For quite some time, Ridgid has had a noticeable gap in the product line, they were missing a standard size router. The Ridgid R2930 Router Kit fills this gap extremely well for a company's first foray into this area. Routers tend to be rather "feature rich" products and this is an amazingly well executed tool; it's as if it had been developed from a long heritage of good routers. The kit consists of a fixed and plunge base with a single variable speed motor as well as a carry bag and a few assorted router tools to go along with this.
|The soft-start motor is 2.25 horsepower variable between 10,000 and 23,000 rpm, a wide enough span to cover almost any bit with feedback to help maintain the speed setting. Both ¼" and ½" collets are supplied. The fixed base incorporates a micro-adjustment feature for fine control of cutting depths. The tool is light as one would expect of such a premium tool, the cast housings being constructed of magnesium.|
The hands-on feel of either base is very standard and well balanced. The grips are covered in the typical Ridgid rubber over-mold giving quite a good grip with the tool. The R2930 has all the controls located in typical positions and are easily accessed. Changing bits on the tool is very straight forward; a single wrench and spindle lock button design is used but two wrenches are supplied should one choose to use them The spindle uses a self-releasing collet captured in the nut, a design that I greatly prefer over a loose collet and nut or even a threaded collet.
The variable speed control located at the top of the motor housing is marked in rpm as opposed to some generic letter or number system, a simple but nice design decision since you really want to set the speed by rpm, not "speed setting D" for instance.
The R2930 has plenty of power for all but the most demanding situations. Variable speed is of course quite nice to have, I don't think I would want to use a standard router with out this feature. The fixed base design allows for rapid and controlled depth setups. The plunge base with it's bronze bushings (note: not all plunge routers have bronze bushings) make for a very smooth plunge action.
Two separate dust hoods are included. These work fairly well especially on captured cuts. They are attached with screws so they aren't as fast to attach and detach as I would like, they do work as well as expected though.
|The see through bases are a simple yet effective method for enhancing the actual or perceived ability to control the tool as needed. Fixed base routers especially benefit from this as their housings tend to limit visibility quite a bit. A centering cone is included with the kit allowing the sub bases to be aligned with the spindle, this is important for template and jig related work. Surprisingly, the base mounting pattern is the same as 690 series Porter Cable. This would make some aftermarket items a little more compatible with this tool. One base has a ~1.25" diameter hole while the other is larger at 2.5". I found that the small opening was just a hair tight to allow my aftermarket PC compatible templates to work; maybe it's just my particular bushings. The other is large enough for any hand held bit I would ever use. Either sub base can be attached onto either the fixed or plunge bases.|
|.||I did not try to run the R2930 in a
router table setting although Ridgid has put some thought into this usage. A supplied
T-handle wrench will passe through the fixed base to engage the height adjustment
mechanism allowing (mostly) "above table" control for setting bit heights. A
2.25hp router would be powerful enough even for raised panel door and other heavy cuts so
long as some reason is applied to it's usage.
Ridgid has incorporated another fairly unique feature that at first, seems to be more gimmick that anything else; that is, the work lights at the bottom of the motor housing. After using the tool for even a short time, I found these to be a very useful addition and now wish all routers were so equipped. The lights measurably help see layout lines and the work in progress. Unlike previous incarnations of this concept, the lights are LED technology as opposed to filament bulbs so they should last forever.
As mentioned, bit changes are easy and straightforward. The motor has a flat top (with anti skid pads even) allowing it to be set on a surface upside down for bit changes or installing accessories. This is a plus and I could do this with all my routers.
|The fine depth setting turret on the plunge base is a bit different that the more common "three-screw" design (which I am not overly fond of anyway). Each rotation will change the set point by 1/64th of an inch. The depth rod is a common rod with a measurement scale system for rapid and large depth adjustment. There is also a typical "up stop" comprised of a threaded rod. These rods can be turned into fine depth controls by user made or aftermarket items if one so chose.|
A combo or fixed / plunge base router kit such as the Ridgid R2939 is my unqualified recommendation for a first router. The 2930 in particular offers a great set of features at an affordable price. The combo bases allow a single router to be used in both a router table and for hand held operations quite easily. The R2930 also incorporates a see-through base which is often the first accessory acquired for a router. It includes the best type of collet design, single wrench bit changes, and excellent power and control. The minor features such as work lights, a flat top and the rubber over-molding also add to the value to the package. There are a few minor quirks in the design I would like to see changed but overall, this tool earns my seldom given "highly recommended" rating.
In the interest of full disclosure Ridgid provided this product to facilitate this review.