Home Made Pin Router
I currently have a need to do some inlay work which includes multiple inlay of the same design on future pieces of furniture for a new customer.
I have been reading the various forums, looking at various methods of undertaking this task, when I came across an article on pin routing - basically there are two types of Pin router, one where the router is mounted overhead and the other where the router is mounted underneath (router table). I looked at commercially available versions ranging from $250 to $2500, and decided that this was way too much money to spend on a single customer, especially with extremely tight margins.
I decided that a home made version, would probably surf ice for the relatively small amount of work that I wanted to undertake in the immediate future, if necessary I could always redesign or upgrade to a commercial version later. The version I am going to be describing here is the second version, (over head pin) using my existing router table.
The main criteria for the design was money or rather the lack of it, so it had to be cheap and as I have a limited availability of parts , no wood working stores with lots of nice "goodies" that you get in the US and Canada - the parts used must be readily available, preferably already in the workshop.
The finished Pin router arm cost less than $25 to make and all the parts were in the workshop already.
So lets start with the basic parts that I used.
1. Base - Beech 25 x 175 x 150 mm
2. Arm - Beech 50 x 36 x 450 mm Both of these pieces were in the cut-off bin, just waiting for a project like this.
3. T-Bolts and knobs
4. Threaded inserts (M8) aluminum these are used for fixing door frames in place.
5. M8 threaded bar
6. Brass screw and insert.
There are one or two other minor parts that I utilized during the construction, which I will detail later.
The listed parts above are meant only as a guide, use whatever you have laying around or can readily buy off the shelf and change the drawings accordingly
The next page shows detailed drawings of the version I produced, the following links are to the original drawings and larger JPG pictures:-
Visio Drawing of the http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi/Documents/Pin%20Guide%20for%20Router.vsd
Full size JPEG Sheet 1 http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi/Documents/Pin%20Guide%20for%20Router-%20P1.jpg
Full Size JPEG Sheet 2 http://www.poydatjatuolit.fi/Documents/Pin%20Guide%20for%20Router-P2.jpg
So now that we have assembled all our parts and adjusted the drawings, if necessary to meet the alternative parts, we can start on the manufacturing of the assembly. I found that this project took about 8 hours to complete, so it should be easily done in a weekend.
For the Arm, I would strongly suggest using quarter or rift sawn piece of straight -close grained wood, such as Beech or Hard Maple.
Step 1 - very important. Square up ALL 4 sides of the arm and mill to the exact dimensions required. If it is not exactly square, you will have problems later in using the Pin router.
Step 2 - Layout the critical dimensions on the blank.
Step 3 - create the dovetail along the entire length of the arm. It is easier and more accurate to this now, then after the piece has been shaped.
Step 4 - Drill the holes for the inserts, again take the time to set up the drill press, the ensure that the hole drilled is exactly 90° to the vertical (Left/Right and Front /Back)
Step 5 - Remove the excessive material near the head of the arm, bit not along the whole length.
Step 6 - Screw in the two vertical (M8) inserts, ensuring that they are perfectly in line with each other. When I inserted mine they were just the slightest bit misaligned and it was difficult to insert the M8 threaded bar and turn by finger pressure.
If you cannot get the threads to align properly, then remove the inserts, if possible and re-tap them. Otherwise start again with a fresh piece of wood and inserts. At least if it all goes wrong, you have not wasted too much material or time. I then ran a long length of M8 rod through the inserts with a battery drill (a small amount of oil on the threaded bar helps), this helps to clean out and realign the aluminum threads if ever so slightly mis-aligned.
RELAX - you have just completed the most difficult part of the project
Step 7 - Insert the horizontal insert.
This picture shows all inserts inserted and the brass screw and M8 Stylus inserted.
Extra part . M8 Wing nut and locking nut. This makes it easier to adjust the stylus up and down.
Step 8 - I now turn my attention to the base. The first thing to note is I changed the piece of wood from that in the first photograph, I decided that I needed slightly more clearance. This is a piece of white Oak.
I firstly make the sliding tail for the arm to fit in. Creep up on the final size, you need to have a good tight fit, that can slide with out having to use a mallet to make adjustments.
Step 9 - I now lay out the holes for the clamping bolts.
Note that the bolt hole coming through the dovetail, I have used a standard M8 bolt for this , which is held captive by cutting a hexagonal recess for the bolt head.
Step 10 - I did not photograph this part - make the mortise to accept the bolt that locks the base to the arm.
Step 11 - Remove the remainder of the waste from the arm, using a band saw, sander and chisels. Be careful not to sand or damage the sliding dovetail. I rounded over all the external surfaces just to remove any sharp edges, also on the base.
Step 12 - I found that on my router table there was a small discrepancy in height along the "T" track, about 0.4mm - in the photograph (above) you can see the piece of Oak veneer I attached, and then sanded to the correct thickness. This ensured that the base when clamped was exactly parallel to the table.
This concludes the first part of this blog, next time I will detail how I made the stylus and fitting and setting up the Pin router arm.
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