Some form of router speed control – must have when large chunks of the router are placed on the cross-board. This protects both the router and the chisel, while reducing the risk of burns, splinters and accidents.
Although many routers include this function, either as a variable speed switch or as a speed selector, this is not the case for many new models and especially not for older models. These require after-sales control of the speed of the milling cutter to reduce the speed to a value compatible with the diameter of the bit used.
What to look for?
This router with speed control is designed for 20 Amps and works with routers up to 3 1/4 HP.
Most of the speed regulators available today are designed for standard loads (15 Amps) or heavy loads (20 Amps) and are mainly light, high-power regulators. A triple rocker switch controls the mode: variable speed, off and full speed. The variable speed can be adjusted by turning the knob.
If your router uses 13 amps or less, you can probably do without the standard service package, but anything above 13 amps should be used in a heavy duty model. This gives you a safety margin, especially if you use an old router that used to consume more power than a new one.
Since the cutting speed control works with any replaceable brush motor, it can also be used to control other power tools such as drills, grinders and jigsaws. I use one on a portable table saw to cut the lexane for the worktop. Lower speeds prevent the edges from melting and leave a nice clean cut.
Most, if not all, manufacturers claim that controlling the speed of their routers will not work with soft start routers or routers that already have variable speed.
What should the lead time be?
Most woodworking plants operate at a maximum speed of more than 20,000 rpm on the log. Knives with a small diameter work well at this speed, but as the diameter of the blade increases, the outer tip of the blade moves faster in relation to the blade axis.
An important part of learning the basics of the router is to know what speed (rpm) you need to run a little for a certain size. It is dangerous to run a large milling cutter for 3 1/2 raised plates at full speed. Most parts of a router of this size have a recommended speed between 10,000 and 12,000 revolutions per minute, and exceeding this speed is likely to cause strong vibrations that can lead to all kinds of problems.
Most quality milling machines are supplied with the maximum speed recommended by the manufacturer. If you can’t find them, check their website or give them a call. Honestly, if they can’t tell you to run the maximum speed of their miniatures, buy your miniatures elsewhere.
Cutter diameter x max. speed
|Little diameter||Maximum speed|
|1.5 – 25 mm (less than 1)||24,000 rpm|
|25 – 50 mm (1 to 2)||18,000 rpm|
|50 – 65 mm (from 2 to 2.5)||16,000 rpm|
|65 – 89 mm (2.5 – 3.5)||12,000 rpm|
The table above shows the maximum speed per minute for Blue Tornado spiral carbide end mills. Most other manufacturers are similar, but you should always stick to their recommended maximum speed.
The maximum speed does not mean that you have to rotate the bit at that speed. The vibrating door in the picture below works best in most hardwoods at about 16,000 revolutions per minute, although it is estimated that it works up to 18,000 revolutions per minute. Sometimes less is more.
These vibrating door hammers have a diameter of 1 5/8 and a maximum recommended speed of 18,000 rpm.
Of course, other factors such as the cutting depth and feed rate must also be set according to the speed and power of the cutter. Usually several passes are needed, so that with each pass some material can be removed.
What then is the answer to the question of how to find the ideal combination of speed, cutting depth and feed rate? In a word, Practice. Here are some tips about routers that work for me.
Before you start chewing the expensive hardwood you have just saved for your project, take a few scraps of the same wood and play with the speed per minute, the cutting depth and the feed rate.
Adjust the cutting speed so that there is no vibration and adjust the fence to a moderate cutting depth. I determine the feeding rate by feeling. I’m trying to deliver power at a speed just below the speed at which the router starts slowing down. If the speed is too high and the feed too slow, the wood will burn and the drill will overheat.
Once you’ve found the best balance between all the factors, save them in the router’s bitbox for later use. This will be a good starting point for your next project.
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