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A very unique router lift designed for a Lift-Top router table.

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Forum topic by Mork posted 10-09-2016 04:56 PM 2291 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Mork

267 posts in 2239 days


10-09-2016 04:56 PM

After years of frustration with my router lift I stumbled upon a post on lumberjocks featuring a lift top router table. I wish I could remember who made this post because he inspired me to innovate!

My old lift was a Jet Exacta lift which sat in the table extension on my Jet table saw. This in itself was part of the frustration. Having to remove the router table fence and lower the bit to use my table saw was a pain although certainly not any fault of the lift itself. A few minor problems I had with the lift were that vibration sometimes changed the height setting, the fence was wimpy and occasionally dust would interfere with the belt drive height adjustment making it impossible to change the setting… These were all minor annoyances but the biggest annoyance was – “Changing Bits!”.

Call me old or call me lazy, but having to remove the router to change the bit was a real pain!

This lead me to consider the design I saw on the lumberjock post. So now, how do I build a lift for the router? Honestly the lift in the post I saw worked well but was it was all wood and in my opinion prone to problems. I scoured the internet for a commercial lift that mounted in the cabinet but came up with NOTHING! Nobody makes a cabinet mount router lift!

So about a year ago I made a table with some industrial surplus parts complete with high dollar linear slides (the is posted in my project). I paid nothing for the slides but I suspect they probably cost significantly more then most router lifts. AND WOW….. IT WORKED FANTASTIC! In my opinion, this it the ONLY way to go.

After receiving several requests for slides and plans for this table I realized there was a demand for a “Cabinet Mount Router Lift” and set out to design an affordable cabinet mount lift.

I posted this router lift in the product review area on Lumberjocks but as several pointed out, this was not the correct area for this post. Rick M. suggested this Trade and Swap forum was a better place to post (Thanks Rick!)

So here it is. First up is the router table build video and then a video highlighting the lift itself.

This is the Router Table designed for the Winky-Lift Router Lift

And... This is the Winky-Lift Router Lift

Here’s a link to my ebay store. The lift is priced about as low as I can get it. I made 20 lifts to test market so this is still not a Rockler or Exacta mass produced item nor is it made in China. It is however a well made solid lift that will “Mount in a Cabinet” as opposed to the table top. If these sell well I’ll make more. Even with these small quantities the price of this lift is in line with many mass produced lifts on the market. Please note, the lift also comes with FREE PDF plans.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/The-Winky-Lift-Router-Lift-/282202817926?ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT


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Thanks for looking! Mark (Winky/Mork)


19 replies so far

View rick1955's profile

rick1955

258 posts in 895 days


#1 posted 10-10-2016 06:35 AM

http://www.popularwoodworking.com/projects/aw-extra-8912-shop-made-router-lift
It’s been done in 2009 using inexpensive materials.

-- Working smarter with less tools is a true crafts person...

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Mork

267 posts in 2239 days


#2 posted 10-10-2016 11:36 AM

Certainly I never claimed to make the first lift top router table or the first lift that mounts in the cabinet I’m certain there are many home made lifts that work quite well. The only claim I made was that I could find no commercial lift on the market that mounted in the cabinet. I also expressed some concern about a wood lift being problematic. I suspect changes in humidity would cause binding but then I have never made wood lift before so maybe there are ways around these problems.

Actually, the lift in the post looks pretty well made and I do like the fact that the lift is adjusted is in back of the fence. Having this adjustment hole in the front, like so many commercial lifts on the market, is problematic.

My lift, while not the cheapest, is priced lower than many. So I guess it depends on weather or not you want to build your own lift. My lift offers a solution to those wanting a lift top table without the hassle of building a lift plus the ability to adapt to many different routers.

I’m sure it isn’t for everyone but it is a good solid lift.

Thanks for posting. I think the home made lift you posted is better than others I have seen.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9438 posts in 3516 days


#3 posted 10-10-2016 06:54 PM

Very Good, rick1955... A very good article…

It looks like he made it using MDF to add as much stability, as possible, using a wood product.
... he even had some dust control…

-- 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 Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

626 posts in 1416 days


#4 posted 10-10-2016 08:13 PM

Mork: Is there any issue with slight changes in the height adjustment due to vibration? I don’t see any mechanism for locking the height setting in place.

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Mork

267 posts in 2239 days


#5 posted 10-10-2016 09:34 PM

Kazooman, very good observation. At this point it doesn’t have a lock but I have one in mind that will be very simple. I’ll post a short youtube video soon, probably this weekend. I really haven’t had a problem yet but vibration from the router will undoubtedly make the adjustment move giving enough time.

Thanks for asking.

Just a quick word about my objective here. Most people have made great suggestions and comments but a few have been very critical and one guy even called this lift “stupid” or more exactly he said “people would be stupid to buy this lift”. Being critical is fine and in fact I welcome suggestions for improvement (like yours) but some people get some kind of enjoyment out of being hateful. I envision Lumberjocks as a place to make friends and cooperate. Anyway, back to my objective. I think I have a fantastic idea here. I wanted to make a reliable lift mechanism for a lift top router table (which in my opinion is the very best type) and offer basic plans for a router table that would be suitable for the lift. Knowing that half the fun of woodworking is working from the ideas of other and improving on them I purposely did not make a fully refined design.

So I feel like the table is a good sound design but there is all kinds of other ways to make a table and also many ways to make improvements on my design. Shelves, doors, walnut trim, a better fence system, dust collection on the bottom as well as the top, formica on the top etc etc…

So I’m not being critical of anyone in this conversation, I’m saying thanks for the constructive comments and KEEP THEM COMING!

My other objective was to make a little money to feed my woodworking addiction but so far this hasn’t happened :o(

I’m not looking for pity but certainly I’m looking for suggestions to make a more attractive product! The only thing I see in my lift that people might not really like it the use of hose clamps to hold the router. I was kind of bothered by this myself but to be very honest it works exceptional, makes the lift very versatile and doesn’t add much to the cost. Bottom line, it’s simple and effective.

What do you think? What is the biggest negative to my lift? Price? no paint, hose clamps or perhaps the time it takes to remove and replace the router?

I understand the last negative and I’ll admit, if you only have one router this is a negative.

Here’s an heads up… Harbor Freight has a 1/2” router for about $54 bucks. The base is total junk but I have been using the motor in another jig I made for a few years. So far it seems to work well. Of course my Porter Cable routers are obviously higher quality but for an extra router the price can’t be beat!

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

626 posts in 1416 days


#6 posted 10-10-2016 09:58 PM

Ok, here’s another thought. I would suggest using better lumber. In your picture above the cross member that holds the crank looks like a hunk of big box store 2 X 4 (and I think it is). The knot in front of the crank looks BAD. The metal components of the guides and screw mechanism look to be solidly built. For my money I would want the wooden components to be just as high in quality. What would using hard maple add to the unit cost? Probably less that it would add to the customer’s confidence in the quality of the build. I appreciate that there is not a lot of stress on this piece and the wood you have used would probably be up to the task, but the knotty 2 X 4 gives an impression of a cheaply built unit.

View Kazooman's profile

Kazooman

626 posts in 1416 days


#7 posted 10-10-2016 10:11 PM

Back with another question that you have probably addressed, but customers might have concerns. The mounting device for the router has two bearing surfaces that the clamps hold the router motor against. Is this sufficient to establish a perfect parallel alignment of the two guide rods and the shaft of the router bit? This is critical. For example, if the lift is used for making multiple passes of increasing depth each pass must align perfectly with the previous ones. If the router is slightly canted relative to the guide rods then there is a problem. This issue would seem to be more of a potential problem with systems that support the router motor from one side. A typical router base offers support from all sides.

Not being critical or confrontational, just trying to help.

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

385 posts in 678 days


#8 posted 10-10-2016 10:45 PM



Ok, here s another thought. I would suggest using better lumber. In your picture above the cross member that holds the crank looks like a hunk of big box store 2 X 4 (and I think it is). The knot in front of the crank looks BAD. The metal components of the guides and screw mechanism look to be solidly built. For my money I would want the wooden components to be just as high in quality. What would using hard maple add to the unit cost? Probably less that it would add to the customer s confidence in the quality of the build. I appreciate that there is not a lot of stress on this piece and the wood you have used would probably be up to the task, but the knotty 2 X 4 gives an impression of a cheaply built unit.

- Kazooman

Kazooman you make a good point regarding the “selection of wood” May I suggest that “white oak”, for it is used ,for outdoor projects, example, ship building and outdoor furniture. There is a great product for sealing wood from moisture and mold- https://www.systemthree.com/products/clear-coat-low-viscosity-laminating-epoxy I use it and highly recommend their product. I will review it in January 2017.

-- Desert_Woodworker

View Mork's profile

Mork

267 posts in 2239 days


#9 posted 10-10-2016 11:54 PM

Okay… interesting comments. Although… the assumption here is that I am selling the router table and not the lift. Which, as you seem to be suggesting one will effect the other. I’m thinking perhaps a faulty premise but as i said above…

“So I feel like the table is a good sound design but there is all kinds of other ways to make a table and also many ways to make improvements on my design. Shelves, doors, walnut trim, a better fence system, dust collection on the bottom as well as the top, formica on the top etc etc.” (or white oak lift support rails?)

Forgive me if that sounds sarcastic. You are not the first to comment on the lack of detail in the construction so you are probably making a valid point. I actually do a lot of very nice woodworking (IMHO) but my priorities in the shop are to make or have good functional tools. I don’t have the Fine Woodworking work bench with the wood vise and bench dogs etc. (nothing against Fine Woodworking, I’m a life time subscriber). To be certain, the 2×4 was a scrap out of the junk pile and the plywood was construction grade AC.

I’m certainly not saying you are wrong… I suspect you are correct. To sell the lift I should have made a class A piece of art!

View Mork's profile

Mork

267 posts in 2239 days


#10 posted 10-11-2016 12:45 AM

The answer your other question… The pins in the router lift create a V-block that is incredibly solid and absolutely dead on parallel to the slide bars. Both the slide plates are cut with water jet with a + or – .005 advertised tolerance but in reality it is more like .001. The stated spec is for top to bottom tolerance so the holes in the plates are near absolute in relation to each other. And, you are correct, this is very important. In addition the slide bar sleeve bearings have a tolerance on .0005 to .001 so if anything is out of parallel the slide will not slide. Maybe I should make a demonstration on this… you can grab the router motor and pick up the entire router table!

With that said, striving for perfection in woodworking is always a good idea but in reality you could move the bottom of the lift out of alignment vertically 1/16” and never notice a problem… heck, probably more like an 1/8”. In fact 1/8” out at the bottom of the lift equates to .006 if you are making a 1/2” deep cut. I’m not saying this is ideal but you would never notice this.

Also you may have noticed I stressed the importance of hole location for the support rails in the video. This was for two reasons. 1) to maintain vertical and 2) so that when you mount the lift you don’t put the lift in a bind. The lift is fairly rigid but bolts have a lot of leverage when you tighten them.

I’m getting off on a tangent here but here is something interesting you can try. Get a 1-foot long piece of 1/2” drill rod and chuck it into your router collet. Now turn the router shaft with your hand and watch how much the end moves. Loosen the collet and tighten and see what it looks like. Most often it will be out over 1/8 inch but different every time you tighten the collet! Disturbing? I think so too but I have tried this with 3 different routers and they all do the same. But… get this!!! The Harbor Freight $54 dollar router did better than any of them! Total run out at the end was consistently less.

But back to you concern… the router is dead on parallel to the slides… I’d say within + or – .002 which very tight tolerance for even machinist work.

I get tickled at some of the posts on here but seldom say much. People build a table saw sled and then claim they got .0005 tolerance on there cuts. Have you ever tried to measure wood with a micrometer? Getting any kind of consistent measurement within .002 is almost impossible and the lines on a tape measure are probably .020 wide.

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Mork

267 posts in 2239 days


#11 posted 10-11-2016 12:49 AM

Thinking more about the 2×4 quality. It there such thing as a quality 2×4? Good maybe… but good for building a house not furniture. I guess I wanted to demonstrate the fact that you could build a very quality router table without spending big bucks on quality hardwood. Maybe this backfired.

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

385 posts in 678 days


#12 posted 10-11-2016 01:01 AM

Mork- Don’t loose it here in the “arena” . I love this site for it is not censored. You started with humility and now that we are on a forum, it gives others a chance to speak. Who am I to say this, look at my reviews, post, and questioning Charles Neil twice, for people came at me, some rational critques, the profane but I read and listen to what they say. Though, I love the ones who agree with me! Thank you A2Jim ( or as he would say LOL, LOL)
PS when I refer to the “arena” I am refering to this site. I find people from all walks of life, but it allows us to express ourselfs- I’m out

-- Desert_Woodworker

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Mork

267 posts in 2239 days


#13 posted 10-11-2016 01:28 AM

This comments need a like button… Thanks

View Redoak49's profile

Redoak49

1951 posts in 1452 days


#14 posted 10-11-2016 11:00 AM

Yes…there are quality 2×4s. After 40 years of wood working, I finally found a perfect one.

I recently bought some hardwood from a sawmill in Michigan. Kiln dried poplar was $2.25 and ash $3.00 a board foot. I think this is cheaper than 2×4s after you throw out the bad pieces of 2×4.

View Mork's profile

Mork

267 posts in 2239 days


#15 posted 10-11-2016 11:28 AM

Aside from being a bit soft Poplar is great. I had an Amish saw mill cut a small log for me a while back but I’m running very low now and need to find another log. This is a very fast growing tree that in my opinion is underutilized. The tree grow big straight and clear and are fairly abundant here in KY. I believe it goes for about $1.70 here. Of course red oak is still under $2.00 bucks. I’ve also had 1 log of white oak and 2 of red oak cut. I air dried everything and sold about 1/2 of it (kept all the quarter and riff) which more than paid for the logs, transportation and saw bill. Living here in KY has a few negatives but a few great pluses for woodworkers!!! I’m currently 60 yrs old… I suspect I have enough oak to get me through the rest of my life.

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