CNC’ed Router Table Insert Plate & Template

Ok so a fella by the name of Francesco got in touch with me about making the adaptor plate for the Makita trim router, and er in a previous video I made one to fit on here, on my router table. It’s a bit of a mess. And I said yeah why not. I had an idea. What I wanted to do, is see if I could cut one out on the CNC machine, but also when cutting out, also produce the template that you would use to produce the recess, on whatever surface you wanted to use as a router table. It sounded like a good idea to do, then I completely forgot about it and two months later Francesco got back in touch and asked me if I’d done anything about this idea you had, and I said I completely forgot.

So I’m going to have a crack at this now, and I’m starting by scanning the fixed based mount of my router, which I will then create the template from.

I have a good feeling about this, and although I’ll have to countersink the holes for the screw heads and tap the other holes for the levelling screws by hand, the difficult stuff of spacing everything accurately, should be done on the CNC machine.

This is providing I’ve worked out the diagram correctly and haven’t made any mistakes. Then Francesco will be able to use the off-cut from the CNC machine as a template to cut the recess which the plate will sit into.

So after the base was scanned I open the file in illustrator and created some vectors over the screw holes and router bit opening.  I then exported this as a DXF file, worked on it in Artscam to merge the vectors and decided on the final layout. And finally exported it again as a SVG file which I could open in Easel to cut on the CNC machine.

For some reason I could not open the SVG file from illustrator directory in easel.

Ok I’m going to start by cutting the holes for the actual mount which are these ones here. They are about 4mm so I am using a 1/8″ up-spiral bit and then I’m going to cross over to the 1/4″ to do the rest.

Well it was almost perfect, until that happen but what can you do? The main thing is the actual template is fine and the inside cut came out ok.

I unscrewed the plate from the CNC, counter-sunk the holes on the pillar dill, and checked if the plate would screw onto the underside of the router mount.

The holes look pretty good. A little bit tight. So the holes are perfectly aligned. I think I’ve made them a bit smaller than I should have although I’ve probably done them exactly the same size as the screws which are M4.

But that is on. That is amazing. So you can make your own table router plate on a CNC machine and produce the template that you could then cut that shape out onto a tabletop or board.

I slightly did my measurement wider than the actual one that I had – not sure how I did that (but it means there is more space for extraction port) so they are slightly different but where it counts the actual holes are correct. So that’s pretty good.

Anyway this means I’m not going to send my old one to Francesco and keep the new one.

So I’m going to test the template out. This is the bushing on the Makita plunge base. It’s a little bit deep by about 2mm. What I’m going to do is just use two washers – combined they will be about 3mm just to give me that added height.

I checked the bit was centred in the bushing using this homemade centring cone – homemade just the way mama use to make it. I’ll link to that video in the information card, and routered three faces of the template.

Ok so were are just looking at this line here as the test. I did a couple and when I but one corner up against it, it looks pretty good but when I go to the opposite end – if I can show you. You can see that follows the cut path pretty well but on the opposite end it is literally a couple mm off on one side.

So I went back to Artcam to try identifying what I had done wrong.  I thought it could be the bushing it was not centred, or the plunge base had a wobble or maybe I had done some maths wrong, it wouldn’t be the first time. But in the end it turned out I had some some maths wrong, or more to the point I had done some maths correctly, and later ignored it while cutting.

So the two circles that I am move on screen represent a 16mm bushing which comes with the router, and 1/4″ or 6.35mm bit. I had worked out the outside template size based on the fact I only had a 16mm bushing for that Makita router because that’s what it comes with. But when I went to cut the pieces out I used a 1/4″ bit to cut the plate and the template at the same time which meant the template was 6.35mm larger on all sided.

So there only three things I can do now, and those are either router a new template, use a larger bushing or use a smaller router bit.

So I worked out the correct bushing size from the diagram for the incorrect template, and that would have been 19mm but when I checked whether Makita provide that size they don’t they only do 20mm and 30mm. And the router bit would have to be a little over 3mm to compensate for the error I had made, so it looks like I’m going to have to make a new template.

So I routers along the template on some scrap and then cut an opening to I could check the fit. The rebate is only 6.35mm wide but for the actual opening, the lip should be 3 or 4 cm, so the height adjusting grub screws can rest on something. The fit is really tight and I think I need to modify the digital file so its 0.5mm larger. I bought another pieces of Perspex, this time 8mm thick and prepared the new template, which I have imported to easel.

There are a few extra holes next to the levelling grub screws . I realised that instead of trying to make a perfect fit, the plate could be levelled and screwed onto the rebate of the opening, preventing any vibrations from the router loosening the grubs screws.

Before cutting I noticed one of the polycarbonate wheel had broken.

I probably put it on too tight, so I’m going to need to it with this Delrin one.

I cut another test template out on the CNC machine and router yet another channel to check the spacing of the original router plate. The machine is still not as accurate as I’d like but this is why I want to cut the template and the router plate at the same time. Because providing they are orientated the same way you should be able to fit it regardless of the imperfection caused by a belt driver CNC machine.

I did have a little bit of a booboo here but I should be able to counter-sink that out.

Ok, that’s pretty good. And obviously you put the grub screws in these outer holes and then these inner ones you can line it up and screw it down.

So I haven’t done the recess as deep as I should have for an actual insert just because I wanted to show it could fit.

The recess needs to be much wider so the screws sink into the material a little bit better but that’s not bad. Also when I cut this opening out with the jigsaw, you can do that with the router by putting some strips inside the template. Anyway I’m going to wrap this up and send it to Mr Franceso, and I hope he has a lot of fun making things. I’ll also put a link to his Instagram page in the description, so you can see his lovely garden and also him installing this.

If you’d like to see how I did the original router insert plate without the CNC machine, or the centring cone, those videos will be in the information card. You can also see more CNC related videos by checking my second channel Educating Savvas or find me on Instagram for more sneaky previews of future projects.

As always please sacrifice a thumb so I can keep the algorithm gods happy and I’ll see you in the future.

 

 

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