Router lift development

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Spectric

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Have been reading some older books and looking at other info, I know the router lift is a relatively recent item here in the UK but had not realised how much earlier it had been around in the states before it came here and it has more history than I had realised. I suppose it was an obvious design for the Americans because they had routers like the 3 ¼ Hp porter cable 7518 which did not have fixed bases and so could be easily clamped into a router lift whilst we over here had the fixed base plunge router.

The early designs seem to be from Woodpecker who used a chain and sprocket arrangement, Jessem who used a toothed belt and Benchdog who used a substantial cast iron mount with two columns running bronze bushes with an ACME lead screw, if you look at this article ProLift Router Lift PL1001 - FineWoodworking you can see they had set the future trend for the modern lift where we now have linear bearings and a lead screw but use billet aluminium. I think the Benchdog brand is now part of Rockler.

Now in engineering design you don’t want to re-invent the wheel, you need to learn from other people’s mistakes so you don’t repeat them and keep it simple which made me think of the post on these forums about issues with the UJK router lift, the one that uses chains and sprockets. They obviously did not do their homework and have ended up where companies like Jessem and Woodpecker started their design evolution a long time back and maybe in time we will see a UJK lift without chain & sprocket arrangement. I cannot really see much more room for big advances in lift technology but I wonder if any of them will decide to make the motor assembly part of the lift itself, so the clamp becomes the motor body. Having fewer parts fixed together must increase the long term accuracy and by combining systems can lead to being more economic to produce.
 
Spectric,
I cleared out somebody's work shop after he died...
what I really wanted was the built in router and lift fitted to a cast iron table......bench top size....
the motor was about the size of a 1-1.5hp mains motor......
the lift mech was worked from a wheel at the front with al ock.....
in the end his axx of a son wouldn't sell it after agreeing £300......
so I say to u there is something out there already......can't remember the make but it was a substancial piece of kit....
perhaps somebody will know.....I def would still buy one......
 
To me the design of router lifts is, in general not that great.
I think part of the problem is using portable routers, a tool designed for use in a different way, by presenting the portable tool to the work. Either a plunge router or a fixed base version.
What is actually appropriate is a spindle motor such as that found in cnc machines.
There are some halfway houses like the AUK router lifts with fixed motors but even these are not perfect. The basic gear on the crank handle is notchy and exposed etc, etc.

The best router lift I can think of would be the Z axis of a cnc machine but inverted beneath the table with a switch to control the stepper motor up and down, or remove the stepper motor and use a crank handle.
Using a 3kw water cooled spindle and proper linear guides it would be the most superior router table.

Ollie
 
Router lifts / tables are all just accessories for a router.
If you start with the need for inverted cutting and have the space, then the real solution is a spindle moulder.
If you really need to use small cutters at high speed then I'd completely agree that CNC router type spindles are the way to go and some short linear rails would be great apart from the challenges of dust sealing.
I'm a little surprised that Jessem at least don't offer a bracket to allow you to install the most common sizes of (CNC router type) powered spindles in their premium table..
 
Router lifts / tables are all just accessories for a router.
If you start with the need for inverted cutting and have the space, then the real solution is a spindle moulder.
If you really need to use small cutters at high speed then I'd completely agree that CNC router type spindles are the way to go and some short linear rails would be great apart from the challenges of dust sealing.
I'm a little surprised that Jessem at least don't offer a bracket to allow you to install the most common sizes of (CNC router type) powered spindles in their premium table..

I agree that a spindle moulder is far superior for most tasks, though a router table has its uses, especially if you can use all the cutters you already have.

The proper profiled linear guides ( Hiwin and similar ) have excellent dust sealing and scrapers, as do the ballscrews,
I guess you could make up a bracket for a water cooled spindle on a standard router lift, they always have really nice collets and normally very little run out, plus VFD control for speed is nice.
One day I will get round to it.

Ollie
 

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