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Project Details #1: Mobile Router Center - the Gizmos

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Blog entry by Jim Bertelson posted 07-04-2016 07:54 PM 1448 reads 4 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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This is a companion blog to a project:

Mobile Router Center for the Small to Medium Shop………..with lots of GIZMOS!

The project is found here:

Router Table Project

I put duplicates of the project pictures here for easy reference:
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There are many features included with this table and base that may be of interest to others. I felt it was too much to include in the project, so they are detailed here. Each solves an issue and makes use of the table and base more facile. I will start kinda at the top and work down.

LAMP

The lamp is a brushed nickel finished small desk lamp.
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Some of the pictures make it look different colors, due to reflection, but it is all brushed nickel. I recently repriced it at Lowes at $32, still the same lamp. Other lamps might work as well, but I like the mechanism of this sort of desk lamp. It tends to stay where you put it. I took the heavy base off the lamp, and drilled a hole in the mounts to accommodate the threaded end of the lamp without its base.

Bulb
It has a 1600 lumen LED bulb in it, equivalent to a 100 watt incandescent, but this one runs cool and consumes 16 watts.

As an aside, in case someone doesn’t understand what is happening in the lighting world. When a lamp or socket says maximum 60 watt bulb…………it means a 60 watt incandescent bulb, and the main concern is the heat produced, very high with incandescent, and to a lesser extent, the actual 60 watt flow of electricity. You can use any CFL bulb or LED bulb that fits that isn’t over 60 watts actual consumption. And I haven’t found a CFL or LED bulb that even consumes 40 watts. So you can use a cheap fixture and get a lot of safe light out of it. Both the CFL and LED bulbs are much more efficient and produce less heat. The LEDs run so cool it is hardly worth mentioning the heat. In a shop, for lamps on the tools, an LED bulb that is cool, efficient, bright, and relatively strong, is the obvious choice, but more expensive.

Mounts The lamp has two mounts, one on the fence, and one on the left side of the base. This picture shows the fence stored, the lamp mount still on it, and the base mount above it
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Other pictures will give you more views of the mounts in action. I made another mount for the right side but never installed it, because of the predominant right sided feed issues. The mount on the fence can be set anywhere on the fence. It slides on the backside slot on the fence, out of the way. The mounts are of obvious construction externally. The base mount places the light away from the table top, and has rigid construction and convenient bolt placement. They could easily be made from solid wood. I made these with laminated ¾ inch ply, and external 1/8” pine covering where needed for the end grain, mostly for appearance. Perhaps overkill, but extraordinarily strong.

Power
There is an externally surface mounted metal duplex receptacle box on the lower back of the table base placed to provide power for the lamp.
Love the lamp!

FENCE

Attachment
The fence came with the table top. It is fully adjustable like most fences, within the range of the slot in the table. It can be seen in a number of the pictures.

Or, you can remove the fence entirely.
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However, you can detach the fence from the table and clamp to the table anywhere you want.

As will be demonstrated later, I filled in the underside of the top with wood for clamping purposes. The bolts that run in the slots, that fit in the fence adjustment knobs, will lie down in the slots, but not fall out, because they are trapped by the wood fill in the top. A dado has been cut under the slots so that the bolts can freely move. They are retrieved with a magnetic tool I made for the purpose to pull them upright in at the end of the slot, where I placed a high spot, so that after free clamping the fence, the fence can be placed back in the default position easily.
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. Fence Dust Collection The fence has a dust collection port.
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I run a 4 inch dust collection hose from the central system to the table base itself. Then a 1.5 inch hose connects from the table cavity to the fence. When the fence is not in use, the hose has a storage place at the back of the table, and a rubber plug, attached with a chain to the base, plugs the hole so that the dust collection occurs primarily around the bit. There is some air flow always around the bit, and with the fence in place, some from the fence dust collection port, also.

TABLE TOP

The top is aluminum, drilled for most routers. 27” wide, 18” deep, 1 5/8” thick. I filled it with plywood.

Miter Slot
The Table top is stock, except for the miter slot. I put a Rockler universal T-track in the miter slot. I am not sure I will keep that modification.

Clamping Facilities
I filled in the underside with wood for clamping, and incidentally, it traps the bolts for the fence when the fence is removed. The wood makes the top very heavy and rigid, an asset.

Top Attachment
The top is attached with a piano hinge, and is held closed by two bullet friction catches. With the weight of the top, the bullet catches provide a more than adequate fixation.

Top Opening Support
As noted, the top can be lifted part way, and supported there with a metal rod. The rod is steel, but aluminum would be fine. It has a screw that attaches it to the cabinet toward the front.
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The rear end of the rod sits in a cup hook, and a bullet catch is strategically placed to create some tension to keep it in the cup hook and prevent it from vibrating out or rattling.
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If the lamp is on the base rather than the fence, and the DC is detached from the fence, the top can be opened a full 90 deg. It will stay there without support.
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Top Protection and Dual Function
I built a ¾” plywood press fit cover for the table top. This can be seen in the top photo in this blog. This protects the table top when not in use, and brings the height of the top level with the radial arm saw (RAS) table. This allows the router table to be a long workpiece support for the RAS.
The proper height was incorporated into the design from the start, since it was to occupy the space where a dedicated long workpiece support resided. The RAS, a 90 degree crosscut specialist, is the busiest saw in the shop.

TABLE BASE

Construction
The base is 23” wide, 14.5” deep, and 13” high. This gives a good size lip all around for clamping a fence or other guides to the top. The table base has considerable internal framing that allows both the top and front to be opened completely without loss of rigidity and integrity in the table base. Construction is mostly of ¾” birch veneer plywood with exposed plywood edges covered with 1/8” pine stripping I rip from clear pine boards. I glue and pin the strips to the plywood edges on all my shop projects. It has never come off, and it has never split. I think it is more robust than iron-on stripping, and appropriate for shop projects. I reserve the iron-on stripping for household projects, mostly.

Table Base Front Door
The front door is constructed of ¾” plywood. It pulls down with a handle placed there for the purpose. When open, it rests on the oversized mobile base, and is cushioned by two rubber bumpers. The bumpers are set on pieces of dowel, with the right one glued in place and the left one removable. Underneath the left one is the hole for the “Skewer Lock” for the drawers. The front door is held in closed position with two bullet catches and two magnetic catches. These provide firm tension on the door to keep its position and prevent vibration and rattling.

The door incorporates the safety power switch mechanism for the router.
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The door also has a unique router cord keep that was initially built for the old router table and was kept for use in the new table. It is constructed of a 2.5” diameter clear polycarbonate (I think) 8” segment cut from the shipping tube for a Rockler universal T-track. It is simply screwed into the door in two places with sheet metal screws with oversized washers. These shipping tubes are in use for a number of purposes in the shop since they are quite substantial, and come with quality rubber caps for each end. I cut the tubes with my small band saw with a fine blade in it. Just fold up the router cord to the appropriate length and stuff it into the tube. If I unplug the router for safety, I just stuff the plug in there too.

TABLE BASE ELECTRICAL

Power Cord
A 12’ long #14 wire cord provides power to the table.

Connections
The power cord connects to a dual receptacle sized metal surface mount electrical box situated near the front top of the base cavity. This box has a switch for a small LED work light mounted inside the table base. There is also a utility receptacle on this box. Incidentally, there is an extra socket on the router switch as well.
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Exiting this electrical box are three wires. One goes to the work light. Another goes to the safety switch for the router. The third leads to an externally mounted metal dual receptacle electrical box, primarily to provide power for the table lamp. There is a cord keep for the power cord on the back of the table base.
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TABLE BASE DUST COLLECTION

Main Port
A 4” port is placed at the back of the base cavity to connect to the shop dust collection system. With the top and front closed, the only opening is around the bit, so dust collection is carefully controlled.
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Auxiliary Fence Port
There is a reinforced 1.5” hole at the back of the cabinet to connect a hose to the fence dust collection port. If not in use, this hole can be blocked with a rubber plug externally. The plug is permanently attached to the base with a metal chain to prevent loss or misplacement.

Auxiliary Dust Hose Storage
There is an area where the auxiliary hose can be placed when not in use, just back of the table base, but on the top of the mobile base that contains the drawers. The mobile base is deeper than the table. The hose is squeezed into an space below the DC port and the electrical box for the lamp. A wood lip is placed at the edge of the mobile base to keep the hose in place.
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TOOL AND PARTS STORAGE

Internal
The left side of the table base has enclosed shelves.
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The enclosure keeps the shelves dust free. There is a recess on the top of the shelf enclosure that holds the wrenches to remove the bits. Technically, the bits can be removed from the top, but you still have to open up the top to unlock the router elevation mechanism, so it is a good location for the tools.
The shelves are used for miscellaneous items primarily for the fence, including spacers and guards. The magnetic tool for manipulating the fence bolts, a level, and a small ratcheting driver are also there.

External
The left side of the table base has a hook to hang the fence on when not in use. The right side has two hooks for two feather boards situated there.
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The right side of the upper mobile base has a fixture to hang the custom made crank. More about that next.

ROUTER ELEVATION CRANK I made a crank to facilitate raising and lowering the router from an above the table position.
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The crank is higher than the height of the fence so as to clear it when the fence is positioned far forward. The crank is made from a reclaimed brass pull, aluminum bar and tubing, hardboard, wood dowel, and a piece of a hex wrench. The whole thing is put together with cyanoacrylate glue (CA), and a set screw to hold the tubing to the lever of the handle.

As an aside, I have found that hardboard and aluminum bar glued together with CA glue is a very permanent and strong bond. I make all my miter bars from ¾” aluminum bar, and a slightly narrower piece of 1/8” hardboard. My super sled, now over 5 years old, in heavy use, has miter bars made this way with no maintenance issues. If they are a little loose in the slot, a punch is used to ping the sides of the bar. The ridges around the depression created make the bar slightly wider. If you keep an appropriate piece of hardboard around, and some aluminum bar stock available at both Lowe’s and HD, you can make a miter bar quickly whenever you need one. And I do.

MOBILE CABINET

Construction
The mobile cabinet is 24” high, 20.5” deep and 23.5” wide. All construction is ¾” birch veneer ply with 1/8” pine stripping on exposed plywood edges. It has a horizontal divider placed for strength midway down. There are two 5” drawers above, and a 10.5” drawer below. The slides are full depth slides. The contents is detailed in the main project description and in the pictures. Of note, after removing the hinged tops, I screwed the cases for the 1/2” and the 1/4” bits to the drawer bottom. This makes for better drawer organization, especially in a unit like this that is mobile and moved around.

Skewer Lock
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All right, I admit it, I coined that description. To keep the drawers from trying to open while moving the router center around, especially on the uneven concrete in my shop, I drilled a hole down from the top of the base all the way through the top two drawers and into the bottom one. The hole is in the front end of the drawer, in the wood, so it isn’t impeded by the contents. The hole is hidden in the left sided bumper that protects the front door when it is opened. The left bumper can be removed and the 14” skewer inserted, as per the pictures.
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Works well, tough hole to drill. I used an 1/4” drill bit that is 18” long. Drilling the holes in each item separately could be done, especially if oversized to allow for measurement errors and shifting pieces over time.
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Leveling and Casters
The casters are 2.5” with the rear ones fixed and the front swiveling. A ¼” spacer is added under the back casters to allow the front to be leveled with carriage bolts to fix the mobile mount in one place. Underneath the front of the cabinet, across the width and extending 2.5 inches beyond is a laminated plywood bar about 2.5 inches high under the cabinet and 1.5 inches high in the area beyond the cabinet. Two ½” x 13 carriage bolts, 4” long are placed here. A nut is epoxied under the bar for the bolts to run in. At the threaded end, a nut is also epoxied to the bolt (and pinged with a center punch to lock the thread as well) and then epoxied into the underside of a triangular knob.
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COMMENTS

This table with the base and mobile cabinet are good addition to my shop. It serves as a long workpiece support for the RAS when idle. In use, everything functions well. I like the lighting, DC, table top adjustment, and handy access to all my bits and accessories. I doubt I will ever build another router table, given my age, and the amount I use it.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska



12 comments so far

View lew's profile

lew

11336 posts in 3217 days


#1 posted 07-04-2016 08:18 PM

Man! You certainly did not slap that together in an afternoon, Jim!!

This must have been in the planning stage for quite sometime. So well thought out! See what retirement can do for you ;^)

Your design just gave me an idea that has plagued my own router tablesaw wing. I, like you, used the router table top and mounted it into a wooden frame. The wooden frame, on mine, makes it difficult to insert the mounting bolts for the fence. I think I see a mod coming for mine! Thanks!

Love that drawer “lock”, too!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Roger's profile

Roger

19867 posts in 2266 days


#2 posted 07-04-2016 08:18 PM

Very nicely engineered Jim

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9432 posts in 3514 days


#3 posted 07-04-2016 08:39 PM

Very well designed and made…

I really like the way you Locked the drawers shut… Do you “Lock” it from the bottom?

Your Levelers are cool and unique too…

Cool way you put the Cover on the top… Had me going there for awhile… “Was that your Old one or what… wood vs aluminum” <big>

That lamp is really nice too… Most of the time, I see painted bulb housings… this polished nickel is really COOL… reminds me of what you may have seen in your Dr. Office… :)

Great job!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: http://www.WoodworkStuff.net ... My Small Gallery: http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?ppuser=1389&cat=500"

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3962 posts in 2626 days


#4 posted 07-04-2016 09:37 PM

Lew
This is the third time I have done something like this, so I began to figure everything out ahead of time. This time I got it right. The wise man is the man that has made more mistakes than everyone else…..........(-:

Filling in the underside for clamping solves a bunch of problems. Then just route or dado a groove, and let the bolts lie down if you take off the fence. I inserted a bolt at the nearest point of the dado that can be adjusted until the bolts can be brought over it to the proper height, and will stay there. The magnet is the tool to move the bolts around. Give me a PM if you have any questions. The magnet is just glued into a groove at the end of a dowel. The red stuff on the magnet tool is heat shrink tubing, but I bet you figured that one out….......(-:

The skewer has real red paint, on a sanded piece of dowel. Gotta patent the “Skewer Lock”, don’t you think….......(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View degoose's profile

degoose

7196 posts in 2816 days


#5 posted 07-04-2016 09:38 PM

So this is what you have been doing for the past several months, very elaborate… but then I would expect nothing less from you…. great job…

-- Drink twice... and don't bother to cut... @ lazylarrywoodworks.com.au For lovers of all things timber...

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3962 posts in 2626 days


#6 posted 07-04-2016 09:38 PM

Roger
Thanks, appreciate the comments. Like I told Lew, I did it wrong two times before….......slow learner…....but stubborn, so this one is better.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3962 posts in 2626 days


#7 posted 07-04-2016 09:48 PM

Joe
The lock is not a true lock, just a way to keep the drawers from moving in transit around the shop. It is quick to do, the skewer lives in the top drawer, and the bumper keeps it looking pretty when the lock is not in use, which is most of the time.

The levelers are just a step up from the carriage bolts I have under my not so mobile tools. But this is a mobile device, so I had to make it adjustable. My floor has suffered from additions that dictated some sewer pipe be run under the floor. That area settled a little, so there is some real unevenness in places…......and one of them is right under that router table’s normal position.

The cover is a purpose built press fit item. I made it to exact tolerance, so you have to push in on, and give it a jerk to get it off….....so it doesn’t move, even though it isn’t attached.

The lamp, as noted, is just a Lowe’s standard item. But it looks better than most and functions well. Bought it for the table, didn’t bring much home from the office when I retired…......especially the work….....(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3962 posts in 2626 days


#8 posted 07-04-2016 09:53 PM

Larry
Hey, thanks for the ogle. I think about you from time to time. I made a iPad stand for my wife out of Jatoba, that we had left over from our remodel, a couple of Christmas before last. It is a flat board with a couple of grooves in it, mostly plagiarized from others. It would be an item that could stand some fancy work on it, might be up your alley. I will try to post it soon since it is so simple…......I bet you could make it a lot more complicated…......(-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View MikesProjects's profile

MikesProjects

162 posts in 1364 days


#9 posted 07-05-2016 01:30 AM

Fancywork Jim, its nice..

-- -Mike, Southern California, YouTube User ( Give & Take )

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3962 posts in 2626 days


#10 posted 07-05-2016 01:48 AM

Mike
Thanks for the comment, I think the posting is harder than doing the work….....(-:

I checked out your site. You are apparently a woodworker by profession, so probably have considerably different equipment. That install of the Biesemeyer Fence on the Rockwell is awesome!! Obviously, for a professional, that is a great saw. Wouldn’t fit in my little shop….)-:

I do have some older equipment, a Craftsman RAS 1970 vintage, that I bought new, in 1970. It is now a 90 deg crosscut specialist. I have an old Delta Contractor’s Saw, from 1991, that I have hot-rodded. Still have to post the outfeed/sawdust control/storage addition to that.

Don’t get down to Southern California much these days. Have a vacation home in northern Washington, and a small shop there as well.

Thanks for stopping by….....

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View stefang's profile

stefang

15512 posts in 2796 days


#11 posted 07-07-2016 03:39 PM

Nice blog and photos showing all the nice details Jim. Great work!

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3962 posts in 2626 days


#12 posted 07-07-2016 07:15 PM

Mike (Stefang)
The devil definitely was in these details, as you might imagine. The nice thing about making your own stuff is that you can solve the problems that matter to you most. In this case, even the height of the whole apparatus was important so that it could serve a function while idle. I am sure you understand that issue, since your shop is also on the cramped side.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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