Pantorouter template mount

The biggest annoyance with setting up my old pantorouter is that whenever I need to adjust the template vertically, I have to completely loosen it, at which point I need to make sure it stays horizontal. The metal pantorouter solves this by having a template mount that slides vertically. I came up with a similar system for my new pantorouter.

I didn't print out any drawings this time, instead just browsed the plans on my tablet computer in the shop.


The two vertical pieces on the sides need to have a notch cut out that is the thickness of the plywood that goes on the back. I cut this as far as I could on the table saw without over cutting (because the saw blade doesn't cut vertically), then finished the cut on the bandsaw.


I then rough cut the piece that joins the two vertical pieces on the bandsaw. I like to cut these odd shapes straight out of a big piece of plywood because that really cuts down on odd scraps of plywood. A 20" bandsaw really helps.


I then squared up the cuts on the table saw as much as possible.


Marking the 45° corners, which I then cut on the bandsaw.


Checking how this part fits on the posts and on the pantorouter.


The piece of plywood needs two slots cut into it. I made a shallow plunge cut on either side of this slot with the table saw, mostly to mark and score the lines accurately to avoid tear-out with the jigsaw.


The posts also get slots cut into them. These slots would best be cut with a slot mortiser or a pantorouter, but I don't want this build to be dependent on machines that you may or may not (yet) have.

I drilled a series of holes with a brad point bit.


But then switched to a 3/8" spiral router bit, with the workpiece clamped in a drill press vise to drill many closely spaced overlapping holes to finish cutting out this slot. I had to work from both sides to make the slot go all the way through. If you don't have a 3/8" (10 mm) spiral router bit, you should get one, because they are great for making mortises with a pantorouter.

Caution: Do not attempt to drill with a spiral router bit unless you are using a drill press with the workpiece rigidly clamped down.


Not the prettiest slot, but it's only there for passing a bolt through.


Next I cut the slots to fit the bars attached to the template holder. These keep the template holder horizontal as it's moved vertically.


Then gluing the pieces together.


I have to make sure the two vertical posts are parallel to each other. I made a spacer that puts them at the right distance to each other, then cut that spacer down the middle lengthwise to make two identical spacers, which I used to make sure the posts are parallel while gluing it up.


I cut two pieces of hardwood (maple) to fit in the slot, snug, but still able to slide in the slots. I glued on one side, making sure it was parallel to the edge.


While the glue was drying on that, I glued some pieces of wood into the bottom end of the slots, so I could then glue on more pieces of wood to the bottom of the template holder to give it a wider base.


I originally planned to glue the other strip to the template holder as well, but then realized, with so little play in the slots, if there is any wood movement in the template holder, this would cause the strips of wood to bind in the slots. So instead I'm screwing the other one on. Here I'm transferring the screw hole locations by pushing a screw into the holes I drilled into the template holder.

You can also see extra blocks clamped to the bottom of the template holder to give it a wider base.


I drilled the pilot holes in the strip of wood fairly small to get more thread engagement with the wood screws, but that means I'm more likely to split the wood when I put the screws in. So I ground one side of the tip one of the screws flat on my belt grinder and screwed it into every hole to pre-cut the threads in the wood.


Then screwing it together. If wood movement changes the distance between the slots, I can just loosen the screws and re-adjust it to fit.


Then drilling the holes for the mounting bolts.


Installing the mounting bolts. These lock the vertical position of the template holder and also keep it pulled into the slots. I'm using a threaded plastic knob, but later swapped that for a homemade threaded knob.


Placing the template holder. It needs to be about 5 mm behind the pantograph. I marked its position in pencil to help me place it again later.


Drilling the screw holes for it. I cut a V-notch in a piece of wood to help hold the drill vertically and also act as a depth stop so I don't drill into the base of the machine below.


Then with the template holder clamped where it needs to go, I used a drill to make shallow divots in the bottom of the template holder for where the screws go.


I used these divots to locate where the pilot holes need to go.


Then screwing it on from below. Wood screws don't hold all that well in the end grain of the vertical pieces, but I compensated for this by using really long screws to get lots of thread engagement.


I also drilled a series of holes in the template holder for mounting templates. I had to be very careful to drill these accurately.


Next: Making the table



Back to the Pantorouter