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Forum topic by Spiritofthewoods posted 06-04-2018 03:04 PM 703 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Spiritofthewoods

8 posts in 410 days


06-04-2018 03:04 PM

Hi There,

New here!

We hand craft Log Slice Switch Plate Covers. Looking to not only speed up the process , but also to prevent defects specifically with tear outs on the thin 1/4” end grains.

Checking into perhaps a laser cutter or CnC router. I’m thinking Laser would be better for the tear outs?

The problem is I have no Idea what I’m looking for as there are so many machines out there?

The cutting would be for the various shaped holes for toggle switches, duplex, and Rocker.

Anyone have any suggestions on what machine would be beneficial I would be so very Grateful !!

Thank you in advance!!

-- Rene P Guay President Spirit of the Woods, Inc


15 replies so far

View laterthanuthink's profile

laterthanuthink

37 posts in 548 days


#1 posted 06-04-2018 03:18 PM

Would the Shaper Origin hand held CNC router work in your application? It’s a new tool, expensive and somewhat controversial, but may be helpful for you. https://shapertools.com/

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Spiritofthewoods

8 posts in 410 days


#2 posted 06-04-2018 03:28 PM

Hi Later

Thank you! I will check this out! Much appreciated!!

-- Rene P Guay President Spirit of the Woods, Inc

View Loren's profile

Loren

10477 posts in 4066 days


#3 posted 06-04-2018 03:46 PM

I’d try it with an overarm router first. Cheaper
and easier to learn.

Onsrud style inverted routers are another option.
Some argument can be made that they are
safer than overarm routers.

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Spiritofthewoods

8 posts in 410 days


#4 posted 06-04-2018 03:52 PM

Thanks Loren! I will check these out also. Do you know anything about laser cutters?

-- Rene P Guay President Spirit of the Woods, Inc

View DS's profile

DS

3197 posts in 2839 days


#5 posted 06-04-2018 04:45 PM

A CNC router can do this with minimal tear-out using a proper fixture, climb cuts and good tooling.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View oldnovice's profile

oldnovice

7487 posts in 3786 days


#6 posted 06-04-2018 05:05 PM

A laser cut leaves dark edges that a CNC or router does not!
Since your material size is rather small, I would look at a table top CNC, as Doug said, tearout can be minimized with proper fixtures, tool paths, and good cutters.
There are many very good table top CNC routers available and, I believe that once you see how well these little units work for your application, you may buy another or more!
Additionally, the CNC can make templates for the simplest form of the product or speeding up manual operations while the CNC is doing the tougher ones.
I would shy away from Shaper Origin as it would, in my opinion, slow your entire process down compared even to templates and handheld routers, and cots nearly as much as a table top CNC.

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

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Spiritofthewoods

8 posts in 410 days


#7 posted 06-04-2018 05:22 PM

Thank you Doug & Old Novice! I’ll start leaning in that direction!! Much appreciated!

-- Rene P Guay President Spirit of the Woods, Inc

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John Smith

1879 posts in 581 days


#8 posted 06-04-2018 05:31 PM

Rene – what is your process now to produce the covers ??

back in the early ‘80s, I bought a Marlin Carving Machine to make simple signs.
it is a pantograph design with a 1 to 1 ratio. very nifty machine with the ability
to reproduce just about anything in a two dimensional form.
google: TERRCO MARLIN WOOD CARVING DUPLICATOR CM-614
I see the used outfits on E-Bay from time to time.
when you fabricate a master template for the switch cover, all the copies will be identical
and consistent.
also there is a “RouterForums.com” that may help you. “Terrco” seems to have the market
on hand-held duplicators now. really good entry level machines and affordable.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View Spiritofthewoods's profile

Spiritofthewoods

8 posts in 410 days


#9 posted 06-04-2018 05:47 PM

Nice! Thank you John. We Glue on Metal Switch plates to the backs. Would we be able to use the metal plate as the duplicator template?

-- Rene P Guay President Spirit of the Woods, Inc

View John Smith's profile

John Smith

1879 posts in 581 days


#10 posted 06-04-2018 06:13 PM

Rene – the tracing stylus dictates the profile and accuracy of the hand-traced template..
if you look at the videos on YouTube, you can get an idea of how they work.
I have seen the covers that you are making on the web for sale.

so, if you haven’t already, you need to check out who else is making them and
at what cost. it would be a shame if you invested a whole lot of time and money
into this project only to find out that you can’t compete with someone that
mass produces them with a $50,000.00 CNC.
the ones for sale by Houzz and Black Forest seem to mount directly to the box
and not glued to the metal (or plastic) cover. [unless the back of the wood cover
has been hollowed out to accept the metal factory cover]. you would have to buy one to see.
I don’t know how the NEC code covers the aftermarket covers such as this, but worth checking into.

.

-- I am a painter. That's what I do. I paint things --

View Spiritofthewoods's profile

Spiritofthewoods

8 posts in 410 days


#11 posted 06-05-2018 10:41 AM

Thank you John. So far I’m not having much luck with the CNC that are reasonably priced. The cheapest was in the 4k range and it takes according to the tech 20 minutes to cut out a small hole for a toggle switch.

I might be continuing the way we are!

-- Rene P Guay President Spirit of the Woods, Inc

View jthornton's profile

jthornton

8 posts in 411 days


#12 posted 06-05-2018 11:27 AM

I have a full CNC machine shop and fabrication shop and the inside corners of the switch cover could be a pain to machine out with an end mill due to the small radius. The outlet covers not so bad. Have you considered a mortise bit with a table that limits the movement in the Y axis (left right). I could see a double drill setup to drill and chamfer the holes then two pins on the fixture place to locate the part while you mortice out the slot.

JT

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Spiritofthewoods

8 posts in 410 days


#13 posted 06-05-2018 11:56 AM

Hi J,

I’ve tried a hollow mortising chisel and that wasn’t too successful as it was breaking the end grain as it was drilling/cutting. We’ve been routing out the shallow back, gluing cut metal switch plates, then cutting out the various holes toggle,duplex,rocker etc with dremel tools, the metal plates acting as the template. Slow tedious process, but the more I’m checking into this the more I see the points that John Smith made.

I apply the metal plates for possible codes that I may not be aware of but more so for strength to the thin end grain as well as a template at the same time.

I’m thinking I may be better off doing what I’m doing rather then dump a whole bunch of money into a machine that won’t do what I thought it would do.

I appreciate very much your advice!!

-- Rene P Guay President Spirit of the Woods, Inc

View DS's profile

DS

3197 posts in 2839 days


#14 posted 06-06-2018 01:20 PM

One way to evaluate if the CNC will do what you want it to is to find someone who will use his machine to cut your parts for a fee. This is a good intermediate step before making any big investments in machinery.

A professional machine will machine one of these plates in seconds, not minutes and can be milling a plate in one zone of the machine while an operator unloads and reloads the other end. It becomes a quick and efficient process.

I once saw a demo program of a very large ($500K) machine at a trade show that was cutting doll rocking chairs out of 1/2” Baltic Birch. It was commented by a casual observer that it was an extremely expensive way to make a doll rocking chair.

I panicked a bit as I had just put a deposit on the machine’s baby brother. I quickly re-ran the math and figured the machine was cutting each doll chair for around $1.17 – a fraction of the cost of any other method possible.

-- "Hard work is not defined by the difficulty of the task as much as a person's desire to perform it.", DS251

View Spiritofthewoods's profile

Spiritofthewoods

8 posts in 410 days


#15 posted 06-06-2018 01:29 PM

DS, Thank you. Great Advice!!!

-- Rene P Guay President Spirit of the Woods, Inc

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