Unboxing the all-metal pantorouterI don't often get "freebies" sent to me, which I'm quite ok with, because I'd always wonder how much coverage I'd owe the "free" thing.
But this "freebie" is different. Kuldeep Singh (an Indian guy living in Japan) has been building and selling pre-built all metal pantorouter machines. He offered to send me a royalty for the machines, but I told him to set the money aside and send me a machine once the royalties add up to the price of a machine.
So the numbers finally added up to a machine, and Kuldeep sent me one.
I made lengthy video of most of the unpacking and assembly. The packaging was perhaps a bit messy, but effective. Then again, when I sold marble adders or Jenga pistols, my packaging was not that neat either.
The table, with the many slots on it is also very nice for jigging things up on. Although for very thick (5 cm or more) work pieces, the toggle clamps don't open far enough. So I just put bar clamps over the edges of the table for larger pieces.
I should add, the toggle clamps are not included by default (an extra $65 option)
The design of Kuldeep's metal pantorouter machine has evolved over time. On testing the machine, I had some suggestions as well. One was to increase the plunge depth, which I was able to do by assembling the machine slightly differently, with the table further from the router. When making large mortises and tenon joints, you need a lot of plunge depth because the mortises are cut on the table, but the tenons are cut overhanging the table. Then, to be able to back away from the tenon, even more depth is needed.
Having put the machine through its paces, I'm happy to say that I like it. One of the things that I figured could use improvement was instructions on how to put the machine together, so I spent the time putting together a set of assembly instructions. For me, assembly was a puzzle I quite enjoyed. Much better than a jigsaw puzzle!
Kuldeep has also designed an improved set of depth stops, which I made a short video about
And at this point, I feel like I have contributed to this particular machine, so I don't feel guilty about earning a little bit of money off it.
The machine does cost more than cheap tools from China. But when you compare it to over $1100 for a Leigh FMT Pro, and how limited that machine is, I think Kuldeep's pantorouter is a bargain! Especially considering that he puts these together one at a time, without fancy automated machinery or cheap Chinese labour.
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