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The Insert-Pro kit includes the body, two cutters and a driver for changing them.
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Infinity Insert-Pro Panel Raising Bits

Industrial-style cutter versatility for your shop

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

Posted - 5-26-2005

   New from Infinity Cutting Tools (Clearwater, Florida) is their Insert-Pro Panel Raising System that features replaceable (carbide) cutters. While this design has been used in the industrial sector for a long time, making it available for the home woodshop, at a realistic price, is new.

Initial Impressions

   The Insert-Pro bits are a little intimidating because of their overall mass. Their 3 ½"-diameter is common but

The cutters are each secured by a pair of screws. Note the true mirror finish on the cutter. This is way beyond just shinny!
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the Insert-Pro bodies appear larger than similar bits with brazed on carbides. The Insert-Pro bodies are extensively machined to exacting tolerances, insuring alignment, strength and balance.

   Most visually notable is the mirror finish on the carbide cutters. This is not just shinny surface; it is a true mirror finish that helps resist contamination by resins and debris. The ultra-smooth surface also makes removing what does stick far easier.

   As is customary with Infinity bits, the machining and finish work is first rate throughout.

Replaceable Carbide Cutters

   Being able to remove and replace the carbide cutters has a few advantages. Most obvious is being able to change profiles without having to buy an entire new bit. Infinity currently offers three cutter profiles, Ogee (#CIK-941), Standard (#CIK-942) and Cove (#CIK-943). Infinity owner, David Venditto, seems unable to resist developing new stuff so watch for more profiles to appear in the future.

Changing cutters is fast and easy with the included driver. Alignment is perfect every time!
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   Another benefit of mechanically securing the cutters is being able to make them from much harder, finer-grained carbide that cannot withstand the heat of brazing. This carbide takes a sharper edge and then holds it longer than brazed-on materials are capable of. That increased performance and longevity make the per-cutter (2 are needed for each bit) price of $29.90 (5-23-2005) a better deal than it may sound like.

   Another life-stretching feature of the Insert-Pro cutters comes from being able to "freshen" the cutting edge. Remove the cutter, lay it flat on the bench and give the rear surface a few strokes with a flat diamond card to clean up the edge.

Universal Body

The Insert-Pro bits, at 3 1/2"-diameter are no larger than most horizontal panel raising bits but take up all available room in standard lift plates. Use caution when setting the fence width!
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   One body design accommodates all of the Insert-Pro panel raising cutters. The bodies are precision machined from high-quality steel for maximum strength and balance. In addition to locating the cutters, the shape of the bodies incorporates anti-kickback technology.

   After machining, the bodies are treated with Infinity's exclusive Nickel Armor coating that prevents corrosion, resists build up of resins and other contaminates generated by shaping wood.

   A pair of high-strength industrial screws secure each cutter. This system automatically indexes the cutters making it virtually impossible to install them out of position. A driver wrench for the cutter screws is included with the system.

In the Shop

   We installed the Infinity Insert-Pro bit in our Woodpeckers table equipped with an INCRA 17" LS Positioner Super System. A Porter Cable 3 ¼ Hp router (#7518) is mounted in a Woodpeckers Precision Router Lift (PRL) plate.

   All cuts were made at 12,000 RPM, recommended by Infinity as the maximum speed. Despite its size and weight, the Insert-Pro bit assembly ran very smooth, indicating that the factory balancing is right on the money.

The Insert-Pro bit cut cleanly and easily in all types of wood. Strain on the router was minimal, even during heavier than normal cuts.
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   We raised panels in pine, poplar and red oak with the Insert-Pro bit. The surfaces produced by the Insert-Pro bit looked identical in all three wood types despite the vast difference in hardness and density. All needed very little sanding to be ready for finish. Even the red oak was cut cleanly with crisp edges and no chipping or tearout.

   Though I normally make multiple light (1/16" depth or less) passes when raising panels, two heavier than normal passes were made on the red oak panel to see how the Insert-Pro handled the increased amount of material being cut. One of those cuts was almost 1/8"-deep with the only difference noted being a slightly rougher surface left on the end grain sides. In addition, there was no discernable RPM loss of during this heavier cut.

   In the middle of the performance testing, I removed both cutters from the body and then replaced them on opposite sides to see if there was any change in the quality of cut or overall bit performance. There was none. The mounting system for the cutters indexes them perfectly and they appear to be totally interchangeable.

Conclusions

   The Infinity Insert-Pro Panel Raising bits are high quality tools that bring extended versatility to your shop. The $139.90 (5-25-2005) price for the initial set (body and a pair of cutters) is a better value because of the interchangeable cutters.

   The design, materials and machining are all first rate, producing smooth running, clean cutting bits that make your projects look better.
   The Infinity Cutting Tools Insert-Pro panel Raising System is a good idea for the home woodworker that wants top quality tools but does not have an unlimited budget. Being able to change profiles without buying additional bodies lets you be more flexible without breaking the budget.

See more on the Infinity Insert-Pro bits, cutters and the rest of their extensive product line at www.infinitytools.com.

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