DeWalt has done a splendid job building and outfitting the 618PK routers. The plunge/fixed base combination is loaded with convenience, comfort, and friendliness. The plunger (6182) is as sweet as the ever popular and aging 621 whilst the fixed base (618K) is a long overdue and welcome 610 replacement. The electronics of the quiet VS/soft-start motor are excellent. The motor is very responsive, powerful, nicely finished, burr free and well styled. The v.s. control is protected from an accidental twist, handy in the fixed base casting but hard to get at, nestled beside the bellow on the left tube of the plunge casting. The toggle switch is always on the right in the plunger but can be either right or left handed in the fixed base. I cannot read the on or off location from a few feet away. Nevertheless, with a detachable cord set at the motor (!) this is less of a safety issue. The socket (motor end) of the wire, twist locks on the motor pack for safety, easy storage and convenience, a DeWalt exclusive and most appreciated by this tech.
The well styled 7.2 pound fixed base (618K) is a great hand router. Its motor adjusts (up/down) quickly with a plastic ring. There is some .030-.050" of slop in the depth ring system so hitting target depth is a cut and iterate proposition. The ring works well upside down or right side up and lifts the motor ~2". The motor clamp and its hardware are substantial and permit an easy motor transfer to the plunge casting. The router rests well upside down on its large motor cap. This is also true of the plunger but the vac-nozzle must be removed first. The 618 can be used for light work in a router table.
The plunger (6182) is way above average. The plunge glide is excellent and the springs near buoyant. There is 2-9/32" of plunge travel with my sample. The tool has no upstop and I have removed the down stop turret on mine. The Spartan pencil stop has a micro adjust screw at its end. I put a brass screw through the barrel of mine to make sure it won't spin whilst routing. The motor lock is not spring loaded. Both the plunge and fixed base routers are very ergonomic, handsome, and fun to use. I like these tools.
The plunge casting is truncated (3-1/4" of straight section) and chambered for chip collection up the larger plunge tube (like the 621). Part of the big plunge tube receiver resides outside of the 6" base casting and may bump into clamp down guides and such. The centerline of the plunge tube's axis resides some 5/8" behind the spindle axis rendering the machine slightly tippy in the normal direction of travel. The truncation makes it easier to tip over in that direction as well but my 360 degree x 7-5/8" round subbase will stabilize the booger in all directions. Moreover, my subbase is outside of the large plunge boss on the base casting.
The bottom faces of both the plunge and fixed base castings have been machined but the castings rock (teeter) slightly on my granite surface plate. Neither the faces nor the edges of the bottom of the castings have been well deburred on my sample. If you carelessly handle the castings without subbases, the burrs can cut you.
The collet nut is small enough to enter the DW/PC collar guide, a real benefit for templet work. The spindle lock and one wrench, in my view, do not provide enough leverage or grip to adequately tighten the collet. (This is not a DeWalt exclusive.) Fortunately, the spindle nut can be secured handily with a 610 (3/4") stamped wrench. 2 wrenches will supply all the leverage needed.
DeWalt is first in line here with a tough transparent polycarbonate (PC) subbase. The PC plate is much flatter than the thermally formed black bakelite. No other router is supplied with a similar plate. The plates are not interchangeable (nor need they be) between the 2 castings but my round plates are. A 3rd (DW) plate with an oversized (2-1/2") hole is also part of the package. In my view, that cutter hole is too big and this motor should not be used with cutters >1-3/4" in diameter or length. And, as is the case with all routers, this one is teetery along the edge of stock without an offset subbase. Make a purchase? Click here
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Copyright © 2009 Pat Warner
Last modified: Thu Aug 18 07:17:12 PDT 2005