wtnhighlander

Hitachi Router Kit

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I received a Hitachi KM12VC Router kit as an early Christmas gift, so I caould complete some other Christmas gifts.

Several of you expressed an interest, so I thought I'd  share my thoughts on this kit, now that I've used it a bit.
This kit retails for $179 US dollars.

[ What's in the box ]

This kit includes a 2.25 horsepower motor, with speeds variable between 8000 and 24000 rpm. There is also a fixed base, a plunge base, an extra baseplate, collets for 1/4" and 1/2" shank bits, a 7-piece guide bushing set, a centering tool, collet wrenches, screws for attaching accessories, and user guide. The kit comes in a typical blow-molded plastic case, with niches for each of the pieces. Naturally, after initial unpacking, none of the smaller parts will stay in place when the lid is closed, so there are always loose pieces floating around inside.

[ Build quality - motor ]

The motor construction is solid, with aluminum body, and plastic top housing. The motor brushes have external access ports for easy replacement. The top housing is flat, making it simple to invert the tool for bit changes. Power is controlled by a toggle switch, which is recessed into the top housing to prevent accidental operation. The speed control dial is similarly positioned in the top housing, and includes engraved speed settings from 1 to 6, although the speed control is infinitely variable, not stepped. Neither the power switch nor the speed control can be operated with both hands on the grips. The power cord is about 8 feet or 2 meters long.

[ Fit & finish - fixed base ]

The fixed base is constructed of aluminum, and employs a typical spiral groove, engaging a pin, to allow bit depth adjustment. The locking lever is sturdy and adjustable. The molded plastic grips are reasonably comfortable, and positioned to allow good control of the tool.

[ Fit & finish - plunge base ]

The plunge base is also constructed of aluminum, with molded plastic grips. The plunge mechanism includes a depth stop turret for quickly switching between up to 3 plunge depths. There is also a height adjustment to limit unnecessary upward travel. The release lever can be operated by the fingers of one hand while retaining hold on the grip, but the lever was quite stiff out of the box. The plunge return springs are likewise stiff, and require noticable effort to depress. Both the lever and plunge return springs seem to be loosening up with a bit of use, making it easire to operate. The plunge mechanism slides smoothly, however.

Note that both bases have holes intended for the rods of an edge guide, although the edge guide isn't included in the kit.


[ Dust extraction ]

There are no provisions for attaching any sort of vacuum to either base. An optional dust collection attachment is available for purchase seperately, but is not stocked at the retail store where this unit was purchased.

[ Accessory functions & quality ]

The base plates are made of clear plastic. This does seem to aid visibility of the bit, and allow the user to see layout lines through the plastic. The default plates in each base include screw inserts to accept an adjustable metal ring, designed to hold guide bushings. The adjustablility allows the bushing to be properly centered on the bit, using the supplied centering tool.  The 'spare' base plate is oversized, and flattened on one side. This plate does NOT accept guide bushings.


The guide bushings are made of a steel alloy, not the typical brass or aluminum. The baseplate will accept common brass guide bushings, however. The included set has bushings of 5/16", 3/8", 7/16", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4", and 51/64" outside diameter.
The collet wrenches are of typical stamped steel construction. The tool does not include a spindle lock, so two wrenches are required.
Aside from the dust collection accessory, the user guide also lists a "straight guide set" ( or edge guide ) available for seperate purchase.


[ Wrap up ]

In my opinion, this is a good tool for the listed price. Hitachi could have increased to value of the kit considerably by including the dust collection attachment.
The motor has plenty of power, the speed adjustment is smooth, and the start / stop function is 'soft', so that the machine doesn't torque out of your grip as it accelerates.

A comparable kit is the Dewalt DW618PKB @ $199 retail. The Dewalt does have a collet lock, and dust collection in the plunge base, but the Hitachi has a deeper plunge stroke (NOTE* the plunge stroke I found listed for the Dewalt router is different on Dewalt's web site, vs. Lowe's site. The Dewalt site listing is 2.5" vs. the Hitachi 2.6", whereas the Lowes site listed 1.75") . The Dewalt (as seen in-store) also has a rounded top, and can not be inverted for bit changes. The current listing on Dewalt's site appear to have a flat top.

Another comparable kit is the Bosh MRC23EVSK, listed at $299. The Bosh does put the power and speed control within reach while still holding both grips, and has a flat top, but does not include dust collection attachments. Again, the retail site listed a plunge depth of 1.75" for this tool, whereas the Bosch web sites states it as 3". Also, the Bosch unit lists a higher operating RPM than the Hitachi or Dewalt. 10000-25000 RPM (Bosch) vs. 8000-24000 (Hitachi & Dewalt)

Overall, I can recommend the Hitachi kit as a good value.  If budget is not your deciding factor, I would conside the Dewalt as a good choice, but the Hitachi is somewhat lighter, which may help in hand-held operations.  I did not see any compelling features of the Bosch unit to indicate a good value at $100 more.

 

I might try a video review, if anyone is interested in seeing hte router in action. And provided I can cobble up a decent way to shoot video.

 

 

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Great review Ross.

Are the guide bushes pretty concentric to the motor shaft when fitted to the plunge base?

Is there any relative play in the plunge base shafts to the slide bearings?

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Great review Ross.

Are the guide bushes pretty concentric to the motor shaft when fitted to the plunge base?

Is there any relative play in the plunge base shafts to the slide bearings?

Terry, I didn't put calipers to it, but there isn't any play that I can feel in the plunge mechanism. As for the bushings, they seem to be quite round, and the ring they fit into is adjustable for centering. The included centering pin is not conical, like others I have seen. It has a 1/2" shank to fit the collet, and a 1/4" or so post that fits snugly into one of the bushings.

Very good review Ross. I want one of these routers now lol.

Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk

Only $179 USD. That's like, $500 Canadian, right?

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Great review Ross. Are the guide bushes pretty concentric to the motor shaft when fitted to the plunge base?

Is there any relative play in the plunge base shafts to the slide bearings?

Terry, I didn't put calipers to it, but there isn't any play that I can feel in the plunge mechanism. As for the bushings, they seem to be quite round, and the ring they fit into is adjustable for centering. The included centering pin is not conical, like others I have seen. It has a 1/2" shank to fit the collet, and a 1/4" or so post that fits snugly into one of the bushings.

Very good review Ross. I want one of these routers now lol.Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk

Only $179 USD. That's like, $500 Canadian, right?

Ya right around there. Especially once you pay the 15% sales tax....

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On ‎1‎/‎5‎/‎2016 at 4:09 PM, shaneymack said:

Very good review Ross. I want one of these routers now lol.

Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk

It does have green, so it might fit in your shop :)

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Good review. I have had one if those for several years and love it. A great machine.

Tip: don't loan it to one of your sons-in-law as he will lose the plunge base. Trust me on this one.

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