Introduction: Convert a Propane Grill to a CNC Router Base
Some time ago I created a CNC router from some ball screw slides I liberated from the dumpster at my work. What I never did was create a base for it. Ever since I made the machine, it's been sitting on some saw horses.
Well, my wife and I purchased a new propane grill because the old one had become too crusty. Replacing the burners and heat spreaders didn't help it.
What she saw as junk, I saw as a base for the router.
I created this on a Sunday afternoon. Just like the router itself, I made it with only ideas in the head. I had no real plans.
On with the build....
Step 1: Disassemble the Grill
People who have purchased a propane grill and have assembled it themselves know that these are quite well assembled in the box. Typically the entire "grill" portion is already assembled and only the side tables (wings) and base need screwed together.
This grill was no different. It took the removal six screws for each side table and six screws in the burner section to get the grill to what I wanted to reuse: the base.
Some of the screws where quite crusty and I needed to drill them out.
Step 2: Add Tie Bars.
I had some aluminum angle laying around in my shop (the garage) and I used them to create some bars to which I would use as an interface between the router base and the grill base.
I used the screws from the grill disassembly to attach the bars to the grill base.
Step 3: Router Base
I purchased 4' x 8' sheet of 3/4" thick sanded plywood and cut it to the size of the router (36" x 30 1/2").
Then I bolted the plywood to the grill base through the tie bars.
From there and with help from my wife we lifted the router onto the base. After centering the router to the baseplate, I drilled through the baseplate and the router frame rails. Then the router was bolted to the baseplate.
It's funny, but the fact that the router width and the grill width were the same was completely dumb luck.
Step 4: Mount the Control Box
I removed some of the router table panels and placed the control box on the baseplate to mark the holes.
I drilled through the baseplate then mounted the control box under the baseplate.
Using a hole saw I cut some holes in the baseplate to run cables.
From there I could re-wire the router to the control box.
Step 5: Extending Shelf
As I was finishing the up machine, I noticed I had to place to use the computer. So I used some scrap I had laying around and made a simple extending shelf for the ancient netbook computer I use to run this machine. It's a crude setup, but it's functional.
And that's a Sunday afternoon well spent.