I bought this bench for my new workshop:
I wanted to replace the chipboard top it came with, with an MDF top drilled to match the MFTs. I had hoped to get a previous employer to make the top for me on his CNC router, but unfortunately this wasn't possible. I decided that getting a 20mm drill bit and marking out & drilling them all by hand was too much work, so I hit upon an idea to make it quicker and easier....
First job was to cut a piece of 18mm MDF to size:
Once cut, this was placed on the bench to check it against the original chipboard top:
I already had half of a top from an MFT1080 left from a previous project, so I decided to use this as a template. For this I would need a template-following router bit, and this one from CMT seemed the best option:
Because the bit is quite short, and would have to reach through 36mm of MDF, I had to fit it into the router with a much larger projection than I would have normally done, but there was still 3/4" of shank in the chuck so I was happy with that:
Having measured up the top, I decided to start in the centre & work outwards. I marked my starting point, and clamped the MFT template in place:
To avoid cutting into the template, I needed to start the cut with the router plunged until the bearing was inside the template. Then, once running, it was a case of running the bearing around the edge of the hole, plunging as I went in a helical path.
On cutting the 3rd hole, I realised that, despite the clamps, the template had moved slightly resulting in an elongated hole! So from then on, I screwed the template down. After a while, it became quite quick to cut the holes:
Once the first lot of holes were done, I moved the template down, lining up 2 rows of holes in the template with 2 rows cut in the new top. I didn't have any 20mm pegs available to lock them together, so had to align them by feel alone. I then clamped (and screwed!) them together, before cutting more holes:
I then moved the template to the other side, and did the remaining holes. Here's me cutting the last one, and removing the template:
All that was left to do was ease the edges of the MDF, and that was it! And lastly, a picture of the finished bench, with a little extra just for Fred West: