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Making Router Templates

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Forum topic by Absinthe posted 02-20-2012 03:21 PM 4897 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Absinthe

84 posts in 1994 days


02-20-2012 03:21 PM

Topic tags/keywords: router jig template

I have designed a router template in a graphics package. It is a mult-cut template in that it must be used multiple times to create the final product and thus uses an indexing pin in relation to one of the cuts. My concern is that this makes the accuracy of the original template of tantamount importance.

While I am typing this I think I may have come up with a better indexing scheme that will be easier to implement and won’t require such OCD perfection of the original cut.

However, forgetting that, how does one most accurately create a router template from something like hardboard, masonite, MDF, or plywood?

I assume I will rough cut out the internal void with coping saw, rotozip or jigsaw, leaving the lines plus some in place. Then I assume there is some degree of sanding, filing, dremeling etc.. that brings things into perfection, just leaving only the lines left, with smooth flowing lines throughout. Granted I can send the graphics out to be laser cut or CNC routed and so forth, but that defeats the purpose of doing it myself :)

So I guess the question is “What is the perfect tool/technique combination for making a very accurate router template that is not all straight lines (Or any straight lines for that matter)?”

-- Absinthe


10 replies so far

View chrisstef's profile

chrisstef

15665 posts in 2469 days


#1 posted 02-20-2012 03:27 PM

i think cutting it outside of the line and sanding away at it until you reach “perfection” is the way to go. Sneak up on it .. ninja style.

-- rock, chalk, jayhawk

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dannelson

181 posts in 1834 days


#2 posted 02-20-2012 03:34 PM

have one template cut on a cnc , and than copy using a flush bearing bit. we do this for alot of guys and we dont get rich doing it . the main cost is cleaning up the drawings provided, so make sure that if you go this rout that your cnc,er can use the drawing format provided. It cant be more than $30 without materials to get it right the first time.

-- nelson woodcrafters

View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2432 days


#3 posted 02-20-2012 03:48 PM

I use Adobe Illustrator to draw all my templates. I print off page tiles with registration marks for alignment (depending on your printer, you may have to ‘dispro’ the drawing to get it to print off at exactly the right size – for instance, a scalloped curved 915mm prints out at 912mm, so enlarge the curve 100.329% (915/912×100).
Then spraymount the pages down, align to reg marks, cut with jigsaw on line using a blade for curves and clean up by sanding/planing etc.

For your project could you not create multiple templates using the offsets in your graphics package and use a common registration point – say 6mm dowels that you fix to the work piece in a waste area?

View TurtlePondWoodWorks's profile

TurtlePondWoodWorks

2 posts in 1750 days


#4 posted 02-20-2012 04:43 PM

I use templates quite often and have an ever growing collection in my shop. I have experimented with many different materials and methods of making my templates. That being said I have decided that 1/4 plywood is best for my needs as the material.

As for method whether from a freehand drawing or sketchup print out I always start from a paper pattern. I transfer to the plywood and like the others said sneak up on the final template, BUT with on variation…...

I almost always makes TWO templates… essentially the first “template” will have some imperfections from the final shaping and sanding usually varying angles of the template edge. I will take this initial template and use it to cut the final template on the router table. If I do not do this the angles left on the original can produce inconsistent results based on the height of the bit each time I use it.

Another good reason for making multiple templates is when your desired result is a symmetrical piece… In this instance I make my initial template just slightly larger or wideras it is than half the piece, cut the second template to this point, flip mirror image and complete the final template.

As for attaching the work piece for me there is no better method than discreetly and sparingly placed brad nails throught the template into the piece.

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2735 posts in 2039 days


#5 posted 02-20-2012 06:03 PM

I make two templates for each one to be used; first an mdf template since its easy to sand and shape, then I use that one to make a baltic birch permanent template. I always use double sided tape to hold my templates in place while I rout.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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Absinthe

84 posts in 1994 days


#6 posted 02-20-2012 06:06 PM

Thanks for all the quick replies. It is, however, the “sneaking up” process and tools that I am asking about. Spindle sander, drum in drill press, sandpaper by hand, file, rasp… and so forth.

What do you use most and/or with easiest accuracy?

I like the idea of making 2 to get one, but I also like the whole CNC or laser cutting, though I have not used one of the services that offers them so I have no idea where to start with that.

-- Absinthe

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TurtlePondWoodWorks

2 posts in 1750 days


#7 posted 02-20-2012 06:36 PM

I have a very small shop space so no drum sander for me.. On occasion I have used my belt sander clamped to the saw fence to help with the rounded scroll tgype shapes. However this method is more like running than sneaking and I make my final assault by hand. No files or rasp for me.

Just a reminder/thought… The making a template to make a template idea I shared is essential if you require a template of any great thickness.

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Absinthe

84 posts in 1994 days


#8 posted 02-20-2012 08:35 PM

I think it would be sufficient at 1/4” .

Here it is in PDF form:

http://ripguides.com/Jigs/Print%20HeartJig.pdf

I got the idea from a picture someone posted of a set of OPE templates for 12” wheels, but I was told they no longer sold such a product, and besides it was for 12” and I want at least 20”.

Feel free to use this template for any purpose other than selling the actual pattern.

-- Absinthe

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Absinthe

84 posts in 1994 days


#9 posted 02-23-2012 12:00 PM

Ok, so I am a big baby. I redid the designs for all three shapes and sent them out to Ponoko for laser cutting in acrylic. So now, instead of a template that I will have to position several times, I will be able to position it once and cut out all the voids at once. And, if I really want to, I can simply copy it onto hardboard or whatever and work from that. I will let you all know how it works out.

-- Absinthe

View NiteWalker's profile

NiteWalker

2735 posts in 2039 days


#10 posted 02-24-2012 05:08 AM

For sneaking up on the line, hand sanding. MDF shapes very easily so it goes quick.

-- He who dies with the most tools... dies with the emptiest wallet.

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