New choice of router for Shapeoko?

I just received a flyer from Harbor Freight and they show what looks like a Makita clone. While it may not be the same, at that price, currently at $60 with coupon it may be of interest to Shapeoko users who are looking for a cheap alternative. If someone gets this router, it would be interesting to get some feedback on compatibility, reliability and performance, see if the Makita precision collet fits properly, etc.

Here are the specs that appear to completely mirror the Makita.

The Bauer™ Compact Variable Speed Trim Router is the ultimate tool for trim projects around the house. Perfect for both hard and soft woods, this tool features a powerful 1-1/4 horsepower motor with 6 adjustable speeds from 10,000 - 30,000 RPM . The compact size and light weight (3.8 lbs. ) minimizes fatigue and the textured rubber grip allows you to cut with confidence.

Variable speed control to match speed to application
Rack and pinion fine depth adjustment to 1.5 in.
Heavy duty aluminum housing provides superior protection and durability
Round alluminum base with rubberized textured grip for maximum comfort and accuracy
No-mar flat top, the router sits upside down for easier bit changes
Leading 1-1/4 HP power-to-weight ratio provides 30,000 RPM @ 3.8 lbs.
Easy-access brushes for long service life and minimal downtime
Textured rubber grip for slip-free maneuverability and vibration absorption

There’s been a bit of discussion on the unofficial Facebook forums about this — the big question is if it has the electronic speed control which the Makita and Carbide Compact Router have, but thus far, no other clone has included.

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Well someone will have to spend $60 to find out. It won’t be me because the closest HF is about 200mi away.

From someone who is familiar with HF’s level of quality tool, I would much rather pay the extra 20-40 bucks for the precision and reliability of a good tool. You wouldn’t buy a new Porsche and and then look for the cheapest tires to put on it…


Well not being too familiar with their power tools, I can’t comment except to say that even in their hand tools, I have quite a few, they have several levels of quality. It would not be my first choice but I’ve heard of happy stories where the bargain brand turned out to be a comparable to the original. For one thing, it would be nice if someone would give it a go to confirm either way.


What’s Makita precision collet(s)?

The collets that are sold by Elaire, Carbide and Precise bits that are better quality and offer a lower runoff.

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Precise bits, which sells collets with runout specifications, apparently doesn’t offer any for the Makita. Elaire has “Standard Collet[s] for Makita Routers” and
Carbide3d has “Precision Collets for Carbide Compact Router” - both without runout specifications.
Has someone determined that they are better quality and/or offer lower runout than the stock Makita collets (which include a 3/8" collet)?

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two things. It has a vertical rack, that might be in the way…Not sure, it might be recessed like the Grizzly below.
BTW, Grizzly tools has one that is 65mm diameter according to them. With no rack. $84 regular price,
$59.95 this month.
I’d trust this one over HF…


The collets Carbide 3D sells are much nicer than the stock collet — they seem as nice as the Elaire, but with crisper machining (I think Elaire tumbles theirs).

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Here is the info from Elaire, it may not say precision but they say EXTREMELY LOW RUNOUT:

Standard Collet for Makita Routers; RT700C, RT0700CX3, RT0701C, RP0900K, 3621, 3621A Elaire Corporation collets are made from high quality U.S. Alloy steel. They are made on precision equipment and qualified to verify the highest quality possible. Our collets have extemely low runout . All sizes are possible, please contact us directly if special sizes are required.

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I have a 1/4in engraving drag bit holder that will fit in the standard Makita router collet but it will not fit in Elaire’s precision ( extemely low runout) collet, I guess because of the tolerance.

Maybe someone should test the Grizzly too. I understand that people have favorite brands, I like Makita, Milwaukee for example but sometimes, these are rebranded, cloned and the difference in price is the warrantee. BTW, Grizzly also sources its product in China too. I don’t have experience with any of them but making valid side by side comparisons would be a way of confirming or dispelling the reputation of those tools.

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I prefer actual specifications.
Grizzly claims that theirs’s, like their higher quality machines, are “Made in an ISO 9001 Factory”. But, unlike the Dewalt, Makita, and Carbide3D there are no claims of closed loop speed control. The parts diagram also suggests that they don’t have that.
Another nice feature of the Makita (and Carbide3D?) is that you can use a wrench instead of the collet lock to install and remove bits. Then there’s @Vince.Fab’s many hours of successful Makita use!


Router runnout. Fun topic but not fun to get solid numbers. Its important to test router bore taper runnout before TIR with a collet and endmill inserted. The tolerance stacking is real! However, simple adjusting procedures like the NYCCNC method can usually overcome all, including bad quality reducers.

There are so many variables.

The speed control issue might not even be noticeable to most. What’s the return policy? Cause I’ll test one till it dies…for science!


Well I don’t disagree in theory but some specs are not worth the paper they are written on, take a look at vehicle fuel consumption. Because they are not published does not mean that they are inferior to those who publish inflated ones.

Then there’s always Super PID! :wink: Parts diagram for HF router is almost identical to Makita’s, suggesting closed loop speed control and support for 2nd collet wrench . Grizzly warrantees are 1 year and HF’s (20% off coupons everywhere) are 90 days unless you buy the “Extended Service Plan”. Grizzly’s return policy. And HF’s


I’m sure that @Vince.Fab can make it or break it in 90 days! Unfortunately, if it breaks, it would be subject to a 20% re-stocking fee because I doubt it will be in 'New Condition".

We have a HF equivalent in Canada called Princess Auto, they sell many of the same items rebranded and they have the opposite policy where you can return almost anything even used if you are not satisfied. Unfortunately, their range of small power tools is very limited.

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I bought an electric pole saw from a local HF (using a 20% off coupon), used the heck out of it for a few days until it broke, and when I returned it they refunded my money. This was within the 90-day window and there was no restocking charge and I did not get the extended warranty.

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OK, it seems to contradict the first note you posted as there is no mention of warranty claims as a reason for a return. I guess if someone cleans it and does not show physical damage other than a burnt motor you would get your money back.