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Routing Basics Explained

Routing Basics Explained
  A helpful guide to the basics of using a router.
     
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Cutter Types

Cutter Types
  Groove forming cutters
These require the use of a side-fence, batten, guide bush or other method of guiding the router. To minimise heat buildup, side deflection, and allow waste material to clear easily, always cut in a series of shallow steps rather than to the full depth in one pass. With shaped cutters increasing depths of cut will often produce a different shape.
Cutter Types
 
Cutter Types
  Self-guiding cutters
These cutters have a bearing guide that follows the edge of the workpiece or a template fitted beneath it. Self-guiding cutters can be used on both straight and curved edge work, for example on rectangular or circular tables. The bearing is fitted with a machine screw on a spigot machined into the nose of the cutter. The width of the cut is thus controlled by the edge of the bearing running along the workpiece.
Cutter Types
 
     

Fitting Cutters

Fitting Cutters
  When fitting the cutter always ensure that at least 3/4 of the shank length is held in the collet. Do not try to grip the cutter by the end of the shank to gain extra cutting depth, as this can damage the shank and distort the collet itself. Working with the cutter held in this way can also prove dangerous to the operator as well as causing damage to the workpiece.
Fitting Cutters
  Do not push the cutter completely into the collet but allow 4mm between the collet and web where the body of the cutter meets the shank. Also ensure that when fitting cutters that the end of the shank is not in contact with the internal face of the collet recess in the spindle.
Fitting Cutters
  Check that the collet nut thread is clean and ensure that they tighten without binding. Fit the collet and nut assembly before fitting the cutter and initially screw the collet nut up by hand. Finally, tighten using the spanner and spindle lock (or separate tommy bar or second spanner provided with the router), but do not over tighten.
     

Holding the Work

Holding the Work
  Traditional G-cramps are now being replaced by ‘quick action’ clamps to hold the workpiece or jig etc in position. They are less likely to impede the path of the router and can be positioned in seconds.
Holding the Work
  Sliding jaw benches fitted with adjustable bench stops are also ideal for this purpose, but ensure that the cutter does not touch the metal stops, or cut into the bench surface. If there is any risk of cutting down through the workpiece, or if this is intentional, lay a piece of thin waste material (i.e. hardboard) beneath the work to protect the bench.
Holding the Work
  In situations where clamps or other mechanical devices are impractical, pins, double-sided tape or a hot melt glue gun can be used. When using either tape or glue, ensure that the surfaces are first free of dust and grease.
     

Router Cutters

Router Cutters
  Geometry
Most cutters have tungsten carbide tips brazed onto a steel body and are designed to cut natural timbers, plywood, MDF and chipboard. The clearance and cutting angles have been designed to leave a perfect finish. Cutters over 16mm diameter have been made to conform to the European Holz-BG safety standard.
Router Cutters
  Feed Direction
When using the router, the direction that the cutter is fed into the wood must always be against the rotation of the cutter. This also ensures that the cutting action pulls the side-fence or guide bearing into the wood rather than allowing it to wander away.
Router Cutters
  Feed Speed
The optimum speed at which the cutter is fed into the wood must not be too fast that the motor slows down or too slow that the cutter leaves burn marks on the face of the wood. Practice judging the speed by listening to the sound of the motor.
     

Safe Routing Procedure

Safe Routing Procedure
  First fit the cutter into the collet of the router and set the depth of cut. Set-up the guiding method and finally check that the workpiece is secure and there are no obstacles in the router´s path.
Safe Routing Procedure
  Make sure router is not switched on and cutter is free to rotate. Only then connect to the mains and switch on. Allow motor to reach full running speed.
Safe Routing Procedure
  Perform the routing operation. Retract the router cutter by releasing the plunge mechanism. Switch off and let the cutter come to a complete stop. Put the machine down and isolate from mains.
     

Standard Accessories

Standard Accessories
  With your new router you are likely to get several standard accessories. This may include:-
Side-fence
For routing parallel to any straight edge of the workpiece. This is attached by using two rods secured to the router base-plate. The width of a rebate or the distance in from the edge of the workpiece, can be adjusted by sliding and clamping the fence along the rods. Better quality fences are fitted with a fine adjuster for precision setting.
Standard Accessories
  Beam Trammel
This is used for cutting arcs and circles and generally consists of a separate point that either screws beneath the base plate or a bar which is inserted into the router base in place of one of the fence rods.
Standard Accessories
  Guide Bush
For guiding the cutter around the edge of a pre-cut template or along a slot of similar width as the guide bush diameter. The guide bush itself, fitted flush into the base of the router, has a short flange concentric to the cutter. One size of bush is usually supplied with the router. Always allow a 2- 3mm gap between the cutter and the inside of the guide bush.
     
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