top base for a router cabinet

I am building a router cabinet with a 3/4 oak top. I was thinking of mounting my router to a piece of 1/4" steel or 3/8" plexiglass. What would be the pros and cons of each? Also what diameter hole should I allow for the bits? I'm thinking of maybe 1.75" diameter. Any feedback? I'll basically be building cabinet doors and moulding.
Rob
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wrote:

I'd buy a commercial plate with inserts for different bit sizes. 1-3/4" isn't going to be big enough for doors, IMO. Aluminum would be my choice. Actually, my choice is a lift. ;-)
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rlz wrote:

1/4" steel would be difficult to cut and machine. 3/8" Plexiglass will sag. Other options would be an aluminum or phenolic plate. A phenolic plate is stiffer than both Plexiglass or Lexan.
A 1.75" diameter hole would not allow for a large raised panel bit. A 1.75" diameter hole might also prove to be too large for some operations. Expect to be making more than one plate, designing each for a specific purpose.
--
Jack Novak
Buffalo, NY - USA
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And routers for a specific purpose. :-) http://picasaweb.google.com/contrarian32/Routers #
Max
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Looks good Max.. Won't misplace any bits in those drawers. I made a couple modifications to my router cabinet which is similar to yours after completion. The back side of the slots on the table that hold the fence down with t-bolts, now end in a 7/8" hole so that the t-bolts can come up and out. It makes it much easier to remove and put back the fence when you're doing freehand pattern work for example. Also I got tired of the sawdust etc. going down through the slot and into the drawer. So I sealed them off with some 1/4" plywood and spacers.. I was a little concerned I wouldn't be able to remove sawdust afterwards, but hasn't been a problem. I just run the vacuum over the slot and it sucks up what ever has fallen in there.
Also, I might mention, that during construction, I put an angled baffle, 1/4" plywood, in the router compartment that is against the back at the top and angles towards the front 9" at the bottom. It spans the width of the compartment and leaves only a 3/8" gap at the bottom for the vacuum to suck up the dust. I found this increases and concentrates the vacuum along the bottom of the compartment where it is most needed and better balances/splits the suction power between the fence and the router compartment. It has proved to be very efficient. The router compartment stays virtually clean of sawdust using my 1100 CFM D.C. Surprisingly enough, the bottom drawers in Norm's original plan left enough room between the back of the cabinet and the drawer back to run 2" vac hose. So that's where I ran mine. It connects up with a 4" hose fitting built into the lower left hand side of the cabinet and eliminated having a t-fitting etc hanging out the backside.. Only the flex vac hose for the fence exits out the back of the cabinet and it pulls out of the back and naturally coils up on the back of the fence when I'm not using the router table. This leaves virtually no obstructions on the backside to get in the way when not in use.
- Jim

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Some very nice modifications there. The sawdust getting in the drawers through the slots in the top never occured to me while I was building the table but I've since made the same change you did. My cyclone DC sucks up the dust very well but I do have that problem of an "appendage" sticking out the back. :-( Thanks for the details.
Max
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use 2 pieces of 1/4 inch plastic - that way you can counterbore the holes so there aren't any ridges from drilling it out. make the plate small, so it doesn't sag, use PVC solvent to weld the pieces together (clamp gently for a while). that's the setup I use, and it works for me. make more than one, with different openings
shelly
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Before you get to the router plate, you have to do something about the top. Are you putting some crossgrain strips on the bottom to reinforce and stiffen it? It will be even weaker where you cut the recess for the plate.
Rather than make on, it may be best to buy a commercial plat with the mounting holes and bit hole already in it. It may be 2" and have bushings to swap out depending on the bit size you are using, a very good feature.
In reality, I'd not use a plate, I'd use the Benchdog lift like I have now. IMO, the best around. http://www.benchdog.com/prolift.cfm
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