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Old June 8th, 2013, 11:17 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Dremel Pantograph for Inlay Work

Well, I have to shout out a big thanks to Bentley, who posted a video a few days ago, forgot on which thread, but it was from Matthias Wandel's Woodgears pages, showing a modification he made to his router pantograph, so it would hold a Dremel rotary tool. He demonstrates it with Pat Hawley, doing some inlay work.

Having just played around a few times with the Stew Mac base for Dremel tools, I found I could, with enough practice, probably eventually wallow out the inlay holes for the "bone" inlays in the Labrocaster neck. BUT, with 9 or 10 holes necessary, plus the need to cut out 9 or 10 inlays (which I was thinking of doing with the Dremel), there was a pretty good chance something pretty bad might happen to a very nice ebony fretboard.

Seeing this tool seemed like it was heaven sent. I ordered up the plans a few days ago, and started cutting. Used scrap 3/4 inch plywood, not baltic birch, but a good grade of pine, 7 or 9 layer, forgot which, and some oak.

Here are a few shots of the thing during my initial test run.



















You simply position the wood under the Dremel, and a paper representation of what you want to inlay into the wood under the metal follower stylus. Adjust the depth of the burr, and start carefully tracing the stylus over the paper pattern. One of the biggest benefits is that with the mechanical advantage you have, those little lurches the router tries to make every so often are very easy to control, and don't make big gouges outside the lines.

The pantograph can be set up to do 1/2 reductions or 1/3 reductions. In the photos it's set up for 1/2 reductions. Not too bad for my first outing. Not exactly the right burr for the job, and walnut is a bit grainy, also, but much, much better than trying to do this freehand with hard-to-see pencil marks on the wood.

BTW, I'd like to give my sincere thanks to the Haier company for their fine dehumidifier, which after almost a whole year of partial service, failed and completely iced over during the most humid stretch we've had around here in quite a long time. I really enjoyed working in the humid basement thanks to you, so thanks a lot. For nothing. Won't be anything Haier brought into this house again.


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Old June 8th, 2013, 11:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow, the pantograph looks like a great tool!
I have a bummed out de-humidifier that ices up also, after 3 years of great service.
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Old June 9th, 2013, 12:08 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Wow, the pantograph looks like a great tool!
I have a bummed out de-humidifier that ices up also, after 3 years of great service.
I'm really pumped about the pantograph, Glen. I think it will be kind of fun to play with, and give me a shot at doing some decent fretboard inlays.

My parents had an ancient Sears dehumidified that they bought in about 1964. I got it about 1990, and it continued to run until about 2003 just fine. But since it finally quit, it's been a steady succession of Chinese junk that lasts a maximum of 3 years. This one failing after 1 year is the worst.
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Old June 11th, 2013, 03:54 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow Rick,

The pantograph look excellent! Well done.

Rob
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Old June 11th, 2013, 05:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You've probably seen this before but its well worth watching, especially the tip about making the mould for the inlay...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PQlDAg971c
/mike
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Old June 11th, 2013, 06:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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You've probably seen this before but its well worth watching, especially the tip about making the mould for the inlay...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8PQlDAg971c
/mike
Actually, I had not seen it before--very informative, thanks for putting it up!
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Old June 11th, 2013, 06:06 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Wow Rick,

The pantograph look excellent! Well done.

Rob
Thanks, Rob, we'll give her a tryout in a few days. . .
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Old June 15th, 2013, 02:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Just way the thread, love it! How long did it take to build? If you were good on a bandsaw I think you could probably build it in one evening.
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Old June 15th, 2013, 09:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Just way the thread, love it! How long did it take to build? If you were good on a bandsaw I think you could probably build it in one evening.
For the straight cuts, Matthias recommends a table saw, especially as some of the sides need to line up perfectly. Most of the band saw cuts aren't that critical, so you can get close and still be OK. The straight links are just hardwood, maple or oak, or what have you, ripped to width, then just cut to length on my chopsaw, and drilled, with corners clipped off at 45 degrees.

I worked fast, but deliberately, could have done a better job lining up the holes where the metal rods join the links together, and got it done in 3 full evenings. If you watch the video where he builds and assembles it, there's a section where he makes a reamer from a section of the rod by just putting a long cut in the rod, parallel with the length, with a hacksaw. This was a lifesaver for me, because as I said, I could have done a little better job lining up the holes--with the reamer, I was able to fudge things enough for good alignment, and smooth movement.
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Old June 15th, 2013, 10:32 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Awesome! Have you tested it on teeny tiny things yet?
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Old June 15th, 2013, 10:47 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Awesome! Have you tested it on teeny tiny things yet?
Not yet, Joop. I won't be tackling any tiny rocket ships on her maiden voyage--just some ~7/8" bones. So far, I've only done the one test run at 1:2 scale, and needed to get going on some other work, so I put it aside for now, but I'm closing in on fretboard work, and that will be when it gets tried out--for real!

Next time for inlays, I'll do some fern fronds in green abalone, use white pearl for some .001mm female egret head feathers, and inscribe the Desiderata* as the 12th fret marker

(*or maybe the Deteriorada )
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Old June 20th, 2013, 08:53 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Well look at that. Now you know I need one. But will have to wait for my dust collector first, just not a sexy project.
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Old November 4th, 2013, 12:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
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any link to the plans?
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Old November 4th, 2013, 08:31 PM   #14 (permalink)
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http://woodgears.ca/pantograph/
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Old November 14th, 2013, 05:06 PM   #15 (permalink)
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This thread is great and all that...

but my wife strategically walked in at this picture





Normally Im the one to make the childish jokes, but she quickly took the reigns on this one...



If you're confused, dont worry about it. Just muse at my immaturity


lol jokes aside, pantographing always seems to be an under used technique in the guitar world. Keep us in the loop on this thing!
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