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Introduction to Routing

Introduction to Routing
  Routers are rated on their input wattage, which ranges from 400 watts for a basic DIY router to around 3000 watts for a heavy-duty industrial machine. The maximum speed at which these machines operate varies between 10,000 and 32,000 rpm. The high speed is an important factor in routing, as it is this that is relied upon to produce the quality and precision of the finish, rather than out and out power, as would be the case with stationary machines with large heavy motors. Because of this you will find that many of the higher-powered routers actually run at lower speeds, the lower powered models needing this high-speed factor to compensate for the lack of power. It is also worth remembering that the power output from any power tool isnŐt the same as its power input. The output often being as little as 55 to 65 per cent of the input.
The standard and quality of manufacture, and price paid, will be reflected in the efficiency with which the router can utilise the input power, and how much is wasted in transmission. The price will also reflect the quality and precision of standard accessories such as side fences and fine height adjusters supplied with the tool as well as the tool itself.
For the beginner wishing to attempt a range of household projects, such as simple furniture construction, a router of less than 1000 watts will limit the type of work you can undertake and the size of cutters you can use.
A lower wattage router will also slow you down because the amount of material you can actually remove during each cut will be limited, as will the speed you can feed the router into the material.
There two main types of router, the plunge router and a fixed base router. The plunge router allows mortise slots to be routed quickly and easily as the motor head can plunge in relation to the base. A fixed base router uses a rotating body to alter the depth, which can make routing of a mortise slots quite difficult. Another factor to consider is that on fixed base routers the cutter does not quickly retract into the base for safety. Fixed base routers are mainly only sold in North America. There are few combination routers that have both a plunge base and fixed base.
Introduction to Routing
  The user needs to decide what the plunge router will mainly be used for, as this will dictate whether a 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch collet router is required. 1/4-inch routers are smaller, lighter and run at higher speeds, there are also light duty and medium duty models available. 1/2-inch routers will be heavier and more powerful and can be used for a variety of heavier duty applications.
A variable speed 1/2-inch router is best suited for router table use as it allows larger panel cutters to be used. A heavy-duty router designed for router table use is the Trend 2000 watt T11E router that has above and below the table fine height adjustment, which makes cutter height adjustment very easy. The router also has fittings for quick fitting and release from a router table such as the Trend Professional Router Table or CraftPro router table.

If router is to be used on site it is also worth considering if the tool is supplied in a sturdy kit box/storage case, as this will protect the tool, and keep the standard accessories together.
It is also worth noting that the router voltage will need to be confirmed, routers can be supplied in 240-volt and 115-volt. 115-volt is used for building site use. 115-volt machines are plugged into a generator or transformer, the lower voltage offer better safety to the user in case of contact with live parts.
Introduction to Routing
  A 1/4-inch medium duty plunge router is ideal when used with a door-hanging jig, as it is lighter, an example is the Trend 1000 watt T5E router.
Introduction to Routing
  If a router is being used to rout kitchen worktop joints with a worktop jig the machine must have a 1/2-inch collet capacity, such as the 2000 watt Trend T10E. The guide bush to cutter accuracy must also be considered when a perfect joint is required; if the guide bush is not concentric the resulting cut will be offset.
Introduction to Routing
  If a router is to be used for carving, it is worth considering using a router that has a removable base such as the Trend 850 watt T4E router.

All routers used must meet the current European standards for power tool safety.
     
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