Mil 5616-24 - Reviewed
I’ve had a chance to run the 5616 for a bit and wanted to report on what I think. For those of you in a hurry, I like it, get one if you’re in the market. For those of you with a little more time:
I have the 5625 in the table and a 5615 that I use for profile work. A 2HP Ryobi that is tasked with chamfers in the table, a Colt and a 1-1/4” C-man that hides in the cupboard but has been used quite a bit . . . so there’s my point of reference. I didn’t intentionally build a primarily red stable but here I am.
The soft-start is wonderful and removes any concerns I might have had about having to reach up with my right thumb to power the unit on. The router maintains consistent speed under various loads, which adds confidence to my cuts.
The plunge is literally impossible to jam. Even pushing down from the tip of one handle results in a smooth plunge. The springs give smoothly and don’t cause you to lunge instead of plunge.
My intended use is primarily mortise work using templates. This meant a ¼” spiral for me so I could do ¼” through whatever width cuts. Both collets are heavy duty. The ¼” grabs a over 1” of the bit shaft length in a machined steel piece and feels very stable while cutting. This router like my other Mil’s uses 2 wrenches (which I prefer). All models and collets use the same heavy wrenches so I don’t need a bunch of different ones to do the job.
The plunge release is right where it should be and unlocks early and locks tight when released. The turret is in 1/8” steps which is nice for harder or burn prone woods. The depth rod has a quick release for rough settings and a locking knob that can be engaged after the fine adjustment knob is used. There is also an adjustable pointer on the depth rod for folks that use that feature.
The vacuum attachment is not near as elegant as DeWalt or Bosch’s thru the column method. It is also not sized for 1-1/4” vac hoses (1-7/16” I.D. with no taper?) so not sure what’s up with that idea. My other Mil’s have production style bodies and make no claim to dust collection capabilities (they’re snow blowers) so I was not expecting much in the way of DC. If you adapt the router’s port to a shop vac the collection is quite good. The hose exiting at 90* to the surface is clumsy but Milwaukee is not alone in this design.
The electronic speed control makes it seem more powerful than I expected. The 5615 does not have this but I was used to it on the 5625. It’s kind of creepy; the router sound changes but the feel as you are cutting is weirdly consistent. The variable speed control is easy to reach and operate and once set, stays set until changed.
The bases are very flat and interchangeable. The large opening base on the fixed body can be swapped with the PC template-opening base on the plunge. The 5616 and 5615 motors fit each other’s bases and use common tools, etc. This adds some nice versatility for me and really cuts down on the amount of ‘stuff’ I need to keep multiple routers in use.
Here's the motley crew. The offset base on the little guy really helps with profiling. I think I'll get one for my Colt. Pat Warner makes one that will take PC template guides . . . hmmmm. I guess you guys that have a half a dozen PC routers get used to seeing this much family resemblance around the shop.
Last edited by glenn bradley; 02-25-2008 at 04:28 AM.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke