Router Bits, Fiberglass Is Not Plastic

Router Bits, Fiberglass Is Not Plastic

We solved a problem for a customer last week involving router bits and plastics. The customer had bought a router bit from an excellent company to use on plastics. He wanted to use the same router bit in a CNC machine and in a handheld router used freehand.  He also wanted to use it on Fiberglas. This is where the trouble came in.

Router bits exclusively for CNC use can be designed a little thinner in cross-section or shaft diameter than router bits for free hand operations. The assumption here is that the CNC router will travel a smoother, more consistent path. A thinner router bit will be able to travel faster and thus optimize CNC machining time. The assumption with handheld routers is that they will be subject to more forces from different directions and varying forces so they should be a little thicker in cross-section to keep them from breaking.

Fiberglass is certainly a plastic material but it is different than ordinary plastic. Ordinary plastic is homogenous and thus consistent throughout. Fiberglass is the opposite. Because the fibers are laid down in a random manner the density varies constantly in fiberglass.  The random orientation also means that the router bit is constantly being shoved from one direction to another. This puts a great deal of strain on the bit and dramatically increases the possibility of breakage.

The customer been breaking a router bit a day or so. We supplied him with the fiberglass router bits from Southeast Tool that was a bit thicker in diameter and that is working beautifully for him.

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