Porter Cable is recognized as the industry leader in power tools and specifically, routers, which are one of the reasons that I elected to, purchase the 693 Router Kit. My experience has not been in keeping with expectations. Upgrading to a PC 693 a few months ago I found it necessary to return the router kit the next day due to the guide rod rubbing the bushings and making a noise like a Wood Guiro. Not a noise that I would expect a well made plunge router base to make. Rockler exchanged it with no problems.
Today finds me even more perplexed than I was a few months ago. I do not expect any company to be able to produce a perfect product, but hope that a company’s customer service will more than compensate for the instances when a problem arises. Unfortunately, I have found that contacting Porter Cable’s customer service to be of no help and in fact dissuades me from considering Porter Cable products in the future.
The fixed base portion of the router kit that I purchased has been put to good use, but I have not been able to use the plunge base. A couple of months ago I decided to use the plunge base on a door along with my Porter Cable Hinge Butt Template Kit. I installed the bit, set the plunge base up and turned on the router to get started. Much to my surprise, the bit contacted the guide. Not being an “Expert” with a router I surmised that it was my fault and that I needed to take more time to familiarize myself with the plunge base.
This past week I was working on solid wood French Doors and needed to route the bolt into the top of the fixed door. Thinking the plunge base should work great for this operation; I affixed the template to the door and set the plunge base up for the various depths needed and installed a ½” mortise bit with a ½” shank and the appropriate guide. When the router was turned on the bit contacted the guide as it was plunged and a new bit was destroyed along with the guide being damaged.
The guide can be adjusted, but only minimally. Here is what the clearance looks like (not to scale) when that is done and the bit moves along the guide as it is plunged:
I contacted Porter Cable Service Center at: 888-848-5175 and spoke to a young man who gave me the following information:
“I don’t get calls like this often, but about 2 out of every 100 units have this problem. Try loosening the screws on the base and adjusting the base to try and center the bit.”
The screws holes on the base are countersunk and therefore do not provide any means of adjustment. A misaligned motor / base assembly gives rise to potential catastrophes: Damaged Material, Damaged Tools, and Injuries from Bits and/or Guides that explode under dynamic forces, etc.
It took numerous phone calls and a fax to PC upper management
PC Product Manager stated that the fixed base is placed into a jig and the base and motor aligned as the final step in the manufacturing process. However, the plunge base is not checked with the router motor when it is placed into the kit.
What am I missing here?