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Anybody out there start with a midsize motor in their table but found they needed to upgrade to heavy duty? What kind of work you were doing that forced the move?

I have a Bosch 1617 that has served me well for years, and have recently popped it into a new lift for my first table. I can see right away that I’ll be switching from table to handheld operations often enough that I’ll want another unit though.

Since my 1617 has plunge and fixed bases and has handled everything I’ve needed to date, I thought I’d pull it for portable use and buy a new unit to go in the lift. I’m tempted to futureproof by getting the beefiest motor that will fit my lift, but I am wondering if that’s overkill since the 1617 has been enough so far.

“So far” being the key idea: I’m likely to increase my woodworking activity and start doing more hardwood projects in the future, so wondering what might be examples of the kind of work where I’d really want the bigger motor.

Since im not going to be a production shop, I can afford to take multiple passes at increasing depths if I need big bites. And I don’t foresee doing any really huge bit work like cabinet door panels that would be better done with a shaper - if I run into much of that, I’d probably rather get a shaper than push a router table past it’s intended use on a regular basis.

I tend to overbuy a little to futureproof, but the price difference between say, the 3.5 and 2.25 hp Milwaukee units would buy me a pretty extravagant forstner bit set I’ve been trying to justify. So any sage thoughts on the specific kinds of work that make you glad you have the big motor, or sorry you don’t, are very welcome. Thanks!
 

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Hi, I still have two 1617s, one I used in the table with a lift, the other was for freehand use. Had a Rockler lift that just wouldn't stop slipping, so instead, bought a 3.25 hp Triton TRA001. It is too heavy for me to manage freehand so it's for table only,. It is a real pleasure to use. I have never had it bog down. But then, neither did the Bosch in the table. Never used any of the huge bits in the Bosch, so I never loaded it up.

I think for most of us, the 1617 is all the router we really need. But since the Triton costs less than the better lift, it didn't make sense to me to buy another lift for the 1617s. I like having both Bosch units in different bases. Handy. But for little jobs, I revert to the Colt. I'm thoroughly routered up these days.
 

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Welcome to the forum, Ramatsu.

Personaly, I would go the bigger router. But that's just me...

I have a number of routers and sometimes a smaller/mid size is just right for the job.
 
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I think for most of us, the 1617 is all the router we really need. But since the Triton costs less than the better lift, it didn't make sense to me to buy another lift for the 1617s. I like having both Bosch units in different bases. Handy. But for little jobs, I revert to the Colt. I'm thoroughly routered up these days.
Thanks Tom, it sounds like I’m at a coin toss kind of place - a second 1617 would give me some backup flexibility in terms of compatibility with my bases, and “all the router we really need” is sort of what I suspected. Then again, someone on another thread here mentioned that taking small bites for big bit work like panels makes depth repeatability a little bit of a challenge, which makes me think the extra hp would be worthwhile. The price on the WP spinrite motor is attractive compared to some other options and the industrial collets sound good. I guess I’ll check out the motor-only availability of a Triton and then just have a cup of coffee, check my portfolio and see how rich - or poor - I feel and push a Buy button based on how I’m feeling at the moment. 😬
 

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My second 1617 was motor only. If you already have a lift, then that makes sense.

You are correct on repeatability, and that applies to many bits. A possible solution to that is to drill a hole on, say, the left end of your table, Put a peg in it and drill a corresponding hole on the bottom of your fence. This leaves the right end of the fence with the abiity to pivot. Then you can mark the table where the fence should be for the final pass. Clamp that end down to hold it in place. You can repeat each pass just by lining the fence up with your mark, or if several passes, make several marks for each pass.

The peg needs to be deep into the fence, especially if it is hollow aluminum extrusion. If you want to get fancy, use a threaded post anchored in the hole for the pivot (use a threaded insert), have it go through the top of the fence, and put a star knob on the post to tighten it down. A clamp will do on the right end. Drill your holes in the fence on a drill press. Use a drill guide for the table. You want that post perfectly vertical,

I've bought a few tools and accessories just as you described. So many tools are good today
 

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Normally the guys buying the 3.25 hp motors are using them in cabinet shops where they can cut a panel in one pass for rail and stile doors. As said earlier, these routers weight a lot, and you definitely don't want to man-handle one of these beasts with a very large bit mounted. That's just an accident waiting to happen. All of my regular customers are more than happy with either their 2.25 hp routers or their trim routers.
 

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After my old craftsman 2.25 HP(?) bit the dust (a lot of it, over 20 years of faithful service...) I got a Woodpecker SpinRite 3.25 HP router for my Woodpecker lift. It works beautifully and can tackle longer and tougher jobs without overheating. It also runs smoother and doesn't "whine" as often as the old geezer did. The only drawback is that I had to lower the speed to about 18K even for regular bits when doing template routing to avoid burnout and tear outs, probably because of the extra power (although I'm not sure this explanation is correct - it just works...). So I'd recommend a more powerful motor - you can reduce the speed of a powerful motor, but you can make a weaker one more powerful...
 

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I have a dual motor router table for door making. One motor is 2.25 and the other is 3.25 HP just for situations like yours. I would replace the Bosch with a 3.25-3.5 HP motor if I thought I would be doing a lot of door panels on the flat, where I would be running a back cutter at the same time. Remember, several bit manufacturers make vertical bits, which work quite well, and cost less, but can't do back cutting.
 

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Anybody out there start with a midsize motor in their table but found they needed to upgrade to heavy duty? What kind of work you were doing that forced the move?

I have a Bosch 1617 that has served me well for years, and have recently popped it into a new lift for my first table. I can see right away that I’ll be switching from table to handheld operations often enough that I’ll want another unit though.

Since my 1617 has plunge and fixed bases and has handled everything I’ve needed to date, I thought I’d pull it for portable use and buy a new unit to go in the lift. I’m tempted to futureproof by getting the beefiest motor that will fit my lift, but I am wondering if that’s overkill since the 1617 has been enough so far.

“So far” being the key idea: I’m likely to increase my woodworking activity and start doing more hardwood projects in the future, so wondering what might be examples of the kind of work where I’d really want the bigger motor.

Since im not going to be a production shop, I can afford to take multiple passes at increasing depths if I need big bites. And I don’t foresee doing any really huge bit work like cabinet door panels that would be better done with a shaper - if I run into much of that, I’d probably rather get a shaper than push a router table past it’s intended use on a regular basis.

I tend to overbuy a little to futureproof, but the price difference between say, the 3.5 and 2.25 hp Milwaukee units would buy me a pretty extravagant forstner bit set I’ve been trying to justify. So any sage thoughts on the specific kinds of work that make you glad you have the big motor, or sorry you don’t, are very welcome. Thanks!
Both my router tables have routers with 2 1/4hp. I have no problem using my 3 1/4" panel bits. I just take several passes. A 3.5hp router would be nice. I just don't want to spend that type of moola. Especially since my 2 1/4hp are work fine for me. The way I look at it, if you need a 3.5hp, get a Shaper machine.
 

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Not once I learned where they are by feel, which only took a handful of uses. I'm a hobbyist and was on a tight budget when I set the system up, so the built in lift mechanism allowed it to fit my needs without having to buy a router lift; I bought the router new for $200 so it was a great bargain. Now that I'm used to it I probably would never buy a lift. I bought some inexpensive black hose (sump pump hose?) from Home Depot and put that on the router for chip extraction. Once I drilled holes in the mag plates that go in the Incra main table plate it works great and with the hose connected to my shop vac it's virtually dust free.

One thing I think is critical to using one of these routers in a table is to orient it such that the controls are easily accessible. Also, angled such that the entire plate & router assembly is removable from the top. I used a V-point bit to center the router on the main plate on the table, figured out the orientation then marked the holes to mount the router to the plate.

It may be common knowledge but I figured I'd mention it, a router base plate for a PC router can be easily modified to fit the Triton & allow the use of standard guide bushings for hand-held routing, for both the TRA-001 and MOF001 if I remember correctly.
 

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The best thing about the Triton is that it costs about the same as a decent lift. The extra hp isn't generally that important, but it's really nice to use. I also reach the lock and controls by feel under the table. I never use it hand held.
 

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Not once I learned where they are by feel, which only took a handful of uses. I'm a hobbyist and was on a tight budget when I set the system up, so the built in lift mechanism allowed it to fit my needs without having to buy a router lift; I bought the router new for $200 so it was a great bargain. Now that I'm used to it I probably would never buy a lift. I bought some inexpensive black hose (sump pump hose?) from Home Depot and put that on the router for chip extraction. Once I drilled holes in the mag plates that go in the Incra main table plate it works great and with the hose connected to my shop vac it's virtually dust free.

One thing I think is critical to using one of these routers in a table is to orient it such that the controls are easily accessible. Also, angled such that the entire plate & router assembly is removable from the top. I used a V-point bit to center the router on the main plate on the table, figured out the orientation then marked the holes to mount the router to the plate.

It may be common knowledge but I figured I'd mention it, a router base plate for a PC router can be easily modified to fit the Triton & allow the use of standard guide bushings for hand-held routing, for both the TRA-001 and MOF001 if I remember correctly.
How did you solve the switch/spindle lock interlock problem? I did almost the same routine as you with orientation, except my unit is completely enclosed, and with the switch at the back, it's a pain changing bits with the switch window in the way.
The best thing about the Triton is that it costs about the same as a decent lift. The extra hp isn't generally that important, but it's really nice to use. I also reach the lock and controls by feel under the table. I never use it hand held.
I'm assuming yours is open on the back so you can manipulate the window and switch after changing bits?
 

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As I mentioned, I oriented the router to put the switch and interlock at a point where I can reach them easily. I built the cabinet and put a door at the right side of the table as viewed if you're standing at the end of the table. I reach in the door to access. I stand at the end of the table or to the right when I work. The long back end of the table - opposite where I stand - is where the positioner resides. I can also easily grab and spin the plunge knob/wheel to quickly raise or lower, then I fine adjust with the above-the-table crank and set bit height with a digital gauge.
 

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FYI: The Triton routers have the same sub-base hole mounting pattern as the Porter Cable 7518 Speedmatic router. You can get a clear sub-base that accepts PC guide bushings (Pat Warner sells, IMO, the best - www.patwarner.com. I think that the PC style bushings are the best way to go with the widest variety of diameter bushings.
 
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As I mentioned, I oriented the router to put the switch and interlock at a point where I can reach them easily. I built the cabinet and put a door at the right side of the table as viewed if you're standing at the end of the table. I reach in the door to access. I stand at the end of the table or to the right when I work. The long back end of the table - opposite where I stand - is where the positioner resides. I can also easily grab and spin the plunge knob/wheel to quickly raise or lower, then I fine adjust with the above-the-table crank and set bit height with a digital gauge.
Thanks! I trashed my Hitachi 2-1/4 due to excessive runout from the factory. Your door must be wide enough to have 360 access with both hands. My box is a converted table saw base, and it's only 13x13 inches, previously used with a PC890,. There's only enough room for my right hand on the right side with the plunge/knob up front. From there I can access the coarse/fine height knobs, plunge lock, and easily reach the variable speed wheel. The back is inaccessible because my DRO occupies the right hand knob mount in front of the switch/window, and since it reads dynamic precision, it's gonna stay. Right now, I have added a limit switch for spindle lock protection and bypassed the window since I have a selector and power switch upstream.
 
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