Table design ideas

I’m getting ready to build my table and so I’m looking for design ideas. I have seem some stuff on drop tables, and torsion box tables, and even something on a table with a drop for doing box cuts? Though I can’t find that one again… I’m looking for ideas on table designs, their advantages and disadvantages. I am hoping to put an enclosure on it at some point (hopefully before next summer)

Thanks for the advice.

This is an MPCNC? I always liked the design of the woodworking for mere mortals Basic Mobile Workstation (BMW). Pretty much anything made from 2x4s with a nice mdf top will work fine though. Castors are a nice upgrade.

The drop table thing is really for doing special work like milling a design on the top of a stump. Or doing 3D printing on a milling machine. I wouldn’t put that in as a must have feature. Another feature I would like to see more of is a hole and a vertical wall to clamp pieces to work on the ends. I still want to remake my LR table and do that.


Yeah the vertical wall idea is great. Do you have any table designs that you can point me to that have that?

No. There was one here a few years ago that had a split down the middle and two big screws to open and close it to clamp a board. I have no idea what to even search for though.

Is it maybe finger joints you’re thinking of?

If so you could try searching that term.

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Finger joints are the same a box joints.

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That’s what I thought, just thought it might be a better search term to find the thread he’s looking for.

I haven’t found much for designs here on the forums, anybody got some good links? Also what are people’s thoughts on vacuumed tables and fold up tables and enclosures?

So much depends on your need for things like noise control, portability, dust control, etc. Personally, I think the following is one of the nicest builds I’ve seen: Adelaide South Australia

Wow that is impressive. My number 1 concern is safety (I have 2 small children) and number two would be dust controll. Noise isn’t a big concern for me but if I find it too loud I can always throw up some cork boards to dampen the sound. And I don’t plan on moving it, other than maybe if I get those first three things dialed in real well it may get disassembled and moved from my garage workshop to my basement workshop (just because I prefer AC and heat and my garage has neither)

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On with you on that! :grinning:

Right now my MPCNC is on a wheeled cart in a back room. I’d like to be able to take advantage of economical MDF, I’ve never worked with it but DUST! seems to be a common remark anytime I read about working with it. Before I even started I pretty much knew from other (non CNC) projects that I’d likely put it together, use it for a while, decide what I liked/didn’t like and then redo at least the top of the cart. At this point I’ve likely cut more foam than anything else as it’s great for trying things but I know an enclosure and better dust control are likely in my future. I’d guess with small children an enclosure might give you another layer of safety.

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Yeah there not allowed in the garage (for obvious reasons) so building the enclosure and dust control etc. Can come later. But I don’t want to have to build an entirely new table (rework the top is fine). And the big safety concerns are dust inhalation (studies show wood dust over long periods is really bad) and them sticking there little fingers where they don’t belong when I turn my back to grab a beer.

A cutout seems strait forward, though I would like my cutout to be fairly large… any tips on how to get it to align with the x direction of the cnc? Especially when I need to put a support at the edge of the opening for the vertical board?

Edit: I should note i have done plenty of woodworking but nothing needing this level of precision.

I have two small kids too. If either of them can figure out how to use my cnc, they are going to have lots to do.


Did you find the thread where someone was cutting finger joints with a board held vertically? I know I’ve seen it but can’t seem to find it now.

I’ve done things like finger joints on my little 8" table saw but sometimes setting something up on the CNC can be a challenge. But get it right once and it’s likely there to stay.

I still have lots to learn but a quick trip through the ‘Things You’ve Made’ section always tells me many things are possible. And I don’t give up easily. :grin:

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On my Low Rider, the “ground truth” edge is the front edge of my table. I try to start the machine as close to square as possible to that edge. If I were to make a vertical cutter, I would try to make it parallel to that edge. I worry more about keeping it vertical. But it does not have to be perfect. Since the work face is going to be so small (3/4"x6"?) It will be very hard for a small angle to end up being noticeable.

your right on the thickness, most will probably be 1/2" some 3/4" maybe the rare 1", but the length is where it gets tricky, i would like to have one up to 12" but truing that distance to the CNC shouldn’t be an issue in the Z axis. but in the Y axis is what i’m concerned about. maybe rather then pressing it against a solid fence, i should be looking at using something that i can adjust in the Y axis as well (either with like a threaded rod or shims)?

yes, the one i was thinking of was this thread: Primo signs, vcarving, games, and a new cnc design
is that the one you where thinking of?

my oldest is 2.5 years. he is always trying to grab things off of tables when i’m not looking. that is what scares me with the CNC.

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Any time I want something aligned with the CNC, I use the CNC in some way. For example, I use the CNC to bore holes for pegs to align stock. So if your bit/geometry is long enough, you could use the router to cut your slot. If your reach is not long enough you could mark your table/spoil board using a v-bit in the router or with a pen in a pen holder and then cut the slot with more traditional woodworking tools…

Since you are collecting ideas, I did two things in my table/enclosure build that I’m pleased with. I used a piece of angled aluminum and a table saw as a poor man’s jointer to level the crown side of all the lumber used as ‘joists’ under the top of my table. I find that MDF conforms to the surface below, so anything I can do to keep the surface flat is beneficial. Second I made the panels on the side of my enclosure removable. They are held in place by 3-D printed knobs with screws glued into them, so I can remove these panels without any tools. I did this to make it easy to have oversized stock hang outside the enclosure. I’ve not had any oversized stock to date, but I’ve removed these panels a number of times for a variety of other reasons.

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good thinking with the knobs, did you do a build post of your enclosure? i would love to see it. I did plan on trying to level all my wood the best i can. unfortunately i don’t have a table saw only my radial arm saw. and while i could rip the 2x4s i’m planning on using in the way you describe. i’m not sure its worth the risk (ripping on a RAS is about the most dangerous thing you can do with it). my thought for leveling is that i will build the table “close enough” to level, then use it to build a torsion table top so that i know everything is flat. though my father gave me a good idea the other day. if i want it really flat i should buy some granite counter top and use that XD seems a bit heavy to me, but i do wonder about using other counter tops to achieve a cheap super flat surface.

No build post on the enclosure. The only thing ‘special’ is the removable sides, otherwise it is just a wooden frame. As for other counter tops, I passed a stack of butcher block counter tops at Home Depot last week and though that would make a good flat surface. I was thinking more of a partial sheet LowRider than a MPCNC. Note that surfacing will make your spoil board flat even if your table is not perfectly flat…you just might have to cut away more material than you would like. I agree with you on not ripping with a radial arm saw. A radial arm saw is what I grew up with, and ripping always gave me the heebie jebbies. If you want to turn a small problem into a lot of work you can flatten the boards by hand like Rex Kruger describes.

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