Pros: Value unmatched by anything in the market
Cons: Danger from using a tool that operates at such high speeds.
I am reviewing the 17254, This is an expanded version of the 17252.
The actual catalog numbers are 0917252 for the tool with just the router base,circle cutting gude and cutter base, and 0917254 for the tool with everything. The base motor of the tool is identical, with either set of accessories.
It comes packaged in a large blow-molded case, which has convenient bit storage on the outside, under a clear cover. Here is what is in the case
for the model with less accessories;
Plunge/beveling router base with two handles; indexed for between 45 deg and 90 deg bevel cuts
Circle cutting guide, for cutting large circles.
D- style side assist handle for freehand cutting
Dual-ended wrench - with a holder to keep it on the cord, like a drill chuck key holder.
1/8 inch and ? inch collet adapters
Free-style sole plate cutting guide with 2 cutting bits included.
Metal hanger loop on motor unit to allow clipping on belt or on work stand when using the flex shaft.
What is additional with the larger set:
Edge guide which mounts to Plunge Router base (included) for accurate edge cuts, and adjusts for board width.
Angle grinder set with side cutting attachment, and 5 cutting or sanding discs.
Flex shaft, for fine detail work and engraving, and polishing.
Nine-piece cutting bit set
360 deg. assist side handle with sole plate for free-style cutting.
Adjustable depth-of-cut lets you cut materials up to 1 inch thick.
Two speed motor- 20,000rpm and 30,000rpm
? horsepower, 5 amp motor, wont bog down easily, even if used for routing.
Motor has ball bearings, for longer life
Collet lock is fast and easy to use when changing bits.
Two LED lights on either side of the collet. No filament to burn out, and a life of over 20,000 hours.
I bought this tool for a number of reasons.
#1, I wanted a mini-router. Ive had a large router for years, and have found for what I do it just too large and cumbersome. the fact that this cutting tool will perform that function, with lights on the workspace area, was my main justification for buying another power tool.
#2, I have always desired to have a flexible shaft tool. Even tho this one operates at a high RPM, I plan on hooking up a variable speed control to slow it down. This one has an LED on the end of it! Dremel attachments will fit nicely. Three collets come with the flex shaft, for various size attachments.
#3, Being able to use it as a grinder or cut off tool is going to be useful. It takes a standard 4 inch disc.
I like the bump-off switch, located on the back of the tool. It takes a positive flick to turn on, and a quick bump to turn off. The speed range selector switch is just above the off/on switch, recessed right on top of the case
The motor runs smoothly, and strongly, with little heat build up for fairly lengthy operations. When routing a ? inch wide, deep groove in hardwood, there was some heat, but heck, when I run my Milwaukee Skilsaw hard it heats up too. Routing softer wood is a snap, smooth and fast. As I mentioned, I plan on using it for small jobs. It only pulls five amps- a serious grinder or router will pull 15, or at least 12. This should be perfect for grinding off nails, or cutting some light metal rod or tubing. Cant wait to try that!!
When using it as a cutting tool, slow and steady is the way to go. The bits are prone to breaking, and they can heat up fast, leading to losing their temper. Before starting a job be sure you have a couple of spare bits. You can use any brand of cutting bit- the standard size fits a ? inch collet. When cutting in drywall, remember the huge amount of abrasive dust that is created, and clean the tool occasionally. I use a vacuum hose and suck all around any openings. into the motor. Just blow it out occasionally, at the least. this thing really moves through wallboard by the way- amazing.
The edge guide is held to the router base with 3 rods, that slide smoothly back and forth. The rods tighten down with a bolt, and when tight the guide itself is very solid. Makes cutting a straight line very easy.
I find it an easy to grip tool, with a subtly textured surface, and convenient handles that can be moved around as needed, or removed. As a router, on the plunge base, its very stable and easy to control. All of the accessories are well made, and give the impression of being built to last.
I was especially impressed with the angle grinder kit, which has 6 twist lock sanding and grinding discs. It mounts to the motor with a dedicated collet and has a strong metal blade guard. additionally, you can purchase a variets of other discs.
This cutting tool comes with a 1 year warranty, unconditional, which I extended for another 2, given that it was on sale, and even with the extended warranty still cheaper than it was originally. This is not something I usually would do, but I know that this type of tool can be prone to failure. Ive not heard that in relation to a Craftsman, but it was cheap insurance.
Some final words about all the stuff that comes with this tool- I have found that the blow-mold cases are not very space efficient. Additionally, they require that everything go back in just the way it came originally. Good Luck with that! Look for an after market case, such as those available almost anywhere. I particularly like the selection at Duluth Trading Company. Very well designed, high-quality, and fast shipping. Cant go wrong. Pitch that huge plastic box into the recycling, or find some other use for it. Maybe cut that inside out with your new tool, and pack it with something else.
I will not be the first to say this, but it is important: Use proper eye protection when using tools that operate at this speed. There is a great danger from very high speeds. this tool is at least 10 times faster than a regular power drill.