When I built my router table last year, I decided to buy a router with
built-in above-the-table height adjustment (Freud FT1700). My
reasoning was that it was less expensive than buying a router and lift
separately, and would be just as good. My experience has been
dissapointing. When I first used it, I found that the router spindle
would move horizontally when reversing the direction of height
adjustment. This was remedied by always adjusting height from the same
direction - a pain, but acceptable. I also found that the height
adjustment socket built into the router base was blind, which allowed
it to fill up with dust quickly, rendering it useless without blowing
out the dust. Then, the spindle lock stopped working, making bit
changes difficult. Last week, the above-table height adjustment
stopped working altogether. I disassembled the router, only to find
that the internal parts of the height adjustment are plastic, and that
one of them stripped out. So now I have to adjust the height from
under the table. Yesterday afternoon, the motor died, so I'm in the
market for a replacement (and I'll never buy another Freud power tool).
I've been comparing various router lifts, and considering buying a PC
7518. However, I am once-again tempted by the Milwaukee router with
built-in height adjustment. After reading reviews on Amazon, I see
that a couple of users have had problems with the height adjustment
stripping, just like on my Freud, so I'd like to hear from other owners
of this router.
Here's what I want:
1: Height adjustment from above the table without significant backlash
or horizontal spindle movement.
2: Height adjustment that doesn't collect dust - either covered to
prevent entry or with a hole in the bottom to let dust out.
3: Spindle lock that does not require extending spindle all the way up
to actuate, but has a separate mechanism that can be activated at any
time. An alternative would be a two-wrench collet.
4: Robust lift mechanism that will last more than a year - prefereably
with no plastic parts to wear out.
I would appreciate your recommendations.
BTW, I considered a shaper, but I don't have room for another
stand-alone machine in my shop right now.