Anyone converted a table saw to router table? - Router Forums
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post #1 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-03-2009, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
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Default Anyone converted a table saw to router table?

Hey,

First of all, I'm new to the forums but look forward to being a part of the community here as I develop my routing skills. I've been doing woodworking for a couple years now.

I'm currently working on building a new router table for myself. I made one in the past but wasn't satisfied with it. My previous table was an old section of laminated counter top. It ended up being slightly out of flat - enough to cause some problems on longer pieces.

So my latest venture has been to make a cast iron one on the cheap. Yes, I know I can go out and buy a very nice prefabricated one from any number of places, but I don't have the funds for it at the moment and I kind of like building/altering things.

I found an old Delta contractors table saw with a cast iron top on craigslist for $25. At this point, I've cleaned the rust off the top and torn the table saw components out. I'm about to start working on mounting the router to the table. My initial thought was to countersink screws through the table to hold the router, but I'm now also trying to figure out if there's a way to attach it without going through the top. Perhaps some sort of clamps from the bottom. I'll also probably have to grind away a small area of ribs under the cast iron to make room for the router, but I'm a bit uncertain about how difficult it will be to make sure the router is perfectly perpendicular to the surface afterwards. I will not include a lift or typical router plate (see below). The router (DW618) will be "permanently" attached.

I plan on using the hole where the table saw blade comes through as the hole for the router bit to come through. I was thinking of finding a non-metallic zero-clearance insert that fits the hole and then plunging through it, effectively making my own router plate (1/8" thick). The router will not be attached to the plate (although the plate will screw into the cast iron) and wood would travel across the short dimension of the opening.

I'm still coming up with ideas for a fence system, but that's a worry for another day. The miter slots could potentially work well as a guide for the fence though.

So, has anyone done something like this before? I have a rough idea of what I want to do, but would love to hear about or see other peoples projects and ideas. Any suggestions on this? Things you'd do/avoid? I've searched around on the internet and haven't seen many examples of this approach.

Thanks!
Tyler
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post #2 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-03-2009, 06:42 PM
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Tyler:

Go for it and report your progress. There are lots of guys that add routers to existing table saws but none, that I've heard of, replaced the saw mechanism with a router. How are you going to adjust depth, change bits etc.

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post #3 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-03-2009, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, it seems that not many people go the route that I'm taking. Should be an adventure. Plus, a contractor's table saw provides a read-made housing for the router. I rewired the front panel switch so I can use that to turn the router on and off.

I like the idea of having a separate table because I don't have all that much room, so I can move things around and store them more easily. I plan on positioning it to work as an outfeed table for my table saw as well (or I could put it next to the table saw for wide items too, I guess).

I'm still working out some details like height adjustment. At a minimum, I'd cut away some of the sheet metal siding on the contractor's table saw that I'm converting to allow access to the router. I'll probably see if there's a way that I could add hinges to lift up the table to provide access as well. I just don't have the money to buy a lift at the moment, don't want to have to do serious machining to the cast iron surface that might be necessary to accommodate a lift, and I've heard of plenty of guys that get by just fine without one (as I'm currently doing on my current router table). On my current table, I have to reach under the table for bit changes and height adjustment. Not ideal, but it works just fine for me (I'm young, which helps!).

Feel free to let me know of any suggestions that you might have!

Thanks,
Tyler
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post #4 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-03-2009, 11:38 PM
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Hi Tyler

I also like a challenge but I think you are going to open a big bag of snakes..you will need to put you hand under the top many times that will be a real PITA..not to say anything about putting in a new bit..

Good Luck

=======

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Originally Posted by OneStaple View Post
Yeah, it seems that not many people go the route that I'm taking. Should be an adventure. Plus, a contractor's table saw provides a read-made housing for the router. I rewired the front panel switch so I can use that to turn the router on and off.

I like the idea of having a separate table because I don't have all that much room, so I can move things around and store them more easily. I plan on positioning it to work as an outfeed table for my table saw as well (or I could put it next to the table saw for wide items too, I guess).

I'm still working out some details like height adjustment. At a minimum, I'd cut away some of the sheet metal siding on the contractor's table saw that I'm converting to allow access to the router. I'll probably see if there's a way that I could add hinges to lift up the table to provide access as well. I just don't have the money to buy a lift at the moment, don't want to have to do serious machining to the cast iron surface that might be necessary to accommodate a lift, and I've heard of plenty of guys that get by just fine without one (as I'm currently doing on my current router table). On my current table, I have to reach under the table for bit changes and height adjustment. Not ideal, but it works just fine for me (I'm young, which helps!).

Feel free to let me know of any suggestions that you might have!

Thanks,
Tyler



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post #5 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OneStaple View Post
On my current table, I have to reach under the table for bit changes and height adjustment. Not ideal, but it...
Tyler
Hi Tyler:

I'm going to suggest that you modify your existing table to the "Router Workshop/OakPark" philosophy. If you can, make your own base plate, just make it 11" square and your existing problems are resolved quite handily. Don't ruin a nice contractor's saw. Instead, sell it and buy more routers and some bits.

Were if more feasible, this forum is big enough that others would have done it.

Allthunbs
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post #6 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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bobj3 - Yes, I understand the concern on only being able to access the router from under the table top. That is what I currently do, so I know what it involves. I have been fine with it so far, but understand that it could become a pain as I use the router table more. I have a DW618 and can do bit changes with it in place, although it requires me to bend down to get under the table to do so. I am taking this into consideration on the new table and will look further into alternate methods of mounting/accessing the router.

allthunbs - My current table has a self-made acrylic base plate that is about 12"x9"x1/2". It's more the table around it that is a problem, as it is not perfectly flat. Short pieces work fine, but longer pieces that must ride on the table as well have some deflection in the router bit path along the length. I've tried to correct this by attaching square metal stock to the underside, and that helped, but it has been a real pain to keep fighting. At this point, I think I need to either move to cast iron or build a more serious non-cast iron table from scratch. I like the idea of cast iron, so I thought I'd give this a shot.

Perhaps I just need to do some searching, but what is the "Router Workshop/OakPark" philosophy?

And don't worry about the table saw that I'm sacrificing. It's an older Delta saw but definitely not one of their higher end ones (model 34-670). It was only in moderate condition and it seems like the best part about it is just the cast iron top. It would take some decent work to get it back into reasonable condition as a table saw, and I'm not sure that it's worth it for this model.

It does scare/surprise me a little that others haven't done this before. It just seemed like an obvious possibility to at least attempt. I'm going to keep pushing forward on it and see if I can make it happen. At the very worst, I give up and go another route with building/buying a router table. At least I'll have fun giving it a shot.

Thanks,
Tyler
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post #7 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 09:16 AM
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Hi Tyler

I would say go for it , but If I was going to do it I would cut out a hole 14" x 18" with metal cutting blades and grind it clean and make a wood insert part to fit the hole and use the plate below to mount the router to so you could pop out the router out easy..
It makes it easy to switch out the bits and to adjust the router bit up or down from the top side of the table saw once it on it's side ..

- Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices
OR ,but you will need to order two plates,one small hole and one big hole type..
Oak Park Enterprises Ltd.: Catalogue
=====

Quote:
Originally Posted by OneStaple View Post
bobj3 - Yes, I understand the concern on only being able to access the router from under the table top. That is what I currently do, so I know what it involves. I have been fine with it so far, but understand that it could become a pain as I use the router table more. I have a DW618 and can do bit changes with it in place, although it requires me to bend down to get under the table to do so. I am taking this into consideration on the new table and will look further into alternate methods of mounting/accessing the router.

allthunbs - My current table has a self-made acrylic base plate that is about 12"x9"x1/2". It's more the table around it that is a problem, as it is not perfectly flat. Short pieces work fine, but longer pieces that must ride on the table as well have some deflection in the router bit path along the length. I've tried to correct this by attaching square metal stock to the underside, and that helped, but it has been a real pain to keep fighting. At this point, I think I need to either move to cast iron or build a more serious non-cast iron table from scratch. I like the idea of cast iron, so I thought I'd give this a shot.

Perhaps I just need to do some searching, but what is the "Router Workshop/OakPark" philosophy?

And don't worry about the table saw that I'm sacrificing. It's an older Delta saw but definitely not one of their higher end ones (model 34-670). It was only in moderate condition and it seems like the best part about it is just the cast iron top. It would take some decent work to get it back into reasonable condition as a table saw, and I'm not sure that it's worth it for this model.

It does scare/surprise me a little that others haven't done this before. It just seemed like an obvious possibility to at least attempt. I'm going to keep pushing forward on it and see if I can make it happen. At the very worst, I give up and go another route with building/buying a router table. At least I'll have fun giving it a shot.

Thanks,
Tyler



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Last edited by bobj3; 11-04-2009 at 09:42 AM.
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post #8 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 12:53 PM Thread Starter
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I had thought about doing something similar - cutting a section out of the cast iron top so that I could add a typical router plate. My hesitation was that cutting such a large section out of the cast iron (and the reinforcing ribbing underneath) might cause the top to go out of flat. Thoughts on that? Am I being overly paranoid?

I'll have to check when I get home, but there's also not tons of real estate between the two miter slots. A 14" cutout might be stretching the limits. I'll check to see what kind of room I have.

Thanks,
Tyler
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post #9 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 02:04 PM
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HI

You can use the OP plate it's only 11" x 11", that will help but because it cast iron it's tuft, I would use the saw slot for the center point, you will need to take out a rib or two but you can't get around that..you can always cut down the HF plate but you want the snap in rings so you can use all the router bits sizes...I would not bolt the router right to the table saw top...you will in time know why

I think I would cut the HF plate to 9" x 9",,on some DeWalts you can remove the handles so it can drop in easy..or turn it so it lines up on the corners of the plate so it can drop in..

=======


=============
Quote:
Originally Posted by OneStaple View Post
I had thought about doing something similar - cutting a section out of the cast iron top so that I could add a typical router plate. My hesitation was that cutting such a large section out of the cast iron (and the reinforcing ribbing underneath) might cause the top to go out of flat. Thoughts on that? Am I being overly paranoid?

I'll have to check when I get home, but there's also not tons of real estate between the two miter slots. A 14" cutout might be stretching the limits. I'll check to see what kind of room I have.

Thanks,
Tyler



"It's fine to disagree with other members as long as you respect their opinions"

Marc Sommerfeld Tools ,Videos
http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT-n...RWaEpMA/videos

Find all threads started by bobj3
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post #10 of 57 (permalink) Old 11-04-2009, 05:18 PM
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Hi,

We're talking a cast iron table top. Unless you have a mill yourself, I suggest, take the plate and top into a machine shop. Let them mill the top. I'm not saying this can't be done. You will need to take heed at the metal thickness for which your plate will sit. You will find that this varies greatly throughout the table top

I wish you luck in this adventure. Please post pics when you get it completed.

Ken

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