Review By Dean Bielanowski  Dyco Website - N/A


Dyco RT10045 Router Table
Review

By Dean Bielanowski

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The router has become an invaluable and diverse woodworking tool in the modern woodworker's workshop. It can perform tasks that were previously only possible with a bunch of hand tools and a LOT of time!

As routers became more and more popular, so did the need for mounting them upside down in a router table to further expand their versatility, essentially creating a psuedo-shaping machine.

Now there are many router table manufacturers on the market selling everything from basic table and fence setups, to fully-blown routing stations capable of many different shaping and cutting tasks. One of the newer tables on the market is manufactured and sold by Dyco International, and some of its features solve some of the common problems with other router table designs.

We acquired a prototype model from Dyco to undertake this review, so let's get into it.

Note: This review is compiled on the basis of a prototype unit received from Dyco. As such, features or specifications may differ in the final retail unit you may purchase. Where possible we have included in the following review, notes where the final model may differ from this prototype unit in regards to features or specifications. Note also that guards have been removed in some photos for better clarity. Use safety guards and devices at all times when woodworking.

Dyco RT10045 Router Table
Like most similar router tables on the market, the RT10045 ships in component parts requiring assembly. A user manual was not delivered with this prototype unit (as it was still in production) but I was able to easily assemble the table without requiring it. It is mostly just a process of attaching the legs and support braces to the bottom of the table cabinet/skirt. Then attach the fence assembly with the two securing screws and attach the table extension wings, one of each side.

You will, of course, need to supply your own router to mount under the table. A table-mounted router should be quite powerful, as it will likely be undertaking some more serious shaping tasks. At minimum, you should have at least a 2HP router with variable speed control capabilities that is able to take 1/2" shank router bits. Extra depth extension is always a handy asset to have as well, as you invariably lose some depth capacity because of the thickness of the table itself. I used the Triton 3.25HP router. It is one of the best-designed routers for table use made to date and very powerful for this kind of table-mounted application. There are many other good routers from other manufacturers you could use too.

 Attaching the router is quite simple. Supplied with the table are two mounting clamps. These clamp to the base of your router and you can generally configure them to clamp just about any router without obstruction. I was able to successfully clamp 3 different routers into the table without too many problems, although the Triton router was only able to be mounted one way as the router's handles would rub or hit the router table cabinet when the table was lowered back to its flat position. Nonetheless, it does fit in, in one way, and it works fine. In application, the clamps seem to hold the router quite well, providing a little piece of mind that your router wont fall to the earth, or to a hard concrete floor! For extra security, perhaps a third clamp could have been introduced into the design to form a 3-point, triangular clamp arrangement around the router, but again, the 2-clamp setup seems to work fine so far. Just check the clamps occasionally to ensure they are still tight. Routers can cause a lot of vibration and tend to loosen screws they are in contact with over time.

Mounting the router brings us to the first feature discussion of the table, and that is the tilting table. When standing at the front of the machine, the table (which is constructed of cast iron and quite heavy!) can be lifted up and anchored in its up-tilted position to mount the router or access it easily. There are varying height/angle stops on the table's supporting arm to hold the table in three positions. I found the lower position not to be terribly practical as it only gives you minimal clearance between the table and the cabinet to access the router. The higher two notches are better. You have to be careful here also. With the heavy table resting on the support arm, you need to make sure the table is fully engaged in one of the stop notches that hold the table in the upright/tilted positions. Remember that your arms and fingers are going to be in between the table and the bottom cabinet, and if the table happens to drop unexpectedly, you could be nursing a very serious injury. The support arm does hold the table weight satisfactorily but you need to ensure it seats in the holding notch properly for some insurance. It can sometimes be a little difficult to slide it in. You can adjust the "tightness" of the support arm so that it will engage a little easier into the notch by adjusting the screw/nut that hold the arm in place, but don't make it too loose! When in the upright position, you do have plenty of access space to the router to make adjustments or to change router bits etc. If you have the Triton router installed, then above the table bit changes are possible with this router/table combination, although you will still need to access the router to raise the collet nut up above the table surface. This table does not have a router raising feature, so router height adjustments must be done under the table. The advantage of the tilting table however is that it allows you to sight bit height without having to bend down to eye level if it remained in the flat, horizontal position.

A switch is mounted on the side of the cabinet "skirt". Your router plugs into this switch, and with the router itself left on, the main switch (which is a magnetic on/off type) provides master On/Off control. I am told that the switch position will likely be moved to the front of the cabinet on the final model, which is good as the switch is partially obstructed when you have the table extension wings added.

I tested the main table for flatness using the best straightedge I have in the workshop. For all intensive purposes, the router table was indeed flat across its length, width and diagonals. There may have been the tiniest bit of light shine through on the outer corner of one edge, but this was located behind the fence and not really "in play". Even so, the margin of error was so small that it would not really present a problem in use, even if it was located on one of the "working" edges. The main cast iron table and top is well machined and finished. Naturally, a good cleaning after un-packing and a liberal dash of a good floor wax (without silicone) and a thorough buffing will help prevent rust and provide a smooth glide surface for your wooden materials to run over.

Included in the full router table package are two cast iron table extension wings that bolt on to the left and right edges of the existing table. Adding these wings brings the total table length to 1000mm, which offers plenty of length for good workpiece support. The same 3/4" x 3/8" miter slot is milled into the extensions to match the slot milled into the main table. Naturally, you need to line up the extensions accurately to provide a straight, continuous miter slot to use the miter gauge (or other jigs in). There is only a small amount of "play" available in the mounting holes and getting the extensions lined up did take me a little time, but I eventually got there and was able to set them up for both level table accuracy and to provide an accurately aligned miter slot. Be sure to clean the miter slots well to remove the packing grease and apply a good lubricant (wax or spray) to allow smooth gauge operation. On the prototype unit, the extension wing surfaces seemed to be stained. I'm not sure why but I'm sure this issue will be resolved for the final retail model. This did not affect overall performance however.

On to the miter gauge itself. A basic gauge is supplied with adjustment from 0 to 45 degrees in either direction in 1 degree marked increments. It too is cast iron construction so there is no problem with flex whatsoever. There is a  crude indexing feature to be able to return the gauge to the 0 degree setting quickly and easily, but setting of any other angle must be done by the eye. There is no fancy angle stops you might find on a good miter gauge for the table saw. On the router table however, such an angle stop feature for common angles is not often necessary, at least it rarely is for me anyway. You can of course lock down the gauge at any angle with the locking knob, and the cast iron fence face has two pre-drilled holes to allow you to mount an auxiliary fence, or any number of fence-type jigs you may want to attach to the gauge. The miter slot bar underneath is not adjustable, but it fits the slot very well with only very minimal free play side to side. Since the miter slot is a standard size (3/4" x 3/8"), you can use other adjustable miter slot bars or other miter slot gauges or jigs for greater accuracy or fit if you so choose, so using your favorite table saw gauge shouldn't be a problem. The table slot does not have the T-slot bottom however, so you may have to remove that additional piece from your miter gauge first if it does indeed have a T-slot fixing.

With regard to router bit clearance, the bit clearance hole in the table can accept up to 90mm diameter router bits. For smaller diameter bits, a collection of 3mm laser cut inserts are provided to offer workpiece support up around the edges of the router bit. Supplied are 15mm, 35m, 55mm, and 70mm inserts, so you will find an insert to closely match the diameter of most cutters easily. The inserts are a clean fit into the insert relief in the table, however, they must be held down with the supplied screws to secure the insert. This ensures the insert will not move during use, but the screws are perhaps not my ideal way of securing the inserts. In fact, I have found that if you have a nice and secure fitting insert that is flush with the table, you don't really need to secure it down at all. It will not move in use, unless you happen to have one too small for the cutter and it engages the insert, but this is almost guaranteed to be detected when setting up the insert and router bit to begin with. The issue with the securing screws is that they take time to add and remove, and there is a chance of burring the heads with repeated fastening and removing of the inserts. Plus, you need to remove the fence to remove the inserts easily. On another router table I have, the inserts simply drop in and engage against an indexing pin which prevents them from rotating in the insert relief. This works much better in my opinion and the inserts only take a second to add or remove. Nonetheless, the Dyco table inserts do achieve the task they are designed to do, but perhaps this could be re-thought in the future, simply from a "user-friendliness" (is there such a word?) point of view. Just my opinion of course! There also appears to be a threaded hole milled near the insert to use a guide pin, but there was no guide pin supplied with the prototype model.

Moving on to the fence now, which is perhaps the most important aspect of a router table. While a router table really only needs a straight edge for a fence to make it "practical", well-designed fences with additional features make the router table a more versatile tool. The fence bridge is again heavy cast iron construction and a one-piece unit. This is nice as it is solid, heavy and will not flex, bend or twist in use. Two clamp screws secure it down to the table and macro adjustment is via slots milled into the bridge component itself. The bridge can be screwed down into either of two screw holes milled into the table, so you can set the bridge accordingly to set up fence distance for different diameter router bits.

The fence components themselves are cut from thick steel and are very rigid. There is one fence for the in-feed side and one for the out-feed side. Having independent in-feed and out-feed fences allows the user to set them up for trimming and edging tasks. For example, you can actually joint a piece of lumber by offsetting the out-feed fence to accommodate for the trimmed edge, so it is supported properly on the out-feed side. Micro adjustment is possible for each fence, and a small knob at the rear of each provides the micro-adjustment feature. A locking clamp above secures each fence in position to make cutting or shaping passes. Each fence also has holes milled to attach a sub-fence, if required. This can be handy as you can attach a higher, one piece fence with an appropriately sized clearance hole for the router bit being used. Doing so will also help align both the in-feed and out-feed fences so regular edge shaping can be achieved more easily. By default, the in-feed and out-feed fences cannot be moved toward each other, i.e. left or right when viewed from the front of the table, so you cannot close the gap between the fences up so they provide closer support to the router bit's edge. Using a sub-fence is the way to get around this.

I have had another router table with a similar fence design previously, and I had issues with fence flex. Thankfully, this table fence does not suffer from the same problem. Once locked down, the fences are very rigid indeed, and they remain square to the table surface when locked down throughout their range of movement, which is important for accurate shaping and cutting work. Fence height is slightly lacking for my tastes. While the height is probably average for most commercial router table fences, you will need to make a sub-fence that is a little higher if you wish to attach featherboards to hold workpieces down, particularly if you wish to use a featherboard directly over the router bit itself (which is generally where they are mostly used for hold-down applications. Despite this, I was, overall, quite happy with the fence itself. It seems quite well made and most important of all, very rigid. It provides a base for you to further enhance the possibilities via the use of specialized sub-fences. But be aware in doing so, that you may limit the distance between fence and bit that is achievable. I am considering drilling a third set of threaded holes in the table to provide that little extra fence clearance when using a sub-fence.

The other major feature of the bridge is the 100mm dust collection port. Yes folks, finally there seems to be tables coming onto the market that recognize the need for a large and effective dust port. Any 4" (100mm) dust collection hose will attach to the rear of this port to provide high volume dust extraction. This has to be, in my opinion, one of the biggest selling points for this router table. On previous tables I have used, the dust extraction port was either only 2" or 2 1/2" wide, or even smaller. While these worked to a degree, they were still not what I consider an "effective" collection system for the router table. The 100mm port is really the best part of this whole table, because it will save you so much cleanup time and reduce dust exposure risks. In use, and when attached to a good extractor (I use my 2HP extractor) this dust port pretty much catches everything! I'd say over 90% easily, probably more with basic edge shaping work. There is very little debris that seems to escape its grasp. In addition, on the top of the dust port is a clamping mechanism for attaching the table's safety guard. This is a plastic cover with lowers down in front of the router bit, not only to help keep your fingers away from the cutting bit, but also to help contain debris around the extraction zone and ensure it gets directed into the vacuum created behind the fence. I suspect, however, that because I have a prototype unit, the look and design of the guard may change, so what you receive may not be like the "home-made" type of guard you see in the photos. The guard can be moved up and down, and inward/outward to suit most routing tasks. Again, and I feel I need to repeat it through excitement at something that actually works well... the 100mm dust port is a godsend for this router table, and this port design is so simple and effective. Perhaps the best thing since sliced bread... err veneer...

Router Table Accessories
Dyco manufacture and sell a number of accessories for this table that add to its versatility and ease of use;

Wheel Kit
Firstly, there is a wheel kit. I have not seen, nor used this kit before, but I thought I'd mention it anyway. According to their website, the wheel kit simply fits under two of the legs on one side of the table. You then lift the other side off the ground and wheel the table around the shop. As I have not seen or used this accessory, I cannot comment more.

Bottom Dust Chute
Next we have an addition to the dust collection capabilities of the table. So dust collection above the table seems pretty darn good you say?? What about collection below the table? Well, the Dyco router table, as you can see, has a skirt "cabinet", but by default, the bottom is open to the world. Dust that escapes below the table will eventually fall to the floor below. The Dyco solution is simply to attach a dust hood with a 4" (100mm) port to the bottom of the skirt, effectively fully enclosing the "cabinet". With a dust port now both above and below the table, you can maximize collection. In fact, the only dust that seems to escape this table is that small amount which may settle, or be pulled by suction onto the upper surfaces of the router attached below the table, usually around the router collet. An occasional lifting of the table and a quick blast of compressed air around the router takes care of that however. With both the above and below dust collection ports, the Dyco folks have truly produced a collection system that works for the router table. It is again one of the highlights of this table and a definite selling point, and point for consideration when making a purchasing decision. The only time you may really have a problem is if you are routing without the fence (and associated dust port) attached or in use. This may include tasks like raised panel routing or guided pin routing. In these cases, use of an accessory like the Dust Picker will help solve those collection issues.

Drum Sander
The drum sanding attachment clamps to the underside of your router table and allows you to clamp a regular power drill (via its collar) so you can use it as a stationary power tool. With an appropriate drum sanding attachment for the drill, it converts the drill into a convenient drum sanding machine. While not strictly a routing accessory as such, it is nonetheless useful if you have a need for it. You can of course also mount other drill-type attachments like flap sanders or small grinding attachments, or wheel buffs for polishing. Basically, you can use any attachment in the drill and have the drill mounted securely to the table.

Table Extension
When working with larger pieces that require extra support, the table extension accessory provides a larger table footprint. It attaches to the front of the router table via two milled holes using extension bars which clamp underneath the table. The extension support is solid and works by providing a supporting surface at a distance further out from the front of the main table. It helps in preventing objects from rocking or tilting off the main table if they are large and heavy or unbalanced by adding a support that can extend up to 200mm outward. When not in use, you can slide it in to move it out of the way, so it's always available and ready to go, not like an attachment that you have to add in and remove each time you need to use it.

Overall Impressions
Being a prototype model, the final retail model may differ slightly, and will hopefully improve a little in some of the minor "shortcomings" mentioned above. The table on a whole seems to do the job well, although you may need to make a few modifications of your own (i.e. sub-fences, extra threaded table holes, use a different miter gauge etc) to make it truly a versatile and accurate router table. It will handle all basic routing tasks very well. For more specialized tasks, some additions will need to be made by the end user, although this is not really different from most other router tables on the market. None are really perfect in all aspects and applications.

As mentioned above, the dust collection features are the real highlight, and I would definitely choose this table over another with similar features that isn't designed with dust collection in mind.

With a street price of around AUD$600, the Dyco router table is priced similarly to other cast iron router tables on the market. A good router table will last you a very long time, so it's worth investing some money in one that will last. Be sure to check all your options in your budget range, but as a quick synopsis, you should consider the Dyco if your main considerations are:

  • Dust Collection
  • Tilting table
  • Independent in-feed/out-feed fences

As a side note, the table and fence is also available on its own if you prefer to make your own stand. Model number for this is RT5745BM (street price around AUD$400).

For more information, or to contact Dyco direct (for availability/compatibility in your country etc), their website can be found at www.dycointernational.com
 
 

Dyco Router Table Photos
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The RT10045 Router Table


Bridge and fence assembly.


Here is the safety/dust guard on the prototype unit.


Got 4" dust pipe?


Micro-adjustment screw and lock for the fence.


The miter gauge is basic but functional.


One of the extension wings that increase table length to 1000mm.


Main on/off switch with clear
dust covers.



Note the table support extension installed and extended at the front of the table. This provides additional support for larger materials.


This is what every router table needs... a big 4" dust port!


Table tilted up to gain access to the installed router below.


Looking down in the bottom of the skirt we see the optional dust chute installed. It works well!


One of the two clamps holding the router in place.


Table support arm for tilting function. Note the notches to hold the table at three different heights.


Edge profiling on the Dyco table. (Featherboard not included).


This was the fifth end grain routing pass in a series. The miter gauge is in use here, but notice the lack of dust on the table. The 100mm dust port has grabbed it all!


Using the table extension support to manage larger material more easily.


 

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