You might have a rotary tool, and you might have used it for woodworking projects, but have you ever thought about using it for precision routing?
Veritas has just released a new precision plunge base and supporting accessories that’ll turn your rotary tool into a very capable mini-router.
The difference? Dremel’s plunge router attachment is an inexpensive plastic and metal accessory, while Veritas’ is made from aluminum and stainless steel, and looks to be capable of higher precision, adjustability, and performance.
With the new Veritas rotary tool plunge base and accessories, you can plunge route (start safely on the face of a board), route profiles, cut circles, or even route freehand just like with a larger router.
Although, I haven’t used this particular base, I would hazard a guess that it might be even more comfortable (and maybe even safer) to route freehand with a much smaller and lighter motor, than with a full-sized router or even a trim router.
Veritas Rotary Tool Plunge Base Details
Let’s talk about the base first. Lee Valley says it’s mostly aluminum with stainless steel rods and knobs.
The base has a wide 4″ x 3″ footprint. By comparison, the standard base on my Bosch Colt router is 3-3/4″ by 3-5/16″.
(Speaking of the Bosch Colt router, we recently posted about a new one that’s on the way.)
The bottom of the base also has rounded grooves for guiding it with your fingertips, and side is cut away for an unobstructed view of the bit.
This wouldn’t be a plunge base if it didn’t have a spring loaded tool mount that rides on two posts positioned on either side of the base. A red lever serves as the height adjustment lock, and there is a depth stop post that can be micro-adjusted by means of a thumb screw.
Rotary Tool Compatibility
Will this base work for your rotary tool? The base threads onto any rotary tool with a 3/4-12 threaded collar, but when Stuart asked for this to be clarified, Rick from Lee Valley told him:
So far, every tool we’ve been able to get our hands which has the threaded nosepiece has worked, including Dremel’s 8220 cordless tool, as well as the Mastercraft and Milwaukee tools we tested.
In other words, it *should* fit your Dremel rotary tool, and any other rotary tool that uses the same compatible thread standard to attach to accessories and adapters.
Lee Valley did say that the thread start location varied for different tools, resulting in the on/off switch being located at potentially inconvenient and hard to reach orientations.
To remedy this, the plunge base package includes die-cut shims that can be inserted between the tool and the base to more conveniently locate the position of the power switch.
With the optional fence, you can make grooves parallel to the edge of the board, such as flutes. The fence comes with two 6″ straight, torrefied (aged by heating) maple fences. One fence is 1-1/2″ wide and the other is 5/8″ wide for use on narrower stock. The fence also comes with a pair of curve guides for following a curved edge, such as if wanted a groove 1″ inset from the edge of a circular workpiece.
With the included 6″ rods you can cut up to 4-1/2″ away from the edge using the straight fence. If you use the curved guides, it’s going to depend on the radius of the edge, but you’ll get approximately the same amount of adjustment.
If you buy the fence you also get the circle guide which can cut circles and arcs from 1/2″ to 17-1/2″ in diameter with the included 6″ rods. The circle head comes with three different centers: a sharp pin, a 1/4″ post, and a flat disk depending on if you want to leave a small pin hole, a 1/4″ hole, or hot glue in the center of your circle.
If the amount of travel you get with the 6″ rods seems limiting, Lee Valley also offers a pair of 12″ rods as an additional purchase.
If you opt to purchase the precision adjuster, it can be used with either the fence or the circle cutter. It slips on the rails behind the fence (or on either side of the circle cutter) to provide fine adjustment to either accessory.
To use the precision adjuster, you simply tighten the precision adjuster on the rods with the set screws, while keeping the set screws of the accessory loose so it can slide. Then you adjust the position of the accessory with a thumbscrew on the precision adjuster. When you have the accessory exactly where you want it you can tighten it’s set screws.
The plunge base is priced at $85, by itself.
If you want the fence and center kit that’ll run you another $75.
The precision adjuster adds an additional $27 to the total.
The extra long 12″ fence rods are a $14 add-on.
There is also a complete set, for $169, which saves you $32 compared to buying everything separately.
Shipping and handling varies depending on order amount ($13.95 for a $150+ order), or you can wait for one of Lee Valley’s semi-annual free shipping promos.
These rotary tool routing attachments don’t come cheap. You could purchase a few nice Dremels or something like 5 cheaper rotary tools for what it costs to buy the entire kit. But, quality comes with a price. If you’ve shied away from using your rotary tool as a precision instrument, this kit could potentially change how you see your rotary tool.
Buy Now (Plunge Base and Accessories via Lee Valley)
Keep your wallet open, you might not be finished spending money yet. If you want to use your rotary for routing you might find that the bits that come in the tool kits aren’t up to the task. A solid carbide, down-cut spiral bit or a carbide tipped router bits will probably give you better results. Lucky for you, Lee Valley also has a variety of these bits in 1/8″ shank available on hand.
Dremel also makes a general purpose 1/8″ shank router bit set. When Stuart ordered this Veritas plunge base, he also ordered a set of MLCS 1/8″ shank router bits.