Newbie questions about router

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1. It seems a plunge router can do everything a fixed base router can do. Then why people need fixed base router?
2. What's the advantage of variable speed router? Do most routers have variable speed?
3. Any comments about DeWalt DW616?
Thanks!
-H
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henry snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Henry Leigh) writes:

Advantages of fixed: handles lower, more accuracy.

Larger routers do, smaller ones usually don't. You can buy one for $20, it's handy when you want to avoid burning when you need to go slowly. For larger routers, it's required for larger bits, which are unsafe at higher RPMs.
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Henry Leigh wrote:

My first "real" router was a plunge but for me it was a case of finding some good used fixed bases for reasonable prices. Can't pass up a deal. My "final" fixed base buy was a new machine. I bought the big silver and black one for my anodized aluminum (aluminium David) router lift.

Big bits = slower speed. Small bits = faster speed.

It's yellow and it makes the bit go 'round. There are others that are red, silver, gray (grey David), blue and green. Try and stay in that/those color (colour David) range(s) and you'll more than likely be good. Never buy a brown router.
UA100
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On 4 Nov 2004 21:14:12 -0800, henry snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Henry Leigh) wrote:

They don't - fixed base are unknown in Europe.
I imagine that history is the explanation. The first routers were fixed and appeared in America. By the time routers came to Europe, they'd become plungeable. Each side stuck with what was familiar.
Fixed base have a minor advantage of stability, and the "breaking in two" design makes bit changing easier. Really though there are three sorts of router; fixed base, plunge, and plunge with a good screwed depth adjuster (most better plungers). A "free plunge" is indeed an awkward beast to use. Getting a good plunge router with a screw to control depth though gives you all the advantages of plunging, but nearly all the benefits of a fixed base too.
I wouldn't buy a plunging router that didn't have a real depth adjuster (like my Freud 2000). The old Elu / Trend adjuster is _not_ a credible alternative.

I'd regard this as essential for any new router, and there are very few that don't have it. If you want to use a larger bit, then it's essential.
For cut quality and avoiding burning you don't care too much about the rotational speed, it's the linear edge speed that matters. Simple geometry shows that this increases with both rotation speed and diameter, so slow down those big bits.
There's also a stability issue that goes up with the _square_ of the size of the bits. Personally I just don't use big bits freehand, I run them in the table.
Some variable speed controllers also have a "soft start" that's a useful way to avoid jerking on first switching on. It can improve the accuracy (or the "Oops!" rate) of your work.
There are two sorts of useful router out there - cheap ones and good ones. Good ones turn out to be most useful mounted in a table. If you have the money, buy a good router and get something that works well in a table mount. If you don't, don't be afraid to buy a cheap router. There are some usable cheap routers about, and a small lightweight router is still useful, even when you've bought a bigger one in the future.
--
Smert' spamionam

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If you don't, don't be afraid to buy a cheap router.

Most of this discussion is about a single router. Eventually plan on owning more than one. Not that a big plunge router can't do it all (I have one of those). But I, personally, have no desire to freehand that much power and weight (9 lbs, 12 amps, and 20,000 rpm). It just makes me nervous and I don't think I'm a safety zealot. The big boy stays mounted in a table.
I have a little fixed base trim router for hand work (laminate trimming, small profiles and hinge mortising).
Smaller may mean less power, but it's alot more comfortable to use.
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On Fri, 5 Nov 2004 09:45:33 -0500, "Stephen M"

I've been looking for a router, since mine never leaves the router table... I notice that the sales trend now is for the basic router to come with both fixed and plunge base... interesting...
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On Fri, 05 Nov 2004 00:14:12 -0500, Henry Leigh wrote:

I just purchased a used DW616PK (fixed + plunge kit) a few weeks ago, and have used it with the plunge base a few times. It is my first router, and I find it to be solid. It has plenty of power to easily cut the cherry I'm currently working with. The depth adjustment is easy to use, and accurate enough my my needs (I don't know how it compares to other routers). Changing from the fixed to the plunge base is also trivial - it takes less than a minute. I may be mistaken on this, but I think that the bases are exactly the same for the 616 and the 618. The 618 is a beefed up version of the 616 (1/2 more horsepower) and has variable speed. The 618 is not very much more expensive than the 616, but it did put it out of my budget. I've read that 3rd party variable speed power adapters are available for pretty cheap, and will probably go that route if in the future I need to slow things down.
The PC equivalent of the DW616/DW618 are also supposed to be very good. I'm pleased with my purchase of the dewalt though.
Chad
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Fixed base can be lighter, cheaper, smaller, and the bit shouldn't get out of alignment with the base as can happen with a plunge type.
Variable speed is for slowing down the bit to a safe speed (larger bits).
David
Henry Leigh wrote:

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On 4 Nov 2004 21:14:12 -0800, henry snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Henry Leigh) wrote:

I had a job a few years ago making formica countertops- the fixed base router was great for trimming the edges flush, and didn't require messing around with a plunging system. It all just depends on what you're using the tool for.

Mine doesn't, but would imagine that a lower speed might reduce burning in some woods.

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henry snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (Henry Leigh) wrote in message

I have to dual base porter cable. The fixed base makes for a lighter router. Also, When using dovetail bits with a collar (leigh d4) hitting the release lever on a plunge base would be bad. I think the D handles probably offer better control also.

In router tables, it's nice to be able to slow down the router on things like raised panel sets.

No experience, sorry. I like the porter cable very much though.
brian
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To expand on what someone else wrote, the larger the diameter bit, the faster the cutting edge is moving at the same RPM as a smaller bit. So to get the effective speed the same, you slow the RPMs down with the larger bit.
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Most important to me, the new electronic feedback types have that soft start!

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Henry Leigh wrote:

Do not even think about it -- if you want to stick with DeWalt (which is not an unsound policy for routers), do go with the 618 -- DW618PK, I believe is the kit that comes with fixed base + plunge base.
Variable-speed often (always?) goes hand-in-hand with soft-start, which is, IMHO, an extremely important and MUST-HAVE feature; basically, the router increases the speed continuously from 0 to whatever setting -- that avoids a strong kick when the router is starting, which makes it tougher to handle for you (which in turn means more dangerous), and it implies increased fatigue for the mechanical parts (which leads to lower lifetime of the tool).
I have a Bosch with about the same features as the DeWalt 618PK (617EVSPK, I think), and would never give it up for a fixed-speed router.
HTH,
Carlos --
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On Fri, 05 Nov 2004 19:11:24 -0500, Carlos Moreno
What's wrong with the 616 ?
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Andy Dingley wrote:

It's a toy -- a good toy, but a toy. Having the option of the 618 for not a lot more money (I think the 618 was selling for $220, and the 616 for 180 or 190), it seems IMHO ridiculous to get a router with no servo-controlled variable speed and soft-start.
At least that's my point of view.
Carlos --
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Some data on 616/618 at the http://www.patwarner.com/dw618pk.html link. *******************************

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Henry Leigh wrote:

Personal preference; fixed basers tend to be a bit lighter. The brute 3+ hp fixed basers are best for the routah table (tho I converted my Hitachi M12V from a plunge to a fixed for my router table).

Speaking for myself, I need the variable speed for various bits (i.e., the large bits for cabinet work require slow speeds); also, I find if using slower speeds with small bits tend to put burn marks on some types of woods (probably my technique).

Never tried it but not a big fan of DeWalt tools. I prefer Milwaukee & Porter Cable tools. I love my Hitachi M12V routers for both hand and table routing. I have been drooling over Milwaukee's new 3-1/2 horser but neither of my M12V's will die (SWMBO says no Milwaukee til a Hitachi goes to the tool junk yard).
Of course Porter Cable is the crown champion of routers - the 7518 is a favorite among many router table users, but they are pricey.
Good luck and ensure you wear goggles & a good quality leather apron. Don't forget to unplug your router EACH TIME you change bits...you were born with 10 fingers and ya want to keep 'em! Like saws, these can be VERY dangerous machines, so keep your radar up at all times when your router is plugged in!
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Some advice on router bits:
By *only* what you need and buy best quality bits you can afford - like Whiteside (USA made and in my opinion are the best bits made), Amana, or Freud.
Avoid purchasing asian bits or HSS (high speed steel) bits.
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If you follow this philosophy, be prepared to compromise your design to use what's on hand or wait a week or more for _the_ bit you need.

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Depends on what you're making/doing with the bit. I've kept around a number of HSS rabbeting bits which I grind to suit myself for flutes and such. I couldn't as readily do this with carbide and if the run is not too great or the amound removed too great, they'll outlast me.
bob g.
George wrote:

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