Copy Carvers and other Eli Whitney clones


Copy Carvers and other Eli Whitney clones

A discussion of building or buying a carver machine to using Bondo as a pattern and other helpful tips.

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Latest Activity: Nov 29, 2015

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Comment by carverman on November 27, 2011 at 3:46am

Tried out the copy carver for the first time. I had scaled it down 25% from

the original plans, but I don't think that had anything to do with the fact

that it couldn't handle the carving of my tupelo cat with the head offset from

the body, where the depth and axis changes as you rotate the model

and the blank through the four 90 degree locking quadrants.

Made a bit of a mess with my test blank..(basswood)..thankfully I had

the presence of mind not to attempt it with expensive imported tupelo

on the first attempt to use it.  From what I can tell, it just can't handle

the Z axis very well.  I suppose if I was doing fish with an X axis going

straight through from the V in the tail to the tip of the would be

fine though.  Back to carving the cats with my Foredom flexi-shaft rotary

carving motor.  Live and learn as they say....sigh!

Comment by carverman on August 18, 2011 at 3:25am

Still in the fine process of tuning the copy carver.  Raised the wooden rails up another

3.5 inches using a 2x4 and a strip to join that 2x4 to the existing 2x4 that has the

hollow pipe attached for the swing box carriage to move on.


Starting on pouring my own stylus (hot lead alloy that melts with a propane torch)  to match a tapered Silver Kutzall carving tip.   I found that the stylus and burr supplied by Ed (designer of the carving duplicator) much too large to get into small carving details. While it is good for initially removing copious amounts of wood off the basswood block, the large ball nose carving burr just doesn't lend it's self to any detail work.   But this is part of the learning curve of making a carving duplicator, much like learning to carve in the round using hand tools.

Comment by Bob Harrison on August 13, 2011 at 11:51am
Sounds great!
Comment by carverman on August 13, 2011 at 10:50am

I'm up in Canada, so I initially used Princess Auto for ordering the v-belt pulleys

and pillow blocks. Got the pulleys, but they were sold out of 5/8 pillow blocks and

I ended up getting some bronze bearings locally and soldered round brackets to

them an using these.  Princess Auto also has 1/2" pillow blocks.  

I ended up using 1/2 " diameter steel axle shafts on mine as mine is scaled down

about 25% from the original plans.

Comment by Bob Harrison on July 25, 2011 at 9:09am


Yes building a machine as a lot of details that could fill several books. As you see whats wrong you will change it.

Thats thats the reson I do not make a set of plans for folks to buy, to many details.


Even as much as I know I still had to rebuild my machine a little, but I did think it could work at first. Then I saw details that I mised, wowzers now its finished.



Comment by Jim Mitchell on July 25, 2011 at 6:55am
Have any of you guys found a good source/price for pillow blocks. I have Ed's plans and think I might get in on the action.   I have been hand carving my necks and would like to speed up the process. Thanks for the advise.
Comment by carverman on July 24, 2011 at 10:42am

Can't seem to edit my own posts...

 previous post should read

"came up with a round rod that I bent at 90 degrees to act as a index key lock.

This fits into a corresponding hole in the rotating wood base that is attached"

to the carving blank with screws.

Comment by carverman on July 24, 2011 at 10:32am

I think that the centerline of the router tip and the centerline of the stylus have to

be setup so that they register properly, so when the swing box is moved the

exact point on the blank is machined that the stylus is touching.

The plans didn't go into this detail, and this is the finicky trial and error stuff

that takes time..the setup. 


I think I will raise the swing box rails another 4 inches in height and see if

the rest position of the router bit is about midpoint on the carving blank as

I can only do a 90degree cut and then rotate the mount another 90 degrees

to do another cut..until I come up to 360.   The carving offset should be interesting

to see how that works out.  A fair bit of engineering and ingenuity is required to

make these for carvings that are NOT symmetrical in nature.

I came uo with a round round (bent to 90degrees) DETENT, that fits into the

wooden base at 90 degree offsets, This way I can lock it down at 90degree.

At the "headstock" end, I just have an adjustable pivot point to support the

head to keep it from vibrating as the router bit starts to gind away wood.

Comment by carverman on July 24, 2011 at 10:25am

Hi Bob,

Got the mounts finished, (using 3mm aluminum plate,

but some minor problems with registration when rotating

on axis. 90degree rotation stops installed in my mounts.

Two main issues.

1) the carving is not symetrical (cat) and as I rotate it, there is offset.

2) the mount height and the swing box height still needs to be adjusted because

I think that the stylus and router bit should be at rest at the midpoint line

of the carving on the mount.

Here are some pics of what I am talking about.


Comment by carverman on July 10, 2011 at 4:55pm

Yes, thanks Bob. I generally do that..try out an idea out of my head that I get from

somewhere and then modify it to make it work to my satisfaction. I subscribe

to the "mothers of invention"..or in my case "grandfathers of invention?"

I'll give a progress update..starting it this week..because I can't stand looking at

unfinished projects.


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