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Hello everyone,

I am in the design phase of building a multipurpose router table. I am stuck on whether to enclose the router compartment because of the dust factor or go with the open concept because I have read in some posts that if the enclosed is not designed properly it will cause routers to overheat. (have looked at the video link on open concept, I believe on bobJ's {jig design guy} posts.

With that being said, at what cost is that to your lungs (as I have read the Bill Cyclone article about dust - very informative) in using the open concept. Also I have seen alot of designs that have enclosed compartments with vacumn ports in them along with chutes built in and combinations with a port in the fence as well.

I have also seen some designs where a dust port has been built under the table up close to the router. Wouldn't that cause some adjustment problems (ie. bit changes)

I was just wandering what the pro's and con's of the different designs would be. Any input would be helpful and I am not looking to start any Controversy, just want info before I decide which design to go with and also it may help others to see pro's and con's for each design.:unsure:

At the present moment I have a small table top craftsman table that does have a vacumn port in the fence that I use with my craftsman dry vac. Its works not too bad but I still get alot of dust below the table.

Thanks for your time and consideration in advance:thank_you2:.

Chris.
 

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Hi Chris
Mine is closed in,in doing so you most likely want a switch on the outside.I have lift so no problems there but with out one you may want a insert to make bit changes easier.I have a 4" dust port below the router and 2" in the fence.Works well,
Al
 

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Hi Chris - You will get the lions share of dust from the fence collector. I just use a shop vac but it's split between the fence and the box. I ended up removing the door of the box and don't notice a big difference in dust on the floor in front of the table.
 

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Chris, you will never get all the dust, no matter what you use for collection. Wear a good mask as well as using dust collection. As John said, the fence port will get most of the dust. I probably have the same, or very similar, table and the fence does a good job. I also closed my table in on 4 sides, but have since left 1 side open for air circulation.
 

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I have a fence collector hooked up to a shop vac and a closed box below that has a 4 inch hose to a 1 HP dust collector. With both running I get very little free dust. The 4 inch hose generates so much air flow it cools the router.
 

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1 more for the fence collector. All of the dust you make will happen from level with the table to possibly 2+ inches above the table if you are running a molding bit. So why would you put your dust collection under the table? Also, the fan on the router is designed to take in air at the top and exhaust it at the bottom near the bit. If you are trying to suck air through that area you are working against it, probably the biggest reason the router runs hot. Sucking air from above the table probably helps it run cooler since the vac is sucking in the same direction that fan is blowing.

So, if enclosing the router doesn't help with dust control and causes the router to run hotter , then why do it?
 

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I cannot say how much dust is pulled under the table,but there is definately a percentage as witnesed by what clings in the corner of the enclosure.I am sure different operations pull dust in different ways.As a example,when cutting dovetails the fence is so far from the cutting very little,if none, is pulled by the fence port while the port below the table pulls the lions share.When doing a edge profile close to the fence the fence port will of course pull the bulk of the chips.I can say for a fact since I have set up this system my shop is much cleaner.I am using a 1 hp dc with a super dust deputy,pulling through a 4" hose with a y too the 2".It is relatively new to me so I cannot atest to the long term affects to the router but I know I can replace a router much easier than a lung.
I think it is worth it
 

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With that being said, at what cost is that to your lungs (as I have read the Bill Cyclone article about dust - very informative) in using the open concept.
Dust mask. I would advise a good dustmask, and not one of those disposable things like the dentist uses, but a real dust mask, with replaceable filters, whether you have dust collection or not.
 

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I do agree with a quality dust mask,but as a tradesman in industry was always taught to control the hazard at the source first,then personal protection next.I am not saying do not use the mask but rather it should compliment a good extraction system.What we do not know is what Chris is using for a dust collector,if just a shop vac I concure the fence is most likely the way to go.If you have a dc system,Chris,I would recommend closing in the router and collecting from both locations.Just one opinion,of coarse
 

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I think the absolute best way to handle a router table is combination of fence pickup and pickup from the collet area rather than from a box around the router. As Chuck pointed out, pickup from around the router body is pulling against the designed router airflow. My first portable table use a Freud 1700 and I kept the factory dust collection shroud on the base and picked up from there as well as the fence. The result was very good with very little dust showing up on the table beneath the router.
The downside of this method was that the factory dust shroud really didn't allow use of very large bits so I left it off my floor standing table and just pick up from the open box which does collect a significant amount of dirt.
While the fence + collet pickup works pretty well, there is still the issue of doing dado's/grooves where you are routing essentially a closed channel and the dirt has no way out except directly toward the outfeed end of the table. In those cases virtually all the dirt goes that way. The only thing I've seen that might be effective for that is the Oak Park vacuum plate.:)
 

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This thread certainly has me wondering if there is any real potential of my router overheating.I also do not want to hijack the thread but it does seem relevant.My router is a pc 7518.I just fired it up for a moment without the dust collector running.It seems that airflow is in the same direction as the dustcollector moves the air.Is this true of all routers,and if so woult the dustcollector not enhance cooling in that case?
 

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I use an open frame style router table - this allows for the best possible fan cooling and in my case makes for best ease of making adjustments. I often wear a mask when creating dust. My dust collection system is piece-meal, but overall does a good job.
I also utilize a high-capacity HEPA filter when the shop is idle. My dad used to say, "If you create a problem to solve another problem, then all you're doing is wasting money."
Otis Guillebeau from Auburn, Georgia
 

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I have to disagree with those against under table dust collection. In my experience there is a lot of dust falling down that the the fence collector won't catch. If your box is reasonably large there is little chance of the router overheating. Also worth considering is how long you actually run your router in a table application. Again in my experience as a hobby woodworker I only run it for short periods of continuous use.
 

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I have to disagree with those against under table dust collection. In my experience there is a lot of dust falling down that the the fence collector won't catch. If your box is reasonably large there is little chance of the router overheating. Also worth considering is how long you actually run your router in a table application. Again in my experience as a hobby woodworker I only run it for short periods of continuous use.
I agree, Dennis, I rarely run my router long enough for a reasonable sized space to be a problem. Also air flow must be sufficient to keep from starving the dust collector system anyway. If you to seal an enclosure and hook up a dust collector(vacuum source) you won't remove a lot of dust anyway, you'll just pull a vacuum on the enclosure!

There must be sufficient air flow for the dust collector to work properly! If you provide proper air volume for the DC, and it flows around the router. heating should not be that big an issue. A bigger heating issue comes from allowing the dust to accumulate in the router housing! The router most likely should be removed from the table and cleaned periodically. The less efficient the dust collection the more frequently this is needed!
 

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Well Chris you asked for it and that’s what you get here 9 or 10 responses with 12 or 13 perspectives.

Personally I agree you get chips and debris both top and bottom, but I’ve yet to see a pickup system that captures it all, so make it easy to clean up as you go. I had pickup both top and bottom but removed the hose and pickup from the bottom. My table was always open on the front so I opened it up on the side as well which gives me easy access ( my router is not dedicated to the table ) as well it makes it easy to sweep out and not pile up around the router.
 

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On Saturday, i routed a 5/32" groove 5/16" deep on about 120" of oak & cherry. Turned on the DC for each pass (remote switch). When i finished, i opened the cabinet and learned that you get zero dust collection when you fail to attach the hose to the cabinet!!

Your mileage may vary, but probably not!!
 

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Well Chris you asked for it and that’s what you get here 9 or 10 responses with 12 or 13 perspectives.

Personally I agree you get chips and debris both top and bottom, but I’ve yet to see a pickup system that captures it all, so make it easy to clean up as you go. I had pickup both top and bottom but removed the hose and pickup from the bottom. My table was always open on the front so I opened it up on the side as well which gives me easy access ( my router is not dedicated to the table ) as well it makes it easy to sweep out and not pile up around the router.
Here is a 14th perspective, Richard. When you are cutting dadoes, you get zero DC from a fence mounted hose! Just sayin... Of course the dado itself often does a fair job!:yes4:
 

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Duane, you're correct in that dadoes are a problem with dust collection on a table. It is, however, possible to deal with it if you plan ahead of time by putting vacuum ports in the table in-line with the bit opening.

A router sucks air from the top end and exhausts it at the collet. If you are using an insert that is close to the same size as your bit, which is what you should be doing, then there is very little air flow through the opening. The router is trying to push air up through the opening and if you have a vac system under the table, then it is trying to suck air down through the opening. Logically, this doesn't make sense.

There is no disputing the fact that any routing operation happens at table level or above it. So if the the router is trying to push air from below the table up past the collet and all the dust making is above the table, then why would you put dust collection below the table working against the the router's airflow unless the below table dust collection is at collet level which would enhance the router's cooling capacity AND also above the table at bit level which would enhance dust collection capacity?

The truth is that because of the routers spin, most dust particles would be thrown outward, not down or up. Only random particles, bouncing off of other particles at extreme angles would escape a good vac system. If you have a router blowing air up from underneath, and a good pickup above table there shouldn't be much left over.
 

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Duane, you're correct in that dadoes are a problem with dust collection on a table. It is, however, possible to deal with it if you plan ahead of time by putting vacuum ports in the table in-line with the bit opening.

A router sucks air from the top end and exhausts it at the collet. If you are using an insert that is close to the same size as your bit, which is what you should be doing, then there is very little air flow through the opening.Exactly! If not thru the opening,Uh where is it going? It is bouncing of the routerplate/table! The router is trying to push air up through the opening and if you have a vac system under the table, then it is trying to suck air down through the opening.This is why you need some venting.. it cannot pull enough air thru the bit opening! Logically, this doesn't make sense. Maybe becaused it not based on reality! There is little positive pressure to force air thru the small opening. The router cooling fan just recirculates air. Positive pressure would result if the router intake is from outside the enclosure, but I've never seen anyone do that!

There is no disputing the fact that any routing operation happens at table level or above it. So if the the router is trying to push air from below the table up past the collet and all the dust making is above the table, then why would you put dust collection below the table working against the the router's airflow unless the below table dust collection is at collet level which would enhance the router's cooling capacity AND also above the table at bit level which would enhance dust collection capacity? Because in the tables I have used, a good 20-40% of the dust ends up below the table anyway! Maybe more with an up spiral! Dust does after all have more mass than air.

The truth is that because of the routers spin, most dust particles would be thrown outward, not down or up. Only random particles, bouncing off of other particles at extreme angles would escape a good vac system. If you have a router blowing air up from underneath, and a good pickup above table there shouldn't be much left over.
Sounds good, but I have never seen it work that way. I like the dust collection accessories that either come with or are available for many newer routers. At this time I don't have one of those in my table, and trust me, with fence based DC I get very little dust on top of the table, but still a lot underneath. May be illogical, but that is the way it works for me!

I think the router airflow does indeed have an effect, but it is probably more to help scatter the dust and chips, than to force it back up the opening!
 

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Duane I'm not getting that much under my table. BJ posted a link a while back on this same topic that was a Youtube video of a guy who is selling router tables. He said that he gets very little under the table also and his design was open front and rear with drawers on the sides. He also advocated against putting the DC under the table in a box. I've used one at a mantel factory that I worked at once that was totally enclosed and the router got very hot and the dust collection was lousy.

I haven't had a chance to use a router with the DC attachment on the bottom. I suspect that they were mostly meant for handheld routing where there is no DC otherwise. How well they they would work on a table I don't know. One thing I do know is that I am working over the table and I want that side to be clean and free from dust. The dust below the table may be a nuisance but it is nowhere near the health hazard as the dust above.
 
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