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Author Topic: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!  (Read 53613 times)

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vertexguy

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #200 on: October 14, 2022, 11:41:58 am »
OK.  I decided I need to get my butt posting again even if it's chalked full of failures.  More will come next week (hopefully with successes) as I decided to spend more money to get this thing moving again.

So as mentioned before, the router I have (a craftsman) which I bought years ago when I started this project without knowing anything about routers, has a major flaw in that it's impossible to keep the base aligned to center to use bushings.  As soon as you unlock the base, there is a crazy amount of play in it, so removing it to change out a bit inevitably changes the alignment of the base every single time.

Here is a quick view of a test piece where I'm trying to run a simple straight 1/8th cut down the length of the board.  The idea was to be perfectly centered on the line, but that didn't happen.  As I worked further down the line, the further off and wobbly it became due to router rotation and the bit not being perfectly centered to the base.



Here you can see the full pattern I'm attempting to do drawn out on the board.  This is just a test piece, but it's showing me things I need to account for as I go (so it's serving its purpose).  First I noticed that when I take out that center cut, with the back of it being channeled out down to about 1/16th remaining, it's pretty easy to bend it.  Looking back at my laminated test from almost a year ago, that feels a lot stronger, so I'm trusting the laminate and glue will add a little more strength to the final thing.  It will also have 1/8th plexi behind it so that should help as well.  The main goal here is that if it gets kicked, it won't weaken or break over time.




After this I attempted to route out one of the larger rectangle shapes at the top of the design, and to no surprise ran into all kinds of issues due to the base alignment being off.

As a reminder, the end product will look like this small test pattern on the right of this photo with the laminate applied, producing an evenly lit shape, but with LEDs running on either side of it that can animate patterns up and down the whole design.



This finally caused me to break down and rationalize that no matter what, I need a better router to do this kind of precision work.  I also justified that my current router is too damn big for me to be able to use it effectively to trim a lot of the complex pieces on this thing when I put the laminate on.  I was hoping I could find what I wanted in the local stores, but unfortunately all they seemed to have was a more expensive battery only model, which I don't want.  I watched a lot of videos and the DeWalt 611 palm router seemed to get high praise from everything, so I ended up ordering that on Amazon.  Should be here late this weekend.



I'm not sure how it will perform with all the other types of router cuts I've been doing given this is a significantly lower HP router, but I figured I should definitely get the plunge base so I can do things right and only cut away 1/4" deep at a time.  This has a super simple turn of a knob to drop the bit by a 1/4" in 4 steps, so that should speed things up and give a much better result.  The design of the base also suggests far better precision no matter if you are lowering or raising it or changing bits due to the spiral design.  Every review I read said it was super accurate.

To support using this new toy, I also went out and bought some precut oak boards that are 1/4" thick.  The thickness is just a little bit taller than the bushing, which is what you need.  The idea here is I wanted as perfect of a straight edge as I could get, but from all sides so I now have a reliable flexible pattern to cut out any rectangle shape up to about 9 inches.  I used hardboard in the past to do this but because I don't have a miter saw, it's a lot harder to make perfect rectangles.  So this allowed me to only worry about 2 sides instead of 4.  The hardboard is also pretty much exactly the same height as the bushings, so I wanted a little more wiggle room to be safe.  I also remembered after trying this just how hard that is using a skill saw.  I kept getting edge chip and slight wobble even when trying to run the saw sled against a straight edge board.  In the end, I went old school and relied on a hand saw in a plastic saw guide, and that got me the best straight 90 degree cuts.



Now I should be ready for when my new router arrives.

In other news the white board I've been using for my work table is pretty warped now is kind of unusable for this type of router work.  The warps make it impossible to lay long pieces down flat.  Not sure if that  happened from the board staying in my garage, or perhaps a combo of that plus me bending the board the past year with clamps with some of the techniques I used for routing.  Either way, I need to find a new flat table board solution.  I have an old laminated desk board in storage I might try to use, but it also has a pretty thick edge that might be problematic for my clamps to fit on.  We shall see.

I also need to think about how I'm going to translate my test board into a pattern.  The pattern needs to account for the additional offset that the bushing requires.  Once I have that made, it should be super simple to get consistent results between the 2 panels I'm making.  Stay tuned!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2022, 11:13:10 pm by vertexguy »

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #201 on: October 14, 2022, 11:51:46 am »
The right tool definitely helps.... especially when you are doing all the intricate things you are attempting.  Hard to justify the $$$ if there's not a longer term use though.  Luckily my Craftsman router worked for my simple cuts.

Good to see you making progress!

vertexguy

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Re: The Kline's Arcade - 4 player - first build, help needed!
« Reply #202 on: October 29, 2022, 06:18:15 pm »
My new router arrived a little later than I'd hoped, but it's here, and so far it's working out great.


First thing I did to test it out was to check the alignment once I had the bushing in the plunger base.
For those that don't know like me before this, bushings are round metal guides that fit into the center hole on the base plate. They have an extruded smaller metal hole to ride along a template and your bit pokes through that smaller hole. 



You also have to account for the offset from the bushing outer edge to the blade with your templates. The part that annoys me is they don't include a centering tool when you buy a router!
 You have to order it separate, and I can't get one in the local home improvement stores.  So rather than let that stop me once again, I figured out an alternative.
 
The 1/4" shank on my tiny 1/8" bit is pretty much the perfect size to fit in the hole of the bushing I'm using. 



I flipped it upside down and left as much of the shank sticking out as possible to make my own centering pin.



I loosened the screws on the base plate so I can align it.  Then I realized I had to lock the plunge base in place before the next step or it would still have too much play.

After locking the base, drop the plunge base onto the bit and move the baseplate accordingly so the bit pokes through the bushing.



That centers the base plate. Then tighten the baseplate screws and its good to go. I let the plunge base extend full again and then I have enough room to remove the bit and flip the bit around.

If I have to unlock the baseplate for any reason, it then must be recentered.

I first did some tests with the scrap piece I initially started on by setting up my rectangle templates to be 1/8th wider than the pattern and started cutting. 



This piece already had a bad center cut line and one messed up rectangle from my old router, but the new rectangles came out decent.



That gave me the confidence to attempt to make a template. I saved some pieces from an old TV cabinet we were getting rid of for this purpose.

The back of it was a nice 1/4 thick piece of mdf.  However mistakes were still abound.  I later discovered I somehow messed up my pattern dimensions.

Here's the finished template.



I decided not to put the center line in the template as I will only need a straight edge for that. Then I decided to test the template out on more scrap wood.  Glad I did.

Turns out my offset wasnt quite enough, so my resulting pattern is 1/16th too small.

I also realized after the fact that I need to only make 1/4" deep cuts at a time, and most importantly, vaccuum out the dust in between passes.

Because I didnt vaccuum as I went or in between depth cuts, the dust gathered in the corners of the template and change the shape of it. So as I went deeper with each pass, the corners became more packed with saw dust which prevented me from getting the right shape deeper down.



Once I got all the rectangles cut I wanted to test cut a center line to make sure it would be perfectly aligned.
 Here you can see 3 attempts, starting on the right and going left, adjusting after each.

My guess is the first cut was off slightly because of the router tipping ever so slightly.

To fix that, I built up an equal height set of boards on the opposite side of the template and that got me the third cut.

The second was me moving the template further away in hopes of correcting it but that wasn't the issue.



Now with support on both sides, I'm ready to cut the center line.  I did this in 3 passes to get all the way through, moving 1/4" deeper each pass.

The result was almost right. Turns out I didn't have everything taped down well enough. When I finished the cut I noticed there was a slight wiggle to the bottom boards.

It started nice and centered but it gets off by about a 1/16th by the other end. I'm gonna think on it a few days and decide if I like the smaller design or if I want to widen it.  I'm also debating the center line because while it looks ok, it weakens the board a lot more.  It will have some additional strength from laminate and then plexi pressed against the back. Once I decide on those items I'll cut the final pieces, laminate them, and use the template to add the design.



Hopefully I can post some better updates again soon!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2022, 11:33:18 pm by vertexguy »