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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:08 PM   #1
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Using a router

Well, I got a really good deal on a router today, so now I need to make some templates, and learn how to use it properly. I've never owned/used a router before to be honest. I know its best to drill a hole and use the router from there for cavities. Any suggestions on bits/bit sizes? Im not doing binding anytime soon, just pickup, bridge, and neck cavities. I think im going to go to Lowes tuesday and pick up some poplar so I can practice, i'd make a body if I had something to cut it out with.
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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:16 PM   #2
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Really, just get comfortable with it, just like any tool. Remember, the base is your friend, so learn how to adjust it good.

As for bits, it depends on what you're going to be doing with it.

Another good tip would be to learn how to control your movement with it. It's very easy to go overboard.

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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:25 PM   #3
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How would you suggest making templates (anyone)?
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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malacoda View Post
How would you suggest making templates (anyone)?
+1 as far as what im going to be doing with it, the general purpose would be pickup cavities, trem cavities, and neck pockets. But looking at the CNC routers I wounder if it would be too much trouble/difficult to actually cut out bodies with? I don't have the money nor access to a bandsaw, so if I could cut bodies with it as well the only other thing i'd need is a drill press and I could make bodies. Don't really want to get into necks, just build a few bodies for myself (and by few I mean a lot )
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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:31 PM   #5
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How would you suggest making templates (anyone)?
It depends on what material you want to use. Some thin MDF/Masonite would be good. It's also fairly cheap and easy to get a hold of.

As for making the template itself, it depends on what equipment you have, and how big the template needs to be. For small stuff like pickup and trem routes, I'd draw up the template in either a CAD or drawing program. Print it out the proper size, and then over lay it on the piece of MDF. From there drill a small starter hole. Work your way around it with either a jewelers saw, or a dremel depending on how comfortable you are. Take your time, you want to make sure your templates are perfect. Just remember for every extra minute you spend on your template you gain at least five on working effectiveness for the final product. Cleaning up shitty routes with a file SUCKS.

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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:32 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by 7deadlysins666 View Post
+1 as far as what im going to be doing with it, the general purpose would be pickup cavities, trem cavities, and neck pockets. But looking at the CNC routers I wounder if it would be too much trouble/difficult to actually cut out bodies with? I don't have the money nor access to a bandsaw, so if I could cut bodies with it as well the only other thing i'd need is a drill press and I could make bodies. Don't really want to get into necks, just build a few bodies for myself (and by few I mean a lot )
Honestly, if you have the money and the programming know how to run a CNC machine, then you can most certainly afford a band-saw.

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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:37 PM   #7
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Honestly, if you have the money and the programming know how to run a CNC machine, then you can most certainly afford a band-saw.
I don't have the money for either....I meant using just the router to cut bodies.
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Unread 03-20-2010, 08:41 PM   #8
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I don't have the money for either....I meant using just the router to cut bodies.
You can cut bodies with it, but it's gonna be a much more tedious process, not to mention some corners are just gonna be a bitch to cut. You can get a cheap Jig Saw for about $20 and it'll be much better suited for cutting bodies.

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Unread 03-20-2010, 09:07 PM   #9
 
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your bit size will be minimum the smallest radius corner of your template,

what router did you get?

the way to help a not so great router, is to drill out as much of the area your routing out before you start to rout,
less stress on the bit, less stress on the bearings, less stress on the bushings, less stress on the motor,
also, takes less time to rout when you drill it out first...

go slow,
NEVER lift the router while it is still spinning,

turn on, rout, turn off, hold firmly untill bit STOPS spinning, then slowly pull it out.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Malacoda View Post
How would you suggest making templates (anyone)?
cut it out, and sand it to shape,

i use mdf,

and yes, i use a router occasionally to rout out bodies,

place template on body and trace the shape,
cut the body to just outside the line,
stick template on,
clamp the back end to my bench, rout horns,
clamp horns to bench, rout back end,
takes about 4 passes each side, getting deeper each pass








heres what i mean by drilling out the bulk...







i shelled out the cash for a set of stew mac templates,
but they are the "master copies" i never used them,
i coppied them straight to mdf squares when i got them,
if the mdf templates get old, ill just copy another from the masters,
keeps them safe





i do my own cavity templates too...



its easy, just design them, rough cut them then sand to your lines

i have also made a couple of perspex ones over the years, but thats apain in the ass



i dont think i can get much more detailed than that

you can do it
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Unread 03-20-2010, 09:15 PM   #10
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Thanks, great stuff. Yeah, I just need to make them for the pickups and the cavity plates in the back for my build.
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Unread 03-21-2010, 12:08 AM   #11
 
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you gotta remember with th rear cavities, its two parts, the cavity and the lip...
you gotta remmber to design a lip that you are sure you can make a cover to fit....
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Unread 03-21-2010, 12:50 AM   #12
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Quote:
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you gotta remember with th rear cavities, its two parts, the cavity and the lip...
you gotta remmber to design a lip that you are sure you can make a cover to fit....
Yup, I got that covered . Don't want to rout it out and not be able to screw in the plate! That's a big
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Unread 03-24-2010, 10:01 AM   #13
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There is a lot of great information in this thread. I'm going to try to add on a bit of what I've gathered and hopefully somebody will fill in some of the gaps I still have.

As far as bits go, when you are routing a body shape to a template you generally use a "flush trim router bit." Using a flush trim bit with a guide bearing on it sounds like it'll make life easier too. These are available with the bearing on the top of the bit (towards the router) or on the bottom. The bearing is the exact same size as the rest of the bit and rides against your template while the blades trim the wood to the exact same size as the template. When you have a bit with the guide on top you would be using it in conjunction with the template on top of the body, if you use a bit with a guide on the bottom you would have the template under the body. I believe there are also bits that have the guide on both the top and the bottom of the bit.

As far as boring out cavities in the wood, I believe most everyone uses a "forstner bit" in conjunction with a drill press. These bore out circular flat bottomed holes in wood. They also seem to leave a center mark where the center guide of the bit goes a bit further into the wood then the rest of the bit. I believe this is illustrated in Andrew's picture here:




What I'm not entirely certain about yet, is how one gets that perfectly flat bottom of a cavity when working with forstner bits. I'm assuming after the majority of the work has been done with the drill press, one would go back in with a router to smooth out the bottom of the cavity and remove the center holes left behind by the forstner? I'm not entirely certain but I'm guessing a straight router bit is suitable for this purpose? I think spiral router bits might also be suitable for this purpose?

I would also guess that either a straight bit or spiral bit used in conjunction with a plunge base would be what is used for routing out truss rod cavities as well?
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Unread 03-25-2010, 02:27 AM   #14
 
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ahhh, i didnt go into detail about the use of the forstner bit (or in my case, just your normal kitchen door hinge drill bit)

i set the depth judged by the point, which extends 3mm or so beyond the cutters, as you can see in the pic

basically, in that picture, i stop, remove the templates, and run the bearing along the cavties wall (since its already cut)
and i just rout down to final depth like that, the bottom or the router against the body itself, taking off about 2 or 3mm per pass...

its easy that way, also, removing the templates means your routers depth wont bottom out...

you can see the finished cavity in this pic





truss rod, i use a straight bit, th same size as the rod, and this method





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Unread 03-26-2010, 08:40 AM   #15
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Thanks for all the info Andrew! So are you using a flush trim bit for the actual smoothing out of the cavity bottoms then? You mentioned riding the bearing against the walls of the cavity and I believe the bearing is all that differentiates a flush trim from a normal straight bit.....unless I'm completely missing something.

I've been reading that straight bits aren't really good at cutting with the bottom of the bit but if you're routing truss rod cavities with them that must not be entirely true.
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Unread 03-26-2010, 10:08 AM   #16
 
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alright, you are confusing terms of differnt bits,
so i am going to use this site to show you the bits i use,
it is the first site that popped up when i googled routed bits...
( RouterBits.com, Inc Router Bits )

alright, for routing out bodies, i use a template following bit that is approx 1.5inch long, and a bit over half an inch in diametre, like these:

Routerbits.com,Inc Products

i use the above template following bit untill the router is more or less at is full depth (probably be about hanf an inch of body left to rout when my routers depth bottms out)
i then flip the bodt over, and grab my other router with has a flush trim bit in it, it is a half inch shaft...
the bit is approx 2.5inches long, and half an inch in diametre,
like this:
Routerbits.com,Inc Products

for truss rod slots i use a straight cut bit, same diametre as my rods (9.2mm or some crap) like this:
Routerbits.com,Inc Products

and for my pup routs and cavities, i use these:
STEWMAC.COM : Ball Bearing Router Bits

i use the 3/8" for pup routs, and the bigger one for cavities....

simple as that

Last edited by Andrew_B; 03-26-2010 at 10:10 AM. Reason: sorry, i kinda hijacked this thread... lol
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Unread 03-26-2010, 10:44 AM   #17
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Thanks a bunch, that's a really massive help!
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