Can you Mill Aluminum on a Woodworking Router?

I decided to build my own router fence out of aluminum which I cut & machined entirely with woodworking tools!


It's time to finish the built-in router table in my new workbench. In order to do that I have to install the safety paddle switch and come up with a fence. The power switch is an absolute must with any router table and, frankly, I should have done this during the original workbench construction.


I made the choice to make my own router fence for no other reason than I wanted to challenge myself. There are lots of great fence options that could work for this table design either as-is or with a simple modification of the T-bolt locations.


2 Great Options to Buy:

JessEM Router Fence - https://amzn.to/3eBu7eo

Kreg Router Fence - https://amzn.to/3zidVq6


My fence design is centered around a piece of angled aluminum (3"x3"x0.188") that I cut down to 30" long. After marking out the locations of the various mounting holes, slots, and dust collection window - I get to work. Now drilling the holes and even cutting the part to length is easy, it's routing the slots and dust collection opening that is the challenging part! I chose to use my router to accomplish this but you could also simply drill a bunch of holes and smooth out the openings with a file. It would certainly take longer but would avoid the scary router part.


Some takeaways I learned: Go slow and avoid "climb-cutting!". Since the aluminum is much harder than wood the router bit will violently kick the part during a climb cut so you want to avoid that. I also found that a conventional straight sided bit worked well. I also experimented with an up-cut spiral flute bit but it did not end up cutting well in this configuration.


Workbench Plan Links:


Versatile Workbench Build Series - https://youtu.be/IuOvWgg11i4

Versatile Workbench Plans - https://etsy.me/3w41jkC

Versatile Workbench Plans (metric): https://etsy.me/39qrNol

Smaller "Shmedium" Version Full Color Plans: https://etsy.me/3aHay1h




Links from the videos (affiliate links help sponsor the channel!):

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3"x3" Angled Aluminum (3 ft long) - https://www.mcmaster.com/8982K128-8982K256/

Knurled Black Knobs with threads 1/4-20 - https://www.mcmaster.com/6079K14/

Threaded Inserts 1/4-20 x 15mm deep (50-pack) - https://amzn.to/3wXWv0q

Black T-Track (36") - https://amzn.to/36NO3Xd

Black T-Track Screws - https://amzn.to/3eBhwYD

PowerTec T-Bolt/Knob Kit 5/16" (4-pack) - https://amzn.to/3y0hXmU

PowerTec T-Bolt/Knob Kit 1/4" (4-pack) - https://amzn.to/3xVpPWO

110V Safety Power Switch - https://amzn.to/3iyuE1P

Router Fence Dust Port - https://amzn.to/2UEqYUj

Colored MDF - https://trinityinnovations.net/product/colored-mdf-panels/

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Blue Sharpie - https://amzn.to/3kGO9ru

Center Punch - https://amzn.to/3xVpZNU

Scribe (2-pack) - https://amzn.to/3eHNSkp

Countersink/Chamfer Bit Set - https://amzn.to/3eJZKCl

Metal Countersink Bit Set - https://amzn.to/2TsGvWB

Machinist Square (3-pack) - https://amzn.to/3kF551G

Machinist Ruler - https://amzn.to/3zlHIOY

Incra T-Rule (6-inch) - https://amzn.to/3A42AeN

Woodpeckers T-Squares - https://bit.ly/3x7BXDF

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T-Track Hold Down Clamps - https://amzn.to/3h3Kxh8

T-Bolt & Knob Kit - https://amzn.to/3dnTeRo

T-Track Universal Stop Kit - https://amzn.to/2UckzPn

Featherboards (2-pack) - https://amzn.to/2V4fyZF

PowerTec Router Bit Guard - https://amzn.to/3eHZpA9


#shopnation #woodworking #DIY #shoporganization #router #routertable #routerfence #aluminum #machining #workbench #workbenchbuild

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