Alternative Routers - Non US Options

A few people have mentioned they need alternatives with the Maslow4, and I mentioned to @bar about a couple of options about using either the Makita RTC series (corded or cordless) or the clones

The issue is then DeWalt has a 69mm body and the Makita / clone has a 65mm body. One discussion was to use a 2mm ABS shim, formed to fit the body of the router which would fill the gap. Benefit is that it’s ABS so will probably deform less when the body gets warm but this is a minor issue.

For those in the UK (or anywhere with 68mm down pipes) there is another option as below

This is standard 68mm downpipe (held in place with some packing tape) just split down the side with a saw and it comes out at 68.90mm which should be well within tolerance of the setup on the Maslow4 sled

I’ve also ordered some ABS and a cheap clone from eBay to see if the same works, should give options for those not able to get the Dewalt at a reasonable price


As someone in the US who is heavily invested in the Makita handhelds, sleeve shimming is going to be important for me. Thanks for the idea!


I said it before and I’ll say it again…this is absolutely brilliant. Thanks for the pictures and the confirmation that it seems to work.


@bar the cheap clone turned up today from eBay - for £15/$18 it was the cheapest I could find.

Makita clone

So out of the box it is quiet which surprised me…! There is no discernible end movement in the spindle, and it comes with 3 spare sets of carbon brushes ! Very little run out with a 6mm straight cut bit mounted.

Downsides are that it is single speed - 35k or so and a standard 1/4” or 6.35mm collet, is also a top mounted switch and cable outlet but the position of the screws on the case may give options for adding some sort of bracket for the electronics, and there is no spindle lock so it’s a pair of spanner’s to change the bits.

It also fits the cheap downpipe collar, with a final diameter of 68.45mm so happy days…!

At that price point I may even consider not changing bits but changing the whole unit for a bit change and making a jig that sets the bits at the right height on the bench.


If you plan on doing a router swap instead of bit changes I would consider using a zero plate. You may find that re-zeroing after the swap will be necessary as the slight manufacturing differences between the routers may be enough to cause an error in Z.

I tried this with the Rigid router on my old Maslow and there was enough error introduced after the swap that I pretty much always had to re-zero.

Agree that a zeroing will be needed but it’s more to get the close approximation without having to mess about with spanners etc under the belt carriers - easier to sort the Z axis than have to start potentially messing around with the X-Y axis too. Need to see how they perform under load first.

agreed. swapping the router and a quick zero is a smoother operation. i was thinking about your suggestion of using a gauge to set the bit. that will work fine if you use the same router (i do this the most).


I got the same one…

Tbh - it’s not bad quality.

Sure it’s single speed, and there’s no spindle lock - but it’s £15… It seems to work just fine…

The accessories are a bit flakey, but we’re not using them… Just the spindle.

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it’s not gonna work that good because the brushes are gonna wear out 2 to 3x faster than if you got a slower running router. Sure you can replace the brushes, but the motor contacts will eventually get messed up. spend the money to get a router that can slow down to 10K and avoid the frustration. in the end it will cost less.

They come with 3 sets of brushes, so even if they used a set every 30 hours, that’s 120 hours use. At £15, it’s 10 times cheaper than the cheapest brushless unit, and 4 times cheaper than the cheapest variable speed one (brushed…) and I doubt I’ll be using 5-600 hours of cutting time doing what I do …?

It will be 9/12mm ply, decent small and fast upcut spiral bits and a decent feed rate - can’t see what benefit for a hobby it is to pay loads more for another expensive router …? I have the Makita but don’t really want to tie it up on this sort of thing.

Exactly… Besides… You can always add an external speed controller if you want… Only a few pounds…

Smaller bits need faster speeds anyway…

Just change to a single point cutter - just like the plastics guys use… That with the increased speed of the M4 should be good

the problem with these types of controllers is they mess with the on-board router speed controller. The net effect is that the router looses its ability to maintain a constant speed as the onboard microprocessor is looking for a constant input voltage. There are numerous forum posts over the last several years that cover this topic.

Actual mileage may vary but I have hundreds of hours on my makita trim routers and have never had to replace brushes. Same for my full sized rigid routers.

Just check the brushes periodically and its generally not even an issue.

Not at all… We are talking about cheap routers without soft start, speed control, etc… That’s why we are talking about external speed controllers - they don’t have speed controlers built in.

the single-speed routers seldom have an on-board controller.

these external controllers work by adjusting the power to the router, which
slows it down, but also means that it’s speed is actually variable, depending on
the cutting load.

routers with an electronic speed controller (especially ones with a bruchless
motor) adjust the power to maintain the desired speed.

David Lang

correct but i was pointing out the issue that people who use the routers with speed control usually have when they try to use an external speed controller to try and reduce the speed. Comment was out of context for this conversation but important in case anyone else gets an idea

the benefit is cleaner edges and router bits that last longer because they aren’t being run 3x faster than needed. Hope it works out for you, but cheap motors often burn through brushes faster than one expects.

@bar just coming back to this - do you have an STL for the PCB holder that I could get hold of and see if I can modify it to fit the Makita/Fake-ita type clones…? Assume there was something when you were prototyping …?

Happy for it to be sent direct and will not be shared / used for nefarious purposes and will make the updates fully open source when I’ve had a play (assuming I can actually make it work …!)

PCB Holder(4).stl (449.2 KB)

I hope this helps. It clips directly into the fins on the top of the router so you should just have to adjust the size and shape of that part. I’m going to release all the files under CC-BY so feel free to use it how you would like.

I’d like to offer an official Makita conversion option in the not too distant future because it’s commonly requested :slight_smile:

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Thanks @bar

The Makita is relatively simple as all the vanes are straight - I’ll also see what I can do with some of the clones such as the MT-370 which has far fewer cooling slots !