Looking to streamline production - new contraption

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Forum topic by Sandra posted 12-28-2015 10:50 PM 2736 views 1 time favorited 93 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2102 days

12-28-2015 10:50 PM

Original message is below….

Well shut the front door! While I’d like to give credit to whoever gave me the idea, I surfed so much youtube that I don’t know who to thank. I was trying to come up with a better way of oiling the clothes pin halves.
For the price of four casters and a HD bucket, I thought I’d try making a ‘parts tumbler’ of sorts. To my delight it worked like a charm.

First some pieces of pine to keep the pins tumbling. Attached through the outside of the bucket with screws

Then casters on a piece of ply

Then a bolt through the lid from the inside out, leaving the end of the bolt sticking out

Then filled the bucket about 1/2 full with clothespins. The ‘tumbling medium’ was three tampons (sorry gents) with the strings cut off soaked in mineral oil.

Then put the lid on, chucked the end of the bolt into the drill. Clamped the drill to the vise and then used another clamp to keep the drill running on low speed in reverse.

And about 6 minutes later – very lightly oiled pins.

  • I’ve now streamlined each step of production other than assembly.


Here’s what I’ve come up with

And here it is in action:

The frame is out of pine and 2×4s. I didn’t want to use hardwood until I worked out any problems with the design and saw whether it worked or not. The plates sit on rails and can move back and forth toward or away from the fence. There is a small gap between the fence and the plates to allow the sawdust to get through. I already know that I need the surface to the far right of the routers to be longer. Other than that I’m open to suggestions. It works well, but probably after this next clothespin season I’ll redo it into a proper cabinet.

I’m not sure whether I need a feather board or not…. Any thoughts?

I’ve been trying to come up with a way to streamline the production of my clothespins. I haven’t been able to keep up with the demand so I’m trying to get more efficient.

I make four passes with three different bits on my router table for each blank that gets turned into clothespins. (number of pins per blank depends on width). That means a lot of bit changes and adjusting.

So I’ve been thinking about getting a second hand router. Which led to thinking about a second table, which led to thinking about…. well you know how it goes.

So here’s the idea I need feedback on

WHAT IF, I built a router table with several routers (always lots on kijiji) . The fence would be fixed (as in not expensive), but the router plates (like these: ) would be placed at various distances from the fence according to which groove was being routed.

So could it be done in such a way that I could run the blank across several router bits, one after another? Because the blanks are a fixed length, I could us feather boards…..

What do you think? What problems can you think of?


-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

93 replies so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29395 posts in 2365 days

#1 posted 12-28-2015 10:58 PM

For mass production, multiple work stations are logical. I have multiple routers so I don’t have to change setup constantly.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2102 days

#2 posted 12-28-2015 11:06 PM

What do you think Monte, of having the routers next to each other on the SAME table running at the same time…? Is that doable or have I lost my mind?

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1479 days

#3 posted 12-28-2015 11:22 PM

Sounds like you need one of these with three power feeders:


-- Madmark -

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2102 days

#4 posted 12-28-2015 11:22 PM

Holy Tool fantasy – what is that??? Just found it. $4750 is a kinda out of my price range….

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View JackDuren's profile


388 posts in 986 days

#5 posted 12-28-2015 11:24 PM

Here’s one I made to save room. Maybe it will give some ideals you can use..

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2102 days

#6 posted 12-28-2015 11:26 PM

Jack – something like that would be ideal…off to check out your projects if it’s there.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3575 posts in 2278 days

#7 posted 12-28-2015 11:32 PM

Sandra—Looks like Jack has a really neat setup for production operations like you need. It also looks like he has three independent fences.

Nice setup, Jack.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View MadMark's profile


979 posts in 1479 days

#8 posted 12-28-2015 11:33 PM

Very nice triple router table! I see lifts and routers, what did that project set u back & how long did it take.

The griz is a triple SHAPER, not router.

Rule of thumb is that every time you add a ‘0’ (10x) to the production volume, you should be able to cut your production cost in half.

-- Madmark -

View patron's profile


13608 posts in 3368 days

#9 posted 12-28-2015 11:40 PM

get more routers sandra

and fences are simple

made this from scrap sheet goods
and toilet t bolts

after all that education
and riding around on a horse
with a flat brimmed hat
and a red jacket

you will be famous
for making clothespins !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Boxguy's profile


2685 posts in 2294 days

#10 posted 12-28-2015 11:48 PM

Sandra, I can’t follow what bits you are doing what cuts with. Would you just shove your stock down a line of routers and cut it consecutively or do you make a pass and then turn the stock for another pass?

If you are going down the line, just mount the routers that way.

Rather than make three router tables, how about three routers mounted on a circular piece that can be turned to bring the three routers to bear. I wouldn’t bother with mounting plates.

I hate changing router bits. I have 7 routers set up in my shop. Some of them are just screwed to the bottom of 3/4 inch plywood. You need to make one zero clearance hole for that particular bit and another partial hole for the chuck that holds the bit. If you have cut away room for the router chuck, the bit doesn’t need to stick too far out of the chuck. I recommend 1/2 inch shanks on your bits.

Ideal stock for surface.

Mount some of this under the edges of the circle to let it spin freely.

Of course you will need a bearing of some kind in the center of the circle to hold most of the weight of the routers.

You will also need some kind of pin to hold the routers at a fixed point after you turn them in a circle.

With a little imagination you can come up with a face plate for the fence that will slide back and forth, line up with the three shapes and give you zero clearance or near it for your various bits.

A set up like this must have a strong vacuum to clear away the chips or the chips will get in the way of the stock being cut.

-- Big Al in IN

View Boxguy's profile


2685 posts in 2294 days

#11 posted 12-28-2015 11:51 PM

Sandra, I just saw JackDuren’s design and like the simplicity of it, if you have room.

-- Big Al in IN

View 716's profile


502 posts in 943 days

#12 posted 12-29-2015 12:12 AM

Why a lot of bit changes ? Can’t you just process all blanks with one bit then switch to another bit and process all blanks again ? I only see three bit changes.

-- It's nice!

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#13 posted 12-29-2015 12:33 AM

Looking at your close pins under your projects .It seems having several routers may not be necessary especially after viewing your shop that seems pretty full,that makes the idea of have a router table 8’ long or even the triangular model as cool as it is,will take up too much room.
It looks like the clothes pins could be made with one or two small table saw sleds and one router table with just a couple set ups. Since you don’t like changing bits perhaps a better router table set up is in order with a lift to ease router bit changes. Usually in production type work you do one step at a time ,so if your making 200 clothes pins or whatever
you follow the logical method,perhaps drilling some holes before cutting them may be able to lay them out in such a way drilling the holes and sawing them with a small table saw sled will make more than one clothes pin at a time.
If you still think that having several routers will work best how about several very portable hanging router set ups ,
Like one of these that you can buy or make,the first one is from rockler,the rest are very simple,after you get the tuned in you can just screw a fence in place set were you want

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2717 days

#14 posted 12-29-2015 01:38 AM

I really like the hexagonal table design posted above both as a space saver and safer as the routers are separated “around the corner” from each other.

I never cease to be amazed at the resourcefullness of our fellow LJs !

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2102 days

#15 posted 12-29-2015 01:45 AM

Lots of great ideas.
I do one pass at a time, as many blanks as I have in that batch. Then I change bits and run them through again.
Im trying to cut down the number of times I handle the blanks but maybe that’s not possible.

I’ll post a picture of my TS sled for some of the grooves. Hate posting on my phone. Will add detAils

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

showing 1 through 15 of 93 replies

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