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I have built a router table but have not added the top yet (3/4 inch plywood table and top). I was thinking of adding a 1/8 or 1/4 inch melamine backed hardboard to the plywood top and using double sided tape to hold it down. This would make the top 1 or 1 1/8 inches thick. Good idea or not?

I also need to cut a hole and add an insert plate to the top. I was planning on using a 3/8 inch piece of clear plastic or acrylic or lexan, etc., but Home Depot only carries the 1/4 inch acrylic (I think). Would the 1/4 inch stuff be strong enough to hold the router or would it flex too much?

I had also thought about gluing/laminating two pieces of the plastic for a 1/2 inch thick plate. Would this be a good idea? Strong enough? I have read where plastic can be cut with a table saw. Is this also true with routing it? Will it melt or would I need a special bit?

Sorry for all the questions and long post, but I do plan on making my own insert, just trying to figure a way to do it somewhat reasonable.

thx, Frank
 

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First, check Menards for material for you insert plate. I bought a 3'X4' sheet of it, 3/8" for about $40. I have cut it on my table saw using a plywood blade. You'll have to clean up the edges a bit. I'm sure you CAN do your own plate Frank but all-in-all are you sure it makes sense....even economically?
 

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Bill, thx for the rockler address. I had looked at a couple of sites including Rockler, Woodpeckers and others, but somehow missed that one. That is really almost exactly what I am looking for, I think.

Birchwood, Sorry, but there are no Menard's here where I live in Arizona, at least that I know of. One of the reasons I wanted to do it myself was for the economics, I thought. Then I started looking at and pricing the different blank pieces of plastic and had just about decided to buy an insert, but now with the rockler site that Bill has linked me to, I may rethink about what I want to do.

thx both of you for your answers,
Frank
 

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Another related question

My current router table is based upon a rockler insert that is no longer available. I currently have routers and table set up using those aluminum plates. I would like to add a heavy 3 1/4 hp router to the mix. the plates are 9" X 13" so that leaves out the rockler blank (12" X 12"). I have been researching materials for the plate and was wondering if anyone has any experience with CE grade phenolic or related material. I get the impression that it is stronger than the polycarbonate (LEXAN) and wanted to make sure the plate did not sag under the weight of the heavy router.
 

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Bill, thx for the rockler address. I had looked at a couple of sites including Rockler, Woodpeckers and others, but somehow missed that one. That is really almost exactly what I am looking for, I think.

Birchwood, Sorry, but there are no Menard's here where I live in Arizona, at least that I know of. One of the reasons I wanted to do it myself was for the economics, I thought. Then I started looking at and pricing the different blank pieces of plastic and had just about decided to buy an insert, but now with the rockler site that Bill has linked me to, I may rethink about what I want to do.

thx both of you for your answers,
Frank
Hi Frank - I think 1/4" of most plastics is just a bit light. I used some 3/16" for a table I built to house a Bosch Colt (trim router) that seems to be working OK with a 3/4" lip around it but would be a bit nervous with a full size router in there.
I've had some luck scoring plastics; acrylics and polycarbonates, on eBay but shipping is a killer and usually ends up about $10 sq/ft.
You may look into MLCS, $35 for a 3/8" phenolic plate with a few inserts and free shipping. A little lower on the same page is a hunk of 3/8 lexan for $18 and free shipping.
Router accessories

Good Luck:)
 

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I really considered going the route of making my own, but found that if you watch Rockler, you can usually find their aluminum plates on sale, or you can get a coupon that gives you 15% or so off, which brings them down low enough that I decided not to make my own.

There are plenty of other good router plates as well, and if you aren't crunched for time, I'm sure you can find one on sale that will rival what you will be paying for the phenolic or thick lexan, and will have more features. I think I paid $25 for the last Rockler aluminum plate that I bought . . . maybe less.
 

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I have built a router table but have not added the top yet (3/4 inch plywood table and top). I was thinking of adding a 1/8 or 1/4 inch melamine backed hardboard to the plywood top and using double sided tape to hold it down. This would make the top 1 or 1 1/8 inches thick. Good idea or not?

I also need to cut a hole and add an insert plate to the top. I was planning on using a 3/8 inch piece of clear plastic or acrylic or lexan, etc., but Home Depot only carries the 1/4 inch acrylic (I think). Would the 1/4 inch stuff be strong enough to hold the router or would it flex too much?

I had also thought about gluing/laminating two pieces of the plastic for a 1/2 inch thick plate. Would this be a good idea? Strong enough? I have read where plastic can be cut with a table saw. Is this also true with routing it? Will it melt or would I need a special bit?

Sorry for all the questions and long post, but I do plan on making my own insert, just trying to figure a way to do it somewhat reasonable.

thx, Frank

I have a Hitachi M12V on a piece of 1/4" clear plastic that an uncle gave me. I am not sure which type plastic it is but I know he purchased it at a hardware store. I am leaning towards acrylic. I haven't had any problems with it yet. I don't leave it in the table when I am not using it. Also, it is only just large enough for the handles to fit through the top, approximately 7 1/2" square. A good melamine saw blade will cut it.
I would not use double sided tape to hold your top together. It can creep, especially when warm. My top is 5/8" melamine board with a 1x4 frame under it for support. Most members will say that you need thicker. However, a few others have said that they have 3/4" tops with a support frame and have also had no problems.
Not sure about routing it but I would slow the router right down if you try it. Fine tuning the fit is best done with a sanding block or coarse file.
 

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I have a brand new large Rockler plate for the PC 7518 that will fit your table Poppa. I also have the MDF installation template from Rockler for this plate, an insert that accepts PC style guide bushings, a PC 7518 with about 4 hours of use and an extra never used base mounted to an Oak Park 7" square mounting plate. $350 for everything.
 

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Woodcraft has 12" X 12" X 3/8" acrylic blanks also.

Buy Clear Acrylic Stock at Woodcraft

The Woodcraft in my area also has some 3/8" phenolic plate with woodgrain look and some with a grayish marble look to it, but I was not able to find it on there website.

Phenolic plate can be purchased on eBay for a reasonible price. It is 1/2" though, but could be used for jigs and what not.

eBay Phenolic Sheet
eBay Phenolic Sheet White
 
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