DIY Router Lift for Plunge Router #1: With Gears!

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Blog entry by Lumberpunk posted 02-22-2013 04:10 AM 7444 reads 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of DIY Router Lift for Plunge Router series no next part

Ok I’ve been really wanting some sort of router lift for a while now, my Freud FT2200VCE is REALLY slow to adjust under the table, the Router Raizer get mixed reviews and the Unilift seem to be running in the $700 range + long wait time to get one (and I would buy a lathe if I had that much lying around). Seems like most of the DIY router lifts are for fixed base routers or pretty much require you to permanently install your plunge router under the table. As it’s my only router that wasn’t going to work for me.

Finally I found this lift which seemed close enough to give me some ideas to work from:

I had some 1/2 inch ready rod lying around so I decided to use that as my lift screw and started out making the carriage. First I made some blocks from plywood and sandwiched a nut in each block. The blocks were piloted with a 1/8th bit and then drilled out to the depth of the nut with a 3/4 forstner and then a 5/8th forstner the rest of the way. Then chiseled out the corners of the 3/4 hole to accept the nut.

After that the top layer of the sandwich was drilled 5/8ths and screwed on to hold the nut in place. No glue just in case I needed to change something.

The block were then glued/screwed to a piece of scrap 3/4 birch ply of appropriate length, did the first one threaded the rod through both and then glued/screwed down the second so the threads lined up nice and the rod wouldn’t bind.

I had a cutoff piece of 1 1/2 inch laminated birch left from my crosscut sled fence and this got glued and screwed to make the base the router will sit on. Added a little block of ply so the router vents will not be blocked at all, had to add another piece after the pic because it was sitting too far back on the router.

Alright carriage built next I made some latched to hold my insert plate down to the table so the lift didn’t push it up… quick and dirty.

The frame for the carriage was pretty basic birch and birch ply screwed together, I added some braces in the corners later to keep everything strong and square, and drilled a 1/2 inch hole for the ready rod.

Next I made some gears… all credit to Matthias at for his gear template generator, awesome ideas and great videos.

Here are the gears drilled out and ready for the bandsaw.

And here’s one cut… nice to discover my Jet bandsaw tilts both ways… I had no idea.

Drilled and chiseled a recess in one of the gears to accept a nut and put on some washers and a locknut and mounted it on the frame.

I had to make a brace to accept the ready rod on my table as the frame I built to flatten my saggy table got in the way of everything.

Next I put everything together so I could mount the crank gear in the frame. I put the gear where I thought it should go and tapped a brad through and gave it a spin, everything seemed to work so I drilled out the frame and gear to for a bolt and mounted it up.

Next I made a handle for the drive gear from scrap birch and purpleheart, braces to mount it to the frame under the table, screwed everything down and gave it a spin, works great! I am going to put bearings on the ready rod wherever it passes through wood and also on the drive gear but am waiting until I get to a big city where they won’t break the bank. Also going to remove one of my plunge springs to make it a bit easier to turn. But all in all I am super happy. Here it is under the table.

9 comments so far

View Retsof's profile


134 posts in 1022 days

#1 posted 02-22-2013 07:33 AM

Cool project. Any time you can save yourself $700 and still get the features you want, that’s a huge victory. I’m going to have to try my hand at making some of those wood gears. I have to dust off my scroll saw as I haven’t added a band saw to my arsenal yet.

-- "There seems to be a black hole in my garage that swallows up pencils and tape measures as soon as I put them down."

View Lumberpunk's profile


258 posts in 1124 days

#2 posted 02-22-2013 03:10 PM

Yeah total cost for this was probably about $10 for the rod and nuts, all the wood was scrap or free. Nice living in an area where every second guy has a sawmill, and there is a ton of birch here.

View Arcatekt's profile


3 posts in 607 days

#3 posted 10-06-2013 04:16 PM

Frickin’ Awesome on the gears. Thanks for sharing with everyone.

-- -Arcatekt

View Furnitude's profile


349 posts in 2294 days

#4 posted 03-06-2014 10:30 PM

This is really great, Lsmart. I’m designing something similar. I’m trying to get my head around what happens when you turn the crank. if you turn the crank, the gear moves the other gear, which rotates the rod. Does the rotation of the rod allow the rod to move up and down?

-- Mitch, Also blog at

View Lumberpunk's profile


258 posts in 1124 days

#5 posted 03-06-2014 10:34 PM

Furn, the rod turns and drives two nuts which are embedded in the body of the carriage. So the carriage is moving while the rod stays in one place and spins. The nuts are in the plywood sandwiches around the rod

View GCM's profile


71 posts in 1114 days

#6 posted 05-22-2014 12:06 AM

Nice work, it looks great, although here in Oz the material you used would end up costing about $700 – oh well…

One thing though I can’t for the life of me see how you have mounted the plunge router (which is really the hard bit for plunge router lifts) – I can see how it is supported and lifted from below but what keeps the router from moving up top? (part 2 perhaps?).


-- Make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.

View Lumberpunk's profile


258 posts in 1124 days

#7 posted 05-22-2014 07:52 AM

Heh… you could make it out of anything. This was all scrap ply and wood from my local area.

The Router plate is bolted down to some brackets on the inside of the table so it doesn’t lift off.

View Holbs's profile


611 posts in 816 days

#8 posted 07-11-2014 12:46 AM

LP.. I am about to venture into sticking my identical router to your’s, under a table. I do have the FT2200VCE and it will forever be under the table as I have a Bosch 1617EVS and a Bosch Colt for hand held. To date, it looks like your method is the best option. Do you still use your Freud as both table mount and hand held? Since mine will be table mounted, I am reading up on pro’s / con’s about removing both springs (Freud rep says nono as could creates bit tilt).

View Lumberpunk's profile


258 posts in 1124 days

#9 posted 07-11-2014 04:42 AM

Hey Holb, I bought myself a Triton to go under the table and use the Freud exclusively above. The router lift worked really well but I made a micro adjustable jig for handheld routing for the Freud ( and I never wanted to take it off so I got the Triton. As far as bit tilt goes I did see some but found that if I cranked down the depth lock it corrected it. My version of the lift would have a pretty hard time raising the bit with the springs in… maybe you can come up with something better. Also if I was to do it again I would find some way to support the carriage from the sides rather than just hanging it off the ready rod, maybe some sort of tongue and groove arrangement on the side of the carriage?

Best of luck with your lift… mine performed well as I said and cost a lot less than a commercial plunge router lift.

I have also seen a hack where someone drilled through the router base plate and accessed the fine adjust screw somehow and made a through the table lift with nothing but some coupling nuts and some ready rod. Might be worth searching out.

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