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  • DIY router table plans

    I want to really step up my router game and a table is on my short list. To save money to buy more speakers I am looking at building one myself.

    Are there any plans you guys have used and you like? There are a lot of plans to choose but without using them I am unsure which one to build.

    Any ideas would be helpful. Thanks so much!

  • #2
    In my opinion and experience I found that it's better to put your money into a router and a router lift like you mentioned you want to do and then just use plywood and 1 X4 to make a simple table. Approximately 24 in deep 36 in wide single layer of plywood with a 1 x 4 skirt or apron screwed to the underside of the plywood around the perimeter. the legs can be made out of 1 X4 screwed into a right angle about 36 in Long and put one on the outside of each corner flush with the top. I would then add a second layer of 3/4 plywood to the top and overhang it by an inch all around so that you can use some clamps to secure your router fence . The router fence can be two 4in strips of plywood , slightly longer than the length of your cable , screwed into a right angle with a few gussets and a hole drilled in the center to accommodate router bits. You can then cut out a recess to mount your router lift table in the center off the top. I would then use 1 x 4 and plywood to make a bottom shelf about 6 or 8 inches off the ground for added stability. You can also add some counterweight like a 25 lb barbell weight to that bottom shelf the lower your center of gravity and prevent the table from tipping over as your operating it. Again, this is just my opinion and how I've built them in the past and I'm sure everyone has their own unique approach to it but I found this to be quite useful and simple to build. I hope my explanation was clear but if not let me know and maybe I can sketch something up and post it. Best of luck.

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    • #3
      I built this from plans found in a Shop Notes magazine. The project is called "Ultimate Router Table",. Maybe your local library would have the issue. The original plan called for making your own top and fence, but I cheated and purchased a Rockler laminate top with fence to put onto the base. I don't use a lift other than the adjustment provided by the Bosch router. I can drop the router out easily enough to change bits.

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      I like enclosed bases to lower motor noise and to REALLY help with dust collection. I have a vac port in the back of the router "box", or I can use the dust port on the fence, depending on what kind of cut I make. It's heavy, and made from MDF using the usual speaker-building methods. One change I'd make would be to face the MDF edges with a hardwood strip where the door hinges attach to the base, but otherwise it's been great.

      If you can't find this particular plan, your library might have other woodworking magazines with other plans in them.
      Bill Schneider
      -+-+-+-+-
      www.afterness.com/audio

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      • #4
        I think what you build depends on what type of projects you will use your router for and what features you want. My first real router table was a cabinet version similar to what Bill built. Might have been from Shop Notes - too long ago to remember. Unfortunately, I used 2 sink cutouts glued together for the top and a pretty wimpy Acrylic mounting plate - they both bowed slightly over the years. My shop is truly tiny and I wanted to reclaim some space, so last year I built a new top out of some spare hardwood to mount in place of one of my table saw extensions. That arrangement just works better for me. I did buy a much better router plate this time, a Rousseau kit, so hopefully no sagging to worry about. If you are anywhere near Cedar Rapids, you are welcome to the old one, but it's heavy!

        Co-conspirator in the development of the "CR Gnarly Fidelity Reduction Unit" - Registered Trademark, Patent Pending.

        Comment


        • #5
          Here's mine, just a sheet of 1/2" pine ply and some adjustable fences, clamped to a fold out work bench. Normal plunge router just bolted through a hole. It's a pain to adjust the height and change the bit, but for the 360 days a year I usually don't use it, it takes up minimal space. The pine ply dents instead of my speaker cabinets, and I can screw whatever I want to it, wherever I want. It's also lightweight so it's easy to transport to a place where I don't need to worry about dust collection.
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          • #6
            I plan on building one for myself too. I don't need anything fancy either, just a simple one. I think I'll build one similar to this one https://youtu.be/dDHt2NQHKSI

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            • #7
              A few notes from experience.

              Routers are dangerous. A router table is much safer, still dangerous. My brother-in-law plugged in a router that was sitting on a work bench (not expecting that the switch was on) - it jumped, and after $60,000 of hand surgery he has about 30% use of that hand. I've nicked the tip of a finger, they bite very quickly-be careful.

              Table flatness matters for any reasonably precise work. If you are going to hang the router permanently, good support is necessary to reduce creep, such as a couple pieces of steel angle iron screwed to the bottom either side of the router.

              I like inserts, so I can vary the opening size to fit the bit.

              A good square fence is helpful - if it is taller, or you can screw on a taller fence, it opens up some options (like slotting bits). Make sure you can clamp it securely - the feel of a fence slipping mid cut is not good and usually dangerous.

              Make or buy a variety of pushing tools.

              I suggest 24" x 36" as a minimum size for a typical router table, bigger is better. (I don't like little table saws either- I think they are inherently more dangerous)

              Michael


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              • #8
                Originally posted by mlwebb View Post
                Routers are dangerous. A router table is much safer, still dangerous.
                Agreed. The only tool that scares me more than the router is a table saw. It also depends on the bit installed. The 2" planing bit shown in my post above is exponentially more dangerous than say a 1/2" flush cutting bit.

                In some cases it is safer to use a handheld router. For instance: if routing a small lightweight workpiece on a router table, if kickback occurs the light workpiece will - in the words of one my favourite youtubers - 'f*** right off into a low earth orbit". It can be safer to clamp or screw the small workpiece to a heavy table and then use a heavy handheld plunge router on it. Now both the workpiece and the router are sufficiently heavy (a handheld router effectively has 20-50kg of mass added by yourself holding it) that kickback won't occur as easily, and if it does the consequences are less dangerous. Sure, you might have to add some unsightly holes in your workpiece to screw it down but I'd rather be patching up a few unwanted holes in the work than holes in myself. I wouldn't use a handheld router with any bit larger than 1" though. I also like the safety of having to hold down the power button on an handheld router so if things start getting sketchy you can immediately kill the power. On a router table you don't usually have one finger/foot on the power button at all times.

                Similarly, if you were say doing some routing work on the top of a tall tower speaker cabinet, it might be safer to clamp the tower cab upright to a heavy workbench and use a handheld plunge router, than to try to hold the long cabinet in the air, largely unsupported by your router table.

                Like painting, preparation can take most of the time. Good prep results in good cuts. Sometimes it takes me an 30 minutes to work out how i'm going to do the cut, make appropriate jigs/guides and then 30 seconds to do the cut.

                If in doubt, add mass to both the router and the workpiece, and find a way that there is sufficient friction between the router/table and the workpiece. If the workpiece is only riding along the table on a knife edge you have very little control. If there is a large flat surface of the workpiece riding against the table, the friction between the table and workpiece gives you significant control against unwanted movement/kickback. Don't be impatient - take many incremental passes rather than just going full depth immediately (your router and bits will also thank you for this). If you can't work out a decent way to support your workpiece, only use small bits or find a different tool which can do the job e.g. there is no reason you can't make a roundover using a belt sander and then hand sanding to the final shape checking periodically against a template of the target radius. It'll take a long time but could be a lot safer.

                Be mindful of the direction you are routing. You never want to get yourself into a situation where you start climb cutting as the router bit will suck the workpiece in towards it. The pull from a large bit climb cutting can be immense. This is usually what has happened when people injure themselves using a router. Use guides and fences to limit the depth of cut and prevent getting into a climb cut.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jeff F. View Post
                  I plan on building one for myself too. I don't need anything fancy either, just a simple one. I think I'll build one similar to this one https://youtu.be/dDHt2NQHKSI
                  I like this bench top version. But I think I will want a fence.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Stephen,

                    I built a router table a few years ago. It has served all my purposes, although I do only make speakers/radios pretty much at this point. You may need more features if you intend to do more.

                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf0reDIQdE4

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                    It uses a rather cheap but powerful Harbor Freight Tools router for around $60 if I'm not mistaken. Also hooked up a remote speed controller, also from HFT.
                    The hinges are nice ball bearing hospital door hinges my dad got for me when he worked there, and the prop bar is a busted HFT plastic clamp bar.

                    The top is MDF trimmed with poplar for some durability. I put several layers of poly on the top to make it durable and smooth/polishable as well.

                    I use two metal C-clamps to position the fence, which is a glue-up of several layers of MDF. I have mine notched out so I can do a 1 1/4" roundover, which is my biggest bit at the moment.

                    I like the free fence as I can move it to any position and don't get repeated marks or lines in the fence by using in in only one direction. No dimensions, but I'm sure you can see from the construction that it's super-easy to build and you can make it to your own height anyway.

                    I also inserted a 2" or so piece of PVC right behind the bit area on the fence to hook a shop vac to... gets rid of almost all of the dust, works great.

                    TomZ
                    *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                    *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

                    *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tomzarbo View Post
                      Stephen,

                      I built a router table a few years ago. It has served all my purposes, although I do only make speakers/radios pretty much at this point. You may need more features if you intend to do more.

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tf0reDIQdE4

                      Click image for larger version

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                      It uses a rather cheap but powerful Harbor Freight Tools router for around $60 if I'm not mistaken. Also hooked up a remote speed controller, also from HFT.
                      The hinges are nice ball bearing hospital door hinges my dad got for me when he worked there, and the prop bar is a busted HFT plastic clamp bar.

                      The top is MDF trimmed with poplar for some durability. I put several layers of poly on the top to make it durable and smooth/polishable as well.

                      I use two metal C-clamps to position the fence, which is a glue-up of several layers of MDF. I have mine notched out so I can do a 1 1/4" roundover, which is my biggest bit at the moment.

                      I like the free fence as I can move it to any position and don't get repeated marks or lines in the fence by using in in only one direction. No dimensions, but I'm sure you can see from the construction that it's super-easy to build and you can make it to your own height anyway.

                      I also inserted a 2" or so piece of PVC right behind the bit area on the fence to hook a shop vac to... gets rid of almost all of the dust, works great.

                      TomZ

                      Thank you Tom that looks great. The flip top is very cool.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I use an incra aluminum insert. Don't waste your money on cheap phenolic inserts, they bend and distort your cuts. You need a really solid, flat base.

                        I use a Triton router that has a built in above table adjustment tool, very nice feature and forgoes the need for a lift. I think bosch has similar feature.

                        I put mine on my table saw wing and just slide the router fence onto the saw fence. Works well for me.
                        Carbon13

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