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soft start/variable speed table setup

32540 Views 175 Replies 27 Participants Last post by  jw2170
greetings all... here is my situation: I've built a custom router table, invested in top of the line accessories blah, blah, blah.. but as of yet, still have not purchased a router. I would idealy want to have remote control (outside of the router box portion of the cabinet) of router motor speed. Right now, the only production router i can find that allows for this is the Milwaukee 5625 sold as a package with remote varialble speed control. This package has reviewed very well and certainly isn't a bad consideration, however, I'd like to know of any other options. From what I've read, the big PC's and Milwaukee's with soft start and VS will not allow for a 'remote' motor speed controller. I've read through the forum and could not find anything that answered my questions, so i figure go straight to the experts..thanks in advance for any assistance...
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Sounds like me..

..except I think I've done this backwards. :rolleyes:

I've purchased the PC 7518, have the Incra MAST-R-Lift, Incra LS w/Wonderfence on order, will be ordering a Unisaw in a couple of weeks, hope to design a motorized lift for it and now think of remote speed control. I'm looking for a solution too.


What did you use for the table? I want to use the space from the extension table as a router table but would also like to install a Veritas twin-screw end vise (own it) on the end.

The router table would be best in MDF but I'd like to have the end vise attached to laminated maple. I'm trying to decide between going one way or the other or making the end near the saw of MDF and the end from Maple. I'm wondering about the differing expansion factors due to humidity.

I look forward to learning more of your decisions and following how they work for you.

Jim in Alaska
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this what you mean?


I have attached a sketch of what I think you said. Do I understand you correctly? I really like the idea of a hybrid. How do I account for the difference in expansion between the maple and the MDF if I affix the two together? I am envisioning two-sided laminate covered MDF to protect from moisture warping the MDF.

Perhaps a couple of screws near the router lift with slotted screw holes near the outside?

This would also have the advantage of making the router table "replaceable" without having to buy another 20+ board feet of hard maple ($6.20/bd ft here in Anchorage). ..or if I were to make my first ever mistake when routing the router lift cutout. <g>



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Did I mention that my idea was to make the top out of solid 8/4 maple?


Treating the laminate router table top MDF) as if it were a giant router lift (i.e. with it resting in a dado cutout in the maple? Hmmm.... That has promise too! :yes4:


I started out planning on purchasing a laminate TS extension router table and a laminated maple workbench with a twinscrew based upon Popular Mechanic's PM November 2004 Woodworking Guide: Build A Workbench - Popular Mechanics

Following their plans should make it suitably strong, I figured.

As I started pricing things, I realized that even with "free shipping" as offered by many (for the lower 48), it would still cost me about $200 in freight to get it trucked to Alaska. That idea galled the sh*t out of me, so back to the drawing board. Shortly thereafter I started hearing the new Unisaw has a table that's more like 30" wide, so I'd have to order one custom. Too many board feet of hardwood could be purchased for that $200 freight.

Now I'm awaiting a check (Friday??) to order a new Unisaw and then I'll decide for sure. My inclination is to build one out of cheap wood and see how I like it. I want to see just how inconvenient the low height, distance to the router is, and if the Biesemeyer works well with a combined unit. This will be a prototype. I'll either replace the factory table and go with a dedicated router table or decide to go with the maple. Either way it'll be a learning experience, both from whether or not I like the design as well as experience with that large of a glue-up and end vise mounting experience.

Either way, the prototype can be shortened and used as a "beat-on" work surface for when you need to work work on something metal.

I am really appreciating the feedback, ideas and suggestions I'm getting here. This is a good group!

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There are a lot of PC routers too..
hiya BigJim,

yeppers, PC has a lot of em no doubt. In fact, I am leaning towards an 890 if I can't find a Milwaukee anytime soon. The 890 has been a solid performer even with its history of problems. From what i've read, PC is quick and more than willing to resolve any issues you may run across. I do believe that the newer models are more reliable, thinking that PC has corrected any problems with the line.
One thing i've heard and have been trying to confrim is that the (just an example) 890 you might pick up at a local retailer is NOT identical to an 890 you may pick up at say Rockler or woodcraft. In order to put the product on the shelf, the mfg. is given a price point by the seller and the unit is then modeled to meet that price point. Often sacraficing high end quality parts in order to meet the sellers pricepoint..

btw, how goes your own project? where do you stand with it? I've been following your posts and havn't heard much of late?...

how's the 'skeeters' up there this time of year???


My project goes.. but not nearly as fast as I want it to! I've received the PC 7518, an Incra LS 25 Supersystem, Incra Mast-r-lift, Wixey remote digital readout and an Incra miter gauge. I've got a MasterGage and Lee Valley 50" aluminum straightedge in the mail.

I've got the cash for the Unisaw but am holding off ordering it until I finalize the power run into my garage. My desire is to install a 100A fused disconnect off of the mains (just downstream of the main breaker) and have a plug/receptacle that connects a 3/c #2 cable to a subpanel in the garage. I want to use an "extension cord" approach since I'm leasing and want to take it with me when I go.

The holdup so far is looking for a less-expensive plug/receptacle pair. Finding a 100A setup that's NEC 3R (rainproof) rated has so far left me with $1,000 just for the two. That's just too d*mned much to spend on a plug.

So, I'm working with some of the local electrical suppliers to see if one of them will cut me a deal. I'm not looking for free but am hoping one of them will consider something near cost, since its for hobby use and I specify hundreds of thousands in electrical components per year for industrial applications. The people I've needed to talk to have been on vacation the last couple of weeks; starting next week it's time to go hardcore!

If that is unsuccessful, I'll drop back to 60A service. With that, I have to decide if I want to have the 40A slow-blow circuit Delta recommends for their 5hp Unisaw or if I should go with the 3hp. The $200 extra for the motor I can see, but not $1,000 for the outside outlet! :shout:

I'm getting mighty antsy though.. I've given the cast iron tables on my dripp press, jointer, planer, bandsaw and scrollsaw a going over with Phosphoric acid / Boeshield and gave them a preliminary tuning. That's what led to ordering the straightedge and mastergage!

As for the skeeters.. its been a sunny spring so they aren't too thick.. barely enough for a swarm to carry away a small dog. A couple of weeks of rain though, and then the moose better watch out!

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Yes Lance, I agree.

The only reason I was looking at the "extension cord" approach was to be a "no footprint" tenant, running the power cord out under the garage door only when I was working in the shop. This would preclude attaching it to the building and passing it through a hole in the wall. This is just too much extra to pay.

I'll need to look for a "minimally invasive" approach to getting the cord into the garage. Stay tuned.. I'm moving forward. I stopped by my local Delta dealer after work to order the saw on Friday but the head guy is only there 8-5 M-F so I'll have to go there next week.

Tomorrow I figure out how to get the cord into the building leaving the least impact on the place after I move.


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I'm enjoying following your thread, as it's inspired me to think about doing it to my 7518 at some time in the future. Life is a journey of learning!


I'm looking at the Unisaw with the cast iron trunion, only either the 36-L352 (52" vs. 36" rip) or the 36-L551, the 5hp big brother to it. The 5hp manual calls for 40A slow-blow fuses, even though the motor is only 21 full load amps. That's what's encouraging me to look at the 100A service, instead of 60A. By the time I turn on my dust collector and then fire up the tablesaw... 60A would probably work but it'd really torque me off to set it up for 60A and have it borderline too small day 1 when for an extra 10-15% you never have to think about it.

I see this as "my last tablesaw" so...

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In the 3hp class of single-speed routers, a couple of models are:
Porter-Cable 7519 (fixed base)
Porter-Cable 7538 (plunge base)
Delta Machinery|Porter-Cable

Hitachi M12SA2 (plunge base)
HITACHI Power Tools: Home

All three (amongst others) are good routers. Others may provide other manufacturers but this should give you a start.

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(trying to keep it short to avoid side-tracking the thread) I got my new Unisaw on order (last week) but Delta says that it will be 4-5 weeks to get to Anchorage. I've decided to build a combination table saw extension table / router table out of MDF and Formica once it arrives and I am certain of the dimensions (none in local stores).

Meanwhile I've figured out how to easily and inexpensively remount the PC 7518 speed control separate from the router. I'll worry about that though, after the table is built and I've used it a bit.

Howdy, Two...

Is the performance any different if you turn it on while it is set to high speed?

Its all good babe, its all good, at least for now *S*... ...
How about some photos? :D
This thread has been very helpful for me, guys. My new TS gets delivered on Friday; I've picked up the MDF and Formica and have my bits and miscellaneous on order. I need to spend a few days writing out my table design (after carefully re-reading this and other threads) and putting together and tuning the saw. Also, i've decide not built my RT as a TS extension but make it free-standing.

The journey is about to begin. Where it goes, time will tell.
Excellant job, Bill! Very fine craftsmanship. :)
Thanks Brad... I appreciate the comments...

I can tell ya right off, the remote control was no biggie and the getting the Wixey to turn on at start up is/was completely unintentional..I'd be happy to answer any questions you have...
Yea, tell me how to do that one too, Bill!! <g>

I occasionally have my wixey reset on me. I'll try the grounding. I tried connecting the router to the digital readout's aluminum case mount, to no avail. I'll try grounding the router itself. Makes sense.

here is the diagram that Wixey provided me with. This appears to be their best shot at a solution thus far and there is no guarentee that this will work...
With this approach it appears they are trying to completely isolate the guage from the lift..
This is the most logical approach to the problem I can think of. It will either solve the problem or at least isolate the source. I don't design digital circuits but I apply all day long them in my "day job". As an instrumentation / electrical engineer designing petroleum production / processing facilities for the Arctic (where there's 1,500 ft of permafrost which provides an exceptionally sh*tty ground) it's a battle. Ground current loops and the ilk often lead us to techniques such as isolated high-resistance (or floating, for instrument) grounds that wouldn't be required or considered in more temperate regions. I'll give it a try!

Thank you!!
Bill... Thank you.. I hadn't yet figured out how you'd done it. Now I've not got the pictures saved. Did all of that hardware come with the slide? If not, where did you get it? Curious minds, ya know? <g>
The PC soft start and VS are not compatible with remote speed control, but can be used with a remote switch. You can easily wire around and remove the soft start module, then use a remote router speed control. I bought my big PC from a person who said one of the switched were bad. Ended up being the soft start module. It is a common problem. Ten minutes after finding the wiring diagram online it was as good as new, but w/o soft start.
Would you please post the wiring diagram in the "Router Reference" forum? I have one of the big PC's and would love to see it... as will others. :)
Ahh... I found it. I thought you might have the VS model, like I have. I checked out all of the 7518's, but no cigar. I'll check out the 7539 to see if it's there. Otherwise I can take the cap off mine to see if its the same. Thank you!
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