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
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
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.
size Copy Carver will I need to build for carving guitar bodies and
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
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
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
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
for $19.95 instead of $79.00 you will lower the final cost another
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
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
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.