Do I need a router?

I've seen posts suggesting that a router is one of the most important tools for speaker building, but I'm still very reluctant to buy one.

I'm thinking of building a sonotube powered woofer to save some money, but if I must plunk down another $100 to $200 for the router then the savings will be minimal. I generally do all my woodworking with a drill, a pull saw, and a hand plane. I also have a jigsaw so i can cut a circle, and I have a circular swa, but I rarely use it.

I guess trimming up the inside of a cutout will be challenging, but how tight do the tolerances need to be?

What do you think, can this job be done without a router?

thanks!
mark
 
routers are very very handy. I got by without one for a while, but now consider it necessary. You could get by without one for a simple sub box, but having one makes it look much nicer - for instance, were you planning on mounting the driver flush on the box, or rabbeting it in?

A cheap knockoff from harborfreight.com would probably be perfect. I believe their tools have a pretty good warranty, actually.

http://search.harborfreight.com/cpisearch/web/search.do?keyword=router&Submit=Go
 
cuibono said:
for instance, were you planning on mounting the driver flush on the box, or rabbeting it in?

I was thinking that I could layer thinner (i.e. 1/4") MDF ontop of the 3/4" MDF to produce something like a rabbet. I have not looked up how deep the recess needs to be so I don't know how realistic this idea is.


cuibono said:
A cheap knockoff from harborfreight.com would probably be perfect. I believe their tools have a pretty good warranty, actually.

Wow, those are cheep. The problem is I am somewhat of a quality fanatic. If I buy a tool, I like it to be a good one. I'd rather suffer through not having it than struggle with a sub par one. It doesn't have to be top of the line, but I do generally stay above Crapsman. I'm not saying harborfreight is bad because I don't know anything about them. I was looking at the Bosch trim router as a cheaper/smaller possibility, but then it wouldn't plunge, which I assume can be very useful. I certainly don't ever want to have to buy a second router.

-mark
 

MaVo

Member
2006-01-07 12:40 pm
i think you can build boxes with just wood, saw, screws, lime, jigsaw. router will be good for making things pretty around the corners. i owned one, but since it died i build a few boxes without it. but no sonotube, so maybe i am wrong here.
 

MJL21193

Disabled Account
2007-03-10 1:20 am
curiousburke said:


I was thinking that I could layer thinner (i.e. 1/4") MDF ontop of the 3/4" MDF to produce something like a rabbet.

The problem is I am somewhat of a quality fanatic. If I buy a tool, I like it to be a good one. I'd rather suffer through not having it than struggle with a sub par one.


Hi,
Strictly speaking, you don't need a router to build speakers, as long as you are willing to improvise and/or spend a little more time.
Layering to achieve the recess for the driver is better than cutting it with a router IMO. It makes for a stronger baffle. For subs, a recess is for cosmetics only.

I have two routers - a large Bosch with a 1/2" collet and a small Makita trim router that has a 1/4" collet. I almost never use the large router for speaker building. The Makita does it all and was cheap ($70.00 on sale). You can buy a variety of bits to do most of the things you'll want to do.
 

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If you are looking for a good cheap router, you can check out Sears for their sales. I haven't looked there for quite a while, but they always have routers on 1/2 price sale at one time or another.

Also, you can usually find a router on the cheap at a garage sale. But remember, it is in the bits and attachments that are expensive, and that is why Sears usually has their routers on sale.

If you think a router a bit too much, you should see we folks who have more than one. I currently have three: one mounted on my table saw extension(I use it as a router table); Craftsman 1 hp hand held; and a Craftsman 2hp plunge router. I could always use a fourth one. That way you won't have to change out bits all that much, and the bits, once set up are perfect, so why move them? ;)

Oh, I am going to get a fourth one, a dedicated trim router. :D
 
John L said:
If you are looking for a good cheap router, you can check out Sears for their sales. I haven't looked there for quite a while, but they always have routers on 1/2 price sale at one time or another.


When you say Sears do you mean Sears brand or just routers at sears? So how do you think the Sears routers compare to the Dewalt/Porter Cable/Mikita/Bosch routers?

I hate waiting, but if I can really get one for 1/2 prince that would be a pretty good deal.

Another reason for only have a limited number of tools is that I live in a 2 bed apartment with no garage.

thanks,
mark
 
curiousburke said:



When you say Sears do you mean Sears brand or just routers at sears? So how do you think the Sears routers compare to the Dewalt/Porter Cable/Mikita/Bosch routers?

I hate waiting, but if I can really get one for 1/2 prince that would be a pretty good deal.

Another reason for only have a limited number of tools is that I live in a 2 bed apartment with no garage.

thanks,
mark

Oh, you make a point there. Sears has, or had, a Sears brand and also a Craftsman brand, which was a step up from the regular Sears brand.

To me though I would check out the garage sales when possible. Because if you find a router, you will usually find bits to go along with it. That is where I got an old B&D 1 hp router some years ago. It was an older unit and was all metal, not a bunch of plastic. I use it on my table saw extension and it never bogs down.

But there is one more thing you REALLY, REALLY should consider getting in the future, if you are good with your hands. What I am talking about is an air compressor. An air compressor is a MUST if you are going to make your life easy. You can attach tools to it, use the air nozzle to clean up your back deck, keep your wife's car's tires inflated properly, and a host of wonderful things that you cannot do with an electrical tool. When you own an air compressor, you will wonder how you ever lived without it, and place it just slightly behind your wife as a necessity. :D
 
John L said:
Oh, you make a point there. Sears has, or had, a Sears brand and also a Craftsman brand, which was a step up from the regular Sears brand.
they also sell Bosch, Milwaukee, Black & Decker, Porter Cable, DeWalt, and maybe more.


But there is one more thing you REALLY, REALLY should consider getting in the future, if you are good with your hands. What I am talking about is an air compressor. An air compressor is a MUST if you are going to make your life easy. You can attach tools to it, use the air nozzle to clean up your back deck, keep your wife's car's tires inflated properly, and a host of wonderful things that you cannot do with an electrical tool. When you own an air compressor, you will wonder how you ever lived without it, and place it just slightly behind your wife as a necessity. :D

That would be awesome, those 12oz canned air containers are getting expensive
 
curiousburke said:

they also sell Bosch, Milwaukee, Black & Decker, Porter Cable, DeWalt, and maybe more.




That would be awesome, those 12oz canned air containers are getting expensive

Right you are Sir! All you need to do is go to Harbor freight tools and you can pick up refillable spray cans for around $10 each, and you are in heaven. Just add our premixed contents, fire up the air pressure, and you are good to go and ready to launch.


;)
 
curiousburke said:



"any" ... now that's funny and self explanatory all at the same time.

so, you weren't kidding about the air compressor? I denfinately don't have room for one of those.

Get one that stands up. I have seen them selling for less than $275, and have a 25 gallon tank. Awesome!

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=93351

[IMGDEAD]http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/photos/93300-93399/93351.gif[/IMGDEAD]
 

BHTX

Member
2006-02-16 10:49 am
$275 could build a decent set of speakers. :D ;)
Actually, I do wish I had an air compressor like that.

Anyway, what IS the BEST method for strictly cutting holes for drivers in a sheet of MDF? A router, right? What about larger drivers like 15" or more? I'm still planning on my pair of WWCoaxWW OB's. It'll be my first major build, and I'm currently trying to plan for what all I need. Being an OB, things should be much easier I guess. However, the only experience I have with woodworking is from building subwoofer boxes years ago without any real equipment..just improvising. I honestly don't know how I got by with what I had, but I'd hate to do it again, as it wasn't easy. Any other enclosures I've done were either prebuilt (partsexpress, madisound, etc), or built by someone else. It's time for me to start building though, and I'd like to make it fairly easy without spending a ton on equipment. So, all I really need right now for this project is something to make straight cuts, and then something to cut holes, and perhaps something to help flush mount the drivers, and maybe round edges etc.
 
To cut round holes with a router, you need to construct a form of compass that is attached to the base of the router and has pin that would go into a center hole where the driver would rest.

Or you can save time by using a Jasper Jig, which is what I have. This thing really makes cutting circles easy.

[IMGDEAD]http://www.partsexpress.com/imageslarge/365-250L.jpg[/IMGDEAD]
 
My router cost about $35 used; it's an old Black & Decker "pro" model, which looks exactly like the less old Dewalt DW610 non-plunge router except the yellow parts are black. I've seen other good used routers for similar prices (pawn shops, thrift stores, yard sales). Just make sure it spins without wobbling or excess play in the shaft or horrible noises.

You can do a lot with a 1/4" straight bit with some imagination, but a flush trimming bit and roundover bit are really nice to have. Watch for sales on kits of imported carbide bits, since a whole set is often cheaper than buying a single Freud carbide bit.

There's a circle cutting kit at Sears that isn't bad; I found it was most useful for cutting small circles, like 6" ports, where the pivot needed to be under the router base. For larger holes (18" woofers) I made my own circle guide (1/4" plywood with a slot for a sliding pivot made from a T-nut with the prongs filed off and a bolt. The slot was 1/4" wide, since that was the only router bit I had, and it happened to be a nice sliding fit for the T-nut. The recess goes on the underside, bolt goes in from the top of the slot through a washer, through the T-nut and into the center pivot hole.

I recommend an "offset router subbase ". I made my own from thick plexiglas for working out along the edges and corners of cabinets. It also allowed flush trimming using a basic 1/4" straight bit, by raising the base up on a chunk of scrap MDF, then carefully adjusting the bit down so it would just shave things flush.

I'd choose a basic router with a single 1/4" bit over a jigsaw, even for cutting up the plywood or MDF. It would be slow, but I'd get nice edges.

An air compressor or shop vac comes in handy for getting dust out of the way (depending on how clean you need to keep your surroundings). The oilless, direct-drive compressors are cheaper, but they aren't supposed to last very long. But if you just need to blow off some dust, or run an air brush, or pump up a tire occasionally, a noisy little imported model for under $100 is better than nothing.