A couple of months ago I was in the same situation as yourself. I was eyeing commercially built tables. Nearly bought one. Was also wondering about direct mount . . . just to get started, get a feel for things to see if pursuing this further was going to be worthwhile for me.
The people here are fanatics, of course (I mean that in a nice way). There were all "Oh, don't buy....build your own. It'll be so much better!"
Well, I thought about things for a bit and decided to do what they suggested. I bought a plastic plate for $30 and taxes. I wanted the option of a using panel raising bits so was convinced I needed a 3 1/4hp machine. So I bought the cheapest available ($100 CDN plus taxes.)
I built the table into the top of an existing workbench and built a fence out of MDF. Now I look at the dinky commercial tables on the market and think I did the right thing.
The fanatics are right. Build your own is the way to go. It won't take long at all once the decision is made. My table ain't pretty(image attached), being built into that grungy workbench top. It isn't "furniture." But it works as well as the masterpieces that many here have built.
And, no, you can't even begin to use bits to their full profile with a direct mount to 3/4" stock without using a collet extension that would cost more than the plate in the first place.
Last edited by dawziecat; 02-13-2010 at 11:16 AM.