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Router Lift Questions From A Woodworking Newbie

by Jon_Banquer
posted 1404 days ago


16 replies so far

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1670 days


#1 posted 1404 days ago

The short answer to your question is probably “no”. I say “probably” because there may be a lift I don’t know of – but I don’t think there is.

Shortly, MLCS is going to begin selling their new motorized lift and I believe that will have predefined stopping points.

The probably with routers is that you should not insert the bit all the way into the collet, leaving some expansion space at the bottom. Therefore, it is difficult to consistently put the bit in to exactly the same depth. I’ve heard some talk about plugs that you drop into the collet that, in theory, help you set the bit to exactly the same depth each time but I don’t know if anyone has perfected that idea.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Jon_Banquer's profile

Jon_Banquer

69 posts in 1404 days


#2 posted 1404 days ago

Rich, I frequently use a smaller diameter gage pin behind a drill so that if it slips in the collet it can’t back up.

It seems to me that there is a lot of work left to get router lifts to use modern technology. For instance, wouldn’t using linear bearings (with the appropriate dust shields) make a lot more sense than what I see now which is the total lack of a smooth way to move a router up and down?

Thanks for your comments.

-- Jon Banquer San Diego, CA CAD / CAM programmer, CNC Machinist

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5241 posts in 2181 days


#3 posted 1404 days ago

I can’t understand why they don’t make a router fitted into a table raised by an outside wheel handle to any height you wish marked on the side of the handwheel.They do this on spindle mouldrs why not for routerss? Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2244 days


#4 posted 1404 days ago

$$$.

CNCs for woodworking does use linear bearings, but for the simple to use, cost efficient router table lift – people (buyers) will not spend the $$$ for linear bearing since they are not required. the router does not move while working. you do not need machininst precision in it’s raising mechanism. FYI, I have not experienced poor non smooth raising mechanism yet so am just trying to assume you are comparing it to CNC smoothness and precision – which is really not necessary for a router lift.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Jon_Banquer's profile

Jon_Banquer

69 posts in 1404 days


#5 posted 1404 days ago

I’m comparing it to what I would consider to be accepted good mechanical design practices. There is a segment of the market that will spend the money for quality. Festool, L-N planes, etc. come to mind as examples. A lower cost model could have a less expensive mechanism. I’ve seen linear guides used on cheap positioners for video based measuring tables and many other relatively inexpensive items. The price of linear bearings isn’t as great as you might think. They are so common now that they have become a commodity.

-- Jon Banquer San Diego, CA CAD / CAM programmer, CNC Machinist

View Jon_Banquer's profile

Jon_Banquer

69 posts in 1404 days


#6 posted 1404 days ago

Scotsman, If this is the case (I’m a woodworking newbie) I agree.

-- Jon Banquer San Diego, CA CAD / CAM programmer, CNC Machinist

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1521 days


#7 posted 1404 days ago

My Master Lift by Jessem is very smooth, it is raised and lowered with a hand crank, there is a guage on the top of the table showing the 32nds of an inch it is adjusted, but as Rich says, once you change bits, you have to reset for the new bit.

It’s one of the reasons I have three of their router tables set up with dedicated routers and bits and seldom make many adjustments… but not everyone has that luxury.

P.S. Jon, welcome to Lumberjocks!

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Jon_Banquer's profile

Jon_Banquer

69 posts in 1404 days


#8 posted 1403 days ago

I like the machining on the Jessem Master Lift. Looks like they are using brass or copper bearings on the two fittings that ride on what are probably hardened and ground shafts and that the router lift movement is controlled by a lead screw using Acme threads. If you miss your number I take it you crank back far enough to get rid of the backlash and try again? How much time does it take to crank the router up or down for the full distance allowed?

Thanks for the welcome. Hope I don’t wear it out to soon. ;>)

-- Jon Banquer San Diego, CA CAD / CAM programmer, CNC Machinist

View jusfine's profile

jusfine

2280 posts in 1521 days


#9 posted 1403 days ago

It will take you awhile to wear it out Jon… :)

I was in the shop for awhile and just saw your question now, but I think it would be maximum 5 seconds from below the table to fully extended above. All bits change out on top of the table, no fooling around underneath.
I have PC 7518 routers in two of them, and a 690 in the other one.

I thought it was the best machined one I had seen as well, it is silky smooth to operate, and, I wouldn’t have three of them if I didn’t like it a lot.

P.S. Yes, very easy to adjust, backlash is almost non existant.

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View Jon_Banquer's profile

Jon_Banquer

69 posts in 1404 days


#10 posted 1403 days ago

That’s impressive speed.

Still, it seems to me that some sort of very accurate snap in adapter could be designed to hold and drive the router bit. I use tool holders with an adapter like this for taps so they float (Even though the CNC manufacturer claims it’s not needed they do help quite a bit and I get far less broken taps.). Having three router tables I’m sure has it benefits but I don’t get why router bits can’t be changed quickly and test cuts that waste time can’t be eliminated with better design.

-- Jon Banquer San Diego, CA CAD / CAM programmer, CNC Machinist

View TheWoodNerd's profile

TheWoodNerd

288 posts in 1787 days


#11 posted 1403 days ago

There is a segment of the market that will spend the money for quality

But that money has to yield benefits. We’re dealing with wood where accuracy of a few thousandths is more than enough. 1/2 thou or less is a waste of time and effort.

Pre-set stops would only work if the tool offset is consistent, i.e. the bit is set to the same depth each time it’s inserted. Sure, you could set up a system of toolholders like an ATC, but the cost is now getting truly ludicrous. Some would go for it, I agree, but that market is vanishingly small and not worth the effort to develop and market the product.

-- The Wood Nerd -- http://www.workshopaholic.net

View Jon_Banquer's profile

Jon_Banquer

69 posts in 1404 days


#12 posted 1403 days ago

“Pre-set stops would only work if the tool offset is consistent, i.e. the bit is set to the same depth each time it’s inserted.”

Right and that’s exactly what happens when you use the tool holders with the adapters I described above. You can also fake it with drills by using a smaller gage pin behind the drill. Actually this might also work for a router bit held in a collet.

The cost to do something custom like this, to be sold in small quantities, should be some where in the $100 to $200 price range or less. How much time do you think someone would save who does a lot of routing? I think quite a bit (excuse the intended pun) of time.

You may very well be right on the small market. Don’t have the experience to know.

-- Jon Banquer San Diego, CA CAD / CAM programmer, CNC Machinist

View FredG's profile

FredG

140 posts in 2292 days


#13 posted 1403 days ago

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1670 days


#14 posted 1403 days ago

Fred – I have ordered the sidewinder and will report on it after I get it.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View richgreer's profile

richgreer

4522 posts in 1670 days


#15 posted 1403 days ago

I’m sure many of us have purchased a router that you put on a table and left there. In my case, I also wanted a router lift. So, all I needed was a motor and a collet. I once asked a manufactures rep why they don’t sell motors and collets designed to be used in a router lift (without having to buy a base). He agreed it was a good idea and didn’t seem to know why no one was doing that.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Jon_Banquer's profile

Jon_Banquer

69 posts in 1404 days


#16 posted 1403 days ago

This is what the unit I mentioned above looks like. The tap snaps in and out of the holder in 1 second. The tap holder also snaps in and out of the tool holder in about 1 second. Total repeatability. No wrench or tool is ever used or needed.

http://www.tools-n-gizmos.com/specs/QC_Tapping_Systems.html

We use the Bilz style which is the most common by far

If a quick switch system isn’t available for router bits then I guess my point is that it should be and that I see the need.

-- Jon Banquer San Diego, CA CAD / CAM programmer, CNC Machinist

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