MLCS motorized router lift

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Forum topic by richgreer posted 09-08-2010 05:44 PM 4353 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4541 posts in 3044 days

09-08-2010 05:44 PM

You can now read about the MLCS motorized router lift and pre-order. Initial deliveries will be around October 12th.

Special introductory price is $389.

Read all about it – - -

I know some, perhaps many, don’t think this is a very good idea. I think it will catch on just like power windows have replaced hand crank windows in our cars.

Now I’m waiting for the table saw that raises and lowers and tilts the blade electronically.

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

12 replies so far

View 559dustdesigns's profile


633 posts in 3137 days

#1 posted 09-08-2010 06:00 PM

Wow, I wish I had a money tree. I knew this wasn’t going to be cheap, but its really not bad considering all the design and engineering that’s gone into this new lift. Rich, I think we will see more power assisted tools very soon, people love to make things easier and more comfortable. Thanks for the update on this new tool.

-- Aaron - central California "If you haven't got the time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?"

View Greedo's profile


473 posts in 2930 days

#2 posted 09-08-2010 07:35 PM

well i would rather have an electric router lift than electric car windows, in case my pickup falls into a river i wanna be able to get out alive!
but more seriously, i don’t think anybody can be really against these kind of innovations. the sooner an innovation is made, the sooner it may become common and cheaper. i certainly won’t buy this, theres a list of tools and machines in my shop that i use much more and for who it would be much more usefull to add electric controlls.
starting with the tablesaw.

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2967 days

#3 posted 09-09-2010 05:52 AM

Um, they already have them. The Grizzly G0620 sliding table saw has digital controls for fence, blade height and tilt :)

Not cheap though.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3044 days

#4 posted 09-09-2010 04:06 PM

I just learned that this lift comes with a 9” x 12” insert. That’s a problem for me.

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

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10380 posts in 3398 days

#5 posted 09-10-2010 12:45 AM

I use a 9V screw driver motor to power my Jessem lift.
IIRC, The Jessem was about $289 when I bought it 8 years ago.
Now you can get one for $129.00

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3239 days

#6 posted 09-10-2010 01:31 AM

I commented about these lifts on another blog about lifts.

I am going to wait on these until they get the bugs out – which there surely are going to be. I am a bit concerned with the slop on a mortorized lift – as my first lift (not motorized) – the woodpecker precision lift….had a tremendous amount of slop…and I would get box joints that were perfect at the begining of the cut….then end up way too shallow at the end…the router had drifted due to slop in the gears and attachment hardware. I tried everything up to welding the motor to the lift with very little success. I gave up on lifts for a while until I got a used jessem that holds really good. I haven’t gotten much if any drift from it and have been happily working with it on my Incra LS. If the MLCS works good…it would be a nice addition…but I am not holding my breath yet….not that MLCS makes garbage….they have been excellent as far as customer service and products that I have purchased from them….but as woodpecker is another great company….I am still leery about lifts and whether they can maintain the router at the right height through the torquing of the motor and the pressure of the cutter, especially on larger routing work. We shall see.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View Richard Dunlap's profile

Richard Dunlap

65 posts in 2834 days

#7 posted 09-10-2010 01:32 AM

For those interested this is where this powered lift got its start.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

10380 posts in 3398 days

#8 posted 09-10-2010 02:41 AM

Thanks for posting this link. I knew Nixon was the inventor of the MLCS lift but, hadn’t seen this video. Now I don’t have to use my little 9V screwdriver from the top. I’m definitely going to build this one!

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View SueNH's profile


19 posts in 3053 days

#9 posted 09-10-2010 02:37 PM

I looked at the lift and it sounds really good. Does MLCS make quality bits, too? I just received a catalog and the pricing for carbide bits is amazing. And free shipping. Just wondering what you wise folks out there think?


View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3239 days

#10 posted 09-10-2010 07:34 PM

Sue, their inexpensive bits are better then most of the mid value bits…but they are not great for continuous heavy use.

I always recommend that you get the inexpensive sets for occassional use…the bits you use the most should be quality bits …that said….I have a couple of the MLCS kits and they are excellent bits for the price and I use them a few times a month at most – if I find I like the profile…or need to use it more often…then I will get the bit from a manufacturer that makes them for commercial use….Amana, Whiteside, CMT, Eagle America (made in USA)....etc.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View finkh's profile


3 posts in 2407 days

#11 posted 09-22-2011 10:23 PM

I purchased a motorized powerlift and am extremely happy with it. I use it to cut stopped dadoes, and there is nothing that can touch it.

Installation: I bought a new router to go with the powerlift and cast iron extension table for a unisaw. For a small shop, I thought it would take up less space. It does, but I believe this tool should be stand-alone.
The 692 variable speed has two pins on the body, and the powerlift is expecting one or none. I ground off one pin. The initial fit was too tight, and i didn’t get it to fully seat. Running for about a half hour let me fully seat the router spindle. The ears around the brush caps stick out too much, and I had to grind off some of the ears to avoid one post when lowering the router. I wanted the router switch on the outside. Maybe if I had ground off the other pin I could have avoided the posts.

Setting a height stop is tricky. There is an acorn nut that hits the blade of a microswitch. The initial setup is usually a millimeter off. There is no gauge on the stop, but it’s under the table and kind of dark, so it’s try and try again for height. The speed of the lift can affect the height stop by about .2mm due to inertia. So 40-50 percent lift is about right. If the height starts to slip, raise the speed to compensate. We are talking tenth millimeters here. The console displays to a hundredth millimeter. That said, the accuracy is consistently about a tenth millimeter. You want to give the router some running room to hit the height stop, say 5mm, or the height will run low.

The foot switch/console combination is heaven. Tap, raise 5 mm, cut, slide the stock back and forth between the stops on the fence, repeat a few times for a 14mm deep slot. Lower the router below the table with the foot switch and remove the stock. The walls of the cut are perfectly smooth. This is with a 3/8 plunge cutter with a 1/2” shank. I cut 30 8” long 3/8” slots in about twenty minutes. Back and forth means a little climb cutting, so you have to stay alert and press the stock against the fence. You also have to adjust the router plate each time it is removed so it is flush to the table. If you don’t you get a little bump, which doesn’t affect the slot, but may cause you to swing the stock slightly away from the fence and make an error.

The posts need dry lubricant. I used paste wax. There are three different plugs and then the two 110 cords, something to deal with. Removing the console and cables to store them is a bit clumsy. No dust collection with stopped dados, so blow away the dust each piece.

I ran 3/8” slots first, then 10mm, but found 10mm was too tight for my needs, so I went back and cut .75mm wider, and it was very quick. Essentially, I made 30 slots using 270 passes with one bit change in about 90 minutes being very careful but calm. It was taking me five minutes each with a plunge router, anxious all the time.

Did I mention changing the bits from above the table? Switching from 1/2” shank to 1/4” shank without removing the router?

Howard Fink (no powerlift pictures yet)

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3044 days

#12 posted 09-23-2011 12:00 AM

Most non-motorized router lifts are around $300. I have a Woodpecker PRL-V2 that cost $325 and, IMO, it is well work it. I really appreciate the precision control I have over the height of the bit.

I probably would have spent the extra to get the MLCS motorized product if it were not for the problem with the size of the router plate. Their plate size is not compatible with my router table. In theory, I could increase the size of my opening, but I tried that before on another table and was not happy with the results.

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

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