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Cutting grooves with new router

September 23, 2019 — BarryK

I posted recently about ordering a router to help with construction of solar water distiller prototype #3:

...el-cheapo router, just 30 bucks delivered. And, as I found out today, el-cheapo construction also!

The router, technically a "trimmer router", has a metal body and a plastic frame/ base. The first thing that I noticed is that despite tightening up the knob to lock the frame in place,  the body still wobbled in the frame. Tried tightening the knob a bit more, then heard a loud crack ... the plastic cracked.

The reason is, tightening the knob only works on the top-end of the plastic frame. Further down there is a fixed plastic bridge. This photo shows where it cracked:

img1 stop the wobble, I used a rubber window wedge (applied the wedge after it had cracked).

On the other side of the plastic frame, there was another problem. An angle bracket is supplied that can be attached, however, the knob does not tighten up on the frame, due to a plastic ridge in the middle. I had to file the ridge down slightly:


I think that there is a reason for these two problems. The plastic frame is made for a slightly larger diameter body, and angle bracket with thicker metal. This el-cheapo product has scaled both down, but have used the ill-fitting plastic frame.

I know it is only AU$30, but did expect better. When I get to write the final DIY page for the solar water distiller, i will recommend something further up the price scale, such as this:

...AU$69, but has a much better frame, metal, with accurate ratchet height adjustment. Looks much better from the description and photos anyway. Someone will need to buy one and let me know.

Despite the flaws in mine, it works and will do the simple job that I have for it...

I have 64x19mm pine, 3 metres long, and need to cut some grooves 3mm wide and 5mm deep. It was very easy to do, here is the setup:


I used a router bit from Bunnings, 3.2mm (1/8 inch) diameter, straight dual-flute, 100% tungsten, Diablo brand, and it cost as much as the router. It cut real nice though. 

EDIT 2019-10-04:
Router wobbled fixed! Required some simple surgery on the plastic frame, now I can recommend this cheap router as suitable for this project. See blog post: 

Tags: nomad