Although composite drill bits are often used for the routing of compound materials, there is another method of routing with a machine that is lightweight, easy to maneuver, has no risk of electrical shock, and is simple to maintain. This is composite routing with air, which is used in many shops and plants that produce parts which would otherwise be difficult or unsafe to machine. These composite routers are the machines of choice for many industrial hand routing applications, such as fiberglass or wood composites in the boat industry.
The applications of air routers include cut-out composite routing with templates, trimming operations done by following fixtures, free-hand trimming, and even robotic applications. There are only a few variations of the standard air composite routers available, so manufacturers must look to specialized tooling to provide the best solution for their cutting needs. Air router bits are able to perform many different tasks than composite drill bits and other standard cutting tools, and for many specialized jobs they simply provide an unsurpassed performance. They must be used and maintained properly, though, to continue to provide this peak performance.
Air composite routers need 90 PSI and 30 CFM of a dry, clean, lubricated air supply, for example, and if they get less than 70 PSI or 20 CFM their usable horsepower will be cut in half and display a noticeable drop in RPMs. The composite drill bits for these air routing machines are designed for specific RPMs, and they do not perform well at lower spindle speeds. The air pressure for effective composite routing should not drop more than 10 percent from the static pressure when the router is turned on, and if the air pressure drops while the spindle is under load the router might be in poor repair.
These specialized composite routers can be the best choice for many jobs, as long as they have the right air pressure, spindle speed, coolant and ongoing maintenance.
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