Although variable speed routers come with plenty of advantages, you stand to benefit from them the most when you run yours at a lower speed. We explore these advantages, as well as how you can choose the proper speed.
1. You Get Smoother, Cleaner Cuts
Running a variable speed router at high speeds increases vibration and imposes excessive stress on router bits. This speeds up wear and tear and causes charring, splintering, and burn and tear-out marks on the workpiece. All the shaking and vibrating also affects your precision.
On the other hand, lower speeds mean fewer cuts, conversely reducing the risk of charring, tears, and burn marks on your piece. Also, a CNC router won’t vibrate at lower speeds, giving you better control over the routing process. This leaves you with a smoother and cleaner profile on all workpieces.
2. Safer Routing
Along with reduced wear, less sanding, and smooth and cleaner profiles, running a variable speed router at lower speeds is also safer. Because the machine is neither vibrating nor shaking, you don’t have to worry about it losing control, dangerous kickbacks, or potential injuries from flying pieces. You also don’t have to worry about damaging your router, bit, or workpiece.
3. Reduced Downtimes
When you run your routing machine at fast speeds frequently, you speed up the wear and tear process, making your CNC router prone to frequent breakdowns and repairs that slow production and lead to costly downtimes. By contrast, lower speeds keep your bit sharper and offer better machine control, meaning fewer repairs, minimal maintenance costs, and little to no downtime.
4. Bit Wear
If you’re running your CNC at slower speeds that means that your bit is making fewer cuts. A feed rate of 14,000 RPM will make just a good a cut in certain situations as a feed rate of 18,000 RPM, but the advantage is that because you are making fewer cuts, your bit will stay sharper and cut as well for much longer.
5. Less Sanding
Although there are some jobs for which you’ll need to run your router at faster speeds, like cutting dovetails, when you are running at slower speeds, especially on corners, you will reduce the risk of your wood charring. This, in turn, means fewer hours of sanding for you.
6. Quieter Routing
At a slower speed, your router can perform at as much as 20 decibels quieter than at top speed. You’ll still need to wear ear protection, but it will be more pleasant for your co-workers and neighbors.
How to Choose Proper Routing Speed
Although running your variable speed router at lower speeds is beneficial, too-high speeds may burn and tear out your workpiece, while too-low speeds might leave you with a rough cut and can reduce productivity as well as production rates. Here are tips to help you find your optimum routing speed:
Use the Right Speeds and Feeds
Feed and speed rates affect nearly every element of CNC routing, from the surface finish and quality to safety, and even machine life. To choose the right feed and speed rates, look up manufacturer-recommended settings and consider machining conditions, machine type and features, and the setup.
Consider Bit Diameter
Usually, the larger a CNC router’s bit diameter, the slower its speed. For instance, a router with a 1-inch diameter typically has a speed of up to 24,000 rpm. In comparison, a CNC router with a 2-inch bit diameter has a maximum speed of 18,000 rpm. To achieve your optimum speed, you need to start by shopping for a variable speed router with the right bit speed, and the easiest way to do this is by considering the diameter.
Consider the Type and Design of Material
A significant advantage of a CNC router is that it’s incredibly versatile and can produce parts from nearly any material. However, each material responds to routing speeds differently. For instance, cherry and maple are highly susceptible to router burns, meaning you should route them at a lower speed to avoid heat build-up.
Consider the design you’re trying to create, too, as the outcome is also affected by the speed you use. For instance, trapped cuts such as dovetails and dadoes are best routed at slower speeds to reduce burning. So, consider the work piece’s material and design to work out the optimum low speed for your router.
Using Variable Speed Routers
You enjoy an array of benefits when you run your variable speed router at lower speeds. Hopefully, with the tips above, you’ll choose the right low-speed setting for your routing needs.
For more help choosing the right speed or advice on CNC routers, contact CAMaster’s team of experts today.