Triton 2-1/4 hp router, first impressions


I was looking for a router for my table and decided on the newer Triton router. I went with the 2-1/4 over the 3 hp as it was a little cheaper, had the above the table adjustment, and felt it was adequate for my usage power wise. I've run my largest bit with my dewalt 2-1/4 without problems.
Ordered through Amazon for about $175 shipped. Had some weirdness where they emailed me saying it would be delayed until the middle of September and then it arrived on the original expected date. The day after Amazon thoughtfully emailed me to let me know it had shipped. Thanks.
I could hear parts rolling around inside the box. Uh oh. It was shipped inside an Amazon box with a bunch of air bags. No obvious damage to the box. Nothing lose inside the box, and the plastic case was shrink wrapped. Rattle rattle rattle from inside the case. Open her up to find the 1/2" collet and some of the template guides loose. Everything seemed to be undamaged, though I was pretty wary about the collet. I dunno how they came loose, those suckers are in there pretty tight.
The case is another of those design students turned loose type of deals. You will never get all that crap to fit back in there unless you took pictures of how it was when you first opened it.
The manual was actually written by native English speakers, Hooray! But it is a little short on details, and constantly refers to parts by numbers which you have to flip back to a drawing at the beginning to figure out what they are talking about. Paper is cheap, put a drawing next to what you're saying.
I found the winder handle difficult to operate with one hand. There's a clutch that you have to pull in with your fingers and I just have a hard time doing it. With two hands it's very easy. I also had a hard time switching to free plunge mode and back again. There's a button at the center of the handle that you push in, and it's got to lock in. For some time I couldn't get it to lock, it'd just pop back out. Finally I figured out the router needs to be fully retracted for it to engage. I've as yet to figure out the trick to getting it to disengage. I have to push it 3-4 times and say a few choice words before it will do it. For table use this doesn't matter as you're going to be in winder mode all the time so I'm not too worried about it.
The hole in the subbase is HUGE. Over 3 inches. So you can get a big bit that's really too big for the motor to handle in there, but it's awfully hard to judge how deep the bit is set when it's floating out in space. There is a metal ring that you can pop in which holds the template guides, but none of that sits flush with the bottom. The hole in the extended plate/edge guide/circle cutter is equally as large. So if you plan on using it freehand I'd see buying/making another subbase in your future.
Unlike my Dewalt 618 in its plunge base regardless of depth setting the top of the router stays flat, so you can flip it over and set it down at any depth. It does seem to have quite a bit more start up jerk to it than the 618 though.
I elected not to make a removeable insert for my table. So I routed out half the thickness of the plywood, and figured I'd use the circle cutting feature of the extended plate (once, before chucking it back in the plastic case never to be seen again). It worked fine.
The subbase mounting screws are remarkably 1/4-20. Included were 2 pairs of longer screws that are meant for attaching the dust port, one pair was just the right length the other was a little too long. (Note to all router manufacturers, for the love of god make your mounting holes through holes and thread them all the way) So I cut the long ones and in she went.
Watching the collet pop up through the table for the first time I thought "Worth every penny." Collet locks when you spin it and the included wrench is a real bent wrench..
There is really only one logical way to mount the router in the table, and that is with the winder handle pointing out towards the front of the table. Otherwise the hole for the above the table bit adjustment is going to end up under the fence. This also gives you easy access to the winder handle for coarse adjustments, the fine adjustment if you don't want to use the handle above the table, and the plunge lock lever. The trouble is now the on/off switch is in the back.
Ah, but you're going to use another switch mounted on the table, says you. But you cannot bring the collet above the table with the switch in the on position. This makes sense, because if you could engage the collet lock while it was running, well, that would be very very VERY bad. In practice it is not hard at all to reach around the router for the switch, it's right on the corner, and you only have to do it when changing bits, so it's not a deal breaker and certainly the above the table changes are worth it.
I am not sure how much I am actually going to use the above the table bit adjustment. On the surface it seems like, hey, that would be convenient. But in reality, either you have to get the handle, stick it in and get it to engage, which is not difficult but not instantaneous either - or you open the door and turn the knob that's right there in front. And you've got to go in there anyway to lock the plunge lever. I did at one point forget to lock the lever while in winder mode and the height seemed to stay solid, but I wouldn't trust it.
I appreciate the fact that they are including a lot of accessories that everyone else wants to charge up the nose for. But at the same time I think they ought to do a for table use only version without all of that stuff. They could leave out the subbase and plunge spring as well. Keep the spiffy wrench though.
-Leuf
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I bought the big brother about 2 years ago. Neither will win any beauty contest. I mounted mine with the crank handle pointing at about 70 degrees where pointing to the back is 0 degrees and going clockwise from there. That position makes every thing easy to get to. No top adjustment but like you said, every thing else has to be done from under the table and you might as well add the fine height adjustment to that location. I still have no complaints and Triton has been very helpful. My first one had to be returned as it would turn off by it self.
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