Cutting shallow, wide slot in hardwood

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I need the best, cheapest way to cut a 1-1/2" wide by 3/64" deep slot across a KD Beech block that is 2-1/4" wide. I need to do at least 2,000/day. I already do this but I won't say how as not to influence you. We are trying to come up with a better, faster cheaper way.
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Tom Gardner wrote:

Two passes each (one from each side) on a table saw equipped with a dado blade set to 3/64 high and just over 3/4" wide.
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Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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What will you pay for the best idea?
Only kidding. Gang cut as many pieces as you can fit on a table with an overarm track with a 3HP router(or other motor available) equipped with a 1 -1/2" end mill.
Dave
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Tom Gardner wrote: > I need the best, cheapest way to cut a 1-1/2" wide by 3/64" deep slot > across a KD Beech block that is 2-1/4" wide. I need to do at least > 2,000/day. I already do this but I won't say how as not to influence you. > We are trying to come up with a better, faster cheaper way.
It's custom tooling time.
How much are you willing to invest in multiple station equipment?
Lew
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Tom Gardner wrote:

Stack a bunch of workpieces together, use a (possibly CNC) router on an XY table with stops?
Maybe a mandrel, supported on both sides, with an extra-wide dado set and a custom table?
Chris
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How long is the beech block? I'd setup a RAS with a dado head and cut 4 of them at a time.
scott
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How long are the blocks? This only works if they are square - or close to it.
Router table with 2 inserts, offset by 3/4". Fence on one side, featherboard on the other. Use a 3/4" bit with end milling capabilities in each router. With another long featherboard over top, you could just keep pushing them through and they will fall off the outfeed side into a bin.
If the pieces are long, you could use the 2-router setup with a miter slot and sled. Put a stop block on the infeed side of the cutters, set the pieces (gang as many as you like) on the sled, set the ends to the stop block, pass through the cutters. Toughest part would be the initial lineup of the inserts/miter slot.
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On Thu, 28 Sep 2006 17:12:21 GMT, "Tom Gardner"

Dedicated shaper with an end mill cutter, a stack feeder onto the table and than a stock feeder through the cutter with roller featherboards hard fastened. Will have to experiment with cutter profiles depending on what you can live with for exit tearout.
With that kind of volume you should be able to rig up some simple hard automation for feeding and handling and make it a load and walk away.
Frank
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Good ideas so far, thanks. We now have a Hitachi 3 hp TR-12 with a 1-1/2" router bit in a table with a jig sliding on Thomson linear bearings. The operator drops a block in the jig , slides it through and it drops in a barrel. The routers last about 6 months then we throw them away as they are not worth repairing. I'm at about 4-5 seconds each now. I thought of a dado but 1.5 is too wide. I have a spare shaper with a powered round table but the cycle time would be hard to beat 5 sec. and the cost of building a table is about $800 in house.
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ShopBot with a straight cutting bit and gang the blocks as much as possible.
http://www.shopbottools.com /
Tom Gardner wrote:

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How about something like a Williams & Hussey molding machine with a set of knives that cuts a 1 1/2" wide, 3/64" deep groove down the middle. Then just feed the blocks through or, better yet, if possible, feed the stock through and cut it into blocks after the groove is in it.
Lee
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Is that for 5 days or 500 days? That makes a difference in how much you can afford to spend to automate. There are industrial machine cutters that can knock that out in a short time, but you will be investing far more than the cost of a dado setup on a cabinet saw or router.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

Yep. I'd think you could really crank out a bunch with a dado stack and some featherboards on a table saw. I envsion a flume type set-up on an infeed table, and a box on the floor behind the saw to catch them. Have one guy line up 15 or 20 blocks (how long are they?) and another guy push 'em through with a long push stick - the kind that sits on top with a heel at the back to catch the last one. I bet you could cut your cycle time significantly.
JP
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note: you could do a similar type operation with a shaper. jp
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3/64" deep? I'm curious, why do you need to cut this (I hesitate to use the word) "slot" anyway?
If I had to do 2000 of these a day, I believe I'd take this old 4" jointer I have but seldom use, and and grind an old set of knives to give the 1.5" width. Cut the blocks to length afterwards.
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No dumb questions, just dumb answers.
Larry Wasserman - Baltimore, Maryland - lwasserm(@)charm(.)net
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The blocks are 7" long and I buy them. I can't make them cheap enough anymore so I farmed it out to an Amish company, they do a great job! I only have to do 600-800/day but I can't dedicate 8 man-hours to it, only 3-4.
See: http://www.smithrestaurantsupply.com/browse.cfm/4,2134.htm this shows the parts and how they fit.
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On Sat, 30 Sep 2006 08:35:23 GMT, "Tom Gardner"

A dado stack or molding cutterhead would do the job quickly. Even if the stack isn't wide enough, it'd be pretty easy to bolt a sacrifical fence to the miter gauge (or make a crosscut sled) with two blocks screwed to it as stops at 6.25" from the center line on each side (assuming a 3/4" dado stack) Run the first cut with the block tight to one side, then slide the block over to the other side and finish it off. Simple, cheap, and quick- and you're not going to burn out a table saw every few months.
If the cut is rough from the dado stack, but needs to be smooth, easiest bet might be to use the above method, then clean the groove with a 1.5" sanding belt. Easy to make a jig for that, too- just get a standard industrial deburring sander and put a couple of blocks on a mount behind the belt to make sure the depth remains consistant, and a couple of stops on either side to ensure that the corners don't get knocked off when aligning the pieces. Same deal as above works here, too- if it's cheaper or easier to get 1" belts, get them and make the side stops a little oversized to allow the operator to slide the piece back and forth. Probably a good idea to make the sanding jig out of steel- it costs a little more, but will hold up a lot better to industrial-type use.
Should be able to make 800-900 pieces really quickly that way, unless your employees are masters at wasting time. Nice thing about what you're doing there is that you can just make a single jig for each step and lock it in- no excuses for boneheads to mess up a whole order of them.
As far as the repetitive motion goes, I don't think you're going to avoid that entirely unless you make a robot to do it. Which isn't a terrible idea either- a guy could do that mechanically for a couple of grand, and then set it to run and walk away. There, the router is probably the best bet, but you could get a heavy-duty motor and just mount a collet to it- no need to go out and buy a router with any bells and whistles if you are just going to mount it in a carriage.
Of course, if these are a real pain the butt for you and you'd like to outsource,
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only
Have you asked your Amish supplier how much they would charge to supply the blocks already to your spec?
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Roger Shoaf
If you are not part of the solution, you are not dissolved in the solvent.
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Gentlemen, we are in the presence of genius. Good question, Roger!
-- Mark
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You're right, he's right!
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