Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring #84: Harbor Freight's DrillMaster 2 HP Fixed Base Router Fix

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Blog entry by retired_guru posted 11-22-2016 11:08 PM 2194 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 83: The Dungeon Workshop - Scroll Saw Table Part 84 of Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring series Part 85: Joiners Mallet »

Last year I picked up the DrillMaster #68341 Fixed Base Router at a Harbor Freight store. With the workshop in such disarray at the time, it got put away and forgotten. Months later I found it and checked it out. Like many have complained, the machining of the aluminum router body is dramatically undersized in comparison to the fixed base. When the clamp on the base is engaged, the router is pushed off center. Too much time had passed since I bought it, and on a $60.00 USD item I won’t pay for their extended warranty, so I put it away, writing it off as a poor purchase.

This summer I found the router, but couldn’t find all the accessories that came with it, especially the collets to work with bit shanks smaller than one-half inch. After some frustrating searching, I put it away for the second time. Today I had this notion that I would again look for the collets and see if I could resolve the centering problem with the fixed base.

The basic idea I had was to remove the sloppy fit by applying layers of painters blue tape to the inside of the base until the base would snuggly screw onto the router body with the clamp fully open and relaxed. Four layers of tape were needed to achieve this and the fit is good enough that there is no longer any play between the base and router with the clamp open. Cinched down, there is barely any compression of the base at the clamp.

The next step was to remove the three base plate screws and rotate the plate until I found the best choice that centered the chuck. Slightly elongating the holes on the plastic base plate allowed for fine tuning. Since I don’t have any template guides for this router, I used the largest 1/4” shank bit I had to help in centering. The carbide cutting edges happen to just fit within the recess are for the template guide. Moving the plate around until I the chuck was centered, then cinching down the screws, completed the fix.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

2 comments so far

View ralbuck's profile


6541 posts in 3036 days

#1 posted 11-23-2016 01:12 AM

Good thinking; great repair/modification!

Sometimes easy repairs work very well. Nice repair and now it will probably be a good friend to you.

Somehow I seem to modify a lot of the tools that I buy. Even the expensive ones seem to need a tuning.

My Jet 6 by 48” belt sander that I have had about 6 years finally had a new (never had one ) bottom boot made by me from scrap plastic that was a dumpster find. The heat gun shrank it for a better fit to the base. Now the Dust system that it hooks too does much better.

-- Wood rescue is good for the environment and me! just rjR

View retired_guru's profile


838 posts in 2129 days

#2 posted 11-23-2016 03:45 AM

Thanks, rjR. I know what you mean. I’ve had to ‘fix’ and modify to suit my needs much of what I own, regardless of brand name. I wish I could brag about 100% success. ;) I suppose, as a tinker, I wouldn’t have it any other way. As long as I have time to actually make something with these ‘fixed’ tools.

-- -- Paul: jack of all dreams, a master none.

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