A Mini Pin Router for Inlays

Discussion in 'Tele Home Depot' started by Nick JD, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Here's a little pin router I built to accurately cut MoP and other inlay materials, and to rout inlay cavities in wood/metal/composites from templates so they fit like a glove.

    It's pretty much a miniature version of a normal pin router except it doesn't have the foot adjustable height - something I didn't need because I'm only going up and down by 1 or 2mm.

    Basically, it's a Dremel with a 3/32" (2.4mm) tungsten carbide cutter connected to a slider that allows the Dremel to be raised and lowered. The Dremel sits sideways to keep the aircooling vents unobstructed.

    [​IMG]

    The shank-end of a 3/32" (that I snapped with a hammer - try cutting a drill bit!) is banged into a hole made by lowering the cutter on the Dremel successively into the base plate. The base plate is not connected to the tower and is removable by uncrewing 4 screws so different cutter/pin size combinations can be used - or if something gets out of alignment.

    [​IMG]

    The slider to raise or lower the cutter locks with a wingnut inside the tower.

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    For a test I cut a random shape from 9mm MDF and superglued it to the bottom of a piece of plexiglass with four stoppers to keep it stable.

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    Using double sided tape I stuck a piece of 1mm MoP to the other side of the perspex and whipped the cutter around it with the pin aligning the template and the MoP so both shapes are identical.

    [​IMG]

    The cutter has a round tip, so if you look closely at the routed MoP there's a slight lip left on the edge that requires another, deeper pass so the sides are perpendicular. I might just buy a square-tip bit instead.

    Next comes the dust extraction part. Something like a vacuum port just above and behind the cutter.

    I'll document how to make the "positive" and "negative" templates (one for the inlay, and one for the rout) in the next couple of days.

    All up it cost (minus the Dremel) about $25 in materials. The Dremel unscrews.
     
  2. davmac

    davmac Tele-Afflicted

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    Fantasic work! I am really looking forward to the next installment (+ve and -ve shape cutting)...
     
  3. RobPvd

    RobPvd Tele-Meister

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    Nick, this is great! Keep it coming...
     
  4. Davecam48

    Davecam48 Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    That's really great Nick! I've been designing a pin attachment for my router table but my welding is shocking. I'll have to wait for my boiler-maker son to come home from the mines and try to con him into welding it up for me.
    I can see a need for a mini one like that though, so consider the idea stolen!:p
     
  5. Tom Pettingill

    Tom Pettingill Tele-Holic

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    Cool ... definitely looking forward to the rest of the story!
     
  6. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'll do some stuff this afternoon using it to copy a shape.
     
  7. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I was at the hardware store today buying teflon tape to seal some threads on a 1 micron beer filter and saw some little MDF letters, numbers and shapes.

    It was a tough decision between the truck, the whale and the frog - but I went with the frog :D. It's not something I really wish to have on my guitars but it's good for the purpose of this thread.

    So it's glued with a few drops of CYA to the perspex. I'm not sure it's dead because it seems to be trying to get away. Never fear, the superglue will tame it.

    [​IMG]

    Only three drops, but the legs don't seem to flex too much. It'd be good to be able to remove the frog again I think.

    [​IMG]

    Now you can see the frog definitely is dead. The coroner has drawn a chalk line around it as it appears to have be murdered. :eek::rolleyes:

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    It's a matter of lowering the cutter until it's right through - then we have a copy of the frog, in perspex. This isn't for inlaying - it's for making the negative template - then it will be used as the positive template. If that makes sense. It's turning into a bit of a mystery.
     
  8. '59_Standard

    '59_Standard Tele-Holic

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    Good choice and its a nicely shaped frog, as frogs go. :D
     
  9. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Three passes around (6mm perspex) and a clean up pass and we have two frogs.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The perspex part of the frog needs a few layers of release wax on it. Getting the wax in between its toes is a bit difficult! There's probably an easier way but this'll do until I can think something else up.

    [​IMG]

    The pin is 3.2mm above the base, so the negative mold needs to be at least 3.2mm deep. The frog is 6mm thick, so as long as the negative mold is around 5-6mm the pin can run easily under there.

    So I made a dam around a scrap of 9mm MDF with some 6mm MDF bits and attached some double side tape.

    [​IMG]

    And now it looks like this.

    [​IMG]

    The frog still needs another layer or three of wax, then I'll tack down the frog lightly and flood the surround with epoxy goop. With a bit (lot) of luck the frog should pull out (with all its toes :twisted:) leaving behind a negative of itself.

    I better remember to flip the frog over though - so the perspex is on the bottom. The perspex frog is the positive template.
     
  11. Nick JD

    Nick JD Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I thought it'd be good to remove the MDF frog in case it got stuck.

    Made up some epoxy and added a dab of blue and some finely chopped glass and poured it in.

    [​IMG]

    Really not sure if I can get it out without snapping a toe off :D.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. '59_Standard

    '59_Standard Tele-Holic

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    I've seen someone use this stuff as the mold - Friendly Plastic
     
  13. treadwm

    treadwm Tele-Meister

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    I've had very good luck using Smooth On casting plastic for this sort of thing. not sure about its availability in Queensland though.

    Smooth-On
     
  14. Bolide

    Bolide Friend of Leo's

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    A former co-worker whose skill at building plastic models for other people was in such demand that they actually paid him serious money :confused: swore by the cooking spray PAM as a release agent.

    Actually, as he was a fervent evangelical Protestant, he never swore, he affirmed :D

    Still, the idea of waxing a frog's toes is somehow endearing :D

    excellent thread
     
  15. Boolywho

    Boolywho Tele-Meister

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    Am I the only one here who doesn't understand how a pin router work? I tried looking it up online and I still didn't understand the mechanics of the thing. Can anyone here explain it in a few sentences? Sorry for such an elementary question!... :eek:
     
  16. adirondak5

    adirondak5 Wood Hoarder Extraordinaire

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    I'll give it a try , if you are using pattern bits now think of it this way , the pin in the table of a pin router in effect is your bearing , but you can just use a regular straight bit in the router , your template rides against the pin , since the router bit is aligned with the pin you will route the same shape as your template . Hope this helps.
     
  17. Boolywho

    Boolywho Tele-Meister

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    Ah yes, now it all makes sense. This also explains the use of a transparent base for your part, which I'm guessing is helpful when your are trying to see where the pin is in relation to the template.

    Thanks for the explanation! :D
     
  18. dougk

    dougk Tele-Holic

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    Hey Nick great mini router!

    A trick for keeping dust down with MOP I've found is to smear a little bagbalm (or vaseline) over the pearl before cutting. I've started doing this to keep the MOP dust out of the CNC's electrospindle and its a drastic difference. Before, even with the collector going we'd smell that pearl dust everywhere in the shop while cutting. Now can't smell anything. When your done just wipe it off with a little thinner (or acetone, hell even naptha probably) and your good to go.

    Its really helped cut down on the dust (which is really bad for your health AND machines).
     
  19. nuance97

    nuance97 Tele-Meister

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    I it possible to cut pearl with these
    [​IMG]
    Or are these to cut wood only?
     
  20. Colt W. Knight

    Colt W. Knight Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    Hey Nick, how do you mount and keep the dremel straight? Looks like its just stuffed in a hole right now.
     
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