5 axis lowrider to strip 6 panel doors

I have a lot of 6 panel wood doors that are 25-ish years old and need to be refinished. Stripping off the old polyurethane and stain (and dirt and knicks) will be very slow with a sander and/or chemical stripper. It’s surprisingly thin for a router to carve through but a pain for a sander or chemical stripper.

I’m wondering if a Lowrider might work to make a sort of custom planer. Most of a 6 panel door is flat and rectangular so that part would be fairly easy. However, parts of the panels (around the edges) would best be done by tilting the router. So, a Lowrider with 2 extra axes to tilt the bit might work. It only needs about 20 degrees of tilt and the depth variation is not much. I’m wondering if anyone has modified a Lowrider to add 2 axes to tilt the bit. It would save me a lot of time if someone else already figured out the mechanical part.

One challenge I can think of is that nothing is ever flat, square or consistently sized on a door so it might need a way to measure some critical dimensions to make a model of the door that’s used to create the gcode. That part I think I can do.

I haven’t seen one or any plans to try it. It sounds very challenging.

Even planing the flat surfaces would be tricky because of the slight variations you mentioned.

The mechanical problem is a significant one. But the software is also very hard. I have seen fusion 360 can cam 5 axis, but not the free version.

Try surfacing the flat part of one first. The veneers on these doors are paper thin. The skin itself is probably 1/8 inch thick. Doors that have been installed for 20 years are not going to be perfectly shaped anymore and you might find that there’s not enough meat to surface plane it.

As for the edges you might be able to find a matching router profile bit to shave the detail but again the doors geometry works against you. Each door is going to be a slightly different parallelogram that you would have to measure draw the cad for etc.

Unless these doors are something special I’d either paint them or buy new as the labor to refinish is going to be brutal.

So here is what you do…

Buy a sand blaster, then air sand it. It will be much quicker and easier then trying to get a cnc to do it.

1 Like

I use an air powered RO with 80 grit sand paper to rip old finish off of wood pretty quick. Just make sure you have good dust collection rigged up and wear a respirator.

I like the idea of the sand blaster too. You may be able to find a sand blasting place that can strip the panels for you quicker and cheaper than trying to build a machine to do it.

1 Like

Thanks, everyone. I talked to someone else and they suggested trying an infrared heater made just for paint and polyurethane. I will play with that for now and save the cnc for another day. :frowning: