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Look Inside a Festool Router

The Festool OF1400 is the Rolls-Royce of hand held power routers let’s look at the magical insides.

festool router

This router is just about powerful enough to mount upside-down in a router table, and small enough to manoeuvre by hand (with the help of various fences and guide rails).   I have gotten my hands on one that needs fixing. Let’s have a good rummage round inside.

Five of the combination slotted-torx screws hold on the top motor housing.

Festool OF 1400 Router

With this removed we can have a look at the router’s brushes – a good indicator of the routers overall condition.

With that out the way, we have access to the three screws holding on the top section of the router handle.

Router Handle cover

I am fairly surprised by the amount of dust in this compartment.  We get a good look at some of the electronics here.  These ones appear to deal with switching and smoothing the power supply. The speed control wizardry (the well advertised ‘MMC’ electronics) is not in the handle, but is under the green speed control dial – encased in epoxy, meaning there is not much there for us to see :(

OF1400 Electronics

Moving on to the underside, a bunch of machine screws release the slidey plate that it rests on. It is good that this is easily replaceable, as this one is a touch scratched up (though not so much that it needs replacing yet).

You can see on the left of the router underside, the steel bar that tightens against the rails of the guide fence – allowing you to fix and release the fence with a single thumbscrew – a neat little feature.

Router Base Plate

This central ring comes off with a few screws. As well as allowing access to the dust shroud clips, I believe you can fit other attachments in its place.

Router Central Ring

Four more screws on the underside allow you to remove the spindle lock housing.

Spindle Lock Housing

With this out the way we can see the spindle lock mechanism (photo below) and its safety lock out: it cannot be depressed while the ‘on switch’ is depressed, and the on switch cannot be pushed while it is locked (thank goodness).  At the top of the photo you can also see the torsion bar that runs across from one plunger column to the other.  This, much praised system allows the user to lock both columns at once, with a single turn of the handle.  Having both columns locked is actually quite beneficial, as it allows more accurate depth setting – more or less force on the router body should not significantly change the depth of the cutter.  This is not the case on a single column lock system, where flex in the system allows very small changed in depth unless you maintain completely even pressure.

Unfortunately this router took a tumble and its handle snapped off.  This is the handle that you see people holding the router by to control it (I don’t like that grip, it feels retarded), it is also the handle that turns to lock the plunger depth (it is attached to the torsion bar in the previous pic).

To fix this we need to remove the snapped, and as I discovered, seized in, bolt and replace it.

Brocken Depth Locking Handle

First lets finish having a look inside, and remove some more parts so that the section we need to drill is less bulky and more controllable.  These screws keep the router’s two halves together.  Unless you really want to look inside the motor housing, don’t go here – festool say that any maintenance operation that involves opening up the motor housing requires the tool to be sent back to them – Bah! Lets get in there ;)

undo screews

Seriously though, it is a bit of a faff getting the armature back in afterwards.  To do so you need to remove the brushes because they predictably pop out, preventing you from sliding the assembly back together.

Festool OF 1400

Now you can get an close look at the commutator (the circular segmented bit the brushes rub on) and end bearings.  Check for any excessive pitting or chips to the commutator.  It will likely look blackened by carbon brush dust, that’s no problem, though you may as well carefully brush some of that away while your’e here.  Similarly, I remove the dust round the end bearing, which doesn’t look too bad, grease wise.

Armiture

The motor fan is obviously a self-cleaning type – it is quite pristine compared to the rest of the router.

Motor fan

Right, with the top half of the router removed, lets get on and get that broken bolt out.  First step is to drill a straight clean hole, into which we can screw a backwards threaded bolt extractor.

Tricky drilling operation

This operation was not simple, like it should have been. The previous owner had obviously had a go at doing this already, and snapped the tip of a bolt extractor off inside the broken bolt.  Bolt extractors are made ridiculously hard so they can cut into standard steel bolts. Thus, having a part of one lodged into the bolt made it extremely difficult to drill a pilot hole for my extractor.

A fair bit of drilling, WD40, some dremel grinding, more drilling and then more drilling  later, and I have finally released the prize :D

Bolt Extract

Only other thing left to clean up / fix is the depth stop.  Notice the funny brown stuff covering it? That’s not sawdust – it is some kind of horrible sticky glue, that incidentally was all over the place on the router and took a fair bit of cleaning off.  Anyway the lowest of the three depth stops has been torn out, and needs replacing…

Broken Depth Stop

To do so, I mix up some JB weld (two part epoxy putty type stuff) and fill the cleaned out hole.  After leaving it to set, a quick drill, newly tapped thread, and a small piece of threaded rod taken from an old bolt, sees it return to fully working form.

Fixing the Depth Stop

After putting it all back together, it is now time to rout out some room for the multipoint lock on the doors I am making.

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