Today I’m making a set of router templates on the Inventables 3D carving machine, the X-Carve. I start off by using Easel, a free software program that anyone with or without a cnc can use for free. Just create an account using the link below and start designing cool projects. I’ll also include a link to a map showing Makerspaces in your area. What’s really cool is that you can create your design in Easel at home and carve it at any X-Carve. Go ahead and create a free account because I would love to take some of you guys designs and create it here in my shop. That would be cool. You can see the full website article and project video here.
Tools I used in this project:
- Shop vac
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Step 1: Configuring Settings
After the initial design process, which was really simple to execute, I went through the motions of measuring the material, clamping the work piece down, selecting the correct bit for the job, and homing the router, which was all prompted through the software. So, that’s nice. I’m also using a dust shoe with my shop vac, so I made sure that was connected. Now that I had everything ready to go, I could click carve and watch my design become a real thing.
If you’re interested in owning an X-Carve, a 3D carving machine, they currently offer 0% monthly financing. So, if that interests you, click here to learn more about that.
Step 2: Releasing the Carving
I have my X-Carve setup to raise the bit and return back to the home position after it finishes the task so it wouldn't drag across the templates. Also, so I can turn the router off because I have it set to manual on/off operation. I didn’t design the project to cut all the way through the material just leaving connecting tabs, instead I wanted to finish it up on the router since that’s why I’m making these templates in the first place. But first, I need to remove the templates from the work piece by using my bandsaw to cut the thin layer of material I left behind.
Step 3: Final Cleanup
Once I had all the templates cut and ready to be cleaned up, I setup at the router table. My router lift, which is a Jay Bates design, is mounted in my Outfeed Assembly Table. I made a build video and tour video of the table, which is on my website. The table is my design and I have a bundled plan that includes the Outfeed Assembly Table and Jay’s router lift on my website, click here to see it. There’s a link in the description if you’re interested. Getting back to the project, I changed out the bit to a flush trim bit and decided to use my router fence to take full advantage of the dust collection, which is awesome! After adjusting the height of the bit, I cleaned up all the templates and they came out looking great.
Step 4: Adding Guides
Using the templates as-is along with double sided tape would have been just fine, but I decided to add a guide on each side of the template to provide more stability. The guides are nothing more than a small piece of plywood glued and brad nailed on the sides with a quarter of an inch overhang. The overhang allows you to hook the corner of a square piece of stock without the use of tape. The hole is there for added security when holding the templates while routing. The tops of the templates are flush with the guides to be able to lay them flat and trace the radius on any surface.
If you’re interested in the Easel file for these templates, be sure to register for a free account here, snag the file for free, and carve your own. Be sure to check out my website article for this project as well and as always, thanks for reading!