A trim router is a tool that can be used to make various types of cuts in wood, plastics, and other materials. This article will cover how to use the trim router including safety tips and what you’ll need to get started.
What is a Trim Router?
A trim router is an electric machine that can be used for cutting and shaping the edges of wooden or plastic surfaces. It is an efficient way to make cuts in wood or other materials. The operation and construction are very similar to what we do with our hands only in an electrical way.
A trim router will allow you to create designs and patterns on your workpiece (like picture frames).
The trim router’s motor creates a brush that is perpendicular to the spinning disk, and with a small set of blades each rotating within. The speed is regulated by variable power. For example, some models can reach speeds of more than 40,000 RPM.
As you turn on your machine, you will see the blades moving quickly around the disk, and as the speed increases, so will their movement.
Safety Tips Before Using a Trim Router
To get the most out of your trim router, it is advisable that you learn how to use a trim router properly. This way, you will be able to work faster and more efficiently. Also, you won’t make any mistakes or hurt yourself in the process.
- TIP #1
Know what material you are going to cut. Having knowledge about what material you are going to be cutting is essential when using a trim router.
If the wood is wet for example, then your device will not function well because there may be resistance between the two materials so always find out if there are special instructions on how to operate a trim router for the material you are using.
- TIP #2
Make sure to have a quality trim router. If you don’t have one, be sure to check out our article on the best trim routers before making that investment.
- TIP #3
Wear proper protection. It is also very important that you wear the right protective gear before using a trim router to avoid accidents and injury such as wearing goggles to protect your eyes and wearing earplugs because the bit may produce some noise which may damage your hearing ability.
- TIP #4
Find the right type of bit. Different trim routers have different types of bits so make sure that you are familiar with which one is best for your workpiece.
For example, if you are working on a large project like building furniture, then investing in three-flute bits will be best because it can remove larger volumes of material and they provide smoother cuts than other types of router bits.
How to Use a Trim Router
When you are ready to use your machine to begin work, hold it in front of you with both hands like you would a mug full of coffee. Keep one hand on top for better control and use the other to turn on the switch at the bottom of the device.
You’ll feel the motor start to vibrate in your hand at this point, and it will begin to spin counterclockwise – that’s normal. Don’t worry if it makes a lot of noise because that’s also perfectly natural for this kind of tool.
The most important thing is not letting go of it right now, but taking the time to position it correctly. Watch the spinning disk in front of you and move the tool slowly towards your workpiece, which should be positioned on a flat surface that’s at least as wide as the machine itself.
Keep it moving until the spinning disk is right above your surface, and make sure that its edge is positioned just where you want to make your first cut.
Set the trim router’s speed in half using a small lever that you will find at the top of its handle, and press it down until you have achieved a good level of control and comfort with it. For now, just work on getting used to how the machine moves underneath your hand as you hold it above your workpiece.
As you grow more comfortable with it, the next step is to actually start making cuts in your workpiece or surface.
The most important thing here is that you keep the trim router’s edge aligned with your workpiece at all times. Otherwise, you’ll make a mess in no time at all!
Hold your hand as steady and tightly as you can and start the device. It may take a few seconds for it to come to full speed, so don’t be alarmed if the beginning of the cut looks jagged at first. Keep it aligned by moving your hand slowly toward your piece until you have achieved a straight line with the edge of your trim router’s disk.
It’s best to take your time and work slowly if you want to get the most out of your trim router because it can be very dangerous if you rush. Move it along a straight line from the top edge of your workpiece down toward its bottom.
Once you achieve a cut that’s about halfway through, stop moving and shut off your machine.
You can then carefully remove your workpiece from the surface where it was placed, and repeat the same process along any other line. Notice how the cuts end up looking like little rectangles with smooth edges, This is because of how each blade rotates separately on its own axis.
If you were to make a cut with just one blade rotating at a time, you would see that the results are a lot rougher and less continuous looking. By using four blades, as you do when working with a trim router, it’s possible to make very fine cuts without damaging your workpiece.
Before finishing each cut, take a moment to turn off the device and remove your hand from its handle, since you don’t want to get your fingers caught in it.
Once all of your cuts are finished, remove any tool marks left by the disk’s edge on your piece with sandpaper or a file – they should come off very easily if you use sharp blades. Then smooth out the edges of each rectangle that was created by lightly sanding everything over with progressively finer papers until you have achieved the desired result.
You can also use a trim router to make round cutouts for wall lights, recesses, and holes for electrical outlets, doorways, and windows. Simply hold its edge against one side of your workpiece and spin it around in a circle as you move along from top to bottom along the surface. When you’re done cutting out your piece, you can use it to make flush or surface-fitting holes and openings in drywall for wired outlets.
Most trim routers are made with a top handle that includes an on / off switch designed to be used by your other hand during operation. But if yours doesn’t have one, you can simply hold the switch down with your body weight.
Remember to keep all of these switches out of children’s reach at all times, because they’re liable to hurt themselves very badly if they come across them while playing around on their own.
Just like everything else in life, making cuts with the help of a trim router requires practice and patience – but once you get the hang of it, it will become one of your favorite tools!
Be sure to experiment with it as much as possible once you’re finished learning how to use it here, but always wear safety glasses and protective clothing whenever you’re using any of your power tools.
Force yourself to work slowly, intentionally, and precisely so that you can achieve the highest quality results. If you have questions about anything, please feel free to ask them in the comment section below. We will do our best to answer them immediately.