|Project by pfleming||posted 07-15-2016 11:01 PM||1018 views||0 times favorited||6 comments|
Well, after looking at router lifts for a couple of years now, and really wanting one, but not wanting to shell out a few hundred bucks for one, I finally decided to break down and try my hand at building my own. I looked at several different plans on the internet, and ended up making kind of a hybrid out of a couple different designs. Please don’t laugh at my homemade router table, or the re-purposed grill cart for the stand. As much as I’d love to have a factory made set-up, I just don’t use it enough to justify (to my wife) spending the money it would cost. A friend of mine dropped off a good bit of 3/4” birch plywood that he didn’t need, so this is the first thing I made out of it. There were some unexpected issues I ran into, but in the end, this thing works great and is rock solid once you tighten the cinch knob. As you can see in the pictures, the router is held in place by metal automotive band clamps. I started out with one at first, but had to go back and add the lower one for extra stability. The holding blocks are made from scraps of 2×4, and were cut out on the band saw. Everything else is made from 3/4” birch plywood. I started to make it so it adjusted from under the table (since most of the time I squat down when adjusting the bit height anyway), but decided to go ahead and make it so it adjusts through the top. The main thing I wanted to achieve was to be able to replace the router bit without removing the router from the table. After I installed the lift and tried it out, I found that it still wouldn’t come up far enough for a bit change, but almost. That’s when I decided to go for it and cut the top so I could remove an insert for easy bit change. The best part about having a (basically) free router table top is that if I mess it up, I can make another one and all I’m out is some time. I did install two small screws in the insert to take up the room that was left by using the jig saw to cut out the insert. That actually did pretty well at tightening things up, and if it loosens up any, all I have to do is back the screws out a hair and problem solved. I installed a few screws under the insert to allow for level adjustment, since I had previously thinned out the top in that area for the factory router base to fit. The slide action is basically made from two pieces of ply with two more narrow pieces holding the “sandwich” together. I did have to do little sanding on the outer 1” or so of the center board (the one the router is attached to) so it would slide freely, but without much slack in it. I added another piece of 2×4 at the top of the assembly with hole drilled through it, for the adjusting rod (3/8” all thread) to go through, and a tee nut to the upper router mount, to raise and lower the assembly. At the upper block, I used lock nuts and washers so the rod would turn freely in the block, but wouldn’t move up or down when it was turned. The cinch system is simply a 1/4” slot cut in the front board of the assembly, with a single 1/4” hole in the board that the router is attached to. I used a 1/4” x 20 tee nut (behind the router) in the single hole, and a plastic knob and a 2” toggle bolt screw…..because it worked great and I had them already. The only things I had to go buy were the tee nuts, everything else I had lying around the shop. I know a lot of people don’t like Harbor Freight tools, but my router table is set up with the 2 hp fixed base router from Harbor Freight connected to one of their speed control units, and, at least so far, it seems to do just fine for me. The base that came with the router was lacking in a quality locking system and ease of adjustability, which is another major reason I wanted to make the router lift. When the original base was attached to the table top, I could see a little torque movement when I first turned the router on, but since I installed the lift system, once the cinch knob is tightened, there is no movement AT ALL when I turn on the router. After a few test passes, I have to say I’m very pleased with the way everything operates so far. Thanks to this project, I’ll probably be using my router table for a lot more things from now on. Sorry I didn’t do a better job documenting the process but, to be honest, I’m really not too pleased with the aesthetics of the lift, but the functionality of it is great…..and that’s what really matters.
-- Patrick, Mississippi