How To Safely Cut A Shallow Taper At End Of Plywood Panel??


From original questioner:

I design custom crates and often we have hinged plywood panels that serve as ramps to load/unload customer product.

Cutting a shallow taper at the end of the ramp, so customer product mounted on short casters will clear, has been a perpetual challenge.

We've historically run the panels throught the TS vertically, with an extended height fence, but even this method isn't really safe when the panels are 6'+ tall. And now our safety committee is finally squawking about the process. (go figure... I told the boss it was unsafe five years ago.... but who listens to me).

I've proposed using raised panel cutters on the shaper or table router, but the cutter diameter isn't really large enough to cut say a 20 angle in 3/4" plywood. And again, the long panels are difficult to support properly.

My boss thinks that this should be a breeze to do on our CNC table router. But unless we get custom cutters ground with varying angles (and no lip) it's going to require contour cutting with a step over and a gazillion passes.

This is not finish carpentry, but the cut need to be straight, quick and safe.

The way our estimators quote these type of crates, we only alot 10 min. or so to make this cut.

Any help or ideas are greatly appreciated.

From contributor Ri

We do this on our PTP with a panel raising bit that we had the bearing cut off of. We them make several passes to create the ramp. Just need to be carfull with the feed and speeds with the large diameter bits.

From contributor Je

I don't run a CNC so no experience....but it seems like it would be easier to prop the board up to the angle needed rather than have custom cutters ground?


From contributor Ri

We dont get a custom cutter we take a standard raised panel router bit (3 1/2" diam 15 deg flat raised) and have our sharpening service remove bearing. Takes 3 passes on the router to get nice taper. Much safer and much nicer cut.

For less than $100 you never need to setup to run this again just make parametric program for machine run as needed.

From contributor Ma

A little late to this but why wouldn't you just run the taper on a piece of 4/4 hardwood or something and the attach the taper to the plywood ramp? You could run the taper on a 1x4 or 1x6 and attach it with a deep half lap glue and screws. It would be a couple additional steps but would allow for safer operation.

From contributor Do

I have not tried these, but a few ideas come to mind:

If you have a jointer, make a re-usable roller or slider support for your long, wide material that holds the appropriate shallow angle and run it through the jointer. Creating the support would be some work, but if this is for production then this may be your best bet... especially if the cost of a power feeder can be tolerated. Adding a power-feed and some guards along with anti-kickback fingers should also satisfy your safety committee.

An alternative is a power hand planer- create a fixture that attaches to the power planer with some appropriate angle and a surface and edge guide and then run it the length of your material. One advantage of this- it can be done at a job site. If you do this specific task a lot, buy a power hand planer and attach the fixture permanently so it is grab-n-go.