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Reed Pan Router?

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Don't be a Luddite. C N C is THE way to go. Easy to modify and change and once you have mastered the basics you will love it. You can make all the wooden components on the machine I have made several new ends on our's at the Factory ( it does help being the Boss )

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How about using a Router Dovetail template machine with specially cut dovetail shaped slots to correspond with the various sizes of reed-frame? I have a Router & Dovetail templates which I purchased reasonably inexpensively from Axminster Powertools. These also come up quite cheaply from time to time at Lidl and Aldi.

Mine has a couple of interchangeable plates for cutting dovetails and narrower box joints. These have straight slots, but I am sure that these could be turned over and the blank side cut suitably by an engineer with a milling machine..



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attachicon.gif$_1.JPGWould i be barking up the wrong tree with a little compound table and mini milling machine.. like ...

Yes, it would be very difficult to produce dovetail-shaped slots on a manual mill because you have to move two axes at once.


Probably the cheapest/easiest way to get into CNC routing is with kits like the Shapeoko and X-Carve. I went a different route (Taig milling machine) because I needed a more rigid machine that can also cut metal parts such as reed shoes. Eventually when funds allow I may get a router too because they have much larger X/Y capacity.

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Sean, non CNC machining relies heavily on "jigs" which in this case means physical devices to constrain the work while allowing precise cuts to be made. Making jigs is very time consuming and requires very decent hand skills. A prominent maker once described himself to me as primarily a jig maker.


CNC methods largely replace the jigs with software. The great advantage of this is, it is easily changed. A decision made to change a detail while testing in a virtual environment might take 10 mins to achieve; the same thing in a manual jig environment might take half a day. This allows fast and easy correction of mistakes, and you will make a few! And once something is set in a CNC environment the machine will always get that part right.


Even with good jigs manual methods have moments when you need to push something just so. And they will always need that manual discretion, even the morning after, even when you don't actually want to be there, even when you can't get the third part to Dr O'Neil's out of your head, or you just fought with your partner. Meanwhile the CNC doesn't even know it is getting it right every time.


There is romance in creating something completely by hand but concertinas have never been completely hand made. And you might feel you are handing the job over to a machine and will miss out on a sense of achievement. Don't worry, you will feel achievement, it just happens in your head rather than your hands.

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CNC is a great blessing! I started out with dumb machine tools and a lot of jig making. You get locked into your mistakes just because of the time it takes to correct them. In the long run CNC is a cheaper way to go and makes the inevitable adjustments to your designs a piece of cake, which means you will actually do them. I have a 20 year old gantry router with a good VFD spindle that happily runs up to 24000 rpm. I do most of the woodwork and nearly all the metal work on it, including cutting out my current reed shoes ( used to punch them out with sets of dies that had to be changed for each size that I made myself on the dumb machines, but would have cost me around 30 grand to have them made for me. ). I cut a lot out of .093 inch hard brass sheet which it has no problem with. Long as you get your feeds and speeds right the machine has no difficulty with it. It is remarkably accurate and repeatable. There are so many more choices now for machines and software at all levels. Do some research. You can do so much more with a single CNC machine, but you do need to learn about machining a bit, especially if you work in metal. Having a good machinist friend never hurts! Saves a lot of broken cutters.


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We have 2 Haas V F 's ' super machines with great after sales service. All the machines are modular in that spares are interchangeable across the range We used to have a Cincinati ran well until they went bust then £70,000 down the drain as it became difficult to maintain

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yes, CNC is by far the best way to go: But, if you have a Mac. computer and don't have a CNC driver program for it, there apparently is not one, then a very nice router jig can be made that approximates the Lachenal/Wheatstone instrument.


You need


four lineal rails and bearings,

a 4" rotary table,

a 6" X 6 x 1/4 sheet of alloy, or hard wood

solid stand capable of positioning a dremel

a long screw to move the dremel up and down in the mill jig (it is possible to purchase a small alloy mill made especially for dremel from ACARA industries).

12 inches of 2mm brass rod


Mount the rails to form a 2 axis table with the top rails mounted to the lineal bearings of the 1st set below

the alloy / hard wood plate is screwed to the lineal bearings of the on top rails.

the rotary table is fitted on top of the alloy plate

All is positioned under the dremel mill which uses the screw to adjust cutting height

A brass rod pointer is fixed to the frame of the mill at right angles to the travel of the rotary table along the top rails to gauge the angle of cut when the rotary table is turned under the router bit


The reed place is screwed to the rotary table


When the table is moved under the dremel router bit, the bearings' preload means the pressure is constant and allows for an even cut.


he piece is moved by hand pressers, and can be very accurate and fast when one gets the hang of it (about an hour a reed pan, both sides)


I have made a number of reed plates this way. The first two were not too good (Chris Ghent can vouch for this, he saw my first effort recently) but the later ones are as good as Lacunal could produce.


I am happy to upload a photo, but unfortunately am out of space. Anyone who would like a photo of the jig, please email.


But a CNC is much better, much faster, and much more can be done with it, e.g., cut the end plates, my method is for cheap skates and Mac desperadoes.



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