"A bad worker quarrels with his tools"

Published: Dec 6, 2011

Updated: Dec 23, 2013: Added link to page about problem with sawdust

Removing the Triton "safety" cover

How you can get rid of this major irritant

Please note that while this modification makes the Triton router easier to use in a table with an auxiliary switch, be aware that you are increasing your risk of injury or damage to your router. Make this modification at your own risk after careful consideration of the dangers. Do NOT make this modification to a Triton router that's meant to be used hand-held.

I like my Triton TRC001 3HP quite a bit, but only as a table-mounted router, not a hand-held. There are several reasons, but the major one is the power switch. To switch the router on, you have to keep the router in position while sliding the clear plastic cover aside with your thumb and then push the rocker switch in (which also locks the cover open). To call it clumsy is a kindness. I would go so far as to say that it's so bad that it makes the Triton completely unsuitable for hand-held use.

While it's possible to remove the cover, this doesn't make the Triton a good hand-held router because now it's dangerous. It wouldn't be that hard to accidently press the rocker switch while picking it up. So, if you have to use the Triton outside the table, DON'T REMOVE THE COVER. If you need a router for both hand-held and table use, get a different router with a sensible power switch.

As a dedicated table router, however, the Triton really shines. Built-in above-the-table bit changes and height adjustments, plus an auto-locking spindle are as well-done as the power switch is badly-done. But that power switch is, once again, a major pain when the Triton is table-mounted.

First of all, as clumsy as it is to use out of the table, the switch is even more irksome when trying to operate it under the table. The easy answer, of course, is a separate power switch outside the table. Just leave router's power switch on all the time and use the external switch, right?

Wrong. The router spindle won't come all the way up and auto-lock if the power switch is on. Which is a perfectly sensible design decision, after all you don't want the auto-lock popping into the spindle when it's spinning at 6000 rpm. However, it means having to fumble with that stupid switch again every time you want to do a bit change.

There is a solution, though. But let me emphasize again, this modification makes your router less safe. By removing the interlock, you can now raise the spindle into the lock position while it's running or start the router while it's locked if you forget to lower it first. I don't think it's likely, because a) it's pretty darn obvious the router is running, who would decide to raise the spindle for a bit change and not turn off the router? And b) who would decide to start the router without adjusting the bit to the right height for their workpiece? Nonetheless, the danger is there and you need to be aware that this modification makes these very dangerous accidents possible. Modify at your own risk.

Luckily, this modification is fairly simple, because the Triton isn't monitoring the position of the power switch at all. It's the cover that keeps the router from coming up. Get rid of the cover and the interlock is gone.

Let's look at how this thing actually works. In these photos, I've removed the side of the router and I'm holding the switch cover where it normally goes. In the first photo, the cover is in the "off" position. You can see the guide bar on the left, the round chrome tube. The router body rides on these bars, when the router is raised it goes up along this bar (remember, the router is upside-down here). In the second photo, the cover is in the "on" position. As you can see, the left side of the cover moves into the path of the guide bar, stopping it from traveling the full distance needed to get the collet above the table (and engage the auto-lock).

So, to eliminate the interlock, we just need get rid of this one piece of plastic! Unfortunately, you can't just remove the end cap covering the switch, you have to largely disassemble the router ...

Start by removing the five screws shown here. Be aware that the upper left screw (green arrow) is smaller than the others. Next, remove the small screw holding on the handle of the fine depth control and remove the handle.

The next step is to remove the four screws in the bottom of the router body. The photo shows two of them, the other two are on the other side. This is a real pain, because the screws are so tight to the body. You need to find a screwdriver with a long shaft but short handle. If the shaft is too short, the handle keeps you from getting the screwdriver straight. If the handle is too long it won't fit between the body and base. You can also use a driver bit in a socket on an allen wrench, but it's a bit clumsy. In my case, my Festool T15 drill with its right-angle chuck was perfect.

Next, remove the motor brushes. Note that this may not be necessary if you're extremely careful lifting the top and don't raise it high enough for the brushes to slip off the rotor. I'd rather just pop them out.

There are two caps, one on each side, that hold the brushes and their attached springs in place. Unscrew the cap, then pull out the brush/spring.

OK, now the entire top assembly is finally loose. Gently wiggle the top, it will break loose and slide up. Be careful, if you pull up too hard you'll pull the entire top off. It won't hurt anything, but its just not necessary. Stick a small block of wood or something similar in between the parts to hold it up. At this point, the end cap holding the switch is finally loose. Pull it carefully away, taking note of the spring attached to the plastic shaft. That shaft actually a part that slides out of the end cap, just pull it out and then out of the spring and set it aside.

Whew, that was a lot of work just to get one part of the router off! But we're finally at the point where we can rip that little sucker right out. Remove the two screws (only one is visible in the photo) holding the switch on and remove the switch cover and spring. Store them somewhere in case you want to sell the Triton one day and need to put it back in. I'm no lawyer, but I think selling a tool with an important safety feature disabled might expose you to some liability if the buyer was injured.

All that's left is to do all these steps in reverse to put your router back together! A couple things to keep in mind:

First off, when you slid the top up, you were pulling it off the micro-adjust shaft. When you push the top back down, the shaft will probably just slide down out of the body a bit and the handle screw won't reach the shaft. Just push it back up from the bottom.

Also, the brushes can be a bit of a pain to get back in. The spring doesn't come straight out, but curves, making it hard to push in while putting the cover back on because the spring cap only goes in vertically. Just hold the spring in with one finger, then slide the cover into place with the other hand so that it keeps the spring from popping out. Get a screwdriver on it and turn it counter-clockwise a turn or so to make sure it's seated straight, then tighten it.

That's it! You now have a more dangerous, but much more convenient table-mounted router

UPDATE: After two years, I found an issue with sawdust filling the router body. Click here to see what I think the problem is and my less-than-elegant fix.

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