Frequently.Asked.Questions. 

These are just some of the most commonly asked questions, if you have a question that is not listed please feel free to contact me. .... ~Ed

Q- How large of a carving can you duplicate with the Copy Carver?

A- You can replicate anything in the round that is 12"W x 10"H x 36" L or smaller if the Copy Carver is built to the dimensions shown in the plans.  However, you can increase of decrease the plan dimensions in proportion to accommodate whatever you need to replicate.  Several CopyCarver users reduced the Copy Carver in size by 50% and replaced the trim router with a handheld Dremel or RotoZip and they are replicating jewelry and plastic models in wood and stone.  Another woodworker increased the size of the Copy Carver by 200% and is carving full size totem pole faces.  Several have widened the swing box and widened the setup table on their Copy Carver to allow them to carve relief work in bed headboards, cabinets and furniture.  The possibilities are endless.  The key is to work from the original measurements in the plans and increase or decrease the size of everything.  This will ensure your Copy Carver is working at the best angles possible to quickly remove excess stock from your copies.


Q- Will the Copy Carver only replicate one side of the carving?

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A
- It will replicate a full 360 degrees if the carving and duplicate blank are rotated during the carving process.  Most woodworkers find that carving two sides gives them four sided results.  I use it for fish so when I carve one side I just flip the original over and the blank and complete the other side.  Once both sides are cut, the top and bottom of the fish are automatically completed since they were the outer profile of the sides. There are some cases where carving all four sides will yield the best results but for the most part only two sides are necessary. 


Q- What size Copy Carver will I need to build for carving guitar bodies and necks?

A- For necks you can use the Copy Carver as shown in the plans with ease.  For doing bodies up to 17" in width you will need to build your Copy Carver 50% larger.  Many guitar builders build two machines.  One for necks and one for bodies.  The model shown above was built 50% larger on a 4' x 8' work table.


 

Q- How detailed can I expect my duplicates?

A- That all depends on how many times you want to drop down to a smaller or fine cutting router bit and pass over the same areas getting into smaller and smaller places each time.  I use it as a "rough-out" machine and not a "finish" machine.  Using a 1/2" barrel shaped cutter I can replicate a 13" trout in under 12 minutes, both sides, including the set up.  If I want to drop down to smaller and finer router bits I could produce a cleaner copy but I have found that the 12 minutes required for each additional refinement added more time to the process than if I used a handheld powercarver to "clean up" the duplicate in a few minutes.  A 3/4" sanding drum can level out a roughout very quickly in a hand held powercarver.  Since the Copy Carver was designed to save me time I prefer to use it for steps where it can save me hours instead of minutes.  By using it to produce rough outs from a square block, it saves me 3 hours in 12 minutes, that's impressive enough to use the machine for just that step of the operation.  Using it as a finish machine from that point on for my use is not as effective so I prefer to complete the finish work by hand, which I enjoy.  Some carvers use the Copy Carver from start to finish, it all depends on your application and your ability or desire to use a hand held powercarver.  I know several carvers that use it to do all their finish work right to the end.  So I guess the best advice would be to use it to the end the first few times then evaluate the time spent.


Q- How is the original mounted, as well as the duplicate block to the machine?

A- The manual covers two different ways to secure the carvings.  One for speed and accuracy when you are only doing two sided duplicates and another for "in the round" duplicates with 90 degree rotational stops.  Step by step instructions and patterns for the mounts are all included.  


Q- How much does it cost to build a Copy Carver?

A- Not counting the $26 for the plans you can expect to spend around $150-$200US (depending on your location) for everything ($79 less if you already own a laminate trimmer router).  I can purchase everything but the pulleys from Home Depot all day long for $145 and the pulleys are available from Grainger's Supply for $5.79 ea. Note: if you buy the router from http://www.homier.com for $19.95 instead of $79.00 you will lower the final cost another $59.00!!!


Q- What materials can the Copy Carver carve?

A- Anything you can find a 1/4" shaft cutter for, or a 1/2" cutter if you use a full size router. Most of the users duplicate their carvings in wood.  Many of them duplicate woodcarvings in soft stone with incredible results.  Most of the same carbide cutters designed for wood will also work well in soft stone, urethane foams and machineable plastics.  One carver I know machines soft aluminum for ultra-light airplane parts he designs.  He carves a prototype in wood and replicates it in aluminum for strength.  Some studio/stage prop builders use it to replicate stage props in high density urethane foam.  Small sign shops use a CopyCarver for machining urethane panels into indoor/outdoor signs using wood or plastic letters and shapes as the patterns to follow. 


Q- How much floor space does the Copy Carver require?

A- The Copy Carver built according to the plan dimensions will need an area 6' x 6' to use the machine, leaving you plenty of room to work.  Storing it requires 6' x 3' of floor space, or the rolling carriage can be lifted off, folded up and hung on a wall while the table can be leaned against the wall as well.  With spare floor space being at a premium in most workshops the Copy Carver was designed to store easily.  I placed four eye bolts in the corners of my work table and when I am done using mine I fold up the swing box, hang it on the wall then with four pulleys fastened to the trusses of my shop ceiling and some spare rope I pull my table up out of the way into the ceiling.  Leaving room to still park the family car.


Q- Can the Copy Carver be set up to be a multiple carver?

A- Yes it can, very easily, however it is not covered in the instructions.  Since most of the people using the Copy Carver are interested in one-to-one replication we didn't want to confuse the process by adding more routers.  The adaptation is simple, and portable.  You simply bolt a longer piece of plywood to the face of the swing box and install additional routers on equal centers.  Then build a second setup table wide enough to accommodate the original carving and attach it to the original work table with a long piano hinge and two drop down support legs.  Now install the stylus at the end of the extension plank and center it over the original to be copied and place your wood blanks under each of the routers.  Add additional barbell weights to the carriage to offset the weight of the additional routers and add a few pounds to the counter balance and you have it.  If you used 3 routers, you now have the ability to knock out 3 duplicates in the time it took to do one before.  If you are in need of high production this is the way to go.  The additional routers do not slow down the cutting operation, your only extra time is setting up the additional blanks. I do however recommend plugging the routers into a multi-outlet power strip that is plugged into a foot pedal on/off switch (available at Sears for $19.95) for safety and ease of use reasons.  Should anything go wrong in the process, like a piece of wood split around a knot or you forgot to tighten a router bit securely, ect. the entire system can be turned off instantly.  Otherwise you will have to fumble with every on/off switch for each router.  I did this on mine just for the ease of being able to answer the phone while I was working, without it, stopping was a major ordeal each time.  

 

 

 

 

 

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