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R29301 router plunging challenges

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  • R29301 router plunging challenges

    Hi all,

    I just picked up a 29301 combo pack the other day to use in guitar building. The fit and finish are very nice, and the height adjustments on both the fixed base and plunge base are easy to use. I should say I'm a novice woodworker and router user, so some of my issues are surely related to that. But I'm having some trouble getting the plunge depths I need to rout cavities in guitar bodies and figured I'd ask the pros.

    The basic issue is that with the bits I'm using, which all have quarter inch shanks, aren't able to reach deep enough to do the work -- on two of them, the cutting length is only about 1/2" with bearings on top for following templates. With the plunge base and the bit shank all the way into the collet, the end of the bit barely protrudes from the sub base even at the lowest plunge depths, much less exposing the bearing so it can ride along the template. Even without the vacuum attachment (which the collet cannot clear) I can barely get my other, longer bits to reach deep enough for some of the cavities I need to make. For example, on a current project I need to make a 1 5/8" deep cavity, and I can barely get that deep with the bit shank only about halfway into the collet and the vacuum attachment removed (I can always enlarge the vac attachment opening, although it doesn't seem like I should have to -- design flaw?) It could be that I am using the wrong bits, but some of these are specialty bits I really need to be able to use.

    The fixed base can go much deeper, and has a larger opening the sub base that actually allows the collet to go through -- this base can obviously fit on the plunge base, too, so that's good, but they're both so thick that, again, it's limiting how deeply I can go. Can I make or buy a thinner sub base to get a little extra depth? Or is there something else from this vague description that makes it seem like I'm missing a step or doing something wrong? There's nothing obvious to me from the depth settings, but again I'm a novice at using routers so perhaps this issue is ringing a bell for some of you. Any suggestions are much appreciated (including, although I'd be disappointed to hear it, "this router ain't going to work for you!").

    Thanks a lot, and Happy Thanksgiving!


  • #2
    Re: R29301 router plunging challenges


    Welcome to the Ridgid forum!

    I am somewhat a novice too, with hand-held routing at least with regard to plunge routing. To date most of my hand-held use has been to "edge" stock and not so much in plunging. Primarily, I use my Ridgid 2900 (the earlier model) with my router table, and couldn't be happier with it.

    But getting back to your task, I presume you are plunging with a pattern sheet in place, and using a bearing guided bit against the template (with the bearing on the bottom of the cutter at the point where the shank joins). Am I understanding that correctly?

    If so, you could of course purchase a longer cutter. Straight bits (designed for plunging) and up-cut spiral bits are available, I believe in various lengths. But of course, I'm only a novice in this respect.

    Regarding the insert of the shank into the collet. First off, 1/2-inch shanks provide far superior strength over 1/4-inch and depending of course on the hardness of the wood you are cutting, I think would offer far less likelyhood of breaking on the lateral pressure required.

    Secondly, the shank should be inserted all the way into the collet and then pulled back about an 1/8-inch. IMO, shanks should never be pulled out beyond this point as the collet simply will not hold the shank as securely as it should. It does need to be pulled back that 1/8-inch though, as the shank grows as the bit heats up during the cut. If the shank is bottomed in the collet, it can jam and/or damage the collet.

    I know there are a couple members with much more router experience, so hopely they'll jump in here with the next day or so (as soon as they burn off some of that turkey and pumpking pie, anyway).

    Sorry this is more helpful,



    • #3
      Re: R29301 router plunging challenges

      Thanks for the reply, CWS. Yes, I am plunging with the template attached to the workpiece with bits like this:

      (in fact, I have one of these that I've used with a Festool router I sadly don't own). I have heard that 1/2" bits are in general better and more stable than the 1/4" bits, which makes sense, and over time I hope to acquire some. There are a few where I don't think I'll be able to find 1/2" versions of the 1/4" bits I have, so versatility in the plunge base is going to be key.

      I appreciate the tip about keeping the bit 1/8 from the top of the collet -- I only wish doing that bought me more cutting length! I'll keep experimenting. I'm glad to hear you've had good experience with yours in a table set-up -- I'm going to need to have a table for certain tasks, too (part of why the combo pack was an attractive option). Thanks again for your reply!


      • #4
        Re: R29301 router plunging challenges

        Do you understand that once you have cut slightly deeper than the cutter length into your material, your can remove your template and let the bearing follow the sides of what has been cut? (don't know your template thickness, but that would probably give you at least another 1/4" of depth capacity)
        Last edited by tomapple; 11-26-2010, 11:35 AM.


        • #5
          Re: R29301 router plunging challenges

          Hi Kieran

          First, I have a R2920 so this might not be applicable, but using the sub-base with the large opening my collet is flush with the base at its deepest plunge. How thick is your template?

          Another approach you might want to consider is using a template guide (porter cable's fit) and a straight bit. Of course you will need to resize your template for this method.


          • #6
            Re: R29301 router plunging challenges

            Hi all -- thanks for the replies. I think I have things working. I enlarged the vacuum attachment on the plunge base so the collet can clear it, and that gave me a bit of extra depth. I also got a 1/4" base for a Porter Cable router that will fit once I enlarge the screw openings a bit, and that should give me some additional room as well. Many of my templates are 3/4" MDF, but they're based on 1/4" masters that I may have to use instead for certain jobs. Tomapple: yes, that's the way I've done routing in the past -- it was more a question of getting the bits to clear the base far enough to follow the template for at least one pass. I think getting some longer bits is also going to be in my future. So far I've used the router do shape up the sides of a guitar body, and built a small router table for the fixed base.

            Anyway, I appreciate the feedback and ideas -- I think it's going to work OK!