Thread: Bosch blue routers
26th May 2008, 08:38 PM #1
Bosch blue routers
I am shopping for my first router. Noting all the comments WRT Makita and Triton routers and their prowess, I have come across some comments in old woodworking magazines (and occasioanlly on-line) about the competence of Professional series (i.e. blue) Bosch routers.
Looking around, I can't find any new for sale (nor at Bosch website). Does anyone know why? Are they in hiatus waiting to issue a new one? Or have they given up on them? I would consider a Bosch green but they only have 1/4in and most of what I have read says 'buy 1/2in'.
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26th May 2008, 09:23 PM #2
Bosch Blue Router
I have a Bosch Blue Router.
It has had a couple of problems.
One I found was the handles used when plunge routing flex a little, plastic handles on a plastic body/chassis.
The most serious issue, again plastic body/chassis related is main bearing comes loose in plastic mountings. This allows your bit to move up and down in the router, dues to the whole motor shaft going in and out.
This of course is a major problem if you are using the depth gauge and you adjust it all up, then fire up the router and things move a little. About 1/16 inch.
I have sent it for repair, twice now, still not happy with it.
I do like the speed control on it.
I tend not to use it anymore, I have a pair of Makita 1/2inch routers that are old > 20 years, they have solid plunge handles, metal chassis, but no speed adjustment.
I am not saying the current Bosch Blue routers are no good. Mine is probably 5 years old.
I do like Bosch Blue series overall, but they have really let me down with the router. I have a Belt Sander(5yrs) and Drill(20yrs), very happy with them. I bought the router based on the good performance of the Drill.
But, whilst looking at routers in general, have a look at the plunge handles, how solid are they, can you flex them at all? If you can, keep looking.
Good luck with your search.
26th May 2008, 11:24 PM #3
If memory serves me correct, Bosch have discontinued their blue range of routers in OZ. The last one that I have seen is the GOF 1300ACE model, and that was more than a year ago (old stock at that as well).
26th May 2008, 11:49 PM #4
Bosch Blue Routers
I have 4 bosch blue routers (GOF 1300 CE x 2, GOF 1300 ACE x 2) which I mainly use with my leigh D4 dovetail, isoloc, finger joint, and through mortice templates. I have no problems with any of them and all were purchased 2nd hand on ebay for around $200 each (cf ~$380 new). They are easy to use for handheld work because they aren't heavy and have variable speed/soft start. They are also fairly quiet.
BTW, I have a total of 10 routers - 4 bosch, 1 trimmer bosch, 3 triton (1 big & 2 small), an axminster, and a 30+ year old black & decker fixed base router (made in australia). If you count the dremel in the router base attachment that makes 11. Guess what? I use them all - I like having them setup for one purpose to save time. Because I got them 2nd hand - I haven 't had to outlay a lot to get them either.
27th May 2008, 03:32 PM #5
Thanks, lpg_falcon. Some good advice there.
10 routers, Aju??!! I can see what SWMBO would say about that!
27th May 2008, 04:42 PM #6
Pheno, if a Bunnies is nearby, check out if they have any of the little Triton Routers (MOF001) left at $99. They are 1/2"
Also I have the little Bosch Green 1/4" router (POF 400A) basically idiot proof
"10 routers, Aju??!! I can see what SWMBO would say about that!"
I have 3 so far, the breed like hand planes/chisels/lathe tools etcPat
Work is a necessary evil to be avoided. Mark Twain
27th May 2008, 08:11 PM #7
I own a makita 3612 and its a great piece of work, I had it out over the weekend cutting rebates in seasoned iron bark spotty gum and a few other hardwoods. It tore through it all like a hot knife through butter.Dave,
hug the tree before you start the chainsaw.
27th May 2008, 10:57 PM #8
Thanks for all the help and interesting info on Bosch. I quite like Bosch stuff for some things as an entry to some tools but without buying something that will need replacing in the near future. I bought a Bosch green power saw and jig saw early on, invested in a Metabo cordless drill, and just bought a Blue GDR 10.8 Li impact driver (love it!!!).
As it happens, I saw a 1400W Triton at Bunnings the other day for $298 but it had bits missing, like spanner etc; so I kept walking. Very recently, I saw one on ebay for $198 and now I sit by the front door waiting for it. $99 in Bunnings?! Doh!!!
28th May 2008, 09:41 AM #9
I got a bosch pof400
its the biggest heap of crap router I've ever had. It makes ozito look like a rolls royce.Regards, Bob Thomas
28th May 2008, 04:31 PM #10
29th May 2008, 06:11 AM #11Hi all,
Routers have never been a Bosch specialty. The firm’s core business was –from 1889 on- the automotive industry, it started with ignition magnetos and it invented the fuel injection. There was an assortment of starter motors, dynamos, wiper motors and car electronics as well. A good Bosch company history is available at Wikipedia.
Electric tools were also made in the German Leinfelden Works, but these had an emphasis on garage use and car assembly lines. So there were metal drills, screwdrivers and a vast range of grinders, but no woodworking tools. From early on, there was close cooperation with the Swiss firm Scintilla, which also made magnetos. Lindbergh’s "Spirit of St.Louis" plane used a Scintilla magneto. Scintilla had a tool factory as well and Bosch decided to outsource the manufacturing of most tool models to Switzerland. But some heavy drill and specialty grinder models kept being made or at least were assembled in Leinfelden, recognisable by "Made in Germany". Others bore the name of the Soleure-based Scintilla firm. There was also some license manufacturing of a few Bosch grinder models in Romania in the late 80s.
In order to make a good start in the woodworking world, Bosch cooperated with the Karl M. Reich machine and tool factory in Nürtingen. Reich specialised in woodworking tools and was famous for its Holz Her brand. A large and a small planer, a large metal and a smaller nylon model belt sander and some circular saw models were ordered from Reich and were virtually unchanged Holz Her models, rendered in blue and hammerite silver, with Bosch stickers and type plates fixed on them. As a return favor, Reich also ordered tools from the Bosch/Scintilla setup, like drills, orbital sanders and DIY jig saws. The electric jig saw was a "Bosch invention"; one of the firm’s employees fixed a scroll saw blade to his wife’s pedal driven sewing machine to make fine wood parts and sold the idea to Bosch. Bosch saw its potential, but since this tool type didn’t fit in the garage tool core business, they asked Scintilla to develop the idea into an electric tool, which was introduced in 1947. Although Scintilla made both a blue Bosch professional grade jig saw and a green DIY line, Holz Her gained a license to build their own and took on its own professional jig saw development. Only a DIY model was ordered from Scintilla by Holz Her. Also strange was the fact that Holz Her made a router model, but Bosch never ordered a blue livery of it.
Instead, Bosch did its own router experiments. For professional use, there was a vast range of German competing brands and assortments (Elu, Scheer, Mafell, Striffler, Haffner) so, to mingle with these long time experts as a freshman, Bosch considered a whole new tool development on its own accord a high risk. It would take another 20 years before there would be a blue Bosch router.
In the early 80s, routers were discovered by DIY enthusiasts with a bit more cash to spend, and many tools brands catered for this new demand with small light models, which could not be too expensive. Elu and AEG outsourced the making of a small router model to Perles from Switzerland, the result of which were the MOF 96 and its similiar sister OF500. Bosch decided it could also have a go, since the DIY market proved profitable for many tool brands. The DIY-market was also a bit more forgiving than the demanding professionals were, so router experiments in the DIY-niche were less of a risk to the Bosch brand reputation. Bosch looked closely at the way Metabo tackled this challenge; they made a router base with a standard 43 mm Euro collar to fit a motor that was already in the tool catalogue. Metabo even had a drill model with such a 43 mm collar at the motor commutator hind axle end. A DIY owner of such a drill only had to purchase the router base to profit from this extra function. Furthermore, should the marketing of the router base flop, then the motors could still be sold as grinder units and stay in the catalogue. Bosch copied the Metabo tactic and used one of its existing straight die grinder models as a power base for its own Euro collar router base. This small model 1204 grinder was a blue professional model, but its input power was only 320 Watt. This cylindrical motor type was in use in the 1570-series jig saws and a range of small grinders. Bosch knew that, as a router, it would never be an alternative for professionals. 320 Watts are even meager for a laminate trimmer, but for DIY router jobs, Bosch considered 320 Watts acceptable. Therefore (although the motor itself still had blue quality) the first Bosch router was green from the start. It was called POF 50; Bosch rather advertised its 50 mm plunge depth than its small motor. With the upgrade in power of the blue straight grinder designs, the Bosch DIY POF-router was upgraded simultaneously. The POF50 was cranked up with a 500 Watt motor and with further upgrades to 550 and 600 Watts, the power figure became serious enough for the model to be named after (thus POF 550 and POF 600).
Bosch was also active in the USA; already from 1909 on. US-made Bosch magnetos were distributed under the name "American Bosch". Bosch was always a firm with a large number of cooperations and acquisitions, and Bosch power tools adapted to US demands and safety standards were also made. There were Bosch factories in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Kentucky.
The influence of the American Bosch factories can be noticed in the designs of the first large Bosch routers. Demand was greater in the US than in Europe; since the US has a lot of wood building and Europe has an emphasis on brick. With so many German competitors there and with the US being such a large market, sales opportunities for Bosch routers would be better in the US. So the GOF and more modern DIY POF series contain many American characteristics and details. The GBS100A(E) belt sander and the blue reciprocal saw line are also of a mainly US-oriented design. Finally, the GMF 1400 CE router can’t be more "American" than a traditional US-type router looks on average.
I know the GOF1300ACE and the GBS100A from own experience, and i find both of them nothing special. The same quality can be had from DeWalt (Black & Decker) or Ryobi or Makita or Hitachi, if not better. Since the blue Bosch routers are designs ranging from 15 years back up to the present, it can be said that they are subject to modern engineering and production techniques. That means that, within certain product ranges (like routers from 900 to 1300 Watts or from 1600 to 2200 Watts), all tools from virtually all brands are very much the same when it comes to size, power, features, use of materials and the way they are put together. Were it not for some recognisable details and colours, Bosch routers might as well be made by Felisatti, Perles, Casals, Peugeot, Ryobi or Shenzhen Zhuzou. Product differences nowadays tend to be more and more a thing of brand emotions and overrated details than real advantages in durability and capacities.
This was part one.
29th May 2008, 06:14 AM #12
As for the failing top bearing, with resulting play in the outer ring seating; this is not exclusively a Bosch failure. I encountered this in several other makes and types, including the much revered vintage Elu routers like the MOF31, -98 and –77. These have steel seatings moulded into the fibre reinforced nylon, and i’ve seen cases in which the grey nylon around this seating had been molten away. When checking the ball bearing itside, this had in many cases run hot up to a blue colour and either ran very cumbersome or had seized entirely.
Bearings in dust laden air streams are known to fail sooner than normal. Reason is the accumulated dust, which acts as a sponge and draws lubricants away by means of capillary action. When a tool is operated for more than a few minutes, ball bearings tend to warm up a bit, especially at high rpm and with tight fitting dust seals, which cause friction and additional heat. The grease inside the bearing softens up a bit when heated and gets more runny. In older bearings, the grease (which is basically mineral or synthetic oil hardened by a base metal hydroxide like lithium) is also known to desintegrate; the oil components leak out and the lesser fluid bits stay inside, drying up faster still when the oil parts have gone. Leaking out of the oil components in grease is also known from gear casings (drills, angle grinders, circular saws, etc.).
Bearings typically known to fail because of oil syphoned-off by dust, were the sleeve bearings in the back of 60s and 70s Black & Decker T-grip drills and the other best known example is indeed that of router top bearings. The bottom ones at the router bit side are much larger, have a better dust labyrinth and contain more lubricant and are often still okay when the top ones already need a rinse and grease-change or a replacement. So the upper bearing at the air intake and commutator side, tends to run hot and dry and makes funny noises first, unless the lower bitside bearing is maltreated with a hammer or some other sort of violence. A smell of heated air from the top louvre (reminiscent of that from dusty fan heaters or rising air above a soldering iron) is the first hint that something has run very hot. It may be the commutator or the copper windings after prolonged heavy use, but it may also be the bearings.
To find that out, check for friction and smooth running without rumble. If there is any unusual noise and it points to a bearing, replace it soon, by a similar hi-rpm type. It may save you from costlier tool damage that is sure to follow.
You can see several Bosch routers from the inside (schematics) by clicking on a router pic in the link below:
And yes, i know i get out of control when telling stories, but i mean no harm.
29th May 2008, 07:10 PM #13
Thanx for your detailed explanation.
I enjoyed the read.
30th May 2008, 08:44 PM #14
Yeh, Gerhard. Thanks for a great read - I really enjoyed it.
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