Router table trouble (size of table and positioning or router base)

Ilive4metal

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Hey reefers and diy gurus! So I have been bouncing back and forth with a few people, trying to understand what all goes into building a router table intended to square and smooth edges of acrylic for tank builds. I have come up with a design but before I commit to building I want to get some feedback on whether or not this is going to be a effective design. I will include a picture below but essentially the drawing is scaled so that each square represents 2square”. The table will be full mdf dimensions of 4’x8’ unless someone feels I can go smaller and still remain effective for a variety of dimensions. The router placement honestly was just something that I came up with by plugging in %. I had no idea how to really think this through to KNOW where to place the router/routers and once I placed the points mathematically it looked right so... I really need help lol.

I like the idea of being able to accommodate up to 7’ builds eventually. However after talking with some experienced builders they suggested anything that large be cnc or laser cut. I would prefer just one base to save a few bucks but if a second base is going to give me a more diverse table worth the extra $50 then I feel it would be necessary at that point. I placed the far right router close to the edge for both small and 7’ routing options however if I’m not going to be routing anything that large maybe I would be better suited to move one or both bases/ scratch one altogether? Again please just help point me in the right direction.

Thanks In Advance
Happy reefing and happy holidays

Mitch

5461517C-A304-418B-BA5D-899F64284872.jpeg
 
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Ilive4metal

Ilive4metal

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Josh h turbo is the one I have been pm regarding the table lol. He had said that it looks good but that he wouldn’t ever plan on routing a 7’ piece of acrylic on it. That accompanied with the fact that I limit myself so that I will only be able to do extremely small stuff with the now bottom router in the rotation of the pic. At least that’s kind of what o felt like he was trying to tell me. So with that being said I feel like I could move at least one router to allow for more diverse and efficient cuts. Maybe move it up 4 inches or so and significantly left to reduce over hang on the right side? Again just want to know if there is a standard people aim for when placing the routers. I can say this I have it in my head that I will be doing a lot of 8”, 10”, 12”, 18”, 20”, 24”, 28”, 36”, & 48” cuts. With the desire to do the occasional 6-7’ cuts and plenty of in betweens. So as long as there is no obvious flaws that stand out that would limit me in at least doing up to 48” cuts I’m ready to place an order for materials. I’m still indecisive in table height. And a suggestion on best bits to use for mdf would be appreciated.
 
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Ilive4metal

Ilive4metal

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Josh h turbo is the one I have been pm regarding the table lol. He had said that it looks good but that he wouldn’t ever plan on routing a 7’ piece of acrylic on it. That accompanied with the fact that I limit myself so that I will only be able to do extremely small stuff with the now bottom router in the rotation of the pic. At least that’s kind of what o felt like he was trying to tell me. So with that being said I feel like I could move at least one router to allow for more diverse and efficient cuts. Maybe move it up 4 inches or so and significantly left to reduce over hang on the right side? Again just want to know if there is a standard people aim for when placing the routers. I can say this I have it in my head that I will be doing a lot of 8”, 10”, 12”, 18”, 20”, 24”, 28”, 36”, & 48” cuts. With the desire to do the occasional 6-7’ cuts and plenty of in betweens. So as long as there is no obvious flaws that stand out that would limit me in at least doing up to 48” cuts I’m ready to place an order for materials. I’m still indecisive in table height. And a suggestion on best bits to use for mdf would be appreciated.
Am I overthinking or under thinking this when assuming I have to have two router to be able to achieve this? Turbo said he uses multiple router base positions to allow for more and more easily accessible cuts is what I was picking up. The benefit I see to having one close to the edge and one more centered is that the center router position allows me to have plenty of room for the acrylic to feed all the way through and still be supported on the other side of the cut. But essentially I could still make an 8” cut if I moved my fence all the way up to the bit. So short of being able to work on the edge of the table, if I’m not making large panel cuts what is the sense in having a second base all the way near the edge. I’ll never cut a 48” piece of acrylic there. I would either work on something really large or really small there.
 

pdxmonkeyboy

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You are totally over thinking it. All it takes to mount your base to the table is a couple screws. I would put the router near the centerline of the table and then you will work while facing the long side of the table.

This way you can clamp a 4' fence across the table. I would also pick up or make a set of feather boards for and aft of the bit.

One thing to remember is that you only work on one side of the bit... typically the left because it rotates counter clockwise..so place a little to one end of the table. If you are routing big sheets you just need a roller stand on the outfeed.

Position isn't as important as the rigidly of your mount and fence.
 
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Ilive4metal

Ilive4metal

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You are totally over thinking it. All it takes to mount your base to the table is a couple screws. I would put the router near the centerline of the table and then you will work while facing the long side of the table.

This way you can clamp a 4' fence across the table. I would also pick up or make a set of feather boards for and aft of the bit.

One thing to remember is that you only work on one side of the bit... typically the left because it rotates counter clockwise..so place a little to one end of the table. If you are routing big sheets you just need a roller stand on the outfeed.

Position isn't as important as the rigidly of your mount and fence.
So would I be better suited to have my main router position somewhere around 18” from the front and right side of the table and then I want one centered in the table to allow surface area when cutting my larger euro braces. And you are saying to Have a fence on either side of the bit like in a typical router table? And a good rigid straight fence to square the material up with the bit? If so what would I do create a wider fence and notch it so that it can wrap around the bit and long up flush with my cutting surface?
 

pdxmonkeyboy

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Most people cut the euro bracing by hand with a pattern following bit...otherwise you are... nevermind, trust me, do it that way

Everyone that I have seen edge pieces uses a fence positioned away from the bit. This is a little dicey because the bit is open and you are wedging material between the fence and bit but you wi be very very very hard pressed to get a truly straight edge using a traditional router fence... because the bit is always trying to push the material away and you cant make a second pass because you will take off more material.

Make sense?
 
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Ilive4metal

Ilive4metal

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Somewhat
Most people cut the euro bracing by hand with a pattern following bit...otherwise you are... nevermind, trust me, do it that way

Everyone that I have seen edge pieces uses a fence positioned away from the bit. This is a little dicey because the bit is open and you are wedging material between the fence and bit but you wi be very very very hard pressed to get a truly straight edge using a traditional router fence... because the bit is always trying to push the material away and you cant make a second pass because you will take off more material.

Make sense?
somewhat still confused what is wrong with using an upcut spiral bottom bearing flush cutter in my center base router and drop the depth so that the bearing rides a mdf template with my material double side taped below it and just rotate it on the table to cut out the sections or better yet finish trimming after I used a jigsaw to cut most of the template out. How do you do it? With a plum base already glued in the tank or clamped down on a sawhorse set up? Just seems so much more useful to use a proper bit on the router table. But this is all new to me so I’m open to good advice. As far as getting smooth edges on my baffles and square end pieces I think I understand the concept but again I really won’t know until I build the table and out a piece of acrylic on it. That’s why my main goal here with this thread is to good good advice on a table setup that will leave me options for diverse builds in the future m. Essentially where is the best place to mount this under table base/bases so that I can not limit myself and be able to do anything I would possibly need to do in the future.
 

pdxmonkeyboy

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If you are using a template and a pattern bit (spiral or flute bit) on the table, you will have to move the the entire sheet of acrylic and pattern around the bit. This is incredibly cumbersome and increases the chances that your template will move from its position on the acrylic.

Pattern bits have the bearing on the tip of the bit.. not the base. I mean they can be it on the base of the bit but that is atypical.

If you move the router around the pieces you can clamp the pattern and piece down to the table to make sure the template won't slide. Templates are typically made out of 1/2 or 1/4 mdf which allows more than enough room for the router bit bearing.

Imagine trying to manipulate a 5'x2' piece of material around a stationary bit without the template moving. No thank you.

Dont take this the wrong way, have you used a router much?
 
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Ilive4metal

Ilive4metal

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If you are using a template and a pattern bit (spiral or flute bit) on the table, you will have to move the the entire sheet of acrylic and pattern around the bit. This is incredibly cumbersome and increases the chances that your template will move from its position on the acrylic.

Pattern bits have the bearing on the tip of the bit.. not the base. I mean they can be it on the base of the bit but that is atypical.

If you move the router around the pieces you can clamp the pattern and piece down to the table to make sure the template won't slide. Templates are typically made out of 1/2 or 1/4 mdf which allows more than enough room for the router bit bearing.

Imagine trying to manipulate a 5'x2' piece of material around a stationary bit without the template moving. No thank you.

Dont take this the wrong way, have you used a router much?
Never touched one in my life. But just as I can master a hammer, or a pair of wire strippers, I can master the skill of a router lol. No offense taken I’m here to learn. But now that you broke it down yeah that makes absolute sense. So I won’t be using the table for that application. Thank you for pointing that out, when you clamp the template down do you do so on the laminated router table? Do you put a piece of sacrificial wood or something down and adjust the depth so that it cuts clean through both sides but no further? With a fixed or plunge base? Bosch 2 1/4 hp or use a smaller trim router for template cutting? will I ever use the table for anything other than a large straight cut bit for edging? If not would I be better off with just one position closer to the right side perimeter like 24”-36” from the edge centered long ways? ( if my table is 4’x8’ drop it right at the 2’ & 6’ marks so to speak?)
 

Reef-junky

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This is way over thought just place it in the center. For large sheets I would just use it hand held. I made a table out of a plywood and a sawhorse with a guide for a table saw that I clamped down and moved as needed. If your going to use a template I would go hand held. Don’t have a picture anymore but I also made the inside overflow box and cut the teeth in it. I did this stuff with a $25 edge router.

9CDE8153-D59C-4E70-948F-1029722CF787.jpeg C4C8A628-1E54-480A-B368-05BBC0ACCC8C.jpeg B9D6378F-9268-4E8B-AE1D-FE58BE925C99.jpeg
 
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Ilive4metal

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This is way over thought just place it in the center. For large sheets I would just use it hand held. I made a table out of a plywood and a sawhorse with a guide for a table saw that I clamped down and moved as needed. If your going to use a template I would go hand held.

9CDE8153-D59C-4E70-948F-1029722CF787.jpeg C4C8A628-1E54-480A-B368-05BBC0ACCC8C.jpeg B9D6378F-9268-4E8B-AE1D-FE58BE925C99.jpeg
Just one base dead center of the table? Is it better to use a fixed or plunge base when free hand routing?
 

Reef-junky

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If you buy a table from the hardware store that’s what you get. One hole in the center. In fact the tables aren’t even that big.

E7AF438A-7916-4638-8FDC-45EA39006BD0.png
 

lapin

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Is it better to use a fixed or plunge base when free hand routing?
If you are talking trimming off fillet edges then I find a fixed base trim router to be easier.
Note on mounting routers;
Be sure you get a router that you can adjust the bit height, and access the collet from on top of the table.
 

pdxmonkeyboy

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A router is indeed a tool just like a hammer but you must RESPECT the router. It is easily THE most dangerous tool in my shop and I have just about every tool there is.

Not saying it takes god like skill or anything but you should at a very difference google wha a climbing cut vs a conventional cut. .. you always feed into the blade, not with the blade.

When things go wrong with a router, they go very wrong.

And again for the record... when you attach a router to a table its literally 4 screws.. you can easily take it off and move it.
 

pdxmonkeyboy

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If you buy a table from the hardware store that’s what you get. One hole in the center. In fact the tables aren’t even that big.

E7AF438A-7916-4638-8FDC-45EA39006BD0.png
You would have a VERY difficult time using that table for aquarium making.
 

lapin

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You would have a VERY difficult time using that table for aquarium making.
You would need to mount that table somehow to a table saw with extensions, so you could run the pieces between the table saw fence and the router. Totally incorrect and dangerous for sure.
 

pdxmonkeyboy

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Lapin.. since you are here...

You ever get bubbles on the edges of a joint from colder temps? 1" thick stock, 28 gauge pins, solvent from james @ envision. He said 30 second soak time but I got a lot of solvent squeeze out. So much that I think thr solvent "washed" away the fillet.

Shop is probably 55-60 degrees. The solvent has acetic acid in it to slow it down a bit but still, seems like it should be evaporating faster? Or melting the acrylic more?

My first go with 1" btw.
 

lapin

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Lapin.. since you are here...

You ever get bubbles on the edges of a joint from colder temps? 1" thick stock, 28 gauge pins, solvent from james @ envision. He said 30 second soak time but I got a lot of solvent squeeze out. So much that I think thr solvent "washed" away the fillet.

Shop is probably 55-60 degrees. The solvent has acetic acid in it to slow it down a bit but still, seems like it should be evaporating faster? Or melting the acrylic more?

My first go with 1" btw.
I will not be much help here. I have always run a heater to warm things up (me, the acrylic and the solvent) before working.
I cant weld anything over 1/2 inch using thin solvent without having some bubbles in the seam. I cant balance the soak time either. I have resorted to using #40, 2 part with 7 to 10 percent thinner. I get a more even flow into those thick joints and maybe better solvent properties. However the more thinner the more shrinkage when it dries so you need to over fill the joint and make sure the back (fillet) has plenty.
 

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