Some help with routers - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 Old 06-29-2008, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Some help with routers

Hi guys, I'm new here. I joined mainly to get some input on this scenario:

I have an assortment of some rather large router bits (1.5" radius round-overs, and so forth). In my shop, I have several of the Chicago Electric 1-3/4 HP Plunge Routers from Harbor Freight, one of which I had to modify the base on just so a router bit with a large diameter of three or so inches could clear the opening.

The problem begins when I load the bit into the router and attempt to spin it up. The amount of vibration is downright alarming; I'm not even comfortable letting it spin all the way up, let alone apply the bit to a length of wood. It feels as if, at any moment, the centrifugal force could bend the shaft of the bit outward, snap it, and launch it at something (or someone).

The first part of the question I can answer for myself: No - this clearly isn't the right way to go about the matter. The second part is this: What's a good solid router that can safely take a very large bit without leaving the operator fearing for his life?
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post #2 of 18 Old 06-29-2008, 01:16 PM
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Welcome HB! I'd watch it...any router with that much vibration shouldn't be used...sounds potentially dangerous. Some HF tools are fine, but I've heard one too many stories about those routers to ever consider buying one. Might be good for parts!

There are tons of good quality routers from Milwaukee, Makita, PC, DW, Bosch, Freud, Triton, Hitachi, Ridgid, and even some from Craftsman. Find one that has the features you like, feels good in your hands, and is priced right. The larger routers typically cost more, but sale prices can really cut costs. Hopefully most of your bits have 1/2" shank....either way, I'd get a router that can accommodate both sizes, then buy 1/2" bits whenever feasible. If you'll be spinning alot of large diameter bits, you'll likely want a good size router that's mounted in a router table. My MW5625 and Freud FT1700 are both terrific in the table.

One of the hotter deals going on routers right now is from ReconditionedSales.com on the Hitachi M12VC...$59 plus s/h. I bought one for hand use and find to it be quiet, smooth, powerful, and comfortable for that application, but note that the Hitachi recon only comes with a 1/4" collet....although there is a 1/2" collet available for ~ $10 or so. It replaced an excellent Bosch 1617...it's smaller size is more condusive to what I wanted to do.

Last edited by knotscott; 06-29-2008 at 01:20 PM.
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post #3 of 18 Old 06-29-2008, 01:45 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the welcome!

And - yeah, it was essentially the vibration that tipped me off to the notion that I'm probably going to be looking at a different router for this. I love Harbor Freight but, you're right, their routers are not for the professional. The funny thing is that once I drop down to something like a 1" radius round-over bit, the router is perfectly stable. I guess that extra half inch is the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.

I might head down to Lowe's or Home Depot today and, as you suggested, put my hands on some of the routers they've got down there on display. I've got several routers in my shop already set up with 1/4" collets and they seem to do quite well with the smaller bits so I'll just leave 'em to that. This new router is going to be my "strictly big bit" router, accepting 1/2" shank bits. Among other things, I'll be on the lookout for one with a large enough opening at the base to allow for these large diameter pieces to clear. It might just have to be a fixed base router as opposed to a plunge. Perhaps something like this guy here:

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...0LR&lpage=none

If I can remove that bottom black plastic base plate...
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post #4 of 18 Old 06-29-2008, 02:04 PM
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Hay, Hexibase... I`m not familiar with HF but!!! if you are going to use pannel raising bits or large diameter bits... you need to check into a variable speed controll box!!! Plug it into an outlet and then plug the router into the box...the only way to go with larger bits!! You`ll find that the larger bits cut better and safer at slower speeds! I did the same thing...scared the ----out of me!!!! If the bit had wings...it would have gone through the ceiling...no doubt!! I`ve got a box...I think it cost about $30.00. Be safe! Rick

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post #5 of 18 Old 06-29-2008, 02:13 PM
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I use a bosch with the micro adj. debth...make a stationary 1/4" base...screw from the top into the mounting holes inplace of the factory base.

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post #6 of 18 Old 06-29-2008, 03:27 PM
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A couple of things to check that may attribute to the wobble problem. Make sure the bit is not bottomed out in the collet. Push it in and then back it up maybe 1/8". Next make sure it is in straight and not cocked. Make sure when you're doing this stuff that the router isn't plugged in.
You might just physically look at the bit and shank and see if there is any visible deflection that could cause the wobble. It's possible that it may look straight, but not really.






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post #7 of 18 Old 06-29-2008, 04:25 PM
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I also wonder how good your bits are.
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post #8 of 18 Old 06-29-2008, 05:37 PM
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router vibes

Hexi,
If you are going to be using the large diameter raised panel bits, check into a larger router, 3hp or greater. Also I would highly recommend using it in a decent table. The larger routers usually have a variable speed, soft start, and a large opening in the base which you can get different inserts with different size openings in them. You can also get blank inserts to drill your own holes in. I have a 3 1/2 hp Milwaukee fixex base that I use in a table. It it very easy to change bits in and also comes with a t-wrench to adjust the height from up above. I also have a dewalt 3 hp plunge router. It is good for freehand work. I don't recommend a plunge router for table use. It's a pain to change height settings with the plunge feature while it is upside down in the table. So it really boils down to what you are going to use it for. Buy something good, HF is good for throwaway tools and bungee cords. As far as anything you expect precision work out of, forget it. I know someone will write back and talk about how good their hf whatever worked, but more often than not they sell cheap junk. Just my .02, hope it helps.
Mike Hawkins
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post #9 of 18 Old 06-29-2008, 06:16 PM Thread Starter
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Wow. I appreciate all the input. The variable speed box is definitely a noteworthy idea; At 20-some thousand RPM, that thing seemed completely out of control. Woodchuck1957, I get most of my bits from MLCS (http://mlcswoodworking.com/). The "big bit" in question here is the 1-1/2" round-over bit found toward the bottom of this page:

http://mlcswoodworking.com/shopsite_...ound_over.html

I doubt they're the best bits money can but but large round-overs are kind of hard to come by. firehawkmph, my thoughts parallel your advise; in order to keep a big chunk of metal like this stable, aside from lower RPMs, I'm probably gonna need a big, heavy table-mounted router. And if the base comes ready with an opening large enough to accept these boat propeller-size bits - that's all the better.
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post #10 of 18 Old 07-01-2008, 12:11 AM
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OK... the newer routers have a built-in speed adj. I first came across this problem 15 years or more ago. I went out and bought a 15 amp RSC Box 4053 Rydal 19046. And it is true...a pannel raising bit mounted in a router...(best mounted in a table) will cut much better at less than top speed!! The box is rated...universal (AC/DC) series DC motors up to 15 amps.

Never... I mean always... never mind Rick
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post #11 of 18 Old 07-01-2008, 12:32 AM
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Mike, you`ve got some nice routers... I still have two old Stanley`s that still hum! Bosch bought-out Stanley way back. I have a total of seven routers...no I mean 8 counting one old Craftsman. I like the PC Anniversary (dome top) 7/8ths hp...I keep it in a plunge base for inlay work. Love my routers!

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post #12 of 18 Old 07-02-2008, 07:13 PM
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IT's been interesting to read a few threads and trying to figure out what I want to buy. I have my choices narrowed down to two kits.

The Bosch 1617EVSPK or the Milwaukee5615-24

I've found both for pretty competitive prices on line (Bosch a little cheaper) but both seem to have really good reviews and I went to check them out at Lowes. Hopefully I will be shopping victoriously in the next couple of day. I love Ebay and Craigslist.

Do you guys have any preferences over either one of this kits?

Build something like you mean it.
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post #13 of 18 Old 07-02-2008, 09:15 PM
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I have not used the 3 HP routers...but then I like the ones I can hold in one hand...If I needed a shaper...I`d build one!!

Never... I mean always... never mind Rick
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post #14 of 18 Old 07-02-2008, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ecologito View Post
IT's been interesting to read a few threads and trying to figure out what I want to buy. I have my choices narrowed down to two kits.

The Bosch 1617EVSPK or the Milwaukee5615-24

I've found both for pretty competitive prices on line (Bosch a little cheaper) but both seem to have really good reviews and I went to check them out at Lowes. Hopefully I will be shopping victoriously in the next couple of day. I love Ebay and Craigslist.

Do you guys have any preferences over either one of this kits?
Having owned a 1617 and 5615, I'd go with the MW. The Bosch is nice, but the MW is a tank, and the BodyGrip is really slick...MW's plunger is really nice too. No question in my mind...
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post #15 of 18 Old 08-07-2008, 03:48 PM
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I realize I'm late in the game on this thread, but, I'm also in the market for a new router. I've had a Craftsman for the past 25 years and think it's time for something new. I was ready to go for the Bosch 1617, but since reading this thread, will look into the MW. But, isn't the MW for 1/4" bits only? And isn't it 1 3/4 HP vs 2 1/4 HP for the Bosch?

Also, I no longer know who owns who, so who is making the better tools these days? It's become an incestuous business, and I haven't had time to learn who is partnered with whom.

Thanks!
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post #16 of 18 Old 08-07-2008, 04:57 PM
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Hey, Sparky, if knotscott has owned both the Bosch and the Millwaukee (MW) and prefers the MW, you can trust his recommendation (although, I can't imagine the MW has only a 1/4" collet). I own a Bosch 1617 and really like it but I've never used the MW so I can't compare. The soft start and variable speed on the Bosch are really nice features; however, the aluminum or magnesium body on the motor tends to gall (can't think of a better word to describe how it becomes oxidized and rough) and gets stuck in the base. Although, a little WD40 and some steel wool every three or four months cleans it up nicely.
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post #17 of 18 Old 08-07-2008, 08:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
I realize I'm late in the game on this thread, but, I'm also in the market for a new router. I've had a Craftsman for the past 25 years and think it's time for something new. I was ready to go for the Bosch 1617, but since reading this thread, will look into the MW. But, isn't the MW for 1/4" bits only? And isn't it 1 3/4 HP vs 2 1/4 HP for the Bosch?

Also, I no longer know who owns who, so who is making the better tools these days? It's become an incestuous business, and I haven't had time to learn who is partnered with whom.

Thanks!

Sparky, I got me the Milwaukee 2 1/2 HP kit with plunged and fixed base. It has collets for 1/4 and 1/2 inch bits. I bought a table top and attached that to a work horse bench from HF. I have used it only a few times and I really like the way it feels and works.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...m=110265750169

Just my opinion but I am no professional by any means.
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post #18 of 18 Old 08-11-2008, 04:40 PM
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ecologito, I went ahead and bought the MW - it should be delivered tomorrow

I see you have yours on a Rockler router table. I emailed Rockler to see if they had a 1/4" plate to fit the MW, and they say they don't. Did you get the blank plate and drill it out? Or is there something else I need to know?

Thanks!

Sparky
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