Working with a handheld wood router
Article prepared with informational support from http://www.multicut.ru.
A router is a tool for processing lumber that performs many rotations at high speed. There are both professional equipment, such as milling and engraving machines, and for self-treatment, which requires certain skills and knowledge. Detailed instructions with a training video on the site will help qualitatively carry out operations on the processing of wood hand router.
Using a power cutter
Working with a hand router on wood helps to carry out the following carpentry operations:
- Processing of flat and shaped surfaces, edge profiling of boards, skirting boards, cornices, glazing beads.
- Shaping of technological and shaped recesses (grooves, combs, etc.).п.).
- Making through holes and blind holes.
- Cutting and copying complex details in wood.
- Issuing of inscriptions, drawings, patterns on surfaces (engraving).
- Mortise locks and door hinges.
- Making a tongue and groove joint. This is a complex process that requires special skills, resulting in a high-strength assembly of wood products.
Depending on the type of work performed by the hand router on wood, video lessons of which you can watch at the end of the article, you will need devices:
- Electric jigsaw
- Electric drill and drills
- Protective clothing and respirator.
For the beginner, this tool can be used to bring old furniture back to life, do minor carpentry work and do decorative woodwork around the house.
Preparing and setting up the tool
To begin, prepare the wood scraps on which you will practice. It’s best if they are made of soft wood. So you have the router in your hand. Don’t rush to plug in the power cord right away. First you need to install the cutter in the collet, then tighten it with a wrench with force. The spindle lock, a button pressed during tool change, makes this task easier. In its absence, use another wrench. The workpiece to be milled must be well clamped. Position the router on it and push down on the lever until the cutter just touches the work surface. Secure this position with the clamping lever. It is located next to the handle. easy to move with the finger while still in the hand.
The first setting is the depth of milling. The depth gauge is located along one of the rails. It must be lowered to the lower point of the limiter. the turret stop. The pointer now needs to be reset to zero on the scale. After that, the bar is raised to the desired value of the milling depth and the regulator is locked in this position. If a wheel is available, the depth is set as precisely as possible. Release the clamping lever and the body lifts up. When we start milling, the tool will plunge to the desired depth.
The second setting is the speed. It is selected according to the type of material and size of the cutter. The larger the diameter of the cutting tool, the lower the speed. The processing quality depends on the application. If the speed is too fast, you get rough edges. In the table we show the tool diameter and the rotational speed of the milling cutter.
Dependence of cutter diameter and rotational speed on material to be milled
|Material||Diameter of the cutter, mm||Speed, rpm|
|Hard wood||4. 10||20 000. 28 000|
|12. 20||15 000. 20 000|
|22. 40||10 000. 15 0000|
|Softwood||4. 10||20 000. 28 000|
|12. 20||15 000. 20 000|
|22. 40||10 000. 15 000|
|Artificial materials||4. 15||13 000. 16 000|
|16. 40||10 000. 12 000|
Now start milling
Putting a routing cutter on the workpiece. Plug in, hold the lever and press the start button on the motor. as soon as the mill starts to rotate, plunge it into the material. Now you can advance the tool forward along the planned machining line. The result. the first groove is ready!
Pay attention to the direction in which you will move the cutter: the cutter rotates clockwise, the feed should be counterclockwise. By observing this rule you will always make the work neatly.
If it is not necessary to mill an edge, but a surface, different devices are used. A parallel stop is useful for making a groove that is the same distance from the edge of the workpiece. Unfortunately, this will not work if the lateral surface is uneven or the distance from the edge is greater than the length of the stop guides. In this case, the guide, which can be a normal board, will be helpful. When working with a parallel stop it is not necessary that the edge is straight, it can be curved. Using the wheel and pin for circular milling, which are inserted in the stop, you can guide the tool along the convex or concave edge. Using these fixtures, it is possible to mill a circle. The same operation is performed using a special device. a compass or a template. A copying bush is used for work with templates. In addition to the circle, any shape can be milled. Decorative elements such as carving, performed without devices. by hand, but this method requires a certain skill.
The tool can be fixed on the table. This enables more precise workpieces. You cannot do without a table if you need to work with milling cutters with a diameter of more than 40 mm, e.g. in door construction. But even with thin laths, the stationary system is an advantage. Table router mounted from underneath the table. Height adjusters are also available which make it easier to change the cutting depth.
Wood milling is a fascinating process, but it is accompanied by a large amount of sawdust. The mill, rotating at high speed, turns them into dust, which is harmful to the lungs and eyes of the user. During work, it is necessary to connect a special vacuum cleaner to the milling machine or wear a respirator. Eyes are protected by goggles. Use of earphones is recommended because of the noise. these are all safety precautions that must not be neglected. Let us repeat the basic rules of safe work:
- It is necessary to unplug the power cord from the power socket when changing the milling cutter;
- Your power tool must be checked for electrical safety before it is switched on: check the cable and breaker, replace the carbon brushes before use;
- the workpiece must be well secured;
- Milling at greater depths is done in several stages;
- Speed adjustment must not be neglected;
- It is necessary to use high-quality, well-sharpened cutters;
- periodic inspection of the tool, its clamps and collet. Malfunctions and unusual noise during operation can cause parts to be checked and replaced. Damage to the cutter is dangerous for the user.
Preparing the tool for operation
The most important thing to do before starting milling is to set up the machine for a particular type of work, taking into account the properties of the material to be machined and the type of tooling.
Speed Speed Selection
A milling machine is a machine capable of very high spindle speed, from 8000 to 24000 rpm and higher. The higher the speed of the tool, the cleaner the surface will be. But be aware that exceeding the allowable speed for certain milling cutters can cause burning of the workpiece in the areas of machining. That’s why it is necessary to take into account not only rotation speed of the tool shank but also linear speed of the blade. As a general rule, the larger the diameter of the tool, the faster the linear speed of the cutting edge of the tool. If you intend to use large diameter tooling, the spindle speeds need to be slightly reduced as well.
Below you find the table with which you can find the most suitable tool speed depending on the tool diameter.
When selecting the speed of the tool, the hardness of the material to be machined must also be taken into consideration. Carbide hardwood should be milled at a slower speed than recommended for the tool diameter.
Also reduce tool speed if you are cutting PVC, Plexiglas, or plastic. The high RPM will cause the plastic to melt and stick to the tool blades. The rotational speed must be determined experimentally for each application.
Installing the cutter
Before replacing the tool, disconnect the cutter from the power supply. Unplugging the start button is not enough. It is important to unplug the power cord to avoid unintentional starting of the engine.
- Lay the machine on its side so that the button fixing the spindle is on top.
- Press the button and turn the spindle until it engages the spindle lock. Then put a wrench on the collet nut and unscrew it. This button may not be available on some router models. In this case, 2 wrenches are needed. The first wrench goes on the nut on the spindle and works as a latch (if you use it against the guide rod), and the second wrench is used to unscrew the collet nut.
Remember: The nut on the collet clamp must not be tightened if there is no tooling in it. This will cause it to break.
Almost all milling machines are fitted with depth control keys. Setting the plunging depth of the tool is done as follows:
- Set the machine down on a level surface, e.g. a table.
- Place the lowest step of the turret (1) under the plunge stop (2).
As a result, if you lower the actuator as far as the stop (2) makes contact with the lowest step of the turret stop, you will get the maximum extension of the cutter relative to the base of the machine. This value of the tool plunge into the workpiece will be the final value, i.e. the desired depth.
If you want to make a deep groove that is not possible in one pass, you can use the turret stop to plunge the tool into the workpiece in stages. To do this, slide the depth stop (2) under the highest step of the turret stop (1) and mill. Then place the next lower stop under the stop and make one more pass with the tool. When the limiter reaches the lowest stop, the desired groove depth is obtained. The following illustration shows how the tool is deepened step by step into the workpiece if a turret stop is used.
Panelled door decoration
Panelled door worktop finishing is not only necessary for decoration, but also for wood preservation, lengthening its life span and increasing its strength. Natural wood must be treated with antiseptic agents, and then covered with a stain and varnish. This will protect the material from the effects of the external environment. It is better to use water-based acrylic varnishes. Unlike alkyd doors, they change the color of the wood to a lesser extent.
Doors can be painted, veneered, filmed or laminated. For glass inserts that you plan to decorate with your own hands, it is better to use heat-polished glass. It is possible to make painting on it, glue a film or create any decorations.
Not only are panelled doors made in factories. If you have basic carpentry skills and the necessary tools, you can make it with your own hands.
To install the cutter in the chuck, the router is placed sideways. Some types allow you to disconnect the motor with the cartridge from the platform, without changing its settings. Others do not provide such an opportunity, so most often you have to lower the base as much as possible. The chuck can be unscrewed with the wrench included in the delivery.
The chuck is fixed in immobility by means of a special button located above the point of the shaft exit from the body. It is not present on all milling machines, sometimes it is necessary to fix the shaft with a wrench and unscrew the chuck with another one.
It is not necessary to remove the nut completely, but sometimes you have to do it if the cutter is too tight in the collet. By gently tapping on the sides and turning the shaft, the collet is loosened and the jammed cutter is removed.
Screw the nut on and insert the new burr into the collet by about 20 mm. Some cutters have special marks on their shanks with indication of minimum and maximum plunging depth, but most of them are set by eye. If the depth is too shallow, the cutter could be deformed and the workpiece could be damaged during cutting feed. This is dangerous because the maximum speed of the router shaft is 30000 rpm or more. A milling cutter that has been ejected from the collet while in motion has a considerable destructive power, and if it hits a person, the consequences may be very undesirable.
Warning! Do not screw in the coupling nut without the burr in place because it will break the collet.
To set the milling depth proceed as follows
- The cutter with the base lowered is placed on a flat surface;
- The cutter is lowered to the stop and secured;
- The depth gauge slider is set to zero;
- The depth stop is raised to the desired height and locked with the depth stop screw;
- The cutter is unlocked and lowered to the stop of the depth stop on the depth stop screw, then locked again.
It is advisable to check the depth setting on a sample workpiece so that adjustments can be made if required. Do not make the depth too deep at once, it contributes to overheating of the cutter and creates excessive load on the electric motor. Recommended depth for one pass. 4-6 mm.
Basic rules for use
In this chapter we will try to answer the question: “How to work correctly with a manual cutter?”.
Quality results are possible only if certain rules and working conditions. These include the following wood carving requirements:
- Only work with a sharp tool. If the machined surface is burnt, fluffy or has many small chips, the cutter should be replaced;
- The workpiece must be securely clamped with clamps or other fixtures. Do not hold the workpiece to be machined in your hands;
- The feed of the cutter should be smooth and unhurried, without jerks. Do not try to remove a thick layer of material at once. In some cases, the surplus array is pre-drilled in order to mill a small residue cleanly;
- The cutting tool can only be changed when it is completely disconnected from the mains.
Compliance with these requirements should become an indispensable condition of work for the home handyman.
Cleanness of the cut is not only ensured by the degree of sharpness, but also by the cutting speed. The higher the number of revolutions, the cleaner the finished surface. For hard materials such as aluminum, solid wood, etc.п the shaft speed should be slightly reduced, so as not to overheat the cutting edges of the cutter.
When milling edges, the feed is made so that when moving away from yourself, the workpiece remains on the left, and vice versa. If you need to make a groove, the direction of motion does not matter.
Let’s look at common tricks of the hand router.
How to cut a circle
In order to cut a circle with the cutter with your own hands, you need to use special templates or devices.
First of all, you must clarify whether you are looking for a circular workpiece or a hole.
A parallel stop is included in the delivery set.
If you drill a hole in it, you can make a simple circular jig. It is necessary to turn the stop with the angle upwards, screw it in the center of the future circle on the screw, set with clamps the desired diameter of the hole and cut it in a circle. Sometimes a circular rod is included, with which it is even easier to make round holes.
When a circle is needed, the template should be used. It is a sheet with a hole of the desired diameter. It can be made from plywood or fiberboard, which is recommended to be glued in half. This will produce a stiffer and thicker sheet that will make a quality template.
The diameter of the template depends on how the stop will be made. If resting on the base itself, the diameter of the template must be increased by the size of the radius of the platform plus the radius of the cutter. In cases where the emphasis is on the copying ring included in the delivery set, the diameter of the template is equal to the sum of the radii of the cutter and the outer convex part of the ring.
As a template you can also use a ready-made circle, in which the bearing of the coping cutter is resting. It is easiest to fix it with double-sided adhesive tape, having previously cut off the excess material with an allowance of 2-3 mm.
The quality of the work depends on the precision of the template. Usually it is sawed out with an electric jigsaw, trying to follow the shape as precisely as possible. In some cases the circular hole is cut with the help of a tool carrier with a clamped cutter.
Quartering with a hand router can be done in a number of ways:
- Using a parallel stop;
- Using an edge mill with a bearing of a smaller diameter;
- With the machine platform resting on a level bar fixed at the required distance from the edge.
The first option is used with straight edges and large quarter sizes that require several passes. The second method is used to obtain the same width of the quarter, as only the depth of the plunge of the cutter is subject to adjustment. The third option allows you to make a large-sized quarter if the outer edge of the workpiece is uneven or unfinished. Wide quarters have to do in several passes, each time moving the fence a few millimeters, until the desired width of the step.
How to choose a groove
For picking out the groove with the cutter are used:
- Parallel stop;
- A strip fixed at the desired distance parallel to the groove line;
- A pair of slats, between which the router table moves.
The first two methods require care and attention, since the milling machine can only be stopped to one side. If the craftsman is distracted, the cut trimmer line can go sideways. The third variant allows not only to avoid such situations, but also to increase the width of the groove. The distance between the slats can be slightly increased, so that the width of the groove was equal to the diameter of the cutter plus the size of the gap. This method makes rather wide recesses for various furniture parts, locks, structural elements.
Edge machining, work with the template
Appropriate edge milling cutters equipped with a thrust roller (bearing) are used for edge cutting. It is necessary to level the edge beforehand, otherwise the cutter will copy all the irregularities and the edge will look sloppy. In addition to edge milling cutters, templates are used to form a curved shape or to make a batch of identical parts. A copy router with a bearing is used for the work. The cutter is extended so that the stop roller rolls on the template and the cutting part processes the edge of the workpiece.
Consider these operations more carefully.
The workpiece width is smaller than the cutting part length
In such cases it is necessary to use a template. The simplest variant is to stack two identical parts. The bearing is rolled on one of them, the other is machined with the cutting edge. If there is only one piece, it is necessary to make a template from a sheet material. plywood, fibreboard, chipboard or similar. It is important to precisely repeat the configuration of the part, avoiding the appearance of potholes or irregularities.
Many craftsmen do not like to use this method, because the template is often used only once and then discarded. However, quality of work is more important than labor costs. No time and effort should be spared, since it will be difficult or impossible to eliminate flaws after machining the edge.
Cutting round and elliptical grooves
To cut circular or elliptical slots in wood with a hand router, circular cutters are used. The simplest router scale consists of a rod. One end of it is connected to the base of the router, and the second end is equipped with a screw and a pin. The pin is inserted in the hole that serves as the center of the circle, on the contour of which the slot is formed. To change the radius of the circumference of the groove, for the execution of which such a circular for the cutter is used, it is enough to shift the rod relative to the base of the cutter. convenient to use are circular devices, which are designed with two rods rather than one.
A simple compass rod often comes with the router
Circular tooling is a fairly common type of attachment used to work with a router. With their help it is very convenient to perform the milling of shaped grooves with different radii of rounding. As mentioned above, the typical design of such a device, which can be made and with your own hands, includes a screw with a pin that has the ability to move through the device groove and thus allows you to adjust the radius of the created groove.
In cases where the wood router or other material needs to create a hole with a small diameter, another type of tool is used. The peculiarity of the design of such devices, which are fixed to the lower part of the router base, is that their pin, installed in the central hole on the workpiece to be processed, is located under the base of the power tool used, not outside of it.
Homemade scraper with two rails
base Corner Guides Centering pins Pickle assembly. Bottom view Composite Circle assembly. Top view
Not only round holes, but also oval ones can be produced in wood by using special devices. The design of one such fixture includes:
- a base that can be fixed to the work piece of wood by vacuum suction cups or screws;
- Two shoes that move on intersecting slideways;
- two mounting rods;
- Bracket that connects the base of the device with the router.
Due to special grooves in the bracket of such a device its base plate is easily exposed in one plane with the cutter base. If this tool is used to mill a circular contour, one shoe is used, and if an oval contour, both shoe are used. A cut made with this tool is of higher quality than if it had been made with a jigsaw or band saw. This is explained by the fact that machining with the cutter used in this case is carried out with a tool that rotates at high speed.
The result of working with a home-made compass router is a round hole with straight edges
Devices for fast and high-quality milling of grooves on narrow surfaces
The question of how to make grooves for door hinges or locks can be answered by any homemaker. A drill and a normal chisel are generally used for this purpose. Meanwhile, it is possible to carry out such a procedure much faster and with less work if you take for this purpose a milling cutter equipped with a special device. The design of such a device, by means of which grooves of different widths can be created on narrow surfaces, is a flat base fixed on the cutter’s sole. On the base, which can be either circular or rectangular in shape, there are two pins, whose task is to ensure the straight movement of the cutter during machining.
The main requirement for the router bits of this design is that the axis of the guide pins must be in line with the center of the router bit used for woodworking. If this condition is met, the groove performed on the end face of the workpiece to be machined will be located strictly in its center. In order to shift the groove to one side, it is sufficient to place a sleeve of the appropriate size on one of the guide pins. When using this kind of attachment to a hand router it is necessary to ensure that the guide pins are pressed against the side surfaces of the workpiece during machining.
Slotting device (click to enlarge)
The router can be stable on narrow surfaces even without special tools. Solve this problem by using two boards that are mounted on both sides of the workpiece, so as to form a single plane with the surface on which the groove is performed. The cutter itself is positioned with a parallel stop when using this technological method.
Caution when working with a hand router is a guarantee of the safety of the craftsman and the results of his work. Basic safety rules:
- Use only sharp cutting elements. Check cutter sharpness by carefully touching the blade with the tip of your finger: if the skin “sticks” to the blade, the knife is sharp. Another sign of insufficient sharpness of the knife is overheating of the unit’s motor in the course of work and “dirty” edge of the product.
- Check that the power cord and plug are in good condition before each use.
- Remove dust and debris from the slide, housing and collet nut.
- Secure the cutter in the collet with a wrench.
- After installing the cutting element, it should be fixed in the desired position by pressing the lever of the slide.
- Always use safety glasses when working with the cutter, regardless of the presence of a protective screen in the design of the unit. Might be supplemented with a respirator.
- Before starting the electric motor. make sure that the moving part is not blocked.
- To avoid injury, start the machine and only then insert the blade into the workpiece.
- When you have finished milling, remove the blade from the workpiece and only then turn off the engine.
- Keep an eye on the rotating head of the milling cutter and the inside opening of the slide.
- De-energize the unit completely before replacing the spray head.
- It is important to clamp the workpiece to the work surface.
- Use only clean blades. If the accessory is dirty, clean it before replacing it.
- If using an edge mill with a bearing, check that it turns freely on the bearing and that it does not jam or squeak.
- Only use the machine if it is in good condition.
Manual wood router. a tool that does not take up much space, but allows you to perform most tasks in the process of working with wood. The machine makes small repairs in the home available and opens up possibilities in the field of modern architecture and personal creative development. Carefully choose a milling machine, follow the rules of its operation, and the work with it will be productive and full of positive emotions.
Functionality and applications
If you are planning to buy a manual milling machine, first of all ask yourself why you need a milling machine. Meanwhile, the functionality of this power tool is so wide that it will always find a use in any workshop. In particular, with the help of the milling machine, equipped with the appropriate tooling, you can successfully perform such technological operations as:
- Profiling of straight and curved edges on the workpiece to be processed;
- high-quality and precise preparation of the seats for dowels, door locks and hinges, hinges and any other fittings;
- quartering (rebate);
- grinding and polishing;
- drilling and boring of holes, including shaped ones;
- Cutting studs and making grooves of different configurations (dovetail, T-shaped, V-shaped, microslots);
- cutting blanks and cutting them into pieces of the required length;
- performance of rough alignment of the surface of the machined workpiece;
- wood carving, for which manual milling machines are quite actively used;
- Engraving (router patterns can be cut not only on the surface of wood products, but also on metal, plastic and stone parts);
- making grooves of both straight and spiral type on the surface of products having the shape of bodies of rotation (balusters, etc.).);
- creating different grooves and slots on the surface of the workpiece.
Obviously, the functionality possessed by such a versatile power tool as a milling machine makes it equally useful for both home craftsman and professional. If we talk about areas of application of the hand router, then it is practically an indispensable element of the equipment of any joinery workshop. It is also indispensable for construction and repair teams. With the help of such a technical device, interior decorations are made, as well as various crafts.
Types of hand routers
Solving the question of which milling machine is better to choose, it should be borne in mind that all such devices can belong to one of the following categories:
Manual electric milling machine of the upper type can be fixed or immersed. The design of a stationary milling machine includes an electric motor, through the elements of the device kinematic circuit connected to the chuck, in which the tool used is fixed. Such a milling machine is called stationary for the reason that the tool in it has no possibility to move relative to the body of the device. It is quite difficult to use such a milling machine, as it is necessary to adjust the depth of the machining performed when using it manually by manipulating the entire device, which may differ in its considerable weight.
Much more convenient in use is the plunge milling machine, the drive motor of which is installed on special guides and during the processing can move along them with the work tool. The design of plunge-type routers also has a special spring that ensures lifting of the working head after machining with it is done. If in the process of acquiring a router of the upper type to choose which one is better, then you should definitely pay attention to the plunge models, which are perfect for professionals and beginners alike.
Controls of the plunge router
Edge milling, in full accordance with its name, is used to process the edges of products and bevel them. Equipping edge milling cutter working tips of various types, you can perform processing not only straight but also shaped surfaces. In particular, using such a router and the appropriate cutting tools, it is possible to make skirting boards and perform processing of shaped door trims.
The slotting mill, which is mainly used to create different grooves on the surface of the workpiece, is a highly specialized power tool.
Slotting for dowels with a slot cutter
Thus, the consumer today offers various types of milling machines, the design of each of which is designed to solve certain technological problems. Knowing the answer to the question of what you need a router for, you can always choose the model that will fully meet your needs.
When choosing a routing cutter, one should not forget that its functionality and convenience of work with it will also depend on the additional devices that you will use in a set with the power tool. Such devices, which, in particular, include various stops, clamps, templates, guides, etc., allow for more precise and safe machining.
Principles of work with a hand router
Electro-milling is a pretty dangerous thing. rotating at high speed sharp cutting parts can cause serious wounds, and chips flying out from under the tool, too. And although most models have a protective shield that reflects the main flow of chips, safety glasses don’t hurt. So working with a handheld wood router requires attention and concentration.
One of the models is with a connected vacuum cleaner for chip removal
Work with a hand router on wood will be easier and more enjoyable, the products will get a normal quality, if you meet some conditions:
- The cutter must be sharp. It’s difficult to estimate this parameter “by eye”, that’s why it’s necessary to be guided by the working moments: if the engine is strongly heated and/or the processed surface is not smooth (they say “dirty”), then the cutter is dull. It must be replaced.
- Workpiece to be machined must be firmly and securely clamped. Nothing good will come of bouncing or twitching workpieces.
Workpieces must be firmly secured. Clamps are best
Not so complicated requirements, but following them is the key to good work and safety. And the main requirement is to drive the milling machine smoothly, without jerks, jerks. If you feel a strong beating. change rotational speed. Most often it must be reduced, but in general, it is worth focusing on the manufacturer’s recommendations (found on the packaging).
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Set milling depth
All models of manual milling machines have certain outputs, which represent the maximum depth in the material that can be processed by the unit. It is quite rare that machining at maximum depth is required, so most often the height needs to be adjusted. Even when milling great depths, it is better to reduce the load on cutters and the equipment itself, by level machining. To do this, you can use the turret stop. a small disc on the bar, which is equipped with stops (legs) of different heights. There can be 3-7 of them on the machine. It is especially convenient if it is possible to adjust the height of each of them. This is one of the signs of a high class milling machine. In order to fix the turret in the right position, use the stopper, which is a small flag.
Setting the milling depth on handheld routers is done in several steps:
- The tools are set on level surfaces, the clamps are released, pressing the cutter firmly against the surface;
- the turret stop is loosened by unscrewing its retainer;
- Based on the size of the required depth, the foot on the turret stop is selected. To do this, turn the disc with the stops to the desired position;
- the screws are not fixed, and the bar is held with the fingers while moving the moving pointer so that its value coincides with zero;
- The rod is raised to the desired value of the milling depth, then lower the lock on the turret.
Carried out all the steps correctly, when processing the material, the wood router disc will enter it to the depth set.
It is worth noting that good milling machines are equipped with a wheel, which provides precise adjustment of the processing depth. It makes it possible, while maintaining the set values, to correct the depth dimension even by very small values.