Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Router Table Wing in SawStop

Since this original post, I added an overhead dust collection arm with a light. I also rolled a video giving a tour of the final setup.  You might find the video good to see what all this is about especially for the dust collection.  The construction details are here, though, for the router table dust box and insert; the other article gives details on constructing the overhead dust collection arm (which is fantastic now that I've used it for a long time).
This week, I posted about the dust collection setup on my SawStop on one forum and posted about the router extension wing on another.  Both are related so I thought to combine the photos of both posts for a more cohesive (!?) description.

First, the SawStop PCS comes with a right extension wing that fits between the SawStop fence rails; it's like a torsion box with one skin on top.  I had a Woodpeckers stand-alone router table top I had been using for a long time.  To save space and double up on dust collection, I installed it in the right wing.  I have the 30" fence.

Before describing some details of how it's put together, a tour of the features.

The router extension wing has a dust box underneath it.  The SawStop comes with those legs at the extreme of the extension, which is great for the router table addition; it adds great stability.

 This is a view from in front of the router table (so, right end of the saw deck).  The door is closed with a sash lock that keeps the box pretty air tight.  There's an external on/off power switch mounted to the right (see next picture).

Router lives inside.  Since the on/off switch's power cable is snaked into the box, you have the whole power cable for the router inside so it's very easy to take it out to the top or remove.  That's as dusty as it gets.  The door is on a piano hinge so it will open all the way until it bumps the ground for great clearance.

Separately, half the bottom is on a hinge in case a future lift or router needs more clearance to get in the box.  The bottom has a simple sliding latch underneath so it only opens when you need it open.

Getting back to the dust collection, look at the front of the dust box.  There are 2 dust ports.  The port on the right leads to the router dust box.   The port is a little below the level of the bottom so the dust and chips can easily slide into the port (the white edge inside the router port in the next picture is the bottom of the box, for reference).  When not in use, I tuck the power cable for the router in this port for storage.

The port on the left connects through to the back of the box where connections to the saw are made that will be explained later.  I preferred this setup to a complicated blast gate that would switch between the two.

Now let's look at the back of the saw for the rest of the dust ports.  You can see a  flex line going to the back of the saw as well as a longer hose going to the blade guard dust collector.

In this closeup of the back of the router dust box, you see the other side of the "through" connection for the table saw near the bottom.  To this port, a tee-connection taps off the green hose to handle the blade guard dust port.  The hose in my hand opens to the inside of the router dust box and is connected to the back of the router fence.  It's a quick-connect to the box, too, but I just leave it tucked away.

Normally the back of the saw doesn't look so "hosey".  The main black hose to the saw cabinet it typically tucked up near it, the router fence hose tucked underneath the table, and the excess green hose under the dust box, but I wanted it to be clear.

Further you'll notice in the previous picture that the hose off the guard comes straight off.  This is a problem as your stock will catch it.  When I use it, I set the fence then drape it over the end of the fence.  A better solution I plan to try very soon is to attach a suction hose holder to the end of the fence; the block of oak at the end of the fence will receive a hole for the holder which should keep the hose high above the table and allow the hose to glide through it during fence adjustments.  It will be an experiment.  Barring that, I'll just put a long 3/4" oak dowel sticking straight up so I can more easily hook the hose to it.

Now, some details on how it's built.

A frame with cross members bolted between the fence rails replaces the SawStop extension wing.  The cross members define the size of the dust box as it is screwed into them. This picture is of the underside.

My router table top was purchased long before I had a saw. It was for a stand-alone table and was much wider than the extension.  I cut the two rounded ends off so it would fit between the rails (perhaps 1.5" total).  If you are looking at commercial router table tops, make sure it is deep enough for the area, but if it is a hair too wide, you can easily cut it to side.  If you cut it to size with the SawStop, make sure you override the brake or you'll score a 'save' when it hits the aluminum miter track!  No, I didn't do that; I used a TS-75 :)

You can see the top has 2 connector bolts through it.  Those attach the top to the frame (previous picture shows the connector near the fence rail).  The advantage of these bolts is that they facilitate shimming the table top higher than the frame to make the routing surface coplanar with the rest of the saw deck.

Now that you've seen the frame, you can see how easy it would be to screw something else into it from below... so I made a set of 2 shelves that descend from the frame.  This is useful for fence clamps, DC tools, hex driver for the Incra miter gauge, dado brake cartridge, dado ZCI (in slot behind shelves against dust box), and a hanger for the magnetic feather board.  Those were the things that used to pile up on the router table surface that I'd have to move when routing or needing a wide fence setting.  Uhg, this is better.

Yes, sorry, I paint shop stuff. :)


  • Kevin Guarnotta said...

    great post, thanks.

  • Unknown said...

    Paul, I've read several people complain about the router setup causing their sawstop extension table to sag. Have u had any issues with your table sagging? I have the industrial model SS and wanted to install a lift in the existing 52 inch table but concerned about the factory table sagging over time. Any recommendations, thx.

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Mine is still plenty flat. I didn't use the simple factory table. That was removed and I placed a router table I had already into the wing after appropriately cutting it to size. That table is a Woodpeckers table and made of two pieces of 3/4" MDF laminated together. The frame I built to hold it there along with the dust box forms a pretty good support.

    I don't think you could really mount a router plate into the factory table. At least my factory table was just a small grid of hardwood with a skin of plastic over it; nothing to sink a plate into.

  • Dave said...

    I have a question about the miter track in your table. I've begun attempting this same setup in my SawStop, but I've run into the problem of the extension rails sitting flush with the top of the router table, so that if you were to actually use a miter fence, it would only fit between the rails. From looking at the pictures here, it looks like you left the track blocked with the rails. Do you not use it?

  • HalfInchShy said...

    Hi, Dave,

    I don't use the miter track for anything other than feather boards. My coping sled is one that rides against the fence, which I much prefer to one that rides the track. Maybe if I had a number of jigs built for the router table's track, it would be different, but for me, never use it beyond anchoring feather boards.

  • John Mcconnell said...

    Thanks for the informative post. Keep them coming.

  • Donald C. Rice said...

    Very useful information. I was looking for similar project, Thank you for your good contribution. I have learned a lot.

  • Geraldine L. Dunn said...

    Excellent build. Fantastic and simple. I was waiting for something like this and perhaps I will shamelessly copy your design of the table.

  • Juan P. Easley said...

    Thanks for sharing your experiences. I often use wood router and router table for my woodowrking projects. I found a lot of useful information on router table here.

  • Matthew D. Scott said...

    I really liked your plan, but I think it is inappropriate for other types of saws, saws each have different uses, I do not know how to use saws to fit the job.

  • Flora Ballard said...

    Looks great, I have the exact saw and am going to do the same thing

  • James M. Spear said...

    Looks great, I have the exact saw and am going to do the same thing. Did you add any legs for the additional weight of the 2 cast iron pieces?

  • HalfInchShy said...

    There aren't any additional cast iron pieces; the router table is a 1.5" thick piece of MDF coated in Melamine (a purchased table before I knew how to make the same in an afternoon...). But despite the weight of the router, dust box, router table top, fence, numerous shelves added for blades and brakes... it still balances perfectly on the mobile base (the integrated one) and you can easily move it around. I kept the same legs that came with the 36" fence.

  • Tom Bradly said...

    Looks great and thanks for putting this together. I was following that instruction and it is nice to see the post in just one place.

  • James Smith said...

    This is a great reading post. Thank for share here