Carbide router vs Makita vs DeWalt

I just bought a Shapeoko 3 XXL and it came with the Carbide 3d router. I haven’t even finished assembly yet, so I haven’t cut with it yet, but I’m just wondering what your thoughts are on this router compared to the Makita RT0701 or the DeWalt DW611. Is it worth considering the Makita or the DeWalt or should I just hold off? Is there a performance difference between the 3 routers?

Thanks for your help
Stan

There are differences and this has been discussed in many threads. For many people it is a question of Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge but here is my take on it.

The Carbide 3D is supposed to be a copy of the Makita but while you can use the same collets and it is the same size, it has differences like the speed is from 12k to 30K while the Makita is from 10K to 30K so there is an advantage to the Makita as some jobs require that you run the router at low speed. Some people have reported that the Carbide router quickly needed new brushes and some did not work properly or died soon after their arrival. The Dewalt has a much more restricted speed range of 16K to 27K, but it has a light over the endmill that makes it easier to see the endmill working. The Dewalt seems to require that users change the brushes more often, <100hrs while the Makita seems to be working for longer periods without brush changes. The Dewalt is reported to also be noisier that the Carbide/Makita but this may be due in part to the ability to run the router at lower speed. The Makita and Dewalt can be serviced in many centers close to you while the Carbide Router will be serviced by Carbide 3D, I did not compare the warranty for each. Conclusion, some people are very happy with their Dewalt but personally, I recommend the Makita.

Now the question should you change? If you already have the router and it works fine, maybe you can stick with it it should be good for quite a while unless you have a lemon but it would be changed by Carbide 3D and if you want/need to change later on, your collets will fit the Makita.

I hope this helps.

I have the Carbide Compact Router (CCR) on my XXL and a DeWalt on another machine. I don’t have any experience with the Makita, but I’ve heard it’s similar to the CCR.

I like the CCR because it can be run at lower speeds than the DeWalt. The slowest setting is about 11k rpm vs. 16k for the DeWalt. This is useful for bigger cutters with fewer flutes and also is less noisy. I typically run the CCR at a setting of around 3 on the dial. The DeWalt would be closer to 1 for the same speed. The CCR comes with two spare sets of brushes. When the brushes go out on the DeWalt (which they will, I’ve heard) you will need to buy replacements.

If I were you I would just gain some experience with the CCR and decide later if you want to upgrade to a brushless spindle, for example. I personally don’t think there is a big advantage to getting a DeWalt or Makita over the CCR unless the CCR failed on you for some reason.

Edit: Good point from @luc.onthego that the CCR and Makita collets are interchangeable. And the LED lights on the DeWalt are nice.

There’s a video:

Notable differences:

  • Dewalt has finer-grained speed control, Makita lower and higher range of possible speeds (the lower speeds are especially useful on plastics and wood)
  • Dewalt has a longer clamping area which affords multiple precision collet options (standard ones as well as the ER-style collets from Precise Bits), Makita has a single source for precision collets (albeit in a variety of sizes) and an option for a 3/8" collet (larger than the 5/16" or 8mm the DeWalt collets top out at)
  • Dewalt has lights, the Makita does not[7]
  • Dewalt has a plastic button on the Body, which limits Z plane positioning inside the mount, Makita has a more Robust Tool changing mechanism, with a cylinder push lock below the shaft, which will allow more mounting options in the Z plane[8]
  • Dewalt has a longer body and can be mounted so as to reach lower[9]
  • Makita bearings easier to change
  • Makita brush life longer and replacements less expensive and easier to change

Further:

The CCR is essentially a rebadged Makita — https://carbide3d.com/blog/2019/the-carbide-compact-router/

  • case colour — black vs. teal
  • control layout
  • CCR has specific detents in-between the numeric speed settings, the Makita has a continuous dial
  • CCR has longer cord
  • Makita has accessories intended for hand use which are not included with the CCR (but would fit it)

Other aspects of the routers are substantively the same, notably the electronics and their speed control, and collets are interchangeable betwixt the twain.

Except for the speed range that is 12K to 30K vs 10K to 30K for the Makita.

So if you like the Makita why buy a clone. The price difference is not that much. I have a Dewalt and am very happy with it but based on feed back on this forum I have bought brushes so when I need them I have them. As said earlier it is Ford vs Chevy vs Dodge vs Yugo vs Moskvich vs Chery vs …

Yeah, the speed range thing is odd — I’m not sure what’s up with that — I know that we specified the electronics with the same sort of speed control chip as the Makita has so our unit should have that advantage over the MLCS Rocky 30.

The control layout and so forth seem the same as the MLCS Rocky 30, and in early examples of their owner’s manual, photos of a Makita were actually used, hence my initial assumption the machines were the same.

I’ve put some numbers up at: https://wiki.shapeoko.com/index.php/Materials#Router_Speed_Chart

and there have actually been two different ranges reported, 10,000–32,000 RPM (from the packaging and the owner’s manual), 11,000–31,000 (actual measurements?) — I don’t think that these numbers are meaningfully different — might they come down to variations in electric frequency from the local electric company?

My understanding of this page: https://www.groschopp.com/what-impacts-speed-variation-on-motors-and-why-isnt-it-exact/ indicates that might be the case — anyone have some links or explanatory references?

Beyond the aforementioned specs, we know first hand the failure rate of the Carbide Compact Router, and without getting into specifics I can say it’s less than a fraction of a percent. Not to mention that it’s backed by our warranty and support, so if anything ever goes wrong all you have to do is send us an email or give us a call, and we’ll take care of it, no need to jump through hoops with a dealer :slight_smile:

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Speed dial detents on the CCR? That alone is worth a good amount…cause taping the Makita dial gets old after awhile.

Definitely gotta pick one up and put it through some aluminum hell.

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The Spanish parts of the Dewalt and Makita owners manuals indicate that both routers are rated for operation at both 50 and 60 Hz, so they they’re likely using an internal timing source (oscillator) rather than the power line frequency. The accuracy of that oscillator and the dial setting as well as the speed control feedback loop gain will determine the speed accuracy. Our Makita’s unloaded speed’s match your measurements reasonably well. Our two Dewalts do too except at “5” where they read about 1000 RPM lower than yours. But, I’m with you, “who cares”?

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I’ve been told that changing the bearings in the Dewalt is too difficult and expensive to bother with. Is that true?

DeWalt considers it a service item (but they think that about the carbon brushes as well).

My understanding is it’s a disheartening thing to do, since on sees that that bearings are mounted in a plastic part of the router housing. Some folks were unsuccessful 'cause the plastic had melted around a bad bearing.

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Yeah but they saved $0.25 in manufacturing! I swore off Dewalt hand tools when I tried to return a cordless drill after a weekend when it failed and was told I had abused the tool. The only time I killed a tool in a few days.

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Unfortunately we live in a throw away society. The repair of many tools is as much or more than buying a new one. So if you run a router so much that you wear out the bearings you probably got your moneys worth. Plus we need to keep the Chi-Com economy running. Sometimes bearings wear out prematurely but the mean time between failure is pretty good and the odds are in your favor they wont go bad before you wear out other parts. The arbor stop on the Dewalt is a pain in the rear but the Makita uses two wrenches which is equally a pain. I wish Musclechuck made a chuck for these compact routers because you use an allen wrench to tighten the bit.

I think that any of the 3 routers, Carbide3d, Makita or Dewalt would work but pick one and if unhappy you can throw it away and get another brand.

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FWIW the DeWalt is made in Mexico.

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My Makita has an arbor stop and a place for a wrench if you want to go gorilla tight instead of monkey tight.

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This is a consequence of automation making it possible to produce things for sale at a lower price, and the high-tide of the economy and wages (in some more fortunate countries) enabling wages to be so high that repair isn’t really feasible — check with your grandparents (or great-grandparents? far enough back to have experienced the Great Depression) what life is like when wages are depressed and things are more valuable than time.

For my part, we’re spoiled, and callous, and wasteful — during the recent “Great Recession” I saw a guy refilling his SUV and claiming that he’d had to take an early disbursement from his 401K to make a payment on it and to be able to buy gas for the month — he seemed flabbergasted when I noted that during the Great Depression, my grandfather had loaded a year’s worth of labour in the form of his tobacco crop onto his truck (a converted Model T, a neighbor had bought half-a-dozen of them before the Model A came out, convinced he wouldn’t like the new-fangled thing), driven it to the market in Richmond, and found that the highest price he could get for the crop wouldn’t even buy gas to fill his tank up and get home, so he sold the truck and walked.

As a society we need to work out how valuable people’s time is, what the proportion of work put into the economy and basic necessities received, as well as a reasonable additional surplus for leisure, and pleasure. I really worry that the balance of the 21st century is going to play out like the first half of Marshall Brain’s novella Manna: http://marshallbrain.com/manna1.htm

EDIT: Here is an article which I wish would inform such discussions: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/time-to-lead/how-one-company-levels-the-pay-slope-of-executives-and-workers/article15472738/

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Well this is not the only thing at play here. The whole right to repair movement is putting pressure on governments to do something about it and I suspect that the environmental movement will too. In some cases, you are prohibited to repair an item, companies as far as suing independent shops who offer repairs. In many cases, manufacturers will not sell replacement parts or make it impossible to repair. My wife has a car that needed a drive shaft bearing but no-one could make the repair without changing the drive shaft because of the way it was manufactured and availability of proper parts. What a waste of resources and money for nothing.

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Yeah, there’s a special ring in Hell where automotive engineers are doing spark plug jobs on AMC Javelins w/ straight 6s (require that you unbolt the engine and lift it up to access the last spark plug), bleeding brakes on Ford Escorts/Mercury Lynxes (if memory serves required a long reach into a very tight area to access), &c.

One of the reasons I really believed in the Shapeoko when it began as an opensource project (and esp. Grbl, which underlies it and makes it possible) is that it has the potential to address this sort of thing and make for a far more sustainable world.

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I just LOVE how some forum threads start from a mundane trim router question and end up discussing the path to a better world! :slight_smile:

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