There are lots of dust collection solutions for handheld routers, but few we've tried work as well as a new offering from Betterley Industries Inc. The STACC-VAC router base is designed to virtually eliminate flying chips and dust for most common operations, including both grooving or dado cuts and edge-forming operations.
What it is
The unit is a replacement base that screws onto your router in place of the standard base. It consists of a 1/2-inch-thick aluminum base coupled with a phenolic sub-base.
There are two models sized for 6- or 7-inch routers. Both feature oversized bases machined with an integral dust evacuation channel feeding to a port on the top of the base. There's a clear polycarbonate shield that snaps into the aluminum base, effectively enclosing the area around the bit for better dust evacuation.
That's all you need for dado and grooving operations. For edge forming you can add a dust deflector unit or a rabbet guide to improve collection.
How it works
The unit comes pre-drilled and is designed to work with most common routers. It bolted right up to the Porter-Cable 690 series router we used, but there are also instructions included for drilling the base to fit other routers.
It took a little doing to figure everything out and assemble the parts, but we had it all together in fairly short order. The first test on a scrap piece of MDF showed how well the unit works. Betterley claims the unit picks up 95 percent of the dust and chips generated. In our test, with a 5/8-inch straight bit hogging a 3/8-inch deep channel, there wasn't any dust to be seen.
Figuring a 3/4-inch round-over bit might be more of a challenge, we put on the deflector assembly and tried that setup. Still, no flying chips and no significant dust escaping the vacuum.
The STACC-VAC ranges in price from under $100 for the smallest unit to under $140 for the largest. If you do a lot of handheld routing, particularly in dusty materials such as MDF or solid surface, it would seem to be well worth the investment. For more information, visit www.betterleytools.com.
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