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Not Precisely Precision

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Review by TheMrWoody posted 04-15-2016 02:15 AM 2536 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Not Precisely Precision Not Precisely Precision Not Precisely Precision Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have many Rockler products in my workshop and I’m generally pleased with their accuracy. This router table insert replaced a Rockler Pro Plate so I could install a new 3 HP Porter Cable. I found the mechanical system to be exceptionally well made and the top plat is an excellent thickness to avoid any deflection. The adjustment mechanism is easy to use and the clamping system for the motor is very good.

Where this device gets and “F” rating is on the insert (see the pics showing the gap under the ruler – the ones showing the BLACK plate are the “Pro Plate” and the silver shows the Bench Dog). For a device calibrated and marketed for “thousands of an inch” I expect to receive an out of the box experience to match. The plastic insert is 0.006” off and that’s enough to matter if you want a tight joint. After speaking with Rockler tech support and getting an identical replacement, it had the same thickness problem.

They use the same exact insert for the Pro Plate and it’s not the same cutout depth. I own them both and you can see from my photos that they made the insert for the Pro Plate and tried to use the same thing for the high end Bench Dog and failed to make it the correct thickness.




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TheMrWoody

20 posts in 1150 days



10 comments so far

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philba

96 posts in 1368 days


#1 posted 04-15-2016 03:28 PM

Yeah, that’s completely unacceptable. Every time you push a work piece across that insert it would catch on the edge.

I see screws in the insert – are those for leveling, perhaps? If not, maybe several layers of blue tape for shims.

One of the downsides to Rockler’s approach to a smaller cutout of the router plate is that you get locked into them so you’re sort of stuck with what they have. I jokingly call them Lockler because of this.

BTW, good choice on the PC router (7518, I’d guess). I have one in my table and use it every day. Above table bit changes are fantastic. No complaints.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

5654 posts in 2809 days


#2 posted 04-15-2016 03:32 PM

The insert doesn’t look flat either, which could cause hang-ups when routing shorter workpieces.

That’s too bad, I have had really great experiences with all of my Bench Dog purchases. Usually very durable stuff.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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TheMrWoody

20 posts in 1150 days


#3 posted 04-15-2016 07:08 PM

It is too bad because the rest of the system is a really beefy configuration.

The insert is flat (at least that part is right). The screws are for holding it in the opening and don’t do any leveling. There aren’t any leveling options other than creating a “shim” disk to raise it up, or, as others have written about this same tool, you get someone to machine new inserts out of the correct thickness materials (totally unacceptable additional cost for this $350 “precision” tool).

The router is a 7518, yes. Got it for the higher HP to use those larger bits, and it’s variable speed. Bought the motor only option because it’s never coming out of that table. I’ve got another Port Cable for the hand held (the 691 came out of of the table for this upgrade). That’s why I also have the Pro Plate and know that they have the same inserts, and the inserts are perfectly flush when used on the Pro Plate.

Design error!

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pintodeluxe

5654 posts in 2809 days


#4 posted 04-15-2016 08:11 PM

In your picture in the original post it looks like the insert is bowed. I see a big gap in the middle, and smaller gap as you move outward from center. Is that an optical illusion, or is that what you see too?

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

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TheMrWoody

20 posts in 1150 days


#5 posted 04-16-2016 02:46 AM

”...looks like the insert is bowed. I see a big gap in the middle, and smaller gap as you move outward from center. Is that an optical illusion…”

You actually prompted me to look again. The bowing is an optical anomaly due to the bright light behind the ruler. It’s just uniformly “gaped” :-(

BUT, I used a feller gauge this time to check, and I was wrong about the gap size – It’s Actually DOUBLE my initial measurement – .012” of an inch.

View Mordi's profile

Mordi

36 posts in 1307 days


#6 posted 04-16-2016 03:09 AM

Funny, but I have been dealing with the very same issue with that insert too. I have been experimenting with shim stock of varying thicknesses and it has improved, but have not yet got it dialed in.

I wonder if you could make an insert out of wood and use that instead of the plastic insert?
Mordi

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TheMrWoody

20 posts in 1150 days


#7 posted 04-16-2016 03:53 AM

Checking again with my digital micrometer, the depth of the cutout holding the insert is .125” (1/8”), so you can certainly get there with wood. It’s also an available aluminum thickness that you can cut with woodworking tools. I just would hope this wasn’t needed :-(

By the way, checking the thickness of the insert with a micrometer = .115” (hence the deficit on fit).

These are basic measurement and Bench Dog (owned by Rockler) should be quality controlling. “Measure twice, order somewhere else once :-)”

View Ripthorn's profile

Ripthorn

1458 posts in 2981 days


#8 posted 04-16-2016 07:19 PM

Perhaps the issue is that the insert is actually a metric thickness. 3 mm is about .115-.118 (depending on mfg tolerances) finished thickness. A cast iron router table top is likely all spec’d in imperial. What you could do is get some .01” shim stock and cut a ring to sit inside the recess and make up the difference. If anything, you want it ever so slightly recessed (maybe .001) as opposed to being .001 proud.

-- Brian T. - Exact science is not an exact science

View Dave G's profile

Dave G

332 posts in 2044 days


#9 posted 04-17-2016 09:17 AM

This same thing was there on the original Rockler I bought 10 years ago. I had to fix it with a layer of tape under the insert. The first time that I had to make my own insert to fit some bit or other I just left that in and have been using my own inserts since. A bit of a nuisance.

-- Dave, New England - “We are made to persist. that's how we find out who we are.” ― Tobias Wolff

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TheMrWoody

20 posts in 1150 days


#10 posted 04-17-2016 11:38 PM

I’m going to try some acrylic using 1/4” for rigidity and then edge route for the 1/8” thickness needed for the insert to fit properly.

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