Thread: Automated Router table
29th Apr 2019, 01:56 PM #76
I was about to track down a couple of nice clamps for the Stops when I found a few of these copper clamp brackets in one of my parts jars (photo 1).
They fitted the insulator tube on the stop bolt perfectly, I clamped it around the insulator in a soft jaw vice and crimped up the ends with pliers for a perfect fit (photo 2).
The Cable running to each sensor is shielded audo cable, the last few mills of shield is removed leaving a single wire that is soldered to the copper clamp, a small plastic cable tie is used to hold the cable outer casing to a small bolt in the copper sleeve clamp, this takes any strain off the connection (photo 3).
Below much neater stop. The Sensor cable plugs into the back of the controller via a gold plated 3.5 mm stereo plug allowing for quick removal of the complete Fence Jig, time taken to remove the Base plate holding the complete JIG is under 20 seconds - or how fast you can remove 3 big screws.
FYI: I also updated the main screen layout for a more natural flow and clear spacing between the Fence and Lift controls.
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5th May 2019, 12:20 PM #77
Fence and Table Inserts
In a few months I plan on rebuilding the Router table as the automation of the RT has gone far beyond anything I initially anticipated. The automation has opened up numerous other uses including precision automated drilling of multiple holes to exact depth and exact spacing in timber larger than by Drill press capacity.
The final design of the Fence needs to be locked in to accommodate the automation. I was not happy with the fence inserts and was toying with going back to a sliding clearance fence design. Before doing so, I wanted to try one last time a simple idea of adjusting a Polycarbonate Fence insert to true the insert with the Fence face. I cutout a table insert and two Fence clearance inserts from some scrap 6mm thick Polycarbonate. The fence inserts took around 3 minutes each and the test table insert a bit longer.
The main reason I wanted to use Polycarbonate is the fact that it does not warp or change size with temperature and humidity, it's slippery and the work piece just glides across it, it's easy to cut on the bandsaw, doesn't chip or suffer from tear-out and is easy to sand, it's extremely rigid and strong and allows me to countersink two small captive screws to positively lock it in place in seconds. That's also the reason I used it for the Table bit clearance / dust control inserts. The latter held in by the Fence sitting over the top of it and the vacuum of the DC, you virtually can't remove it when the DC is running and of course the RT motor cannot start unless the DC in on.
A simple idea of 4 tiny levelling screws in a recessed frame in the Fence opening allowed me to adjust a perfect transition across the face of the Fence, once one Polycarbonate is levelled, all other inserts are perfect as there is no variation in the insert thickness, the same is true for the Table insert, it's amazing what a simple change of the insert material makes to the accuracy and feel of the Table.
So, the only change to the Fence will be to fit a small thick aluminum insert frame recessed into the fence opening to take the 4 leveling screws for the Fence insert plate, and the depth of the Fence will be increased by 10mm to around 115mm to give a little extra room for the various JIGS that attach to the Basic Sub Fence.
5th May 2019, 12:38 PM #78GOLD MEMBER
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
Mike, instead of fabricating an aluminium frame you could use screw inserts straight into the face of the opening?? That is one thing I have been doing with my build, all the drives, motors, rails etc are screwed to the table or sub board with inserts and machine screws. I buy them from McJings BTW.
5th May 2019, 12:59 PM #79
Yes good idea, if I decide to rebuild the Fence I'll just recess and do that. I'm also going to carry out some accurate tests on deflection under load comparing the thickest MDF, PLY I would use to 10mm or thicker polycarbonate for the Fence end plates.
11th May 2019, 06:15 PM #80
I've been writing code to automatically generate male and female box joint values for the RT and I finally got that working. Coding the automation for a Box joint was a lot harder that I though as Pin clearance has to be included, finding the best (elegant) way to do that with the least number of cuts was another task.
The real problem came when trying to test the program on the RT.
I initially tried to make the test joints using scrap and some cheep router bits that I had been given around 10 years ago - still new and sealed in rubber. I was wondering if they were designed to burn through the timber instead of cutting it, low cost bits ended up in the bin. I wasn't about to use my good bits on countless testing so I had to come up with a better way.
I initially use a center point bit (centering bit) and tried marking the position of each cut and drawing in the rest - very tiresome. Finally I decided to bite the bullet and have the controller draw the Male and Female joints using the same code that will move the Fence and BIT. The values are converted and scaled into Pixels (screen pin point dots) and the drawing is then an exact scaled version of the actual Joint.
This has allowed me to instantly view the Box Joint layout of any automatically calculated values, on screen instantly, as I change the input parameters.
1: Timber Width
2: Timber Thickness
3: BIT diameter
4: Pin clearance
I tried to get the photos as clear as I could but it is what it is with LCD screens and reflections.
Hopefully I'll get a chance to cut a joint tomorrow and post a pix or video.
BTW This is where the Automated Feed Stops really shine. You clamp the work piece to the Right angle JIG and you don't touch it again until the joints on that piece are cut, except to move the slide across the bit to the outfeed stop and back to the infeed stop. The Bit is automatically raised and lowered for each pass, the work piece is automatically advanced for the next PIN cut and the RT is automatically powered down when it's finished.
11th May 2019, 08:56 PM #81
18th May 2019, 01:06 PM #82
The FIRST Box Joint
Due to Family issues I have not been able to do any WW in the past week, I did however take my Laptop and in the spare time away I added BIT Step code to allow you to select how deep you want to advance the BIT into the workpiece with each pass to cut a Box joint. Today I got to test it, actually just 10 minutes ago.
This was the very first test box joint that I cut to test the RT Joint automation code, and the results were near perfect, except I had 0.2mm Pin clearance set and I really needed less. The Photo shows 0.02mm but this was taken after I complete the first test joint.
FYI: I set the fence to it's normal Home position (centre of the BIT), I measured the BIT Diameter and entered that into the program, the Program moved the Fence forward 1/2 the BIT diameter to set the BIT cutting surface level with the face of the Fence. You can turn one side of the Joint over and it still lines up perfectly, the joint is absolutely flush with the box face.
Anyway, I Just had to post a few photos of the first joint, this was some scrap with a split down the center, I didn't use any backing timber and had the BIT auto advance 3.3 mm at a time to cut each joint to the required depth, almost nil blowout.
BTW: I have not touched the joint, no cleanup, no sanding, nothing except sitting it together and taking a few photos. I didn't take a video because this joint was supposed to tell me where I went wrong and what to fix. Next up will be a video. Once again: To make the joint in each piece of timber, I simply move the Slide across the BIT when each Feed Stop LED turns green, and that's it. The Display informs me which PIN I'm cutting and the pass count for each cut for the total depth of cut.
BELOW: The Back of one joint and the Face of the other lying flat on the table.
18th May 2019, 05:39 PM #83
Settings for this size Box joint, decided to use the smaller bit for this larger 133 mm box.
Enter 3 values and it's ready to go with this screen showing the results with a fully scaled drawing of the joint by pressing VIEW. A 4th input value for stepping the BIT depth for each joint cut is optional.
I'm using scraps and unfortunately the light coloured timber is warped, it does not sit flat in the joint for this photo. I also wanted to see how a joint came out using no PIN clearance, is a tight fit and again with perfect alignment, the sides are reversible because of the perfect symmetry.
You can see the warp in the timber below.
Short video showing the automation. I do nothing but move the Fence mounted RA slide between Feed Stops, all bit and fence and Lift movements are automatically carried out by IN/OUT Feed Stop sensor automation.
18th May 2019, 07:48 PM #84
FYI Feed Stop display for previous video.
This is the display once the side of the joint to cut is selected. For a Box joint, one of the green buttons labelled Female and Male in the previous post. Apology for the poor quality but it gives you an idea. FYI when looking at the video I realised that the running display for Total BIT depth was wrong, I just fixed it in the controller code.
Well that's it for this thread as far as updates go. The other automated joints will be easy now that the Box joint is working, they are just basic variations of the same theme.
22nd May 2019, 08:34 PM #85
Fence Slide Mod
Just a FYI for anyone making a Fence mounted Mitre or Right Angle Jig. The idea of using a small polished piece of flat polycarbonate on the Slide leg was not that good, after quite a lot of use it lost the slick friction free feel, I decided to try a large inline skate wheel. This is magic as the rounded edge allows the wheel to drop off the front of the table and slide effortlessly back on, it only drops a mm or so as that's how far the base of the Jig leg is spaced above the table. The shape of the wheel allows it to slide sideways across the table top with the Fence movement even with a big heavy metal clamp holding a thick work piece to the Jig.
22nd May 2019, 10:37 PM #86GOLD MEMBER
- Join Date
- Jun 2005
Mike, would HDPE furniture glides work?
23rd May 2019, 08:35 AM #87
Hi Chris, I tried Teflon which is pretty slick but I think the problem is the surface of the Top, it starts out great but must get smoothed or something like that, it causes a sort of stiction between the two smooth surfaces, I noticed it even more when I used a heavy clamp to hold the workpiece to the slide, (my light weight aluminium units didn't have enough clamp surface length), so I fitted a spare inline skate wheel and bearing I had and it's even better than before, like using the tip of your little finger to move slide and workpiece through the bit.
The stability and strength of the Fence and slide is impressive, you can put a car battery on it and it moves with lightest touch as though there is nothing there it all.
FYI An alternate way of Automating the cutting of a Keyhole. The RA slide is locked in place and the workpiece is then held against the Slide and Fence, the Bit raises into the workpiece and the fence then moves back the required distance cutting the Keyhole. Fence speed and Bit plunge speed are selected from the Menu along with the Depth, Length and the offset from the edge for the keyhole.
2nd Jun 2019, 08:25 PM #88
iGaging Absolute Zero DRO scales.
This info may not be of interest here and I was going to put in the CNC forum, but CNC machines are different in speed and the demand for faster positional scale data and would not use these types of positional scales. However as I use these low cost iGaging EZ-View scales in my Router table I decided to add this info here.
The reason the EZ-View scales are not quite as accurate in repeatability is mainly down to the Scale sender (the small square box that slides along the flat scale rod) has a slight amount of sideways movement, this can cause a 0.01 to 0.02mm variation. It depends on how accurately you mount and track the slide to the Fence and motor Lift. I found there is also a slight problem with keeping the capacitive PCB close to the rail as the aluminium scale bar and plastic housing wear over time. Easy to fix if you know the problem.
So when I had a chance to try an upgraded iGaging Absolute Zero Plus scale I jumped at the chance. These are made of stainless steel and have a stainless steel main body that gives virtually zero slack and therefore no variation as they slide. The readout is very stable and they appear to be quite quick to update with their own display.
Unfortunately they send their data as separate decoded digits and the output is smoothed and averaged, totally useless for using the scale itself with a different controller in a closed loop system. The update speed is every 78ms to 98ms, that may sound fast but it's actually very slow if using for positional control. To illustrate, my controller can read the iGaging EZ-View scales in 3ms and total time from read (decode) to display on my 7" or 9" screen is 4ms to 6ms. That means the position of the Fence or Lift is read every 3ms or every 6ms with both moving to a requested position. Waiting 98ms for one iGaging Absolute DRO would see the Fence and Lift overshoot by 1 or 2mm - or more.
It's a shame as they really are nicely made. For standalone use for a position display they are great, just not in a closed loop automation device.
6th Jun 2019, 05:15 PM #89
Just a small build update.
I recently went over the Router Lift checking all screws, bearing rails, alignment etc to see how it had held up over the past year of testing and cutting. After doing all of this the router chuck centre point had shifted 1.34 mm from the Fence optical sensor set position, the reason? I found a split on the edge of the MDF Router mounting plate and had to reinforce it, so it shifted a mm or so.
Up until now you had to carefully adjust the Fence Optical sensor mount a fraction at a time and it was really time consuming to get it just right. So I decided to add a Fence calibration screen which does this in 10 seconds instead of 10 minutes. The only requirement is to "accurately" measure the diameter of a piece of 1/2" round metal rod that can be correctly clamped in the collet. It's works brilliantly, can be checked in seconds, and readjusted in seconds if anything has to be worked on, no more readjustment of the optical sensor mount, calibration adjustment is via the Fence calibration screen and the Fence rotary encoder in 0.01mm increments.
A: Fit the Rod to the chuck.
B: Plug the Touch plate in.
C: From the Calibration screen:
1: Press the Optical Home button.
2: Press Fence Touch button.
3: Hold the Touch Plate against the opening in the Fence, the Fence stops when the edge of the Round Rod is flush with the Fence face.
The Readout should show half the diameter (radius) of the rod, in my case it showed 7.14mm instead of 6.35mm (12.7mm round rod)
4: Turn the fence rotary encoder until the correct value is displayed.
5: Press Save and it's done.
The Fence Home position is now aligned to the EXACT center of the spindle or router motor collet.
The optical fence home sensor only needs to be installed within a few mm of the correct position, therefor the sensor mount no longer needs to be adjustable, thus simplifying the build. I was going to rebuild this test table but it's really working perfectly, looks like it will be around until the old triton router fails. BTW I may have a complete 7" touch screen controller available in a months or so it anyone is interested and wants to play around with automating a table or even part of a table, like a Bearing rail and stepper motor Router lift.
EDIT: I just tested the actual repeatability of the $6.00 optical sensor I used for fence home position. It trips within 0.01mm (0.0004") every time and may actually be better as this includes backlash in the screw drive, physical connection to the DRO mount and Fence endplate etc.
6th Jun 2019, 09:56 PM #90Senior Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
- South Gippsland
The controller is of interest to me (even though I have too many projects on the go). Iím amazed at what youíve achieved with this project. [emoji106]
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