How to increase your tool life? Run your CNC a bit slower

Photo By Southeast Tool

For as long as I can remember the industry standard for RPM's on a 1/2 inch router bit has been 18,000. I've even seen tool manufacturers recommend 18,000 RPM on tools that can do the same job at 14,000. The fact is, this is  2019 and tools have come a long way.

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We have evolved into three-sided cutters with different rake angles to produce the right chip load all the while still using the 18,000 industry standard. You can get out a calculator and if you have a Masters degree in Mathematics you can figure out the right RPMs and feed speeds. I do have a calculator but, I come up short of the degree in math.
So I still prefer the old fashion way: Sound and temperature are two key factors when trying for the optimal chip load. There are a ton of variables here but, for the most part, there should not be any high pitch noise coming from the 1/2" bit when routing particle board.
Now, when we talk about temperature, we are talking about the temperature of the particleboard chips. Warm is no good. This means the router bit is spinning too fast and recutting the chips (a lot like a lawnmower mulcher). This creates heat and tool life drops dramatically. 
When I say router chips, this is what we need to see: No router dust! Router dust means mulching and this is no good.
I would say that decreasing RPM by 1,000 will add another year to the overall life of your router motor while increasing your tool life. In fact if you still get a good cut line after decreasing RPM by 1,000, try another 1,000, you might be surprised at how low you can go.

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Mike McClaran