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Thread: CNC router bits
02-22-2013, 03:44 PM #1
CNC router bits
My CNC router is coming first week of March and I am thinking about ordering some bits/end mills. What are those of you running routers using for bits?
I am shocked at how much more expensive most of the solid carbide router bits are compared to mid range or even high end end mills. As an example I am looking at a 1/8" ball nose router bit at almost $40 vs $18 for a Sowa solid carbide 2 flute end mill. Even their premium cutters made for cutting hardened steel is only $33. A 5" long 3/4" dia ball nose end mill is $286 vs the same in a router bit but only 4" long for $300, I don't even see 6" long ball nosed router bits.
I realize the cutting geometry is different for wood vs steel but I have used sharp end mills in a mill on wood lots of times with great success and a local tool store that also sells low end routers (General) tells me he just uses end mills designed for aluminum. Surface finish is FAR more important to me than speed as I am making tooling rather than running production. But if an end mill is going to be a real time hog I may have to bite the bullet.
One other option is I spoke to my local tool grinding shop and the pricing he gave me to make solid carbide router cutters was much lower than the normal price for router bits. He told me I would have to bring him in a bit so he could duplicate the geometry. He would not make downcut or compression cut bits but I don't plan on using either of them on a regular basis as I will be cutting solid wood or tooling board almost exclusively.
02-22-2013, 10:08 PM #2
We use mostly Onsrud bits. They have a great catalog with lots of info on feeds and speeds. You're right about the price, but sometimes the geometry is critical to good finish. We preferred the down cuts as they gave us great results even on hardwoods. Metal cutting bits also work quite well for many projects. Length is a problem with router bits. Check out Her Saf: Her-Saf Online Store - Tooling » Quick Change Insert Tooling. They make insert tooling that's very reasonably priced. They can probably supply longer arbors to give you the reach you need.
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02-22-2013, 10:22 PM #3
We use Onsrud bits as well, along with Centurion. Centurion bits are cheaper, but they don't have the selection Onsrud does. They are the same quality, though.
02-22-2013, 11:44 PM #4
The tools I get from Greg here are my favorite </title><title>..::Courmatt.com::.. , but I use many from Vortex and Onsrud as well. Vortex has a good selection of longer ones, all going to be more money than you are used to spending.
Look into the 3 flute roughers from Courmatt, I think that they are my favorite cutter so far. I was able to get curly cue chips off of Trupan (mdf) more than once with a 3/4 x 3.5 CL rougher of theirs. That was a good day. Using a rougher in wood gives the same advantages as in metal, you can hog out the bulk of material with high feed rates and leave a little for the finish tool to do it's job, makes things last alot longer.
02-23-2013, 10:16 AM #5
Thanks guys. I just requested a catalogue from Onsrud, their online catalogue is awful. I will definitely order one of those Courmatt roughers. I am going to take one of the Onsrud cutters to the tool grinder though to see if he can make me something the same. I will have to see how his will compare. The metal form cutters he has made me have always been good. The place that sharpens my saw blades and carbide tipped router bits sells Southwestern bits. Does anyone have any experience with them? I know Onsrud has Canadian distributors, I will have to check about the others.
02-23-2013, 01:40 PM #6
I use a few diamond tipped bits. Royce? They last a real long time in MDF. Onsrud for the phenolic stuff. Not sure I would want to try another brand cutting 1" in a single pass. I use a lot of 5mm downcut spirals in phenolic too.
02-23-2013, 01:59 PM #7
Hello The Shop where I work we use leitz replaceable tip cutters on some of the tool in the weeke 3m router. They work will on plywood and mdf on solid wood they're ok.
02-23-2013, 02:18 PM #8
02-23-2013, 03:46 PM #9
You want to cut patterns..Right?
Router bits work great for plywood, MDF and other "woodworking" applications.
Straight sided or generally simple parts with a profile matching the tool radius.
And generally not thick in comparison to patterns.
End mills are not common tools in an exclusively woodworking shop.
Try cutting Ren 5169 tooling board and you will see why endmills work better for tooling board cutting.
We use end mills almost exclusively in "all" kinds of shapes and sizes including "extra" long and specials.
It works for cutting foundry tooling... that is all I have seen shops in this area use.
PM me if you would like to know more specifics.
02-24-2013, 08:20 AM #10
Yes it will be almost all patterns so 3d work. Mostly solid wood but some Renboard as well. I don't plan on cutting any mdf apart from a spoil board. Maybe the odd bit of plywood. Most of the work will be layers 4"-5" deep
02-24-2013, 10:23 PM #11
From the sound of it, you might look into a custom tool, get the largest shank you can at 6-8" length ish and have an insert head on the last 1.5" or so, the pattern shop the my FIL works at cuts alot of them with a cutter like that, I do not know where he got it, but it makes things a breeze with the reduced shank and insert cutter. He was using a long extension with a cheap whiteside or similar stuck in it. worked, but this is much better.