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Thread: Router Speed Control

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Stittsville
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    Default Router Speed Control

    Have any of you guys had any luck with a 3rd party router speed control device like the one Busy Bee sells? My router is a Dewalt 616. I like it a lot, but it is one speed only (1.75HP max 24000 rpms if memory serves correct). For my current project, I 'd like to be able to run a few bits that are in the 1.5" diameter range.

    I can't really afford a new router right now. BB speed control is on sale for $30...

    Matt


  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Sugarbush near Horeseshoe Valley, Ontario
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    Don

    Default Re: Router Speed Control

    I think you mean more than $30. King has a 31/4 hp 1/2 inch variable speed for $119.95. It comes with 1/4 & 3/8 collet shafts and edge kits and a case.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Scarborough, Ontario
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    323

    Default Re: Router Speed Control

    I think the speed control you are looking at would do the trick. I seem to remember that they are rated by amps. So if your router falls withing the speed controls amp range you should be fine that way.
    My concern is the ability of a 1.75hp router to turn those big bits properly and safely. Hopefully some of the other guys will have a comment or two.

    All the best

    Stephen Leadbeater


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Router Speed Control

    No I mean $30 bucks. I'm talking about the speed control unit, not an actual router.



    Matt



  5. #5
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    Default Re: Router Speed Control

    I don't think the size of the bit would be a big problem. I'm not talking about raised panel bits or anything that big.
    Its more of a stop gap solution until I can aquire a bigger router.

    Matt


  6. #6
    Herschell Sax - Ottawa Guest

    Default Re: Router Speed Control

    I have an older version (blue). It will slow down the router. I use it mostly as a convenient off-on switch mounted on the side of my router table for added safety.


  7. #7

    Default Re: Router Speed Control

    I haven't used one myself, but I recollect hearing that these units to slow down the speed also results in a corresponding loss of power. Might be OK if you don't try to take too deep a cut.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Router Speed Control

    hmm... hadn't thought of that. something to look into...

    thanks,
    Matt


  9. #9
    WC Guest

    Default Re: Router Speed Control

    Years ago, when these speed controls first came out, there was a lot of discussion about them in various magazines and such. The concensus was that they were potentially harmful to the router causing premature failure. The main idea was to stay away from them because they would burn out your router.

    Warren



  10. #10
    riff Guest

    Default Re: Router Speed Control

    I wouldn't use one. WC is correct about HP reduction and damage. I don't think any manufacturer will give warranty if you use this.

    Regarding "big" bits, anything larger then 2" dia is not big it's huge. Really 2" is about as large a bit as should ever be used in a router. Likewise anything longer then about 4x the shank is huge.

    I know many of you use 3" plus panel raising bits. It will be a cold day in hell when I join that club. Shapers have 1 1/4 inch spindles for a very good reason.

    Regards


  11. #11
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Router Speed Control

    I seem to recall something like that myself. Well, I think I'll just find an alternate solution and start saving my pennies for a new router...

    thanks all

    Matt


  12. #12
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    Don

    Default As I said that King is reasonable *NM*



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Hamilton
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    Default Damage from Router Speed Controls?

    Does anyone have any information that speed controls damage routers or that manufacturers don't warrant routers that have been used with an external speed control?

    I just picked up a Dewalt DW616 1-3/4 HP router kit last night. I couldn't find anything in the manual or warranty that said not to use it with an external speed control.

    Dewalt also has a version of this, the DW618, with slightly more power (2-1/4 HP), a spindle lock and a built in speed control. For more money, of course.

    Electrically, a speed control module is the same whether its inside the router case or outside. The only difference the electrons see is that they pass through the power switch before the control module in the built-in control, or they go through the module before the switch for an external control. And I don't think they care which order that happens in.

    So if it's supposed to damage the router when it's outside the case, why do manufacturers build the same module inside their more expensive routers?

    Just wonderin.

    Tim



  14. #14
    Bill Howatt Guest

    Default Re: Damage from Router Speed Controls?

    My guess is that if the router has no electronic speed control and no soft start it isn't going to do any damage if used sensibly.

    A speed control provides chopped up AC to the router and I could see this driving any downstream speed control nuts.

    Do the external controls regulate the router speed well during no-load/load conditions? It would probably be easier to do this with an internal control which could have access to a feedback signal of the motor speed.

    Bill


  15. #15
    riff Guest

    Default Re: Damage from Router Speed Controls?

    Hi Tim,
    I guess the 500 dollar question is are they the same. For example, do the external units have a feedback and compensation system as my routers do. I have one speed control here that acts like a variable transformer (variac) This is defiantly not the same.

    I suppose a quick email to Dewalt would get a definitive answer.

    On another track I found your post to be quite sarcastic. Perhaps that was intentional, perhaps not. Either way I didn't enjoy the tone.

    Regards


  16. #16
    Join Date
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    Hamilton
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    Default Re: Damage from Router Speed Controls?

    Dewalt has, in fact, all their parts drawings and lists on their website http://www.dewaltservicenet.com You have to create an account to sign in, but go to Technical Publications then search on the model. They have exploded views, parts lists, manuals and wiring diagrams for these routers.

    Electrically, the differences between the DW616 and DW618 are: 1) the part number subcode on the armature and field windings are one digit different (the 616 is 11 amp and 618 is 12 amp), and, 2) the 616 has a jumper wire between the neutral wire in the cord and the field while the 618 replaces this jumper with the variable speed control module, which also has a third connection to the hot wire between the switch and the other side of the field. There're no other sensors or anything else built in.

    So this speed control module inside the case will do the same job as a speed control module outside the case.

    Riff -- I'm sorry if you think my post had a sarcastic tone. Remember, you wrote: "WC is correct about HP reduction and damage. I don't think any manufacturer will give warranty if you use this." This theory of yours about speed controls damaging routers and no manufacturers honouring their warranties if you use one sounds pretty fishy to me. But, I'd like to learn more. Could you point me to some evidence to support any of this?

    Cheers,

    Tim



  17. #17
    riff Guest

    Default Re: Damage from Router Speed Controls?

    Hi Tim,
    see The Router Book by Pat Warner page 146 for one reference that supports my opinions.

    It's not my theory, just something I picked up sometime during the years I've worked wood. Perhaps I'm echoing an urban legend like static charges causing fires in plastic ducts. If that is the case please show me the error of my ways and I will correct them.

    I don't think it's debatable that some speed reduction devices reduce HP. Anyone with a variable speed hand drill can confirm that. It's my understand that running motors below the rated voltage can damage the motor. Perhaps someone with expert knowledge of electric motors will comment on that. It is my opinion that slowing down router bits increase the shock load and by extension the potential for damage to the cutter or the router. I can't measure it but I can feel it.

    I don't know how the little box Matt was asking about works but I'd venture a guess that at 30 bux from BB it's not state of the art.

    I doubt that warranty is an issue because the only way anyone could know for sure an external speed control was used is if the user told them.

    Your motivation is unclear to me. If your are attempting to find out if it's OK to use with your Dewalt I think asking Dewalt is the best approach.

    This is the important part.. Regardless of what Dewalt says I don't see why anyone would want to show down a 1 3/4 HP router. If you need to slow down the cutter it's to big for that router, unbalanced or the collet is worn or no good in the first place. Any of these conditions put the users personal safety at greater risk imo.

    The variable speed router I have is a Bosch EVS and it does have a feedback system. I'm surprised the Dewalt doesn't. Wonder if that's true for all their variable speed routers.

    Regards


  18. #18

    Default Re: Damage from Router Speed Controls?

    My gut instinct would have to agree with Riff for what its worth.

    buy a router with speed control otherwise you take your chances. I've seen many a tap dance done by an operator of a router who tried to make it do what it was never designed to do.

    Regards


  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
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    Hamilton
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    Default Re: Damage from Router Speed Controls?

    Riff, I agree with you that slowing down a router reduces the power output. No argument there. Why would you want to slow a router? The bigger the bit, the slower the rpm it should be run at.

    My motivation is what set off my BS detector: your statement that an external speed control _will_ damage a router put forward as a stone cold fact.

    As a matter of fact, I've got a $30 Busy Bee router speed control. This one is a couple of years old and has the black plastic box with blue face, but current one they sell has the same features, specs and price, so I'm sure it has the same innards.

    This one has a Teccor #Q6025K6 25 amp 600 volt triac as the main solid state component inside, in case anyone's interested.

    We had a job at work doing some mixing that required a fair amount of torque at 2-300 rpm. Before spending several hundred dollars for a suitable gearmotor, I was in Home Depot and picked up a Black and Decker geared drill off the sale table for $30 and thought I'd give it a try. It was the $60 drill but was a pretty beat up looking returned unit.

    We bolted the drill to a fixture and replaced the chuck with a coupling. Surpisingly, it did turn this load, but we couldn't keep the trigger held in the right place. So I got this $30 Busy Bee router speed control. We had to remove the trigger from the drill (one variable speed device won't work with another), but it worked fine after that.

    The drill worked for an hour or two at a time at full load slowed down to 2-300 rpm. We put on a few dozen hours total using this speed control. It was grunting all the time on this job. I was sure we'd burn it up, but it still runs. And I'm not talking about a quality product here -- this is cheap red plastic B&D throwaway tool.

    Oh, and the torque produced by the drill with the router speed control was as far as anyone could tell the same as with the variable speed trigger switch, so I suspect the electronics are the same.

    Yet it didn't appear to suffer any damage after been really worked hard with the router speed control keeping it at 1/4-1/3 of full speed.

    So, that's my experience with one. If a router speed control damages routers, I'd sure expect it to have fried this drill in this job, but it didn't.

    Would Dewalt tell me to use someone else's device on their single speed routers, or would they tell me to spend another $50 on their variable speed router? I think I know the answer to that one.

    But there are other manufacturers with an interest in this. It turns out some router bit manufacturers provide technical advice on their webpages.

    The MLCS router bit company has a technical manual for the use of their router bits at:
    http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shops...2/mlcstech.pdf
    On page 3 they say:

    "In all cases, we strongly recommend being able to slow the speed of the router, either with the MLCS #9000 Router Speed Control or one that is built into your router."

    The MLCS #9000 Router Speed Control is identical to the Busy Bee unit.

    Jessada Tools, who also makes router bits has an info page at:
    http://www.jesada.com/instructions/spielman_router.html
    This is by Patrick Spielman (Amazon.com lists 5 router books by him), who recommends:

    "If your router doesn't give you a choice of speeds, consider buying a router speed control."

    Another router bit manufacturer, CMT, also has technical tips:
    http://www.woodtechtooling.com/CMT/SafeRouting101.html
    which includes:

    "If your router doesn't have a built-in speed control, a number of speed controls are commercially available."

    So here's three different router bit manufacturers recommend their customers use external speed controls on single speed routers. Their bread and butter is keeping their customers happy. Why on earth would they recommend a device that will damage the customer's routers?

    Also, MCLS's page for the the control they sell:
    http://www.mlcswoodworking.com/shops.../speedcon.html
    says that it was awarded Editor's Choice by Wood Magazine. You'd think their editors would be plugged into the industry pretty well and would know if the device damaged routers before giving it an award like this.

    So, can we chalk up this theory that external router speed controls damage routers to being a woodworking urban legend?

    From what I've been finding, the triac based speed controls are set up to sense current and voltage going into the motor and the phase angle between them. The circuits can infer when the motor slows based on this data and provide more electrical power when this happens to reduce the slowing. Some manufacturers call this "feedback" in their advertising. I haven't got deep enough into the circuit of the Busy Bee unit to determine if it does this too, but I suspect it does, based on our work with that B&D drill.

    Tim



  20. #20

    Default Re: Damage from Router Speed Controls?

    Is there any chance you might be related to Bob in LaChute?

    I have a feeling Riff has a million miles behind a router and you dont.

    Something to be said for those who make sense and very little for those who dont and easy enough to talk the walk.

    Might you have any pics of your outstanding work to back up all these links ?.......if so, I'll shut up and take a bow

    to think that this debate is all about a 30 dollar wanna be part and a wanna be router befudles me mind.

    Regards



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