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Old 7th December 2004, 03:10 AM   #1
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Default Ready to build. Which router parts do I need?

Getting ready to cut (or have cut) the cabinets for my line arrays and was wondering which router bits I am going to need? I already bought the two Jasper circle jigs. I was at the local Home Depot today checking out routers and bits and they have a 20 piece Ryobi carbide bit set that's "valued" at $330 if each bit was purchased separately. They have it for $130 and on sale for $100. Was thinking of giving it a try and if I'm not satisfied with them I have 30 days to return them. It came with 4 straight bits, 4 diff. roundovers, chamfer, the works. What I'm unsure about is which bit to use for doing driver recesses and cutouts? I still haven't purchased my router and was wondering if it's worth it to spend the extra money and get a plunge? I really liked the feel of the $99 Porter Cable fixed base, but the plunge version was $199, albeit it was stronger. I have also heard good things about the Ryobi plunge that sells for $99.

So...I get the router attached to the jig, which bit do I use and can I cut straight into the MDF with it? By the looks of the straight bits it looks like they were flat on the bottom of the bit, or am I mistaken?

Sorry if this is a newbie question but I've never used a router in my life

Thanks!

EDIT:

Also, my arrays are 72" x 6.5" x 8" and I'm not sure if I can get an accurate 72" cut on my crappy table saw or if I can find a cabinet shop to do the cuts. Could I use a full-sheet of MDF as a rip guide, measure precisely and clamp it down to the board I'm cutting? Then just run the router down it to make a perfect cut? Seems like it could work but want the pros' opinions!
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Old 7th December 2004, 04:07 AM   #2
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I'll give you (perhaps the first) of many differing views.

Plunge router is very handy, especially for cutting those many holes.

Buy the bits, you'll likely spend that much in a hurry on them anyway. The selection will be nice.

I have 9 routers, one of them is 3HP 1/2" Ryobi....a decent tool, given me about 14 years of at least weeky use, so I can say they're a good value. Porter Cable is prolly the standard for mechanics who make their living with the tool, a real workhorse. But if I was starting out, I'd buy the plunge Ryobi and a small laminate trimmer sized one as well, and a pattern makers bit with that $200. Changing routers is easier than bits.

Use a portable handheld powersaw to make those long rips as you described with the clamped straightedge. Not your router. Or use your tablesaw. Tune it up if it's funny, and make a runoff table. A smaller, thin kerf blade will cut easier than the biggest size it takes.

Also check out the local Sears Repair Center for almost new ones at reduced price.
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Old 7th December 2004, 04:25 AM   #3
ppfred is offline ppfred  Canada
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Hi,
A plunge router is nice to have but not necessary. Make your decision on how much you want to spend.
For a router bit all you need is a straight bit 1/4" or 3/8", long enough to go thru the MDF. But don't try to go thru the MDF in one pass. Make approx. 1/4 inch deep cuts otherwise you'll stress your tool & the bit. Also, remember the fatter the bit the more stress is placed on the router.
To rout the recess you'll need a bit as wide as the lip of the speaker, although you could always make multi passes reducing the radius of the cut - the depth of the lip of course.
* Cut out the recess first!*
* Get ear protection so that you'll be able to enjoy that master piece your creating. Routers are extremely noisy. I use the headphone types.
* Get a dust mask and use it. The dust that a router makes in MDF is phenomanal, and you don't want that stuff in your lungs.

As for cutting MDF sheets I would discourage you from using a router. The best approach is to use a straight edge and a circular hand saw. For a blade I would suggest the FREUD DIABLO. It is thin kerf (reducing the stress on both tool and blade) and makes very smooth cuts.
* It's very simple. Actually thinking about it in the abstract is much more difficult than doing it.
* Make a few practice runs on scrap, or at least plan on scrapping a few pieces. i.e., buy more than you need.
* Also, you'll find that you will get excellent results if you let the tool do the work.

Try it, you'll like it.
fred p.
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Old 7th December 2004, 04:30 AM   #4
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Wha! My router is my workhorse, without that I would not make speakers. The striaght 1/4" bit for chopping MDF is great, but also just as valuable is the flush mount bit ive got, id be lost without it.
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Old 7th December 2004, 04:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ready to build. Which router parts do I need?

Quote:
Originally posted by mazeroth
Getting ready to cut (or have cut) the cabinets for my line arrays and was wondering which router bits I am going to need?

What I'm unsure about is which bit to use for doing driver recesses and cutouts?
You need a spiral up-cut bit for the circles and flush trim bit (1" length would be good) so you can make box ends over-sized and trim for a perfect fit. Preferably 1/2" shank carbide.

Quote:

I still haven't purchased my router and was wondering if it's worth it to spend the extra money and get a plunge?
It's nice for cutting circles because you can plunge it to start the cut instead of trying to tip it in.

Quote:

Then just run the router down it to make a perfect cut? Seems like it could work but want the pros' opinions!
If your table saw (infeed/outfeed supports are good here) isn't going to work for a long cut your best bet is to make a guide for your circular saw. Get a straight edge (a factory edge of MDF works), screw it to a piece of plywood, 1/4" MDF, etc. that's wider than the saw base, and run the saw along the straight edge. You can line the edge up with your cut-line and not worry about measuring to get the right offset from blade to the edge of the saw base.

If you want a cleaner edge, you can cut slightly over-sized and then use the flush trim bit to clean it up.

Routers are not the best bet for straight cuts.
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