Precision Router Table

Coming from recent machining experience, I approached building a woodworking router table with the sort of precision you’d find on a mill.  My Bosch router base already had resolution to 1/128″ on the bit height adjustment, so I paired this with a precision fence that I could literally dial in to a few thousandths.

Router table, unfinished MDF

The base dimensions are simply a copy of the inexpensive Bosch router table that is available at any Home Depot.  I think this table is a little more solid, though.

Router table, unfinished MDF with door open

Router Table with tabletop completed

I machined the insert from a piece of 1/4″ 6061 plate.  It’s quite small compared to a standard router table insert, but I didn’t see the need to make it any larger.

Underside of the tabletop

Two 10 tpi leadscrews move blocks that the fence will slide up against.  The fence can slide completely off the back when I need to work with it removed.

Closeup of one of the timing pulleys on the underside of the router table top

Fence adjustment mechanism where knob goes

The setup I used to machine the dial

 

I finally used my dividing head that I snagged from ebay a few years ago.  I mounted it snugly on the lathe using some scrap wood pieces.  In the future it would be nice to mount it on a machined base so that I can just plop it down on the ways and have it be aligned.  See this project for how I automated it with a stepper, instead of using indexing plates which I don’t have.

Machining the dial, closeup

I cut the notches for the dial using a dremel with a flex-shaft adapter.  This worked out really well, but after about 70 notches the flex shaft bearings started to go.  I might have over tightened it to the quick change tool post holder.

Finished dial for the router table

A look at the dial on the table

 

After these photos were taken I shellac’ed all the unpainted surfaces, and applied a touch of wax to the table.  It has made for a nice durable work surface.  I also added some bits and pieces including a marker for the dial to reference.  I found that I don’t actually use the dial to adjust the fence all that much.  Woodworking doesn’t need to be precise to the thou afterall.  What it is really hand for, though, is keeping the fence straight so it doesn’t bind on the sides (and parallel to the miter slot), and for making small movements which usually eyeballed against brass setup bars.  I might use it more if I it could pull as well as push the fence.  For this I might add some magnets so that I can slide the fence in both directions when I need to.  It’s annoying to loosen it and tap by hand until I get it where I want it.

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