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  1. Pardon the dust, under construction Hey guys! Have you ever seen panels in installs like this and wondered how in the world did they get those shapes? Well with a series of router tips and tricks, you can start with literally any shape drawn on paper (shown on left), and transform it into a perfectly fabricated wooden template that you can then copy several times into future installs. (Shown on right). Take your installs to the next level with these shaped panels that you can use for hiding amps and crossovers, trimming around speakers, making amazing port shapes, the possibilities are endless! Let's get down to the nitty gritty: What you Need: Safety First! Make sure that you have eye protection, hearing protection, and a dust mask for that harmful MDF dust! Tools: Router and Router Table: Where to find: Online, Big Box Hardware Stores Starting Cost: $100 (Don’t let the cost deter you, you can easily make this back doing installs for friends and family) The workhorse of the operation the router and router table combo will allow you to use various “bits” to create different features that lead to the finalized template. Important features to look for: Variable Speed Compatible with .5" and .25" shanks Bit Height adjust from top of table Router Bits (List shows in picture left to right) Flush Trim Router Bit: Where to find: Online, Big Box Hardware Stores Starting Cost: 15 The flush trim bit will allow you to make copies of shapes and transfer them from one panel to another with the upper bearing riding against the edge of the “master” template you are copying. Spiral trim bits are better but are more expensive. Rabbeting Router Bit: Where to find: Online, Big Box Hardware Stores Starting Cost: 25 The rabbeting router bit allows you to make a 90 degree notch out of the template. This can be used in conjunction with the flush trim bit to enlarge or reduce the size of an insert. Watch the videos to understand this technique. It is in your best interest to purchase one of these with a set of bearings, allowing adjust-ability of the distance that the but will cut into your work piece. Roundover / Chamfer Router Bits: Where to find: Online, Big Box Hardware Stores Starting Cost: 15 each Though these bits are not required for template production they are very appealing when creating a finalized template as they can create a smooth rounded edge or an interesting bevel. When used correctly both can add an extra touch of appeal to a template. Jig Saw: Where to find: Online, Big Box Hardware Stores Starting Cost: 30 A more basic tool, there is probably not much info needed here. This will be used to rough cut your template shapes in order to minimize the work that your router must do to cut into the wood. Drill and Drill Bits: Where to find: Online, Big Box Hardware Stores Starting Cost: 30 Again, likely that you have an understanding of these tools. We will be using them to add a hole to start our jig saw when making “holes” on the inside of templates. Materials “Template Tape”: Where to find: Online, Big Box Hardware Stores, Art supply stores Starting Cost: 3 Also known as double sided foam tape this tape will allow you to hold work pieces together while performing steps with the router table. It can also be used to allow for material “gap” when wrapping various pieces with suede, vinyl, carpet, etc. Round and Straight Shaped Objects: Where to find: Everywhere! Starting Cost: FREE! In order to get parts of your shape to be perfectly smooth you are going to need existing surfaces to create them from. Start collecting large metal washers, speaker ring cut outs, straight edges from MDF etc!
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