July 16, 2009

Bosch Colt custom router table

A few years ago the Bosch tool company came out with a new, small sized, 1/4" router, the Bosch Colt. There is a variable speed model and it is micro height adjustable, a perfect router for dollhouse building. Having read great reviews about it I decided to purchase one. I liked it so much I gave my friend Don one for his birthday. He liked it so much he designed a custom router table for it to do prototyping jobs for his business. Then he gave me one of his custom tables for my birthday. Nice!

This router table is laser cut from Delrin plastic with a backer of Baltic Birch Plywood. The plywood provides additional stiffness, acts as a backer for the removable throat plates and also adds extra length for clamping to a workbench. One of the great features of this custom table is the replaceable custom throat plates. Having those allows me to create zero clearance around any bit that will fit the router. While I don't have it installed in the photos shown I can also use wood strips screwed to the router fence to create a zero clearance fence opening around a router bit. No the photo does not show zero clearance in action, much too big of a gap around the bit, I was in a hurry to snap some shots and did not have time to size a plate for those particular bits. Oh well, I am lazy some days. I took these photos several months ago and don't feel like redoing them.

Zero clearance is very important when working with tiny parts to provide good support for the parts you are cutting. Also it prevents the leading edges of parts from catching on the far side of the fence as you are pushing a piece along the fence.There is also a movable component for the fence that I don't have shown in the photo as it is not yet finished. It is made from wood and will slide open or closed for a tight fit around the bit.

The next item I will make for this router table is a clear dust collection fitting over the bit which will provide safety for fingers while getting the sawdust out of my face.

By using a collet reducing bushing I can use 1/8" shank bits in my 1/4" shank router. You can buy these reducer collets from Stewart MacDonald http://www.stewmac.com/shop/Tools/Routing_bits/Adapter_Collet.html

In the photo below you can see me using my router table with a router bit that has a bearing on the top of it. These are sometimes called pattern following bits. This allows me to follow a template accurately. That is a window opening being cut into an Acorn Cottage wall. The template window opening was made with a scroll saw. After the template is double back taped to your wall you drill a starter hole for the router bit in the area of the window opening. Once the window opening is cut I can quickly square up the two lower corners with my flush cutting razor saw. Routers can't cut square inside corners.


shannonc60 said...

Gee willikers Karin, you really impress me with your tool skills! I am just too lazy to learn how to use mine properly. Plus the parts are hard to come by here. I finally bought a Dremel router table a while back but still haven't got it out of its box. The info you are posting is helping me a little, figuring out what various bits and pieces do. Hopefully I will get there one day!

Karin Corbin said...

Using a wide variety of tools on a regular basis is a normal part of my life. I am fortunate to have had many professional opportunities to learn how to use a wide variety of tools and lots of practice. If you are not certain how to setup your Dremel router table you can view this video from Dremel.
youtube.com is a terrific way to learn how to use tools and make new things. The Dremel company has been busy making videos showing their tools in action.

Anonymous said...

Karin, your projects and ideas are enormously inspiring. I'm just starting to get into scratch-building dollhouses, as I have 3 little girls in my life that I want to build something special for. In keeping my initial expenses down, I've been looking for an idea much like your mini router table! I do have a question, do you edge trim your own trim work, such as floor boards and crown molding? I noticed there isn't a cutout in your fence and was wondering how you do that with the set up you've got there? I have a lot of learning to do if I plan on 'making' instead of 'buying' those types of things....


Karin Corbin said...

Dan, Yes I do edge trim my own work. If you look closely at the fence you will see a series of small holes drilled in the top. I can use those to mount a wooden fence to the Delrin plastic fence. That way I can have a whole series of replaceable wooden fences that are zero clearance for my favorite bits. I will make them as I need them. They will have a notch cut so the wood fits down against the table and clears up over the plastic fence.

I had not made any wood fences yet when I posted this article. I will get around to it sometime in the next month as I have to run some molding for the interior of my project.