Lexan sheet full width of table instead of router insert - Router Forums
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post #1 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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Default Lexan sheet full width of table instead of router insert

With all the routing, cutting, and leveling required to build a router table with an insert plate, would it be easier just to place a sheet of 3/8 Lexan on top of 1-1/2" MDF as shown in the pics?

I'm wondering why I never see designs like this. It seems like it'd be completely flat without much work and not have any of the leveling issues, having to use special leveling pads, etc. Are there any cons that I'm not considering with this design?

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post #2 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 12:25 PM
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My router table is a 3/4 inch piece of MDF covered in formica. There is a single hole (about 1'') cut for the bit. The router base is mounted directly to the table from the underside with through-bolts. It's basically what you describe. You loose a bit of depth, but it's never been an issue for me.
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post #3 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 12:55 PM
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I have used that method for my multiple router table as discussed in this thread (I can't post complete URL's yet):

As I (like you) don't like the idea of a router plate, I intend to build my next table for the large Triton router using exactly what you describe.

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post #4 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 01:08 PM
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N/A; if you want to go that route, laminating with a High Pressure Laminate (Arborite etc.) would be cheaper ...and probably easier in the long run. Laminate is easier to maintain as well.
You will have to glue it down however. Just use carpenters glue and clamp it; you don't have to use contact cement.
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post #5 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 01:12 PM
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One of the advantages of using a router plate is that most of them have interchangeable inserts with different size openings. Another advantage of a removeable plate is that you can lift it and the router out of the table which makes changing bits and major height adjustments much easier.
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post #6 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 01:30 PM
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I use multiple routers and it is a real time saver to pop the whole plate out instead of swapping bits and setting bit heights again.

Also, I have some bits that don't fit an 1-1/2" opening, so having the ability to use a different plate is handy.
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post #7 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 01:46 PM
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Lexan is to soft IMO , and would get scuffed and look like crap in no time, plus it would become less slippery as time goes on from the scratches . I'm going to use laminate over Baltic birch

I donít always insulate , but when I do .
Ok ,I never insulate

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post #8 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 02:07 PM
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With the Triton you won't need a plate for bit or height changes, but it's still handy to be able to pull the whole plate and router to use as a handheld router. Just leave the plate attached and it references nicely to a straightedge clamped to the work piece. I don't do enough routing to justify a second (or third) router so having a plate makes the most sense for me. Adding a cut-out for the router plate is not that difficult, nor is leveling the plate. If you can dedicate a router to the table your approach would be fine, but you should consider adding interchangeable inserts.
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post #9 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 02:08 PM
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I think that using different hole sizes for different bits is a plus. I even use very large hole inserts for smaller bits to get the chip evacuation form below by the dust collector. I also have slots for tracks to clamp feather boards that wouldn't work with your lexon top, and the plastic top would have to be fastened down some way so it doesn't slip around, maybe screws? How do you get to the bit to change it. and make height adjustments? I have used plates for years on many different tables and had no problem, infact lifting them out to change bits and set bits by sighting across the plate is a plus for me.

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post #10 of 24 (permalink) Old 10-27-2015, 02:36 PM
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1-1/2" MDF plus a sheet of Lexan would remove about 1-3/4" or more of vertical movement from your router. If you are going to use 1-1/2" MDF, route out a recess to set the router into, giving you a lip perhaps 1/2" thick, so you gain that additional inch of vertical travel.
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