Harbor Freight Plunge Router Table Mount Conversion

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Blog entry by spowers posted 12-24-2015 01:27 AM 2153 reads 0 times favorited 1 comment Add to Favorites Watch

I’m working on a new table saw cabinet and wanted to come up with something better for a router insert than moving my existing Hitachi back and forth from handheld to plate mount. I did some searching and was going to go with a Bosch router and their lift, but wasn’t sure it would work well with an external speed control. External speed control seems vital for a table mounted router.

After some more searching I came upon a thread about converting a Harbor Freight plunge router to a table mount by moving the adjustment to the stop screw and using a Rousseau plate. I checked the store and decided I could do better with their 2.5 HP unit that has the adjustment in one of the guide rods. I bought the router and speed control and other than the weight it seems like a great unit, a real beast.

I’m kinda pleased with how well this turned out so I wanted to document and share it. I already had the Rousseau mounting plate, so with all hardware, the router and the speed control I’m out under $150 for this. I’m well aware of HF’s reputation, but for as little as I’ll probably use this and the cost I’m okay with it.

In the first photo you can see the adjustment knob and the rod that connects the motor to the base.

In this photo I’ve removed the knob, just leaving the actual nut exposed.

Removing the nut and lifting off the motor exposes the guide rods and springs. the near side has a threaded rod, the far side just has a guide rod inside the spring.

Drive out the roll pin on the threaded rod side.

Remove the guide rod with the internal threaded rod.

Using a punch I removed the threaded rod from this bushing.

My idea was to use the internal bushing to hold the new adjustment rod in place at the base. Here is the bushing, some threaded rod and the socket cap screw.

By flipping the bushing over, it recessed it into the base/guide rod just enough for the socket cop screw to sit flush.

The bushing needed to be hogged out because it was just a hair undersized for the socket cap screw threads.

Now the socket cap screw sits perfectly in the base.

Here is the socket cap screw with the bushing and a nylon locknut. This allows me to leave it not quite snug so that the screw easily turns inside the bushing.

Next I threaded on the coupling nut, tightening it againt the locknut, hopefully this will lock them both in place yet leave the socket cap screw thread free to rotate.

Screw in the threaded rod, using another set of nuts tightened against eachother I was able to tighten this in the coupling nut agaainst the socket cap screw.

Slide it into the guide rod and get the holes for the roll pin lined up.

This does cause the threaded rod side spring to be too long, so I just cut it down so it sits at the same height as the other side.

This leaves the issue of how to keep a nut in place against the motor? Since the case of the motor housing is plastic my solution was to use a T-nut heated with a propane torch and pressed into the plastic. This seems to work very well.

All assembled with another nylon lock nut at the end of the threaded rod to prevent accidental disassembly.

I then cut off the roll pin, beveled the cut end and drove it into the base from the other side so that the bushing is supported on two sides.

Here it is upside down as it will mount in the plate.

Mounted in the plate. I drilled a hole just large enough for the 5/16th allen wrench that I’ll use to adjust it.

Now I just need to box it in under the table for dust collection and I’m going to have to trim the plate mount out in hardwood since the melamine I used for the top is too prone to chipping when inserting/removing the plate.

1 comment so far

View TraylorPark's profile


213 posts in 2206 days

#1 posted 12-24-2015 06:02 PM

Very well done. I’ll be interested to know how it works out after some use, but it seems like a good alternative to a traditional style lift.
Thanks for sharing,

-- --Zach

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