Sunday, May 25, 2008

Not Perfect, But Functional!

Now that the warm weather is here I *finally* got back to my router table. I had some fundamental issues when I attempted to actually use it for the first time last year. In particular, the main router plate was sagging in the middle. I managed to score a piece of Lexan (thanks, Paul!) that really wasn't any stiffer than the MDF I had in there, but I figured see-through would be cool, and re-making it would give me a chance to figure out what was wrong and stiffen it up. After working on it all afternoon on Saturday, I had the new lexan piece in place, and even with an aluminum angle stiffener I was no closer to having a non-sag-alicious router plate.

I had an idea to install a tensioner between the linear slides so I could torque them back and maintain a flat surface. I worked late into the night drilling and tapping holes (and removing a snapped off bolt!) and after a quick run to Canadian Tire this morning - it works!

I took some time this afternoon to set up the 45 degree lock miter bit I have (I should only have to do this once) and after quite a few test pieces and fine adjustments the results are quite good!

There are still some things that bug me about this table. In particular, the router plate still is not perfect. If I had to do it all over again I would make it *much* thicker, and probably out of steel or aluminum. I really need to be mindful to keep pressure on the pieces as they are going through to get an even pass.
Also, the linear adjustment is just too sloppy. It is *good enough*, but it just feels home-made.

Ah well, someday when I have room enough for a real shop I will invest in a real router table. It would also be so much easier to fabricate pieces with a few key shop tools like a cut-off saw, and a milling machine! For now, with a little extra care I should be able to make what I need to make on this one.

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