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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hey all, I'm new to the forum and look forward to learning! I have the Kobalt router table combo. I enjoy it and it works fine, but I want to upgrade to a variable speed router. I've started making a lot of things from HDPE, and and having trouble with tear out along curved edges that I believe can be remedied if I'm not spinning at 25,000 RPMs constantly.
I don't want to spend an arm and a leg, but I do want something worth buying that's variable speed and will mount to the table I have. I've already looked to see if Kobalt makes a variable speed version of their router. They do, but only in a battery powered version for hand use only. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

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Welcome to the forum.

Is this what you have? https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-Fixed-Corded-Router-with-Table-Included/1000318615

I looked at the pdf manual for it, seems the table only has mounting holes for the included router, it is likely that another company makes the router for Kobalt but I don't know who, hard to know what other routers have the same screw pattern. If the diameter of the router base is compatible with your table you can drill holes for a different screw pattern.

Will you be routing wood with the table or only HDPE? What are the longest edges you will be routing? I started with a Bosch table comparable to yours, and quickly wanted something larger, but I work with wood up to 8' long. Whether to stay with the table you have depends in part on what projects you want to do in the next few years.

For a variable speed router I like the DeWalt DW618, a mid size with 1/4" and 1/2" collets. I don't know your power requirements, if you don't need a lot of power and just use 1/4" shank bits you can get a compact/palm router, that will save $.

Please tell us how thick the HDPE is, what kind of bits you use, etc, hopefully someone here will be able to give you a better answer. I've only sawn HDPE.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Welcome to the forum.

Is this what you have? https://www.lowes.com/pd/Kobalt-Fixed-Corded-Router-with-Table-Included/1000318615

I looked at the pdf manual for it, seems the table only has mounting holes for the included router, it is likely that another company makes the router for Kobalt but I don't know who, hard to know what other routers have the same screw pattern. If the diameter of the router base is compatible with your table you can drill holes for a different screw pattern.

Will you be routing wood with the table or only HDPE? What are the longest edges you will be routing? I started with a Bosch table comparable to yours, and quickly wanted something larger, but I work with wood up to 8' long. Whether to stay with the table you have depends in part on what projects you want to do in the next few years.

For a variable speed router I like the DeWalt DW618, a mid size with 1/4" and 1/2" collets. I don't know your power requirements, if you don't need a lot of power and just use 1/4" shank bits you can get a compact/palm router, that will save $.

Please tell us how thick the HDPE is, what kind of bits you use, etc, hopefully someone here will be able to give you a better answer. I've only sawn HDPE.
Yes, that's the router/table combo I have. The HDPE I'm working with is anywhere from 1/4 thick to 3/4 thick (6-18mm), and the pieces are never more than 6'' long. I make custom slingshots from it, and I use round over bits for the edges and 1/4'' cutting bits to make the band grooves. Here's an example of what I'm working with. Started on it yesterday


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Cool, I wondered if it was slingshots from your avatar. So the table you have is plenty big enough. As I said before I don't know if a compact router would be right for you. You might ask the HDPE supplier or the bit company what bit speed etc they recommend.

How are you cutting the overall shape from a sheet of HDPE? If I was doing slingshots from plywood I'd:
cut a rectangle with a table saw or hand held circular saw, cut to a 1/16" of the shape with a scroll saw, then with a template cut to line on the router table.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Cool, I wondered if it was slingshots from your avatar. So the table you have is plenty big enough. As I said before I don't know if a compact router would be right for you. You might ask the HDPE supplier or the bit company what bit speed etc they recommend.

How are you cutting the overall shape from a sheet of HDPE? If I was doing slingshots from plywood I'd:
cut a rectangle with a table saw or hand held circular saw, cut to a 1/16" of the shape with a scroll saw, then with a template cut to line on the router table.
No I cut the initial shape with a scroll saw and then go to the router. The round over bit works much better at shaping the edges than a dremel, with the exception of the aforementioned tear out

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And bit speed partly depends on the cutting diameter of the bit, so you might use a lower RPM for a round over bit than a 1/4 spiral.
 

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I'm not sure whether your router is a soft start model or not. If it is not a soft start router, you may be able to purchase a separate speed controller that works like a rheostat to control the speed of the rotor. I don't have one of these myself and I recall that they are not compatible with soft start routers, but if yours is not soft start a separate speed controller might be worth trying. I think they cost around $20-$25 on Amazon, And I see Rockler has one that will handle up to 25 A for about $60. Harbor Freight may have one That is less expensive. But if you're router has a soft start, you may wish to see if it will work with any speed controller.
 

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If you Google "Harbor Freight variable speed router controller", there are some references to the HF device and to some YouTube videos with references to other videos on other speed controllers. This may be something that will give you an economical solution. You might also want to call the tech staff at Rockler and ask them about their product.
 

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Ross
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Welcome to the forum.
 

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Hi, very interesting first post. Welcome. The rheostat speed controller is a likely solution. If you're going to get a new router, I suggest you go for the Bosch 1617 EVSPK kit. Plenty of power, accessories up the kazoo, great customer service.

Have you checked closely for a speed control? The Bosch has a tiny dial on top and so do many others. DeWalt is pretty good, but I don't much like its raising/lowering mechanism, but that's a personal preference.

Many tables are drilled in a fairly standard pattern, so you might not need to drill new holes at all. Attached is a guide showing the hole patterns for various routers. You can see that there are only a few patterns out there, so if you get a new router, you can use this pattern to determine the hole layout.
398507


If you drill your own holes for a new router, use the base plate from the router to mark the layout of the holes. Use a drill press and drill the first to a little wider than the threaded screw you're going to mount it with. Then drill a second hole a little bigger than the head of the threaded screw. This will give you a little wiggle room. Drill using a drill press if you have one, or at least a guide to hold your bits as vertical as possible.

Also attached is a cross section drawing of the stepped hole I mentioned.
398506
 

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Hey all, I'm new to the forum and look forward to learning! I have the Kobalt router table combo. I enjoy it and it works fine, but I want to upgrade to a variable speed router. I've started making a lot of things from HDPE, and and having trouble with tear out along curved edges that I believe can be remedied if I'm not spinning at 25,000 RPMs constantly.
I don't want to spend an arm and a leg, but I do want something worth buying that's variable speed and will mount to the table I have. I've already looked to see if Kobalt makes a variable speed version of their router. They do, but only in a battery powered version for hand use only. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

Sent from my IN2025 using Tapatalk
mlcs hasa decent one - fairly cheap MLCS Router Speed Control and Billy Pedal Foot Switches
 

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I guess that you tried with a thin last pass? Start with the bit lower than the desired height and then do another 'finish' pass.
 

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I replaced my burned-out speed controller with one from MLCS but then I found that Harbor Freight had the exact same one for half the price so I went with that one.
 

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Curious if the OP has had success with adding a variable speed control. I also own the Kobalt fixed corded router and purchased the MLCS variable speed control box. While it's not brushless or soft start (to my knowledge), I haven't been able to get the router to work with the MLCS box; it runs when on "full," but won't start when on "variable," even with the dial turned up to max. Any thoughts? I assume this the router, but willing to try other variable speed control boxes.
 

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Welcome to the forum @kfd82
 
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