What are the different

types of router?

         
         
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Plunge routers 

 
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Possibly one of the most versatile routers is the plunge router, which cuts from above in a similar way to a drill press. The upper body of the router holds the router bit and can be plunged downwards over two spring-loaded columns which guide the router bit's path, allowing it to cut into the surface of materials from above. This is known as plunge cutting. With the aid of the plunge locking facility, plunge routers can also be used to shape the edge. They are probably the most popular routers today.

 
         
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Advantages to plunge routers

  • The spring-loaded top half (including router bit) can be plunged downwards, lowering the bit into the surface of the material. This dramatically increases the variety of different cuts you can make and makes them much more suited for use with jigs and other templates

 
 
         
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  • By plunging the router to a certain depth and then locking it in place, a plunge router works much like a fixed base model, keeping the bit in a fixed position when working, which ensures consistency. 

 
         
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Fixed base routers

 
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Fixed base routers do not have a plunging action; instead, the body and base are fixed together. As a result, a fixed base router cannot plunge cut into the surface of materials from above, it can only start from the edge. Once the cutter height is set the router will cut at that fixed depth and can not be adjusted while in use.

 
         
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Advantages to fixed base routers

  • On a fixed base router, the handles are sometimes positioned lower down on the body, which means your hands are closer to the base of the machine and the workpiece. Some users feel that this offers more stability and better control when guiding the router. 

 
         
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Disadvantages to fixed base routers

  • The downfall of the fixed base router is that it does not allow you to plunge the router bit into the surface of materials. This means that any cuts made across the surface must start at an edge. 

 
         
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  • The downfall of the fixed base router is that it does not allow you to plunge the router bit into the surface of materials. This means that any cuts made across the surface must start at an edge. This makes it unsuitable for use with most jigs and templates. Also, the cutter depth can only be adjusted when the router is not in use, which can make performing some tasks much more time consuming. 

 
         
 

Routers with removable basesbuy routers online uk

 
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Some routers come with a removable or interchangeable base. They consist of the top half of a router (the motor and collet assembly) with a removable base, and sometimes one or more additional bases for different applications. Usually, they are light duty routers with a plunge base which when removed will allow the router to be used for intricate shaping, sharpening, carving, and grinding, when working overhead as well as on a stable surface.

 
         
 

Heavy-duty, medium-duty, and light-duty routers 

 
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The 'duty' of a particular router will usually refer to the size and power of the router. This affects the suitability of the router for certain tasks, such as what materials they will be used with, how often they will be used and how long they will be used for each time. 

 
         
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Heavy-duty routers

Heavy-duty routers are the largest, heaviest, and most powerful hand routers. They will usually have the largest collet size, and this means they can hold router cutters with the largest cutting diameters, over 38mm (1½"). They will be classed as professional use tools and are suitable for regular use over fairly long periods at a time.

 
         
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Medium-duty routers

Medium-duty routers, as their name suggests, have specifications which sit between those of heavy and light-duty models. They are lighter than heavy-duty models, and so are better suited to more delicate work. But, they are larger and heavier than light-duty routers which makes them better for more regular use and means they can be used with larger cutters than light-duty models.

 
         
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Light-duty routers

Light-duty routers are usually classed as semi-professional tools, ideal for hobbyists and light trade work. They are intended for occasional use over shorter periods of time. They're the lightest and smallest routers and are usually only able to accommodate bits with limited cutting diameters, under 38mm (1½"), as they have smaller collets. 

 
         
 

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CNC routers

CNC (Computer Numerical Controlled) routers are specialist routers usually only found in industry. The movements of the router bit are controlled by a computer, so variables such as feed rate and cutting depth can be set to a very precise degree. A common application for these types of router is the production of staircases.

 
         
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They are typically found in factories and warehouses and used by companies who want to do a large quantity of very controlled cutting. As the router bit’s movements are controlled by a computer, a constant feed rate can be maintained, and more controlled cuts can be made.

 

If you are using a CNC router, ensure that the router cutters or bits you use are CNC machining tools.

 
         
      Wonkee Donkee says "Never use a router bit with a guide in a CNC router. The CNC technology is guiding the bit, so any additional guide may clash with this, resulting in damage to the router, bit, or work piece!"  
         
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