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Robbinst

Drawer Slide Router Jig

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Hey every one I wanted to show you a router guide I made up that I think is pretty neat. I have seen other people make this guide with types of wood that slide along each other but it seems to me that there would be some dragging that would prevent really smooth operation. This build is not practical for every one, it only cost me 13 dollers in nuts and bolts to make because my grandpa (a cabinet builder) had some extra 18" drawer tracks that he was nice enough to let me use. I believe these slides can be near 10-15 dollars from some stores, but if you can come across them for cheap or in an old dresser it may be worth it to give this guide a try.

supplies

-4 18" or longer drawer tracks

-4 1/2in by 6in bolts

-12 1/2in bolts

-8 1/2in washers

-2 1/2"x 21" support wood

-1 1/2" to 3/4" thick base large enough to hold rails (approx 22"x22" at least)

-6 small wood screws

-4 machine screws cut to about 1/4in( this will vary depending on the amount of room in the track and the size of the holes in the tracks.)

-4 nuts for the machine screws

I started with a base that was slightly longer and wider then then tracks

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Next I cut wood supports to mount the outer rails to.

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Next I drilled holes in the 4 corners of the support wood for the height adjustment bolts. Its important to make the set of holes at the end of the tracks that extends off center so that they can extend without running into the height bolts. consider making these holes bigger then the height bolts to allow room to angle the rails for neck pocket cutting

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I then mounted the outer rails to there supports using 3 wood screws each. you can see that about 1/3 of the rail hands off to avoid running into the height bolt when extended. I also took this time to mark out where the height bolts would go on the base board.

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the height bolts are then put into place.

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each bolt receives two nuts followed by a washer which will be used to raise or lower the tracks

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next I put the tracks on to the height bolts. when mounting the tracks to one another take your time and check your measurements, you will need to cut the machine bolts to size and if you have cut the bolts to long they will hit other parts of the track and cause it to bind up, if you cut them to short you will have a hard time threading them into the nuts. look at the rails and plan your method ahead of time. also a drop of thread locker on each bolt is a good idea.

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i chose to epoxy the rails together in addition to the bolts to make it nice and sturdy and prevent any loosening of the nuts and bolts. just be careful to keep the adhesive out of the bearings and other moving parts.

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the final thing to do is to make a router base out of plexiglass that can be mounted on the rails. School has prevented me from getting to this step so far. I tested it out by taping a medium size router to the top rails and it worked nicely.

heres some pros and cons to consider before making this tool.

Pros/uses- extremely smooth operation, metal wont warp over time like wood, can be used for thicknessing, can be angled to cut neck pockets, can be use for initial carve top routing, binding channel routing(flat top), and I'm sure it can be used for many other things.

cons- rails can be expensive depending on the source, size should be considered for smaller work shops, bolting rails can be tricky and or frustrating.

Well I think that's every thing. If you have any questions or if something is not as clear as it could be please don't hesitate to ask. I hope this can be useful to a few of you. Take care.

-Tyler

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I got around to making the router base to attach to the tracks

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I used it to get a 1.75" body blank down to 1.50" and it only took about 45mins of taking shallow cuts. Into some problems though. as DTN pointed out, the dusk in the bearings made the movements significantly less smooth. I'm going to use some graphite on the bearing and see if that helps. I'm also going to be using a router with a vacuum attachment next time to minimize the amount of dust flying around. the other problem was that my base was not thick enough and was did not remain perfectly flat witch lead to different cutting depths in different areas. I will step up the base to 3/4" plywood next and see if that fixes it. I also welded the tracks together for extra strength.

Over all this thing did what it needed to and saved me hours of belt sanding and planing. Hopefully I can fix the problems and get better results next time.

-Tyler

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are the rails stiff enough to hold the router without any bowing?

mine is made simply from L-sections of steel. It needs a wipe with oil before use, gets a bit squeaky if i forget. it works fine.

i do wonder if the drawer rails are adding unneeded complexity to a simple idea, but if you can come up with a way to keep dust out and are sure they dont bow then its a bloody good idea

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are the rails stiff enough to hold the router without any bowing?

I would turn the rails through 90 degrees (ie stand then on their long edge). This will make everything stiffer all round.

I built a routing jig for bindings using similar rails and found them much more rigid in that orientation.

Keith

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Very cool sled idea. When I first saw this thread I was thinking more about the play in the guides and the potential flexing and hadn't considered the dust getting into the bearings. In the last pic you posted it looks as though there were remnants of both problems in the form of multiple intermittent burn marks where the router stopped and sat for a period of time. I'm guessing that was caused by the bearings getting gummed up? Using a vacuum will probably help somewhat but wont alleviate the problem completely.

It also looks as though you might be getting some flex judging by the stripes left on the wood. Hard to tell from the pics though. I'd take some calipers and measure several different spots and see if its all consistent.

The 3/4" thicker base will help stabilize this somewhat but probably wont do much for the bearing slide flex. Oh and remember that if you use lubrication you run a risk of it contaminating your wood and causing

potential finishing problems down the line. I'm sure the risk is minimal but still something to consider. I agree with Wez that the drawer rails might be adding unneeded complexity to a simple idea. I made one using 3/16th thick aluminum angle iron and teflon PTFE tape and there is no flex and it slides like its on bearings.

Keep posting as I'm really curious to see how this develops.

Edited by sdshirtman

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I agree, its a little unnecessary but I had the tracks laying around and it didn't cost me much($15 all together)so I thought it might be worth a shot. Oh well it may be a lost cause but I will try to address the problems and if all else fails Ill just make a simpler one.

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The main problem I see is the tracks getting full of dust and the ball bearings seizing up.

The drawer I keep my router bits in has the same tracks, and the dust from my pin router, which is right next to it has done this to them.

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We'll guys its been awhile since I made this but I thought I should fill you in on what happened with this jig. The bearings became clogged very quickly which hindered the movement of the rails and the whole point of this thing was to have very smooth operation while cutting. So any way I decided to admit defeat and put together a slightly simpler jig. Here is what I ended up with

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I used a piece of 3/4" Corian I had in the shop to ensure a flat base and attached it using hinges on one side to allow for angled cuts

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I used plexi and angled iron things to make a sled for the router to ride on.

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I could not just screw the plexi to the rails because the screw head would be sticking out and stop the sled when the screw collided with the fence. I cut pieces of wood to fit around the router and screwed the plexi to those in spots where the head of the screw would line up with the holes in the rails but not protrude to the other side. I then screwed the wood to the rails from the side rather then the bottom so there is nothing to stop the sleds range of motion.

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While this is not as fancy as my drawer slide jig it works a lot better and was a lot simpler to make. I have thicknessed 2 bodies and cut a few pup cavities with it so far and it works great.

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Sometimes simple is better. The only thing on the second design that would worry me is the flex you would get on those metal slides. Was it an issue on the two pieces you already did?

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I didn't have serious issues with flexing. While the surface was not perfectly smooth it was taken down and made dead flat with my plane in about 30 seconds so that's nothing really to complain about. I am considering welding an "x" bracing on both sides of the router base that extend to the end of the rails, or putting smaller pieces of the "L" iron across them in a ladder formation to strengthen it. I'm not sure which might offer more rigidness though.

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Sometimes its best to follow the K-I-S-S rule (keep it simple, stupid) :D I need to remind myself of that every now and then.

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