About a year or so ago, Woodpeckers stopped making aluminium router plate inserts to making plastic ones. There was a cost saving, and also a durability gain (the plastic ones don’t become potentially unusable if dropped on a hard shed floor).
However, I must admit a personal regret about the decision to abandon the aluminium inserts. They looked the part (anodised aluminium), and just had a good feel. The main reason though, was on the occasion that I did want to remove the router from the table, I found I would do so by lifting from the centre. That worked well with the aluminium rings, but the newer plastic ones are not strong enough.
All is not lost – as part of their One-Time tools, Woodpeckers has decided to produce a limited run of their aluminium insert rings.
Of course, if you don’t have a router table that can fit these rings, you may want to consider the associated router table inserts – whether that be the phenolic plate,
the aluminium one, or the granddaddy – the Woodpecker Uni-lift
FWIW, in each photo of the plate/uni-lift, you can see the newer plastic insert. Compare that to the first photo of the aluminium set, and you can see why I significantly prefer even the aesthetic of the aluminium insert. Chalk and cheese, on form and function.
While looking into it, check out the anodised aluminium woodworking rules. Solid, straight, with laser engraved markings. Normally available in 300mm, 600mm and 900mm lengths, there is a limited version, a Woodpeckers “One-Time” version that is 1200mm for those who need the extra length of a quality rule.
These all can be used with the new Woodpeckers Rule Stop, which adds even more functionality to an already quality product.