Metal Router Table Top

Has anyone ever tried a Steel or Aluminum top in their shop made router table. I will probably go with MDF again, but I have a bunch of friend who are sell metal. I'm guessing you wouldn't need to thick of a guage to hang a router under there. 1/4" of steel plate or sheet would probably be overkill. Not sure how much a 2' x 2' piece would weigh though.
Just a random thought. My double laminated, double layers MDF top sagged a bit and the rail and stiles on the doors I just make fit accordingly. My fault for never building a proper stand. Saw horses are good until you finish the cabinet, but not a long term solution.
Chuck
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Like this ????
http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageA793&category=1,43885&ccurrency=1&SID
WoodChuck34 wrote:

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Pat Barber wrote:

Steel would be find if you don't mind the weight, have the tools to work it, and bear in mind that dropping a carbide bit on a steel table is more likely to chip the carbide than dropping it on a wood or MDF table--since router bits are changed more frequently than saw blades this is a real issue.
Just make sure you have it well grounded.
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Good point on grounding, I wouldn't have thought of that. The other idea I had is a steel plate with a single layer of MDF on top. I'm looking to eliminate sagging.
chuck
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That's a better choice in my opinion. In fact several folks in years past have mentioned using angle iron on the bottom. I suspect the angle would do just as well as a steel plate.
Two pieces of 3/4" MDF will not start sagging "right away"...
WoodChuck34 wrote:

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If you don't care about the weight, that's true. However, if you want to keep the weight down, almost any other combination will do better than a steel plate.
A hardwood frame under the MDF will stiffen the MDF just as well as steel but with less weight. Pound for pound, if you get carried away and make hardwood-framed, MDF-skinned torsion box, it will be way stiffer than a steel plate or steel angle backed MDF sheet.
It ain't the material, it's how you use it.
Mike
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I started with the metal base from a Sears router table - threw away the cast aluminum top and fence as useless. Put on two rails using heavy angle iron salvaged from an old bed frame. The top is commercial - 1"MDF with laminate on both sides. No sign of any sag using a large router in a router lift. Weight was not a consideration. I built drawers into the base and put the whole thing on a mobile base. John
Pat Barber wrote:

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WoodChuck34 wrote:

There's a design floating around for a top that has some steel bar stock in it for stiffening.

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Pat,
Yes, almost exactly like that except I wouldn't pay $200 for a piece of steel I could probably get for $20. Chuck
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On 29-Jul-2004, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net (WoodChuck34) wrote:

That's $20 for the steel, but $180 for the finishing. If you don't care about the quality of the surface, then save the $180. When I worked as a welding inspector many years ago, I don't remember seeing too many sheets of steel that were actually flat. Flat was something you had to work on. LV went a step further and shaped it into a convex curve so that the table doesn't go concave under the weight of the router. It would take a _long_ time to do that by hand yourself and probably about $180 to have it done to your $20 slab of steel.
Mike
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<snip>It would take a _long_ time to do

Mike,
Ordinarily I would agree with you, but I'm a headhunter specializing in the metals industry. I've got some friends that owe me some favors.
I've abandoned the idea though. I built my top (double laminated, double layers MDF) about 4 years ago and I'm just now noticing the sag. Again, I never built the cabinet, just used saw horses, so its my fault.
Thanks for the input.
Chuck
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It's the router clamping system, the inserts, and coining you pay for, and, given how well it all works, you're getting a bargain.
Rob
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"WoodChuck34" wrote ...

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snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net (WoodChuck34) writes:

Well, the groove for the miter gauge was a PITA....
:-)
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http://www.metalsdepot.com/index.phtml
I got a chunk of 3/8 aluminum one foot square and made my own table insert. The 6 inches or so from the bit seems to be enough flat area to allow nice raised panel work.
Table deflection vs size. I looked up some engineering formulas. If a given weight deflects a beam .005" and you double the length of the beam, the deflection goes up a factor 8 to 0.04. I.E. it is important to supply support close to the weight as it is a 3rd power law.
Greg
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Or you could just make it extra stiffy underneath.
UA100, extra stiffy underneath...
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