Introduction: Wooden Precision Mini Router Base for Rotary Tool (with Cardboard Prototype)

Picture of Wooden Precision Mini Router Base for Rotary Tool (with Cardboard Prototype)

I have a Dremel like rotary tool and I wanted a mini router base for it. It can be bought from Dremel or Stewmac e.g.

but I decided to make one. Made an initial research and found some good and nice examples:

I decided to make it 3 legged to increased stability and wanted to try it, so I made a prototype out of cardboard.

Let the fun begin!

Step 1: Template, Tools and Materials

Picture of Template, Tools and Materials

I have laminated floor leftovers and it seems to be good base material. It's flat, the surface is strong and tough enogh, easy to work with. Needed some screws and glue.


  • laminated floor or some wood (6 mm thick)
  • wood glue
  • 3 pcs of 6x80mm hex head bolt screw
  • 12 pcs of 18/6mm washers
  • 6 pcs of 6 mm nuts
  • 3 pcs of 6 mm wing screws
  • citron oil


  • flat and round files
  • flat and round needle files
  • needle polishing stick
  • pencil
  • hobby knife (OLFA)
  • jewellers saw with wood blade
  • metal saw
  • screwdriver with 10 mm hex head nut setter bit
  • 10 mm wrench
  • 6 and 7 mm wood twist drill bits
  • 18 mm wood flat drill bit
  • Dremel router bit
  • vise
  • clamps
  • various grit sandpapers for sanding and polishing
  • masking tape (Tesa)
  • paper glue stick (Pritt)
  • strong universal glue
  • rotary tool
  • hand drill
  • angle grinder

You can download the printable template in PDF format and the SketchUp files of the 3D model. In the _scenes version You can see the step by step assembly sequence and see the video animation for reference.

The model was made in SketchUp, You can download it for free directly from the owner and developer of it. (Previously it was Google.)
Here is the download link: SketchUp Make (
Added a PDF with dimensions on it.

Step 2: Cardboard Prototype

Picture of Cardboard Prototype

I found some proper 6 mm thick cardboard. Printed my template and glued to the cardboard. To cut the cardboard used the jewellers saw, then glued together the 2 layers of the base. Finaly assembled it and gave a test run. Surprisingly it's strong and stable enough and works like a charm. The 3rd leg helps to hold it better.

The conception is proved to be good for my needs. It's compact, stable, lightweight, easy to controll. Let's make the real one!

Step 3: Preparation and Test Drills

Picture of Preparation and Test Drills

Printed again the templates, enfolded the surfaces with masking tape and glued the templates on it with paper glue stick. This way there is no need to copy the template to the workpieces, it's accurate as it can be, the masking tape protects the surfaces and the edges and easily can be peel off.

After that I made some test drills. Everything was fine, but this stage I decided not to fully drill thru the boreholes of th washers. I wanted to keep 1 mm bottom, this way it gives stronger structure to hold the 2 layers of the base. But the flat bit made a rounded bottom. Guess the solution! Yes, I used the cardboard prototype to flatten it. Ready to drill the workpieces.

Step 4: Make It Real

Picture of Make It Real

So the pieces are prepared, drill the holes. 18 mm for the rotery tool and for the washers, 6 mm for the screws on the base and 7 mm on the top plate. With needle files widen the top plate 7 mm holes to insert some alu pipe pieces to protect the wood. Remember, this piece is the moving part with the screw threads in it.

Glue together the 2 layers of the base, use the screws to align it and tighten the screws and add som more clamp to hold it tight. When the glue cured shape the sides with the rotary tool, files and sandpapers. At this phase I made a simple dust collector out of a PET bottle attached to the vacuum cleaner. When the shaping done polish the sides and apply some citron oil.

Before the assembly needed to flatten and thin the hex head bolts. The laminated floor is 6 mm thick, there is 1 mm excess on the bottom, the washer is 1.3 mm and the bolt is 4.7 mm so I grinded down 2.5 mm with the angle grinder.

Ready to final assembly.

Step 5: Put It Together

Picture of Put It Together

The final assembly sequence is:

  • screw
  • washer
  • base
  • washer
  • nut
  • nut
  • washer
  • top plate
  • washer
  • wing screw
  • rotary tool

Tighten the screw and nuts on the base, adjust the top nuts and wing screws as needed. You can fine level it and it gives stable, strong structure. Now You have a compact, lightweight, strong and stable cheap and easy to make mini router base. :)
On the video You can see how it's attached to the rotary tool.

Step 6: Dust Extraction

Picture of Dust Extraction

You can add some dust extraction to the base. Drill two 10 mm hole to the end of a flaxi tube attached to vacuum cleaner. Attach the tube between the base and the top plate with the screw. It will hold it in place and the tube extracts the dust as near as possible from the router bit. Works very well.

Step 7: Test Run

Picture of Test Run

Recently I started to make myself a 2in1 bench pin with vise. It can be secured to the table with clamps. Another method is a 2in1 solution, clamp the bench pin with a vise. So I made a cutout for that and needed to lower a seat for the vise. Here comes the mini router setup. And finaly done, the mini router base works as I expected.

On the video above You can see the next mission with the router base where I made a hanger (ible coming soon about it) for my Foredom flex shaft motor I won here on Instructables by a pair of 3D Layered Veneer Earrings „Venearrings".

If You have a Dremel like rotary tool You will love it, extends the possibilities. All You need is some leftover wood or laminated floor and some screws, nuts and bolts.

Entered it to the Leftovers contest, if You like it and think it's a good use of excess materials, please vote it. Happy making!


Cantoo (author)2017-05-26

Thank you. The video is helpful. Even a few seconds of it gave me a better grasp of how the bolts worked to adjust the depth of the router bit. I suspect that my dremel tool is pretty old; at least I don't recall it having any threaded nose piece. And that video features that screw on part well. I thought that my old one just had a slide-on shaft with parallel channels or cogs running parallel to the center axis of the shaft rotation. A true Dremel router base would slide on, in line with matching cogs, or grooves, and then was fixed in place by a set screw. Ha! I'm still just looking for where I stored mine, so I can't be sure I'm remembering it accurately. When I find it, I think your design with suggest a workable option, so thanks a lot.

maKACS (author)Cantoo2017-05-26

You're welcome, I'm glad. :) I'm sure You will figure out the best methode to attach Your tool. Please, show it us when finished. :) Have fun!

Cantoo (author)2017-05-24

As I am browsing thru a nice but long list of plunge-bases for my hand held Dremel (it didn't come with the base... 2nd hand thrift), I was trying to find a good design for attaching the base to the dremel tool. I like the looks of this base, but like lots of posts here on Instructables, the text is pretty linear: not broken down as in a charted diagram. I don't see how the base is to be secured to the tool (or vise versa :-). Were is that part of the instructions, or can you briefly say how that attachment is done?

maKACS (author)Cantoo2017-05-25

Thank You for Your feedback Cantoo.

Of course, I made a short video about it, this and some pictures will help I hope. :)

Youtube video link.

TattooGabby (author)2016-10-15

Great share, thanks. I have to find a way to adapt it for a foredom handoiece now.

maKACS (author)TattooGabby2016-10-16

Thank You TattooGabby!

I'm also planning something similiar for my Foredom basic handpiece for more detailed works. I think I'll modify only the attaching method at first.

Then there are different approaches, here is two nice other examples, You can choose which one fits better for Your needs and ideas, and also great inspirations.

Please come back and show us Your version! Have fun! :)

PatM90 made it! (author)2016-05-24

Here is my version, I changed out the bottom nuts and washers and used some t-nuts to hold the bolts in place. Used ground barrel sleeves to protect the upper carriage holes when sliding it up and down.

maKACS (author)PatM902016-05-24

Wow! Looks really nice and sturdy. That was my main goal and I'm sure You will love it because of this stability.

Thanks for Your feedback and sharing, I like it really! :)

tim.nelin (author)2016-01-07

I can't see exactly how the Dremel is secured to the base you have made. Could you please advise us?

maKACS (author)tim.nelin2016-01-07

Yes, I use the plastic fastener part that came with the machine (just Dremel like, not Dremel).

PatM90 (author)maKACS2016-05-24

I don't see how your threads come thru this far with a 1/4 " thick material only one thread is exposed on my tool??

maKACS (author)PatM902016-05-24

The threads are long enough in this machine. Here are some better pics.

PatM90 (author)maKACS2016-05-24

Thank you my friend helped me figure out a way around it. None of the links have any sizes for the wooden pieces??

maKACS (author)PatM902016-05-24

Not yet. The PDF is 1:1 size. You're right, the dimensions are missing, I'll add it this week to the PDF.

The Sketchup file is also in 1:1 scale. If You use Sketchup You can measure everything You need.

Lights N'R (author)2016-05-16

I would like to build this router base for my proxxon 240/e which has a 20 mm collar, anyway I do not know what to use to block the collar of the proxxon to the base. Any suggestion?

maKACS (author)Lights N'R2016-05-17

I think You must modify it with a simple clamping mechanism. Something like this one:

Lights N'R (author)maKACS2016-05-17

I would be nice to have a support where insert the collar of the proxxon for greater stability but it would need to be done with the exact geometrical shapes of the collar of the proxxon, so very hard to make.

I guess that you have just used a nut on the bottom side of the surface of the plywood to block the proxxon in your image, it will be sufficient?

maKACS (author)Lights N'R2016-05-24

The image of the Proxxon is not mine, just Googled it as an example.

maKACS (author)2016-04-15

And finally You can see it in action

Making a hanger for Foredom flex shaft motor.

emason (author)2016-01-16

Regarding the height setting; one way to do this would be to make (carve / buy / 3d print) some toothed pulleys that fit over the nuts on the underside of the platform and then string a toothed belt around them. Loosen off the top wingnuts, and then turn the belt which turns all the setting pulleys at the same time.

maKACS (author)emason2016-01-16

Thx emason, this is a really clever and innovative idea! And I can imagine that it is viable and can be made. Quickly modeled it schematically, and found on my setup the toothed pulleys diamater must be larger to avoid the rotary tool fixing ring (black part). The red one is the belt You recommended. The second scene shows the possible overlap on my setup. But it can be solved, great idea!

An alternative for that is 3 gears on the nuts and 1 larger geared ring between them. On the 3rd picture I modeled it roughly (without gears around nuts and geartooth on the ring). I'm sure You can imagine this alternative based on the illustration.

Thx emason, it was a relly inspiring comment with brilliant idea!

wstewl (author)2016-01-07

WARNING: There is a free AnyCAD program that supposedly will allow you view the .skp files attached to this instructable. It installs a Chinese anti-virus to your system, and you can not get rid of it by standard means. All the windows are in Chinese, and the program has built-in self protection that prevents you from deleting it. It also wanted to modify a C++ library during installation, but the system wanted to prevent that by either repairing or deleting those changes.

Apparently, to view the skp files safely you must purchase a viewer.

maKACS (author)wstewl2016-01-07

Thanks for the warning wstewl, but there is no need to buy anything. The model was made in SketchUp, You can download it for free directly from the owner and developer of it. (Previously it was Google.)

Here is the download link: SketchUp Make


maKACS (author)maKACS2016-01-09

I think it's better to update the ~ible with this information.

srilyk (author)wstewl2016-01-07

or just download the free google sketchup application ;)

maKACS (author)srilyk2016-01-07

You are right, thats the best. :)

Edgar (author)2016-01-09

The part of using a Cardboard pre-tool to make a wooden tool is to be used extensively! Neat!

Voted, and Blogged:

maKACS (author)Edgar2016-01-09

Thanks for Your support Edgar, especially for reblogging. :)

Edgar (author)maKACS2016-01-09


schabanow (author)2016-01-08

Simple construction but not plungy as it has mentioned above in comments. You should think of trick how to set all three nuts at the very same position (same height) on threaded rods, otherwise this tool won't be precision one. Or maybe I've missed sth in your description?

maKACS (author)schabanow2016-01-08

Yes, it's not plungy therefore I corrected the title after wlahti pointed it.

You missed nothing. To precisely set up the tool is really essential. It's not too tricky, I use caliper for that. I don't need it often because when the top plate is adjusted correctly I can adjust the bits itself when necessary. For small project I make it's mostly more than enough.

Another important aspect is the stability. This structure is rock solid, there is no unwanted movements when fastened. Some of the springy ones have some backlash, wobbling as I've seen on videos. I wanted to avoid it, and that's the main reason why it's fixed and have 3 rods. For my needs it's perfect since I don't need production grade tool, just a good enough hobby tool. I think it is.

But of course later I will improve it, try to figure out modified versions, that is the first, basic version to start with it.

schabanow (author)maKACS2016-01-08

Thank you for detailed response! I agree that simplicity of your design has advantage of its rock stability - all parts are tightened together with nuts, there no undesirable movements. Caliper for resetting procedure is the solution. As for quick resetting you can use a set of plates of different thicknesses - instead of resetting the nuts along the rods w/caliper - and reset them in a bad need only...

maKACS (author)schabanow2016-01-08

Big yes for the plate type depth setting! For the next mini project I plan to make something like this that I think is similiar what You mentioned: router depth setter.

Since I plan to work with small parts I plan it out of 0.6 thin veneer glued together like a staircase or maybe independent pieces like shown on the link.

Thanks for Your question, every time I answer one it's an opportunity to think again things, refine or think further.

sWillyPs (author)maKACS2016-01-08

Another thing to consider is threads per inch (though, yes, I know you used metric threads) If you for example have 16 threads per inch then each turn of the nut will raise or lower the router 1/16th of an inch. (3/8-16 is a common inch size)

Metric bolts are measured in pitch, so 6mm bolt has a pitch of 1mm. That means the nuts will move 1mm per turn. Easy enough, to set your depth, adjust the router so all three bolts are the same (using your caliper) and the bit just touches the work surface. Then turn each nut one turn for every mm of depth of cut you need.

Or if like me you are still stuck in the stone age inch system, one turn per 1/6 of an inch. ;)

schabanow (author)sWillyPs2016-01-09

Brilliant. You just make me jealous for my trade is simple solutions. )))))))

maKACS (author)sWillyPs2016-01-09

Thanks sWillyPs, it sounds a really good idea and advice!

I checked it immediately. Marked one sides of the nuts with permanent marker, this way it's easy to see how much I turn. For half turns marked the opposite sides too.

Measured on a separate rod, on the photo You can see 10 full turns. I think this advice was really usefull, thanks for it, the tool now improved a little bit. :)

If I have a basic average setup (or more) I can mark it on the threaded rods itself to easily readjust to it. Thanks again! :)

jim21489 (author)2016-01-09

I made one

maKACS (author)jim214892016-01-09

Thats great to hear about it jim21489!

Can You upload or show some photos about it please? It would be nice to me to see others builds, how it came up, see the differences, other approaches. Thanks in advance! :)

wlahti (author)2016-01-07

The title is misleading, as there is nothing plungy about this router base. For that you would need smooth shafts with a spring return mechanism.

maKACS (author)wlahti2016-01-07

Thanks wlahti, I think You are right. This is because of my language barrier since I'm not native in english. But during the initial research I've seen some similiar designs called plunge without spring return mechanism.

maKACS (author)maKACS2016-01-07

Btw, it can be improved to this direction, I was thinking about it, but finally I wanted it to be stable as it can be. This way it's rock solid.

maKACS (author)maKACS2016-01-07

Thanks again, corrected it.

ETERNUR (author)2016-01-07

Love it. I'm going to have to give this a go for my Dremel (when I get around to it). Love the dust extraction that you built into it. Saves on cleaning up :)

maKACS (author)ETERNUR2016-01-07


Yes, it saved me on cleaning up, and helps to see better the workpiece without dust during the process. Keep in mind that the hose must be soft enough to not make it difficult to move the machine precisely.

PeterP93 (author)2016-01-07

Great tool!

How did you fix the Dremel to the router base?

maKACS (author)PeterP932016-01-07

This way, with the orogonal plastic securing part.

stresaoutdoor (author)2016-01-01

Really nice !
tomorrow i want to realise !

maKACS (author)stresaoutdoor2016-01-01

:) If finished please come back and show it! I'm curious about that. :) Happy making!

bhavik zure (author)2015-12-31

nice design, extraction attachement is cleaver one.

maKACS (author)bhavik zure2015-12-31

Thanks bhavik zure. An extraction is a must have, and I think it can't be simpler than this.

About This Instructable




Bio: Tiny projects from wood and bone with minimal tools. I like to use handtools for better controll and to feel the workpiece. This way I ... More »
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