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bluefoxicy 02-24-2013 05:16 PM

Pneumatic routers
I've been thinking of going to air tools for anything not cordless. I mean I like my DeWalt cordless lithium 20V Max stuff, but well... if I needed a corded power drill, couldn't i just use air tools?

Which brings me to... routers.

I can acquire a routing table that comes empty, and acquire a good router to bolt to it. It seems to me there should be such a thing as a pneumatic router. That said, is it worthwhile getting one? I don't particularly envision a router being a mainstay, though i'd probably buy a good one (like I got the DeWalt impact driver--probably same rank for a router). On the other hand, if I do any measurable amount of woodworking, the router will probably become a primary tool...

Point being I don't need/want a $5000 top-of-the-line super-duty commercial tool. So...
  • Air router - Is it a thing? Can I get one and slap it in a router table?
  • Are these going to be reasonably priced?

woodworkbykirk 02-24-2013 05:52 PM

if you want a air operated router your going to need a massive compressor to run it. it needs continous air which means a large tank with a motor with a extremely high cfm rating.. just buy a electric router

bluefoxicy 02-24-2013 05:55 PM

Interesting, though that wasn't the question.

Trying to establish what tools are out there, what advantages, costs, requirements, etc. first. Merits and strategy comes when you understand the options. I already understand the electric router option--you buy one that puts out $TORQUE and you plug it in.

oh'mike 02-24-2013 06:44 PM

Many Amish woods shops are all pneumatic---I would think an air powered shaper may be available----router? I doubt it-----

I tried some air sanders ----they over ran my compressor----I figured I'd need a huge 5 horse power hog to run them---so I gave up on the idea---

Seemed silly to power up a 5 horse compressor to run a tool that could be run on 7 amps----

Is there a reason you are thinking of using this air power?

bluefoxicy 02-24-2013 07:01 PM

I use mainly battery powered hand tools but eventually the decision will come down to whether to get the corded power tools or get air tools.

Air tools have the advantage of mechanical simplicity (no electronic controllers, no motors to burn out) and less direct load on the electrical supply (it might take time to refill that tank, but i'm not going to pull the trigger and wind up drawing 15 amps while the other guy is pulling 12 amps on a circular saw and throw a breaker).

The disadvantage is the cost of a big tank, the portability (yeah, if it needs a big tank, I need to bring the big tank; air hand drills I could bring a 5 gallon pancake for I guess), and potentially the cost of tools or compatibility with various tanks (low-flow won't cut it for big jobs).

I'm also under the impression that they're quieter and have a lower hazard risk of electrical shock and fire. There's hazard risk of a tank explosion or exposure to high pressure air if the line ruptures, though.

So, piles of stuff.

Need more research.

A routing table happens to be the only tool I can currently see an immediate potential use for.

oh'mike 02-24-2013 07:10 PM

You may learn,as I did, that air tools for wood working is not practical---

If this works out for you,please keep us posted-----

bluefoxicy 02-24-2013 07:14 PM

hmm. So I should go with electric tools and look into air tools for other functions as I require other power tools?

I tried doing the math for a pressure washer with air. I am convinced you cannot build one. Pressure systems simply do not work that way (the pressure is the same throughout the whole system, so you would need air flow at 1500PSI from a 1500PSI tank, or an air driven motor with a huge step-up and a MASSIVE amount of air flow).

Perhaps the same sort of limitations apply here: not enough mass and pressure to produce torque under any reasonable setup.

oh'mike 02-24-2013 07:42 PM

All I can remember was watching the lights dim as my biggest compressor kicked on ----repeatedly--while operating a small palm sander---

So I just use the compressor for spraying finishes--and nail guns---

Actually---I have an HVLP blower now--so the old spray gun just gathers dust--

funfool 02-24-2013 08:23 PM

To get the required air to power the tool you are asking about.
You will meed a industrial 240 volt air compressor. And then you will need a very efficient dryer in the system to collect the moisture out of the air, you do not want to spray it all over your project with a air tool.

My only real point to replying is, your first answer from woodworkbykirk was correct.
I kinda thought you were rude to him with your reply.
I can try to explain how expensive setting up a air wood working shop would be, I can understand the advantages that a large company or maybe Amish would have over the air operated shop. Would be powerful light weight tools that could be rebuilt with a few o rings and over all cost would be lower over years. But only in a high production Factory.
For what it sounds like you want, would be silly to consider it.

If you do not trust the advice you asked for, look at the tool and what cfm it requires, then look at what you need for a compressor that will handle that cfm continuously.
Add the price of those up and then the cost of installation including wiring and where will you put the big compressor, inside your shop or pour a slab and a shed outside for it.
And all this for a home owner to use a router in the garage?
Or just keep asking and maybe someone will tell you what you want to hear.

bluefoxicy 02-24-2013 08:42 PM


Originally Posted by funfool (Post 1124186)
My only real point to replying is, your first answer from woodworkbykirk was correct.
I kinda thought you were rude to him with your reply.

I don't like answers in the form of "Don't do that, do this instead."

Vacuous answers with no explanation are indistinguishable from dogma. I've spent my life being told that things can't or shouldn't be done, only to go break all the rules and get much better results than anyone else. That's not a constant; it's a thing that happens often, but not a dominating result or a guarantee.

The two strategies for acquiring competence are either A) make your own mistakes; or B) learn from the mistakes of others. Skittering away from things that didn't work out for everyone else isn't (B); you don't understand why it didn't work and what challenges and trade-offs and mistakes were made, and you can't apply that understanding to future problems. You must probe those people for their knowledge and experience. Yes, it shows that you don't know what you're doing; if you had any clue what you were trying to do, why would you need to bother other people about the details?

Tangential: There is a great failure in higher education by which we teach dogma, rather than knowledge. Procedural technical concepts, while often correct, are taught as simple cause-effect and raw information with little explanation. IT is the poster child for this because it's absolutely loaded with examples of concepts that are backed by impossibly complex theory that's never touched, but more importantly with very simple concepts like "we tried the other obvious things, and here are the problems we avoid with what we're teaching you here" which are also never touched. It is uninteresting to explain the wrong way of doing something--and hence the reasoning behind the right way (the reason we do X is because doing something other than X is wrong, because...).

Your response had information, and was interesting. Things like "You need a big tank and a high CFM rating, so don't do that" are not very informative... I can get a big tank for like $400. What you said is different; it indicates that the concept of a "big tank" varies depending on what we're talking about, and that there are very big tanks. This is the same concept that follows when something absolutely massive is ... small, because the problem scope it's used in is typically bigger than that (like the small diesel generator we have at my job, bigger than my house--whereas a large generator would fit in the corner of my basement and provide 5-10 times as much power as I could possibly use).

Faults. Failure modes. Problem scoping. Appropriateness of a solution. Costs, trade-offs, scale.

MissKat 02-25-2013 01:32 AM

Wow-are you for real?

How long did it take you to write that vs how long it took most people on here to decide it wasn't worth the effort to read?

By the way, you could use a better editor.

joecaption 02-25-2013 01:42 AM

And gee it would only take 38 CFM to run it.:eek:

oh'mike 02-25-2013 04:53 AM

Please come back after you have your shop up and going---

Bondo 02-25-2013 06:10 AM


The disadvantage is the cost of a big tank, the portability (yeah, if it needs a big tank, I need to bring the big tank; air hand drills I could bring a 5 gallon pancake for I guess), and potentially the cost of tools or compatibility with various tanks (low-flow won't cut it for big jobs).
Ayuh,.... It ain't 'bout a Big Tank,...

It's 'bout a BIG compressor Pump....

You'd need Atleast a 10 hp Compressor to keep up with air tools...

Short of a Factory settin', electric tools are Way more efficient...

oh'mike 02-25-2013 06:20 AM

Joe---great link-----20 cfm @ 90 psi for a random orbit sander----

Good golly----that's one big old compressor----

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