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Overarm Routers

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by count_funkula, May 30, 2005.

  1. What the general opinion of overarm routers? They look really dangerous but I would like something that has that kind of versatility. Perhaps a pin router with the pin on top would do?

    I want to start using spiral bits for shaping my bodies and necks. Any thoughts?

    Grizzly has a overarm router rig that can use your existing router motor.
  2. If I could afford one I would have one in a minute. Danger is as danger does and these routers have been around for a long time - there are plenty of safety protocols developed to use with them. The flexibility to make adjustable, indexing jigs that could be kept very stable is just one of many reasons this tool would be great to add to the arsenal. It's not the only router to use but it would be great to develop some processes with.
  3. Keith Guitars

    Keith Guitars Commercial User

    Aug 25, 2004
    Woodstock, NY
    Builder: Martin Keith Guitars
    Hi Guys,

    We here at Veillette Guitars use an Overarm Router for about 80-85% of each electric we build! We use it for:

    -truss rod slots
    -headpiece shape (including tuner holes)
    -neck taper
    -body shape (and electronics route)
    -neck pocket
    -fingerboard radius
    -Arched electric tops
    -Spot leveling/stock removal
    -Neck back rough rounding

    ...and much more. Really big heavy work like body shaping, down to really fine detail work like acoustic bridge slots,
    etc. are all done on the router.

    Safety concerns are really pretty relative. We won't use a table saw, since both Joe V. and I feel that they are MUCH more dangerous than the router. With a modicum of technique and a well-designed fixture, it is one of the safer machines. It's versatility is also unmatched.

    Don't be scared! Any machine will hurt you if you use it wrong...even a chisel or a piece of sandpaper. Just be
    reasonable, be safe, and think twice before doing it!

    Martin Keith
  4. yes, I temporarily 'erased' my left index finger print with 220 grit sandpaper while leveling an epoxy coating. Paper got clogged quickly and I went to the water to remove the clog, never noticed the darn thing went right through my skin.
  5. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004

  6. Light duty would only be determined by how sturdy it's structure is. If you are going to use the same router motor as you would normally (your Porter Cable for exampe) it will cut the same types of materials in the overarm as it would in a table or freehand. I've drawn up plans using the extrusions I have access to but haven't gotten around to pulling the parts together. I've solved all of the motor mounting issues but I would like to put more mass into the tower structure and still have the adjustments. The additional mass would be to keep vibration down and the motor more stable in it's mountings.
  7. ArtisFallen


    Jul 21, 2004
    i'm thinking light duty as it mounts your standard router. it's not some three speed free-hand rendition of a milling machine if that's what you're looking for.
  8. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    This is really cute!
    I like to use a drill press for as much as possible, but this kind of gadget could be a better choice for most instances.
    Nice link to the DIY, thanks!
  9. Rick Turner

    Rick Turner Commercial User

    Jul 14, 2004
    I design and build electric basses and pickups under the Turner, Renaissance, and Electroline brand names.
    I've got two overarm pin routers, one is a 7 1/2 HP Ekstrom Carlson that's about 60 years old and going strong...at about 1,500 lbs of iron, and the other is a smaller (that's relative...) Onsrud/Shoda that's probably about 3 HP and weighs in at about 1,000 lbs. These are two of the safest machines in the shop as far as I'm concerned. You don't have to worry about them moving toward you, for one thing! Also, the jigs can be designed to be safe. Next to a CNC machine, pin routers are the best tools for production or even prototyping that I can think of.
  10. Its to bad you dont live in Germany. I will be setting up a shop in the next couple of monthes and of course A pin router is the first thing on my list of heavy maschinery. In the former East Germany when the wall fell all kinds of furniture and cabinet shops were bought out and modernized by the CNC lovin west Gs. So they went and got rid of all there Pinrouters. There are warehouses all over east Germany that are selling these things with complete compliments of router bits for between 900 and 2500 dollars The cheapest ones Ive seen are God-like in comparison to what is availible for a hefty price in the USA.
    the sites in englisch to
    They also ship overseas i believe
  11. Rick Turner

    Rick Turner Commercial User

    Jul 14, 2004
    I design and build electric basses and pickups under the Turner, Renaissance, and Electroline brand names.
    Pin routers come up all the time on Ebay, and they're being phased out of a lot of furniture factories as the switch is made to CNC machines. $600.00 to $1,200.00 will get you one hell of a machine if you look for it. You might need to either put in 3 phase or get a phase converter, but pin routers are where it's at for the small shop.
  12. Thanks Rick, I'll start watching eBay.
  13. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Just to dig up an old thread, today I purchased a burnt out radial arm saw from a machinist friend. He bought it with the hopes of repairing it, but the motor is toast and he can't find a replacement. $75 CDN gets me a fully adjustable overarm rig with a nifty sliding motor mount.

    A closer look shows that rigging a router mount into the old motor housing will be remarkably simple. I figure this thing will make one sweet overarm pin router, and the sliding feature is going to be amazing for slotting fretboards and the like.

    If anyone's interested I can let the forum know how it works out.


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