I finally can spend more time improving my Router capabilities.
While looking around, I ran across a reference to "Quick Change Router Chucks". Well, I've always felt having to manipulate those 2 wrenches to change out bits is a real nuisance, so I tried to find out more on the topic.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find much recent information or discussions about this topic through searching. Most of the detailed discussions I could find anywhere on the topic were on this website, but from quite a while back. So I wanted to post here find out if any newer info on this topic has developed &/or whether these products have simply fallen out of favor for some reason. So -
1. Are there any new issues I should know about using a "Quick Change Router Chuck" that might make me decide not to buy & use one?
2. The currently available "Quick Change Router Chucks" I could find include the "Eliminator", an Eliminator clone sold by Whiteside, and the "Musclechuck". Based on what I've read in the prior discussions here, the preferred design then seemed to be the "Musclechuck". Is that still true or is there something newer that is now preferred over the "Musclechuck"?
3. Like everything else, the "Musclechuck" has gotten more expensive ($72.95 bare; $106.95 w/one smaller collet & a wrench). Because I remembered seeing references in those older posts to a link to an available discount, I found & tried that link, but it now seems dead. Does anyone know whether a discount is still available for the "Musclechuck"?
I'm including the following info mostly for the benefit of others who were not previously aware of "Quick Change Chucks" &/or those who know about them and may be curious about their background, but don't have the time to "dig it up". I spent a fair amount of time (I admit, it was mostly unbridled curiosity) gathering info about this and I believe this summary is reasonably accurate. However, I encourage anyone who knows more, different, or better information about all this to please post it, particularly any necessary corrections to anything I've inadvertently gotten wrong:
As I understand it, a guy named DeRosa originally invented a version of a quick change accessory router chuck that he designed as a device to facilitate changing 1/2" router bits more easily and quicker than by using the "2-wrench" method required by the factory chuck. He designed it to be installed just once into the factory chuck (requiring one "last" use of the "2-wrench" method to install it). Like the factory chuck, the exposed end of this device was designed to receive a 1/2" router bit, but that end of the device would very quickly secure, immobilize, & later release that 1/2" bit by the use of only a single hex wrench - MUCH quicker & easier than manipulating those two larger wrenches. DeRosa's design accomplished this by including on the side of the device a hex screw oriented perpendicularly to the bit shaft (which, I think, presses against an interposed cam within the device) to "jam" against and immobilize the bit's shaft within the device. The obvious utility of this design is that, once installed in the router's original chuck, it facilitate much quicker & easier bit exchanges by having to just tighten or loosen that hex screw (using only a 4mm [or 5/32"] hex wrench), which provides (or releases) the pressure necessary to immobilize and secure that router bit for use without requiring the time consuming involvement of those original 2 wrenches.
I understand DeRosa later sold that patent to a group that (I believe) now markets that design as "The Eliminator" [& it appears that group has licensed Whiteside to also sell that design].
The principal criticisms I read about that design of a "Quick Change Router Chuck" seemed to focus on concerns about rotational stability &/or perceived potential for excessive runout. Some posts seemed to assert that - when used in the device - an inserted router bit can end up being very slightly "off center" because all of the immobilization pressure was being applied to only one side of the bit's shaft. Others hypothesized that just the device's added length past the end of the factory chuck increased the likelihood of rotational instability during use. But, I also read posts from users saying they hadn't experienced any rotational instability or problems at all, particularly if one is careful to not overtighten the hex screw.
Anyway, and sometime after he sold the patent discussed above, DeRosa patented an "improved" version of a quick change router chuck and its design appears to me to incorporate two modifications to eliminate both of the perceived causes of potential rotational instability I mentioned above.
The first modification was to make the device a replacement for, rather than a device to be inserted into, the router's factory chuck. And the second was to employ a different method of immobilizing a router bit once it's been inserted into the new device. Specifically, instead of having that hex screw (either directly or via an interposed cam) apply pressure against just one side of the bit's shaft , this new design applies pressure equally around the circumference of that bit's shaft by using an "almost complete, but not quite" ring around it. The two ends of that "incomplete ring" are held together by a hex screw oriented parallel (but not tangent) to the bit's shaft such that tightening the hex screw now compresses the ring together, thereby applying pressure all around the bit's shaft until immobilized. And, of course, loosening that hex screw releases that compression pressure and allows the bit to be quickly & easily removed &/or exchanged for another.
It's my understanding that DeRosa included these specific modifications into a Quick Change Router Chuck he sells as the "Musclechuck".
i've since received the following clarification from Mr. DeRosa:
"I . . . read your post on router forums. Everything looks good except the owner and manufacturer part. DeRosa Engineering currently has all of the patent's on the Musclechuck and is NOT associated with the Eliminator or Whiteside in any way. The Musclechuck is a completely different design than the Eliminator. The Musclechuck is manufactured, assembled and packaged in house by DeRosa Engineering and will continue to for many years to come. DeRosa Engineering also has proprietary information as far as the design to help reduce runout and balance issues."
- the foregoing is from Mr. Joe DeRosa.