Shopsmith Router Arm (AKA: Router System, Pin Router) Information, History & Review

Don't get so excited with eBay prices that you pay more than the price of a new tool! That's right kids, the Pin Router is Back! (Sort of, but more on that below.) The current MSRP of the Shopsmith Overarm Pin Router is $485.99

FYI, There have been several iterations of the Shopsmith Overarm Pin Router. It began life as the Bryco/Shopsmith Pin-Router (505825) with no guard, no dust collection, a simple plywood table and the router motor was held in place with two hose clamps. (See photo #1 above) This version of the Shopsmith Router Arm was shown in the Mar/Apr 1980 issue of Hands On! Magazine for $495 w/o router motor, $595 with 1 1/2hp Milwaukee router motor.

Generation one was replaced around 1982 after Shopsmith purchased the rights to produce it themselves. On generation Two (505806) the motor was clamped firmly in place by a purpose-built v-block mount and also featured a clear plastic guard. This version was sold for a time then it was retired. This version sold in 1982 for $395 w/o router motor, $595 with 1 1/2hp Milwaukee router motor.

In 1987 a new version (555254) was introduced and featured guards, dust collection and for the first time included a tall metal stand. (Photo #2) This version also featured a terrible wooden fence, which most folks promptly tossed, and the entire tool was made in Taiwan. This version was introduced at $399 w/o router motor.

In 1989 this tool was retrofitted with a great new table which incorporated a smooth laminated surface, an extruded aluminum fence which accommodated the then-popular original Incra Jig, and it now featured a bonus router table insert for use as a standard router table! This version was re-christened the Shopsmith Router System and the item number was changed yet again to 555413. In 1989 the Router System continued to sell for only $399! After a few years it too was retired.

There is one more variation on the Router System: Shopsmith sold the stand and table-top as a Router table, and an upgrade kit (515702) that upgraded the router table to a complete Router System. I understand that few of these were sold, so if you have a table and need the router arm upgrade, snatch it up if you ever see on for sale!

The old units will pop-up on eBay at a rate of one-two per month, and they tend to sell in the $200-500 range, depending on whether there are routers or bits included, the overall condition, and the copyrighting skills of the seller. I’m not kidding about this last point. I've seen pristine SS tools go for next to nothing because the seller didn't bother to talk about the tool. In other cases I've seen worn-out tools sell above the current retail because the seller was a wordsmith! (The Ron Popeil fan in me has to respect that on some level.)

Just about a year ago the engineers at Shopsmith (Hey Dave and Jim!) developed a new generation of the pin router that now mounts exclusively on a Mark V Multi-Purpose tool. (Photo #3) I got a sneak preview of this tool about a year before they introduced it and asked them why they weren't offering it for sale yet, and was told that they would wait until they perfected a lift-assist unit, which would make it easy to lift the Mark V into the drill press position with the headstock way at the top of the way tubes. They introduced this lift around 2005 and now we have a new Overarm Pin Router! Way to go Shopsmith!

Click here for Shopsmith Router Arm/Router System/Pin Routers For Sale (Very light activity)
The video below shows a Shopsmith Router Arm being used to make parts for a cheese fountain.