NextWave Automation has paired a fence and router lift to create the Ready2Rout joinery system, which makes setting up a router table to cut blind and half-blind dovetails, box joints, dados and rabbets as easy a pressing a button.
Ready2Rout has four main components, starting with the router table fence and a color-screen control unit on a movable pendant that has built-in joinery settings. The control unit can also be programmed with up to 20 custom settings for frequent cuts using almost any type of router bit.
The router lift and a touch plate, used to precisely calibrate the zero settings for the fence and router bit, complete the system.
At first glance, Ready2Rout’s fence and lift look quite similar to what’s already in the market. But a carbon-fiber dust cover, protecting a worm-gear drive mechanism, gives a clue that there’s much more to this setup. There’s also a stepper motor on the back of the fence and two more attached to the lift, plus the control unit featuring a graphic user interface that any smartphone user will be familiar with.
The fence and lift, which goes by the name of Ready2Lift, are accessories designed to fit most commercial router tables. The Ready2Route fence has two attachment wings with enough slots to make change-out a breeze. The Ready2Lift is available with two 3/8”-thick aluminum plates. One is “regular-sized,” while the other is “Rockler-sized,” designed to fit the retailer’s router table offerings. The Ready2Lift will accept the Porter-Cable 7518 router out of the box. Adapters are available for the Porter-Cable 690 and 890, Bosch 1617 and 1618, and DeWalt 610.
I’m impressed with the operating manuals that come with both products. They feature color photographs that illustrate the step-by-step instructions, which appear to be written by an actual woodworker. The manuals are available online (nextwaveautomation.com) to get a thorough understanding of how the system works.
Once installed, the system is easy to set up. After setting the zero-height of the router bit relative to the router lift plate and the zero-location of the fence relative to the bit, the user simply enters the joinery selection, bit size, material size, depth of cut and cut location. The next step is to power up the router and monitor the cut.
For a small- to medium-sized shop, Ready2Rout offers the potential of a time saver and profit enhancer. It shortens setup time and can be operated by entry-level employees. In a large shop, it can be used for prototypes.
The Ready2Rout Complete Joinery System sells for about $1,000.
This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue.