Post details: TurnLock Router SignCrafter System - Part 3

02/19/05

Permalink 08:24:08 am, Categories: Articles, 597 words   English (US)

TurnLock Router SignCrafter System - Part 3


SignCrafter System A nice clean depth is achieved. The generic block font of the letters in the Signcrafter package should appeal to many. With everything clamped down, you are pretty much ready to go. Hook up your router to a power supply, ensure you have the right bushing installed for the letter size - 5/8" for larger letters, 7/16" for smaller letters. You can use straight bits, ball nose, v-bits etc equally as well.

Now... I have read other reviews of this particular product and one of them mentioned really bad flexing of the rails when routing out the letters due to the weight of the router. I am not sure whether this was an issue with earlier models, or this person just wasn't using the supporting bridges supplied.
SignCrafter System Practice makes perfect... I still need a little more practice :-)o the rails and can slide along them either way. Because the rails sit up above your workpiece, they are prone to flex if you DO NOT use these bridges. Position the bridges fairly close to your router placed over the letter you are going to rout out. You must ensure there is adequate clearance for the base plate of the router on both sides of the letter, as you could hit the support brackets first, thinking this was the edge of the letter template and ruin the letter. I was guilty of this on my first run. The brackets extend down to touch your workpiece so they provide full support to the rails when positioned appropriately.
SignCrafter System After a few practice runs, you will be making signs the same quality as this one!
As you can see from the photo of the letter "J" I routed out in the right column, even with a heavy 3HP router riding on the rails, there is no evidence of rail bending/flex, producing a nice smooth-bottomed cut. As you rout out each letter more your support brackets along the rail for maximum benefit.

Speaking of large routers, ideally you want a smaller router for this type of work, and one that slides smoothly across the rails. I found adding a little wax to the rails helped here. To get good, clean letters you need to be able to keep the bushing riding around the outside of the templates religiously. The Triton was not ideal for this task. It is heavy and bulky and more suited for table use rather than freehand use (table use is what it was primarily designed for). Saying that, you can get perfectly fine results with any router with a little practice. There is no fault in the Signcrafter itself in this regard, just user error. After a few runs, you will iron out the bugs in your technique and become more accustomed to using a router with the jig. I found pulling the router toward you gave more control than pushing it, although it's a personal thing. The router does ride on the aluminum rails, so the letter templates do not flex at all, although just be careful when inserting the bushing into the templates, and make sure it is in the template before you switch on and plunge down for the cut. The last thing you want to do is ruin your new letter templates! Replacements are available from Milescraft (for a small charge) in case you do accidentally damage one. If you find you are making words that repeat the same letter more than twice, you can also order extra sets of letters/numbers to solve this issue.

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