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Long story short I was running my DeWalt fixed base router (8000-24000 RPM) on a piece of work when it started making a funny noise.

I lifted the router up to see why it was making the noise, and FWOOOM the router bit launched itself into the air!

Router bit after launch

I found it on the lawn on the other side of the house, with the stalk all twisted to one side. It landed in soft grass so that damage must have occurred while it was in (or exiting from) the router.

No injuries occurred thankfully, but obviously someone easily could have been hurt. So, what happened? Was it just loose? Is my router card revoked and I should just go back to belt-sanding roundovers? What safety steps could I have missed? Thanks!

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    Hello, and welcome to Stack Exchange. I'm no pro, but a loose bit could get off-center, and off-center at 24kRPM could do some serious damage to the bit, especially as it exited the router at speed. – Daniel Griscom Sep 12 '18 at 20:05
  • I agree it probably was not tight enough. I have never had one come out but have had them bend. – Ed Beal Sep 12 '18 at 20:32
  • Thanks! What about depth of insertion? – yourcomputergenius Sep 12 '18 at 20:33
  • It may have been both, not in far enough and not tight enough. The noise you heard was likely a bent bit before blast off. TBO, the router is my most feared power tool and I've never had a mishap with it. I give it and the tablesaw the upmost respect. – Gary Bak Sep 12 '18 at 21:27
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    I lifted the router up to see why it was making the noise - There's a lesson here: don't lift a running router up off your workpiece - shut it down and let it stop spinning before moving it at all. This will keep a loose or damaged bit from flying off like you encountered, and will also stop you from inadvertently touching the still-spinning bit with anything you don't want cut! – dwizum Jun 26 at 14:09
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If the router bit was in the collet the correct amount and tightened correctly then you should have no issues. I noticed a few things when looking at your picture, it is an older shank that had some rust on it and a few dings, it is possible it is not seating correctly in the collet.

With that said there is the possibility that the shank walked out of the collect because there was to much pressure in a climb cutting position. In other words the shank was rotating clockwise and you were moving left to right, the router bit is walking over the piece and every once in a while it grabs and pulls the shank out of the collet slightly like a screw. It DOES NOT matter how tightly you lock it in the collect.

Working in the machine shop, milling machine work the same way, I have see cutters come flying out for the same reason. It happens. Best advise is to work right to left and avoid climbing on the piece, finish will also be better. If you must climb take smaller cuts.

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It is possible to put 6mm shank router bits into a 1/4" collet (and vice versa), however you SHOULD NOT do this because they won't clamp down properly. This could be the cause of this bit coming out.

Also, to reiterate dwizum's comment do not pick up the router until the bit has stopped spinning. This is a good safety tip at all times and especially when you think something has gone wrong.

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