View Full Version : Milwaulkee 5625 or PC 7518 with Pro Lift?

Allen Bookout
06-09-2005, 10:54 AM
I have been looking for and searching for a while on this forum for information on a table - router set up. I had just about decided on the Milwaulkee 5625 and a HF iron table for a combined cost of about $500. I have two other Mil products and they are impressive. Two things give me pause. One is that I saw a report on Amazon, rating the tool, that the screw shaft part of the above the table adjustment is of poor design and depends on plastic parts which fail when used frequently. The other is that it appears to me that some features are just not as handy as the Pro Lift set up and I just cannot believe that the lift mechanism is as good as the Pro Lift.

Right now I see that I can get the PC 7518 for $260 and the Bench Dog 40-016 for $295 for a total cost of $556. I do realize that I would be out the cost of the table but I should be able to make that for a small cost.

My though is that for $56 more dollars I would have a better set up with the Pro Lift and the PC. Is the PC as good a router as the Milwaulkee?

Any imput from the community?

Thanks! Allen

Fred Ray
06-09-2005, 11:30 AM
Allen, the Pc 7518 is one HOSS of a router. Works beautifully in a table, but is a little heavy for hand held use. I own 3 PC routers and wouldn't trade any of them for a Milwaukee.

Keith Outten
06-09-2005, 11:36 AM

I have a PC 7518 that I use on my CNC Router. The 7518 has been very popular but I have been reading lately of a very large group of ShopBotters who are complaining about overheating problems. It has been suggested that Porter Cable has started using lower quality bearings and the collet and bits are getting very hot, in some cases the entire rotor/armature is also heating up beyond reasonable temperatures.

You might want to do some research before you select a PC router these days.

Steve Cox
06-09-2005, 11:37 AM
After lots of research I just bought the Milwaukee for a router table application. I have not built the table yet but I just went and looked at the lift mechanism. There are some nylon pieces but the adjustment screw and associated parts are all metal. The lift part works smoothly and there is a rubber flap to help keep it from getting clogged by debris. As I looked at the router, I can see that Milwaukee took several of the annoyances and problems that a PC has with table applications and engineered this router to address them. In short, I'm impressed and think it will work just fine without an aftermarket lift.

Michael Ballent
06-09-2005, 11:49 AM
The PC routers seem to pretty much own the router market, almost all the third party accessories that come out are designed to work on PC routers, just look at the collars that are out there, they are for PC routers and pretty much everyone else has accepted them as the default collar. That being said, the Mil router was designed to be hung from a table from the beginning, if I remember correctly, there are protections in place to help keep dust out of the router while it hangs. I actually plan on buying the Mil router for my router table someday.

As far as the report from Amazon, remember that you have to read all the reviews and not just focus on a single person's opinion. I usually look for the number of stars given to a tool AND the number of people reporting it. I would trust a rating of 5.0 stars from 10 people over a 5.0 star rating from 1 person.

CPeter James
06-09-2005, 12:06 PM
I went through this last winter and ended up with the Milwaulkee and find that it works just fine. For the difference in money ($300+/-), I am far more than satisfied. BTW: I don't buy lower quality tools just because they are cheaper. If a lower cost tool will do the job, it gets loooked at, but I usually end up with the highest priced tool in a group.


Allen Bookout
06-09-2005, 6:41 PM
Keith, I checked out the shoplotters forum and you are right. It seem as though Porter Cable is having bearing problems. It could be that Fred got his routers before the bad bearings started being used. I would bet ten to one that the problem bearings are manufactured in Asia.

Steve, thanks for looking at yours for me. Good information.

Michael is right. Most accessories seem to be made for the Porter Cables. That is what makes the decision harder. However I sure do not want to go through the hassle of dealing with a bad tool.

Thanks CPeter for your feeling on the subject! A more than happy user makes it easier to shell out the bucks.

I am just going to hang around for a while and see if anyone else has more information or impressions.


CPeter James
06-09-2005, 8:29 PM
I have played with the fancy lifts a little bit. All those scales and numbers don't seem to mean much. I make a rough setting, make trial pass on a scrap, tweak a little, repeat, and it takes me about two or three test cuts to get where I want to be and I work with a dial caliper in this tyoe of thing or go for a flush fit on T&G work.


Ken Garlock
06-09-2005, 9:50 PM
Hi Allen. Last year I bought the Woodpecker PRL lift, I then bought the barebones PC7518 motor, from Rockler, to install in the lift. I also agree with Peter that the little dials only get you in the neighborhood, and some test cut are the real fine tuning.

My opinion is that you get a router, mount it in the lift and leave it there until it wears out. (Remember what you paid for this.)

Dev Emch
06-09-2005, 10:37 PM
I have an older 7518 router and have not had any issues with it. But it predates all this new porter cable-black&decker outsourcing management jazz. Top quality bearings are expensive and high speed/high accuracy bearings are right up there.

On another note, I was spring cleaning and found some stuff I need to get rid off. I have a an old cast iron top and steel body from a powermatic 26 shaper. No motor an no guts. I was orig. going to build a router table out of it by attaching a bench dog lift to the underside of this thing. But alas, to many projects and not enough time. So if anyone wants to take over this project, feel free to email me an offer. It needs naval jelly cleaning and paint so its almost not worthwhile dorking with it in terms of what I can flee-baye it for all cleaned up.

Keith Outten
06-09-2005, 10:38 PM

I purchased my PC7518 last November. I'm afraid I will also be suffering a short bearing life as the collet and bit do get extremely hot in just a couple of minutes of free-running time.

Time to order the higher quality bearings I guess :(

Dev Emch
06-09-2005, 10:47 PM
That is not right. The 7518 is a flag ship router and frequently used in tables and gantry routers. In fact, most of the guys building linux/EMC homemade CNC routers are using the 7518.

Have you talked to porter cable about this? It would be nice to know how the PC deals with its hard core following these days.

Should you lose that bearing and should this be out of warrenty, your in for a shocker in more ways than one. A major bearing failure can take the temper out of the collet spindle and can also cause the wound router and commutator in the motor to bang against the stator windings or detroy or severely damage your brush pockets.

Look up your local industrial bearing supply house and order up some decent bearings. They will not be cheap. Just make sure you dont order ABEC class 7 or 9 bearings as these will cost more than the whole router combined.... EACH. Just make sure they are rated for 20,000 RPM continous service.

Terre Hooks
06-09-2005, 10:56 PM
It is the router's responsibility to cool the bit?

The collet is getting hot from the bit. The bit is getting hot due to the bit construction, material being cut, speed of cut, etc.

The router is not causing the bearing(s), collet and bit to get hot.

Allen Bookout
06-09-2005, 11:03 PM
CPeter and Ken, Good information! Thanks!

Thanks Dev for the 7518 report. It is interesting to note that your good one is a pre problem period model. It looks like that Keith was not so lucky. Sorry Keith!

From what I have heard so far it looks like the best bet for me is to go the Milwaukee 5625 route. I do not know what kink of inconviences I am looking at as far as bit changes for example. Could be that the built in lift device will lift it above the table enough or may be below the table operations are no trouble. I will have to try to find out more information on the Milwaukee web site. These are the kind of things that enter my mind with no experience using a router table. Any more information about the operation would be appreicated. Thanks! Allen

Allen Bookout
06-09-2005, 11:09 PM
Terry, I just saw your response as you posted it while I was writing mine. Keith said his was getting hot while free running. Does not seem to apply to what you are talking about. I have seen simular reports on other forums. Allen

Dev Emch
06-09-2005, 11:16 PM
Sometimes, it is the router's responsibility to cool things. I once saw a massive CNC vertical router made by ekstrom carlson which actually had a liquid cooled head. Shortly thereafter, everyone went to using gantry routers and these dinosaurs now sit in the back of used dealers buildings and will be there 20 years from now.

What your talking about is cooling and chip load. You see this in both metalworking and woodworking and routers are nortorious for violating this rule. In short, as the chip leaves the item being worked on, it also removes heat from both the cutter and the item. The heat actually can sacrafice the chip. When I work on my metal lathe, I have metal chips comming off so hot that they are turning blue and I have to wear long sleaves as the chips landing on my forarms leave tiny burn marks. The same applies for woodworking. By maintaining your chip load, you prevent burning of both your wood and your cutters. What happens when you slow down or stop when routing maple and cheery? You get burns and smoke.

What is more important is that you are killing your expensive cutters while doing this. This is one reason router cutters wear out faster than shaper cutters. Most router applications are not run nearly fast enough to maintain the correct chip load and prolong the cutter's life. I dont mean RPM here... rather, the feed rate.

But if this is the source of your collet warming up excessively, what is happening to your cutter's tip? That tip should be smokin' hot and begin to turn blue and carbarize some sawdust. Do you have wood burning as well?

What does your CNC manual tell you about feeds and speeds for the various bits and materials and depth of cut?

Steve Cox
06-10-2005, 12:42 AM
Allen, based on what I've looked at so far on mine, it will have to be removed from the table to change the bit. There is not enough range for the collet to be raised above the table. However, (and this is an improvement over the PC) all it takes to remove the router is to push one button and it drops straight out. No twisting to remove and no twisting to raise and lower also. BTW the collet wrenches with the Milwaukee are nice sized cast ones, not the uncomfortable stamped ones that come with the PC.

Kirk (KC) Constable
06-10-2005, 1:16 AM

I purchased my PC7518 last November. I'm afraid I will also be suffering a short bearing life as the collet and bit do get extremely hot in just a couple of minutes of free-running time.

Time to order the higher quality bearings I guess :(

I bought two 7518s (and lifts) last summer, and also noticed they got very hot almost immediately. Never really thought too much about that. What I DIDN'T notice until several months later was that NEITHER one of them will spin a horizontal panel raiser without slowing down to a STOP several times before finally staying on. They'll spin right back up after cycling the power switch...but I fear something is phlooey with the speed control. Never had an issue with the rail/stile cutters (used the Hitachi for raising the panels). These 7518s are acting very similar to the THREE bad 7529s I had before I swore off PC the first time. THIS time I mean it. I have spent my last dollar on PC tools. :(


Allen Bookout
06-10-2005, 9:50 AM
Well - That does it for me. I will go for the Milwaukee instead of the Porter Cable. I cannot believe that PC is not all over this and taking care of the problem itself and also the customers of these problem units. If they do not it is going to cost them considerably in lost sales, of routers anyway.

Terre Hooks
06-10-2005, 12:27 PM
Keith, have you contacted Porter-Cable about this?

BTW, I'm not in any manner defending Porter-Cable on this. It is funny to see how well this 'Globalization' thing is defended when it is NOT affecting that person defending it. When minor problems show up (such as a $250 router not living up to it's prior 15+ year track record) from something that has recently seen manufacturing site changes, it is all of the sudden a major internet Forum headline.

What I do know is that when the PC tools were soley manufactuered in Jackson, TN, you didn't hear very much about them regarding trouble. Certainly not about the 690, 7518, 333, etc. Now that there is some uncertaintity about the whereabouts the tools are manufactured, when the bearings go out on something "in a manner of minutes", it is because they are using "cheap" parts. Isn't that what everybody is screaming for? The CEO's say we are.

I have a theory about all of this "Globalization" of things, atleast in the small power tool market-

It is going to take a few years for the tool manufacturers that have rushed to a Country where inexpensive labor is available, and along with this, less expensive parts. Those of us that are not niave know you get what you pay for. Companies like Festool and other high-quality European tool manufacturers and what's left in the US will prosper, IMO. People are going to tire of the "throw-away" tools quickly. They will bite the bullet, buy a tool from a high-quality manufacturer, and be done. Thus, leaving the company that "wanted to compete in the Global market" with shelves full of tools that many folks do not want, nor do not need (because they have something that is lasting).

Whew...I'm done. I think I'm gonna go get my German made chainsaw, put some US refined fuel in it, and cut down that US grown Cherry tree the farmer down the road wants gone. It has 4 decent sized US grown burls on it, about the size of the average passenger car tire.

Dev Emch
06-10-2005, 12:31 PM
I dont think PC cares. It is still unclear what the buy out by black and decker means to both delta and porter cable. I find it hard to swallow that one central company will allow two competing product lines to canibilize each other on the show room floor. Either Dewalt or Porter Cable will need to cut back and eliminate market overlap. In seeing one of the newer 2+ HP routers that PC recently released, I noticed that the base was niether polished nor powder coated. It was a rough aluminium gray finish. Now I dont know if this was an anomoly or if this is how PC plans to finish new tools. It was however troublesome. It will be interesting to see what management finally decides to do with the Porter Cable namesake.

A similar argument can be made for Delta as they are in the same pickle.

Milwaukee was bought out by a german firm or the other way around. I forget which. But you can tell which tools are made in milwaukee and which are made in germany. For example on the hammer drill, you will notice either a red and black or red-gray-black paint job. Those are german. If its only red-gray, those are milwaukee. In either case, I found the quality outstanding and often check big red first these days. Its just that they have never been huge players in the hand held router business until recently.

Keith Outten
06-10-2005, 12:56 PM

Visit the ShopBot Forum and read the thread concerninig PC 7518 routers. The problem has been reported to Porter Cable and it definately involves a change in the bearings that have been used for years in this model. Part of the concern involves the bearings seals as well.

Allen Bookout
06-10-2005, 1:37 PM
Thanks to all of the people on the forums I did not make a major mistake and buy from a previously good company that dicided to go cheap for more profit. This will also hurt excellent companies with top notch products such as Benchdog.

I do not mind paying more for good products, mostly USA, Canada and Europe, as it will be cheaper in the long run. Plus they deserve the profit for their decision to stay with quality.

Thanks to all!!! Allen