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Router Sled/table/slider Thingy


dh7892
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First, a bit of background:

Due to accommodation constraints, I can only do any guitar building outside or on a bench I've rigged up in the spare bedroom . For this reason, I don't want to use any fine dust making power tools (in particular my router) inside. When I'm outside, I only have a workmate to work on so it's not exactly a large, flat, stable surface. Because of this, I'm thinking about making a kind of router platform that would use a reasonably large (i.e. big enough to get a guitar neck or body on) MDF base and then fit parallel sliding rails on each side with cross rails joining them at right angles and the router mounted in the middle. This would give me a kind of router sled/table thingy where the router base would be held parallel to the MDF base and the movement of the router constrained in the x-y plane (with z controlled by the plunging action). This way I would be able to set the parts in position with any jigs required whilst I was indoors and the only have to move outside (into the unreliable British weather) to do the actual cutting. It would be a bit like a CNC 3-axis routing machine but without the CNC part!

I was thinking about trying to use drawer sliders for the rails with some MDF under the cross members to provide the necessary rigidity.

I've had a good Google to try to find any examples where people have done something similar but drew a blank.

Any of you lot seen/tried this? Suggestions, advice and comments most welcome.

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First, a bit of background:

Due to accommodation constraints, I can only do any guitar building outside or on a bench I've rigged up in the spare bedroom . For this reason, I don't want to use any fine dust making power tools (in particular my router) inside. When I'm outside, I only have a workmate to work on so it's not exactly a large, flat, stable surface. Because of this, I'm thinking about making a kind of router platform that would use a reasonably large (i.e. big enough to get a guitar neck or body on) MDF base and then fit parallel sliding rails on each side with cross rails joining them at right angles and the router mounted in the middle. This would give me a kind of router sled/table thingy where the router base would be held parallel to the MDF base and the movement of the router constrained in the x-y plane (with z controlled by the plunging action). This way I would be able to set the parts in position with any jigs required whilst I was indoors and the only have to move outside (into the unreliable British weather) to do the actual cutting. It would be a bit like a CNC 3-axis routing machine but without the CNC part!

I was thinking about trying to use drawer sliders for the rails with some MDF under the cross members to provide the necessary rigidity.

I've had a good Google to try to find any examples where people have done something similar but drew a blank.

Any of you lot seen/tried this? Suggestions, advice and comments most welcome.

I think you are going to find limitations to using drawer sliders, as they will not provide you with the kind of smooth accurate slide you are thinking of.

A couple suggestions. One look at a simpler lower tech approch that would provide accuracy, lower costs, and simplicity- Use Miter slot guide bars. They will not be super smooth, but accurate and reasonably smooth if you build well. Two look to linear bearings and guide rails. This is going to provide smooth operation and accuracy, but will be more expensive. Frankly, T-slot and miter bars, along with the wide variety of clamps and attachments you can get for this platform. Make them very appealing for average hobbiest level production.

Peace,Rich

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I was worried that the drawer sliders wouldn't be up to it. I had a look at linear sliders/bearings (mostly from CNC companies) and they are a lot more expensive like you said. I too though about miter slots and it may well be that that's what I end up doing.

I was kinda hoping I would end up with something where I could move the router around pretty easily. A bit like using it free-hand but without the worry of it tipping on the edge of the workpiece and with the ability to use it like a ski setup for surfacing and thicknessing wood.

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I made my own CNC machine. You can try skate bearings and aluminum angle with steel rod to acheive a similar concept. Check out crankorgan.com website. John Kleinbauer sells cnc plans on the cheap, but he doesn't sell out of the US. They are very good and well worth the cash. Even if you didn't put stepper motors on the machine, it would still move the way you desire.

Check out the CNCzone. com for free plans too.

Better than the skate bearing method, but more costly would be linear bearings on rod. Check out vxb.com for linear bearings and you'll see what I mean. VXB also sells skate bearings if you go that rout. Marty

Edited by MartyM
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Thanks for that. I think I'd decided already that I'd go with a sliding type arrangement rather than actual bearsings so these ideas give me plenty of food for thought.

I thought that someone was bound to have do this kind of thing already.

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