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"Small" item, big grunt, bigger price.

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Review by LittleBlackDuck posted 05-12-2020 08:27 AM 801 views 1 time favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
"Small" item, big grunt, bigger price. "Small" item, big grunt, bigger price. "Small" item, big grunt, bigger price. Click the pictures to enlarge them

Boys and Girls,

Recently I made a box for my new Milwaukee trimmer and hacked together a video on using my Frontline Clamps for making the panels for the box. I thought that to give closure to the topic I should write up some kind of review on the trimmer.

To spare some people the pain of reading (ugh), most will pull the ripcord when I mention the cost of $365 (Aust) for just the skin…. BYE… BYe… Bye… bye… by… b… … Anyone still there?

When I first read a review about this trimmer I “freaked” at the cost and fobbed it off as a don’t need… It may still be in the don’t absolutely need category but I am eternally grateful to the now have status.

It was an impromptu purchase as a present to myself after some good news from my cardiologist. I was browsing through one of our local tool shops when I made enquiries about that bloody expensive trimmer I read about… The salesperson hadn’t even heard of them and after closely searching the shelves and shop floor, it was proudly displayed in a “new items” pile. We were both enthused about it’s specifications and after some basic RTFM and Googling together, I walked out of the shop nearly $600 poorer… I also purchased the separate plunge base and offset base… the latter was probably due to my cardio medication as I had no idea what it for and how to use it.

If anyone is still left out there, here is the review…. But first I had to find a Milwaukee battery in my workshop… at least I didn’t have to charge it as with most new cordless tools.

It had the feel of a solid construction and was surprisingly heavy for such a small item. The primary thing that impressed me was the depth adjustment mechanism… I will fess up, this was the feature that compelled me to make the purchase. Instead of the common rack and pinion mechanism,

this trimmer had a locking lever (1) that when loosened permitted free movement up and down by the press of a button (2),

When the approximate depth was reached, it could be fine tuned by the use of a micro adjustment knob (3)… no more missing the mark and having to back up, only to miss the mark and back down etc.. etc..

Variable speed had a good range and the electronic brake was an unexpected surprise.

It had a spindle lock that made colette loosening a breeze, however, bit replacement proved to be an absolute pain in the arse… a big fat arse… no other way to describe it. With the colette attached to the trimmer I could not force a bit into it. During the video I made of this operation, I wasted hundreds of footage and re-recorded several times as the profanity I mouthed was too rich even for potty-mouthed me.

Late breaking reprieve for the trimmer… Went down to TotalTools (where I bought it) and did a total Kevin (male equivalent of a Karen) and when we RTFB (the Box…) it turned out that the trimmer came with a ¼” and a 6mm colettes… and donkey butt was using the 6mm for a ¼” shanked router bit. There was a small reference in the manual,

Back in the good books (all my extra abusive photos and workarounds were henceforth scrapped), the standard base had a very efficient dust hood,

over 95% capture.
Re-engraved the box base accordingly,

The plunger base

had a simple locking lever (1). I was initially disappointed in not being able to deploy the micro adjuster, however, it turned out that there was a micro adjuster at the end of the depth gauge rod,

Again got disappointed by the plunge return until I discovered I had to fully depress the plunge lever for smooth upward movement. Partial movement of the depth lever still permitted smooth plunge operation.
On my test “cut”, the supplied dust hood


only collected about 60% of the shavings, however, that probably would have improved if I used the included smaller hole diameter perspex base,

The base comes with its own edge guide with a micro adjustment knob… love it!

Now we get a chance to delve into the unknown… the offset base, which raises two questions,
  1. WTF is an offset base?
  2. WTF do you use it for?

After Googling offset base I got an inkling for what it might be used on…

Imagine trying to rout the edge of this piece,

with a standard trimmer base (actually less than half the diameter). The offset base provides a greater surface to rest the bulk of the trimmer on the job.
To attach the offset base to the trimmer body, the colette must be replaced by this transfer bit,


that gets located into a square “key hole”,


To change the bit you need to lock the spindle using the supplied 3mm hex key and use the supplied wrench

The wiggle room for the wrench is limited so tightening the colette was a pain.

The depth of the bit is adjusted by the use of a grub screw in the spindle using the 3mm hex key,

Unfortunately there is insufficient hole size in the base to permit larger bits,

and even some of the smaller sized bits bottom out,

Choose the right bit and you can do some trimming, for what it was primarily designed for

One of the questions that I continually ask is what were developers smoking when they designed dust collection ports (this applies to all brands of tools)… Must have been bloody good quality.
The trimmer and plunge base accessory comes with 2 different hoods that have different sized ports… WHY???
This hose fits one of the ports,

but not the other,

The Universal Rockler hose fits one but has to be jammed onto the other… at least it can be persuaded to sock from both ports, under duress.

In conclusion it is a trimmer that I would rate as either a great smaller router or heavy duty trimmer… It’s only the price and those crappy dust ports that stops my blowout score at 5.

I have made a crappy video of it in action, however, it was only on scrap MDF and a token soft pine board… If you bother to watch the video, you’ll notice my frustration of trying to fit a ¼” bit into a 6mm colette… but I did it

Admittedly, I was so impressed with this trimmer, that after reading this draft 2 times, I was tempted to buy 2 more of the same Milwaukee trimmers…

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD




View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

4490 posts in 1558 days



10 comments so far

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

7089 posts in 2941 days


#1 posted 05-12-2020 08:55 AM

Yeah I have been caught with the influx of nonstandard 1/2 and 1/4 inch collets and router bits.

It appears we have our CNC friends to thank for this annoying phemomen as they have a set of collets from about 3mm up to possibly bigger than 1/2 inch.

So its not a problem for them, however bloody annoying when the router bit comes out doing 20K rpm.

Bazzing!!

6mm and 1/4 ” has about .4mm difference a 1/4 bit will not normally fit in a 6mm collet, but I see you managed it.
A 6mm router bit will not clamp up successfully in a 1/4 collet.

So the solution is (if Possible) use your 1/2 collet with a 1/2 inch to 6mm adapter and the problem is solved.

I also see there is 5/16 or 8mm bits floating around too so be aware .

It does look like a good piece of kit and I may have to go check it out … another trimmer box duel coming up again!!

-- Regards Rob

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

4490 posts in 1558 days


#2 posted 05-12-2020 08:59 AM



So the soultion is (if Possible) use your 1/2 collet with a 1/2 inch to 6mm adapter and the problem is solved.
- robscastle

Thx for the suggestion rc, however, my trimmer has a max capacity of 1/4” and it’s relatively too new to drill it a new 1/2” hole…

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View pottz's profile

pottz

9490 posts in 1721 days


#3 posted 05-12-2020 02:23 PM

your taunting me again wit your toys duckie,you know im too weak to handle this kind of enticement.i have no milwaukee tools so this probably wont push me into it,but i have checked out dewalts which has as good or better rating and with that nice stimulus check from dear uncle donald i may go for one.thanks again!

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

4490 posts in 1558 days


#4 posted 05-13-2020 01:14 AM


... but i have checked out dewalts which has as good or better rating…
- pottz

Hey pottzy, I’m not saying you must get one to keep up with the ducks (or is it Joneses)...

Now that I have the Milwaukee, I’m not gonna go and buy a DeWalt just to compare… even for your edification, buddy!.
Being a new product, it may take some time for the review/comparrisons to percolate out.

Interesting observation while checking out the dewalt after your comment… the same guy said that this is the best trimmer I’ve ever used for both the MIlwaukee and the Dewalt… but then again he probably would recommend a blunt chisel and a rock if paid for it.

Looking at the DeWalt, the Milwaukee seems the better unit but its trimmer plunge base is about $100 cheaper… suprised it wasn’t coloured grey… the colour of dead dog shit!
How archaic not having a micro adjust on the guide fence…

PS. was pleasantly surprised the DeWalt sported a 8mm colette… I do have a shitload of 8mm router bits for my Leigh D4R.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View crowie's profile

crowie

3622 posts in 2688 days


#5 posted 05-14-2020 11:34 AM

Just a quick question Alex…
I have both a corded makita and corded bosch trim router;
one setup upside down on a table and the other freehand work.
What’s the power of the 18v milwaukee like in comparison to the corded tools please?

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

4490 posts in 1558 days


#6 posted 05-14-2020 03:32 PM



What s the power of the 18v milwaukee like in comparison to the corded tools please?
- crowie
Good... but I suppose you want more scientifics…

To test its power, I tried to stop a rotating 1/2” two fluted 1/4” shafted router bit with a gloved hand and couldn’t… Lucky I had the gloves on, however, leather might have worked better than those flimsy nitrile C19 protective gloves…

Nevertheless I’m guessing you don’t want to hear about my trip to the hospital and subsequent plastic surgery… The manual’s specs didn’t say anything about power other than 10K-31K RPM, however, some review quoted it at 1.25 HP… and I don’t have to feed it much hay.

I’m only answering you as I’m a nice guy and can still type with my left hand…

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View pottz's profile

pottz

9490 posts in 1721 days


#7 posted 05-14-2020 06:22 PM

now that’s scientific testing !

-- sawdust the bigger the pile the bigger my smile-larry,so cal.

View robscastle's profile

robscastle

7089 posts in 2941 days


#8 posted 05-18-2020 01:20 PM

-- Regards Rob

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

3667 posts in 1959 days


#9 posted 05-18-2020 03:35 PM



It was an impromptu purchase as a present to myself after some good news from my cardiologist….

You have a heart ?! 8^)

I love these posts about your new toys (and your uncontrollable impulse buying that saves us mere mortals the agony of a bad purchase).

Discovering the little doodads and features of a new toy is a joy, I bought the Bosch Colt kit on a whim years ago and am still discovering the usefulness of all the little attachments. My futzing with the offset base tracks with your experience, but alas no metric bits to mess with my addled brain 8^)

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LittleBlackDuck

4490 posts in 1558 days


#10 posted 05-18-2020 06:42 PM



... but alas no metric bits to mess with my addled brain 8^)
- splintergroup

I’ve tried imperialising in the past… but my old 12” calculator just refuses to divide in multiples of 1.2.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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