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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello friends. So, I've undertaken to build my own router table. My father recently bought a new table saw which has an extension for just this purpose. My plan is to span the 22 or so inches with a piece of plywood, reinforced on the bottom side with trusses (to reduce sagging), and cut out a rectangle in the center in which to place my 8 x 11 x 1/2 inch aluminum plate. I'm looking to buy a new Bosch 1617EVSPK fixed/plunge combo, after which I can start drilling and countersinking holes. I've also bought the Bosch 2610915125 Router Table Insert Set; I'll be using a 3-5/8 hole saw for the center hole.
My questions are these: 1) will my cheap rabbet routing bit be adequate for routing the lip in the aluminum for the inserts, or do I need something more specialized? My friends at the Banjo Hangout (who are plenty handy, but perhaps not as expert concerning routing) say it should do just fine, but will likely take its toll on the bit.
2) do I need to replace my 1/4 inch bit set with a set with a 1/2 inch shank for table use? I'd prefer not to be dodging broken bits, flung from my router at high speeds.
3) finally, can anyone with the Bosch 1617 tell me how far the collet will extend from the base? I need to know if I'll need a collet extension to compensate for the 1/2 inch of aluminum plate.
Thanks all,
David
 

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David a typical plate is 5/16" to 3/8" so you are only a little thicker. With any setup you can have problems reaching deep enough on particular jobs. I don't recommend using an extension unless you need it. It puts more torque on your lower abbor bearing. The best overall plan would be to purchase a Musclechuck and replace your regular collet with it. That extends your reach by about 1/2" and bits are much easier to change out with it. Using a ball end hex wrench with it you should be able to change bits without removing the router from the table. The MC is a bit pricey and you'll need a $30 collet to use your 1/4" bits with it but it will make your routing experience much more enjoyable.

1/4" bits are fine but they can break. In 40 years I've had either one or two snap off on me with no issues when it or they did. 1/2" are certainly stronger. I've never heard of anyone breaking a 1/2". Once you get to about 1 3/8 to 1 1/2" in bit diameter you'll have to have a 1/2" collet as they don't make bits larger than that in 1/4" because the shafts can't handle the torque that larger diameters put on the shaft.
 

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I also have the Bosch 1617 router - excellent choice.

May I recommend a router lift for your table before you invest in a simpler insert? I have had great results with the Jessem Rout-R-Lift II ($189 for the Bosch unit) but the Woodpecker unit is also fine, just a bit pricier. Either will serve your purposes.
 

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David a typical plate is 5/16" to 3/8" so you are only a little thicker. With any setup you can have problems reaching deep enough on particular jobs. I don't recommend using an extension unless you need it. It puts more torque on your lower abbor bearing. The best overall plan would be to purchase a Musclechuck and replace your regular collet with it. That extends your reach by about 1/2" and bits are much easier to change out with it. Using a ball end hex wrench with it you should be able to change bits without removing the router from the table. The MC is a bit pricey and you'll need a $30 collet to use your 1/4" bits with it but it will make your routing experience much more enjoyable.

1/4" bits are fine but they can break. In 40 years I've had either one or two snap off on me with no issues when it or they did. 1/2" are certainly stronger. I've never heard of anyone breaking a 1/2". Once you get to about 1 3/8 to 1 1/2" in bit diameter you'll have to have a 1/2" collet as they don't make bits larger than that in 1/4" because the shafts can't handle the torque that larger diameters put on the shaft.
Good advice but....a 1/2" shank on a 1/4" straight bit or the like is still 1/4" at its smallest point and something that will snap as I've done that. The issue was too deep too fast instead of more shallow passes then a few deep ones. Just keep in mind that even with 1/2" shanks the bit, depending on the cutter, can still be fragile and remember too make more passes. Actually best to do this with all bits I think just to be safer. If I'm cutting a 1/4" slot in 3/4" wood I'll do it in 3-4 passes. One neat trick I saw was cutting some 1/8" hardboard and stacking them on the router table. Make the cut, remove a board, make another cut. Point being you can set the bit for full depth, leave that and use the boards to increase each following cut.

I don't own a Musclechuck but have to wonder about lowering the bit with one installed especially with taller pattern bits. How easy is it to change out this Musclechuck?
 

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I discovered the limitations of the Colt 1.25 model trying to cut a t-bolt slot yesterday with a Yonico 1/4" bit into some nice sanded plywood - stubborn as a mule! Switched over the 1617 and it went through the ply like butter. That bit was pretty hot afterwards but held up fine.

I'm a little skittish with 1/4" bits but, like anything with a router, if you go slow enough things work much better...
 

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Unless space is a real problem you are going through a lot of extra work and expense trying to build a table for a saw extension. In the end I think you will wish you had built something not attached to the saw. It would be easier for you to build a larger top with an insert from Grizzly and simply hang the table on the wall when not in use. Attaching the table to the table saw creates problems for the router set up and the saw. You will not be able to easily attach feather boards or a fence and the workpiece can catch on the edge of the table saw unless it is perfectly aligned, which will take some very careful doing to succeed. A far as using a 1/4" router, you can do it but you'd be much better off going with a 1/2" and leaving it permanently attached to the table. One other thing, be sure to either get a router with a lift built-in or buy one. If you buy one, take a look at the Router Raizer and buy a router that will fill it.
 

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Good advice but....a 1/2" shank on a 1/4" straight bit or the like is still 1/4" at its smallest point and something that will snap as I've done that. The issue was too deep too fast instead of more shallow passes then a few deep ones. Just keep in mind that even with 1/2" shanks the bit, depending on the cutter, can still be fragile and remember too make more passes. Actually best to do this with all bits I think just to be safer. If I'm cutting a 1/4" slot in 3/4" wood I'll do it in 3-4 passes. One neat trick I saw was cutting some 1/8" hardboard and stacking them on the router table. Make the cut, remove a board, make another cut. Point being you can set the bit for full depth, leave that and use the boards to increase each following cut.

I don't own a Musclechuck but have to wonder about lowering the bit with one installed especially with taller pattern bits. How easy is it to change out this Musclechuck?
Whilst I don't disagree with you, if used sensibly they won't cause any problems like these that have done a lot of work for around 20 years. As for the MUSCLECHUCK, it revolutionizes routing, apart from the extra 1/2" depth of cut, it grips around four times that of a collet chuck and of course only a ball ended hex key given half a turn fully locks the bit.
 

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Good advice but....a 1/2" shank on a 1/4" straight bit or the like is still 1/4" at its smallest point and something that will snap as I've done that. The issue was too deep too fast instead of more shallow passes then a few deep ones.

I don't own a Musclechuck but have to wonder about lowering the bit with one installed especially with taller pattern bits. How easy is it to change out this Musclechuck?
A 1/4" bit with a 1/2" shank is still stronger and less likely to break than a 1/4 x 1/4 is but I agree with taking smaller bites. I remember one bit I broke was only a HSS one with no carbide (many years ago) and I was too deep and pushing too hard and the bit got hot and snapped.

The Musclechuck just screws on but it doesn't hurt to have a dial gauge to measure the run out with. If you don't then the set up method is to keep rotating it in relation to the router arbor until you get down to negligible vibration. I made the mistake on my first try of screwing it too tight onto the arbor and that made the run out worse. And the inventor, John DeRosa, warns against doing that but how much is tight is a judgement call without using a torque wrench. If you think you might be interested then watch John talk about his invention here: https://www.musclechuck.com/musclechuck-assembly-instructions/

The main reason I got it was because I was having problems getting bits stuck in the collet of my Hitachi M12V2 which uses a Bosch collet. There's no issue with that because of the way the MC grips the bit and it holds 4x better than a standard collet like Harry said. It makes table routing much more enjoyable because of the ease in changing bits, even if you have yours set so you lift the router out of the table to change them. Instead of using 2 wrenches or one wrench and hold a lock button you just reach in with a long handled hex key and give it a turn. I drilled a hole in the top of my fence to hold the hex wrench.
 
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I have the 1617. I really like it for free hand routing. If I understand what you are asking about measurements, it comes up flush on the fixed base. The base plate is ~1/4 inch so removing the base plate and mounting the router directly to the aluminum plate would help with bit lenght.

The rest of the guys bring up some good points. I have a Bosch 23 I use in a Bosch table. The factory lift works for me. I can’t use 3rd party lifts because of the 23 does not have the power switch mounted on the router motor.

Something to consider also is the thickness of any jig you would use on top of the table. The Bosch table system is okay but I also have to limit any jig I use to no thicker than ½ inch and I use ½ inch shaft bits. ½ inch bits are normally longer than ¼ inch.
 

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I don't understand why you need to rabbet the aluminum. The usual approach is to route the table. Some choose to make the table rabbet slightly lower than the plate thickness and then to use adjustment bolts to bring the plate back up to a hair below the table height. See Router Plate Leveling and Locking Hardware Pack (for Custom Router Table Tops) for details.

I have found that if the leading edge of the plate is even a little higher than the table workpieces get hung up every time. Likewise, if the trailing edge is lower than the top, pieces get caught there too. Ideally, these two surfaces are flush, which is the reason for the adjusters. For now, I solved this problem by having a single piece plywood top. It has a hinge at one end, so I can flip the entire top upside down to remove the router and change bits. The top has several holes for different size bits. The biggest problem is that the plywood sags slightly.

You may want to look at the Bosch Parts 2610938414 Adapter Plate. It isn't that much more money than a stock blank aluminum plate. It already has holes for the 1617, and is compatible with the insert rings you have. I have read that you may have to read the instructions to find the right combination of holes. I also read that the entire 1617 housing may not be oriented to your preference with the available holes.

If you do decide to drill into blank, first try it with plywood. I have done this several times, and still can't seem to remember that the router will be upside down, a mirror image. So I have a piece of plywood that looks like swiss cheese. 5 holes for every bad guess.

I bought the 1617 for the dual bases. I thought the ability to adjust from the table top would be so important, and could not see spending more on the lift than the router. The top accessible adjuster is not useful to me. First, when you put the allen wrench through the table you have to turn it to engage the shaft. Also, you have to release the base clamp lever under the table before making an adjustment. Lastly, the very useful micrometer adjuster is under the table anyway. The adjuster can be zeroed, and has readings for which direction for +/- and the units, but this is under the table. So for me without an expensive lift being able to reach under to controls that are close matters the most. The power switch is also close at hand, on the far end of the motor away from the bit. The speed control is there as well. So far, I have not found a real reason for a second switch.

You need to learn what works for you before drilling into an aluminum blank. Unless these are as cheap as plywood make your mistakes in plywood first. Let us know what you did right and your mistakes too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Heya Andy - thanks for the reply. The thinking was that I would rabbet a lip on the plate that I already have so that I could fit the inserts - here - inside of the plate. But by now, I'm thinking that I will just throw down for the Bosch plate and save myself the headache.
 

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I don't know why I didn't see this sooner: Mid-Size Router Insert Plate Kit for Convertible Benchtop Router Table $30
This is the cheapest ready-made, predrilled insert I have found. Mid-sized should fit the Bosch 1617 per their description. But, it comes with just one 1-1/2" insert ring, Unfortunately, additional insert rings are 3 / $30, and one of the rings is a duplicate 1-1/2". The Bosch RA1171 aluminum plate suggested earlier may be a better deal since it includes 3 rings.
 
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