Router Table Setup Question from WoodCentral
The question from the original poster in this discussion was about making cuts on a router table easily repeatable – if there's another cut you have to make in the meanwhile. – Editor
"[I was asked] if I had a trick way of making a router table setup repeatable. Is there a way to cut part of a set of doors, change the setup and then go back to the first setup without a lot of fiddling?" – Barry I.
Reuse a piece from the first setup, said some. - Editor
"I keep the final test setup pieces for each thickness, with a label, and use those to help repeating a setup." – Kneale B.
"I usually try to organize things so I make all the similar cuts at once, then move on to the next setup -- kind of [stinks] to have to go back and get it just so. However, one of the already milled parts, or a piece with a test cut, can serve as a gauge block. There aren't really any tricks to it that I know of." – John
"I use a profile block from the original set up, and adjust to it with my Mast-R-Lift™. Quick and accurate." – George
Or, use two pieces. - Editor
"Make two pieces. Use one, save one for setup. Only way." – Del S.
Or two routers. - Editor
"I have two routers. One mounted in a lift, the other mounted in a plate. Of course that only solves half the problem, since I still have fence adjustments to worry about." – William D.
Reactions to a Position-Correcting Router from WoodWeb
When the woodworkers over at the WoodWeb.com CNC forum heard of an Massachusetts Institute of Technology [MIT] PhD student's invention of a handheld digital router, they had a variety of reactions.
First, what's the invention? According to MIT, the router invented by Alec Rivers follows a pre-loaded digital plan by automatically positioning the cutting bit when the end user places the tool on the material within a quarter-inch of the intended cut line. The user has previously loaded the digital plan onto the system, along with a digital "map" of the material created by moving the router across the workpiece and filming it with an onboard camera.
And now, what do some of today's CNC [computer numerically controlled] woodworkers think about it? – Editor
"Neat invention but really? He couldn't build picture frames and struggled to get parts to fit together? I don't know about anyone else here, but none of what I know was easy or took little time to master. I made years of mistakes and learned a lot on the job with other talented and patient people that helped me before I got the skills and knowledge I have today. I get CNC routers, I have one, I've personally built a few, but I don't get this. The point of a CNC router is absolute precision and production efficiency, especially in a commercial shop. " – Jim
Someone else thought there was nothing new under the sun … - Editor
"Optical positioning has been around for quite a while, mainly used in signwriting for cutting around printed designs." – "Splinter"
But at least a couple of woodworkers were favorably intrigued. – Editor
"Perhaps some are looking to keep people locked into the current CNC model. On one hand, we have a panel router that can cut a straight dado. This is a vast improvement over a pin router or templating with a straightedge. Then we have a big CNC that does the same thing and costs much more.
"I personally like the idea of taking a router out of a box, loading some programs and being able to flawlessly cut dovetails, dadoes, etc. from dxf file. This is just a prototype and would need a few more sensors for positioning on larger boards, but it’s a start. Maybe this will never see the light of day due to other advancements in materials and processes. Then again, a router out of a box that is handheld that never burns an edge, can cut 3D shapes and carve, and process cabinet parts as accurately as a big CNC for $200.00 might just be something this industry can use." – Dave
"I think this is pretty clever, especially if it could be accurately applied to large scale (room size) profile cuts down to machining tiny items." – O.G.
What do YOU think? Does a handheld CNC hold any appeal to you? Or is it something you'd never use in a million years? Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in next issue's Feedback section. - Editor