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Trend router speed rate

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  router cutter speed and router feed rate  

Router speed is how fast the router can turn the router cutter, or bit. Manufacturers of routers will present the maximum speed of a router as a number followed by rpm (revolutions per minute). This number will often refer to the no-load speed. This is the speed the motor’s shaft is spinning when empty and is not in contact with any material. 

  Fitting in a router bit. Router cutter speed  

Once you install a cutter and begin work, the speed will drop depending on the size of the cutter, the hardness of the material you are cutting, and the depth of cut. When working with larger cutters or tougher materials, the motor must produce more turning power to keep the cutter cutting at the same speed. The more powerful the router, the more capable it will be of maintaining speed under load.  


Router bits and router cutters need to be used in a router at the correct speeds


The type of speed settings, and the range of speeds, will depend on the router. Some routers are single speed, this will limit their versatility for use with different materials and different sizes of cutter. If you want to use a range of cutters, or bits, and you want to rout in different materials you'll need to choose a router with a variable speed setting. The larger the range of speeds the router can be set to, the more adaptable it will be for different uses.

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Finding the right speed for the router

To select the best speed to run your router you'll need to consider the cutter, or bit, you intend to use and the material you'll be working with. The maximum speed is simply that which you should not exceed. The ideal speed, on the other hand, is the one at which the router bit runs smoothly and cuts efficiently, and is usually slightly lower than the maximum speed given by the manufacturer.

  Routing speeds. Router cutter speeds  

Router bit size and router speed

The maximum speed you can run a router cutter, or bit, will depend on its diameter (i.e. the measurement from the outermost point of the cutting edges across the centre of the cutter) and the material its made from. Generally speaking, larger-diameter bits should be run at slower speeds, while smaller cutters can be run at higher speeds. This is because larger cutters have edges that protrude further from the shank, and so when spinning, travel at a much faster speed than the shank itself. 

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As router cutters can differ across brands and types, it’s best to consult your manufacturer as to what is the maximum speed for each of your cutters. Responsible manufacturers should provide these guidelines, or include them in the product spec/user manual.


But, this is a rough guide to router cutter diameters and the maximum speeds they should be operated at:

  Wonkee Donkee's rough guide  to maximum router bit speeds:  
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If you are still unsure, you can test a particular cutter,or bit, in your router at different speeds to determind the most appropriate.

  • Install the cutter and set your router’s speed to its slowest setting and turn on your router. 

  • Every so often, turn off your tool and increase its speed using the variable speed dial, keeping it below the maximum rpm recommended by the manufacturer. As the speed increases, after switching the router back on, you should begin to feel the router vibrate slightly. This may be accompanied by a kind of buzzing sound. This is the point at which the router bit is beginning to lose stability. 

  • Turn off and unplug your router. Reduce the speed slightly then turn the machine back on. Continue to do this until the vibration stops and the cutter is turning smoothly. This is the ideal speed for that particular cutter.

  Router speeds and router feed rate speeds for accurate routing  

Material and router speed 

The specification and instructions provided with your router should give you an accurate guide for the speeds you should select for different materials. But, as a rough guide, when talking about router speed, the materials you are most likely to be working with can be broken down into two main categories:buy router cutters

  Routing softwood and hardwood  
1. Softwoods and hardwoods

When working with these materials, you can select one of the higher speed settings on your routerThis is because, compared to heavy-duty materials, these tend to be easier to cut through and so do not place as much strain on the cutting edges of the cutter, or the router itself.  

  Routing materials like MDF, plywood, plastic and some metals  
2. Plywood, MDF, plastics, and non-ferrous metals

When working with these materials, you should select one of the slowest speed settings on your router and use an appropriate cutter. This is because compared to light duty materials, these tend to be tougher and so place more stress on the cutting edges of your cutter. Using a slower speed helps prevent the router cutter becoming dull quickly.

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