For dead-on accuracy and quick and easy repeatability, it is inevitable to have a router lift in your workshop. It is one of those items you cannot afford to operate without in your workshop, helping eliminate test cuts and ensure a proper adjustment of router bits. It helps in making easy bit changes and eliminates backlash and this ultimately ensures high class safety within the workshop. In this article we will delve into how to make the router lift and its benefits.
Router Lift buying options
You can purchase a pre-designed and complete router lift or make your own from scratch. Going for the first option would mean you will have to part with a substantial amount of money since router lifts do not come cheap. For instance, the digital router lifts cost much higher than others. The second option would be the best cost saver since you need a few materials to build your own router lift. By mastering how to do this, you will be able to help others in building their router lifts as well.
Benefits of the Router Lift
Without the lift in your workshop, it is quite daunting to raise and lower the router from above the router table when routing. Once the wood router is mounted on the lift carriage with the router lift installed on the work bench or router table, things becomes a lot easier. The lift will make it easy to make bit height adjustments by simply regulating or adjusting the lead screw situated above the insert plate of the router lift.
The router lift offers the following benefits:
Adjustment of routing bit cutting height is a breeze
When you have your router lift, you stop struggling under the router table when you want to make adjustments to the router bit height. It is quite a challenge to make these adjustments when you lack the router lift. Some woodworkers may use some odd methods when making bit cutting height adjustments but your router lift automatically eliminates all that and makes bit cutting height adjustment easy and hassle-free.
Changing Bits is Fast and Safe
With the lift, you can be able to make bit changes from the upper side of the workbench. This makes it so much easier to work on any woodworking project. You no longer have to undergo the daunting task of changing bits from below the router table. The lack of illumination under the router table even makes it much worse if you are making the adjustments below the router table. Furthermore, you risk getting some injuries such as neck problems when you operate from below the workbench. This risk is eliminated by the lift.
A router lift helps the woodworker when making accurate bit adjustments. It is so much easier to make super-accurate micro-adjustments when you use the lift. It helps make adjustments of up to 1/1000 inches.
How to Make the Router lift
It is quite easy to build own router lift from scratch. Below is a guide that will help you build the lift. However, I must point out that this is meant only as a guide and it covers some methods used when designing some router lift parts.
- Take the slot for the inclined plane (covered in detail in the guide). Drill 7/8 inch hole on its centre marks and pin some guides temporary. You then use a pattern bit to “rout out” the material that lie between the holes. This will create an exceptionally smooth, well-cut and accurate slot. All you require is to mount a router temporarily in a piece of plywood that acts as a makeshift table.
- Take a lead screw block preferably maple or any softwood or hardwood. Drill 1/8 inch holes for the T-nut prongs. These will protect the block from splitting and makes it easier when inserting the T-nut. Once you have installed the T-nut, hold it into place using a single screw (you can use two). This will prevent the T-nut from coming out.
- The next step is to link the lead screw block with the inclined plane. Use the lead screw to locate the block and mark its position on the inclined plane. Once this is done, remove the inclined plane and glue and clamp the block into position. Once the glue has dried, remove the clamp and drive in the 1-1/4 inch. You can use Vaseline to lubricate the top and bottom of the inclined plane. This will eliminates wear and helps the parts to move smoothly.
- Assemble the router carriage with the roller shaft in place. Three washers should be stacked in order to facilitate proper bearing spacing. The bearing should be such that it is centered in the inclined plane’s slot. Install the ¼ inch threaded rods that hold the router in position and tighten the nuts.
- Using three wood screws, mount one side of the block piece (you can give it a special label). This is the part that will lock the router carriage into position. This part should freely move at the top half. A ¼ inch hex nut is then glued which will act as the locking shaft’s wear surface. Ensure no squeeze out touches this part of the block. Use a paper to shim parts so that sufficient space is provided for free movement of the router carriage.
- Create an accurate hole for the lead screw through the lead screw brackets. In order to do this, use cut dados across specially labeled parts. You can then glue together the dados resulting in a perfectly located hole for your 3/8 inch lead screw. Your router lift is complete.
Pro woodworkers understand the benefits of the lift and they consider it as a near-necessity for the frequent router table user. If you would like to take your routing game a notch higher it is quite easy. Get an extensive guide on how to build own router lift by seeking helpful wood routing resources.