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Thread: Basic Question on PC 690 Router

  1. #1

    Question Basic Question on PC 690 Router

    First, greetings, from an "advanced beginner" who is getting back into woodworking after several years absence. I have been refurbishing my shop and have recently added a Rockler router table which came as a package with a PC 690 basic router, which I upgraded to the variable speed LRVS.

    While I have done some handheld routing with a Freud plunge router, I have not used a fixed router much less in a table, so I set about following the directions for setup.

    When the instructions said to set (or zero) the tip of the cutter bit (straight 1/2 shank 3/8 dia straight) to the working surface, I discovered that if I turned the motor far enough to retract the bit to the mounting plate surface, the motor came out of the ramps in the fixed base. IOW, it was impossible to set or zero the bit edge to the baseplate. I measured some other bits I have and while some would allow zeroing, most would not as they are "too long".

    Is this a design flaw in the unit? I have read the 690 is a "workhorse" of the industry and the Rockler guy said they sell 80 per month and this is the first time he has heard my complaint. He also said that no one zeros the end of the bit to the baseplate, but rather raises the bit to the desired height above the baseplate using a height gage.

    While this certainly sounds logical (I even tried it), why do the instructions say to zero to the baseplate? The instructions also say (and I saw some comments on another forum confirming it) to use the ring to control the amount you raise the bit--so apparently it can be done if the bits are short enough. Seems like a design flaw to me.....

    Am I looking at this incorrectly? Please comment and set me straight.

    Thanks much,
    Ken

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the clubhouse, Ken.

    I suspect the reasons the instructions tell you to zero out the bit is so you can use the graduated markings on the adjustment ring. Thing is, those markings are pretty useless (in my opinion) since they're not nearly as fine or accurate as most router cuts need to be.

    I'm with Steve, just drop the bit in about 1/16" away from bottoming out in the collet, then adjust the router to get the depth of cut you need. If you need to make a very shallow cut, you'll need a short bit.

    Congrats on the new router table and router. Router tables can be a handy tool.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  3. #3
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    hi ken!
    i too never use those markings
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  4. #4
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    I wouldn't worry about zeroing your bit to the table top. The scale and depth setting on the 690 will only be approximately accurate anyway. Add to that that the design is meant to be used right side up and you are putting a lot of effort into something you may find that you don't really use.

    I made up one of these. They are commercially available as well. Mine has been improved since this pic was taken by adding a round plate to the contact end that allows me to use it for bit height, fence depth and other chores.

    http://familywoodworking.org/forums/...9&d=1176596292
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  5. #5
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    routers come with destructions?

    seriously, I use the o-ring trick to keep the bit from bottoming all the way out, and then one of those stepped depth guages to set the bit. Oh, wait, I Used to do that in John's and my old shop.. I'll need to buy one of those guages soon.
    -Ned

  6. #6
    Thanks to all of you for the warm welcome and the advice. I no longer will try to "zero to the table".

    Glenn, got any links to where to buy one of those or at least the linear digital device you used to make your own? So do I see this correctly. Zero is when the probe is on the table, you move it until it reads the setting you want (say 0.25000"), then lock it?, then raise the bit to just touch the tip??

    Ken

  7. #7
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    ken, use a piece of 1/4" wood, set it on the base with the router upside-down and raise the bit untill the edge of the carbide is even with the wood.
    plug it in and make a test cut in scrap and check your setting....after just a short while you won`t even need to check your settings `cause your eye will be able to tell if your height is correct against your reference board...try it....it`s easier than it is to type
    [SIZE="1"] associated with several importers and manufacturers.[/SIZE]

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Close View Post
    Thanks to all of you for the warm welcome and the advice. I no longer will try to "zero to the table".

    Glenn, got any links to where to buy one of those or at least the linear digital device you used to make your own? So do I see this correctly. Zero is when the probe is on the table, you move it until it reads the setting you want (say 0.25000"), then lock it?, then raise the bit to just touch the tip??

    Ken
    The device itself is a Harbour Freight caliper that goes on sale now and then for $6. I cut the jaws off and traced around the body shape on my 'horseshoe' made of 3/4 ply. I then freehand routed out the shape and glued him in with silicone rubber cement.

    Now that I have had him for awhile I want to get a different caliper that measures to .001" This will give me a little more accuracy when I am after 3/16" and such (.375"). Currently I have to pass .37 and stop somewhere before I hit .38 which is still 'pretty close'.

    As to function, yes, I stand the device on the table with the plunger all the way down, press the zero button to set it. I then stradle my router bit as I raise it and stop when I reach my goal. There is no locking mechanism.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by glenn bradley View Post
    This will give me a little more accuracy when I am after 3/16" and such (.375"). Currently I have to pass .37 and stop somewhere before I hit .38 which is still 'pretty close'.
    Ahhh Glennn....you would be pretty far off actually. 3/16 equals .1875 not .375 which is 3/8 of an inch.

    I know what you meant, its a common mistake in the machine shop world, but thought I would point out your oversight. I am not picking on you, its just something that jumps out at you when you convert from fractions to decimals as much as I do (The carpenters work in fractional amounts and us machinists work in thousandths. We are constantly converting measurements back and forth so that is why it popped right out at me.)
    I have no intention of traveling from birth to the grave in a manicured and well preserved body; but rather I will skid in sideways, totally beat up, completely worn out, utterly exhausted and jump off my tractor and loudly yell, "Wow, this is what it took to feed a nation!"

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Travis Johnson View Post
    Ahhh Glennn....you would be pretty far off actually. 3/16 equals .1875 not .375 which is 3/8 of an inch.
    I'm a dork.
    Last edited by Vaughn McMillan; 09-26-2007 at 01:49 AM. Reason: Fixed a broken quote tag
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

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