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Discussion Starter #1
So, I realized that I couldn't keep going the way I am with jigsaw cutouts, so I decided to do the right thing, and get a router, then after seeing that the standard circle jig was $40 for a piece of acrylic with some holes, I thought I could build one myself... we'll see...

I was actually on my way to Lowe's when I drove by a pawn shop and could see chop saws through the glass and thought to myself I might be able to find a used router.

I found one with a plunge attachment all covered in drywall dust for under $10! A little WD40, and the plunging mechanism was smooth as can be.



I stopped by our local plastic store, and found a bin full of scrap pieces of various acrylics, plastics and stuff. I found a little piece for $1, just thick enough to countersink into.

I took the base off of the router, punched some holes.



Drilled, then countersunk the other side.



Fastened the router to my new jig, and plunged through it.


Measuring 5.5" from the edge of the bit hole, I marked the center of the pivot I would drill.


I was shooting for 11" OD cutout, but it ended up being a 32nd over or so. I think I can live with that, or drill a few more holes.



So now $11 later, I can cut a nice circle. I am hoping a proper router bit will be a little bit nicer than the bit that is in there now, it looks like something for a roto-zip. I think I will leave the paper on the acrylic so I can write on it as needed.
 

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Hey wow great bargain! Don't skimp on the new bit though. Mdf is tough on router bits, and dull bits can make routers dangerous. Also if you are making more than one ring of the same size, you can use a "staight bearing bit" to cut copies of the original. Next you'll want to turn that thing upside down and put it into a table! Have fun!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
If it's upside down, then how do I start a cut? Or is that just for doing other things besides circle cutouts?
 

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That would be using the flush cut bit I was describing. You would make your "pattern" circle first with your circle jig, and then screw a rough cut ring to the pattern and rout one to the other. Here is a video showing the basic idea although the bearing is on the other end of the router bit, but you should get the idea. In the video he is routing a stacked set of wood for another application. It is alot easier doing one ring at a time. I feel as if I should give you my standard warning that routers can be very dangerous so proceed with extreme caution!

YouTube - Tall Part Routing.mp4
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I see, it looks like I will have to order some bits. What is important to look for in a bit? I see quite a range in pricing, but don't know the first thing about picking a quality one.
 

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You can get good quality carbide bits from Home Depot/Lowes. A brand I buy a lot is Freud, but there are many other good ones. As usual you usually get what you pay for. Oh yeah make sure the shank fits your router, 1/4" and 1/2" are standard. Most routers can do both if you have the right collets (the nut that holds the router bit). Also the length of the router bit can be important also. For flush trimming a pattern, I would use a bit with a cutting length of at least 1" or longer. Check out some more videos on youtube to learn techniques, but check the reviews to make sure the author of the video is using safe practices. Hope this helps!
 
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