This Instructable shows you how I modified my portable table saw to replace the right extension table with a hinged router table. The hinged table design allows easy access to change router bits and adjust bit depth. The router section is also enclosed to provide dust collection and to reduce router noise.
This Instructable shows you the specifics concerning how I modified my portable Delta contractor table saw. Since table saws vary in construction details, you will need to modify the construction approach as necessary for your table saw.
My inspiration for this tool came from Tom Clark's "Practical Shop Cabinets" (pages 36-41). He describes how to build a hinged top stand-alone router table with dust collection. I modified Tom's design for my table saw.
Tom had several design requirements for his table, including:
1) Smooth lid
2) Hinged top to enable easy access for router bit replacement & adjustment
3) Built-in dust collector
To which I added the following requirements:
4) the router table had to fit as an extension table to my table saw
5) easy removal of the router for other uses if needed
I have just put the router table into service and it appears to meet all of the above requirements. I'll provide more feedback as I use it over time.
Note: I had to modify the dust collection method so that the suction comes from the bottom in order for this to work with my shop vac.
Step 1: Overview
I've been building a lot of shop cabinets and drawers but have not yet made faceplates for the drawers.
I've been wanting a router table for a while, and I don't have a lot of space in my garage for a separate router table. I wanted to see if I could modify Tom Clark's excellent router table design for use on my table saw.
I already had a router, but did not want to use it for the table as I wanted ready access to that router. After some searching, I purchased a used Bosch 1617EVS router kit from someone off of Craigslist for $100. If you already have a router, you should be be to use it.
I wanted a smooth formica top, and I had a section of white formica countertop left over from a prior job so I decided to use that as my base.
It is important to make sure that the router table is the same height as the main saw table, and this can be a little tricky to adjust.
There weren't too many special tools needed for this project, although I did have to cut a few holes and it is helpful to have either fixed or adjustable hole saws available.
I'll explain the design/assembly process I took in the following steps. You'll need to modify them as appropriate for your table saw and router.
Step 2: Remove Existing Table Saw Extension & Attach Angle Bracket
Remove the existing table extension and keep all bolts and washers.
I purchased 2" x 2" x 4' aluminum angle bracket from Lowe's and cut it into three pieces to mount to the table saw.
Where there were existing mounting holes, I used them. Where there were no mounting holes, I drilled new ones.
Make sure that your rip fence still slides smoothly after you mount the angle brackets. I had to replace some of the bolts with ones with smaller heads in order to make sure that my fence still functioned correctly.
Step 3: Cut Base, Top, Attach With Hinge, & Align
I used a sturdy piece of oak veneered plywood as my base and cut it to size.
I then attached the formica top to the base with a hinge, using a 1/8" piece of plywood under the hinge to raise the top up so that it would be even with the top of the table saw.
I found out that the formica top was just slightly higher than the table saw top. I could have tried lowering the angle brackets, but I decided to route the back portion of the formica top by the amount needed to lower the formica top to be even with the table saw top.
I decided to locate the 1-5/8" router hole (or whatever size hole you want) about 2/3 of the way back. You'll want to make sure that the base of your router does not extend past the back of the base as the top is rotated into place.
I also added two 1/4" screw inserts at the rear of the base to allow adjustment of the height of the rear of the router top.
Step 4: Route the Underside of the Top & Attach Router
Tom routed his top 1/4" before attaching his router and I decided to do the same.
I cut a template on a jig saw and then routed the bottomside of top (centered on the 1-5/8" hole) to 1/4" in depth to accommodate the router.
I then removed the place base of the router and marked the 4 attachment screw holes and drilled countersunk holes to mount the router.
After obtaining longer attaching screws from Lowe's, I attached the router to the formica top.
Step 5: Add Containment Box for the Router
With the router mounted, I then carefully measured and made a cutout in the base for the router to pass through.
Note: Be sure to provide enough clearance in the back so that you can still use the handle to adjust the angle on your table saw.
I then measured and cut the remaining sides of the box and used pocket screw holes to mount them to the underside of the base. I also cut a hole for the vacuum connection to the Shop Vac.
I also added weatherstripping to the top of the containment section to help keep the suction inside the router box.
Note also that I cut a 1/4" hole at the top of the back panel to feed the power cord through. If I need to use the router in another application, it will be easy to remove it (it is easily removable from the router base).
Step 6: Add a Cone-shaped Dust Collector to the Bottom
At this point, I tested the router system and was disappointed to find that there was a fair amount of debris in the bottom of the router box. Also, some wood chips were already beginning to block the router air intake vents on the bottom of the router. I'm guessing that Tom must have been using a much more powerful dust collector than my Shop Vac.
I decided to change the dust collection design to feed through the bottom of the box and try to take advantage of the wood dust and chips falling down (rather than try to suck them out through the side).
I found a large round plastic cone shaped container at Goodwill and cut a hole in the bottom of the box to mount it. I also cut a hole in the bottom of the plastic container and added a Shop Vac adapter and trimmed it even with the base of the plastic bucket. I then sealed all of the openings with metal duct tape.
I put a piece of wood over the original Shop Vac hole, but left a small opening for air to split with the air coming down through the router table hole.
When I tried the router with this dust collection set up there was no debris in the bottom of the box and no chips at the air intake vents of the router.
Step 7: Make Router Fence and Secure Base
I made a router fence similar in design to Tom's. Tom did not provide dimensions for his router fence, so I just modeled mine after what he had in his pictures.
Although I can use the table saw fence for some routing operations, I wanted the ability to have the router set up separately from the table saw.
I then mounted the base to the aluminum angle brackets with screws and leveled the top with the adjustment screws.
The router table seems to work great so far. I'll update this Instructable with more information after I've used it for a while.
Note: I connect the power and vacuum of the router table to my portable dust collection cart. This cart has a switched power outlet that allows me to turn on the router and the shop vac dust collector at the same time.