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Old 22nd March 2015, 08:54 AM   #1
TomFord is offline TomFord  United States
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Default Fixed base or Plunge Router

Hello All,

Looking to purchase a router so the speakers can be mounted flush. Would a fixed base or plunge router be better for cutting circles and the edges inside the circles for a flush mount?

Appreciate any assistance
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Old 22nd March 2015, 05:30 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomFord View Post
Hello All,

Looking to purchase a router so the speakers can be mounted flush. Would a fixed base or plunge router be better for cutting circles and the edges inside the circles for a flush mount?

Appreciate any assistance
For circle cuts:
It's easier and safer to start a router cut into the middle of a panel with a plunge router.
With a fixed depth base, you need to 'tilt in' the router to start the cut in the middle of a panel and it's hard to avoid a divot.

For rabetting or chamfering existing openings, or for working along edges, a fixed base router (with appropriate cutters) will do the job.

BTW, thinking through the sequence of cuts (radius and depth) can get the rabbets established from the start. Also, putting a temporary 'brace' under the working area can stablilze the pivot for your circle-cutting jig.
If you don't already have a router, getting a 'kit' which has a motor and two bases (plunge and fixed) is my recommendation. Porter-Cable and Bosch are common - I have both and like them, though the plunge mechanism on the Bosch gets my vote. If you can, try the plunge mechanism (just up/down, release/lock - no need to power up the router) on your potential purchase.

I'd avoid cheap knockoffs and low-end models when considering tools that spin quickly. I've had cheapo routers (and cutters) that were so off-balance that they shook loose the collet.

Last edited by VictoriaGuy; 22nd March 2015 at 05:32 PM.
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Old 22nd March 2015, 08:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VictoriaGuy View Post
For circle cuts:
It's easier and safer to start a router cut into the middle of a panel with a plunge router.
With a fixed depth base, you need to 'tilt in' the router to start the cut in the middle of a panel and it's hard to avoid a divot.
There are some safe and effective ways to work around this limitation, but the plunge router remains the most straightforward tool for the task.

Quote:
I'd avoid cheap knockoffs and low-end models when considering tools that spin quickly. I've had cheapo routers (and cutters) that were so off-balance that they shook loose the collet.
There are several good models out there, from various manufacturers. Stick with the name-brands and try to find as many honest, independent reviews as possible. Shop the sales and specials from authorized distributors. Routers are the only power tool I have ever legitimately worn out. (I.e., not accelerated a failure due to abuse, accident, etc.) Even my Porter-Cable 690, now almost 35 years old, has required some dealer service. The router my grandkids may someday inherit is a Black & Decker 444M professional router (long out of production) that I picked up cheap at a cabinet shop bankruptcy auction, refurbished (replaced switch and power cord) and now use for any heavy cuts.

Have recently used a "Rigid" (brand) fixed-base router on several occasions and I'm generally impressed by the tool, except that the bit has come loose in the collet on more than one occasion - not just ruining the workpiece, but creating a potential safety hazard.

Dale
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Old 23rd March 2015, 02:50 AM   #4
TomFord is offline TomFord  United States
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Victoria, Dale, thank you very much.

Was leaning towards buying the black and decker plunge for 55. Really enjoyed the build, just don't know if I will continue to do them or not you know? If I was sure I'd go with the same brand as my drill that all around has been the superior tool brand I've ever used in Dewalt. Love that drill, and a must own in my book.
Ryobi is another brand I was considering. The Jig drill that we had since I can remember went out and really like the Ryobi I replaced it with. Good price, solid build quality/design, and smooth.
Skil was the other.

Bits.
Which ball bearing sizes on the bit are the ones you use to cut the inner ring that the speaker lays on? Saw a 15 piece set rated well on Amazon that cost $30 which is about the same as the bit by itself. Hard to tell if it has the same one needed.

Thanks again gentlemen
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Old 23rd March 2015, 03:56 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by TomFord View Post
Which ball bearing sizes on the bit are the ones you use to cut the inner ring that the speaker lays on? Saw a 15 piece set rated well on Amazon that cost $30 which is about the same as the bit by itself. Hard to tell if it has the same one needed.
If you are cutting a new baffle and need a circular recess, you can cut the rabbet with a non-bearing straight bit.
I've never had much luck with cheap (Grizzly/BusyBee/Harbor Freight/?) 'sets' of bits - I prefer to buy the cutters I need one-by-one.
LeeValley bits are OK, Amana bits from a place like ToolsToday are probably better. I've used them all.
I keep the cheap bits for routing junk wood and abrasive materials.
If you are on a budget, a cheap router and cheap bits will match up I suppose. Next up on my list would be a cheap router and good bits, then better quality for both.
Cutting plywood can be hard on bits because of the glue lines.

BTW, I've found that most tool companies seem to be able to make only a few different tools well. Milwaukee for HoleHawg or Sawzall, Skil for skilsaw, etc...
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Old 23rd March 2015, 04:55 AM   #6
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Don't look at Festool.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 07:11 AM   #7
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I forgot to mention in previous reply that for general-purpose router applications, you should consider only routers with 1/2" collets. Bits with the 1/2" shank seem to run truer, with less vibration, than 1/4" shank bits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by VictoriaGuy View Post
If you are cutting a new baffle and need a circular recess, you can cut the rabbet with a non-bearing straight bit.
Are you referring to this method:
  • Using a trammel (circle jig), route a groove with an OD equal to the OD of the speaker frame but only as deep as the speaker lip's depth. (Actually, the groove's OD should be about 1/32" larger than the speaker frame.)
  • Reduce the RADIUS setting of the by an amount equal to the width of the rabbet ("shelf") you want left around the mounting hole.
  • Route a full-depth cutout.

Quote:
I've never had much luck with cheap (Grizzly/BusyBee/Harbor Freight/?) 'sets' of bits - I prefer to buy the cutters I need one-by-one.
Yeah, in most cases I get router bits from companies that are in business to sell router bits. Unless they're deeply discounted, buying a 'set' seldom makes sense unless you have a definite use for all of the bits in the 'set'.

One of the mailorder suppliers used to offer a set of basic bits that was a good value. As I recall, you got several sizes of straight bits, a 1/2" piloted trim bit, and a couple of piloted roundover bits. Then you could select one or two bits to complete the set - ogee, slot cutters, dovetail, bowl bottom, etc depending on what projects you had in mind.

Quote:
LeeValley bits are OK, Amana bits from a place like ToolsToday are probably better. I've used them all.
I've been quite pleased with Amana. Also Eagle America, Bosch, and Freud are decent; and the offerings from woodworkers' specialty stores Rockler and Woodcraft.

Dale
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Old 23rd March 2015, 08:29 AM   #8
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Honestly, if you just want it to cut circles for speaker holes, you might be happier with a smaller trim router, also called laminate trimmer. Small, cheap, easy to handle. They typically have 1/4" collets, not the beefier 1/2", but for just cutting baffle holes and doing the odd roundover, it will work just fine. if you need to cut through thick marine ply, you'll just have to cut a small depth, increase depth, cut again, repeat.
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Old 23rd March 2015, 11:13 AM   #9
TomFord is offline TomFord  United States
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Victoria, Dale, Astro, thank you.

After I sent the last reply I ordered the
Black & Decker RP250 10-Amp 2-1/4-Inch Variable Speed Plunge Router. Other models with same amperage and specs were $100. For $55 shipped this seems like a pretty good deal. It's only the 1/4 collet, yet believe it will suit my needs.
And this 15 piece bit set.
15 piece Router Bit Set, 1/4" Shank - Edge Treatment And Grooving Router Bits - Amazon.com

Cheap quality yet for $15 and 82 reviews of 4.25/5 star average seems like a good buy. We'll see.

I still need a circle jig to cut circles correct? The circle jig model 240 on Partsexpress is the best looking one I've seen. Allowing circle cuts from 2'-11' I believe. Maybe 13'.

Astro,

I purchased a 1/4 trim router from Arbor Freight which was my first visit there. Haven't used it, afraid to. Used the sandpaper I got there and a entire pack lasted as long as 1 sheet if the 3M I normally use. While sanding with it I was thinking Arbor Freight is like those dollar stores for tools. Having the proper is crucial as you all know. Feel like if I turn on the trim router for over 10 minutes it's going to fry based on quality of the other things I got there. If it worked looks like it'd be very beneficial on smaller areas and the sides.

Victoria, I'm know what you mean on the brands having a few items they excel at. Dewalt drill has always been bulletproof, but haven't used many of there other products
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Old 23rd March 2015, 06:58 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TomFord View Post
I still need a circle jig to cut circles correct? The circle jig model 240 on Partsexpress is the best looking one I've seen. Allowing circle cuts from 2'-11' I believe. Maybe 13'.
You can DIY a jig with a piece of plywood, similar to the commercial jigs with the 'many holes', but just for the dimensions you need. It takes a bit of experimenting, but works fine if you only have a few cuts to make.

If you have an adjustable trammel for your router it will work for larger openings.

Or get the PartsExpress jig

https://www.parts-express.com/jasper...l-200--365-250
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