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Thread: Wirth machine 'upgrades'

  1. #1
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    Wirth machine 'upgrades'

    Several years ago I bought a used Wirth machine. It is a heavy duty design with very nice X-Y table. While I did use it for some mortise/tenon work a couple times, I always found some other machine I gravitated towards. More than once I tried to sell it, but it generated little interest. During a recent shop cleanout and re-organization I need to decide what to do with it, so asked myself why nobody was interested in this machine, and then asked myself why I myself didnt use it more. It is very similar to a panto-router or a Multi-router setup. Although the 1.5hp Baldor motor/spindle setup on the Wirth, imo, was better (less noise!! and should run pretty much forever). For me it came down to a couple items: I did not like the setup for clamping to the table (an easy fix, more on that to come). And I found the template/followers tedious to use.

    Decided to take a shot at upgrading these - and I have a dresser project that needs some dovetails so thought I would use that as the 'test' on design upgrades.

    Some pics of the overall machine:
    IMG_4332.jpgIMG_4333.jpg

    The workpiece clamps to a moving table in front that runs on tapered V rail bearings. Quite tight/smooth. Then the cutter swings up/down on an arm while a stylus traces a template mounted on the back of the machine:
    IMG_4328.jpgIMG_4325.jpg

    Those aluminum and plastic pieces are the templates that the stylus traces around to cut tenons. They mount on the back plate. Tedious to mount, and with the ones that came with the machine were designed around fixed diameter mortise (to match bits - 1/2, 1/4 dia for the most part).

    And I see every dang one of these pictures are rotated! my apologies, this seems to be random and Im still not sure how to fix
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
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    Testing photos after rotating on the desktop
    IMG_4332.jpg

    Nope, same as before although displays on desktop now 180 from this. smh

    Now an slight crop edit
    IMG_4328a.jpg

    aha! Now to edit (simply double click the image), slightly crop, save as new file, and looks like SMC can display properly.

    (leaving this since I can not be the only one, I see there is a sticky but that sticky might not be found by all)
    Last edited by Carl Beckett; 01-04-2022 at 7:41 AM.

  3. #3
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  4. #4
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    Template design. There are a number to tweaks to do, but this gives an initial design as a starting point to try/learn. My thought was upgrading these would significantly improve ease of use, and at the same time give more flexibility. So I started with a dovetail template set - that I made adjustable and also made to fit the standard 8 degree Leigh bits I had. It is really nothing more than a dovetail jig but rotated 90 degrees to work horizontally instead of vertically. This is what I came up with as a first test:

    66293444060__B30DE9EB-790B-4A1A-B177-E1D723B81E73.jpg66298597135__AF8706E6-C1D3-44E7-9E8B-ECA04AD48627.jpg

    IMG_4331.jpgIMG_4330.jpg

    There is a mating set of guides to cut the tails using a standard bit - what is here are the tail guides.

    These are fixed width but spacing just slides along the baseplate, and the tail widths can be micro-adjusted by moving the guideplate up/down (the machine has this adjustment already). The next iteration I might make combination fingers like the Leigh, where they can cut whatever width tails you want. Box joints, specialty joints - straightforward once the design is dialed in. And some other indexing and making them swapable, etc, design details. But first I need to try these out to see if they have the precision/robustness for such a task. So far I am encouraged. (mortise/tenons, of any size, are going to be quite easy to do once the basic design is in place). I have the pieces for the table/hold downs already done but will add that once this portion is demonstrated. We will see.....

    These printed parts need to allow for shrinkage, clearances, etc etc. Still dialing that in including some tapered surfaces and indexing features to make it repeatable. Fun little design project.

    (in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice. But in practice, there is...)
    Last edited by Carl Beckett; 01-04-2022 at 8:04 AM.

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