Introduction: DIY Routing Table

This Instructable describes a routing table I made at Techshop after taking the Laser Cutter SBU.

I wanted a project to try out my new laser cutting skills, and a router mounting plate for a router table seemed perfect. Techshop has a nice router table that members can use, but I have a lot a small projects in my garage, so my own table at home would come in handy.

In this instructable, I describe all the tools and materials you need to construct your own.

If you'd like to obtain the design files, they are located on GitHub at https://github.com/wwashington/DIY-Routing-Table.git

For more information about TechShop go to http://www.techshop.ws

Step 1: Routing Table Tools and Materials

To build the router table you will need the following tools:

* Router
* Router Speed Controller (optional)
* 3/4" Countersink Bit
* 1/2" Height Rabetting Router Bit
* 5/16" Drill Bit
* 3/4" Forstner Bit
* Jigsaw
* And of course, access to a Laser Cutter

You will also need the following materials:

* Acrylic Sheet (at least 1/4" thick and 8 1/2" x 11")
* Three or Four Router Mounting Bolts (The size depends on your router. My router required three 5/16-18 bolts.)
* 3/4" Plywood 24" x 24" (I used birch.)
* Eight 5/16 Carriage Bolts, Split Washer and Lock Nuts
* Tool Stand Kit
* Cable Ties

Step 2: Routing Face Plate Design

The design of the router face plate will vary based on your particular router, so please consider these instructions as guidelines and make the appropriate changes for your router.

You do not want to make the face plate too big or too small. It should be a little larger than the hole in the table, and the hole in the table should be just big enough for your router to slide in diagonally. My router needed about a 11 1/4" diagonal hole to fit through the table. The dimensions on the hole are 6 3/4" X 9 1/4".

Next, you will need to add a border around the hole. This forms the outer dimension of the face plate. My rabetting bit is 3/4" in diameter and contains a bearing that cuts a 3/8" edge. Therefore, the overall dimension of my face plate are 7 1/2" (6 3/8" + 3/8" + 3/8")  X 10" (9 1/4" + 3/8" + 3/8"). The corners of the face plate have a radius of 3/4".

In the center of the face place, put a 1 1/2" diameter hole for the router bit. Relative to this hole, determine the location of the router mounting holes.

Finally, I added a 1/4" hole for a installing an optional post that is used to help steady the work for some routing jobs.

After you calculated all these dimensions, you are ready to create a drawing of your face plate in CorelDraw. To get you started, I included my CorelDraw and PDF files with this instructable.

When you are finished with the drawing output the file to the laser cutter.

Step 3: Routing Face Plate Build

After the router face plate is cut. You will need to countersink the router mounting holes so the screws are flush with the surface. When countersinking acrylic, the drill speed should be less that 500 rpm to prevent the acrylic from melting.

Step 4: Routing Table Stand

Originally, I planned to design and build the stand to support the router tabletop, but I decided it was cheaper and faster to buy an Universal Table Stand from Harbor Freight. They come in a variety of sizes.

Follow the assembly instructions that come with the stand and bulid the table.

Step 5: Attach the Routing Tabletop to the Stand

After the stand is assembled, center the stand on the 3/4" plywood tabletop and mark the mounting holes.

Next, using the 3/4" Forstner bit, countersink the holes approximately 1/8".

Drill 5/16" holes for the carriage bolts.

Finally, mount the top to the stand.


Step 6: Cut the Router Face Plate Hole

Now that the top is mounted to the stand, draw the router face plate on the table surface.

Next, cut out the inner rectangle using a jigsaw.

And finally, use the rabetting bit and router to cut the edge to hold the face place. Adjust to depth of the cut, so the top of the face place is flush with the tabletop.

Step 7: Final Assembly

Attach the acrylic router face plate to the router and insert them into the tabletop. If your router has a trigger instead of an on/off switch, use a cable tie to hold the trigger closed.

I used a router speed controller as an on/off switch and speed control for the router. I mounted the controller to the underside of the tabletop using Velcro. I plugged the router into the speed controller, and used a few more cable ties to tidy up the cords.

NOTE: If you do not use a speed controller, use another method to turn on and off your router easily and quickly.

The router table is complete!

Comments

author
mattmacar (author)2017-08-03

Hey so forgive my ignorance, but why does the plate have to be acrylic? I'm new in the world of routing, but is there any great benefit to that or could it be made just as well from an opaque material? Great idea, by the way.

author
HueZo (author)2014-04-21

ive got a router with the "SPEED control" in different place than the "ON switch"
if i want to do an extension and put a speed controller like yours... I simply connect the plug of the router to the switch, and put the speed switch integrated in the router at maximum??? or i have to intercept the circuit in an other place?

author
wwashington (author)HueZo2014-04-22

Hi,

I have never used anything with two speed controllers. I think what you described is worth a try.

author
HueZo (author)wwashington2014-04-22

forgot to say hi! jaja sorry. thanks! i'll try.

author
BillBiker (author)2013-04-17

Brilliant! Although I don't have access to a laser cutter, you have definitely sparked some good ideas from this instructable! Out of curiosity do you use a fence? If so what kind, length (dimensions), or did you make one? One person I saw asked about making a lift for it. An idea if you had a plunge router is making a shelf about mid way under the stand and use a car scissor jack. ;) . Again very nice to see a simple and easy router table made that makes the 200.00 ones look pathetic!

author
wwashington (author)BillBiker2013-04-18

Hi,

When necessary I use a makeshift fence clamped to the table. Since the original instructable, I've designed and made a second tabletop using Techshop's Shopbot CNC router. The new table has built-in rails to hold a fence. When I get the chance I'll update the instructable.

Thank you for my comment.

Winefred

author
vincent7520 (author)2013-04-08

Nice !
Have you thought of a lifter ?…

author
mwacuff (author)2013-03-23

Very nice instructable, thank you!

I have an older version of CorelDraw (x3) that will not open the file. What version of Corel did you use?

author
wwashington (author)mwacuff2013-03-23

Thank you.

I used CorelDraw 6 at Techshop. I don't know if CorelDraw 6 can save a file in version 3 format. I'll check on Monday, and if it can, I'll upload it too.

author
mwacuff (author)wwashington2013-03-23

Thank you!

Suggestion: if possible, post as a PDF so everyone can open it.

Thanks in advance.

author
wwashington (author)mwacuff2013-03-25

I added a PDF version of the design. Unfortunately, I didn't see an option to save the design in an earlier version of CorelDraw.

author
mwacuff (author)wwashington2013-03-26

Thanks, the PDF will be just fine.

author
DensterNY (author)2013-03-26

Wow, this is all kinds of awesome. Thanks for the instructable. I've been wanting to build something like this for the longest but thought that I'd need a metal face plate and never thought about an acrylic one.

author
ZaneEricB (author)2013-03-23

This is great! I have a hitachi tr-12 3hp router....which i am almost scared to death when i use...but this will be a nice addition and will give me some more confidence when i use it.

Thanks!

author
besheer (author)2013-03-22

thanks for Routing Table

author
audreyobscura (author)2013-03-18

This looks slick. Great job.

author

Thank you.

author
geraldpaxton (author)wwashington2013-03-22

Nice job.....after using acrylic, lexan, and other plastics I've been happiest with 1/4" phenolic...tough, doesn't flex/vibrate, and the mounting screws don't chip out.

author
actionjksn (author)2013-03-22

The speed control is a good idea if you are using fairly large diameter bits. If you don't use a speed control you can use a light switch. Also you should rout some slots in the table big enough for some carriage bolts to use with wing nuts and make an adjustable fence out of plywood.

author
Geedox (author)2013-03-21

Nice Idea! Remember way back when I made an emergency routing table from a piece of 1/2 inch clear plexiglas. The contraption included a Stanley Workmate (tm) table/vise for support (The plexiglas is somwhat flexible when no fully supported. Keep it up!

author
perfo (author)2013-03-21

Good job fella, I've made similar myself and think they come out more sturdy and usable than brought ones.
Jig sawing and rebating the ply table to fit the acrylic sheet in is quite tricky if you want very straight even cuts and a nice fit to the acrylic plate. I haven't quite sorted a quick easy method of doing this, though I have had good results with a bit of brass inlay to neaten it. The other thing I find handy is inlay a couple of bits of T slot in to the table which allows you to fix fences to the table when needed. Tool height adjustment is another thing I'd like to find a quick easy solution to. As it's a pain to have to go under the table or lift the router out to do and tool adjustments. Having a hinged option helps to make it quicker but it's not very elegant. A stepper motor driven option works well and very easy and accurate once in and working but is difficult to set up in the first place and precludes taking the router in and out for other uses. A fairly simple option is to have a 2" X 1" through a pivot under the table then under the router and out to the front of the table where it can be locked in position. You use the springs of the router to push down and the 2 X 1 to push up..put an indicator scale on the front as well if you wish but remember it will be an arc not a linear scale. Oh and last but not least in my opinion you must have a NVR switch. Combine that with a emergency stop bar and you’ll make it as safe as it can be.

author
woodNfish (author)2013-03-21

Nice job. I have my router table mounted on the right side of my table saw between the front and rear fence rails. I use my table saw fence for the router just by sliding it over to the left side.

Another table option is simply to buy a used cabinet like a sink cabinet or bar cabinet and mount your router plate in the top. If it is a closed cabinet it helps with the noise and sawdust and you can add vacuum and storage options. Especially if the cabinet already has some drawers. Sometimes you can even get a used cabinet for free.

author
mikecz (author)2013-03-21

I just use a 2 ft x 4 ft piece of 3/4" plywood on a pair of saw horses for my router table. An "upgrade" I have that you could add to yours is to route a nice straight dado slot across the plywood sheet that is width & depth of the miter/crosscut guide slot on my tablesaw. This way I can use the tablesaw's sliding guide on the router table too!

author
malcolmt (author)2013-03-21

Nice Job, Thanks

author
ventifact (author)2013-03-21

Fence?

author
wwashington (author)ventifact2013-03-21

Hi,

Good question...

I don't have a fence solution that I'm pleased with, so when necessary I'd use a 2x4 clamped to the tabletop.

Also, I recommend only using router bits fitted with a bearings.

After I complete the Shopbot training, I may add a fence design to this instructable.

author
bsharding1982 (author)ventifact2013-03-21

I was thinking the same thing. I have a finger (or lack of part of one) to prove they are a good idea.

author
junewhosews (author)2013-03-21

Now if you could add a top height adjustment device I would have the perfect router table I have been looking for. I have the same router so looks good to me

Ron

author
drobertson123 (author)2013-03-21

Great job.

I just wanted to send out a handy hint for anyone looking to do a router table build of your own. Corian or any of the new counter top materials make great surfaces for router tables. I just used a piece of white Corian for mine and it is great.

The piece I used was given to me free by an installer. It was the section they cut out of the counter to install the kitchen sink. It is waste for them and a friendly shop maybe willing to give you some also. The shape was rough so I needed to clean it up, but it cuts well with power tools (don't try it with granite).

I am hoping to put a Lexan insert into my table soon also.

Thanks for this.

author
MR.. (author)2013-03-19

Nice work!

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