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Thread: Router speed controls??

  1. #1
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    Router speed controls??

    Guys,

    I am getting underway with the dining table river table project. Early yet. I just finished the flattening jig and have yet to fabricate the router carriage because I am not yet solid on what router I will use. Actually, I want to use my 3HP hand operation router. It operates on 115 volts of course, it has brushes and is rated at 14 amps. The router does not have a speed control option. However, to use the large planing bit to flatten the slab, of course I need to slow it down. So, instead of buying a new router...it sounds like a simple deal. Router speed control and move on. But I have read about possible issues with controls getting hot under use. I believe that I read this about the speed control that Rockler sells for around $50 or so. There are other, less expensive units also on Amazon. I didn't think there would be any issues with this deal, but I wanted to get some advice before purchasing one of these things. Anyone???
    There's one in every crowd......and it's usually me!

  2. #2
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    Or don't buy a large planing bit. Use the largest straight bit you have -- 3/4"? With the smaller diameter, you'll need more passes to flatten the slab. So you take a few more minutes -- no big deal.

    And if you don't buy a large-diameter planing bit, you don't need to buy a speed control for your router.

  3. #3
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    Personally, I would use the project as an excuse to upgrade to a new router. I realize that is not the guidance you are seeking but one cannot have too many routers and I firmly believe in having the proper tool for a job. A nice new Triton or Dewalt would always look good in the workshop!

  4. #4
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    Yeah guys....I have already bought a two inch bit from Whiteside. And I don't desire to spend unnecessary cash for a router that I don't really need. My main question is are these things reliable and do they work as described?
    There's one in every crowd......and it's usually me!

  5. #5
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    If the router has "soft start" you cannot use an add-on speed control. If it does not have soft start, you can, but you'll need one that's rated at 15 amps for that "3hp" router. What brand/model is the router? That will be helpful to know.
    --

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

  6. #6
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    Those cheap universal motor variable speed controls just chop the current and the horsepower drops right with it. They are not like a variable speed router that measures rpm and changes the amount of current to keep the set router speed. You won't like it.

  7. #7
    In a electric motor, HP is torque times RPM times a constant factor. As you slow down a motor, the HP will decrease. This is true whether the motor is slowed down by an external unit or an internal unit. Richard references an internal unit that will maintain the speed, but that just maintains the HP at that RPM - it doesn't increase it.

    I've had a pretty good success in using those external "router speed control" units. As Jim said earlier, they're intended for dumb routers, not one with slow start. They're not very expensive so if you want to try one, go ahead.

    There is an issue of cooling because the internal fan is running slower so check the temperature (with your hand) occasionally.

    Mike
    Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

  8. #8
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    Mike thanks. And yes, this router has no soft start and no speed control. It falls within what I need to use a router speed control. I just noticed some comments here and there about issues with them heating up under heavy use. Flattening a slab will, in my thinking, be fairly heavy use. I could always take a few breaks to let things cool while I maybe clean up some of the mess.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwayne Watt View Post
    Personally, I would use the project as an excuse to upgrade to a new router. I realize that is not the guidance you are seeking but one cannot have too many routers and I firmly believe in having the proper tool for a job. A nice new Triton or Dewalt would always look good in the workshop!
    +1 to this idea.
    Maybe it's old age or maybe I'm just plain lazy - but - I find myself drawn more and more to the idea of having separate routers for separate tasks.
    The one small concession I made to this idea was buying a 1/4" collet for my Milwaukee 5625.
    My granddad always said, :As one door closes, another opens".
    Wonderful man, terrible cabinet maker...

  10. #10
    I had a speed control from MLCS and had the same result as Richard Coers - major power loss at low rpms - not what you want for slab flattening. Maybe there are better ones available. I would suggest you return the 2" bit and use a 1" one with your router or get a variable speed router that will handle your 2" bit. Surfacing with that large a bit will require small depth of cut adjustments because you just don't have enough power and control to hog off big cuts with a hand-held router. You will get the job done in the same amount of time using a smaller bit, higher rpms and greater depth of cut.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    Surfacing with that large a bit will require small depth of cut adjustments because you just don't have enough power and control to hog off big cuts with a hand-held router. You will get the job done in the same amount of time using a smaller bit, higher rpms and greater depth of cut.
    I'd agree with this. At some point it all comes down to how much HP you've got ... and whether you can hang on to it. It might take more back and forth's, but fewer depth passes. Far less scary as well.

  12. #12
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    Iím in the get another router or use a smaller bit camp. I ďinheritedĒ a router speed control as part of a package deal when I bought a Kreg router table at an estate sale. I donít recall the brand. Tried it once. It was a piece of junk. Iím just happy that it didnít destroy my router. For the cost of the speed control you can get a good smaller bit and it wonít be the only time you will use it.

  13. #13
    You could always make a speed control. Get a dimmer switch and an outlet. Wire them up and you have a variable speed control. It's worked for me with my older Craftsman 1hp router.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Burke View Post
    You could always make a speed control. Get a dimmer switch and an outlet. Wire them up and you have a variable speed control. It's worked for me with my older Craftsman 1hp router.
    You're lucky you didn't turn the dimmer into a melted pile.

  15. #15
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    Was watching this thread to learn others experiences. I had (have) a router speed control (perhaps Rockler) to run slower on large bits like panel cutting bits. I found it 'jogs' a bit at lower speeds. Choppy. Once some load is applied it smooths out but it never clicked for me and I abandoned it.

    I put it on a small Foredom rotary tool motor and it works great there.

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