Title lathe cleanout

I perform a fair amount of side jobs that I never post since they are usually either too small to mention or they are not of much interest. I decided to post the following and even though it’s not that fascinating to look at it is still representative of what goes on in my garage.

A friend of mine who does carpentry work was in need of a solution for his router table. He has a Dewalt router that fits into a router base that is permanently attached to the underside of his router table. The issue he has is with the adapter that allows bolting of the router base to the table. The universal adapter plate is plastic and is attached to the aluminum Dewalt base using, what looks like, three 4mm bolts that hang on by 2.5 threads. The problem is that the small threads can only handle a light router load as my friend found out the hard way. Placing a larger load causes the threads to pull out from the router base and then bad things seem to start to happen.

He had asked if I could build an aluminum adapter plate and beef up the bolts that secure the base to the plate. Normally I don’t get very excited about projects like this however there is a part of me intrigued by the challenge associated with improving on a manufacturers short comings and making the result look pro at the same time. I am unsure who manufactures the plastic adapter plate, it may be the maker of the router table or it may be DeWalt. Regardles I figured I would see if I can show up the original designer with some home hobby metal work. Now mind you I understand that manufacturing costs play a huge role in the kinds of products companies turn out and that is most likely why the adapter plate is plastic however…it always feels good when the little guy can step into the octagon.

I’ll leave the narration to the pictures. You will be able to figure out the process as there really is nothing complicated. It was still a 10+ hour project for me but it not only produced a successful product but it also came with a decent level of satisfaction.

Factory plastic base

The plastic adapter plate to the left is what I am dealing with. The pressed in metal nuts are what bolts the adapter to the table. The plate is first bolted to the aluminum router base with 3 small screws.

Squaring router housing

I needed to re-drill the aluminum base to allow four .250″ to be used as the main load bearing fasteners. I squared the base up on the milling machine and then used the DRO to dial in 4 perfectly spaced holes.

Measuring bolt spacing

I needed to calculate the factory spacing of holes in the plastic adapter plate. Instead of using calipers to determine the spacing I decided I would use my DRO to perform the measurment. Turns out bolt spacing was exactly 118mm.

.375 6061 flat bar

I opted to plasma cut a rough aluminum adapter plate out of 8″ x 3/8″ 6061 aluminum flat bar. It is about .080″ thicker then the plastic base which will allow me some extra metal for machining.

Drill and tap base plate

I drilled holes on the adapter plate before I machined it. I needed to use the center of the plate to base all my calculations off of. Doing it before I machine allows for quicker machine set up as well as will allow me to bolt the plate to the base for machining. I added 6 holes, instead of the original 3, for mounting to the router table. This way the router base can be positioned in 60 degree increments to allow for ideal access for tool changes.

Router housing mounted

My lathe chuck is not large enough for me to mount a 7.5″ aluminum plate to. After standing and staring at the lathe for 10 minutes I finally figured out that I could mount the plate for machining by using the router base as an adapter. Worked out great.

Hogging out router base

Here is a shot of the rough machined adapter plate. I trimmed down the perimeter and then bored out the center to match the same dimensions as the plastic adapter.

Router base freshly machined

Here is what the plate looks like freshly machined.

Rough polish

I could have deemed the project complete at the point of final machining however I still wanted to “one up” the original design so I opted to anodize. I hadn’t anodized for quite some time so I figured I had better use this project as a practice oppurtunity. In order to get a good anodized finish I find it is nessecary to polish the aluminum first. This picture shows a very rough polishing as there are still many scratches evident however for anodizing this works just fine.

Router base anodized

After prepping and cleaning the new adapter plate recieved a 2 hour bath in a sulphuric acid solution.

Current control

Current was controlled at 2.75 amps for the 2 hour period.

Base in dye tank

After the anodizing process was complete the adapter plate recieved a 6 minute dunking in some warmed up Red Bordeaux dye.

Freshly dyed

This is what the dyed anodized plate looks like fresh out of the dye bath. Cool!

Sealing the base

All that was left was to seal the dye in by soaking the plate in boiling water for 30 minutes.

Finished router base 1

Finished product! Looks, and will perform, much better then the original plastic unit it will replace. You can see the 4 new .250″ bolts that will, hopefully. outperform the orignal 4mm bolts that were pulled out of the threads.

Finished router base 2

Finished router base 3

Comments
  1. Anthony preston says:

    I think your a clever bloke and inspirational,I’m a welder by trade done all sorts and love messing in me workshop, pinched a few ideas in fabricating a press brake for some projects I want to do but I built it straight on to my steel workbench thanks for tips keep up the good work ,like your cafe racer I used to race bikes years ago production 250 and 500 formula should look well when you finish it all the best antony

    • gordsgarage says:

      Thanks for the comments Anthony, I admire you guys that weld for a living but at the same time I imagine that, depending on the job, running beads all day may become a bit tiresome. I always think that I enjoy welding because I don’t have to do it for a living.

      I have seen some varitions of a press brake built staight onto a workbench, it’s a good idea if you can spare the space. I am hoping that the next piece of equipment that gets added to the shop is a 16 gauge 3 in 1 sheet metal brake, shear, and roller. Still mulling over some details, in fact I have been mulling for about a year and a half. Guess maybe I should do something one of these days.

      Racing bikes must of been a blast for you. I am looking forward to completing the cafe build however I am in no hurry, I enjoy the details of the project.

      Thanks!

      Gord

  2. Val says:

    Hi there,

    Been following your work for a while now and I’m curious to know how long you’ve been doing metal work like this? Beautiful stuff, by the way. And am I guessing right if I say your Canadian? I’ve never searched the site to see if you mention your location. I’m on the east coast myself..waiting for winter to end!
    Val

    • gordsgarage says:

      Hey Val, thanks for checking in on my own little welding world. I have been dabbling in metal work since aroung 1990, guess I am going on 23 years. 1990 was the first time I was able to get my hands on a MIG welder and I loved it. I did it on and off since then however was only in a position to pursue it more intensely over the last 5 years. It took years to figure out shop setup, equipment setup and, most importantly, time management. I enjoy the challenges associated with bulding something to look pro. I’ll never accompish all my ideas.

      Yes I am Canadian and yes I am waiting for winter to end however I must admit that I get more garage time in when the weather is poor. But still waiting for summer.

      Thanks!
      Gord

  3. […] Table Matters | GordsGarage Blog. […]

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