Column side dent, the inconspicuous rectangular base may actually be die most fascinating part of the duplicator. It distributes a cushion of air between tlx: jig and the surface that it's parked on. virtually eliminating all friction.Tills allows the router and its overhead stylus to move with the greatest of ease in a horizontal plane. The best part is that the air cushion has its origins in the "lungs" of a shop vacuum.
You probably don't think of your shop vac as a source of positive air flow. But all the air it draws in has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is out the exhaust port. Connect the hose to the exhaust port, and you have air streaming out of it. Connect the free end of the hose to the platen, which distributes the air across a surface with one tiny hole per square inch. The air gushing through these holes has enough force to raise the platen and whatever is resting on it. It doesn't raise it far—maybe lAo inch—but that's enough to move it freely across a flat, smooth surface.
Hie duplicator is the result of a collaboration between Fred Matlack, creative maven of the Rodale Press Design Shop, and Bob Moran, a woodworking writer and editor. I urged Fred to come up with a router duplicator to produce signs, copy simple carvings, and hollow out seats for stools or chairs. I had copies of photos of commercial duplicators and articles about what they'd do. and even sonic information about a shop-built duplicator from a British book.
Next thing I knew, Fred had a prototype suspended from the shop cciling.The key, he explained, is keeping the stylus, with which you trace the original or pattern, and the router bit, which cuts along whatever line the stylus follows, in perfect alignment, both always in the same axis.
Hanging the superstructure from the ceiling worked, but limited the horizontal range of the device.
A few days later, a working prototype of the duplicator you sec here was rolling back and forth on a workbench on huge, cartoonish wheels that seemed to be going in at least three different directions at once. Eventually, Hob entered this particular picture and contributed the idea for the air-cushion platen as a replacement for the cartoon wheels. He also contributed the idea of assembling the beams and the columns with threaded rods and nuts. Thus assembled, the superstructure is a knockdown unit. Broken down into beams and columns and platen, the duplicator is far easier to store. The columns and hardware can nest inside the beams.
Okay,you say, it's really cool. Hut what practical go<xl is it?
Reproducing carvings. I've mentioned. If you have letter-and-numcral stencils, you can make signs. You can reproduce carved and/or curvcd moldings.You can hollow out chair and bench seats, shallow bowls, and the like. Anything that can be viewed as a bas-relief carving is (odder for the duplicator.
The dictionary defines bas-relief as "sculptural relief in which the projection from the surrounding surface is slight and no part of the modeled form is undercut." In this case the "slight projection" is limited to a couple of inchcs and the proscription against undercuts can only be violated to the slightest degree bv using a ball mill in the router and a corresponding stylus.
If this were a factory or professional-shop duplicator with a four- or five-figure price tag. it would be interesting to read about how it works. The pleasant surprise is that this home-built duplicator does what the commercial equipment does, includes the sophisticated air-cushion device (you won't find that on those commercial models), but doesn't cost nearly what a purchased duplicator will.
This duplicator is built of commonplace hardwood lumber and plywood, uses off-the-shelf bearings and hardware, and requires a shop vac and a laminate trimmer.The shop vac must have a provision for connecting the hose to the exhaust port, and most vacs do. You don't need the biggest, most powerful vac.The laminate trimmer is not a whoppin' great pair-of-Clvdcsdalcs router, but you will discover it to be a very practical router, useful for all sorts of general-purpose routing.
You don't need oddball, hard-to-find router bits. An assortment of core-box (or roundnose) bits.V-groovcrs. and vcining bits—commonplace all—will suffice. You do need to make a stylus for each bit you use; and as you gain experience, you'll find that you use several bits on each project You'll start with a fairly large-diameter bit to clear broader areas, a small core-box to rough out lines, and a vcincr to refine those lines and etch in fine detail.
You just might find the duplicator useful in conjunction with hand tools.To reproduce chair scats, for example, you can use the duplicator first to cut a series of gauging grooves.'ITtcn you can gouge out the waste with the duplicator. and finally smooth things out with a spokeshavc. a travishcr. and abrasives.
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There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.