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post #1 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 11:46 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm in the market for a router (fixed base + plunge). I'm curious what people are using and what they think of it. I've used a family member's Porter Cable in the past and it seemed fine but I'm looking for more input since I've only used the one.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 02:20 PM
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For fixed base I use a low end PC with a 1/4" collet. Perfect for circle jigs, small roundovers etc.. There is no need for a giant router for these tasks.

For plunge I have an old Freud 3.25hp unit that gets the job done. I bought a new base for it because the stock one wasn't very good.

There is not much to a router.. if you stick with a name brand you will probably make out fine. The nicest plunge router I have seen is the Triton.. i have one, but use it in my router table. You will pay for it, though.

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post #3 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Tim View Post

For fixed base I use a low end PC with a 1/4" collet. Perfect for circle jigs, small roundovers etc.. There is no need for a giant router for these tasks.
For plunge I have an old Freud 3.25hp unit that gets the job done. I bought a new base for it because the stock one wasn't very good.
There is not much to a router.. if you stick with a name brand you will probably make out fine. The nicest plunge router I have seen is the Triton.. i have one, but use it in my router table. You will pay for it, though.
You don't use a plunge router with your circle jig? I've always used a plunge router since it's necessary to make several shallow passes and the plunge makes it easy.
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post #4 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 02:45 PM
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Bosch 1617 fixed/plunge combo here and LOVE it. I only use 1/2 collet bits with it. I also have the straight edge guide and circle jig that goes with it. Just started using the jig and super easy to use.

The bosch bits are great too, but pricey. I've been using a cheap MLCS bit set I picked up off amazon and it's been great. 15 of the popular 1/2 bits for 39.99!


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post #5 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 02:53 PM
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Since a lot of DIY projects use MDF I feel integrated dust collection is a must. The 2 I use for my 2 circle jigs are Dewalt which is this: http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW618PK-Plunge--Fixed-Base-Variable-Speed/dp/B00006JKXE/ref=sr_1_3?s=power-hand-tools&ie=UTF8&qid=1352587157&sr=1-3 and I also have one of these: http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW621-2-Horsepower-Plunge-Router/dp/B00005S7TD/ref=sr_1_22?s=power-hand-tools&ie=UTF8&qid=1352587157&sr=1-22

I used to have a Porter cable as well but got rid of it after I got the Dewalt as I can now make cut-outs in MDF and not get coated in dust. I have heard they have new Porter Cable models with integrated dust collection and I know there are a couple of other brands as well. I do have 2 other routers, 1 is the Freud 3.25hp which spends most of it's time in my router table and the other is a Hitachi kit with plunge and fixed bases which is a really nice kit but doesn't get much use anymore.

Trust me, get some form of dust collection. Also make sure you get proper respirator as MDF dust is nasty stuff.

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post #6 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post

You don't use a plunge router with your circle jig? I've always used a plunge router since it's necessary to make several shallow passes and the plunge makes it easy.

No, never found it necessary with such a small bit. I can turn the router on then just adjust the motor down (ie rotate the motor inside the base clockwise to lower, counterclockwise to raise).

Definitely plunge for larger bits and where you need to repeat the depth.

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post #7 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 03:36 PM
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Bosch 1617 fixed/plunge combo...


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post #8 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjaudio View Post

Since a lot of DIY projects use MDF I feel integrated dust collection is a must. The 2 I use for my 2 circle jigs are Dewalt which is this: http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW618PK-Plunge--Fixed-Base-Variable-Speed/dp/B00006JKXE/ref=sr_1_3?s=power-hand-tools&ie=UTF8&qid=1352587157&sr=1-3 and I also have one of these: http://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DW621-2-Horsepower-Plunge-Router/dp/B00005S7TD/ref=sr_1_22?s=power-hand-tools&ie=UTF8&qid=1352587157&sr=1-22
I used to have a Porter cable as well but got rid of it after I got the Dewalt as I can now make cut-outs in MDF and not get coated in dust. I have heard they have new Porter Cable models with integrated dust collection and I know there are a couple of other brands as well. I do have 2 other routers, 1 is the Freud 3.25hp which spends most of it's time in my router table and the other is a Hitachi kit with plunge and fixed bases which is a really nice kit but doesn't get much use anymore.
Trust me, get some form of dust collection. Also make sure you get proper respirator as MDF dust is nasty stuff.
The Dewalt DW618PK looks real nice. What do you do for dust collection when using the fixed base though?
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post #9 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 04:39 PM
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I have a dust collection kit from my old Porter Cable router that fits the Dewalt but I have only used the fixed base a couple of times. Integrated dust collection on the plunge base really is worth it's weight in gold when using a circle jig like the Jasper.The dust collection base that I had for my Porter Cable was not compatible with the Jasper Jig so having it integrated into the plunge base on the Dewalt was huge for me.

I would also suggest a cyclone dust separator as MDF dust clogs shop vacs filter very quickly. I use the Dust Deputy Cyclone but Rockler now carries these which look pretty good: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=31104&site=ROCKLER

Using my Dust Deputy I have probably only cleaned the filter on my shop vac 2 times in over 2 years and I don't lose suction which is the problem with MDF dust when it clogs the filter.

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post #10 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 08:32 PM
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mjaudio, I agree 100% about the Dust Deputy. It really is a great product.

For what it's worth, the dust separator from Rockler isn't very good. I bought one before the Dust Deputy and there isn't as much of a comparison as you would hope for. I'd rank the Dust Deputy at a 10, but the one from Rockler would get a 5 or a 6. I bought the one from Rockler because I wanted to try one 'that day'. But I knew PassingInterest used the DD. I should have waited.

It does take out a decent amount of the larger particles, but the light dust just gets sucked right into the vac. I had to clean my hepa filter out almost every time I dumped the blue bucket. But the Deputy was a huge surprise and after a good 10-15 times more fill ups, there's still no need to clean the vac filter.


By the way, the directions on the small Dust Deputy say to keep the dust deposit container under 10 gallons. But you don't need to follow that at all. I first put it on a 5 gallon bucket and it worked good. But later wanted to try something bigger. So believe it or not I mounted that small Dust Deputy on the top of a 55 gallon plastic drum I got off Craiglist for $15. Works like a champ. I have a 5 or 6hp Rigid shop vac, and have zero issues with the 55 gallon barrel.


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post #11 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Those dust collection systems look interesting. However, I don't think I'll be doing enough DIY projects with a router or other things that need dust removal to need one.
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post #12 of 43 Old 11-10-2012, 08:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post

I'm in the market for a router (fixed base + plunge). I'm curious what people are using and what they think of it. I've used a family member's Porter Cable in the past and it seemed fine but I'm looking for more input since I've only used the one.
Thanks!

I made the mistake of buying a Porter Cable 890 series fixed/plunge base combination after my 690 series plunger got stolen. There's a lot more slop in the plunge mechanism and the tolerances on the sub-base mounting screws are a lot sloppier (PC switched to counter-bored screw holes instead of counter sinks to make that work).

PC quality went _way_ down hill after the 2005 acquisition.

Next time I'll buy a Bosch (DeWalt also merged with Black and Decker).
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post #13 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 06:01 AM
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In the past I used a mediocre Craftsman which worked alright at the time until I upgraded to the Bosch 1617 last year. The Bosch is so much smoother and more powerful.
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post #14 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 09:11 AM
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I have a few routers, but I use the Bosch as my work horse. I've used the 1617 kit for years and its always been up to the task. After very heavy use for several years the motor switch went out on me which cost about $20 to replace. Other than the switch its been flawless.

I also have the small Bosch colt and the small Dewalt for detail work and small tasks. In the small router category the Dewalt kills the Bosch.
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post #15 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 09:59 AM
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post #16 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 10:09 AM
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post #17 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 10:54 AM
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mjaudio, I agree 100% about the Dust Deputy. It really is a great product.
For what it's worth, the dust separator from Rockler isn't very good. I bought one before the Dust Deputy and there isn't as much of a comparison as you would hope for. I'd rank the Dust Deputy at a 10, but the one from Rockler would get a 5 or a 6. I bought the one from Rockler because I wanted to try one 'that day'. But I knew PassingInterest used the DD. I should have waited.
It does take out a decent amount of the larger particles, but the light dust just gets sucked right into the vac. I had to clean my hepa filter out almost every time I dumped the blue bucket. But the Deputy was a huge surprise and after a good 10-15 times more fill ups, there's still no need to clean the vac filter.
By the way, the directions on the small Dust Deputy say to keep the dust deposit container under 10 gallons. But you don't need to follow that at all. I first put it on a 5 gallon bucket and it worked good. But later wanted to try something bigger. So believe it or not I mounted that small Dust Deputy on the top of a 55 gallon plastic drum I got off Craiglist for $15. Works like a champ. I have a 5 or 6hp Rigid shop vac, and have zero issues with the 55 gallon barrel.

Great info on the difference between the Dust Deputy and the Dust Right at Rockler. The DD has been great to work with and even for a small amount of DIY tasks I still think it's worth it, I use it all the time around the garage. Thanks for the info, now I know to recommend the Dust Deputy from now on and forget about the other one.

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post #18 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 10:56 AM
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post #19 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 01:04 PM
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For table it is a portable Kreg with Freud FT3000. For handheld it is a Hitachi M12VC(plunge and fixed based) and two junk Craftsmen fixed based that I don't use too much. There is a world of difference just $70 up the router food chain.

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post #20 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Gorilla83 View Post

Bosch 1617 fixed/plunge combo here and LOVE it. I only use 1/2 collet bits with it. I also have the straight edge guide and circle jig that goes with it. Just started using the jig and super easy to use.
+1
I recently bought mine from from CPO and used it for 5 dual opposed subs and my infinite baffle manifolds. I use a Freud spiral upcut bit for the circles and Grizzley 1/2" shank bits for roundover and pattern cut bits.
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post #21 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 04:03 PM
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post #22 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 04:25 PM
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I've been happy with my Bosch 1617EVSPK. It is my first router, but I haven't had any functional frustrations with it, and it seems nicely made, so that makes it better than many tools I have purchased. smile.gif I've used it a LOT for many different projects -- much more than I expected when I bought it -- so it is nice to have a router that I like using (and quality bits, too).

I haven't tried the Bosch circle cut jig, but the Jasper 200J jig works great with the 1617. I use the Whiteside RU4700 bit, which I like because it is a 1/4" bit with a 1/2" shank (so I don't have to change the collet when changing bits). I've never had to cut through anything deeper than 1", but the short 1" cutting length seems like the only potential downside to the RU4700.

Routers make a huge amount of dust. So for dust collection, I added a dust collection kit, with a Dust Deputy cyclone that I mounted to an old broken shop vac, and a powerful and relatively quiet shop vac (cheaper at local stores) that is automatically switched on when I turn on the router via a Craftsman AutoSwitch. The Dust Deputy makes a HUGE difference in how long the filter lasts in the vacuum. I highly recommend some kind of cyclone, even if you are just sucking up sawdust from the floor with your shop vac.

I was rounding over the edges on a project today (a pair of AutoTuba subs), so I snapped a pic of my router and dust collection setup:


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post #23 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Why the spiral upcut bit instead of a standard 1/4" straight double flute bit with a 1/2" shank?
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post #24 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
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Why the spiral upcut bit instead of a standard 1/4" straight double flute bit with a 1/2" shank?

The spiral upcut will cut smoother with less tearout overall. With that said, I cut 8 circles with a cheap 1/4" carbide bit today easily. If you're making a lot of cuts regularly or in hardwood go with the spiral bit for sure.


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post #25 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 05:01 PM
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I got the spiral upcut because that's what someone recommended on here when I was setting up my shop. smile.gif I think the disadvantage of the upcut vs. a straight cut bit is that the top edge of the hole ends up less sharp (but not significantly so). The upcut advantage is that the chips are ejected from the groove, which means you never have to clean the groove for subsequent cuts (though I'm not sure you'd have to with a straight cut anyway). I've definitely read that both upcut and straight cut bits can be used to plunge cut driver holes.

From a practical standpoint, the cutting length is shorter (3/4" vs 1") on the Whiteside 1/4" straight cut with 1/2" shank, and I couldn't find a Freud bit of that type:
http://www.amazon.com/Diameter-Cutting-Length-2-3-Overall/dp/B000K2EB2Q

(However, there are plenty of long 1/4" straight cut bits with 1/4" shanks.)

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post #26 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 08:27 PM - Thread Starter
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So, looks like I should get the Bosch + dust collection. I had been thinking the DW618PK with its integrated dust collection, but I read some firsthand reports of people having the motor die. The biggest problem with Bosch seems to be a bad switch design.
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post #27 of 43 Old 11-11-2012, 09:01 PM
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I am a big fan of Bosch tools so I don't think you can go wrong there. I actually bought both my Dewalt plunge routers used and they have both chopped up a lot of wood and there both going strong. That said I would probably go with Bosch if you are planning on adding the dust collection, I have never had a bad Bosch tool.

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post #28 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 05:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stereodude View Post

So, looks like I should get the Bosch + dust collection. I had been thinking the DW618PK with its integrated dust collection, but I read some firsthand reports of people having the motor die. The biggest problem with Bosch seems to be a bad switch design.

X2 on not being able to go wrong with the Bosch combo. It's very popular over at router forums as well. I especially like the slow start and adjustable speed features - it makes things super smooth overall. There are also quite a few accessories available for it too - I own the Bosch1181 table which is really nice too.


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post #29 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 08:21 AM - Thread Starter
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The "Save $25.00 when you spend $100.00 or more on Select Bosch Tools" promotion at Amazon pushed me over the edge. I went with the 1617EVSPK.

Thanks for the help in liquidating my bank account. biggrin.gif
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post #30 of 43 Old 11-12-2012, 10:32 AM
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