CNC alternative

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Mark J
Posts: 23
Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 8:40 pm

CNC alternative

Post by Mark J »

I frequently pattern some things I build including some small boats in case I want to revisit paying Matt and building another and being able to zip it out fast and accurately.

The poor man's CNC. I can't justify 15 grand for a Shop-Bot as much as I would like to.
My current project is the 15-32 Wadefish in Okoume.
I lay out mainly my panels and frames on to 1/2" MDF. I only spring a batten one time per line. My batten is 1/2x3/4 clear pine stock laid on the 3/4 side.
I use an airgun to nail my batten in place with 3/4" brad nails.

Once the batten is down, I take a router with a top bearing trim bit and cut that line. You need to trim most of the excess off with a saber saw first and I recommend using 1/2" shank router bits. They don't chatter like a 1/4" bit will. Move on to the next line of offsets and do the same.
You only need to cut one of each panel as you can use that template for both a starboard and port panel.

Lay out your templates on the plywood for the boat per the nesting drawing and trace the part. Rough cut each part and then use double sided tape to stick the template to the plywood.
Take a trim router (small hand held router) or a large router table and chuck up a bottom bearing trim bit and cut the part.

For me it's pretty much a two day job on most small boats but worth the extra cost in the MDF and extra shop time.
It pays off when you start stitching panels that are exact duplicates of one another without sanding one to match the other, which means that both parts are "off".
The build goes together so much easier and faster at this point.

Put those routers to work. I frequently use a router rather than a saw to true an edge.
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