Woodworking Talk banner

Motorized Router Lift

16885 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  rcolmansr60
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 www.surpluscenter.com/ which also has momentary switches.
Sprocket wheels and belt can also be used for handwheel drive if right angle drive not available.


See less See more
1 - 2 of 10 Posts
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
See less See more
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!!:thumbdown:

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
See less See more
1 - 2 of 10 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.