Ewww??! What’s that smell??

15 Feb

No, it’s not what you think.


Really.  No.  This article isn’t about that sort of thing.  It’s about my router…

I was in the midst of routing a profile on a long board.  I had my dust collector turned on, the air filter turned on, and the shop-vac engaged for chip-collection out the top.  My son came in the shop and immediately wanted to know what stank.

I finished the pass and I could smell it too.  Something was burning or scorching somewhere.  But with this smell, like some others, it was hard to pinpoint the source.  There were plenty of machines turned on and enough air movement to distribute it around the shop.  I thought perhaps it was the router bit burning against a badly-adjusted router table fence.  I fixed that and carried on.  Anyway, after a while, the router nominated itself by quitting completely.

When it comes to motors, I’ve gotta admit, I’m like this guy:


If I’m driving down the road, and the engine seizes, I’ll pull over to the side, pop the hood and check the dipstick as if I had some sort of a clue.  I mean, even if some friendly fellow came along and said “Hey, is this one of your pistons?  I found it back up the road a bit.”  I’d probably react by saying, “Hey, you know what, the oil is low; I can see why if it threw a rod.  I bet if we just give it enough oil to fill to this line here, it’ll crank right up.”

So I applied that sort of knowhow to the router and pulled out the brushes (because that’s the only casually-serviceable part on an electric motor).  Sure enough, one was ground to a nub and the other was, well, basically not there.

Please Explain The Nature of the Medical Emergency

After an epic search for a parts distributor for Triton Routers within the Continental United States, I finally found the good folks at Avail Distribution.  Apparently they’re a part of Kreg tools, and they’re located they’re located in Huxley.  I’m sure you’ve heard of the town.  It’s smack in the middle of Iowa, and, as far as I can tell from the map, nowhere else.  That’s not a bad thing; it means they had plenty of time to talk to me.  Talk.  Yes.  Really.  They don’t make you go through a gauntlet of clueless folks reading from scripts before you can talk to somebody with a clue.  Manner of fact, I’m beginning to think they haven’t discovered outsourced call centers in Huxley yet.   Let’s not tell them.

So anyway, I talked to a fellow who put a new pair of brushes in a box and sent them to me for a very reasonable price.  I asked what might indicate a more extensive problem and he replied that I should shine a flashlight into the slot where the brushes go and see there’s anything that looks blackened or scorched.

I did as he said and found nothing that looked burnt up.  There was just this little gap…  I wonder if that’s normal?

Anyway, once the new brushes arrived, I gave it a shot.  Wheee!!!  It works.  There is this clicking sound though…  I wonder if it had to do with that funny gap I saw when I was looking for something burnt up.  I pulled the brushes out and saw that they were chipped up a bit.  I started pulling the router apart in earnest and I discovered that I was cruelly misled by the gentleman from Huxley.  As you can see here, this really isn’t “scorched” per se.  It’s much more along the lines of completely and utterly friggin’ disintegrated.


So…  Yep.  Time to get a new router.

These Skills?  It’s All Talent.

So I finished my project with a new router.  But I don’t give up that easy.  I do like the Triton router.  I’d like to replace my aging Porter Cable router that I use for most non-table routing.  Looks like I can get a replacement for the cost of this here motor drive.  I called the folks in Huxley up again and got a replacement for the tragic situation above and, oh, yeah, um.  Some brushes.  Yep.

Months passed between the time I took it apart and the time I got around to fixing it.

The best resource I found for reassembling the router was from Ray Girling’s blog, http://www.raygirling.com/dismtra1.htm.  I think he was dealing with an older version of the router than I had, but still, the steps were good, especially the tricks he offers for getting the chuck off.

The only tough part that I had to figure my way through on my own was getting the two bearings off.  The first bearing is the one between the shaft and the chassis.  That is, if you break your router down as far as Ray’s instructions take you, your rotor is still firmly wedged into the machine.  I got mine out by tapping on the router with a hammer, gently, but straight up & down.  After a couple minutes, it came out.

To take off the other bearing, you first need to take off the nylon nut at the end.  I first used a wrench, 9/16”, which was a bit too loose, but it doesn’t matter much because the nut isn’t hard to get off.  Probably the right size is a metric size.  Anyway, be aware that the threads for that nut are reverse-threaded.

I then was able to stick the wrench between the bearing and the rest of the motor and again gently tap the shaft until the bearing slipped off.  Getting the bearing back on was a bit tricky, but I did so by getting a 3/8” socket from a socket wrench set and putting that over the shaft so that I was able to knock it back on with even pressure all around.

Only A Few Extra Parts

But yeah, I do wonder where these are supposed to go…


Alright alright, I’ll read the friggin’ instructions if that’s what it takes.  Yeah.  The TRA-017 cord-restraint.  Totally goes on under the power cable housing.  And the washer isn’t really a router part – just something that was laying around when I packed up the stray pieces to put it in storage.  I think.  Yep.  Pretty sure.

Alas.  That’s what you get for leaving that months-long lag between breaking it down and putting it back together again.  Smart people take pictures of each part as they take it off because the film for digital cameras is very reasonably priced.

The best part is it’ll be months before I need to use it – only then will the truth be revealed.  Until then, I can revel in victory.


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