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Replaceable tip router bits

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What are replaceable blade router cutters?

  A replaceable tip bit with the blade and retaining screws labelled  

Replaceable tip router cutters (also known as Rota-Tip cutters) are comprised of a solid tungsten carbide blade held by retaining screws to a ground steel body. When the blade becomes dull, it can be replaced or rotated to reveal a new sharp cutting edge. 



  One and two bladed versions of replaceable tip bits  


These cutters come in one or two blade models, with the blades having between one and four cutting edges, which can be rotated and locked in identical positions to expose a new sharp cutting edge. The more blades a cutter has, the finer the finish will be. 

  Diagram to show that some replaceable tip cutters have the bottom cut facility  

Bottom cut

Some replaceable tip routers cutters have central tips, allowing them to be used in a plunge router to cut grooves in the surface of materials.


Some models have a central tip that can be removed and replaced once it becomes dull

  Replaceable tip cutters with guides attached in various locations  


Replaceable tip cutters are available with a shank-mounted guide, bottom guide, or no guide at all.



  Examples of the different profiles available for replaceable tip bits  

Replaceable tip cutters come in a variety of different profiles, including straight, radius and V-groove.


Generally, however, replaceable tip cutters are used over regular cutters for the following tasks:

  A CNC uses replaceable tip cutters for industrial production  

High production applications

While initially they are more expensive than standard TCT cutters, they prove effective in high production applications where downtime required to change cutters is kept to a minimum. 


Their use is normally aimed at fixed head applications i.e. Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) routers. 

  Plywood and MDF, examples of engineered wood that should be cut using a replaceable tip cutter or bit  

Working with abrasive materials

The smaller size cutters are limited to hand-held applications where the use of abrasive materials necessitates the frequent renewal of a keen cutting edge. 

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Advantages and disadvantages of replaceable tip router cutters

  Advantages and disadvantages of using replaceable tip router cutters  




  • Tool body remains in place when changing blades, thus reducing tool downtime

  • They are more economical in the long run, compared with conventional brazed tip tooling

  • The blades can be rotated 180 degrees to give double the life of a standard cutter

  • Initially more expensive to purchase

  • The finish given by replaceable tip cutters is not as fine as that of regular cutters, but by reducing feed speed a neat finish can be obtained

  • The selection of router bits available with replaceable cutters is still somewhat limited.


What are the different types of replaceable tip router cutter?

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There are nine main types of replaceable tip cutter. 


Rota-Tip straight cutters

  Rota-tip straight bits with examples of flat-bottomed grooves  

Rota-Tip straight cutters are designed to produce flat-bottomed grooves for a wide range of applications.


They come in one or two blade models, with the blades having between one and four cutting edges, which can be rotated and locked in identical positions.

  Rota-tip cutter with staggered blades for rough cutting  

Staggered blades

Some models have staggered blades, much like the staggered cutting edges on some regular straight cutters. Replaceable tip cutters with staggered blades are best suited to rough cutting only. 

  Rota-tip plunge bits with bottom cut  

Plunge cutting

Cutters that are able to plunge cut will usually have one of the following features:

  • A blade that extends past the bottom of the cutter and over half way across the cutter base

  • A TCT tip brazed into the nose of the cutter

  • A replaceable central tip slotted into the bottom of the cutter


Rota-Tip rebate cutters

  A rota-tip rebate bit with an example of the shape it creates on a workpiece  

Rota-Tip rebate cutters are used to produce rebates, types of grooves, on the edge of materials.

  Replaceable tip rebate router bit with one or two bearing guides on their tip  

They are available with one or two ball-bearing guides beneath their cutting edges. 

  Bits for sale - produced by Trend and supplied by Wonkee Donkee  

Rota-Tip trimmers and profilers

  Rota-tip trim and profile bits and examples of the type of work they can do on laminated workpieces  

Trimming and profiling Rota-Tip cutters are essentially straight cutters with a guide pin or bearing fitted.


They are commonly used to trim the top layer of material (often veneer or laminate) flush with the edge of a base material, or trim a workpiece flush with the edge of the top layer (usually a pre-cut template).

  Examples of different types of Rota-tip trim and profile bits  

There are 90-degree trimmers, bevel trimmers, template profilers and double bearing-guided template profilers.


Rota-Tip V-groove cutters 

  A replaceable tip V-groove bit and an example of the shape of cut it makes on a workpiece  

These cutters are designed to produce V-shaped grooves, chamfers, and bevels for a wide range of applications.

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Rota-Tip round over cutters

  A Replaceable blade round over bit and an example of the types of cut it makes on a workpiece  

Rota-Tip round over cutters typically have two blades and a bearing guide fitted beneath their cutting edges. They are used for rounding over the edge of materials.


Rota-Tip radius cutters

  A Rota-tip radius cutter and an example of the type of groove it creates in a workpiece  

These cutters usually have a single blade and are designed to rout radius grooves in the surface or on the edge of materials. They have a ball-bearing guide mounted on the shank, above the cutting edges, which can follow the edge of a template.


Rota-Tip ogee cutters 

  A Rota-tip ogee bit and an example of the type of shape it can create on the edge of a wooden workpiece  

Rota-Tip ogee cutters have two blades and a bearing guide fitted beneath their cutting edges. They are designed to produce the ogee profile on the edges of materials.


Rota-Tip stair housing cutters

  A Rota-tip stair housing cutter with an example of the shape of channel it can create  

These cutters usually have two blades, and specifically designed to cut out stair housings/trenches, which are grooves made in the surface of the stair string in order to accommodate the treads and risers. 

  Bits for shaping a stair housing with a jig and hand-held routing machine  

They are designed for use in stair housing/trenching machines or with stair housing jigs. 


Rota-Tip espagnolette cutters

  A Rota-tip espagnolette cutter and an example of the shape of groove it creates in a wooden workpiece  

These cutters are used to rout the stepped grooves for espagnolette lock recesses.

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