Introduction: Table Router (Plunge Router Mount)
A couple of things before I get into it...
I made this in a couple of hours of trial and error (in much the same manner as I did my table saw). It's pretty sturdy, and copies idea's I've seen elsewhere. It's also a dangerous object.
Any power tool is dangerous. A hand held tool strapped to a bench with a zip tie to keep the power on is more dangerous. A router is essentially a drill, spinning at higher speeds with more torque. It's powerful enough to cut through hardwoods, so it's more than powerful enough to make a mess of your hands, arms, and/or clothing. and if it catches your clothing, it could pull you in.
This tool is a little more awkward than a commercially available table router, but is not really much more dangerous (as long as its clamped in well, and clamped down well). As with any other power tool, keep your fingers well away from the moving parts, and never get out of shouting distance of someone who can use a telephone.
I'd suggest you take a glance through the whole Instuctable before starting, rather than following step by step. That way you won't repeat my mistakes, and you can probably think of some ways to improve the design. It's a quick/simple project, but I'm sure improvements could be made!
Step 1: Tools and Materials
I made this mount with what I had to hand. I'm sure you could do better...
To make this exact mount, you will need;
- A plunge router with an edge guide of the type in the photo (mine is a Bosch 1200AE)
- A straight bit (I used a 1/2" bit)
- A V-Groove bit
- At least 2 Carriage bolts and penny washers(Mine were M8)
- Wing-nuts to fit the bolts
- A hole saw (mine was 1 1/2")
- Some 3/4" ply (the scrap I used was 14"x18")
- Some clamps
- A pencil (or a box of them, I lose a lot...)
- A zip tie (to hold the power trigger down)
Something to cut your Ply to size (I used a circular saw)
Step 2: Mark Out Your Mounting Board and Clamps
First, use something to cut your ply to size. My mount is 14" square, which left me a 4" by 14" strip spare. A router table doesn't need to be huge, but if you are making beading, or detailing long sections, you will need some form of out feed support. I have plenty of space on my jury rigged workbench, and eventually, this will slot into a hole in a larger workbench, so this suits my needs fine. Also mark out and cut a couple of lengths of ply as clamping pieces. Mine are 2"x6"
Once your board is to size, offer your router up to the board, and find a position where the router fits comfortably, leaving some space for support all around. To do this, I mounted mine diagonally. Once you are happy with the position, draw around the footplate.
Then, I drew around the bars. This was not the right way to go about it. If i did this again, I would create the recess (next step) first, and then I would have used ink/permanent marker/chalk dust on the bars to mark their locations on the board. As luck would have it, I did manage to cut slots for the bars accurately enough first time. Think, and measure twice. You can only cut once. (I actually messed up both sides of two clamping blocks. It's good I had some spare ply...)
Step 3: Make the Recess
I decided that the plunge depth on my router wasn't far enough considering the 3/4" depth of the ply I used. Because of the way the router is clamped in, I also decided I could recess the router most of the depth of the ply. The bars from the edge guide and the router itself will provide support for any work piece heavy enough to cause an issue.
I used a fence to cut out one edge of the router, and did the rest freehand. You could freehand all of this - a snug fit isn't actually too important here. It will help to stop any slip which could be introduced along the axis of the bars, but with sufficient clamping strength this shouldn't really occur. Your mileage may vary. I did four passes of 1/8" with the router. Going to deep/too fast can burn and rip the material. At this point, I also drilled out a hole for the router bit to fit through with a 1 1/2" hole saw. This was a little bigger than my widest bit.
After making the recess, and ensuring that the router fitted in there nicely, I used the router with a fence and ran two shallow V-Groves up the board where the bars would fit. A V-Grove will mean that the bars will center themselves, but you could also make a shallow groove with a straight bit the same width as the bars. My grooves are slightly longer than the mounting bars, and about 1/4 of the depth of the bars. You don't want there to be any vertical play!
I then cut matching grooves in the clamping blocks (which took 3 goes to get right...)
The bars for my mount have screws in the ends which are very slightly larger than the bars. I could take them out before using the mount, but I'd lose them. So instead, I made a recess at the ends of the grooves so that the bar wouldn't sit proud at one end.
Step 4: Attach the Clamping Blocks
I don't like measuring when I don't have to, so when I fitted these blocks, I just set them out them in the right places, clamped, and drilled through. This means that the blocks are both slightly different, and must go in one orientation. If you do it like me, you might find it useful to mark which block is which is you ever detach them.
I lined up the grooves in the clamping blocks with the grooves on the mounting board, and clamped them down where they would not interfere with the footplate of the router itself. I drilled through the clamping blocks, down through the mounting board with an 8mm bit (I used M8 bolts). I used two bolts per clamp to get better grip per bar, so I needed two holes. My holes are on the outside of the grooves. You probably only need one bolt, but I like to be sure, and I had enough bolts. If you only use one per side, obviously you should put it in the middle.
I used a hand drill, because I know I can drill reasonably vertically. It shouldn't matter if you are a little out, but a perfectly vertical hole made with a pillar drill would make the clamps tighter and more secure. I would have been more willing to use only one bolt per clamp if I'd got a pillar drill to use.
Before fitting the blots, you will need to recess them into the surface of the board. Otherwise you'll have some obstacles when you use the mount. Because I used carriage bolts, I just recessed them with my 1/2" straight bit.
Slide those bolts on through, and tighten the bolts down to tighten the clamps up around your router, the carriage bolts will force their way into the surface a little, the square section of the shank will cut into the hole you drilled, and stop the head from spinning. Use your penny washers under the wing-nuts to stop the ply from being torn when you tighten it up.
You could use hex bolts, but you would need to hold them still while you turn the nuts. I would also suggest you put a washer under the head of the bolt to stop it from tearing the surface of the ply. You could be clever and recess with a bit the same size as the head, or with something large enough to fit a socket in. Likewise you could use a standard nut, I used wing-nuts so that I could do any tightening and loosening by hand.
Step 5: Enjoy!
Clamp that mount down, and make some test cuts (or your first project)!
Now that you have a table router, you can do all kinds of neat stuff. When you use any bits with bearings on them, there is little point using a fence. But when cutting channels, or rebates (rabbets for any Americans)a fence is incredibly useful. If you want to do complex things at strange angles, you could also set up rails and use sleds as you would for a table saw.
The bit holders in the photo here were done on this router, as a series of test cuts out of scrap material. At the moment they are just sat in a drawer, but they'll go on display once my workshop roof stops leaking!