From WoodworkersZone WoodWiki
Freud FT1700 2-1/4 HP Variable Speed Fixed Base Router:
The FT-1700 is the smaller of Freud's two latest router offerings. It's a 13 amp, 2-1/4hp, variable speed fixed base router with some unique above table features. An optional plunge base is also available. It comes with two collets ... a 1/2" and 1/4" to accommodate most router bit shafts. The collet can protrude through the throat opening far enough to allow above table bit changes when mounted in a router table. The FT-1700 also has above the table height adjustments, and includes a hex shaft with a knob that can be inserted from above the table to change bit heights. It also features an auto collet lock, and is backed by a generous 5 year warranty. Freud's larger new offering is the 15 amp, 3-1/4hp FT-3000 which is just hitting the US market after a lengthy delay due to high demand in Europe.
I really like all of the above table features. The above table bit change feature is a Godsend. It's hard to believe that this is not a common place feature on all routers that are table mountable. The alternative is to squat down to change the bit from underneath, use an aftermarket bent wrench, or to pull the whole router and insert out of the table to make bit changes, which isn't all that convenient either. The collet features a very clever auto-lock mechanism that engages when the collet is extended through the throat plate. The simple pin springs into action when the collet gets extended. The shaft has a proprietary hole that accepts the pin and prevents it from spinning while changing bits, hence offering one handed bit changes while hovering above the table. It's really pretty slick IMHO.
The FT-1700 appears nicely made, with a good "in-hand" feel. The router is manageably light, well balanced, and the handles are comfortable so it's condusive to hand routing. The soft start and variable speed work well and are convenient safety features. The on/off switch is in a fairly convenient location that is readily reached with a thumb, though it has a fairly cheap feel to it...it's pretty rinky-dink IMHO. (A separate switch box remedies that concern). The variable speed control dial is cleverly placed at the base of the router.
The FT-1700 is fairly quiet by router standards. In comparison to my older Freud FT-2000 and my Milwaukee 5615, which both have a rather loud throaty growl, the FT-1700 just makes a quiet whirring sound. It sounded kind of wimpy at first, but actual use put that any concerns to rest promptly. It has plenty of power. The FT-1700 hogged nicely through some heavy cuts of white oak using a 2-1/2" lock miter joint....even with the speed adjustment turned down to the 10,000 to 12,000 rpm range. When all was said and done, I walked away satisfied with the power. It obviously won't spin the big 3" panel raising bit the way the 3hp Freud will or my MW5625, but the adequate power, generous throat opening, and variable speed features should allow it spin the big bits in non-commercial applications. If you need to spin large bits often, you'd probably be better off with a larger 15 amp router like FT-3000, Milwaukee 5625, PC7518, etc.
The biggest complaint I had with my older Freud FT-2000 was that the throat opening was too small to accommodate large 3" bits. The FT-1700 remedies that complaint and will allow just about any bit on the market to pass through easily. The FT-1700 also offers above table height lock in addition to the height adjustment... a nice convenience.
Another improvement of the FT-1700 over my older FT-2000 is that it comes with two separate collets. The FT-2000 came with a 1/2" collet and a 1/4" reducer that needed to be inserted into the 1/2" collet. It's so cumbersome that I've replaced most of my 1/4" bits with 1/2" bits to avoid having to use the reducer. The FT-1700 came with the above table hex wrench, a collet wrench, a template for table mounting, mounting screws, and two collets. The base has holes that appear to accept an edge guide, but it didn't include one. It also has a dust collection attachment that I haven't tried out yet. The manual is good but is a bit on the sparse side.
The 1700 has a lot to offer for my needs, but why is it no manufacturer seems to want to pull out all the stops and make a quality router loaded to the gills with every possible feature? You know... a worklight, on board wrench storage, variable speed, soft start, auto collet lock, dust chute, multiple bases, multiple collets, above table features, edge guide, etc. Most have a subset of those features, but none I know of have them all.
The FT-1700 is my fifth router. You'd think I'd be less excited about a new tool at this stage, but all in all, I'm thrilled. This machine brought a culture change to my shop that most competitors can't....life is better indeed! I grin with delight every time I get to use the above table capabilities, and the core router does what it's supposed to do...spins a bit safely at high speed with ample power and precision.