Title really says it, “MPCNC Mild Steel recommended Router”
What would be the recommended router for cutting mild steel, regardless of costs?
Obviously, a plasma cutter is probably best but that’s a bit high of costs for me.
Anyone that’s been following has seen that I have been running a Dewalt DW618, but the weight is causing the Z-axis to fall.
Was thinking of a Dewalt DWP611 due to the fact that it’s essentially a small DW618.
I’ll go with the DWP611, unless someone has a better suggestion?
I’m all ears.
I don’t know that, as a group, we have enough experience with steel to settle on a “best” choice, so I’ll just drop some of my thoughts and experience, probably worth about what you’re paying for it.
I think there won’t be any argument that we run out of rigidity LONG before we run out of power when cutting steel, though.
The surface speed suggestions for most tools I’ve seen indicate a relativy slow rpm (almost in our router range for smaller tools, comfortable in for certain tool coatings), so maybe that helps. It would tend to steer me towards the makita, with it’s wider range.
Beyond that, maybe a VFD controlled spindle that would allow you to set the rpms precisely. Most of them are useful as low as 8000rpms. Consistency is going to be a huge benefit as you try to figure out optimal settings.
My own experience is that cutting steel really isn’t that difficult for the first 5-8 minutes. After that, the tool is pretty worn and things get unpredictable. My very first tests were simple shapes and led me to believe it wasn’t as bad as people said.
There are a couple coatings intended for dry cutting, but that didn’t help me too much. At the end of my last series of attempts, the printnc guys suggested an uncoated single flute at high rpm and high feed rate, similar to how I cut aluminum, but I think it’s mostly their rigidity that makes the difference. I have not tested it yet.
I think there used to be, but the runout isn’t great (edit: as Jeff points out below, this is pretty old experience and I haven’t laid hands on a dremel in at LEAST a few years) and they’re pretty low power. The dewalt 660 is only 50 or 60 bucks, so if you can get one of those it’s better than the dremel in every way. Personally, I’d rather take the 611 or makita for the speed control.
This was the experience when I first got here. I have been parroting that, but there are obviously many dremel versions and that info is 8 yo now.
The dewalt 660 is a known good performer. So is the DW611. But neither has much experience with steel (because there are only a few people who have tried it).
Steel will be significantly more expensive. In bits, materials and cleanup. The plasma needs a bunch of stuff too, like a water table and probably a THC, which means linuxcnc. But either way, expect to spend a lot. I would not be surprised if the plasma ended up cheaper after just a few dozen cuts.