Thursday, January 21, 2016

Modifying the mounting plate of a router table

I've been putting off finishing the cabinets that I've been promising my wife for what may or may not be about 2 years. Getting close now but I need to put together some raised panel doors and that requires using a gigantic router bit. The thing terrifies me when it's spinning. I'd built a homemade router table that basically consists of the router base screwed to a board and then dropped into the cutout of a bench. It technically works but things aren't quite even and nothing is a good fit so it moves around. Even with a fence that I put some work into I was getting bad results and decided to bite the bullet and buy a commercial table. 
I'd used the Bosch before and I liked it so it was the obvious choice. I rushed into it though(hey, it was on sale!) and when the description specifically called out the Dewalt routers it was compatible with I just assumed my DW610 would fit. They can't be that different right? Wrong. After I got it all assembled as the last step I go to attach it and no matter what angle I turned the plate there was nothing that lined up. There is supposedly a plate that Bosch sells to fit other routers but I've seen debate about it ever existing and in any case you can't get it now. The best there is is a flimsy plastic one. Fortunately I noticed that the plate had three un-drilled areas that looked to line up with the pattern on my routers base. "Hey, I've for a drill press, lets do this". 

With minimal planning I was able to get wonderful results so I would recommend anyone in a similar position consider this approach to either returning a good table or shelling out more money for an inferior solution or at worst a custom job from someone else. Check out the video but I've outlined the basic steps below. There are better and more precise methods but these worked for me.
  1. Remove the base plate from your router to use as a template
  2. Eyeball the intesection of base plate's holes locations to the mounting plate's un-drilled areas
  3. Tape them together like that and turn them over
  4. Use a center punch to mark the holes and give your drill-bit a good place to start
  5. Find a bit that fits the mounting holes you are replicating and put it in the drill press
  6. Make sure your bit is centered and drill out the holes
  7. Text mount the plate before going further in case you screwed it up
  8. Flip it over and find a bit that matches the countersink hole
  9. Line it up the best you can and drill just enough so the machine screw head will sit below the surface
  10. Try the included screws and if they fit, you're done.
The one Issue I had was that the mounting holes in my base don't go all the way through so the included screws bottomed out before they were tightened. A quick trip to Lowes on the way home from work solved that problem and now I have a perfectly mounted router and a good base.

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