Week 1: Intros and Routers


“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.”
— Michelangelo

Michelangelo's David Sculpture

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.”
— Michelangelo


Subtractive Fabrication

Essentially, start with a hunk of material and remove portions of it until you have the desired object.  Whether it’s called machining, milling, turning, or sculpting — all we are doing is subtracting till we get the object we want.




We will introduce ourselves, talk about our backgrounds, and discuss what we want to get from the class.


The Tools of Our Trade

Router/Router Table

Hand Router


Desktop Mill


CNC Router

Techno HD-II 2136 Tabletop CNC Router


Wood Lathe

12" Wood Lathe

4 Axis Mill

MDX-540 4 Axis Milling Machine


What are Skill Builders

Skill builders are similar to labs in PComp.  The point is to spend time learning the machines and the techniques.  The only way to learn the tools is to use them.


What You Should Buy

Digital Calipers (or the 12″ ones)

Drill Bits (basic set of small bits for metal, wood, and plastic)

1/4″ Straight End Mill, Down-cut and/or 1/4″ Straight End Mill Up-cut (for milling wood, plywood, MDF)

1/8″ Straight End Mill (or here)

Quality Sandpaper (220 grit, 400 grit, and 600 grit)


Nice to haves

Tap and Die set (or at least the taps for your common thread sizes)

Scratch Awl/Scribe/Punch

Double Sided Tape

Deburring Tool


What I’m Looking For and Care About


Working Hard




Secrets to Success

Buy/gather materials and tools early and get more than you need

Fail fast, experiment, try things, then try something else

Start early, get started and familiar with the machines early


In Class Demos


The Othermill, the Techno Router, and the Roland 4 axis machines are basically just computer controlled routers.  We start with the hand router, a very powerful motor that spins a bit or end mill,  so you can get a feel for the operation.  We will go over the basics of the model we have in the shop.

The hand router is also the most affordable of all of the tools we will use in this class.  And could be a nice addition to your home shop.


Router Bits

The bits are what remove the material.  They come in numerous  profiles, and can be used in conjunction with other bits to great the desired geometry.

Router bit profiles

We will demonstrate the proper way to attach a bit, using a collet and collet nut.

Router nut, collet, and spindle

We will demonstrate the proper use of the router table.

Router table

Jigs, guides, fences

Circle Jig


Dovetail joint jig

Dovetail jig kit


Router Guide Bushing Kit

Router guide set


Custom Templates

Whiskey Barrel Whiskey barrel with router template

Whiskey barrel with routed out hole


For Next Week

Skill Builder

The goal of this skill builder is to become experienced using the router in conjunction with jigs and guides.  Many shapes can be made using simple straight edges and DIY made jigs.




Download the Bantam Tools Milling Machine Software, the software necessary to run the Othermill.  Also, become familiar with Adobe Illustrator if you are not already.  Buy 1/8″ endmills (or here).



Related Reading/Viewing

What Can You Do With A Woodworking Router?

Making Butterfly Inlay Keys with Your Router

Off the Shelf Router Templates

Router Lathe

Router Circle Jig