Router mishap

Friends, I had a bit of a mishap last night and I am hoping some of you might be able to offer advice. I purchased a new Triton 3 1/4 HP router and was using a 1/2 inch shaft rabbeting bit with appropriate bearing to cut a 1/4 inch rabbet along the edge of a piece of pine scrap that was clamped to the edge of my workbench. I set up everything according to instructions, began the cut, and all was going well until I felt something breeze past my leg. I stood in shock watching the bit spin like a top on the floor of my basement shop. It spun so fast that the retainer screw worked loose and it began to spit out screw, washer, and bearing before I regained the presence of mind to turn off the router, walk across the room, and stop the bit. Thankfully, there was no damage to my person, and the bit seems to be miraculously unscathed. Unfortunately, as the bit worked its way out or the router collet, it dove down through the piece of scrap and into the apron of my workbench liberally removing the wood as it went. But it is easier to patch the bench than my leg, so I feel lucky.
My question is, what could I have done wrong? I tightened the collet and I prevented the bit from bottoming out in the collet. I was doing a regular cut (i.e. not climb cutting). I double checked the diameter of the shaft and it is indeed 1/2 inch. I had only used the router once before with the 1/2 inch straight bit that Triton includes, and it worked fine. I'm frankly a little afraid to try again, so any advice would be appreciated.
RustyC.
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brand new router. any oil on the inside of the collet?
I'd guess that the straight bit with it's smaller diameter applied less pull to the bore of the collet, so didn't slip, bur the larger diameter rabbet bit managed to slip.
tighten it down tighter.
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"Rusty" wrote in message

Ultra clean collet and bit, and *tight* ... clamp down on that sucker.
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 2/20/07
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I'm guessing a 12mm shank in a 1/2" collet. Measure everything to the nearest .001. See if the collet matches the shank. http://www.patwarner.com (Routers) _____________________________

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Hi Rusty
This sounds just too bizarre. You stated that -------------------- It spun so fast that the retainer screw worked loose and it began to spit out screw, washer, and bearing before I regained the presence of mind to turn off the router, walk across the room, and stop the bit. -------------------- The retaining screw for the bearing is a righthand affair. The usual rotational direction of the bit would have further tightened the screw rubbing on the floor. The 1/2" collet of the Triton 3.5 hp router is a single piece nut, also righthand. The only explanation I can come with is very farfetched: it looks like the router motor got in reverse! Hard to believe.
Had the router spun in reverse direction, it could have loosened the collet nut. Once the bit got on the floor, maybe a backward spinning bit could have caused the screw to get undone, but I feel that the torque used to correctly install the bearing retaining screw would have been sufficient to keep it in place. Unless the screw broke or the tapped hole for it were bad, I can't see how the thing got unscrewed.
Very strange, and scary too. I am glad to know you were not hurt...
Andre
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While you don't want the bit bottomed on the shaft bore, you do want the end to be at least flush with the bottom of the collet, and maybe a wee bit past. Don't know for sure how the Triton is designed but on a Porter-Cable most of the clamping force is applied at the bottom of the collet (i.e. the one closest to the router body and farthest from the cutting edge).
Clean both the bit and the collet thoroughly--find a gunshop and get a .50 caliber bore brush and jag, some cleaning patches, and a pistol cleaning rod--while you're about it get .25 caliber brush and jag to clean your quarter inch collets. Even if it seems clean, you'll be surprised how much crud comes out the first time.
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Glad nobody was hurt.
The suggestions thus far seem very reasonable; I would clean the collet, and measure if possible. You should remove the collet (if possible) and see how it fits on another bit. I've just tried this on a Bosch and a PC, both fit snug, with no play.
It really sounds like the bit bottomed out, and vibrated loose (I've done this, with similar results.) I'm really careful not to let this happen.
You may want to start over tighten bits. Resist the temptation; this will lead to a frozen bit. Refer back to your user manual to find the proper procedure, or call the manufacturer to gain a clear understanding of properly installing a bit.
Fear of using the tool is dangerous, so don't attempt the operation again until you understand "what happened."
Over the years, I've done some "dumb" things. I've truly tried to learn from these events, so I hope you can determine what went wrong, learn from it, then go out a make more wood chips.
-nick

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Do not have a lot of experience , but if the cutter bit was installed backwards or upside down , could this have caused it? In other words the the back of the cutters was hitting the wood first. Just curious about this.
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*snip: Router mishap including a flying bit*

Now we need to wear safety glasses AND A CUP??
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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Make sure that there is no debris in the slots of the collet. If there is metal from the milling of the collet in those slots the collet will not tighten properly. I had a similar problem with the same router when it was brand new but with the router hanging up side own with less dramatic results. Cleaning the excess metal shavings out and cleaning the collet solved the problem.

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One other thing, since the Triton has a spindle lock and you are using the router free hand you will have a more difficult time properly tightening the collet. Even with mine anchored in a router table I am not shy about tightening the collet. BUT, don't get ridiculous when tightening.
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Thanks all for the helpful suggestions. I checked with a caliper and the bit is 1/2 inch. I am going to give the collet and bit a thorough once over and cleaning to see if this could have caused the problem. I also might pick up a cup:) I can't really address the point about spin direction, but the motor does spin the bit in the direction indicated on the router and in the manual. I really appreciate all the kind and helpful advice. Knowing what to look for will help me figure this out and hopefully regain some confidence once I understand. RustyC.
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Rusty wrote:

One other comment but not apropos to the current situation...
When using downcut spiral bits the bit can sometimes be pulled down (outward) from the collet. I've never had one come completely out but I HAVE had them pulled far enough to mess up work. Solution is to take small cuts.
--

dadiOH
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dadiOH wrote:

Wouldn't that be an upcut bit? A downcut bit would be pushed back towards the router.
Chris
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Friends, Well, I carefully examined and cleaned the collet and bit. It turned out there was some significant sized metal filings stuck in the slot of the collet. They seeemd to be painted in place. I also cleaned some black gunk out of the collet (not a lot, but it probably doesn't take much) and wiped down the bit shank with acetone. Putting it all back together being careful not to bottom out the bit and to tighten down hard (but not too hard) I find myself back in business. Now I have to rout out the bench damage and make a patch:)
I should say that I really like the Triton. I encourage anyone using this router to take a few minutes and examine the collet tomake sure the slot is clear. Otherwise I think it is a great tool. Thanks again for all the help, RustyC.
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<snip>

If the triton has the type of collet system with a slot all the way through the collet, and the router shaft also has a slot in the recess where the collet sits, make sure the two slots are lined up.
HTH,
Paul F.
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Disassemble the collet and clean with a non-oily solvent such as laquer thinner or acetone to remove all traces of the manufacturing oil coating. Do the same to the bit shaft. Should be good to go.

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All the suggestions made here are good ones. One other trick I picked up from the CMT demo at the woodworking show is to put an "O" ring down the collet before inserting a bit. The OD of the "O" ring should be the same as the ID of the collet. Then when you insert (all the way in) the bit there will be a forgiving restraint between the bottom of the bit and thte top of the shaft of the router. It effectively keeps the bit from bottoming out, which if it happens can lead to bad things.

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