Had an interesting question the other day, and thought my response might be useful to others as well.
Hi Stuart. I just purchased a brand new TRA001 and have plans to fit it to my existing Woodpecker Unilft. Some feedback received from an online forum gave the following:
“You don’t need a Unilift.
There is no way to engage/lock the shaft if you can't raise the router up into the footplate. As the TRA001 router rises, a small rod is shoved into the spindle. The rod lives near the spindle, but it’s the action of the footplate moving up that slides it across.
Raising the Unilift may expose the shaft, but it doesn’t raise the router into its own footplate.
You can’t poke your finger in (or screwdriver) to manually engage the locking rod, nor is there a convenient hex nut on the spindle to use another spanner on.”
I know this as I was terribly excited to see the Unilift, but found all this out when I ran it all through my head. It is a brilliant bit of gear, but it seems more suited to routers that use two spanners to unlock the collet, or a Festool OF1400 (or similar) where you press the green switch to engage the lock.
I understand that you have installed a TRA001 to a Woodpecker Unilft. Was the TRA you fitted the newer model with the Micro winder or the earlier version . Did you encounter any issues in getting the router spindle lock to function correctly when fitted to the Unilift.
It is strictly true, sure. But written by someone who themselves does not own a Unilift with a Triton attached- I’d (almost) put money on it.
Firstly, to your question. The Triton I have well predates the through-table winder of the later models. And if I had started with one of those, I wouldn’t also have a Unilift. And I would have missed out on things because of it.
Being a Triton router owner, I know exactly what you mean about the collet locking mechanism btw.
When I want to change router bits, I go through the following steps:
1. Reach under the table and switch off the router (it is irrelevant whether I use a starter box or not, turning off at the router is a good safety step), and unlock the plunge lock.
2. Grab the macro-height adjuster, and with one quick turn, raise the router to full height, engaging the shaft lock.
3. If necessary, use the unilift handle to further raise the router so the collet is above the table.
4. Change router bits, using one spanner, one handed. Still no other router lets you do that, above the table as well!
5. Reach under the table, using the macro adjuster, drop the router enough to disengage the shaft lock, and engage the plunge lock.
6. Switch on the router, and choose a router speed (the router isn’t running, as I have the remote starter box)
7. Use the Unilift handle to finetune the height as required.
If you didn’t have the Unilift, you would pretty much do all the above steps as well, except for #3. So not a really big deal between them at this point, and I don’t find #3 is that big a deal.
So the Unilift hasn’t really lost you functionality, but has it gained any?
If I was to do the same steps with the Triton router, each time I wanted to micro-adjust the height, I’d have to reach under the table to release, then re-engage the plunge lock. I bet most Triton owners (particularly with the new Triton) don’t use the plunge lock – it affects their functionality. Hang on- not having a Unilift means a potential extra step elsewhere in the process, or a degraded functionality.
So what is is that extra step, and why can it be useful?
Take the Unilift out of the table, and sit it on the bench, next to the Triton. Have a look at that mechanism. 4 posts, gears, chain wrapped around the circumference, all that weight, all that strength, all that rigidity. Now look at the Triton router, and work out how you’d fit all that strength inside that router. Doesn’t go, does it! Now if you took your router apart, you would find the micro adjustment gear. One small, flimsy nylon thread ( or metal in the new router- not sure about that?). It is a significant difference between the two mechanisms.
Sure, both do the same job, and one is internal, and one external, but boy, is there a difference in the build quality. Which one is going to wear over time. Which one is going to get increased gear backlash over time, to the eventual point of failure? Using the plunge lock removes inaccuracies caused by gear backlash.
What you have, is a very solid height adjustment system that will far outlast the built-in option. Sure, there is redundancy there, but the Unilift will outlast the Triton router. Your accuracy will be better, you won’t get any slippage in height for not using the plunge lock.
Enjoy, and work with the setup you have- it is a much heavier engineered solution than those who don’t have one.
Filed under: Techniques | Tagged: Microadjuster, Router, Triton, UniLift | 5 Comments »