Everything you need to know before making a self-built router table, the possible alternatives and an estimate of the costs to be incurred.
The bench for milling machine must respond to very specific characteristics, as it must satisfy the needs of the operator, and its primary purpose is to allow the use of the vertical milling machine in stationary rather than free mode.
The vertical milling machine, in fact, is an electric tool used for the creation of slots, hollows, pockets and moldings on the surface of pieces in wood or other material, it is also used for trimming and shaping of edges. The machine is therefore equipped with handles, so as to be able to handle it with the greatest possible mastery, moving it on the pieces to be machined with the aid of a parallel guide mounted at the base of the same.
Since it is the machine that has to move, the workpiece must be securely fastened to a work surface, so as to remain perfectly still during the passage of the cutter, which applies a certain pressure. The processing therefore requires a certain skill and particular attention, which is why the working times can lengthen depending on the type of processing to be performed and the size of the pieces.
To transform the vertical milling machine from a manual electric tool to a stationary machine, on the other hand, it is necessary to put it upside down and bolt it to a plate which will then be inserted into a workbench equipped with sliding guides. In this way the cutter will protrude upwards from the plate, and once the cutting depth and the distance of the guides have been adjusted, the pieces can be worked with extreme ease and precision by sliding them on the work surface.
The first thing to do is to make a sketch of the project you have in mind; the dimensions of the vertical milling machines are relatively compact, so you can choose to make a bench for a milling machine that can in turn be placed on a larger workbench, or a real workshop furniture, which in addition to having the space to insert the milling machine also leaves more for the creation of additional drawers where you can put the tips and other accessories.
The project must be as accurate as possible if you want to get a well-made bench with the perfect team measurements, so if you are not particularly versed in technical drawing you can always make use of projects that have already been made. The latter can be easily found in PDF format on the sites dedicated to bricolage and do-it-yourself; Furthermore, viewing the video tutorials available on Youtube represents a valid help especially for less experienced hobbyists.
Once the project is done, therefore, you will need the materials to make it happen. Wood is the best option, cheaper than iron and less difficult to work with, as it does not require the use of a welding machine.
If you don’t have any recycled materials, however, you’ll need to purchase them. For the main structure and the parallel guides it is advisable to use fir wood, which in addition to being very versatile and suitable for the construction of furniture, also has the advantage of being economical; each strip in fact, depending on its size, has a price ranging from 5 to 20 euros at most, so depending on the size of the counter you want to make, the overall cost could vary from 50 to about 100, also counting the glue and small parts.
The rectangular hole must be made in the work surface to insert the metal plate on which the milling machine will be fixed; also in this case you can obtain the plate from a recovery steel sheet, where the holes will be drilled in correspondence with those of the base of the tool. In fact, most of the milling machines sold online, including routers, are prepared for mounting on a milling table plate.
How to proceed
The first thing to do is the main structure of the counter, then the frame with the legs that will support the worktop. Following the exact measurements of the project, then, saw the pieces of wood and assemble them carefully, with the help of glue, screws, clamps and level, making sure that everything is perfectly square and rests firmly on the floor without wobbling.
Pay particular attention to the work surface, which will be firmly fixed to the main structure made previously. In addition to obtaining the central opening where the connecting plate for the milling machine ( the best models ) will be inserted , you will have to decide whether to do it in order to adjust the height of the latter or not; Furthermore, always on the worktop, you will also have to make the grooves where you will secure the parallel sliding guides, always made starting from the shaped pieces of wood glued together.
As for the plate, however, if you do not have the possibility to make it yourself starting from a recovered sheet, you can always buy one already made complete with rings of different sizes, screws and millimeter scale, for a cost ranging from 20 to About 40 euros depending on the type.
The alternatives to self-construction
At this point it is clear that the self-construction of the milling machine bench requires a certain experience, the use of different tools and power tools, milling machine included, and above all the materials to build it.
If you are a beginner hobbyist, the operation could be particularly expensive from an economic point of view, especially if your fleet of power tools and tools is still small; because in this case the realization times would lengthen considerably and the costs to be incurred would also increase, since you would be practically forced to buy everything you need to complete the job.
The only advisable alternative, therefore, remains the purchase of a pre-made milling table. Those on the market are made of stamped sheet metal and are designed to be bolted to a workbench, they are also equipped with the connection plate for the milling machine, switch for switching it on, parallel guides and extensions for the worktop; their cost can vary from around 60 to 200 euros, depending on the model and features.