DW611 - go with new collet/nut, or reduction collet, or 1/4-1/8" bits?
Hello everyone, first time posting after lurking these forums for a few weeks. I hope this is the right place to post.
I have been working with polycarbonate /lexan for a good few years, but only recently purchased my first "real" router (a Dewalt DW611 PK). Prior to this, I was making due with a Dremel fixed to the plunge-base accessory.. Obviously not ideal, but with some quality 1/8" spiral upcut bits I was able to get results. Now with my 611 I can see how much time and effort was wasted ising my old setup! It's like going from cutting steak with a butter knife, to butter with a steak knife!
My first trials were done using a 1/4" solid carbide spiral up cut bit, KCT137388, made by Kodiak. Wow. My only issue is the cutting length of the spiral being 1.5" makes this bit just a tad too long in my plunge base to where it's protruding about 1/8" from the sub base wish the plunge at full height - however, since i'm using a 1/4" (height) template guide bushing, this is negated.
I am working on a 1/4" thick piece of MR10 polycarbonate, doing some letter cut-outs. As my deadline is fast approaching for completion, and realizing 4-inch-tall lettering done with a 1/4" bit will result in the letters having too much of a rounded corner, I was in need of a smaller diameter bit. Ideally I would pirchase via Amazon but I don't have time to wait on shipping now. I can't use my old 1/8" spirals since the stock collet on 611 only takes 1/4", and i've yet to purchase an reduction adaper and/or smaller collet assembly. So, I was left with just one option.
I purchased a Freud 75-100 two-flute up cut spiral bit, 1/4" shaft, 1/8" diam cut, 1/2" cut length solid carbide bit for 25$ at my local County Store (True Value affiliate, I think). I've yet to use it, I'm just super cautious as I've already lost money on this project with mistakes/mishaps using the old setup,and I would hate to break this pricey bit, mess-up my piece, or both.
So I guess I am hoping to get any experience, opinions, tips etc from anyone using either Freud brand in general, or similar bits on polycarbonate, or other materials even. I think this should work fine as lonf as I am careful - from what I've read in reviews, I see a polarizing result of 5 stars and 1 star, the 1 stars all to do witb bit-breakage. I gather that the reduction bits like this (1/4" to 1/8" etc) are more prone to breakage near the tapering transition, thus the operator must be careful to plunge and feed shallow - yes?
Also always important is the feed direction. It wouldn't hurt to get a refresher in that area, as I'm still fairly green in routing: when working on outside edges, we feed counter-clockwise, and when working on inner cuts (letters, in my case) we feed clockwise? One part that confuses me is what direction do we cut on our initial plunge/feed, before we have any edges at all? I go clockwise/left-to-right - is this correct, and does it matter?
Thank you all!