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Old 17th February 2003, 07:21 PM   #1
jdeare is offline jdeare  United States
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Default Cheap router, worth it?

Hello, welcome to my first post on this website.

I'm contemplating my first real DIY speakers, and it seems like a router is a good thing to have for this. Otherwise I will be cutting my holes with a jigsaw. However, I'm somewhat hesitant to just buy a Porter-Cable or something, when there's a chance it won't really get used again. I currently don't have room for a router table, either.

So I've seen some cheap routers. Are they usable for non-heavy work, like the cutting involved in making speakers (cutting holes and insets, possibly rounding edges)? The ones I've seen specifically are:

Ryobi R161K, $59 (1.5 hp)
Craftsman 17504, $49 (1.5 hp)
Craftsman 17574, $59 (1.5 hp)
Skil 1823, $63 (1.5 hp)
Chicago Electric 1hp/$39, 1.75hp/$60

Another option is to use a router base on my rotary tool, but I'm unsure how suitable this would be, and I can't seem to find the router attachment for the RTX tool anyway.

Any advice out there? I've used a router before, but not much...

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Old 17th February 2003, 07:45 PM   #2
TomJ is offline TomJ  United Kingdom
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Have you thought about renting a router if you are only going to use it once.

With a router the main thing is the motor. A Cheap router with respect will have a cheap motor. Although the motor may say it is powerfull wich it probably is it will not run smoothly(this will give a bad finish). I have been told that a good router will normaly cost £150 (roughly $210)

Cutting through wood with a router is considered heavey duty usage since you can only make on pass. Unless you first cut a hole with a jigsaw and slowly cut away the rest with the router.

In my opinion it would be best to rent a router if you can since you are only going to use it once.
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Old 17th February 2003, 07:48 PM   #3
jdeare is offline jdeare  United States
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Well, there's a chance I would only use it once. There's also a chance that once I get the first project done, I may be hooked and I'll be doing new stuff every other month.

Renting's probably a good idea. At least it will give me an idea as to whether it's something I need or not.
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Old 17th February 2003, 08:13 PM   #4
Variac is offline Variac  Costa Rica
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I used a handheld jigsaw/sabersaw to cut my woofer holes, and the thin blade I used tilted to one side creating an angled cut.This is invisable once the speaker is installed, but pretty ugly inside. If you use a circle jig with a router (more money or you can make one) you won't risk my problem.
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Old 17th February 2003, 09:10 PM   #5
Topgun is offline Topgun  Canada
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Default Cheap router worked for me

When building my sonosub, i used a really cheap Black and decker router with a homemade circle jig. The router was a hand me down from my dad, so to make him happy i still use it and havn't bought a better one.

It's a 1/2 horse with a 1/4" collet and it worked great for cutting the 8 circles in mdf that i had to do, with that said i also had good bits and took my time, only making no more than 1/4" deep cuts at a time and didn't push the router too much.

It worked really well, alot better than i had expected. Didn't think it would be that dusty though, started inside but very quickly took it outside

So yes a cheap router will definatly do the job for you as long as you use good bits and don't overload the motor.

If there is an option to buy a plunge router BUY IT, these things are worth their weight in gold, and really make things easier.
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Old 17th February 2003, 09:39 PM   #6
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I have a couple of £30 routers, one fitted with a laminate trimming bit and one with a 1/4" roundover. They are so cheap it's great to just leave them with the one bit installed, then you can just pick them up and go, without fussing around changing bits. As Topgun said though, don't waste money on cheap bits, the finish will suffer.

However, I would not be without my 1800w 1/2" router for the real meaty stuff!
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Old 18th February 2003, 12:49 AM   #7
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Pinkmouse is exactly right, a couple small laminate trimmers are far handier than a big, heavy router, much easier to just pick up another one, than to change bits.

Over time, you will spend much more on bits than the router itself.

For a first router, I would recommend the Craftsman, it'll have a replaceable base, so you can make your own, for large roundovers. You could also make it into a small table set-up. Also it'll have all the safety features you'll want until you're comfortable using it.

MDF cuts and finishes easily.
If you get a small one, you can take some of the abuse off the bearings or bushings (the parts that wear out), by using smaller cutting tools like 1/4 inch straight or pattern-maker's bits.

Buy only carbide tooling and keep the bearings oiled. Sharpening is done with diamond abrasives,.... that's the use for the Dremel tool!

I don't know how others do it, but I flush-mount (recess) drivers, by using a slot-cutting bit.

Rent one? Naw, you'll find all sorts of new ways to use it.
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