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Steve
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi guys 'n' gals, haven't been on in ages, but I haven't forgotten y'all.

I'm in the process of trying to set myself up with a table router setup, as the list of things my wife would like me to make has suddenly grown from 0 to about 4 since we moved house :D

Consequently I have a higher desire to have a table-mounted router to complement the Ryobi plunge router - which won't go in a table without a cable tie or duct tape (thanks Chuck for the suggestion in another thread). I'm not keen, only because I want to use this outside the table, and going back and forth is just going to annoy me.

So, I purchased today the Makita 3600G. Still a plunge router, but it has a toggle switch to turn on and was not expensive ($159 Australian which is about what my Ryobi RRT1600 costs). It also has a great built-in lift system that helped seal the deal, along with another discussion in another thread that I felt was positive. Yes, no speed controller yet, so goes full noise, but that'll come.

Anyway, back to the saga and the reason for my posting.
I bought a cheap tabletop table which I hoped to mount the Makita to - only it doesn't fit. The ring that you're supposed to drop the router into to mount it with some clamps is about .5mm too narrow around the circumference. I cannot lie, I wanted to swear at the manufacturer for making a supposedly generic table less than accommodating. I also discovered after I bought the table it had a maximum weight limit of around 3.5Kg. Fine for the Ryobi (which is also too big), but not the Makita which weighs in at 5.5Kg. She's a heavy beastie.

So, as I don't have the funds to buy a $500+ table, I have had to decide on what to do - return the cheapie table and make something, or, and this is what I choose, pinch bits off the cheapie like the external power switch and plastic fence with built-in dust port (which I'll replace at some point) and featherboards, and make something myself.

So here I am, about to embark on the version 1.0 of my router table, which I'm sure will change and evolve over the years.

My plan is to get some wood for a top, cut a hole, mount the router to it with some countersunk screws, mount the fence and featherboards and go from there. I'll probably use a melamine top or something similar. Ideally a mounting plate sure, but the cost of a plate that I then have to work out where to bore holes.. and I'm not sure there's enough advantage right now. Plus I can add it later should I need to.

What I wanted to ask everyone was:
Do you think the countersunk screws will be enough to hold the router, or should I make some sort of frame to better "clamp" the bottom of the router to the board?

Because it's so heavy, I'm a little nervous about how well it'll hold.

I'm mounting the Makita, as it's single speed, not soft start, but should definitely do what I need for now (especially as I learn new things). I'll possibly modify it or replace it later as funds and demand dictate.

Thoughts everyone?
 

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Rick
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I was in a hurry , so I mounted my PC690 under the extension of my table saw . It looks like that particle board / melamine stuff , and I countersunk screws into my router base and have had no issues at all . I put a bit in the router and let it carve right threw, then went to the biggest bit I use and repeated . Probably not a good practice but it worked .
There couldn’t be a weaker material imo , and it works just fine for me . Someday I’ll install a plate , but for now it’s certainly working for what I wanted
 

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Hi Steve,
You don’t say what you plan to mount to top onto, but you could use a double layer of the board you have in mind. Cut a hole big enough for the base of the router in the lower board, and then do what Rick says with the upper board, once you have drilled through and secured the router with countersunk bolts.
I imagine you will use plywood, particleboard or mdf, as they are pretty flat. Glue and screw (from underneath) the two boards together - quite solid. Depending on the frame onto which you will mount, you can place some cross-braces fairly close to the router base (be sure not to impeded the movement of the handles, or you will lose depth), to further counteract sagging.
I have had a top made from Formica (kitchen countertop 32mm) for more than 30 years, with no problems.
 

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Does the router have a removable plastic base attached to a metal one? If so remove the plastic part and screw the metal part to the top. In either case the counter sunk screws should hold since that is how you would attach the router to a plate. One other thing be sure that once the router is attached you will be able to raise it high enough to use the bits. If it can't be raised high enough because of the thickness of the table you can route the underside out. Check out used office equipment stores you might be able to get a top from a modular cubical which is perfect. You will find that a 4 foot long table gives just the right amount of support for just about anything that you might make. If you happen to have this type of a circle cutter you can make a series of rings that snap together because it cuts bevel edges in 1/4" plexaglass. Doing so you could get away without a plate but still be able to have the benefit of different size holes for the bits like you do on a plate.
https://www.amazon.com/General-Tools-55-Cutter-Adjustable/dp/B00004T7P1/ref=asc_df_B00004T7P1/?tag=bingshoppinga-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid={creative}&hvpos={adposition}&hvnetw=o&hvrand={random}&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl={devicemodel}&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4584345016406707&psc=1
 

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Steve, it seems to me you are pretty much making a shop-made table using a pricy bit of material rather than a cheapie with plywood. I'd get a refund and use a bit of that to buy a couple of pieces of 18mm ply and build a table that way. Put it up on some saw horses. Or get a chest of drawers from a second hand store, scrap a couple of drawers and use the chest's top to mount the router. Slide a thin piece of ply atop one of the drawer slides to catch the sawdust and you have a nice router stand with storage.
 

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I've never screwed a router to a table yet and neither have many others. Gravity works perfectly well to hold it down and once you have a piece of wood over it there is even less chance of it moving. You just need to machine the opening to be a close fit to prevent any side to side movement. This allows you to take the router out of the table to change bits which makes that job much easier. I also don't leave the router in the table hanging from the plate which reduces the possibility of it sagging.
 

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Paul
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Keep in mind that if you screw your router to the wood, you'll affect how deep you can cut. Most plates are somewhere around 3/8 inch (~10mm) and if you remove the router base-plate there is hardly any difference in depth of cut. As Biagio said, two layers might be a solution if depth of cut matters to you.
 

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Yup, a router plate is a very good idea. With a 2 layer table, cut the top opening to fit the plate, the bottom layer smaller to form a ridge on which the plate sits. Put screws or Kreg levelers in place to raise and level the plate with the top and you're done. You can probably find a plate pre drilled for your router, which means you'll likely be able to use the stock nuts to hold it in place. Aluminum plates are a better choice for a heavy router, but you can use phenolic if you remove the router and plate for storage. Left in the table, phenolic (plastic) plates can sag over time. The leveler screws are about $19 a set on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/PRS3040-Prec...=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B000VRML54

Router plates run in the $30 range, https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_...as=tools&field-keywords=aluminum+router+plate Order one pre drilled for your router if you can.

I think phenolic plates are about 10 less and I think you can get them pre drilled as well. Mine have been aluminum.

Second illustration shows how the 2 layer plate fits, plus a different kind of leveling screw setup. Pretty easy to make.
 

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Steve
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes it does

Does the router have a removable plastic base attached to a metal one? If so remove the plastic part and screw the metal part to the top. In either case the counter sunk screws should hold since that is how you would attach the router to a plate. One other thing be sure that once the router is attached you will be able to raise it high enough to use the bits. If it can't be raised high enough because of the thickness of the table you can route the underside out. Check out used office equipment stores you might be able to get a top from a modular cubical which is perfect. You will find that a 4 foot long table gives just the right amount of support for just about anything that you might make. If you happen to have this type of a circle cutter you can make a series of rings that snap together because it cuts bevel edges in 1/4" plexaglass. Doing so you could get away without a plate but still be able to have the benefit of different size holes for the bits like you do on a plate.
https://www.amazon.com/General-Tools-55-Cutter-Adjustable/dp/B00004T7P1/ref=asc_df_B00004T7P1/?tag=bingshoppinga-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid={creative}&hvpos={adposition}&hvnetw=o&hvrand={random}&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl={devicemodel}&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=&hvtargid=pla-4584345016406707&psc=1
Thanks Art, yes, I was planning on removing the plastic base. :)
My concern was more around the wood material and using the original mounting screws (assuming they are long enough) being strong enough to hold the weight of the router.
I can absolutely make the board(s) holding the router solid enough, but should I take enough material out to make the mounting say 10mm, I want to be sure it'll hold the router.
That's where I think the metal inserts have the advantage.

I have hole cutters for my drill, so cutting the hole for bits to pass through will be easy, but I don't know how they would go for cutting rings - I may look into that if necessary
 

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Steve
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, I'm considering all options

Steve, it seems to me you are pretty much making a shop-made table using a pricy bit of material rather than a cheapie with plywood. I'd get a refund and use a bit of that to buy a couple of pieces of 18mm ply and build a table that way. Put it up on some saw horses. Or get a chest of drawers from a second hand store, scrap a couple of drawers and use the chest's top to mount the router. Slide a thin piece of ply atop one of the drawer slides to catch the sawdust and you have a nice router stand with storage.
Thanks Tom.

I was planning on mounting the whole lot on an old cabinet once I get my hands on it, similar to what you describe. I do have a board I could use as a trial piece and mount onto some sawhorses. I guess I just wanted to finesse a bit more.
The cheapie table was only $69, just slightly more than the price of the external power switch I'd still want to buy anyway, so I'm not too worried about cannibalising it.
 

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Steve
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ah yes, but.....

Keep in mind that if you screw your router to the wood, you'll affect how deep you can cut. Most plates are somewhere around 3/8 inch (~10mm) and if you remove the router base-plate there is hardly any difference in depth of cut. As Biagio said, two layers might be a solution if depth of cut matters to you.

Hey Paul, thank you.

Depth of cut is always important, and I'd like to make sure I don't cut too much functionality out. I think the router in question has a reasonably good depth as part of its setup (untested), but I do worry mostly about the weight of it.
I wasn't sure whether I wanted to take some of the top material out to make it thinner or not, but I do know where I can get a decent set of collet extensions if I think I have a depth issue.


Mind you, I'm happy to be guided on what everyone thinks of those for most general use. I'm not up to using 30mm bits as yet, and I'm not sure I'd want a fancy bit in an extension on the table.....
Experiences welcome :)
 

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Steve
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yup, a router plate is a very good idea. With a 2 layer table, cut the top opening to fit the plate, the bottom layer smaller to form a ridge on which the plate sits. Put screws or Kreg levelers in place to raise and level the plate with the top and you're done. You can probably find a plate pre drilled for your router, which means you'll likely be able to use the stock nuts to hold it in place. Aluminum plates are a better choice for a heavy router, but you can use phenolic if you remove the router and plate for storage. Left in the table, phenolic (plastic) plates can sag over time. The leveler screws are about $19 a set on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/PRS3040-Prec...=2025&creative=165953&creativeASIN=B000VRML54

Router plates run in the $30 range, https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_...as=tools&field-keywords=aluminum+router+plate Order one pre drilled for your router if you can.

I think phenolic plates are about 10 less and I think you can get them pre drilled as well. Mine have been aluminum.

Second illustration shows how the 2 layer plate fits, plus a different kind of leveling screw setup. Pretty easy to make.


Thanks Tom. I have seen the Kreg and generic aluminium plates and their availability. Kreg plates seem to be more than double that price in Aussie dollars, whereas the generic aluminium plates vary from around $30AUD upwards and may or may not include rings. Funny enough I've seen some phenolic plates more expensive than aluminium!
Most of the sellers on EBay don't seem to have the details of the predrilled holes to check against, but I may ask a couple of them if I go down this path.
We seem to have less options over here than what you all have in the larger market space. We seem to still be playing catch-up on thsi side of the world more often than not.

I'm beginning to lean toward using a plate just because of the weight and to get the cut depth.
 

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Steve
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Using an insert?

I've never screwed a router to a table yet and neither have many others. Gravity works perfectly well to hold it down and once you have a piece of wood over it there is even less chance of it moving. You just need to machine the opening to be a close fit to prevent any side to side movement. This allows you to take the router out of the table to change bits which makes that job much easier. I also don't leave the router in the table hanging from the plate which reduces the possibility of it sagging.

Hi Chuck, thanks for that, I presume from what you've written you're referring to using a plate in a table which the router is screwed to rather than directly to a wooden table surface which I was initially referring to.

I do take your point about leaving the router and plate in situ, although I would expect if the material for the top was suitably strengthened, such as Biagio suggested, this should be less of an issue.

All in all this is a good learning curve, and I really appreciate all contributions, thanks folks.
Love this forum.
 

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Hi Steve,good to have you back again. I purchased the Kreg phenolic plate some time back & it cost $76.00.If you also go this route,make sure to follow instructions re using a Forstner bit to drill out the corners for the insert plate prior to routing the sides & ends.You will see what I mean when you read the instructions. Best wishes, James jj777746.
 

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In my experience the screws are strong enough. You want them as long as necessary to hold the router but if the wood is strong then they will hold the router. Don't forget that the router is held to a plate with the screws.
 

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Steve
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Makes sense

In my experience the screws are strong enough. You want them as long as necessary to hold the router but if the wood is strong then they will hold the router. Don't forget that the router is held to a plate with the screws.
Thanks Art. I agree, although I wonder if the wood would slog out over time, adding to the vibration and inaccuracy.
I'm probably going to order a plate off eBay for cheap and have a crack. If I don't get it right, I've learned some new things, and I can always go back to the wood.
Having said that, I might try the wood out while waiting for delivery just for fun ;)

That way I can start getting comfortable before I really have to get down to business!
Mrs Fizgig has a few projects in mind (buffet, games storage cabinet, coffee table for starters) to go with the kitchen table I made last year.

Since she's progressing in her interior design course, there have already started to be shifts in how the house is set up, plus moving to a new rental, so it's an excuse to change things.....
 

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I have the same router and wondered if screwing it to the top plate would be strong enough, the screws are only M4 countersunk. So I went the other way and got some 12mm gal round bar (from Bunnings) and fed two lengths through where the guide goes, I even use those thumb screws to hold them tightly in place. If you make a table with cross pieces they can be pretty thick (70mm x 35mm), then rout 12mm wide and little deeper slots that coincide with the 12mm bar in the router. The router then sits with the bar in these slots level with the top of the cross supports in your table. You can screw the top plate over the top of this so you can remove the router, the router cannot move and the top of the table can't sag using this method.

You can easily remove the springs and the handles from this router.
 

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The M4 screws should be okay. My Hitachis are using M5s which aren't much bigger. You could go with a wooden insert for starters. I would go with a good quality ply of about 12mm. That would be only about 2 mm thicker than most plates and 4 thicker than the thinnest plates. Lots of us have just screwed a router to a piece of ply for a top and used a 2 x 4 with a cutout for a fence when we needed something quick.
 
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The M4 screws should be okay. My Hitachis are using M5s which aren't much bigger. You could go with a wooden insert for starters. I would go with a good quality ply of about 12mm. That would be only about 2 mm thicker than most plates and 4 thicker than the thinnest plates. Lots of us have just screwed a router to a piece of ply for a top and used a 2 x 4 with a cutout for a fence when we needed something quick.
My way is probably a little over the top, but when you start up the Makita it gives a bit of a kick as there's no soft start, using my method its as solid as a rock. The other good thing about this method is that you can use a thinner top without sacrificing strength.
 

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Steve
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Good to be back

Hi Steve,good to have you back again. I purchased the Kreg phenolic plate some time back & it cost $76.00.If you also go this route,make sure to follow instructions re using a Forstner bit to drill out the corners for the insert plate prior to routing the sides & ends.You will see what I mean when you read the instructions. Best wishes, James jj777746.
Thanks James, good to be back online with the community again. It's great and I feel a good camaraderie here.
Sadly I don't have forstner bits in my repertoire yet, that's on the "must purchase" list ;)

Harrysin posted an interesting idea in a lobby post he started (for me) about mounting a plate in a table, that uses the item you want the thickness of to set the router depth. Very interesting idea, that could also be useful.

Oh, I better go buy a flush cut bit with the bearing near the shaft (top or bottom depending on who you talk to), otherwise I might have fun templating...
 
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