Rethinking the Makita RTO700c Lowrider Base

Rethinking or overthinking?

I’m not about to embark on building this yet, as I want to get the “as designed” setup working so I have a base to experiment with, and please note that I have ZERO machining experience, so I am posting this for DISCUSSION purposes - to toss around a few ideas.

WHY?
The Lowrider Plate was developed for the DeWalt, and the modifications to suit the Makita installation that I’ve seen to date are mostly adaptations of that, however the router is quite different in detail, and I have a few thoughts about how the separation of vacuum and cooling air can be improved.

I actually love the way @vicious1 has designed the vac parts - every bit about them is neat from an industrial design point of view, but I am not sure that the dust collection and mount has been developed quite as far as the other components. “Not sure” means exactly that. I have a lot of experience installing and using dust collection around may place and the only real worry I have with the LR2 is how much dust it’s going to create, and how little control I’m going to have over that.

As a bonus, with no experience tramming router mounts, but a lot of experience levelling tripods, I KNOW that three feet are better than four for that job, so levelling the new base should be a doddle.

Oh, and after Dan’s @SupraGuy comments the router body mounts so that the collet is always just above the base plate - maximising working depth of the bit. Just drop it down onto the lip and it should be simply and repeatably at the same level every time.

This design is a very rough preliminary sketch, without regard to structure and so on - but I am fairly sure I can make it work - I’d like to develop the levelling base a bit further too so that it can be levelled using three screws from above.

Ahh… yes… the bid square knob on the top of the router is missing, so the router is a few inches shorter than reality.

Here we go:-

This is inspired by a couple of MPCNC solutions I’ve seen; hopefully by moving the vacuum attachment closer and avoiding that narrow dog-leg under the tube, we’ll end up with more suck! The vacuum connection and “back half” of the mount are one piece and will print without support. The "front half will also print upright and the little mounting piece (blue) won’t be a problem either. The two halves will be bolted - permanently on one side - knurled knob on the other or a quick release.

The section attempts to show the separation of air flow, and as a bonus the exhaust cooling air will be directed towards the x stepper. New Base shows the simplicity of the connection.


So my question is: Should I develop this further, or will I be wasting my time?

I am genuinely happy to be shot down in flames here - and as I have said before feel a little awkward because I haven’t done any testing first, but it filled in a day that I would have been far better employed doing other things!

Cheers and thanks!

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I don’t think anyone here has enough expertise to shoot this down. You will have to give it a shot and do some tests.

Making the dust (making good parts) is 20x more important than dust collection. Adding dust collection has always been “opportunistic”.

If we can generally clear the chips and then collect more than half, it is worth doing. I think even the worst solutions end up in the 90% range (which still leaves a lot of dust). Getting into the 99%+ range is a lot harder. Much easier with an enclosure. Ultimately, I’m not really sure how to get there. The chips and dust come off the bit at a very high speed. I think you need something to stop them (like brushes) and then a lot of pressure to pick them back up.

Personally, I have been ok just getting it mostly clear and then cleaning up after every job. Your solution looks a lot like the one I first made for the low rider 1. But mine was only 1 1/4" big.

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I can say that the Makita mount for the LowRider with a shop vac sucking up the dust produces a LOT less dust than my Primo with no dust collection, even if I use the shop vac near the cutting bit.

To me the dust shoe on the LowRider is of good performance, though I do see that it clears the cut path less effectively than the Primo does with the exhaust from the motor cooling air being directed at the cutting bit.

This kind of dust collection is king of chasing diminishing returns. It is hoghly likely that in order to have more effective dust collection, what really matters is getting something that will move more air down that 1.25" hose. I would probably see more effective gains from replacing my 1.25 horsepower shop vac with a 2.5 hp shop vac and adding a separator, than I would from any possible redesign of the dust collection system at the tool mount.

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Thanks Jeff, Yes I think I’ve seen more pics of LowRiders working without vacuum attached than with! Sadly, that’s how most of us think, until the reality of allergies and illness happen. :wink: Without wanting to preach, your outlook changes when it happens to you!

The shopvac setup is notoirously poor at removing the fine dust which is the most dangerous, and yes I have an enclosure planned and a 6" outlet already plumbed nearby (that’s how serious I am about getting it going! :D)

I am guessing that since you imply you aren’t using it any more that it wasn’t as good as the stock setup?

I will do some serious comparision work when it’s setup - before I build the enclosure, but as with the rest of this project, there is no sense of urgency so please don’t stay home waiting for it! :smiley:

It’s also how many people think about things like finger guards and shop safety. I’ve seen my share of shop accidents, and that’s a life change that I don’t need to happen to me.

I have a big box fan and a rig that uses it to suck air through a large furnace filter. It’s not ideal, as the dust gets into the air first, but that’s why I wear a filter mask when I’m running the CNC. I started using that because the Primo puts chips and dust everywhere. The LR is orders of magnitude better with the as-designed dust collection.

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I suspect you are absolutely right there, and I should have made it clear that is what I’m chasing.

I’m not worried about wood chips and sawdust - I have a broom that takes care of that, but without turning this into a health whinge, find dust is a significant problem to me health-wise ( and on a serious note wood dust appears to be a cumulative poison in some - just like the sun).

I am going to guess that most of the people here are only casual woodworkers for whom a bit of mess is a short term is an easily solved problem, I would just ask with the benefit of hindsight that they consider at least wearing a good quality dust mask!

At the risk of sounding like a fanatic and note that even with this setup I wear a mask in my shed for an hour or two after making dust, and when I’,m cleaning up as well.- here’s the other end of my dust setup"

A pair of 10" centrifugal exhaust fans giving me around 30 air changes per hour.
A Jet room air filter (ceiling mounted)
A 2.5 HP dust extraction setup with the machine, colleciton and filter outside to minimise airborne dust at that point, and 6" ducting.
A 2 hp shopvac with cyclone separator and HEPA filter.

So it is those diminishing returns that I seek! :smiley:

I do have an enclosure design ready to go, (designed to be cut with the LR) but want to get the machine running first and then see how far I can push removing the dust at source.

That’s just what I do. I do still have my vac hose installed. I wear a mask usually and I prefer having the garage door open. I also don’t mill mdf (almost never). I don’t have many issues with it, but it is also not my day job.

I haven’t upgraded to the lr v2 yet. I may never if I wait another year or so, maybe a v3 will happen first.

Everyone needs to make their own decisions related to dust and their health. I did not mean to discount that. I also didn’t mean to make it sound like it isn’t worth while. The machine’s number one goal should be making parts (or else why have it? It would be a lot safer without it). But humans are worth a lot more than the machine. Obviously.

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I’m with you there, and am trying not to preach about this either, although sometimes it’s a pretty fine line I’m treading. There are plenty of other places where one can go for that.

At the same time I AM interested in quantifying the results - just because something looks like it should work doesn’t mean that it does.

It’s fascinating to me that for a very few dollars worth of filament I can draw something one day and be experimenting with it the next - what an amazing time it is to be alive.

Some day when I run out of projects I’ll bore your collective socks off with tables and graphs, or maybe I won’t! It would be nice to be in a position to make a positive contribution to V3, but that of course hinges on me getting V2 running! :smiley:

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I am going to follow this topic for sure. But I do wonder, would the printed part be strong enoug to hold the spindle safely? I mean, there is a reason the stock version is made out of metal?

If it is just the vacuum part you are looking after, maybe you should try to reprint and fit the original vacuum inlet from Makita/Katsu first? Jus to see if that makes any difference as that´s the original part.

The metal base does give it a bit of heft, and it’s designed to hang all manner of accessories off, but at the same time there is a plastic alternative available stock and just about every other trim router of this size has a clear plastic base, I guess it’s partly so that we’ll pay (in my case) $200.00 more than for the knock-off which would do almost the same job.

The base in the above design does need a bit of refinement structurally, but I I don’t have any doubt that it will be more than fine for the job.

Sadly for me, I have many other projects in line in front of this one, as well as a bit of travel that beckons, but I will post updates as the drawing is refined. I am particularly interested in the tramming adjustment problem - can I design a simple screw height adjuster that works reliably from above?

I’d love to see any suggestions.

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I had the same experience with my MPCNC with the Makita’s cooling fan blowing the dust around, I eventually made a baffle to deflect it which fitted in conjunction with the Dust extractor.

The deflector was not my design I hasten to add, was from Thingiverse , I only did the nozzle etc.

I for one would be interested to see some development in this area of the Lowrider as I agree, having made the base for the Makita I did have concerns. I have not fired my low rider up yet due to lack of space and opportunity. So many projects, so little time. :grinning:

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I truly understand - and it’s easier for me to continue with the theoretical development that to devote time to actually using the LR seriously at the moment.

The deflector you have used works in the same way as the one I am proposing and to my currently modified LR base, so that gives me hope!

It might be possible to deflect all or some of the cooling air stream onto the tip - a world of insane experimentation awaits!

If you missed it - here’s my current base:

true, but I imagine that a molded ABS is much stronger then a 3d printed one?

I think the best approach for this experiment is to make some different solutions, and do an exact test run for each of them. At the end of the job check tho amount dust collected…

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Dust collected is difficult without proper lab conditions - I have weighed dust and filters in the past, but to get accurate results you need a lot of it - just moving a HEPA filter is enough to lose some of the fine dust. BUT I will probably give it a go at some point.

I am more interested in the amount of free dust in the air - which I can measure crudely with a cheap particulate “air quality monitor” - it’s no scientific degree of accuracy, but it should at least enable “good, better, best” sort of ranking.

Luckily for me, my machine is a genuine luxury toy rather than a tool that’s critical to production - and until I get up to speed with it mucking around like this just adds to the joy of the build. If it turns out to be as indispensable as the 3d printer though - all bets are off!

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Love the experiments here! In terms of air quality measurements I’ve had great results with an IKEA air quality sensor and made this modification to it to send the current particle count reading to my Home Assistant. Now I can not only graph the air quality over time, but also can turn on/off my air filter automatically. It’s very sensitive and triggers within a minute of using my sander or router.

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That’s brilliant - I haven’t the faintest idea how to get data into a graphic form so I make do with hourly readings or three hourly ones or overnight ones depending on what I’m logging.

This is a bit like mine - well it looks exactly the same except that I’m fairly sure this one has some sort of PC interface and mine doesn’t, It’s “good enough” for our purposes I think, as is the Ikea one!

Right - we’re mostly interested in relative performance rather than absolute accuracy of measurements.

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just an fyi
I was doing a test cut this morning, and I noticed that roughly 60-70% of the dust goes in a certain direction. As I do not have a dust collection in place just yet it doesn´t matter.
But it does if you want to redesign the base. In that case you´d need to figure out where most dust particles fly to, and make sure the vacuum hose opening is connected there.

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There’s a bit of a challenge in that, that I am not up to taking on! The dust and chips are always going to be thrown off the cutting face, but the cutting face can be on any side of the bit if you think about it.

That means the pickup can at any given time be on the wrong or right side or somewhere in between. Stock router bases (which are designed for a different task) often have a little “keyhole” - the Makita does, to redirect air either into the above table vacuum or away from the work piece - they have the advantage that a router is (mostly) held in a particular position relative to the cut, ie with the cutout away from the user.

In my musings of late, I have been wondering if we can assist this by creating a small cone on the exhaust side which will catch some of the exhaust aimed at the cutter. There is a risk of course that this will simply help to create even more airborne dust.

I’ve also half completed the design of a new part to open up the “keyhole” on my base, which I have plugged in its current configuration.

All this is conjecture on my part - I simply won’t have time to cut anything until sime time in the new year, but please keep the ideas coming.

yes, that´s true. I had the same opinion although I really noticed that a larger part of dust went in 1 direction. Maybe it was just luck. Time will tell when I do some more milling.

thumbs up!

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