I would like to pick up a router for hand held use. I'm considering a
plung-fixed base kit, and like the Makita,the Bosch and the new
Hitachi. The question is, are the kits worth it? I've never owned a
fixed based router, and wonder why I would ever switch from the plung
to the fixed base. Does a fixed based router offer advantages over
Fixed base (without the plunge accessory) will be cheaper. It also
won't "give" (the motor, and hence the bit, tilt ever so slightly from
perpendicular) a little as many plunge units do, under uneven pressure.
You can still plunge with a fixed base by tilting the unit; I
prefer a "real" plunge myself. There's plenty of info listed on the web
about the usefulness of each design. I like the idea of multiple
routers of various sizes--I have a PC7518 (big) and a medium size (for
handheld use) PC plunge router. Now all I need to round out my
selection is a laminate trimmer. I'll NEVER have 1/2 the number of
routers that Nahm has! :)
I find that, generally speaking, the fixed base routers have a lower
centre of gravity. I also find that miniscule adjustments in router bit
height are easier with a fixed base such as the Milwaukee routers.
I don't think they interchangeable. But if I had to have just one
router, I'd have a plunge. 1/2" collet, 3+ HP. The M12V Hitachi comes to
mind. I work mine very hard and it is just as tight as day one. YMMV
I was recently pondering the same thing, and I ended up with a Dewalt
DW618 (reconditioned on Amazon it was a great deal - keep an eye on
that page). I have used it quite a bit freehand and currently have it
mounted in a table. I like the low center of gravity and wide, grippy
handles. The depth adjustment is very easy, and the motor slides
easily out of the base. It works with Porter Cable baseplates etc.
There is also a plunge base available, and it comes in a fixed/plunge
kit, but I haven't used it.
I read somewhere that almost all routing can be done withOUT a plunge,
and most of the other times you could be creative and rig a fixed base
to work (by tilting it like a previous poster mentioned, etc.). So
unless you want to start a lot of routing in the middle of a workpiece
(as in making lettering for a sign?), I agree that (on a finite budget)
a fixed-base is the way to go.
Also, good bits make a big difference - a friend has a cheap set ($50
for 50 bits from ebay) and I'm not impressed with those. I've had very
good luck with bits from MLCS (mlcswoodworking.com) - reasonably
priced, free shipping on all orders, and excellent quality IMHO.
===============I own AND USE a total of six routers.... 5 of which are fixed base...
The only reason that I own the one Plunge router is very simple ...
when you need to make a plunge cut (and I do sometimes) I need the
plunge router....the fixed base units just do not work...
I keep the plunge and one of the fixed base units on the shelf for
hand held use... the others are mounted in tables. (overhead,
horizontal, and 2 in regular tables...)
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