Motorized Router Lift - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-12-2006, 09:43 AM Thread Starter
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Motorized Router Lift

Hi All;
The task of changing router bits in my router table became characterized by skinned knuckles, frustration, and a tendency to design projects around the profile of the bit that was already in the machine!
A great deal on a brand new PC 7518 gave me the justification needed to add a router lift - which would solve all the above problems. I researched the market and decided on either a Bench Dog or a Woodpecker-both in the $300 range. While mulling over the choice, I acquired a 3' linear slide with 4 ball slide carriages at a local surplus store- for $1.00. That got me thinking and I found a linear actuator with an Acme thread at an online surplus store -$35.00 with shipping. Also found a 1 to 1 right angle drive at the first surplus store- another $1.00.
In the course of a long weekend ,I built a adapter frame to hold the router, machined a few couplings,cut the linear slide bar, cut the leg off a large C-clamp to get an arm with an Acme thread, added a hand wheel and some switches and ended up with the motorized router lift you see below.

The unit travels a total of 5 inches- momentary switch controls up/down position and limit switches on actuator are set to determine top and bottom stops.-10 seconds to move from top to bottom! Handwheel is coupled to top of actuator shaft with right angle drive to allow fine setting of depth. I also wired in switch to control power to dust collector. Table top has router cut recessed opening with red plexiglas laser cut inserts and T-slot channels for fence.

I have to whole unit mounted at the end of my radial arm saw bench and enclosed in a plywood box with a 4" dust collection port/gate on the bottom, but 2" collection hose on fence seems to work great as router forces a lot of air upwards and keeps chips out of the box.

The end result is a rock solid setup with fast bit changes, fast height settings- and no bruised knuckles!- and all for less than $60 in parts and material excluding the router itself.
I have seen linear slides available on Ebay for $20 to $50. Also linear actuators for $20 to $100, but best deals are at which also has momentary switches.
Sprocket wheels and belt can also be used for handwheel drive if right angle drive not available.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-12-2006, 10:07 AM
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I am impressed! I too am always thinking, but my ideas get me in trouble.

Ladwig Construction
Hennessey, Oklahoma

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post #3 of 10 Old 11-12-2006, 12:31 PM
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Hey, that is definitely a nice rig. No question it will save a bunch of time. Have you got any bigger pictures?

Now that you got the hang of it, you can always play around with the same setup horizontally on 2 axes, get a cheap motion controller off ebay or somewhere, and wind up with a cnc gantry router.

Great job. That's the kind of stuff I like doing too. Real satisfying.

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post #4 of 10 Old 11-14-2006, 12:25 PM Thread Starter
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Router Lift

Hi all;
Send me an email and I will send more pics and a pdf drawing.
Best regards;
[email protected]
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-17-2006, 09:53 PM
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Motorized router lift - another version

Hi George,

I thought I'd throw my motorized router lift into the mix as well. I've seen yours many times on the various forums, and I think you did a great job.

For those of you that own a Hitachi M12V, check out my method. I have the motor connected to a foot switch that allows me to bring the bit up into the work while keep both hands on my tenon jig. This setup allows for effective mortising on the router table.

There's a few videos on my web site that explain the motorized router lift and the operations I can perform with it.

John Nixon
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-17-2006, 10:20 PM
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First off let me welcome you to our little group here...

I checked out your website and some of your work. Besides being an accomplished woodworker you seem to have a knack for engineering too.

Some awesome looking projects there. I especially like the guitar. Like I told the others a couple of times...It's on my list of things to build.

Looking forward to seeing your future projects....
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-18-2006, 11:59 AM
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Thanks for the welcome and the compliments BurlKraft.

Building the guitar was very satisfying. The one picture on my site was actually my third. I decided to stop there since it came out to my liking. It was a long road however. There was a point where I had the finish completed and only need to rub it out. The wet sanding process let water get into all the pilot holes I had drilled for the hardware and checked the finish around the holes. After having thoughts of chucking it into the fireplace, I decided to strip it all down again and start over. My finish schedule was hand applied water based dye, sealer, tinted lacquer coats for shading and then about 20 coats of clear nitro lacquer. Boy, that was painful to do twice!!

Anyway, playing a guitar that you built is pretty cool. And hopefully, I'll have a budding musician in the family to pass it on to. Actually my son will probably get it whether he plays or not - just for display.

Thanks again.
John Nixon
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post #8 of 10 Old 01-17-2007, 03:41 PM
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post #9 of 10 Old 01-17-2007, 03:44 PM
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Let me try this again. First time it sent before I asked it to ??
I tried to send you an email to request pics and the pdf but it came back.
Could you please send them to me at ****@****
Thanks you very much, ****
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post #10 of 10 Old 01-18-2007, 07:17 AM
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At least this time Nathan tells me this was not my fault. That should be
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Thanks Dick
If it doesn't work this time the **** is like the nick name for Richard, like Moby ****
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