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Peter907

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Hi I'm Pete.
I'm retired and plan to try my hand at a few woodworking projects and improve my skills, hence joining this forum as I know I'll need lots of guidance as my ideas surpass my woodworking skills. I get a kick out of creating something out of nothing, and have previously done this by programming computer graphics using a lot of maths. Apart from simple (boring) household DIY woodworking chores, I'm a beginner with wood but have made a mini greenhouse, a potting table, an insect house and a wind spinner, all of which provided great enjoyment, photos attached. I have various basic hand and power tools and have recently had a big clear out in the garage to make it more suitable as a basic workshop. I will make a small dust extraction cyclone collector and plan to buy some new toys to kit out the workshop, initially a scroll saw, then a basic CNC router.
Here's my first query...
My current project involves cutting several 200mm diameter circles from 18mm Baltic Birch ply. I need to produce accurate circles with top and bottom edges as clean as possible since I will be glueing them together. I am prepared to practice and learn from some trial and error to create a good finish. I'm using a basic Bosch POF 1400 ACE and have a suitable trammel. I know I will need to take my time and cut just 3mm depth each pass. I've looked on Amazon and have in my basket some "up and down cut" spiral router bits that are said to maintain a much cleaner edge. Are these the way to go? Am I better using a smaller or larger diameter cutter? I've been scouring YouTube routing videos, so understand the basics, but any more specific tips and advice on this would be very helpful.
Thanks in advance,
Pete.
 

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TRITON

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You're going to likely have the edge over many of us by being able to fathom using drawing programs on the magic box.
And making anything is just a series of components you create one at a time then assemble. Put the effort into completing each part, dont rush or overthink it to the end product and you can create quite wonderful things.

Having printed out drawings are going to be more than half the battle. Designed on the computer(the new sketch book) then printed off so you know every part of every component. All sizes and shapes are there making the job i feel a lot easier.
 

recipio

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You will find that maintaining a clean edge on Baltic ply is a challenge. It is prone to infuriating chips as it is a veneer after all. By all means try a compression bit in a router with a trammel bar. However, I have found that sanding on a disc sander with a circle jig is the most reliable giving a clean and sanded edge free from chips.
 

Peter907

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Thanks for your replies recipio and TRITON.
@TRITON I just re-read my original post and apologise for misleading you. I have never used a software package for a CNC router before, but used to enjoy programming in various languages to generate 2d and 3d images just for fun on a computer screen, out of nothing as it were, on the screen only 🤣. Might be a little rusty at it these days, but hopefully I can transfer some of these skills to help me tackle the learning curve to use a CNC router when I get one. A while back I nearly bought a 3d printer, but then decided I would prefer to work with wood.
 

Peter907

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@recipio I suppose I'm trying to run before I can walk in wanting a perfect finish with less than ideal materials and beginners skills. I was intending to finely sand and finish these discs in Danish Oil or wood stain. But if they don't look perfect enough, I can resort to filler and paint to cover chip-outs or blemishes and place the project lower down along my learning curve 😊.
Any thoughts and advice on how the diameter of the cutter will affect the finished edge and ease of cutting? I only know that the larger the bit the more sawdust will be created.
 

TRITON

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Thanks for your replies recipio and TRITON.
@TRITON I just re-read my original post and apologise for misleading you. I have never used a software package for a CNC router before, but used to enjoy programming in various languages to generate 2d and 3d images just for fun on a computer screen, out of nothing as it were, on the screen only 🤣. Might be a little rusty at it these days, but hopefully I can transfer some of these skills to help me tackle the learning curve to use a CNC router when I get one. A while back I nearly bought a 3d printer, but then decided I would prefer to work with wood.
I was thinking of any drawing program rather than a fancy cnc router thingy. Even sketchup has me scratching my head. You'll probably be more used to the different files/loading/saving/that of thing.

Bit of paper/pencil and rubbish sketches are my forte.
 

recipio

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@recipio I suppose I'm trying to run before I can walk in wanting a perfect finish with less than ideal materials and beginners skills. I was intending to finely sand and finish these discs in Danish Oil or wood stain. But if they don't look perfect enough, I can resort to filler and paint to cover chip-outs or blemishes and place the project lower down along my learning curve 😊.
Any thoughts and advice on how the diameter of the cutter will affect the finished edge and ease of cutting? I only know that the larger the bit the more sawdust will be created.

Yes, I was just trying to point out that working with Baltic ply to achieve a modern furniture grade look demands attention to detail. It is possible without resorting to fillers etc which kind of defeats the purpose of using an expensive material in the first place.
The diameter of the router bit needs to be no more than 10 mm. If you are using a 1/4" router consider buying an 8 mm shank downcut spiral bit which is a lot stiffer than the 1/4 bits and will rout a very clean edge. As you say, take 3 mm passes deepening until the circle is made. It's a good idea to stick the center of the circle down first with double sided tape. ( I assume you have an 8 mm collet for the router.) Lastly don't use any solvent finish on Baltic ply as it will turn an unattractive honey yellow. Use an acrylic based finish like the Chestnut range of spray finishes. Be very careful sanding Baltic ply starting with 320 or 400 grit paper. It's pretty easy to go through that outer veneer. ! ;)
 

Peter907

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@TRITON Ah yes, Sketchup, I've messed around with that in the past when my neighbour got a 3d printer and made some bits for me. I will have to fish out the book SketchUp for Dummies which I have somewhere. I also find it easier and can do a pretty neat job with pencil, paper and other drawing instruments. Free hand artwork has never been my thing.

@recipio That's all very useful advice and new to me, thank you. Didn't know I needed acrylic for Baltic ply 👍. Will try a small scrap area with my Danish Oil just to see how it comes out. I have a range of sandpapers from very coarse down to 400, but would have probably started with a coarser grade without your advice.
 

6x4

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Yes, I was just trying to point out that working with Baltic ply to achieve a modern furniture grade look demands attention to detail. It is possible without resorting to fillers etc which kind of defeats the purpose of using an expensive material in the first place.
The diameter of the router bit needs to be no more than 10 mm. If you are using a 1/4" router consider buying an 8 mm shank downcut spiral bit which is a lot stiffer than the 1/4 bits and will rout a very clean edge. As you say, take 3 mm passes deepening until the circle is made. It's a good idea to stick the center of the circle down first with double sided tape. ( I assume you have an 8 mm collet for the router.) Lastly don't use any solvent finish on Baltic ply as it will turn an unattractive honey yellow. Use an acrylic based finish like the Chestnut range of spray finishes. Be very careful sanding Baltic ply starting with 320 or 400 grit paper. It's pretty easy to go through that outer veneer. ! ;)
Good advice above. One more thought if you want edge as well as face quality and if you’re able to do this. Cut the circle oversized (straight or down cut bit with a good flat backer underneath to avoid breakout on the bottom), then reduce it with very very fine cuts. A compression bit could be good for this stage with the piece raised off the backer.
 
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