How To Load Tools In A CNC Router?

A CNC router is a computer controlled engraving machine. Any CNC router needs to be equipped with several different cutting tools to get the desired designs according to the projects. To achieve any particular engraving the cutting bits need to be changed. It is really important to understand the process of loading and unloading the different types of cutting tools in the CNC router. Otherwise a moment of unmindfulness can ruin your hard-earned project.

In this article, we will priorly focus on the techniques and terms of the tools’ transition in a CNC router. But before that we will briefly discuss the possible cutting tools of a CNC router that are required for a perfect engraving. So, let’s zoom in to the following sections to know in detail.

Though a CNC router is a high-tech engraving machine, without proper router bits it would be a toothless device! So, it would require cutting tools of different specific profiles. The types of the router bits depend on the shapes of the cutting edges. Such router bits include:

Straight router bits

Straight router bits are usually used in the workshops most often. They come in different diameters and lengths. Such bits can cut a material straight away and can create grooves to the material. They can also hollow out the material to make mortises.

Rabbeting router bits

Rabbeting bits are controlled by the spinning pilot bearing that is held on the tip of the CNC router. Such bits are used to cut rabbet or shoulder in the edges of any project piece that might be joined in several pieces. Such bits come in sets along with the bearings of different diameters. 

Chamfer router bits

Chamfer bits are used for cutting the bevel of any specific angle in order to decorate the surface. These bits help to join multiple sided constructions by curving beveled edges like planters, waste-boxes etc.

Edge forming bits

Edge forming bits are mainly used for shaping up decorative edges. For instance, Ogee bits help to cut different variants of S-shape edges, round over bits cut rounded edges of any particular radius, concave quarter-circle edges are cut by using Cove bits, Edge beading bits shape up half circle edges etc. These types of bits are used to finalize the financial decoration of any project.

Specialized bits

These types of router bits are especially made to accomplish specific kinds of tasks. As in examples molding bits like forming a single bit by using multiple edge forming profiles, stile and rail bits that are used for shaping frame pieces within the same and constructing panels like cabinet door and so forth. These types of bits are larger than the previously mentioned router bits and can only be fit for the table- mounted routers.

Well, hope you guys have got a precise conception about the router bits as well as tools. Now it’s time to explore the loading and removing instructions of the CNC router tools in the machine followed by a few important precautions to ensure the users safety. So, let’s take a quick tour to the process!

  1. Make sure that the tool you are loading in the CNC router is not worn or cracked. In case of any similar situation, it is important to repair  or  replace the tool before using it.
  1. While loading the milling cutter in the router machine, make sure that the taper between the cutter, the middle sleeve and the spindle would match properly and also ensure that the cutter center and the installation center must be centered. After the insertion of the tool into the spindle the milling cutter should be tightened properly with screws. Make sure the rotational direction of the milling cutter is according to the direction of the thread. The thread should be connected firmly with the milling cutter during rotation to avoid the chances of loosening the milling cutter during rotation.
  • After the installation of the milling cutter,cross check if there is any related washer or nut remaining loose. You should use a dial indicator to verify the diameters and end runout of the milling cutter to become sure that the milling cutter is rotating in its allowable range. 
  1. Make sure to clean the surface of the tool before loading it in the CNC router. If possible remove some burrs and washers on the surface before starting cutting. It will help to reduce the dust production and also enhance the accuracy of the engraving process.
  1. During clamping any tool with washer, ensure that the end of the washer is as aligned as possible. If it is found that the milling cutter’s position is asymmetrical, the position of the washer should also be adjusted according to the milling cutter’s position in order to minimize the possibility of errors during rotation.
  1. After use when the tool is removed from the CNC router machine, do not just throw the tool anywhere. The tool’s should be hung in the tool holder shelf to deformation and bending due to speedy rotation. In some cases it is suggested to store the tool’s horizontally after use. In addition you can also cover the tools with soft material to prevent them from scratches.
  1. As per cutting process requirements the milling cutter should be installed as closed as to the spindle bearing. Similarly, the handle bearing also should be adjacent to the milling cutter. In some special cases if the distance between the milling cutter and spindle bearing is more, it would require to install a hanger bearing between the milling cutter and spindle bearing to balance the distance.

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