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Thread: New Router Setup

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Coastal Southern Maine
    Posts
    153

    New Router Setup

    I'm looking for feedback from people who have upgraded their router setup to using a lift, fence with dust collection and other features.

    I have been using the same basic setup for about twenty years. PC 690 in a homemade table and a simple fence. The primary reason for an upgrade is to get better dust collection. Like many of us, I have some heath issues that are exasperated by wood dust.

    My first thought that I would just build a simple box, with a 4" dust port, and some type of down draft collection. The box would require some way to access the router for height adjustment and bit changes. That leads to thinking about a whole new system with lift and a fence with dust collection.

    I expect that many members have already made the switch and have feedback about products and their value.

    Thanks - Frank

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    sykesville, maryland
    Posts
    267
    I sold my cast iron table and went with an extension on my tablesaw. Saves space. The extension is Excalibur. I chose it because I could let supports and liked the fence.

    I went with an incra lift (woodpecker with magnetic inserts). Love it: fast and accurate.

    For dust collection, in addition to the fence port, I piped in the Dust Router from Milescraft. The hose on that isn't much, but the cup is well worth it. Attach the cup to the bottom of the magnetic inserts using velcro. When used with the fence I get near zero sawdust. Works well with the lift.

    To connect the shop dust collector I added a dust-rite port.

    I left the router open for cooling and easy maintenance.

    Then I built a little cabinet to hold all my router stuff that fits under the router and has a holder for the fence.

    Not a cheap solution, but so nice! Works great and uses little extra shop space.


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    Last edited by tom lucas; 03-21-2019 at 8:23 PM.

  3. #3
    Just finished this not too long ago and I've been tickled with it every time I use it. The lift is a dream to use and the dust collection is very good.DSC05645.jpg

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Central Missouri, U.S.
    Posts
    1,263
    That's a beauty, Kim. I'll add a big thumbs up for the Incra CleanSweep box. I've been blown (sucked?) away by how well it works. What has really surprised me is how well it works even on edge cuts like roundovers. I haven't needed to connect a hose to the port on my fence since I installed it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    180
    i just recently move mine to the end of my table saw. I made the top out of multiple layers of 1/2" MDF laminated together and then covered the top with laminate. The whole assemble "floats" between the fence rails and sits on angle brackets. The brackets are tapped, and allow height adjustments via set screws to bring the whole thing into perfect alignment with the Table Saw All the edges and bottom were sealed with many, many layers of polyurethane. I just moved the Jessem lift I had to this new table. The fence is a biesmeyer style, since the saw already had rails. My dust collection is thru the fence only, as I would have clearance issues with the table motor door if I enclosed the router. Turned out, I don't need the under table anyway, as the fence collects 99% of the dust. My fence is home made, but is based on the ideas of the VSCT version. Th whole thing works very well, and has proven to be very stable.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    1,595
    As fyi, the Boston CL has a steady stream of router tables that might be good value. I would keep my eye out there if within driving distance for you (since you are in Maine).
    Last edited by Carl Beckett; 03-22-2019 at 8:10 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley
    Posts
    80
    Frank, I have found the router table to be the easiest tool in the shop to get consistently excellent dust collection. Like you, I had the PC 690 and several years ago I built my own version of Rockler's router dust bucket. It was very simple to make. I then put Rockler's router table dust port to my fence and connected it to the 4-inch port that I put on the homemade dust bucket with Rockler's Router table dual port. I connected that system to my 1.5 hp DC (not the world's most powerful DC) and found that it collected all the dust. Nothing was left in the dust bucket and there was virtually nothing left on the tabletop. It's easy to make and the accessories that you need to buy are relatively inexpensive (there's no need to buy the dust bucket because it's just a simple box with a door and a port). But as you indicate, that system did make height adjustment and bit changing a challenge. I had to lift the router and plate out and do the modifications; set up often took a long time. So, like you, I went to looking for a new system.

    I just upgraded to the Triton TRA001, which has it's own above the table lift crank built into it when you put it into a table---no need to buy an expensive lift system. Since the Triton would not fit my existing router plate, I went about building a new table and am now just about done building James Harrison's sliding router table design but have modified it for under the table dust collection. Between the front drawers, I have installed a simple door, and put the whole contraption onto a homemade stand to create a floor and then cut a 4-inch dust port on the back. Now with the Triton I have above the table lift and similar dust collection as before. If the thread is still active when I finish, I'll post a picture.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    19,564
    Like Steve, I get nearly all of the spoil at the router table for most operations. My table has an enclosed cabinet with air return and a 4" port out. I also have a split fence with a port on it. I have seen commercial solutions and shop made. You are correct that a simple box around the router with a door (for speed changes), a port out and a port in for return air will be a big jump in collection. The balance of the spoil can be collected at the fence. If your fence is a solid piece, modify or make another with a dust port. There are so many variations on this it is hard to go into them.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 03-22-2019 at 9:19 AM.
    She said “How many woodworking tools do you need?”
    I said “Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?”


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    SE PA, Central Bucks County
    Posts
    236
    I sold my standalone Veritas router table, and bought Benchdog's cast iron extension table for my Unisaw. I bought a JessEm lift (height adjustment is from the table top, not underneath), and a PC 75182 router. Chip collection with the stock Benchdog fence is not great. I've been meaning to build a DC enclosure on the bottom to catch chips that get launched out the bottom (an impressive pile will collect after a day of routing). My experience is that a fence-only DC solution is not enough with a router table (it was also a problem with the standalone table).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    Central Missouri, U.S.
    Posts
    1,263
    Frank, you mentioned health problems that are made worse by wood dust. Know what you mean.

    As several have mentioned, it's possible to get pretty much all of the visible spoil, but you'll never get all the stuff you can't see. I've recently started wearing a mask for pretty much anything that involves cutting wood. Yes, it's a pain, but it beats coughing myself inside out.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Coastal Southern Maine
    Posts
    153
    Thanks for all of the great information. I guess it is time to investigate the different brands and products. I have plenty of routers so I think that I will look at getting a router motor instead of a complete router. I'm aware of the Porter-Cable 75182, the Jessem Pow-R-Tek & the Portamate. Are there others that you recommend?



    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Drackman View Post
    I'm looking for feedback from people who have upgraded their router setup to using a lift, fence with dust collection and other features.

    I have been using the same basic setup for about twenty years. PC 690 in a homemade table and a simple fence. The primary reason for an upgrade is to get better dust collection. Like many of us, I have some heath issues that are exasperated by wood dust.

    My first thought that I would just build a simple box, with a 4" dust port, and some type of down draft collection. The box would require some way to access the router for height adjustment and bit changes. That leads to thinking about a whole new system with lift and a fence with dust collection.

    I expect that many members have already made the switch and have feedback about products and their value.

    Thanks - Frank

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Central New Jersey
    Posts
    124
    I have a rockler router table and their fence. It has built in 2.5" dust collector on the fence and i built and dust box like Steve Reich did (see above comment) with a 4" port on the bottom. I used a 4x4x2.5 wye to connect both dust ports to my DC. Dust Collection is great. I bought this table when I first started and it works 'ok' however, it is pure entry level and I would never recommend it to anyone. Now I want a lift and a much better table/fence system. Woodpecker's router table with a 7518 is on the top of my list. I am just waiting for budget since I had to make a choice, upgrade the router or get a band saw which is a new addition to my shop.

    The PC is the most common choice for a 3.25 hp router.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Los Angeles, CA
    Posts
    885
    My "can't live without it" is a router lift. I have a relatively cheap one from Rockler with my PC router and it makes set ups relatively easy. As for dust, get a very good dust mask. All the boxing and shimming in the world will never catch all the dust from a router.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lewiston, Idaho
    Posts
    26,953
    I made Norm's 2nd version router table with dust collection at the fence and in the chamber where the router resides. I am using a Woodpecker PRL-V2 lift. I works well for me.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 03-23-2019 at 10:41 PM.
    Ken

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Central New Jersey
    Posts
    124
    Quote Originally Posted by Ellen Benkin View Post
    My "can't live without it" is a router lift. I have a relatively cheap one from Rockler with my PC router and it makes set ups relatively easy. As for dust, get a very good dust mask. All the boxing and shimming in the world will never catch all the dust from a router.
    Ellen,

    Agreed you won't catch all, but if you box out your router under the table with a dc connected, and a 2nd dc port connected to the fence, it does get a lot, and in some cases all of it depending on what your are routing.

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