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Thread: Variable speed router Control?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
    N Illinois

    Variable speed router Control?

    I have 2 Porter Cable routers but neither have variable speed. (my next one hopefully will). Getting ready to do some raised panels in cherry (again) and I'm considering springing for a variable speed control which I can buy separately and attach to my router table. My questions are 1, Are they worthwhile/do they work? 2, Which one do you recommend? What source? Thanks guys Jerry

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    1) They are worthwhile as an interim solution. Your router must not have "soft start" as a feature to use them, however.
    2) They do work, but you sacrifice torque when using them and some routers tend to overheat since they were not designed to run at a slower speed. These units usually have some kind of method that pulls air through them while in operation and when slowed down, less air is moved for the purpose.

    A true EVS system is a better solution in the long run, so save your pennies for that variable speed router kit!

    Also, you'll need to take multiple passes with those larger cutters, even more than with a heftier router. Don't try and cut too much at once.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    SF Bay Area, CA
    These devices work by limiting current to the motor so it runs slower. However, by limiting current, you are, in effect, limiting power (or torque if you like) so you slow it down to run a large bit like a panel raiser but you also have less power to push that big bit through the wood...take light cuts and ease your way into the final cut.

    These are NOT long-term devices to use on a router motor not designed for them.
    Wood: a fickle medium....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Southern California
    The add on ones are limited since they can't sense the router speed and apply more power when the router slows down under load. I think the cheap ones ought to be about as good as any. Should be around $15 from HF.

    Have you considered using vertical router bits and avoiding the whole issue?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2004
    N Illinois


    Thanks for your input! Sounds like they are a temporary stop gap partial solution, Believe I'll take short passes on the router table and save for a bigger model later w built in variable speed. Thanks guys!Jerry

  6. #6
    I have used a speed controller when making raised panel doors in oak. The router I was using with it was a Makita 3 1/4 hp. It did the job, but there was a sufficient loss of power. The next time I made raised panels I broke down and bought a Porter Cable 7518 variable speed router and the difference was incredible! I can raise panels in oak in two passes with great results!

    Just my opinion,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2004
    N Illinois
    Thanks Richard. Agree w your findings. Since then, I have bought another router w more HP and variable speed. Helps on setup too.

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