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Teach me about routers

Old 11-24-2019, 10:29 AM
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Default Teach me about routers

Never used one before. I am wanting to basically make a copy of the outline of my existing dash panel, pictured below. It's 1/4" (approximately) acrylic. My plan would be to pull the gauges/switches/etc out of it, and then screw it to a piece of 1/2" starboard (new dash material). Then rough cut the outline of the dash with a jig saw, and come back and clean up the edge with a router. I have a Bosch 1069A router that's been sitting in my garage forever that's never been used before. 1/4" drive. Would a bit such as this work to clean up the edge, while following the outline of the old dash with the bearing? Then I would also like to roll over the edge slightly. As you can see my screws are very close to the edge, so can't take much material away at all, just want to knock off the hard corner.






Old 11-24-2019, 10:35 AM
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I am not familiar with the Bosch 1069A router, but if it is a standard trim router, it will work fine. On the bit side, for "pattern" work on fiberglass or acrylic, I really prefer the 3/8" diameter bit over the 1/2" size
Amazon Amazon
To roll the edge you will want a 1/16" radius bit
https://www.amazon.com/Freud-Radius-Laminate-Shank-41-502/dp/B002IPHGAC/ref=pd_bxgy_469_3/131-8253329-0410555?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B002IPHGAC&pd_rd_r=8aef4a1a-5158-4808-8f2e-0f70ab952b5f&pd_rd_w=QLNgs&pd_rd_wg=MniqI&pf_rd_p=09627863-9889-4290-b90a-5e9f86682449&pf_rd_r=TAS2C50WWJCSA65FRCS8&psc=1&refRID=TAS2C50WWJCSA65FRCS8 https://www.amazon.com/Freud-Radius-Laminate-Shank-41-502/dp/B002IPHGAC/ref=pd_bxgy_469_3/131-8253329-0410555?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B002IPHGAC&pd_rd_r=8aef4a1a-5158-4808-8f2e-0f70ab952b5f&pd_rd_w=QLNgs&pd_rd_wg=MniqI&pf_rd_p=09627863-9889-4290-b90a-5e9f86682449&pf_rd_r=TAS2C50WWJCSA65FRCS8&psc=1&refRID=TAS2C50WWJCSA65FRCS8
The best procedure is to use the dash as a template and put a 1/4" piece of plywood between the new dash acrylic and the old one so that you can avoid having the cutter too close to the old dash while still cutting the new one.

Last edited by LI32; 11-24-2019 at 10:41 AM.
Old 11-24-2019, 10:48 AM
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I'd find it difficult to follow such a thin piece as the template unless you offset it from the cut stock. Still would not be my preference. What I've often done in creating odd shape parts is to make a template out of MDF first. Bandsaw, jigsaw or scrollsaw and clean up with a file and sandpaper. Then clamp the MDF template to the cut stock and follow.
Old 11-24-2019, 10:49 AM
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I would cut the long straight cuts with a table saw and then round off the corners and loop around the steering wheel with a jig saw.
but that is just the way I roll.
nice long straight lines are a pain with a jig saw
Old 11-24-2019, 11:15 AM
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Yes, yes and yes.

First rule, with NO EXCEPTIONS! NO DISTRACTIONS of ANY KIND! This tool can do a LOT of bodily harm to you before you even knew it happened!

First play with your router to figure out if you want to pull into the rotation of the bit or push away from it. I know the answer but you need to learn the difference yourself to know why one way is better than the other. Hang on to that unit for dear life because if it bits and jumps YOU BETTER BE READY!!!

Speed in which you cut is something you'll want to play with as well. If you go to slow you can burn your material and get willnots. hahaha To fast and you run the risk of other issues.

How much you remove at one time will also greatly effect your experience. Make more passes at less depth will yield more experience and better results.

For knocking your corners off you can buy router bits with 1/8' radius and I would suspect even a 1/16" radius. But I would stay with the 1/8", more useful down the road. Now you don't have to use the full 1/8 radius to round over your edges, you can use any part of that radius for a round over. Play with your height/ depth (depending on how you are looking at it) of the bit.
Old 11-24-2019, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by 99yam40 View Post
I would cut the long straight cuts with a table saw and then round off the corners and loop around the steering wheel with a jig saw.
but that is just the way I roll.
nice long straight lines are a pain with a jig saw
Myself I would not; a routed edge will be a much cleaner edge then you will get with a table saw. A routed edge can simply be done with a simple straight edge jig. And with that jig it doesn't matter if the initial edge was cut with a chain saw.
Old 11-24-2019, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 99yam40 View Post
I would cut the long straight cuts with a table saw and then round off the corners and loop around the steering wheel with a jig saw.
but that is just the way I roll.
nice long straight lines are a pain with a jig saw
fortunately top to bottom and side to side are both 1/4” shy of being an even inch number. Looks like I would basically just have to cut out the curved notch for the helm and knock off the top corners.

Last edited by autobaun70; 11-24-2019 at 11:34 AM.
Old 11-24-2019, 11:26 AM
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I re-did my dash with black 1/4 " starboard. I learned it had a high degree of thermal expansion or something like that. Basically the dash expanded between two of the screws holding down and bubbled. At some point I'd like to do it again with Aluminum.
Old 11-24-2019, 11:28 AM
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A good saw blade can be expensive, but will cut a very smooth edge.
he does not have to buy one, but having the 4 long straight cuts done by someone with a good set up would be easy
Old 11-24-2019, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by fijon View Post
I re-did my dash with black 1/4 " starboard. I learned it had a high degree of thermal expansion or something like that. Basically the dash expanded between two of the screws holding down and bubbled. At some point I'd like to do it again with Aluminum.
Going with 1/2" just to avoid this happening. Undecided on black vs white, but leaning toward black. Looked at doing aluminum, but just way to much $ to have someone else do it, and I have no desire to spend that much time cleaning up cuts/edges.
Old 11-24-2019, 11:34 AM
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Make a jig, (template) then use the router for the entire cut.
Old 11-24-2019, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by fijon View Post
I re-did my dash with black 1/4 " starboard. I learned it had a high degree of thermal expansion or something like that. Basically the dash expanded between two of the screws holding down and bubbled. At some point I'd like to do it again with Aluminum.
sounds like you need to slot the holes or just bigger holes maybe so the material can move some without the screws putting it in a bind
Old 11-24-2019, 11:44 AM
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You could take it to someone with a water jet to cut it. Than use an 1/8" round over bit in a trim router on the edges.
Old 11-24-2019, 11:46 AM
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Hard tool to use. Can destroy days worth of measuring, cutting ad trimming in seconds.
I got an inexpensive router table and have used that extensively for finish work on smaller parts like dash panels. Much better tool for what you need.
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Old 11-24-2019, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Gullpt View Post
Make a jig, (template) then use the router for the entire cut.
whatís the advantage of templating vs using my existing dash as the template? Iím specifically trying to avoid free cutting cardboard and similar. At the end of the project itís getting trashed. Has some cracks in the center, but has a nice clean edge to it.

Originally Posted by 54bullwinkle View Post
Hard tool to use. Can destroy days worth of measuring, cutting ad trimming in seconds.
I got an inexpensive router table and have used that extensively for finish work on smaller parts like dash panels. Much better tool for what you need.
in this case I have the router already, and the risk is a $40 piece of starboard. Fairly tolerable risk if what I have will work.
Old 11-24-2019, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by autobaun70 View Post


what’s the advantage of templating vs using my existing dash as the template? I’m specifically trying to avoid free cutting cardboard and similar. At the end of the project it’s getting trashed. Has some cracks in the center, but has a nice clean edge to it.

Your template will not be made out of cardboard or similar material. You put all your time into making a wood or metal template that when done you can make a hundred or one panel(s) perfectly every time.
Old 11-24-2019, 12:09 PM
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I sent you a PM to call my cell if you need advise. I have done tons of cutting with router templates.
Old 11-24-2019, 12:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Garett View Post
Your template will not be made out of cardboard or similar material. You put all your time into making a wood or metal template that when done you can make a hundred or one panel(s) perfectly every time.
thatís what Iím not following. Is my current dash panel not an acceptable template to work from? If not, how would a wood/Metal/etc. be advantageous vs it?
Old 11-24-2019, 12:14 PM
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Not your original question,but starboard isn't the best material to make a dash out of,it's soft and gets mildew and dirt all the time.Your original dash is difficult to copy because of all the switches. Just saying,been there,done that. Maybe some quality vinyl overlay,carbon fiber,wood grain etc.By the way,starboard is a bitch to freehand rout and there is a learning curve to routing,plus starboard is expensive,so you don't want to waste it.

Last edited by muskamoot; 11-24-2019 at 12:20 PM.
Old 11-24-2019, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by muskamoot View Post
Not your original question,but starboard isn't the best material to make a dash out of,it's soft and gets mildew and dirt all the time.Your original dash is difficult to copy because of all the switches. Just saying,been there,done that.
one reason for the project is to get rid of the switches and gauge holes. Yamaha MFD going to one side, and stereo on the other. Open to other materials, just trying to keep it a simple project that I can DIY.

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