Popular Woodworking 2005-04 № 147, страница 28

Popular Woodworking 2005-04 № 147, страница 28

Endurance Test

Bench Dog

ProLift AL

The manufacturer has improved some things we wanted changed on what is still a shop favorite.

More than two years ago we reviewed the Bench Dog ProLift AL and compared it to a Department of Defense project: built like a tank and priced in the same range. The router-lift category has matured since then and many newer lifts have also taken on NASAlike pricing proportions - astronomical.

We decided it was time to take a look at our ProLift and see how it was holding up. The answer is very well, thank you.

In 2002 we were pleased with the stability and support offered by the solid, machined-aluminum motor bracket and steel columns. The lift still offers rock-solid support to the motor base with no perceptible loosening of the motor bracket. The bracket incorporates cooling fins to help pull damaging heat away from the router motor - also a nice feature. The bronze nuts controlling the up-and-down action are tension pre-loaded to avoid backlash, improving accuracy during height setup. The movement of the mechanism has remained smooth and accurate.

We're also still very pleased with the lift's ability to raise the router's collet above the plane of the table to make bit changes simple without having to remove the router. The lifting mechanism operates via a 9/l6" nut (operated by a provided socket wrench) set below the table surface. A graduated collar integrated in the provided nut driver allows

ABOUT OUR ENDURANCE TESTS Every tool featured in our Endurance Test column has survived at least two years of heavy use in our shop here at Popular Woodworking.

precise height adjustment, referencing the eight threads-per-inch screw, with one-quarter turn equalling V32" adjustment. This feature also is still working smoothly.

Our one initial and continued irritant is the top plate. The reduction rings are held in the plate (all milled aluminum) with three hex-head screws. While this holds the ring tightly in place during operation, it's a pain to have to remove the screws every time we want to change bit sizes.

And while we're on the subject of reduction rings, the smallest (2" diameter) isn't small enough for safe operation with smaller diameter (straight or small profile) bits.

As we began this article we learned from Bench Dog that it was about to introduce an updated version of the ProLift AL called the MiniLift. The differences are listed below, and we're happy to say our two annoyances have


Bench Dog recently introduced the updated version of the ProLift AL, which has been designated the MiniLift. Priced at $225, the MiniLift not only is more affordable, but also offers upgrades we like.

The lift will still accommodate most 3V2 "diameter motors and the motor housing is cast aluminum, while the insert plate is a phenolic resin rather than aluminum and the reduction rings are now steel. It is no longer necessary to screw


Bench Dog ProLift

Original street price: $260

Plate: Aluminum with 2", 25/8" & 33/4" rings

Housing: Cast aluminum, 3V2"-dia. capacity

Vertical travel: 5V2"

What we like: Stable router support;

smooth, precise height adjustment; easy bit

change without removing router.

What we'd change: Need to screw down

reduction rings before operation; smaller

diameter (opening) reduction ring.

For more information: Contact Bench Dog

at 800-786-8902 or benchdog.com

been addressed successfully - and they've lowered the price. The ProLift (now MiniLift) is still a winner in our shop, and thanks, Bench Dog, for the improvements! PW

— David Thiel

down the reduction ring (yeah!), except in operations using the starting pin. And Bench Dog now offers a zero-clearance insert that will allow near-perfect fits for any smaller-diameter bits. The only problem is that this accessory is priced at $18.99, which seems a bit steep. Otherwise, Bench Dog has improved a good product and made it more affordable. And it's still made in the United States.


Popular Woodworking April 2005

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