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Thread: New Incra router lift, no router. What to do?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    New Incra router lift, no router. What to do?

    My old homebrew saw/ router table was falling apart and I was tired of crawling on the floor to make awkward adjustments to the plunge router attached to it, so I decided it was time for a big upgrade. After a lot of research I opted for the Incra Mast-r-lift II with the intention of installing a Milwaukee 5625 router in it. No problem, right, especially since Incra presented the opportunity of buying them as a bundle on their web site. Well, they are backordered everywhere. Grizzly listed them as in stock, I phoned to confirm and was assured they were ready to ship, placed the order and found out a week later they were on back order. Grrr. Then their alternative facts department told be it would ship by today. Today it's back-ordered until May.

    There's a silver lining-- in the fine print on the Incra web site it says that the Milwaukee router won't work with the metric version of their lift, which is what I installed. Whaaat? The only thing that needs to be different between an Imperial and metric version of the lift is the engraving on the top that tells you how far the router has moved. How can they be incompatible?

    Ok, so alternatives. The obvious one, the classic PC Speedmatic has been discontinued and is only available on the black market for absurd amounts of money. The Bora Portamate has terrible reviews overall with a full third of reviewers complaining of vibration and runout. The JessEm Powertek motor also has decidedly mixed reviews (and seems to be out of stock everywhere) The AUKTools Mk II looks pretty promising (especially since it can be ordered with a remote speed controller), but has to be ordered from the UK and I've never heard of it nor know of no one who has. The rest of their list of compatible routers are either much smaller 2 hp models or are brands that disappeared some time in the last decade.

    So this is a bit of a rant, sorry. I no longer have a functional router table, having replaced my table and installed the lift. I need to do something. Is the 3+ HP fixed base router a thing of the past? I run some pretty big bits in the table and think the added power is useful, the Bosch plunge router I've been using is a 3.5 HP, but of course won't fit the lift. Any other alternatives?

    It's frustrating when something you hadn't anticipated to be hard turns out to be.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Tampa Bay, FL
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    All I have to say is Wow, and sorry to hear that.

    For me a want, not a need was to upgrade my Festool TS55 to a TS75. Nowhere to be found, and Festools official date to get one is August. Now I'm lucky, I don't need this, but still.

    Any better luck finding used for now? Can probably sell it for an inflated price once something new comes available. Or just keep it.
    - Its not that Im so smart, its just that I stay with problems longer. Albert Einstein
    - Welcome to Florida. Where the old folks visit their parents

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    I think MCLS has a bare router motor similar to the PortaMate available. Honestly, I think you're going to just use a dart board to choose and buy at this point.

    And I cannot for the life of me understand why the Milwaukee motor will not work for the metric version of the lift you bought. Can you get clarification from Incra what the actual issue is?
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #4
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    Yes, I'm going to call them on Monday. Their customer service folks have been great so far. The web site says "Stay tuned" after the warning that it doesn't fit, so they apparently have something in the works.

    I would have thought with all the CNC machines out there that suitable router motors of this size and type would now be commonplace.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Fort Wayne, IN
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    Roger,

    I'm kind of in the same situation. Just upgraded my router table, table top and lift. I'm looking to put the Milwaukee in it, but as you note there aren't any anywhere. For the time being I'm using a Dewalt 618 in the table until the Milwaukee is available. It's 2 1/4 hp but my old table used a 2 1/4 PC and I never had a problem with it. It handled panel raising bits on down. If you can find one of those (which might be just as difficult) it would let you bridge until the Milwaukee is in stock and then use the Dewalt for hand held.

    Cliff
    The problem with the world is that intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.
    Charles Bukowski

  6. #6
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    Feb 2009
    Location
    Cedar Park, TX - Boulder Creek, CA
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    I was looking at that a couple weeks ago. The compatibility list shows all the same routers for both, other than the 5625. Made no sense to me at all. I kind of assumed it was a typo that hadn't been caught and fixed.

    I also found only 1 dealer that had stock on it. And now none, as you've found. Bummer.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2009
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    Milwaukee must be having supply chain issues. I have tried to find a couple different Milwaukee tools and they were back ordered. Yah, I know - my name is Captain Obvious.

  8. #8
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    Heading towards a happy ending on this. Called Incra customer service and they had several suggestions. At the end the one that made the most sense was to return the metric table and replace it with an imperial one. Turns out the incompatibility is introduced because the metric one has holes drilled and tapped for some European routers and those holes overlapped with the ones needed for the Milwaukee. At the time they designed it their default "big" router was the PC, and there was no issue. So a redesign is in process that will accommodate the Milwaukee, but not immediately. Incra just receives a shipment of several hundred routers, so at the moment they are in stock there.

    Turns out the graduation on the dial for the Imperial version is in 0.05 mm increments, so I can basically have my cake and eat it too.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2021
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    For anyone looking for a 3 HP router motor, I had a back order for the PC version at Summit Racing that was going to get filled. You might try there.

    I ended up cancelling it when the Bora motor shipped since I'm cheap. The Bora motor has been great so far no matter how much I try to bog it down

  10. #10
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    Sep 2008
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    N. Idaho
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    Hi all,

    I'm on the cusp of ordering a mastr lift 2 as well and am stuck on the issue as Roger--wanting a good motor but also wanting metric and the Milwaukee is the only one with a decent reputation at this stage. Roger, how did it work out with the english version?

    To anyone one else, there are now two versions of the Bora motor-any experience with either, especially the new one?

    Based on reviews, seems like a crap shot with all the routers these days (including the Milwaukee)-either you get a good unit. Or you don't...


    Thanks
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  11. #11
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    Sep 2013
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    Wayland, MA
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    I've been thrilled with this combination (Incra plus Milwaukee router) I also sprang for their chip collection hood that mounts under the table and it too has been a pleasure. I've got effective dust collection at the router table for the first time ever and I'm loving it. You need the throat guards with the holes in them for it to work. I know I could have built something but this is slick with almost no effort.

    Aside from the hole spacing for european routers the only difference between them is them is the calibration and label on the crank. On one one turn gives you a millimeter, on the other you get a 64th, or something like that. A difference that matters not at all to me, as I use a digtal height gauge (set in mm) to set the bit height in any event.

    Basically couldn't be happier; using the router table a lot more than I used to.

  12. #12
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    Glad things worked out for you. I've had that big Milwaukee for a few years and am very happy with it. It's a pleasure to use as a hand held as well.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
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    Alaska
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    Curious if anyone other than myself are noticing dust accumulation on the height adjustment screw that makes it difficult to raise? I keep a wire brush handy to clean the threads, but it just seems to catch dust way to easy. I've been thinking about what I can do to reduce this. Any thoughts?

    Other than the above, the Incra lift has been working out very well for me. I have the large PC motor.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Drew View Post
    Curious if anyone other than myself are noticing dust accumulation on the height adjustment screw that makes it difficult to raise? .
    Michael, I have exactly the same problem as you describe, where fine dust accumulates on the adjustment screw. My only solution to date was to remove the lift from the table and use a brass brush to remove the fine dust from the screw.

  15. #15
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    Haven't noticed that problem, perhaps a side benefit of aggressive dust/chip collection from under the table?

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