Slow Days at the Shop. #5: Making a guide for my Makita D handled routers

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Blog entry by fatman51 posted 11-20-2015 10:20 AM 1613 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Making my own backsaw Part 5 of Slow Days at the Shop. series Part 6: Finally got to those stair rails »

I like these routers. The D handle allows for controlled single handed operation of the tool while holding the workpiece with the other. I have 3 of these routers and none of them came with a guide. I wanted a guide for one of them the other day and found myself wishing that I had ordered one, as I was not able to put off the project until I could get one. I decided to order 2 and make 1 so that I could use the router I wanted to use on the project at hand.

A radial arm saw will do a nice job of cutting 3/4 aluminum bar. A radial arm saw will also do a nice job of mangling one’s workpiece, its fence, its blade, its arm, its post, its carriage, its windings, and especially its operator, so don’t try to cut 3/4 aluminum bar on your radial arm saw at home. It is neither a safe nor a wise practice. Fortunately, I cut my bar and my 1/8 aluminum sheet on my radial arm saw without all that much drama. My saw and my fingers are still sound.

Once I had cut out the plate to double the guide back under the router base, I laid it out and cut a 2 1/2 inch clearance area for the bit with a hole saw and a hacksaw.

I used 5/8” by 1/2” aluminum channel to make the guide edge. I set it up carefully in the vice to be sure that everything was aligned parallel, straight, and square. I used 8 1/8×3/8 pop rivets to mount the guide edge to the guide body plate.

Drilling a 1/8×3/8 blind hole into the guide mounting block, I used a 1/8×1/4 pop rivet to secure and hold the body plate to the mounting block while I drilled and countersunk 2 #21 holes and tapped the block for #10 by 24 flat headed machine screws to attach the mounting block securely to the body plate.

I cut a 14” long piece of 3/8 cold rolled round bar to use as the guide rail. 10 mm would have worked also, but I live in the United States. I drilled a 1/2 hole in the mounting block for the guide rail and 3 #7 holes in the mounting block, which I tapped to 1/4 28 for allen head set screws. Two of the screws serve to secure and align the split bushing(1/2” OD, 3/8” ID, not clearly pictured) within the guide block and 1 to compress the split bushing to lock the guide block into position on the guide rail. The split bushing prevents the set screw from digging into the guide rail and creating burrs that would hollow out the guide rail hole in the mounting block.

Carefully rotating the round stock against my cordless portable band saw blade, I cut a snap ring groove 1 inch in from the end where the guide rail mounts to the router base so that the guide rail seats into the mounting bracket on the router base without protruding in too far and interfering with the router bit.

Everything came out square and straight. I think it looks pretty cool too. I will probably make a couple of 1/2 inch guide blocks out of hardwood or plastic and secure them to the guide edge so that I do not have to worry about streaking finished edges with aluminum, but other than that, it is done. It worked great for my purpose, which was cutting 18mm rabbets and dados because someone used Canada’s measuring system when they manufactured the sheet goods I used on my last project.

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

2 comments so far

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2705 posts in 1701 days

#1 posted 11-20-2015 10:30 PM

That’s great, John. And to think that I paid almost $200 for a Microfence that I rarely use.
You’ve probably seen my setup for my Sliding Miter Saw (I don’t have a RAS), which I clamp to a hollow door laid across a couple of trash cans.
Canadians. They do like to complicate things, don’t they.

-- Mark

View fatman51's profile


335 posts in 2475 days

#2 posted 11-21-2015 12:05 AM

Thanks Mark. I think it should do the job. The next time I build one I might do a couple of things differently. 12 can be divided cleanly by 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6. 10 can be divided cleanly by 1, 2, and 5. 4×12=3×16=2×24=191.92 centimeters. I certainly I do not see the advantage. The handy thing about the scms is that it is easy to stash outa the way. The unhandy thing is that it is hard to pronounce an acronym for “SCMS” there are no vowels. I have never been willing to spend the money on a micro fence, as cool as they are. I have found that I can do precise enough work without measuring to the nth or setting my equipment up like it belongs in a machine shop. In the other hand, it would be really cool to have a lathe and a milling machine in my workshop. I might need more room and more money.

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

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