I am starting to look into which router lift to go with for my mobile work station. My plan is to keep my Dewalt DW618 router for manual routing and purchase a Porter Cable 75182 (motor only) to leave mounted under the table.
I have looked at all brands but am not sure which one to go with. The models I have been considering are as follows:
Incra Master Lift II
JessEm Mast-R-Lift II
MLCS PowerLift Motorized router lift
Any info on personal experiences, gripes, groans, or accolades would greatly be appreciated. They all seem to built pretty well. Thanks for your time.
Thanks for the reply. I'll have to get a copy of the article somehow. It looks nicely built. Saving $$ is always a good thing.
I got that issue in the other day. My main concern would be the wood to wood sliding contact between the runners and the guide tracks. I think the V-grooves could be problematic getting them right for a smooth movement. There are also the humidity issues with wood to wood sliding interfaces (anybody here ever dealt with wooden windows). Overall, I like the design but would seriously consider changing the guide track and runner materials. Maybe an aluminum track and UHMW runner and abandon the V-groove thing altogether.
I do like it better than the one in American woodworker. The American woodworker really needs to have the table designed around it or vice-versa. I also don't care for the height adjustment being behind the fence.
I couldn't agree more John. I am a little leery about using wood guides. If the wood swells or contracts it become sloppy. From the surface it seems as though it would work well. Thanks again for your insight.
Thanks for the input. It is going to be a very hard decision. The JessEm lift does look very nice.
I have been looking at router lifts also, and for the moment (at least) I'm leaning toward the Joint Tech "SmartLift Digital". I too am planing on using the PC 7518 motor.
Good luck with the project.
I have had the JessEm Mast-R-Lift for several years now and love it. It's a well constructed piece of gear. You should order the CNC template for whatever lift that you purchase. It will make life much easier for you when it's time to cut out the table top. I have the PC 7518. A word of caution: This router has a five position speed switch that you must make use of to match the RPM ratings of the particular router bit that you are using. You cannot use an external speed control on a router like this (so I have been told). You will have to manually change the RPM's. It's the one downside to a setup like this. I purchased a large paddle switch from Rockler to operate the router externally. Good luck and Merry Christmas.
You should take a look at the PC 7519 router. It is not a variable speed router which means that you should be able to use an external RPM controller.
Another router to consider is the PC 893 (890 series).
''variable speed''--- big plus for many operations
fixed and plunge base.
It containers several nice features---
especially handy is the dust pick-up.
Accessories are readily available, for many uses.
Rockler offers a huge selection of items that can be fitted to this unit.
I have the fixed base version in my router table,
and use the plunge base for hand-routing,
as well as several bases.
The PC 890 goes nicely with Kreg's lift router accessory.
It makes a great package for the DYI as well as a cabinet maker and custom builders.
I have an older Bench Dog PRO. I really like the 1/8" lift per adjuster turn. The typical 1/16" in other brands means that you have to make twice as many turns to change a bit.
A note on Bench Dog. Mine is an older version, and they don't list parts for it any more and they didn't respond to my e-mail asking about them. The adapter ring for PC bushings is kind of funky in my version, and expensive.
I added a digital readout. I don't use it, the markings on the height adjuster are just as convenient. The digital readout also goes crazy if I am making a deep cut.
The MLCS would be high on my list if I was getting one again. I could accept the limitation on the size of router for the increased ease of changing bits.