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.

Precision router bases for Dremels

Stewart MacDonald router base for Dremel

Bishop Cochran router base for Dremel

Yes there really is a precision, micro adjustable router base around for a Dremel Motor Tool, in fact there are a couple of them. You won't find them in stores selling dollhouse tools or model making tools. You won't find them on the Dremel website either. These specialty bases were developed for building guitars where a lot of precise routing needs to be done. Just because they were made for guitars there is no reason you can't use them for building dollhouses.

One maker is Stewart MacDonald

Here is a video of that tool in action from youtube.

Another maker of router bases for Dremels and Foredom Motors is Bishop Cochran

I purchased the Stewart MacDonald as it is my plan to build a custom router table using his base to precisely control the height of the bit I chuck into my motor. The thin sub base on his router can be removed and then I will mount it under my custom table top that will have interchangeable zero clearance throat plates. The custom table top and throat plates will be cut on a laser and the material I will be using is Delrin. It will be similar to my custom table for the Bosch Colt Router.