View Full Version : First router cut - ever

06-18-2007, 09:46 PM
An 80mm long cut 5mm deep and 6.4mm wide may not be a big thing to others on these forums, but for me it is the most wonderful thing.

I have limited use of my hands and arms, so I cannot safely hold a router. Until today, the only power tools I could use were a drill and a jigsaw, but I could not saw a straight line or drill a hole where I wanted. So, I designed and built myself a beast that I could build mostly using just nuts, bolts and spanners.

There is an AutoCAD animation (250 MB GIF) on my website www.theMarshalls.id.au (http://www.theMarshalls.id.au) . The thing is 1800mm long 1200mm wide, and stands 1800mm high. I designed it to be made almost entirely of multiple copies of one component – a piece of aluminium tube 40cm long, with holes and grooves cut so that it could be used in multiple ways like a giant Meccano set (kids construction set). So the table is not an optimal design – but one I could construct myself with nuts and bolts. The component assemblies from the basic element were designed to allow a great deal of leeway in construction and assembly accuracy, but still work accurately.
The electronics were less forgiving, but although I did fry one board along the way, and the hookup and cabling looks more like a barbed wire fence construction than an electronic prototype, it does work.

Now I can cut straight lines, drill holes, and so on, I hope to make wooden toys for the grandchildren like those I made for their parents, and to explore the artistic capabilities of the beast.

06-19-2007, 12:18 AM
Well done Jim. Hope it gives you lots of pleasure and satisfaction.

What part of Aus?


06-19-2007, 12:54 AM
Thanks Greg. Second cut is happening now - making a jig to hold the work materials.

I'm in Indooroopilly (right on the Fig Tree Pocket border, if you know Brisbane).

06-19-2007, 04:53 AM
Nice work! I can remember the satisfaction of the first part I ever cut and it's something I was incredibly proud off even though it was simple by other's standards (I still have the part kicking about my lab somewhere!).

I like the idea you used of having many indentical parts that could be bolted together like meccano- I swear mecano (I used to have a kit as a kid) is responsible for more people becomming engineers than anything else :)

Best of luck and keep posting piccies please!

06-19-2007, 05:29 AM
An 80mm long cut 5mm deep and 6.4mm wide may not be a big thing to others on these forums, but for me it is the most wonderful thing.

You are in good company Jim, most people on this forum get excited over those first cuts, here is a pic of mine :) Still get a smile when I look at that one, its been months since then.

If you are looking for projects to make with the "beast" you could try making the dinosaur skeleton toys, there is a thread here with the DXF files and heaps of images, hang on a minute, link is here :


and I will add a photo of one I prepared earlier :D The kids (well mine anyway) love them, and played with them until they fell apart...and into smaller pieces, heh.


06-19-2007, 06:00 AM
Goog stuff Jim,

Like you I have a disability and the router is definitely unmanageable, but a CNC Router isn't. I have nothing on the right side working at all, no arm or leg function but life goes on :)

That piece of wood with the straight cut looks like you have worked some magic :)

I am about 60% finished building a CNC router table, if you go down a few threads you will find some more info on it :)


06-19-2007, 07:26 AM
Thanks ImanCarrot - I let my 3 year old grandson loose on my 'meccano type' pieces and nuts and bolts and he loved it - another future engineer?

Thanks Russell - dinosaurs and butterflies are now definitely high on my list!

Thanks Bob - All the best with your own CNC router. I expect that, like me, you are finding that one of the positive things about working on a complex construction project with a physical disability is that each time you complete a small task that seemed almost impossible, you feel a sense of triumph - your brains have overcome your lack of brawn.

06-19-2007, 10:52 AM
Good work James
I hope you have that grin on your face for weeks to come.

06-19-2007, 11:24 AM
Hi -I am very impressed. If you care to share some more about that router and the parts, I am sure we would all be very interested.

06-19-2007, 04:45 PM
Rod - the grin will last for years rather than weeks.

This has been a long time coming. It may be my first successful router cut, but it is not my first attempt - that was back in 1974 (long before CNC).

When I saw how fast and clean a router could cut, I bought a large powerful one. Not being able to handle it myself, I rigged up a mechanism to feed the stock in driven by an electric drill. When I switched it on, the tremendous vibration (no soft start or speed controls then) pulled my jig to pieces.

The moving router and moving electric drill came in contact in a confined space and the router disintegrated. Pieces of metal stuck in benches, walls and ceiling. Fortunately - none stuck in me.

It was another 33 years before I bought this second router, and this one runs in a room that I'm not in - I just watch the tool path, then go in when it switches off to see the results.

This remote control may seem over cautious - but the chances of this rig coming to pieces are also reasonably high. Being held together by nuts and bolts, put on with my limited strength, a missed tightening of a locknut or missed drop of loctite could start a repeat of the 1974 event.