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Project by EMVarona posted 07-08-2011 07:56 AM 18079 views 24 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When I first saw the router pantograph in one website, I thought it would be interesting to make with inexpensive materials. As you can see in the photos, the only expensive part is the router. As in my other projects, I used shelving hardware, 3/4 plyboard strips and some screws. The shorter shelving hardware is 19.5 in. and the longer one is 39 in. The plyboard strip is 18 in. long and the distance between holes is 16 in. The router tray is also 18 in. long with holes 16 in. apart. No new holes were drilled in the shelving hardware since the original holes are spaced just right. The fonts were printed out from a computer. I selected the trial fonts that do not have too sharp angles. Sharp angles and bends do not reproduce well. The trial reduction setting is 50%. The router tray rests flat on the workpiece. I intend to make improvements as I gain more experience in using it. The height of each pivot point as well as the stylus is leveled with the router tray when set flat on the work piece.

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

15 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


18051 posts in 4347 days

#1 posted 07-08-2011 10:54 AM

Very interesting and well done. How smooth is it when doing this. Great post!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4395 days

#2 posted 07-08-2011 01:03 PM

Great router jig! If you laminate a light wood with a darker wood, like walnut & maple, you can make your letters stand out without painting them. Also, craft stores sell solid wood or plastic letters for crafts that you can use for patterns. If you have a scroll saw, you can print out sample alphabets on regular paper, contact glue them to your a 1/4” board, then cut them out with a scroll saw. They can be used as patterns. Just set your bit lower and use the same pattern for deeper cuts. Your computer will have a lot of different fonts to print out for your patterns. Your router jig could also be used to make pistol grips. Colt .45 auto grips are simple and flat on the back. You’re going to find a lot of uses for your new jig.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 4446 days

#3 posted 07-08-2011 01:41 PM

wow that came out very nice and you saved yourself about $50 even the letters came out well it looks as though they are in 3D. the one on the leftin the last pic.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View Karson's profile


35276 posts in 5559 days

#4 posted 07-08-2011 03:32 PM

Nice project. The ability to make your own jig gives you the ability to tweak them if you need revisions.

Nice job on the build.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 4144 days

#5 posted 07-08-2011 04:07 PM

looks great! I bet you can do it in one pass cleanly if you do it in solid wood and not hardwood. I run into that problem all the time.

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View EMVarona's profile


437 posts in 3994 days

#6 posted 07-09-2011 01:21 AM

Thank you, guys.
About the smoothness: It is fairly smooth. What I did is, first to wax the bottom of the tray. That makes it slide smoothly. Second, you’ll notice a vinyl tile in the upper corner. Since the prop on that pivot is the screw head, the vinyl tile provides a surface that allows the screw head to slide smoothly. Third, the stylus barely touches the letters. I grasp the stylus with one hand and the shelving hardware with the other. This greatly reduces the tendency to squiggle which is the main problem.
I like your suggestions. I have a scroll saw and I am thinking of using vinyl tiles to make master letters. I find vinyl easy to work with and is very manageable. One suggestion I came across concerning the master letters is to use a transparent folder. Just insert the original artwork in the folder and tape or clamp the folder to the surface. For cut out vinyl letters the contact glue or double sided tape would be great. Unfortunately craft stores here do not have those cut out letters. I intend to try other types of wood and surfaces as well (e.g. plastic)

Other improvements I mean to undertake is the hold down for the work piece. What I have here is a makeshift system.

Thank you!!!

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

View HalDougherty's profile


1820 posts in 4395 days

#7 posted 07-09-2011 01:04 PM

I was looking through a users projects and found he had used his bandsaw to make some letters for his son’s room. Here’s the project:

They would make great 3D letters for your pantograph if they were mounted on 1/4” hardboard cut to the right width for each letter and you had a holder that had a slot for them to slide in. I bought a Milescraft sign cutter and it was the biggest piece of junk I ever saw. I still use the letters to make signs, but I made a holder that won’t wiggle and I don’t try to cut the letters, I use them as patterns in my duplicator.

-- Hal, Tennessee

View EMVarona's profile


437 posts in 3994 days

#8 posted 07-09-2011 01:46 PM

That’s very useful information, I appreciate that, thank you. I’ll work it out. I am really kin on making the best out of this gadget. I can see it has many uses.

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26439 posts in 4264 days

#9 posted 07-09-2011 03:29 PM

Hi Ed. Very nice project. it looks like you worked out the process pretty well. I went back to my storage on my workbench and I have the start of one from 15 yrs ago that I never finished. It was done with conduit and I made a plastic base shaped just like yours to hold the router. I may just finish that now!! Thanks for the inspiration…........Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View EMVarona's profile


437 posts in 3994 days

#10 posted 07-10-2011 09:20 AM

Thanks Jim,
Your overall shop set up is far more impressive than mine. All I could do for the moment is dream of a setup like yours. Thanks for the kind words.

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

View mirock's profile


196 posts in 3789 days

#11 posted 07-10-2011 12:26 PM

Very good. Interesting & simple performance of pantorouter. All ingenious is simple

-- Dad, husband and everythingmaker

View Armand's profile


235 posts in 4069 days

#12 posted 07-10-2011 03:31 PM

Wow! Fantastic idea Ed..with a little more innovation shop signs can now be DIYed in your woodshop without the need of expensive cnc machines. If you add borders or frame designs around the letters with varying depth the result will be awesome. Please try using hardwoods and post again some pictures of the result.

Thanks for posting.

-- My Master is Mankind's Greatest Carpenter.

View EMVarona's profile


437 posts in 3994 days

#13 posted 07-13-2011 12:36 PM

Thank you, Guys,

Armand, Good suggestions. At this point I am still experimenting with it and figuring out how to improve it. I will surely try out your suggestions.

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

View Jiri Parkman's profile

Jiri Parkman

953 posts in 4971 days

#14 posted 07-27-2011 01:47 PM

Amazing jig. Congratulations and thanks.

-- Jiri

View EMVarona's profile


437 posts in 3994 days

#15 posted 07-28-2011 11:57 AM

Thank you Jiri, I made some improvements on that pantograph please see below:
The improved version is more stable and more accurate.

-- Ed "Real happiness is one that you share."

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