View Full Version : Why are all routers horizontal?

04-28-2003, 07:38 PM
I was at Lowes today, and was looking at their panel saw -- a gigantic machine designed to handle sheet goods like MDF, which took up remarkably little floor space.

In fact, it reminded me very much of the routers shown here, but tilted up till it was *almost* vertical. It leaned just a little bit -- probably to help the MDF stay put.

The x-axis was just some rollers on which the MDF could slide easily, side to side.

The y-axis was a pair of guide rails with a circular saw attached.

Congratulations -- y'all have corrupted me. Now I'm looking at things like this, and seeing CNC possibilities! ARGH!

Anyway, the basic design seems like it's perfectly adaptable to our little hobby, and it would make a truly large router table practical, even in a small workshop.

Any thoughts? Am I just not seeing the down side to this type of design? It seems to make sense to me.

-- Chuck Knight

04-28-2003, 09:02 PM
It's a good idea. One problem could be clamping of the material. A little gravity goes a long way here. Another is lifting the router along the x axis. traditional machines need to lift the router on the z axis, but this is generally 2 or 3 inches so a little slower is ok. This can be overcome with counterweights pehaps?. Why don't you design one and show us?


04-28-2003, 09:31 PM
It is a great idea, but it has already been done. Here is a picture of the router from CamTech in Canada. It is called the "Spacemaker" . I believe it is mostly used in the sign industry so cut-outs are are not an issue.

Camtech Industries (http://www.camtech.ca/home.htm)

04-28-2003, 11:59 PM
I knew it was a good idea!

One problem could be clamping of the material. A little gravity goes a long way here.

I can see how having the parts not only come loose while cutting, but falling with gravity, would be an issue...but those are the details. Engineering solves details like that. Looks like they used a vacuum clamping system as their solution, which makes a lot of sense.

This can be overcome with counterweights pehaps?

On the panel saw at Lowes, they used a spring, not unlike those used on garage doors, to basically neutralize the weight of the saw carriage.

Why don't you design one and show us?

I'm just starting to design a flat, horizontal router...for my initial attempt I don't want to complicate it in any way. But, I still say that this is an ingenious way to design a router, that can fit in a garage workshop.

At this stage, KISS. Especially for my first attempt.

Thanks for the feedback!

-- Chuck Knight

04-29-2003, 12:13 AM
I have one of the panelsaws you saw in Lowes that we brought back from a plant in Mexico.....don't ask, it was a disaster....They work great for rough cutting.

I was on the web site of the company the other day

Safety Speed Cut (http://www.panelsaw.com)

and I see they are offering a router, but it is horizontal and looks to be 2-axis not three.

If you are looking to convert a panelsaw to a router, I can sell you one cheap! It only has a few thousand miles on it and was only drive on Sunday to church by my grandmother! :)

04-29-2003, 09:09 PM
I have a homebuilt panel saw in my garage that uses rollerblade bearings on 2" conduit. I built it about 8 years ago. Just a circular saw with a $120 blade, but it cuts almost as good as my Delta Unisaw. It's also cuts perfectly square too, great for crosscutting 4 x 8 sheets.


04-29-2003, 10:36 PM
Truthfully, that is about all the Safety Speed Cut saws are. Basically a frame holding a Milwalkee skill saw.

11-22-2005, 01:55 PM
Here is a link to a french angled router.
It includes plans and ciruits.
To translate - put the site into Bablefish
Another french CNC site is

11-22-2005, 02:22 PM
There's a guy on here somewhere that built (or was in the process of building) a router that was mounted to a cinder block wall. I can not find the thread, but seem to recall he was in th UK. Anyone remember this thread?

I ran a vertical Wesflex router many years ago making shutters for Pizza Hut from MDF. One of the nice things was that all of the crap ended up on the floor instead of on the table - that was definately a plus in this case.

A vertical machine sure does make sense, doesn't it? What are the pitfalls? Inertia of the Y/Z carriage? - this could be counterbalanced....what else?


11-22-2005, 03:49 PM
Cut outs are a problem if not planned properly, You would need to be on the "top" of the cut for sure, and all that gravity pulling down on it may cause a tear out. I bet a vacumn setup would be need to prevent that.

11-22-2005, 05:14 PM
It was a thread by MikeF, August 2004 -


11-22-2005, 05:26 PM
hmmm....I don't think this is the thread MXTRAS was referring to. This machine thread posted above is still horizontal but the gantry rides along the wall. But I do too recall a thread where the router table was parallel to the wall. I believe cables were used(with counter weights) to control the axis.
But the thread for this is invisible to my searches :(

11-22-2005, 05:30 PM
Yeah - that's the thread I was remembering.... Interesting, huh?


CNC Darren
11-22-2005, 07:13 PM
One option to avoid the parts falling out would be to tab them. That would hold them in the sheet. I to have thought about a vertical router to save space not to mention I think it would be easier to load sheets onto it. I like this one, looks like its mostly made of 80/20 and from the picture doesnt look all that hard to make. http://www.dynacnc.com/spacesaver60120.jpg
As far as dust control goes this one would be good for that, http://www.denford.co.uk/product.asp?link=107


Mariss Freimanis
11-22-2005, 08:05 PM
Gantries and routers have a lot of weight. The X,Y motors (X,Z now?) would have to lift that weight against gravity and could not move as fast compared to horizontal tables.

Counter-weights can cancel that but using them adds additional inertia which still slows things down compared to a horizontal table. A vertical table always loses to a horizontal one.

Gravity is a bad thing. It only cancels completely in the horizontal plane.


11-22-2005, 08:48 PM
my router is going vertical -- no space otherwise. I think it will be ok, at least you know which way the backlash goes. My original plan was for vertical storage and rotating to flat, but I'm pretty sure that's not going to be required.

11-22-2005, 10:32 PM
I think the vertical is a good idea too - another advantage is it helps to eliminate backlash in the vertical direction at least.