Popular Post Mick S Posted April 19, 2020 Popular Post Report Share Posted April 19, 2020 I ordered the Hybrid PantoRouter at the end of March to take advantage of the promotion Mac Sheldon (the importer) of Woodcraft Solutions LLC was running at the time. I was expecting it to ship some weeks into the future, but was pleasantly surprised that they were in stock and shipped the same day. Unboxing The 2 boxes arrived via UPS 3 days later, very well packed in completely recyclable materials and with no shipping damage. No foam peanuts, no inflatable cushions. More on the packing later. There was no empty space in the main box that would allow for something to shift. Very well packaged. Assembly Mine is the third (I believe) generation of the metal Hybrid PantoRouter. The main difference between this and the previous versions is the cast aluminum base. Earlier versions used extruded aluminum bolted together. This made the assembly very quick and easy. I have to assume that Mac has studied the SawStop packaging, assembly materials and owners manual because the similarities are too great for it to be coincidence. All the parts were clearly labeled and packaged for their intended uses. The assembly instructions were clear and complete. The manual is bound just like SawStop’s manual. Assembly took about an hour, start to finish. Note the orientation of guide bearing arm in the above and below photo - reversed. After I assembled it I noticed something peculiar. The guide arm used to trace around the templates was preassembled backwards. The template bearings would not reach the templates as a result. I took a photo and sent it to Mac. He immediately sent me instructions on how to fix it (remove two spring clips, pull out the pivot pins and reverse the arm - 10 minutes). He was very embarrassed by it and said he’d never seen one assembled that way in the 5 years he’s been the importer, AND he credited my card back $100 for the trouble. Great customer service! The Learning Curve The concept of the PantoRouter is pretty simple - there’s a guide bearing that follows a template (2 - 1 ratio of template size to cut). There is a 2.5:1 reduction in the force needed to move the router, so it’s very easy to climb cut, something you can rarely do with a regular router or a router table. The workpiece is clamped to the table and the router can move in 3 axes. There is a hole in the center of the template holder into which you can insert any of the template bearing shafts and lock the router dead center on the table. They supply a special bit for the router that has one side of the pin ground down to the center and comes to a sharp point. With the pin mounted in the router, set it onto the table, flat side down and then scribe a line across the table using a square. The center is the start point of the setup for most cuts. With the template centered on the template holder, the router is automatically centered to the table. Ingenious. The PantoRouter website is excellent and has numerous downloadable how-to sheets as well as lots of videos. There are also hours of videos on YouTube. There is a learning curve to the machine, but it flattens out really fast. I chose to download plans (from Jay Bates’ website) and make a cart for the machine as a first project. It uses inexpensive big box construction lumber and plywood and incorporates several mortise and tenon joints as well as box joints for the drawer construction. I mentioned above about the packing materials - the shipping holders for the templates can be used to store the templates and keep them from rattling around in the drawers. Here are the first sets (4 drawers) of box joints I cut. Mortise and tenons are a great way to see how ingenious the tool really is. It’s so well thought out, and thought through that I can only say I get giddy using it. Example: If the fit is too tight (mortises are cut first), the way to adjust it is to move the guide bearing a little out from the template holder when cutting the tenons because the templates themselves are slightly tapered. This results in the tenon being shaved off ever so slightly. The same template(s) is used to cut the mortise and the tenon. Since making the cart I’ve also played around with dovetails. The fit is adjusted by moving the template holder down slightly and recutting. Since the template is tapered to the angle of the pin, the lower the template the looser the fit. My second project was a commissioned door for a HVAC closet that had to match the existing doors in the office, but with a louvered register for return air. I cut the mortise and tenons 3” wide by 2” long and ½” thick, two on each side of the bottom rail and one on the top rail. Piece of cake and spot on. The next challenge was making the louvered panel. The louvers were set at a 35 degree angle, ¼” x 1 ¼” x 20 ½”. There were 19 louvers in all. I toyed with making a special template but then had the idea to mount one of the supplied mortising templates at an angle on the template holder. It worked like a charm. I could have made a “pin” that each mortise would fit into after being cut and slid down, but instead just put tick marks at 1” intervals all the way down the length of the frame piece and positioned each tick mark on the centerline of the table. I ganged two pieces together and made the louver stiles in about 20 minutes. Cutting the louver stiles was pretty easy once I thought through it. I set the mortise template at an angle for the louver cuts. Impressions This thing is causing me insomnia thinking about all the ways it can be used. Since I have CNC capabilities I can make custom templates for anything. The dust collection is amazingly functional. I have it plugged into my CT26, which is then plugged into a separate push button paddle switch. After cutting those 19 mortises this was the dust left on it. The unit is sturdy, precise and really fun to use. Movement is so smooth that it’s a little hard to know if you’ve engaged the cut. It takes a little practice to get the feel of it, but again, the learning curve flattens out very quickly. I highly recommend taking a good look at this tool. 8 1 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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