|Project by William||posted 05-11-2012 11:56 PM||3274 views||1 time favorited||39 comments|
I have wanted for some time now to make some wooden sign, starting with a sign for my shop.
I checked into the router template methods, like the Milescraft Sign Pro, but none of them offered letters that I felt were large enough for outside signs that are meant to be seen from the street.
I built a pantograph with the intention of making templates to create signs. The pantograph works great, but as I started trying to gather everything I needed to make the templates for them, I came to the realization that, holy crap, that’s a lot of templates if you want various letter size and styles.
So I sat down online doing some reading up on how other’s create these large signs successfully. For the most part, what I learned was that most people at least claimed to draw out their letters and route them freehand. I thought there was no way. Now, I at the time was thinking of my large Ridgid two horse router that I have felt numerous times what happens with that kind of size and power if you hit a knot or grain change while not using a guide or template. So I really couldn’t see how doing these sign freehand could work safely.
Then I decided to back up to square one and reconsider something that had not occured to me. The large two horse router is meant to have that kind of torque and power. However, the palm router that I’d gotten for the pantograph was meant to be used in your hands smoothly. Maybe it would run smoothly enough to do these signs by hand. What did I have to lose?
This is the router I used to cut the sign in the photos above. As long as you make sure to keep a grip on it at all times, it cuts plenty smoothly enough to cut freehand. The only issues I ran into was chip control. Before I got through the first letter I shut the router off, pointed a fan on me to keep some of the chips blowing away from me, and put on an apron and respirator. This little one horse palm router is capable of throwing some chips.
Here’s the bits I have tried so far.
The bottom one is a solid carbide eighth inch straight bit. It cuts the wood like a knife through hot butter, but gets clogged up pretty easy.
The top bit is an upward spiral bit. It cuts great, not as good as the carbide straight bit, but it keeps the chips flying up out of the cuts instead of clogging things up. Also I noticed the spiral bit does not burns as easy as the other one when stopping quickly to change directions.
I still want to experiment with some other bits, but for now, I think the upward spiral bit is the best I have for sign making.
If any of you have a palm router and have thought of making some signs. Draw out some letters and give it a try. It’s much easier than you may think it is.