/2 feet long. The bottom panel was about 14 inches wide by 20 inches long, with the ends cut at an angle to create a sloping foot rest and back rest when the front and back panels were screwed on. The height of the side panels was about 12 inches in the back portion and about 8 inches in front. The sloping back rest was about 14 wide by 11 inches and the sloping foot rest was about 14 by 6 with all edges cut square and screwed to the bottom panel and extending down to or just past the bottom surface of the bottom panel. Leaving 3 to 4 inches clearance under the bottom, the basket shaped assembly was screwed in between the side panels. A few coats of varnish or paint applied to the raw particle board edges before "T" mould installation helps keep out moisture.

I'm just guessing at the dimensions, so you should verify that a small child bundled up in snow suit and perhaps wrapped in a blanket will fit comfortably in the cockpit with no danger of falling out.

This sled is quite heavy which makes it stable and the plastic runners make it so easy to pull in the snow that you'll never notice the weight. Hook a dog up to it if you have one.

Art Schmitt
 
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